A little warning about publishers. There are some who only allow submissions through contests they hold. This is ALWAYS to be avoided, especially if there's a fee to enter this contest. A friend of mine sent me an email with four interesting/odd/eccentric publishers that a friend of his had sent him. Three of the four only allow submissions through their contests.
Here's the response I emailed back to him--
Thanks for the publishers below. I looked at a few of them; the problem with those that only take submissions via the contests they hold is that the contests themselves are what they make the money on. You submit your book to the contest and pay a $50 fee, let's say. Now, 99 out of 100, at best, are pure crap, no better than amateur fare. These would normally get immediately rejected, of course, but for free. Now, these poor slobs, who can't write for crap, are bad writers and now out $50. This house might get all crap, but at $50 a pop, why not? They tell the least crappy one, "Okay, no officially submit it to us,"--and then turn it down. Flat. Or, even worse, charge that poor slob--who feels he's soooooooooo close---$350, let's say, to edit the thing (or they suggest he pay a specific editing company $350--and they either get a bite out of that, or they are the editing company, by another name, that they've "recommended"), line-by-line or page-by-page--which it doesn't need. It needs a dose of reality and a complete overhaul, not a red-pen edit that a 7th grade teacher would do. So now they have his poor slob's $50 contest fee, and his $350 editing fee--and they still reject him. And they do several versions of this to many of the other contest applicants as well. Mucho bucks; no hassle; not too many books to represent--and then they say they're just "very picky."
There are good contests out there--but they're not ethically run by publishing companies. That's not moral, as it isn't when an agent asks for money up-front to edit your work--or "recommends" an editing person or company, that, again, they either take a bite of, or they are that person or company they've "recommended." Oldest trick in the book, and always to be avoided.
Causes Steven Belanger Supports
APSCA and a couple of others that I forget until the pledges come in the mail.