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Publishers Are in It for the Money

21 Jun 2012

A few years ago, I entered the Brava contest because I wanted to work with Kate Duffy at Kensington Books. I was a finalist and received a call from Kate. I was an awesome conversationalist with my ums and uhs and huhs and heehees. Seriously. Anyway, the venerable Ms. Duffy told me that she loved my voice and my lyrical writing and the excerpt I entered was the only one that made her laugh.

Still tongue-tied, I somehow managed to thank her, but she told me I shouldn’t because, in her words, “I plan to make a lot of money off of you and your books.”

That never happened because massive fear of failure set in and I procrastinated. By the time I finished the story, Kate passed away.

Why am I bringing up this conversation after all these years? Because I see a lot of newbie authors who are under the misguided impression that publishers accepted and published their books because they are nice people who want to make writers’ dreams come true. On one author group, these writers are so loyal to a particular publisher that they won’t let members mention books with other publishers on the group blog. They are delirious with pleasure at being accepted and published, even if the publisher’s contract terms are very unfavorable for authors. But a publisher validated them, and that’s all that matters and on goes the blinders.

I have nothing against publishers (other than the net royalties clause that’s getting popular now) and I totally understand that businesses have a bottom line. I certainly don’t work for free. But, please, do yourself a favor and understand that while the publisher that accepted your manuscript isn’t an evil cabal, neither is it a den of fairy godmothers out to make your dreams come true out of the goodness of their hearts. Remember: Publishers want to make as much money off of you and your books as possible.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. 21 Jun 2012 11:07 PM

    Another nice post today thanks. I really enjoyed reading it very much. Have a great day.

    Enjoy writing? Join Us Today!

    Writers Wanted

  2. 22 Jun 2012 12:00 PM

    You’re making my Champlain wishes and caviar dreams hard to have today. 😉

    • 22 Jun 2012 5:28 PM

      I recommend vodka. The world is a better place after a few black Russians. 😀

      Seriously, though, I know it seems obvious, but so many writers don’t get that without them, publishers wouldn’t have a function. And yet without publishers, writers can do fine in this day and age.

      • 22 Jun 2012 8:44 PM

        I think a lot of creatives in General forget this…I used to point out to artists that galleries were in it for the money..and they would get so irked, but baby you’re a product and you can’t afford to forget it. Plus blindly trusting a publisher or a gallery or an agent can get you in a lot of hot water if they aren’t good people.

  3. 25 Jun 2012 11:25 AM

    Heck, people forget companies that hire them are in it for the money

    I have lost count of the times I’ve heard complaints about how this or that employee don’t get treated “right” (i.e., certain privileges) and how the managers “don’t care” about the employees’ lives outside of work.


    • 25 Jun 2012 7:40 PM

      Oh, God. You’re right.

      I like to remind people who think they’re under-appreciated because they didn’t get perks like hockey tickets that the company thanks them for their service with those semi-monthly deposits into their bank accounts.

      And unless your name is Steve Jobs, you are replaceable.

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