Okay so I might have lied with that misleading title... some of the nightmares that come along with finalizing your manuscript draft or even querying for a publisher can be quite scary. In addition, what about all of the marketing frenzy stuff. Some can definitely be avoided if you have connected with a publisher you have researched and taken time to ask lots of questions before signing your agreement. Alright, let's get right to it. Of course, you are encouraged and welcomed to share your own nightmares in having your book published and although we appreciate and respect self-published authors- this might not be the right platform for you. We normally talk to our authors and to those writers who are querying a publishing house to call their own.
Number one. It's probably that meeting that you know nothing about and yet it will be all about you...or well your manuscript. It's that one where the head of the publishing house, in this case ME and the editor have a conversation, sometimes quick and sometimes hours, about whether your story is worthy of investing in... having published.
Number two. Okay this one is probably the most heart wrenching one of all. Why? because novice authors seem to be under the impression that a publishing house is a marketing firm. Let's be clear, You – the author – pay for everything that makes a potential reader notice a physical book – and most of the virtual ones.Want to have your book facing out, rather than spine out, in the bookstore? That will cost you. Want one of those displays in an airport? That will cost you a lot. Want a video on your book page on Amazon? That will cost you or your publisher. Want virtually any form of notice for your book online or in a physical store? All of it will cost you. It’s all about attention these days, and it you pay for the chance at that attention.
Number three. Most traditionally published authors make a couple of bucks on a $20 book. Yup! You read that correctly, usually an average of $2 more or less depending on what your contract states. Most general contracts will have a breakdown of the percentage you earn if your book is sold online vs directly by the press. You should get really acquainted by that percentage. Make sure you understand what you are earning. This goes back to what I always say... if you are going into publishing a book to get rich or famous. Well, good luck with that. It is most likely not going to happen.
Number four. Most authors never earn any money from their books beyond the advance. The advance is the sum that the traditional publisher pays the author upon agreeing to publish the book. The amount is based on how many books the publisher thinks she can sell. They’re usually right, and so most authors never earn more than pennies over the advance. In addition, based on today's market, novice authors will get zero in an advance. You have to earn your potential. You have to think of this as an investment. A publishing house will not publish your book just because they like you. There are times, publishing houses can create a collaboration agreement where the investment is mutual by author and press, and after the first book is a success, a general agreement can be reviewed. Those are definitely not very common and most publishing house wouldn't even share that information with you, unless they were intrigued by your story, at minimum.
Number five. The time to get a book on the shelf. Traditional publishing includes contacting a publisher, waiting for their response (some publishing houses take more than six months to accept — even reject — a manuscript), getting the manuscript edited by a professional editor (we complete four levels of editing alone), rounds of cover designing-drafts, approvals, starting over (mostly my fault- one minute I love it and the next nah...), and the graphic designer putting it all together, and then BOOM! It's ready... until we find an error then we review once more (yeah we hate that too). This process, though free of cost to the author, takes at least one year to complete for most established publishing houses. We are on our third year, so hardly "most established", but we do alright on the timeline. We normally state one year to one an a half years to release. So far, we have been on time.
Words of encouragement. Even if you are published by a large press or even a small one like ours... nobody will buy your magnificent book if they do not know about it. Having your book published is only HALF the journey. The other half is marketing. The VERY BEST WAY we have found is word of mouth. Now with all social media platforms, such as YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, etc. you will have to be active. Please do not think I am advising you to sell, sell, sell your book in every single post you make. That way you will only lose contacts. You should create a calendar to help keep you motivated and on schedule. Perhaps provide advice that aligns to the theme or context of your story. The rest of the posts share about your book, your inspiration, your journey in writing it, etc. More than paying for ads on Facebook or Amazon or any other social media platform, make sure you address what your audience is asking for. Let's say your book is on being bicultural, perhaps you can survey readers or contacts about what their experience is, if they have questions, etc. Then make sure to research and address that feedback. People will feel heard and that makes them feel special.
Please remember: Even if you are getting published by a traditional publisher, you still have to take care of marketing your book. Book marketing is tough because there are not many readers these days. Demand is less but supply is more which means authors must work really hard to make their mark and build their personal brand.
Marketing. It all comes down to marketing.
I personally hope this helps you in some way. Although our manuscript submission window is now closed, we will open again before you know it. March 1- August 1 every single year is our time to welcome your submissions. We don't always (hardly ever) send rejection letters, our communication is quick and simple via our social media platforms. We confirms acceptance by email and a personal phone call. Keep working on your manuscript and make sure you have an editor review it. REMEMBER: The true mark of success of your book is AFTER YOU HAVE SOLD A COPY TO YOUR FAMILY & FRIENDS. Good luck!
Nury Castillo Crawford
CEO/Founder 1010 Publishing