7 Secrets That a Publisher Will Not Tell You About Publishing Your Book
You have recently finished your manuscript after many grueling hours of tear-filled work. You are elated that the process is over and send your manuscript to your agent or directly to publishers. Here is a brief list of secrets that publishers will not tell authors when they are wooing them.
1. Your book is one of many they are publishing this year
Many publishers will put more than 100 – 200 books out in a given year. The more books that a publisher puts out means the less attention your book will get. Many publishers have the attitude, “Throw everything up and let’s see what sticks.” The reason that so many books are published in a given year is a hedge bet to protect the publisher’s profit margin.
2. You will be expected to do your own marketing
This is particularly true if you pick a medium size publisher like Cedar Fort, Inc.They publish over 160 titles a year. Yet they maintain a marketing team of 2 – 4 individuals. If you do the math, then you will realize that you will not get much time devoted to your book. The top publishing houses like Simon and Schustermaintain a marketing team with more time and resources. However, they will expect you to help them market your own book.You will most likely not be able to quit your day job
3. You will most likely not be able to quit your day job
According to Alan Jacobson, a National Best Selling Author, “Typically, an author can expect to receive the following royalties: Hardback edition: 10% of the retail price on the first 5,000 copies; 12.5%for the next 5,000 copies sold, then 15% for all further copies sold. Paperback: 8% of retail price on the first 150,000 copies sold, then 10%thereafter.” (Jacobson, 2016) The average first-time author sells between 500 - 1,500 copies. This is important to keep in mind before going into any large expense.
4. There is no guarantee that they can get you into a particular store
A competent publisher will have an effective sales force. However, the final decision for a book to be in a particular store is up to each individual corporate buyer. A lot of times it is a crap shoot. If a publisher offers you a guarantee that they can get you into a store be wary.
5. You may not have editorial or creative control of your book
A lot of publishers have you sign away any rights you may have in regards to decisions like the cover, edits or even the feel of your story. You may want to seek the advice of a competent agent or read your contract carefully. The publisher seeks this control to smooth the process and gives them the ability to change anything they seem fit too.
6. People will steal your book
In the internet era, authors get the privilege of dealing with the piracy problems of musicians and filmmakers. Someone will most likely take your book and put it on a torrent site so people can read it for free. Your publisher will most likely do nothing. It is hard to pin the culprits down and is usually not worth the fight
7. You may be stuck with your publisher for your next book or two
Many publishers insist on the right of first refusal for your next book or even the next three. This is something you may want to consider negotiating on. If you have a foul experience with a publisher you may not want to be stuck with them forever.
Now that we have exposed some of the secrets of the trade. What should an author do? I always recommend to those who want to start a career of writing to find a great agent. An effective agent will give you leverage in negotiations and will be there to give you sound advice. When shopping for an agent I would recommend several rounds of interviews both verbally and written. You can find a list on sites like Poet & Writers or Writer’s Digest. A Google search will also bring up a list of names as well. Picking the right agent will save you a lot of heartburn. A big plus in hiring a literary professional is that most agents require the publisher to give their clients an advance on their royalties. When picking your representative keep in mind that qualified professionals will work on a commission and will not charge you a fee up front.
Another key piece of advice is to join writing groups. You will find that these groups will help you in both in your writing but will give you sound advice based on their experiences. When you join them I recommend that you go with the spirit of becoming a member and not try to peddle your book. There are many local Facebook Groups for writers. For instance, in Utah, you have the League of Utah Writers. There are a lot of authors who would love to give you sound advice.
About Rodney Fife:
Rodney has over five years’ experience in marketing, selling, and public relations experience specializing in the publishing industry. He has a knack for finding and securing the media for his clients at Ironrod Media.
In the last two years, he has garnered over 25 million dollars’ worth of media coverage for clients. Rodney has arranged for clients to be in the New York Times, Woman’s World, Woman’s Day, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, US News and World Report. Additionally, clients have appeared locally in the Deseret News, Salt Lake Tribune, and the Daily Herald.
Furthermore, the clients we have represented have been interviewed on the Today Show, NBC and ABC News and local shows including Studio 5, Matt Townsend Show and Good Morning Utah.
You can find Rodney leading his team at Ironrod Media, a firm he created in January of 2015. Feel free to reach out to him at PR@Ironrodmedia.com or (385) 225 5997