Be Kind to Your Publisher

Posted by on Aug 28, 2014 in Writing | 0 comments

This is a subject that’s been broached before, and I know I go on and on about being kind to your editor, your agent, your publisher, but it truly is something you need to do if you want to get your book out there. If you’re self-publishing, be kind to yourself. It works just the same.

Just like any other profession or any other person you talk to,¬†kindness will get you further than pretty much anything else you try. A lot of small publishers, myself included, publish not because they want to make money at it, but for the love of words. If I had been doing this for money, I probably would have stopped trying 4 to 5 years ago. On average, it costs approximately $1500 per book to go from submission all the way to publication. That does not include the amount of time spent with the authors, the editors, the artists, the agents, the computer, the bookstores, the businesses where book shows will be held, the advertising, or the research. Sometimes it’s more, sometimes it’s less, but this is simply the amount of money it takes to publish a book.

Many small publishers also have a job, a spouse, kids, etc. On my lunch breaks at work, I’m usually focusing on my business. After I get up in the morning and before I go to work, I’m focusing on the business. After I get home and sometimes eat, I’m focusing on the business. When I take my child to the park, go to the store, check my emails, talk to friends, I’m thinking about the business because there is no option to fail. If I fail, it’s not just me who fails. I have authors who want to get their books out and I fail them too. I have built a rapport with agents. If I fail, I fail them too. I have editors and cover artists to pay. I have to pay the people who do my advertising. If I fail, they lose too. All of the money that has been sunk into the business, which is quite a lot, would be lost. This is the difference between a small publisher and a big publisher. One book may not make or break a large publisher, but it can a small one.

Lately, I’ve had a lot of comments from authors asking why they need a publisher when they can put their own stuff online and eliminate the middleman. It’s a worthwhile question. To many, I tell them if they believe they can do a better job, by all means, eliminate the middleman. I don’t say this to be malicious or rude. In fact, I’ve known a few success stories with people who have self-published their books. However, self-publishing can be a nightmare. A self-publisher has to take the entire financial burden on their own shoulders. They have to know what copyrights are and how to obtain them, what International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs) are, what the Library of Congress requirements are, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are a million tiny details that a publisher or publishing company has to go through to make sure that everything is properly set up before ever sending a book to press. There are things that one can learn in books, and other things that only experience will teach. Once a person becomes a self-publisher, it consumes every aspect of his or her life. It can even douse the dream of ever printing another book.

Most authors will never know just how much time and effort is spent on their books by a publisher, and that is as it should be. However, please be kind to your publisher; they do a lot more than just take your book and put it in print. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do. I love seeing what a book can become. I love words. I love authors and editors. I talk about publishing all the time, and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished. It’s been an amazing journey, and I can’t wait to see what’s next. Just be sure to remember, the people publishing your book are still people, and they want to see you succeed as much as you do.

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