Publishers Are Not God

I’m an author as well as a publisher so I know how it is. You send out your work and once there’s finally interest in it you’re so thrilled that you accept any offer you get. Getting your book any contract is not the best thing for your beloved story. You want to get it the right contract. Sometimes even a great publishing house isn’t the right fit for you and your book, so be cautious when accepting an offer.

I saw a really sad example recently. I met someone online who had written a disability memoir and I wanted to learn more about her book so I could feature it in our monthly newsletter. I asked and she sent me the link to the book’s Amazon page.

I don’t want to call anyone out, but the page was awful.

The cover of the book was one of the most unprofessional I’ve ever seen. It was a home photo of the author slapped on a white background with text that looked like the whole thing was created in Word. The description was blah and not formatted. There were no editorial reviews or blurbs.

And there was no ebook version.

That can be fine, but it depends on the kind of book you have. Disability memoirs from unknown people don’t really sell in bookstores. Ebooks are where the sales are for that market. To not have one was just begging to have zero sales.

I asked the author to check her contract and the publisher never asked for e-rights, so she is free to put it up herself on Kindle and Nook, etc. But of course she went with a publisher partly because she didn’t want to learn to do all those things herself and said that she didn’t have any money to put into it (to which I said if she has the edited files than she doesn’t need any upfront money).

The author of this book gets to know that she’s an author and tell people she published a book. That’s a great thing! But I doubt she’ll get many people engaging with her story and actually buying her work.

When you’re considering an offer from a publisher, please look at their track record. Look at the covers of the books they’ve already done, look at the blurbs they’ve gotten, make sure that they can produce a quality product and actually sell it. Don’t be afraid to say no and get a better offer. Your rights to your work can get tied up for years with a publisher and you want to make sure that you’ve placed your book with people who will care about it and nurture it the way you have.

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