You have done all the hard work, and now it’s time to publish the book. Congratulations! It may have taken you a while to find a suitable publisher, but you finally did it. A publisher should help you produce a high-quality book, market it, and put it on bookstore shelves. If you work with a good publisher, you will definitely succeed. If you make the wrong choice, however, you will live to regret it.

While some writers want to use publishers, others prefer to self-publish. Read more from award-winning author Michele Wallace Campanelli about the difference between the two and how to decide which is best for you. If you decide that traditional publishing is the way to go, then you need to find out more about a publisher before signing on the dotted line. You will need to clearly understand what you’re getting into. Find the answers to the following questions first, and you will be safe. 


Who Will Pay for Production Costs?

You should not just assume that the publisher will automatically pay for all the production costs. There are different types of contracts, including one where the writer pays some of the production costs. It is important you choose a publisher that covers the cost. 

After determining that the publisher will be the one funding the production of the book, find out whether you will be getting an advance or not. If not, the royalties you earn when the book is published should be high. Ascertain the exact amount you will earn in royalties and negotiate for a higher amount whenever possible. As for the advance, it should be enough to cover your initial preparations such as time spent writing and taking pictures for the book. Find out how long your royalties will be used to pay the advance.

Some publishers will allow writers to retain the book’s copyright while others will want to share it with their writers. It may be useful to speak to a property lawyer experienced in reviewing publishing contracts.


Do I Get a Dedicated Editor?

The importance of editing can never be overstated. A good editor will help you put together a great book. Find out if the person you are speaking to about the book will be the one managing the whole process. It’s good to know your editor from the very start. Note that some publishers outsource some functions. Find out what these are.

Has the editor you are assigned worked on a book in your genre previously? The more experienced the better. You can ask for contacts of recently published authors and talk with them. When you get in touch, ask about the publishing company in general as well as the editor. Positive feedback means you’re making the right choice.[1] 


How Soon Will My Book Be Published?

You must be really excited to see your book out there and in the arms of curious readers. You better find out how soon this can be possible. Ask how much time you will be given to come up with the manuscript. This will vary depending on how big the publisher is. Small publishers may give you a short time while big publishers may give you a duration that is too long. A good publisher will ask how much time you need. Some writers walk into the publisher’s offices with just an idea, while others carry their finished manuscripts in hand. Decide how much time you need, and ask the publisher if that duration is okay by them.

What about after handing over the manuscript? How soon will your book be published? The company should commit and give an exact date whenever possible. This date will depend on the book’s timeline and how busy the company is. Stating the date on the contract means that the company is serious about delivering. 


Can I Give My Input on the Creative Process?

You’re a talented writer and should concentrate on writing a bestseller. If you wish to be involved in the creative process, find out from the publisher how much input you can add to the process. 

There are professionals who do the creative work, and while your input is important, be ready to work with them as a team. You may think that your book will look best in one outline, but you may end up loving the one the creative team chooses. The book cover is another important aspect. Maybe you have an idea. The publisher should be open to hearing your suggestion, and you should be open to changes and improvements that may be made on your idea. 

Who will publish the audiobook? Some publishers will do it in-house while others will outsource. Find out. Also, ask who will be recording the book. If you’re interested, ask if you can offer suggestions.


How Will My Book Be Marketed?

This is a very important question. If you hope to sell many copies of your book, you’ll need to work with a publisher that can do proper marketing. Find out if the company has a marketing team. What platforms will be used to advertise? Publishers Weekly, book club sites, radio shows, and online bookstores are among the top choices. A publisher should start marketing the book long before it is ready so as to create anticipation and eagerness among readers.[2]

What about distribution? How will the books find their way to libraries and bookstores? Your publisher should clearly explain how this is to be done. 

Ways to promote book sales such as book tours, meeting with booksellers and librarians, giving free copies to reviewers, and so on should be discussed. Publishers should do as much as they can to publicize the book and the author. Having this clearly stated in the contract will help you avoid any future problems.

With the above answers, you will be signing your contract knowing what you are getting into. You will not get any unexpected surprises, and you will be sure that your book will receive the support it needs from a publisher. Do you need more publishing and writing advice? Get more from award-winning author, Michele Wallace Campanelli.