Back in 2015, I published a guide to the various types of publishing options on offer based on my own experiences as a novice novelist.
As time goes by, I’m receiving an increasing number of requests for advice from authors who’ve been offered contracts by ‘traditional’ publishing houses and asked for thousands of pounds for the privilege.
It can be the case that authors have almost talked themselves into parting with hard-earned cash prior to seeking advice. When I tentatively suggest caution before commitment, I’m often greeted with a counter argument; in which case, if your mind is made up, my advice is very simple:
don’t spend more than you can afford to lose!
I thought it might be helpful to jot down my purely personal responses to anyone who is thinking of spending their savings on getting their book into print.
- Have you been asked for a large amount of money – if so, why? If the book is as exceptional as the publisher is telling you, why have you been asked to finance it?
- Have you made comparisons – a publishing service versus a ‘traditional’ publisher?
- Have you checked with clients already represented by the publisher – are they happy with the service they’re getting – from production to marketing and publicity?
- Is the publisher going to be proactive – will they circulate advanced copies of your book or be satisfied with sending round a mailing list to stockists?
- Is your book lined up to take part in a blog tour – this should coincide with your launch date? If not, ask why not?
- Do you have full details of costs – or will there be add-ons prior to getting your book into print?
- Have you been offered a ‘shared-risk’ contract in principle – without being given any figures?
- Rule-of-thumb – if ‘ten monthly instalments’ to be paid via the ‘finance department’ is mentioned, it’s going to be a significant amount, probably thousands of pounds.
- Question to ask oneself – is the publisher working on my behalf to represent my book or am I the income target? In short,
am I their client or their customer?
Many authors believe it’s worth paying a traditional publisher to take away the hassle and produce a good quality product. Check out the publisher’s work and if you’re happy and can afford it, then why not, go for it!
But if you’ve hoping to make your name and fortune and possibly getting into debt to become a published author, take a step back and weigh up your options. Make an informed decision based on a clear head – not a committed heart.
Whatever you decide, good luck!