Let’s talk business

Happy New Year! Took last week off for the holiday, head back to work tomorrow, but I’m more relaxed now.

Update for those of you who read my books! ‘Guarding Amber’ is done with editing! I hope to have it up for sale before mid-January. It’s my 20th title, which amazes me.

I want to talk about the business side of things. Most new authors sign a contract and don’t understand what it says. They only think that they’re with a traditional publisher and not a vanity press, so all should be good.

This is a business. Publishers invest money in your book, pay up front costs like making a cover, having it edited, and sending it past a proofreader. As such, they want your book to be successful because the only way they’re making back that investment is if it sells well. They take a risk on a new author, hoping that what they put into the book will be recouped once it’s up for sale.

Reputable publishers spell this out in the contract. It’s up to the author to read and understand it before they sign it. Percentages are spelled out, what each party is responsible for, etc.

Publishers don’t have to give you your books for free. They’re a business, looking to pay their operating costs and salaries. They do this by selling books. Screaming at someone that they’re ‘cheating’ or ‘stealing’ from you simply because they made money off your book shows your ignorance of the business. Your publisher making money is not an act of piracy. Any comparison along that line only shows that you’re a jackass.

If you’re someone who doesn’t like the idea of somebody else making money off of your book, then don’t sign with a traditional publisher. Self publish, or pay a vanity press, and go it alone. Signing a contract with a traditional publisher means they’re going to make money off of your book. Period.

For most first books, it won’t be much of a profit if any. The majority of first time authors won’t earn back what the publisher invested in the lifetime of the initial contract. An author who starts to complain about the publisher making even a dime off of them doesn’t get renewed.

Being a published author through a traditional house is a long term commitment for both parties. Authors have to keep promoting and writing if they want their sales to increase, and the publisher to renew their contracts. Publishers have to be up front and timely with both statements and payouts. It’s a system built on mutual trust.

Think of it this way. When you go to a bookstore, do you really think that the full amount goes to the author? Of course not, because the bookstore needs to make a profit or it wouldn’t be in business. So, they must buy the books at a discount. How can the publisher pay their editors or staff? They have to make a profit off of what they’re selling. Which is books.

This is a business, not a something for nothing scam. Sure, those exist. Friends of mine have been inundated with emails and such lately for them. Everything from ‘we’re starting up a library and want to feature your books – but I need your information and you don’t need mine’ to ‘enter our contest – there’s a modest $250 fee – please ignore that it’s brand new/no history of it online/no one’s ever won/the payout is exposure or $15’ emails.

Educate yourself before you sign that contract. Because, once you do, you’re bound to the terms. Even the ones you don’t like.

BB

3 thoughts on “Let’s talk business

  1. Definitely read every single dull boring word of the contract (or of anything you put your signature on!) Once I nearly signed a contract that came in a lush-looking package with a raised seal, containing a flattering cover-letter, and was so excited I wanted to sign it and send it right off, it looked so classy and legit. But as I went through it word-by-word, toward the very end, in very tiny print, was a bullet-item stating my part of the bargain would be to pay this “publisher” over $3K. If I had signed that thing, I would have been legally obligated to pay that money, and I very much doubt I would have made any of it back through this company.

    • Oh, and, as it turned out – this wasn’t even a publisher to whom I’d even submitted a query! How they got my information or manuscript is beyond me. Beware – there is evil afoot out there!

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