5 Things Every New Author Should Be Doing BEFORE Signing to a Publishing Company
© K.L. Hall and www.authorklhall.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to K.L. Hall and www.authorklhall.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
This year marks my fifth year as a published author. In those five years, I’ve had two publishers, as well as self-published a few of my own books. I get so many questions about the benefits of being signed to a publishing company, so I decided to blog about it in hopes that it’ll help answer a few of those questions!
1: Do your research.
What do I mean by that? I mean, know the audience your potential new publishing home caters to. Don’t send your urban fiction manuscript to a publisher who primarily focuses on science fiction. Also, know the authors on the bestsellers list. Study the charts like you’re studying for the SATs (well, maybe not that hard, but you get the point.) See which topics are trending in the books that are number one and think of ways that you can do it better or differently.
Pro Tip: Read the reviews of your own work (if you’ve already got a book out), as well as reviews on other books to see what readers like and what they don’t. That’s free constructive criticism right at your fingertips.
2: DO YOU RESEARCH.
Why is this one here twice you ask? Because it’s THAT important! This type research is slightly different though, meaning, don’t jump into a contract with a publisher just because it sounds good or you think you’ll become an overnight bestseller because they seem to have a lot of them. Look at what the publisher posts on social media, as well as their authors. Think about what you like and what you don’t like. Are they always wrapped up in a lot of drama? Do they always publish popular books? Those are some of the things you want to look out for. Like it or not, you’ll be a part of that family. Not saying that their drama has to become your drama, but it’s always good to know what you’re getting into.
3: Find the right leadership.
To piggyback off the second bullet, it’s all about being under the right leadership, especially if you’re a new author. It’s ideal (not always realistic) to find a mentor within your publisher. You should be able to ask them questions, bounce ideas off them, etc. If you don’t get the vibe that your potential new publisher can offer you that, then you may want to think of other options.
4: Ask Questions, and lots of them!
Write down your questions and ask them to any publisher you’re thinking about signing a contract with BEFOREHAND. It’s best to put everything on the table before you even think about signing a formal contract.
Examples of questions could be:
What are the benefits of being signed to your company?
What is the royalty percentage split?
Will I have access to resources to help better my craft?
What does being a part of a publishing company entail?
What if I want to break my contract?
What is your company’s policy about an author putting out solo projects when being signed?
How many books am I expected to produce under one contract?
How often do you expect your authors to turn in manuscripts?
5: Treat it like the business it is.
At the end of the day, your potential publisher wants books that sell, that’s how they make their money, and in return, that’s how you make yours too. Always remember that once you sign a contract, it’s a legally binding agreement. Make sure that before signing, you’re serious about your writing career and always be as professional as possible.
Pro Tip: Start how you want to finish.
All the best,