Are you struggling to obtain a traditional publishing contract?
The million dollar question is, why?
The second question is “Why not be an Indie Author instead?”
The ONLY Pro about getting a traditional publishing contract with a Big 5 Publishing house, is the initial cash up front for your book. After you spend that money, the money stops for a long time until you sell enough books to compensate the Publisher for their time, and investment they made in you and your book. And you better have a few more books right behind the first one almost ready to go, because they are going to want you to publish more than one book. Unless you are a Hollywood Star or a top politician with a juicy story, you cannot just write one book and expect to sell a million copies in the first year. So get that idea out of your head and come down to earth.
Let’s start from the beginning. Your first step in obtaining an agent begins with the “query letter” where you have to sell your book concept in three paragraphs. If you cannot seize an agent’s attention in the first few sentences, known as loglines, your query letter put in the slush pile or simply tossed into the trash. Here is a nice little fact for you. Most agents never even see your manuscript. They have interns sift through the daily acquisitions, and just so you know what may really be going on as you nervously wait for a response from an agent that may never come, your future may be in the hands of a 19-year-old that is counting the hours until Friday to go out and party. After fifty rejects, you will end up doing more drafts of the query letter trying to perfect it than rewrites and edits of your book.
If by chance, you get lucky enough to obtain a literary agent, you will then have to produce a book proposal. There should be a college course on book proposals alone for the information required in it. The book proposal could very well end up with more pages than your book. Large publishing firms want you to have an established platform, meaning you already have a large fan base built for sales. No matter which way you choose, you are the sole salesperson of your work; you become an entrepreneur, a marketing specialist, and head of public relations. It can take years to build a platform when you do not have an existing product to promote. You can build an audience using sample chapters by using social media outlets, which is necessary for any author regardless, but in the time it takes to have the correct amount of numbers that will appeal to a publisher, you have already lost many of those that once had interest in your book due to the long wait. Without a platform and a large fan base, you will not get a contract regardless of how well crafted your literary work is. We are constantly striving for new ways to build your platform and to do it quickly, without conning you into purchasing services that will have no benefit whatsoever.
In all honesty, large publishing firms couldn’t care less what the content of your book contains. They use to have pride in what they produced; however, this is not the case any longer. That went away when mass book sales took precedence over good story writing. One of the reasons book sales have declined over the past few decades is the uninteresting garbage they continually market. Publishers and agents have lost touch with what people want to read. It is turning into a popularity contest. To search for a good Literary Agent click here.
DOWN TO THE NITTY GRITTY. If you have written a manuscript and are looking for a Publisher, then right now, you are having dreams of success with a best-selling novel. It could be a possibility for you, however, it pains me to say, that you are where so many others have been before. Realistically, even if you can obtain a contract with a large firm, such as Penguin Random House or Harper Collins all your hopes and dreams will quickly be crushed. You will be given a $1,000 to $3,000 advance. You will have to dump your advance into advertising because the publishing firm will not invest any money. And with that advance, you will not make any money on royalties until the advance has exceeded the investment they paid you. Also, by signing with that large publishing firm, you will have given up the rights to your book. Some agents can make an exception to that after 10 years, you can get the rights back. But make sure all of this is in writing. They (the Big House Publisher) now owns your work. A board of directors will dictate the final content of your interior, formatting, book cover, and price. They will have you rewrite your story until it becomes what they feel it should be. The company will print a small test run of approximately 10,000 copies, and if your book doesn’t become an instant hit, that’s it, game over. Your book gets canned, they own the rights, and there is nothing more you can do.
If your book does happen to sell well, even then – you will receive minimal royalty payments that almost make you feel as if you have been robbed. The publisher takes most of the money, and your agent gets 10% – 20% depending on your contract. If your book is sold on Amazon, where they sell your book at a discounted rate, they also take a nice chunk of the royalty. Everyone in line has his or her hand in the pot. For all your hard work, you may end up only averaging less than a $1.30 per book. It is solely up to you to generate sales.
Writing your book was the easy part, now you have to become the salesperson. You do 90% of the work, and everyone else keeps most of the money. Therefore, you must ask yourself, “Then why would I even want to get published by a large, well-known publishing house?” Unless you are an established well-known author, forget about making millions of dollars or even thousands for that matter by signing everything over to a publishing firm.
However, when publishing with Empire Press & Publishing, you receive 100% of your royalties (excluding fees and percentages by retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble) and you, the Author retain 100% ownership of your work. It only makes sense to hire a professional Publisher or Literary Service, if you want to make money and be successful at Authoring books. The return on your money will be more substantial. Yes, you must market your book, you must do book signings, and you must engage with your fans. That is all part of being an Author. 🙂
As an Author Representative, I take a personal interest in the success of your book. When an Author calls me and is ready to publish, I help them from the ground up. And when your nook is published, I continue to be involved with the promotions of your book. Please feel free to contact me if you have a book you want to get out to the world. 702-292-4638
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Written by Francesca M.B.