We’re talking traditional publishers today. And keep in mind that there are a lot of publishers, large and small, out there and many variations of the scenarios presented here today.
Typically, as I mentioned earlier this week, you will be asked to send a query letter first. Next, the publisher might want to see a book proposal with a strong emphasis on your platform and your marketing abilities and plans. If your project makes the cut, you will be invited to send the entire manuscript.
After a few minutes to several months, someone may contact you with news—either your manuscript has been rejected or accepted. Sometimes you never hear from the publisher again. I suggest that if you haven’t heard from a publisher who has requested your manuscript as many as a few weeks after their normal responding time, contact them. Remind him that he requested your manuscript and when you sent it. Look for individual publisher’s response times in their Submission Guidelines or their listing in Writer’s Market.
If your manuscript is accepted, you will receive a contract. Read it carefully. If there is anything you don’t understand, hire a publishing or intellectual properties attorney to look it over. If there is something in the contract that you don’t agree with, note it and initial it before sending the signed contract back to the publisher. He will either agree or not. The contact will, among other things, provide for a royalty of somewhere between five and twenty-five percent. There may or may not be an advance of anywhere from $500 to thousands of dollars. The higher figures are typically reserved for authors of some acclaim. Some publishers pay a one-time fee for a manuscript—purchasing it outright.
Once the contract is signed, you may be asked to do extensive or minor rewriting. Or you might wait for another year before you receive the edited version to check over. In the meantime, you will receive either the entire or a portion of any advance that was agreed upon.
Some of you will discover that your fantastic title has been changed. In some instances, you might get a say in this decision. Sometimes not. You may also be advised on the cover design. Your opinion may or may not be considered.
A book typically goes into production several months to a year or more after the contract is signed. And at that time, you may be asked to fill out an extensive questionnaire including a list of your media and professional contacts for promotional purposes.
Some publishers assign authors a publicist to work with for three months or so. Take advantage of him or her while you can. In the meantime, you should also be using every means you have to publicize your book. And this work will be ongoing for as long as you want the book to sell.
As you can see, landing a traditional publisher has its pros and cons (just like any publishing option does). While you have no outlay of funds and while you may lose some of your power in the decision-making area, it is imperative to a successful project that you remain highly involved in the entire process—in particular when it comes to marketing your book.
For a greater understanding of the publishing industry and how to more successfully navigate within it, read my book, “Publish Your Book” by Patricia Fry.
If you want to know more about book promotion, read “Promote Your Book” by Patricia Fry. The earlier you understand this process, the better!
Both are available at amazon.com as well as most other online and downtown bookstores. You can also order them here: http://www.matilijapress.com