Congratulations! You’ve been approached by a publisher and are over the moon about it. Before you get excited and accept any deals, make sure that the deal is right for you and that you have the right amount of control you want.
Some critical things to consider:
1) Beware of Vanity Presses
At a lot of writing conferences I see vanity presses under the guise of traditional publishing.
For example, at UpublishU last year Archway Publishing had a table under the Simon & Schuster brand. Most of the “Big 5” publishers all now have deals with the infamous Author Solutions. Traditional publishers don’t reach out to authors, and usually take pitches from agents. More on vanity presses on David Gaughran’s blog.
2) Check the Publisher’s Website and Check Their Books
Go online to their website and check their best-sellers and cross reference them with Amazom. Check the reviews of the books and their rankings to see how well they’ve done.
3) Ask About Distribution
One of the most important things for an author is distribution. Ask the publisher what type of distribution do they have. Can they get you into bookstores nationally? And into independent bookstores? What type of audience reach does the publisher have.
4) Services Provided
What types of editing, cover design will the publisher provide? Are you expected to cover some of the costs out of pocket and will you have a say in how the cover looks?
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5) Marketing Support
It’s important to get an idea of what type of marketing support the publisher provides.You want to make sure that you aren’t stuck doing ALL the marketing yourself. Will the publisher submit your book to Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and pay for professional review services? What strategy do they have for marketing your book
6) Past Success
What types of books similar to yours has the publisher worked on? How have the books performed?
7) Advance + Royalties
What types of advance does the publisher give. Also, what is the typical ebook and print royalty structure look like.
You might also want to consider checking out Helen Sedwick’s article on negotiating with a book publisher.