My Traditional Publisher Wish List

Today, on Reddit, someone said they were starting up a small publishing company, and wanted to hear from authors about what they would like to see in a publisher that would make them sign.

Here was my wish list:

As a self publisher I have to do everything myself or hire some one to edit, do cover designs, format, market, publicize, upload to all the stores, etc. Etc. Etc.

In exchange Amazon gives me 70% of every sale. They also give me data of every sale. Everyday. Online at the touch of a button. I get to set my own prices. And they offer me some plans for putting out free books, print books, audio, and translations (which I have to pay for, of course).

What I would want from a publisher, if I signed with one, would be all of that stuff (uploading, formating, editing, cover design, marketing, sales, etc) to be taken care of in exchange for giving up more of my royalties. I would also want higher royalties on ebooks then on print books. At least 50%. I know what I get for ebooks on amazon, and I know how much work goes into it after the initial set up (next to none), so I would expect for that to be taken into account. I also know publishers offset their overhead through ebook sales, so I would be willing to give up some, but not all, of my 70%.

I would also want transparency. An easy to read invoice showing how many books were sold, how many returned, prices, etc. Monthly online statements, and quarterly payments, monthly if possible. Direct deposit would also be helpful.

Also, I’d want a limited time contract. 5 years sounds about right unless renegotiated. That way if your not making money on it and you abandon it, then I still have a chance to use it for something.

I do not ever want to sign anything that says exclusive. Not for all my books, not for a genre, and not even for a series. They are my books, and I have to make the right choices for them book by book. But then again, if you’re doing a great job of selling and caring for my books, then of course I’ll come back to you.

And lastly, I want some clear sense of marketing. What are you doing for me that I can’t do, or hire out, for myself? What makes giving up my royalties worth while?


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