Is a Publisher an Author’s Best Friend, or their Worst Enemy?

This is a surprisingly nuanced question to answer

Cases where a Publisher is Worse than your Worst Enemy

  1. If the Publisher takes money from you to Publish, does not invest anything of their own, and adds no value
  2. If the Publisher encourages you to spend a lot, and focuses your spending on things you don’t need, such as printing 5000 copies of your hardcover which are going to spend all of eternity in your basement
  3. If the Publisher takes money from you to Publish, and then does nothing
  4. If the Publishers appeals to your greed, promises you easy success, and gets you to spend a lot of money on useless ‘quick shortcut’ things that don’t work
  5. If the Publisher appeals to your fear, or to your Fear of Missing Out, and gets you to buy a lot of services that do nothing for your career as an Author

Best way to avoid such cases is to Never Ever work with Publishers who ask you for money to publish your book, or those who promise fast and easy success

Cases where a Publisher is Your Worst Enemy

  1. If the Publisher ties you up to a 20 year contract and then stops responding to you
  2. If the Publisher decides your book is unlikely to be one of the big winners and just ignores it
  3. If the Publisher is stuck 20 years in the past, and won’t use modern marketing methods and therefore hampers the success of your book
  4. If the Publisher does not give you your share of the earnings from the book. Of course, first the Publisher has to account for the advance they gave you. After that, you should start getting your cut of book sales
  5. If the Publisher will not release an ebook, will not market your book, and won’t explore commercial opportunities for your book. And at the same time will not give you your rights back

These cases mostly revolve around

  1. Picking a Publisher who is not modern and forward thinking
  2. OR
  3. Picking a Publisher who later decides your book is not going to be one of the winners that drive the Publishers’ business, and therefore treats you as an afterthought

Make sure you pick a fast evolving Publisher and one who treats you as a priority Author

Cases where a Publisher is Neutral

  1. If the Publisher isn’t doing much right, and isn’t doing much wrong
  2. If the Publisher is helping a bit, but not so much that it makes a significant difference
  3. If the Publisher is not very good at Publishing, and don’t really know how everything should be done
  4. If the Publisher hasn’t totally dropped your book, but your book isn’t one of the Publisher’s top priorities
  5. If the Publisher has some terms which prevent you from properly marketing the book, or prevent you from all the opportunities you might have otherwise had

In some ways this is nearly as bad as the previous two cases. The whole point of working with a Publisher is that it should significantly increase your chances of success

If a Publisher is neutral, it is basically killing your book slowly

Cases where a Publisher is Your Friend

  1. If the Publisher invests in you and your book. Any Publisher who says – I will make money only from book sales, is your True Friend
  2. If the Publisher gives you an advance. Any Publisher who not only invests in you, it also gives you an advance, is a True Friend
  3. If the Publisher uses high quality editors and designers and marketers for your book
  4. If the Publisher puts a decent marketing budget behind your book
  5. If the Publisher makes the effort to get you a Book Tour or a Radio Show appearance or works with a good PR team to push you and your book
  6. If the Publisher has reasonable legal terms and shares rights in a fair manner

You always want to look for one of the big established Publishers, one of the medium sized and very well respected Publishers, or a Publishing startup founded by experienced and respected insiders

Picking a Publisher is like getting married, except if there is a divorce, they ALWAYS get to keep the kids. So pick very very very carefully

Cases where a Publisher is Your Best Friend

  1. If the Publisher is a well established successful Publisher, and they decide your book is one of their big bets, and starts really working on making it perfect
  2. If the Publisher focuses on your ready to launch book as one of their potential superstar books and really goes all out to promote it
  3. If the Publisher is forward thinking and leverages both their experience with established old school channels such as book stores and distributors, and also their relationships with modern companies such as ebook stores and digital distributors
  4. If the Publisher strikes a good deal with you that means that if the book is a big hit, then both you and the Publisher do very well
  5. If the Publisher leverages its contacts to get you a TV Deal or a Movie Deal
  6. If the Publisher signs you to a multi book deal
  7. If the Publisher pays you a big advance. The bigger the advance the more they believe in you and your book. And the more you should make sure you deliver


One thought on “Is a Publisher an Author’s Best Friend, or their Worst Enemy?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *