What to Expect When Your Book is Published

realisticUnderstand what to expect in the publishing process. Try not to get stars in your eyes. The following tips might help keep you grounded.

  1. Keep in mind that every author can’t be on Oprah! or The Today Show.
  2. Know that not every publishing house pays huge advances. Don’t name the amount you’d like for an advance, and don’t be offended if an independent press doesn’t offer one at all.
  3. Expensive book tours are the exception, not the rule, and bookstores are lousy places to sell books.
  4. Remember that you are responsible for helping create demand for the book.
  5. Don’t be shocked when your nonfiction book contract (even from major presses) calls for you to cough up over a thousand dollars for a professionally prepared index.
  6. Don’t quit your day job in anticipation of royalties. If you read up on the publishing world’s inner workings, such as described in Dan Poynter ‘s Self-Publishing Manual, you’ll have a good idea of how long it will be before you see money in your account.
  7. Do know that your work has only begun!


  1. says

    As a professional indexer, I think it makes no sense that the author is expected to pay for the index to their book. Adding a good index to a reference book is as important a part of taking it from manuscript to usable, saleable product as copy-editing and typesetting. Authors aren’t expected to pay for copy-editing or proofreading, why shouldn’t the publisher pay for the index?