Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Should Authors Date Publishers?


All authors have a romantic notion of being with a big, traditional publisher that shepherds them to fame and riches. The author expects the publisher to put them on a tour, schedule book signings and media appearances, and partner with the author to collaboratively build a brand. Reality says otherwise. It might be time to sign a pre-nup!  

The publisher often has: 

* Typically delayed a book’s publication.

* A low rate of success at generating break-away sales.

* Little concern for your brand.

* Come to see you only as a commodity.

* Lied! They do not do what they said they would.

* Done little to promote its own books.

* Rigged your author contract to yield a lowly royalty.  

Why is it like that?  

Because the publishers make bets on a few big books that help support the rest of their list — and the rest of their books, like yours, are left to sink or swim, with few resources or budget allocated towards helping you.  

It is a numbers game. They don’t want to lose money on your book — but they won’t make a heavy lift to help you survive or thrive.  

So, never stop marketing yourself, no matter what the publisher says or does.  

But, know that publishers can: 

* Get your book into the marketplace — bookstores, libraries, specialty gift shops.

* Sell movie, play, or television rights — but it’s rare.

* Sell foreign and translation rights.

* Design a good cover.

* Properly title it.

* Edit it well.

* Line up paperwork like the copyright.

* Price it right.

* Publish in all formats if the market warrants it.

* Help get book blurbs from other authors.

* Send it out to select book reviewers.  

For some authors, it is about prestige and ego to be with a publisher. They desire to feel wanted, to capture the trophy. They feel validated, as a writer, when a publisher wants to go steady with them. But like dating, the initial luster wears off after sleeping together.  

The vast majority of today’s 5,000 newly minted books are self-published. But the vast majority of book sales are generated by the book publishers. It is a tricky relationship between author and publisher. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.   

The authors who should seek a publisher are the ones who:  

* Have books that are expensive to produce: ones with art and illustrations, gift books, or children’s books.

* Have very little time to promote their books.

* Lack the skills, connections, desire, or knowledge to promote a book.

* Need lots of help to produce a book.

* Desperately need to serve their pride of being published.

* May only plan on doing one book and no others.

* Need help selling foreign and film rights. 

The author who should self-publish is one who: 

* Has resources to promote and market.

* Wants editorial independence.

* Wants to retain all rights.

* Seeks to make more than a paltry royalty.

* Wants their book out quickly.

* Is entrepreneurial-minded.

* Merely use their book as a business card to generate income via consulting, speeches, or the selling of other products and services.

* Does not need any kind of validation from a publisher or third-party recognition.  

There are pros-cons to whichever road an author travels down. No matter which path one takes, the author should still expect to be involved in the marketing and promotion of their book and brand.

Please Contact Me For Help

Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand. He has 30 years of experience in successfully helping thousands of authors in all genres.


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About Brian Feinblum

Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2022. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This blog, with over 4,000 posts over the past decade, was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Susan RoAne, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, IBPA, Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult: 

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