• Casey Roberts

Publishing a Book, The Best Part and the Worst Part

The best thing about publishing a book is the actual writing of the manuscript, once that is completed, the real stress begins. From negotiating with publishers to dealing with agents and marketing teams, the effort to sell the book is by far the worst part of being an author. Writers want to write, not deal with business and promotion (unless they include book signings and speaking engagements, of course). An author, depending on their contracts and so forth, will spend triple the amount of time attempting to sell the book than it took to write it. It is entirely possible for an author to have a literary agent and marketing team that provides services where no additional effort is required upon the author’s part other than the writing and public appearances, but that is not typical. In order to sell the book and gain exposure, the majority of the burden is placed on the author’s shoulders.

Face to face meetings with marketers are not common, most of the communication is done through email and phone calls, but in person encounters are possibly the most nerve racking experiences an author will face. All we want to do is write it and sell it, but so much more is required that it can leave the author jaded to the whole experience. Having to talk to agents in person is enjoyable when the agent works with you, it is annoying when the agent asks why they should work with you. I think most writers would say an agent should work them because, “I’m good” and “It’ll be good for you.” Some convincing and bargaining always takes place in these meetings, as if you were negotiating a hostage situation, “I’ll give you this for that, but if you take away something, you won’t get the other thing…” The best tactic for dealing with marketing and publicity agents is to know what they want out of the deal. Do some research on agencies, investigate how they present packages for you, and if you know where a conversation with them is going as soon as it starts, you immediately have the upper hand.

I hope you sell a lot of copies of you’re work, if that’s what you seek, but just be careful of sharks who can taste blood in the water. Know how the business side works so you can more effectively negotiate terms, and always ask them the right question, because there are indeed many stupid questions. The bottom line is that most organizations involved in the publishing industry are the same, you want to make money, and they want to take it.