Publishers Are in It for the Money
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.