Landing a book deal is huge! Congratulations! But, now that you've joined the big leagues your probably wondering what to do next! Don't worry, you are not alone. The publishing world is cold and doesn't come with an instruction manual. Let us help you establish what you should expect from your publisher and also highlight what your publisher expects from you now that you've become a part of the team.
What You Should Expect From Your Publisher:
Expect Not To Hear From Them
Depending who you sign a deal with, you might not hear back from them much. Larger, mainstream publishing companies like the Big 5 hardly contact their signed artists unless they are notifying them about a change. It can be as hard to contact your publisher as it was to get your manuscript accepted. But, don't take it personal. Hopefully, you did your research and signed on to a publisher that makes it their priority to communicate and in that case, this won't be an issue.
Side Note: If you are a writer whose been with a publishing company for quite some time and still aren't getting the response that you feel you deserve, it might be time to look into your royalty rights, and part ways with your current publisher.
Whether you realize it or not, chances are when you signed your name on the dotted line to that book deal, you signed over a portion of your rights to you work as well. It's traditional, so don't feel like you've been screwed over. But, understand that your work is will require changes. Even if your book is spellchecked by the heavens you should expect cover and content changes.
What Your Publisher Will Expect From You:
Be On Time
This isn't your average 9-5 but you have to come to this job ready to work! Your publisher works hard to make sure that they give your book the proper attention so when the request something from you, be certain that you meet their deadlines! Your publishers run off of a strict schedule and if you fail to meet their requirements you might risk being dropped by your publisher and being left behind.
If your a person that struggles with deadlines, it's probably in your best interest to build a strong relationship with your editor so that you can get a heads up on important project completion dates.
Let's just be honest. Publishing can be slow and painful. It's important that you maintain patience throughout this process and remember that your publishing company has a plan. Some publishers (including the Big 5) have been known to take up to five years to publish manuscripts. It's not because they are lazy, it's because publishing companies have to be strategic. Your book might fall in a genre that readers respond to well during a certain time of year, so don't find it unusual if your publisher requests that you wait to release your book at a later date.
Just because you've signed a book deal doesn't mean that the work stops! While publishers will do their due diligence by marketing you to their audience in emails, promotions, author highlights and book events, it is STILL your job to keep the buzz about your book going. Publishers traditionally have a very small budget for marketing so it's vital that you establish early on what your publishers plans are for your book. We suggest that you promote yourself as though you never signed a book deal at all! In this industry, you receive exactly what you put out!
Tip: Be sure to check with your publisher on their personal guidelines to make sure your not stepping on anyone's toes before you start marketing!
We're not telling you all of this to pop your bubble! We just want to make it clear that signing a book deal isn't quite like what you see in the movies. There might not ever be stretch limo outside waiting for you, or a crowd of people anticipating your arrival to take pictures with you outside, but if your lucky, you'll have more than a few bookworms waiting in line to buy your latest book who would be more than honored to obtain your autograph . Let's just emphasize that it all takes work! Congratulations again on your book deal, stay focus and trust us, the journey has just begun! Keep up the good work.
Thanks For Reading!