2a) Traditional Publishers – Defined



Publishers are companies willing to take a chance on an author’s work. In essence, they are your “bank.” In addition to using their expertise to help make your writing more desirable for readers, they finance and make decisions about: setup, editing, a feasible quantity to print, design a cover, and pay to have the books reproduced and distributed. Often there is a prepared catalog including your book they distribute.

The largest companies usually pay a royalty up front, then work that amount off (from contracted royalties) before any additional revenue is paid the author. The author’s royalty is usually about 10-15% of the retail price of the book.

All publishers place their own ISBN number, business name, and location on the copyright page (one of the first pages) of your book. The name and address there indicates who “owns” the right to this book, and who should be contacted for sales and/or additional business dealings… movie rights, large print books, audio books, etc.

Recruiting a publisher for your book project is like going into the bank and asking for a loan. Sure, the publisher will get interest on that loan as the book sales pay it back, and that’s why they’ll publish it. But they must be assured that the chance they’re taking will pay off.  They’re in business to make money, that’s what businesses do.

Most publishers work with the author on an active marketing strategy.  They expect the author (you) to work hard to actively promote your book. Sometimes publishers help with finances (travel monies, printing costs, etc.), But don’t expect much if you’re a beginner. In any case, it’s not possible to hand your manuscript over, then turn your back on this project, go back to your desk and write another book. Marketing is part of the process.

Why do you think we see actors doing TV interviews about their upcoming movies? (It’s part of their job — promotion.) Have you ever listened to an author interviewed on PBS radio? I have, and wonder what a great boost to their sales that must be. Imagine reaching thousands of interested readers through one radio interview. Is it the publisher who does the interview? Of course not. Only the author can accurately answer questions about their book. And prospective buyers welcome a chance to see, hear, maybe even talk with the author.  It’s part of your job — promotion.

Show publishers excellent writing, on a topic the public currently wants to read, and you’re half way there.  Publishers also must feel confident that you’ll help gather in readers, persuade them to buy, and that you are skilled enough to do this.

Are you willing to help plan and participate in: An interview? A book store reading? An open house event? Introducing your book? And do you have any ideas of your own which would help the book sell? You’ll need to express that to any publisher or agent you approach. Most publishers and agents will ask for a list of your plans for marketing. They expect you to have some idea who your audience is, how many of them you’ve decided there are, and how you’ll actively reach out to them.

more… 2a) PUBLISH – The Money