I finished the book prelaunch two months ago.
Afterward, I expected to be onto the next phase—publishing the book with a publisher—in about two weeks. As it turns out, that wasn’t the case!
Instead, for the last two months my more than full-time job has been publisher introductions, negotiations, and learning the ins and outs of the publishing industry as an author. It was intense!
This isn’t one of my normal blog topics, but I wanted to keep you updated.
And it may help you if you’re looking to publish a book in the future.
The book industry has changed.
As a result, there are many different kinds of publishers and ways to get a book published. Comparing them is a multidimensional task.
Publishers range from vanity publishers who will publish any book if you pay their fee, to traditional publishers who are much more particular about who they publish, offer an advanced payment on your book, and a small royalty if your book earns back the advance. Then there are all the others who offer different arrangements and combinations of the two profiles. Those in the middle were the kind of publishers I was speaking to.
In the below screenshot, you’ll see the massive amounts of numbers that were generated to get a good picture of what the future might look like depending on what publisher I used. The screenshot is one-tenth of the spreadsheet’s length!
BTW, because of the multiple layers and aspects of the decision-making, this could be a great case study for business students. If you’re an MBA professor /colleague and want to use this as one, do reach out!
And yes, there were corresponding graphs, like this one.
Here’s how I set out to find the right publisher and what I recommend!
(Order of importance and timing.)
- Know your (copy)rights. I’m so grateful that before I got deep into discussions about Eat to Lead with anyone, I found a copyright lawyer on the American Bar Association’s list and gave him a call. In that conversation I learned a good deal of terminology used in the publishing process, which I was completely unfamiliar with. I also learned how to protect my book and the idea as much as possible before publishing it. The introduction helped me to go confidently into negotiations from there.
Publishers will want to see a sample of your book, or all of it. When you start sharing your idea before signing a contract, you’ll want to make sure your property is safe.
- Observe the human connection. Publishing will be a long working relationship with another company on a very important project, which warrants a good personal connection. Conversations on email and phone will shed partial light on things like: how quickly they return calls and emails, how organized they are, and the quality of communication. Of course, a few interactions can’t give you the whole picture of a future working relationship. Intuition comes into play here.
- Quantify the investment. What I’ve learned from everyone I’ve talked to is that publishing a book isn’t likely to bring significant revenue in and of itself. We publish books for many other reasons. And, a book is a part of the business and deserves the same due diligence given any other business decision. There will be significant investments—certainly time and most likely money.
Because publishers offer different types of agreements, there can be other paid services that need to be factored in depending on what a publisher ultimately provides. For example, you might need to also hire a content editor, a copy editor, a marketer, or all three. The comparisons are like apples to oranges. Here’s where an excel spreadsheet can be of great help!
- Speak with a couple authors who were published by the publishers you’re considering. It’s a great way to get third-party verification and get a better picture of what the publisher provides. It’s important to get both the pros and cons regarding the authors’ experience.
- Check out books they published. You can do this first online with a “first glance” on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. The “look inside” feature helps. If I liked what I saw, I went to the next step.
- Buy a book or two. This gives a fuller picture on how they design and organize the inside. It also allows you to touch and feel the book’s quality.
- Read the books. Even if only the first few chapters, you can see if they were edited well. I speed-read a lot of books this past two months!
- Read the contract. If you like all the above, then contract negotiations start. The contract can look a little different from the phone conversations you have. As in all projects, you want to get as much information in writing so there are no questions about what’s supposed to happen once the work begins. It may require a few rewrites and conversations.
- Negotiations. As in all business negotiations, if someone wants to do business with you, they should work with you on a fair and reasonable agreement. Some publishers don’t negotiate their contract at all, but others will. Negotiating contracts was one of those things that took much more time than expected.
- Have a lawyer look over the contracts you’re considering. Someone who has seen these kinds of contracts before will know if there’s anything missing. As a first-time book author, I wanted to make sure I was getting into a good situation. (Thanks for the advice, sis!)
Overall, I’m incredibly grateful.
I ended up speaking with ten publishers, six authors, and one great agent. Some I connected with because of the Publishizer launch. Others were connected to me through friends and family and people who want to see me and the book succeed.
Many people stepped up to help me in this project, and for that I have so much gratitude. In fact, I met some amazing people that I wouldn’t have met if it weren’t for this book.
I’m happy to announce I’ve selected the publisher and we’ve signed the contract as of today! I feel like the book, and the author, are in excellent hands. I’m excited to get on to the next step and get the book out to YOU!
Stick with me.
Until then, I’ll have the book available for preorder here. Let your friends know to come and get one!
The prelaunch is over and I’ll be getting in touch with all of you prelaunch supporters about your VIP meeting!
If you haven’t gotten one and want to get the book, do it now before you forget! Your advance purchase will continue to help fund the book’s coming to life through publishing and marketing.