What an independent book publisher has taught me

What an independent book publisher has taught me

Written by: Komail Mithani

February 17, 2010 6:36 am 0 comments

When people start talking about publishing a book, they think they know everything about the process. Many people have this glorified imagination that a publisher will pay you millions of dollars to write a book and take care of everything else for you. This is mainly true, if you’re a celebrity, but if your just like anyone else, publishing a book takes a lot of time, money, and patience. I have to admit I was one of these very naive people that thought I knew everything about the industry, but let me tell you I was completely wrong!

Having the opportunity to work for Greenleaf Book Group last summer, I have had the ability to understand how the industry  works and what it takes for a book to become successful. Although I have only interned here for two months, I have been able to work with different parts of the company to understand how these pieces come together to create a bestseller. In my opinion, the following are four aspects of the book publishing industry that many people need to understand.

1) Understand that your book may fail. An estimated 1,500 books are published each day. There is no guarantee that your book will become a bestseller or it will sell 10,000 copies. When you invest in your book, there is a chance your investment will not break-even.

2) Listen to the advice of your publisher. Publishers realize that you put a lot of time and work into your book and your passion overrides anything. They want you to be successful because it makes them successful. Many publishers have hands-on experience in the industry, so listen to their expertise even though it may hurt your feelings on what they have to say.

3) Going along with number 2, be open to any criticisms about your book. Many authors approach a publisher thinking that they know what is best for their book and no changes need to be made on it. Take note to what your publisher advises you about your book and understand it is meant to improve the overall product. But, don’t just agree with everything that the publisher asks you to do, compromise on the things you can agree on and stick to your guns when you absolutely can not change something in your book.

4) BE PATIENT! Getting a book in the stores sometimes becomes a long process because of the different steps a book has to go through. But, if you show a high degree of patience and trust in your publisher, I promise the process will be smooth and the end product will hopefully be a money-maker for both parties.

Do you as a publisher or author agree with my thoughts? Anything you think is also important?

[Disclaimer – The above post is strictly my observations and opinions after working with a book publisher. The opinions do not reflect those of Greenleaf Book Group. I suggest speaking with your own publisher about the topics I discussed. Thank you.]