Publishing Contract – It’s Gotta Be Right For Both Parties

CrazyThe story plays itself out over and over again. A writer realizes the publishing contract he signed will guarantee that his book will circle the drain and never see the light of day. In fact, signing a horrible contract is akin to gnawing off his own foot. Why? Because the contract is a bulletproof piece of drek that guarantees the publisher will do…wait for it…absolutely nothing.

No ARCs will be mailed to reviewers
No editing will be done – unless you consider checking for punctuation as editing
No marketing or promotion will be provided
They have no distribution
They have no sales teams
They have no store placement

I’m not sure why authors sign these contracts. Well, yes I do. The desire to be published is powerful, and it’s intoxicating to hear that someone wants you. It’s flattering. It doesn’t take much for authors to dream of purchasing Pacific islands and a lifetime supply of Twinkies. However, that drug wears off and somewhere between the production process and publication, reality sets in. And it’s not pretty.

Here’s the thing; you have to have a really good reason for signing with anyone, and it’s because they can do for you what you can’t do for yourself. If the only thing a publisher is doing is putting your manuscript into a trade paperback format, then this isn’t a good deal. It’s a ripoff. If you’re told you’ll be responsible for all the advertising, marketing and promotion…and getting it into the store (which would be only on a consignment basis), then this is not a publishing deal – it’s indentured slavery.

So really, a bunion would make a bigger impact than a publisher of this type – and there are many of them around.

Check your contract. Check the publisher. Check the bookstores shelves. Buy a couple of their books to check the editing. Those will tell you whether someone is the real deal or a used car salesman. After all, talk is cheap. Actions speak volumes.

It’s gotta be right for you. A solid publisher has the ability to propel you into the marketplace and get your book widely distributed into bookstores and national accounts. If they don’t have that ability, then why are you considering them? Yeah, it’s that simple.

2 Responses to Publishing Contract – It’s Gotta Be Right For Both Parties

  1. ericjbaker says:

    Coming from a music background like I do, it sounds like some of the “deals” my friends signed. They had to record the music and design the packaging on their own. “Distribution and marketing” consisted of the record label running off 50 promotional copies and shipping them off to a couple of record stores and radio stations and then waiting to see if anyone wanted it. People usually don’t wat something when they have no idea what it is. This was before YouTube and Twitter, but it’s the same general idea. You’re on your own.

  2. jakemcgozskin says:

    I have self-pubbed with amazon and I like their built in distribution with e books…they can go on all ipods and all of the like….I wrote under a psuedonim so i wouldnt joepardize my chances for writing for a major publisher. Ms Behler: you gotta check it out on amazon

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