Eager looking forward to get a publishing contract or happy your received one? Finding a publisher who will consider your book idea and getting your manuscript published is time-consuming and can often be a frustrating experience. Going with a big publisher is not easier than author-publishing. You will be surprised to learn about the following facts, sometimes the hard way:
Your book has three months to fly off the shelves. If your book does not sell in the first three months of its bookstore life, it will be remaindered and disappears from bookstores and could end up at “A Buck a Book”. 90 to 95% of books don’t pay back their advance. Royalty will only be paid if the advance is paid back. What you get upfront as an advance is usually all you will ever get. .
If you screw up on your first book, you’re out. If you do well with it, publishers will be eager to see your next title. But if you don’t sell a lot of books, your agent or publisher will not want to read your manuscript when it comes time to offer your second book. .
Traditional publishing is very slow. Unless you wrote a political tell-all, your book is going to ”be in the making” for two years or longer until it goes into the bookstores. You need to be sure your topic is timeless and that you will be interested in publicizing it years from now. .
Most likely your book will not be published in foreign countries. Unless you have a savvy agent (preferably speaking several languages) who is trying to sell your book abroad, there is little chance that your publisher actively tries to find buyers in foreign markets. .
Your advance will be the only money you will see. You can get as little as $5,000 or as much as $500,000, but either way, you’ll pay 15% of that to your agent, and the remainder will be paid in thirds or quarters over the next couple years. So you first need to “earn out” the advance, before any royalties will be paid. .
Publishing is the slowest possible get-rich-quick scheme. Breaking into big money publishing is like becoming a movie star - being talented definitely helps, but luck plays a big role and the odds might not be in your favor. .
Sorry, no publicity.Until a decade or two ago, publishers did some marketing for books. Now they might send out some galleys and wait to see if anyone is interested. Then they focus all their publicity on the books they expect to be a bestseller. If you want your book to be a success, YOU will have to do all the publicity yourself! .
Books don’t sell themselves, as most writers sooner or later find out – often too late. If you are interested in making money or selling your book for a long time, better consider e-books and self-publishing. But in any way, marketing skills or at least the willingness to learn about marketing and PR to promote your book, are essential for an author.