What does it mean to have a publisher? Are you better off with one or without one?
What is a publisher?
This is a more difficult question to answer than you might think!
Later on, we’ll discuss the different types of publishers, but for now, let’s start with the basics:
A publisher is a person/company that issues books/journals/etc. for sale.
Prep your manuscript for publishing.
Other aspects depend on the particular publisher.
What are the advantages to having a publisher?
A reputable publisher should NEVER ask the author for money.
What costs are publishers fronting?
Cover design: $100-600.
Editing, formatting, design all take time away from writing
The author is free to pursue other interests like writing or marketing
Setting up a book for publishing also takes time
Expanded Distribution/Marketing Options
Publishers can get into places that authors often can’t
EX: book signings at chain stores, special programs, “in stock,” events, etc.
High volume production = better deals from printers or events
More creditability (Sometimes)
Answers to questions
Smaller publishers = greater amount of marketing
Your success = their success
Larger publishers = bigger budgets and marketing departments
Some of the costs of marketing will be taken on by the publisher
Next time we’ll discuss some of the disadvantages of publishers.
If you’d like to learn more about the pros and cons of Agents, you can find part ONE here and part TWO here.
What is a literary agent?
A literary agent represents authors and submits to publishers and editors on their behalf
- They also:
- Negotiate Contracts
Negotiate contracts outside publishing
What are the benefits of having an agent?
“In the know”
Depends on how good the agent is and how good their contacts are
Access to specific information
Knowledgeable in: publishing contracts, foreign rights, media rights, royalty negotiations
Disputes are common occurrence
**Getting a lawyer involved is sometimes necessary
What are the drawbacks of having an agent?
Legitimate agents will NEVER ask you for money
Do get a cut of the royalties
Domestic sales: 10-15%
Foreign sales: fixed rate of 20%
Film/media sales are usually negotiated separately
Querying can be SLOW
Once you have an agent, querying starts all over again with publishers
A few months to several years
It may not happen
There should be a time limit in your contract
Once you sign, publishing options may be more limited
Submissions are handled directly by your agent
Additional work you write may automatically come under the agent’s control
Variations of your book that are produced (film, graphic novel, audio, translation, etc.) may entitle your agent to a cut
Stop back by soon for more discussion on Publishers, Agents, and Publishing in this new Publishing Primer series.