Saturday, April 01, 2017

Why Would An Author Want to Be Traditionally Published?

Talking to authors is one of the many enjoyable jobs I have as a publisher and radio host. I had a great conversation yesterday with a self-published author. He was asking about the path to becoming traditionally published and the reasons someone might want to do that.

Unless you are really new to the world of publishing, you know the game has changed. Becoming a traditionally published author with one of the “Big Five” publishers, the major trade book publishers in the United States, is not what most new authors are attempting. And if they are, they are approaching it a little differently. Some are still making the attempt through literary agents, some try self-publishing and once they have achieved some success, may be picked up by a publisher and others, like one of my recent guests on Book HoundTM, Jacci Turner, are working with an imprint of one of the Big Five, Harper Legend, an imprint of Harper Collins to try to break in that way. And others work with indie publishers, like LeRue Press, to forge a path, develop their following and reach their audiences with some support from a publisher. Some authors are very happy staying self-published and determining their own destiny and finding their path with their own following. Truly, there is no one answer to publishing today.

Back to my conversation…the author asked some excellent questions.

               He said, “I am already self-published. What is the advantage to being with a traditional publisher?
               Will you provide support?
               If so, what kind?
               Who pays for what?
               If I go on tour, will you pay for it?
               Can I still go contact radio and TV stations and book interviews?

All good questions and I answered each of them from the perspective of our publishing company. Each company has its own perspective and platform. Before most of these questions can be answered specifically, the author will have to present their work and then begin the task of “selling themselves” to the publisher.

From a generic standpoint, I will answer the questions posed.

What is the advantage to being with a traditional publisher?
One advantage a publisher brings is entry to bookstores who will not allow self-published authors to do a book signing or have their book in the store. I realize that may seem unfair to authors that are self-published, but it may be as simple as limited space or time slots and the bookstore owner had to define some rules. It also might be they have found too many self-published authors that were not engaged in it as a business and thought the store would bring them an audience. That is not really how it works. Authors need to be marketers also and shelf space is costly. If you are not selling, it is not worth it to the bookseller. If you are with one of the Big Five publishers, you will have the opportunity for major distribution; but it does not preclude that you still need to market; possibly even more so. 

Will you provide support? If so, what kind?
We do offer support at LeRue Press. It depends on the book presented and the budget we define for it. Often, the support comes in the form of social media, our radio shows and press releases. It might be phone calls to contacts we know.

If I go on tour, will you pay for it?
As far as paying for things, it again reverts to what the budget is. Authors that are traditionally published whether through a large publisher or an independent need to plan to pay for much of what they need. If you go on tour, you’ll be paying for much of it, though that does depend on the author and the publisher and the deal you strike with them.

Can I still go contact radio and TV stations and book interviews?
We encourage contacting radio and TV stations for interviews in a professional manner, of course, and armed with the tools of your media kit and a coordinated effort with your publisher and media team (if you have one).   

Feel free to comment and share your experiences too.

Enjoy the journey and we wish you success!

-Janice Hermsen               

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