What to look for in a publisher

Publishing a book is the best way to build credibility and gain exposure. Not only can it position you as an expert in your field but it could also open the door to entirely new opportunities just because you are now an author. Indeed, almost any author will tell you the best thing they ever did was publish their first book.

Most importantly, the big publishing houses only work with proven authors. That means it’s challenging to get them to work with you on your first book. They want to know you’ve successfully sold books before. And if it’s your first book, you better have an impressive platform and an audience you can quickly tap into to promote sales. Bottom line; they don’t care what your book is about. Their top priority is your ability to sell it.

One look at the books on the market today will tell you that something is wrong. Most people assume that the quality of the book is the determining factor in what gets published and what does not, but in fact, nothing can be further from the truth. Do not get me wrong – being at least an average writer will make it more likely for you to get published, but most of all publishing is an industry. Writing and publishing a book is much less about whether it is right than whether you can market it to a publisher who thinks it can sell. Literary success demands not only good writing but also good self-marketing. Most of all, however, it requires finding the right publishing house.

Nowadays, of course, there are thousands of publishing houses out there. It might seem to casual eyes as if the publishing industry is less tightly controlled than before, but in fact, this is an illusion. In reality, publishing a book is harder than ever. Slush piles have grown tremendously as more and more people have decided to write and publish a book. Without the right literary agent, you can never get in contact with a suitable publishing house. There are publishing houses out there who claim that they can sell any book for a profit, but they are mostly scams meant to trick innocent writers. They are called vanity publishing houses.

I fell for a couple of vanity publishing houses before I successfully marketed my first book. I wanted, of course, to apply to Random House publishing, but I knew they would never accept me. I went to one of these publishing houses that claim, for a reasonable fee, to be able to publish your book and give you as many copies as you want. All you are doing is paying them to print out copies of the book that you already own!

These publishing houses are alright if all you want to do is give your friends copies of your books, but they will never make you famous. They will convince you that you can make a profit by using their services, but in fact, no one ever buys from these publishing houses. As long as you know what you are getting into, they can be useful for some projects. Nevertheless, you have to be careful never to think that they will help you publish books. That is how writers get ripped off.


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