So you’ve worked hard for many months, and you’ve finally finished your book.
Now your next choice may be whether to self-publish your new book or to try to attract a traditional book publisher. There are benefits and shortcomings that come with either decision. Today we are going to focus on traditional book publishing.
Using a Traditional Book Publisher
When you decide to use a traditional publishing company, you are essentially becoming a partner. You are granting them the right to publish your book and distribute it into bookstores, and in exchange for that privilege, they will pay you a royalty share from every sale.
The book publishers then have one of their editor’s review and make changes to your manuscript. They will handle all book design elements and production matters, and finally, they will place your book in physical bookstores and online bookstores.
While they will also do limited marketing, they’ll expect several marketing tasks from you as well. For instance, if the demand is there, they’ll want you to appear at bookstores to give talks and do signings.
Pros and Cons of Traditional Book Publishing
The most significant advantage of using a traditional book publisher is their experience. You will be getting the benefit of having an experienced book publisher in your corner – marketing your book.
They will be quite experienced in handling marketing matters, creating effective design elements, and editing manuscripts. Their experience level is invaluable – to say the least.
So you will be semi-involved in those functions regarding your book, you’ll be able to learn much from all their experience and knowledge.
Your bookkeeping will also be much easier as the publisher pays you from the royalties, so there will not be very many expenses for you to track. In many cases, they will even pay you an advance against future royalties, which is a beautiful benefit.
The process of getting printed books placed in bookstores is a massive undertaking. And your publisher will handle all those activities for you.
And then there’s foreign markets and foreign rights to the marketing of your books. This is very complicated, and the learning curve is very steep because each country has its own set of rules. Your book publisher is prepared to deal with those matters on your behalf – giving you access to markets that you would otherwise not have.
Perhaps the most significant disadvantage to using a traditional book publishing company is that it typically takes 12 – 18 months for a completed and edited manuscript to reach bookstores.
And the standard practice for book publishers is to pay out royalties check every six months. This means that you’ll have to make due until you get the next one. And, of course, advances come out of those checks as well.
Finally, if a traditional publisher decides not to continue doing business with you, they’ll still retain the rights to your book – come hell or high water.
Why many authors seek traditional publishers
The fact is that many book authors seek traditional book contracts because such contracts could mean becoming an A-list writer for the company. Such a designation is life-changing and represents millions of dollars of future earnings for the author.
However, such slots are very limited and fiercely competitive. Thus, you will need thick skin, persistence, and be able to take criticism from agents or editors when it’s rendered.