Publishers come in all shapes and sizes. The good publishers have a heart for the book trade. They invest in new titles and new writers with attention, guidance, editing, design and publicity. Pearls of prose or poetry that do not seem to bring commercial success are nevertheless released if they are of particular value and financed thanks to commercially successful books. These are the publishers where every author likes to find a home. To write a book and publish, this is the best option for you now.
In principle, all books must provide a financial return, because otherwise, the publishing company cannot exist. But good publishers combine an eye for quality with an eye for returns. Unfortunately, a group of publishers has been added in recent years that have put their own returns first. Fortunately, you can recognize them. The following signals can sound an alarm bell:
The publisher accepts almost all manuscripts
He or she must have a nice story, but a real publisher is critical and only accepts a very small number. You get fast lyrical feedback. Within a few weeks, you will have a reaction that praises your writing talent and unique perspective. How nice that only little editing is needed. Unfortunately, really good books are almost always an interplay between an author and an editor and a lot of scraping and scraping is done before there is a version that both are happy with.
The publisher asks for a financial contribution.
Now all the signals are red. Traditional publishers have a business model where they run a risk and the author does not. In exchange, the author only receives a small percentage of royalties. After all, the publisher bears all costs for editing, production and distribution. Sometimes people ask for this contribution by letting you purchase an x number of books. If you then calculate it, it often appears that that amount is sufficient to print the entire edition. Doubtful publishers sometimes also ask you for a list of e-mail addresses of family, friends and acquaintances so that they can send an e-mail when your book appears. It is kind of strange.
There is no standard authorship contract
You do have to deal with all kinds of limitations. About the rights and what you can and cannot do. Sometimes even about the rights of your characters. Imagine that JK Rowling had transferred the rights to Harry and Hermione to her publisher.
The model contracts for authors can offer you guidance when evaluating a contract that is being offered to you. If that deviates slightly from the model contract, you don’t have to make it suspicious. There may be a good reason for it. But that way you know what the standard is in the market.
A book is a fantastic form of publication with an ancient history. But you have to like to publish a book. You must want to be read. It becomes more difficult if you want to earn money with your book.
The book market
When it comes to an emotional product like a book, even the most disturbed marketing soul forgets that there is also a book market. Which economic witch cauldron do you entrust your brainchild to? Fortunately, things are going reasonably well. On the outside, at least, because on the inside, it is a mess with self-driving drivers, self-publishing platforms, fortune seekers and a handful of renowned publishing houses.