In light of the news about Tate Publishing’s troubles, many authors have lost faith in publishers and the publishing process. Authors who were personally affected by the fall out don’t know what is next for them. They don’t know how to get the royalties that are owed to them and how to get back their manuscripts. Meanwhile, questionable publishing companies have come out of the woodwork, looking to benefit off of these confused and desperate authors. We are going to provide all authors 5 tips to help prevent getting taken advantage of by any publisher.
1) Research The Publishing Company
Before committing to a publishing company found out in detail what the company is about. Run a google search on the company. Make sure you read the company’s reviews as well. You may not find many reviews or results when you are doing a google search for newly established publishing companies and small publishing companies. We suggest that you contact all publishers directly. Ask them detailed questions; find out their history, their knowledge of the book publishing process, and what kind of books they specialize in publishing. Read a book or two that the company has published. This will allow you to see how well the publishing company edits, design, and publish books. (Remember, all book have a few errors in them; editors are human too. You are looking for major and numerous errors when investigating books a publisher publishes). If possible, contact authors who publishers through the publishing company you are interested in, see what their overall experience and relationship was like during the publishing process.
2) Customer Service
Customer service is an underrated, yet a very important determining factor when doing business with a company. We all would like our questions, concerns, and issues solved in a reasonable time. We also would like constant communication with those who we are conducting business with. Be sure the publishing company you choose has great customer services. Make sure they will not put you on the back-burner or treat you like you are a nuisance right after they acquire your business. Keep in mind that they need you just as much as your need them.
You finally found the publishing company who you feel works best for you. You are full of emotions and just want to get your book published. Stop! Breathe! Make sure you thoroughly read over the Publishing Agreement before you sign anything. Make sure your agreement/contract is not only beneficial to the publisher. Many authors in their excitement have signed their books rights/ownership away and opted for low royalties by not fully reading over a contract and not negotiating key components of a contract.
Reading and hearing from former Tate Publishing authors we see how many are confused about how royalties are paid. First, the percentage of royalties paid to the author should be covered in the Publishing Agreement. Second, authors should be aware that distributors and bookstores like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Ibooks pay royalties to publishing companies and authors at different times. For instance, Amazon usually pay out royalties monthly; Barnes & Noble tend to pay out royalties quarterly. This is important to know because many times an author will think royalties are being held because they aren’t receiving them at the exact time a book is solid. Also, some distributors require a certain amount of books to be sold before they send out a royalty check. Although, publishing companies unfairly get the blame for royalties not being paid consistently; it is still the publishing company’s obligation to explain how royalties are paid to their authors to avoid the authors losing trust in them.
5) What Happen If Your Publishing Company Goes Out Of Business?
We all like to believe businesses last forever but they don’t always last. Look no further than Kodak and Blockbuster Videos to realize that even successful businesses go out of business. We have to prepare for the unexpected. Each author and publishing company should have a plan in case the company sells the business, goes out of business, or tragedy arises. Authors should request this information if it is not stated within the Publishing Agreement. Having this information will help prevent panic from authors.
Choosing a publishing company can be an exciting and a scary process. Taking your time and applying these 5 tips when you are reviewing your options will help you make the best decision. Remember, a publisher’s primary goal should be providing readers with great content and helping authors succeed in getting their masterpiece out to the world. If publishers keep this goal then everyone wins.
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