As you move through the publishing process, there are several key areas where being surprised will be unpleasant rather than exciting. For example, if you plan to work with a publisher, here are three key points where you want to know every detail before you move forward.
1. Is There a Cost?
Is there any cost involved at all? While most authors probably think this information would be obviously disclosed on a company’s website, it doesn’t always work that way.
Case in point: A company I considered partnering with promotes itself essentially as a traditional publisher. Their website even states there’s no cost to publish your work.
However, I found out a little further into the process that there is a cost involved. If accepted, an author must agree to buy X number copies of their books over the term of their contract. That’s not a huge deal for some people and it didn’t completely turn me off either.
The problem arose however, when I was told about the requirement of a five-thousand dollar deposit against those purchases. It truly caught me off guard. I thought I’d done my homework, but now I know to ask directly, “Do I have to pay anything to work with you?” no matter what I have or haven’t discovered on my own.
2. How Long is Your Commitment and What if You Want Out?
If a publisher finally says “yes” to you, one of the last things you’d probably think about is the length of the contract term or how you’d get out of it if need be. However, you definitely want to give yourself some time for the initial excitement to wear off so you can consider the seriousness of the commitment you’re about to make.
It is imperative to know what happens if things don’t work as anticipated from your perspective. What does it take to get out and move on?
This information is vital, especially if you intend to write more than one book. You don’t want to be stuck in a nightmarish situation without choices should your life or work take you in another direction. You never want to make a decision today without knowing how it will impact tomorrow.
3. What About Other Editions of Your Work?
This is a critical concern if you intend to capitalize on your content by releasing it in as many formats as possible. For example, if the publisher doesn’t produce e-books, are you allowed to do so? What about audio or condensed versions like booklets? As you delve into or negotiate these details, you absolutely want to make sure there aren’t any illogical or unfair limitations. You worked hard to create your product, but you also need to work hard to help it become a success. Be reasonable as you consider the issues we’ve discussed, but also be ready to walk away from a company that isn’t on your side.
Cheryl Pickett has been a freelance writer for nearly a decade. You can learn more at http://CherylPickett.com/.