Publishers Do Not Care If You Succeed
This is a sad fact of the publishing industry. What the publishers care about—and the ONLY thing they care about—is if your latest release succeeds.
There are a few publishers who worry about your backlist sales success (see Rule Number Seven) because backlist sales can make up a third of their income.
None of them care about what a book three years from now will do.
And they certainly don’t care about the author as an individual succeeding.
And they really shouldn’t. The publishers are not in the business of making the authors rich…they are in the business of making themselves rich. In short, as far as the publishers are concerned, you are only as good as your last book.
And in case you’re wondering, agents have the same position. See Rule Number Fifteen. Publishers and agents are only interested in your current work, nothing more than that.
What this means is that the author must look out for themselves.
Or have a representative who will. See Rule Number Five.
No, I am not cracking on publishers here…just pointing out the real world of the publishing business for those who have not seen it yet. Publishers are in business to make money, and they do that by selling books, not by coddling authors. That is not their job.
Authors have to keep their eyes and mind open. This is a must because, like it or not, authors are in business, too. Again, don’t give me that story how you write for the joy of writing or how you want to change the world. When asked how he felt about the fact that his stories changed people’s lives, Hemingway said, “Let the poets, the wordy bastards, change the world. Me, I write for the booze.”
So, keep an eye on the market. It’s one thing to have a sense of loyalty to a publisher, but don’t let that get in the way of your growth…if another publisher offers a better deal, jump ship. I can promise you that if you write more than one bomb in a row, the publisher will drop you like a hot potato.
And remember that something many people see as odd happens on a regular basis in this industry…a book with one publisher will make, say, $20,000 in the first year. Place that same book with a new publisher for year two, and it might make $200,000 over the next twelve months. This is not odd…it’s all about demographics.