Questions To Ask Your Publisher

By on July 6, 2017
Questions To Ask Your Publisher - Writer's

Getting a positive response from a publisher is so exciting. However, before you sign on the dotted line, it is important to ensure that you have all the information you need.

While some authors may be happy with any deal they get, for many their book is incredibly precious and they want to work with a publisher who thinks so too.

Without asking questions and thoroughly reading your contract, it is possible to find yourself tied to an agreement that you do not want, getting paid less than you thought or having to do much of the marketing yourself.

There is no harm in asking questions and a good, reputable publisher will be happy to answer them. So before you agree to work with a publisher, ask them the following:

How do you plan to market my book?

Understanding exactly what a publisher intends to do you market your book is so important. A good publisher will be able to give you plenty of information about what they plan to do to ensure your book sells. It is important to be reassured that no matter how big or small your publisher, that they are behind your book every step of the way and will do everything they can to see as many copies sold as possible.

What rights will I retain?

You need to be completely clear about your rights as the author of the work. You should find out if your contract is exclusive, if you are tied into any deals such as publishing your next book with them, and what would happen, say if your book was turned into a film. Having a thorough understanding of your rights will mean you know exactly what you are agreeing to, and will ensure you have an open, honest and fair relationship with your publisher - if you don’t understand anything, you must ask to save upset further down the line.

How much are the royalties and how will they be paid?

Understanding not only the percentage of royalties from each sale you make but how and when they will be paid is very important. If your publisher has offered you an advance you may see no royalties until your book has sold enough copies to cover it. Finding out how often you can expect royalty payments will also be useful for budgeting!

Are there any upfront fees and costs I should be aware of?

Most reputable publishers won’t ask you for any money upfront, but if a deal sounds too good to be true just make sure you are positive you won’t suddenly be given a huge bill once you’ve handed your book over.

How do you decide how to price my book?

It’s good to know how your publisher intends to price your book. You might have an opinion on how much you think it should sell for, or be disappointed or concerned if you think they have set the price too low or too high. Remember, they are the experts and will want to sell your book to make money too, but if you are worried about how much your book is selling for, ask them to explain their decision. It is also worth finding out if they intend to do any promotions, deals or discounts too.

Can I make changes to the book? Will you make changes?

Your publisher may well ask you to make amendments to your book, or you may decide who wish to make some changes in the future too. Being clear on who has the final say over your manuscript will probably be important to you, so make sure you find out what happens there.

Will I be involved in the cover design process?

Many authors have a vision of what they expect their book to look like when it comes out in print, and if your publisher has complete control over the cover design process you may end up disappointed. Make sure you find out whether you will have any creative input and then decide how important this is to you.

How long will it take to publish my book?

The book publishing process often takes far longer than authors expect so make sure you ask your publisher to be clear when they envisage seeing your book out there on the shelves. This will help you manage your expectations, and finances too!

Remember, asking your publisher questions shouldn't be something any author is afraid to do, and a good publisher will be happy to explain things to you and put your mind at rest. You'll never regret asking, but you might regret it if you don't!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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