Tips for Traditional Publishing – Guest Post by Joel Bresler…

I am a big advocate for publishing traditionally. Self-publishing is an honorable way to get your book out; but it is exceedingly difficult to do well, especially if you want your book to be read by lots of people. It’s not that traditionally-published books are necessarily better, though they do enjoy a certain cachet which self-published books do not. Rather, I believe there is enormous value to having a vested partner  – ideally, one with resources – to pick up some of the workload in making a book successful.

There are hundreds of book publishers out there, and various ways of acquiring one. Before signing on the dotted line, however, there are potential pitfalls you can avoid. As exciting as it is to get an offer to publish your book, there are publishers, and publishing deals, best walked away from.

Here are some publisher red flags to look out for, in no particular order:

-Complaints by authors posted online. Check that the complainants’ expectations were realistic, and whether or not the publisher tried to resolve them, however, before totally writing the publisher off.

-Fees charged to the author for reading, editing, production, promotion or any other publishing services. Hybrid publishers have their uses, but they should be up front about being one.

-Publishers who regard their authors as customers – i.e., require you to purchase a certain number of your own books.

-You are expected to provide a marketing plan. If the publisher is in the business of selling books, they should already know how to do that.

– Proofreading and editing are solely the responsibility of the author, and not assisted by the publisher.

-Contracts that are intentionally vague or over-complicated.

-You are required to surrender your copyrights.

-The publisher does not give the author free print copies of either the ARC or final version.

You can’t find their books online.

-Their “recent releases” aren’t really recent, and there are none listed as upcoming.

-They are in too much of a hurry to get the book out, instead of giving it enough time to line up reviews, do pre-release promotion, etc.

-The publisher’s books have few or no Amazon reviews. While this in itself does not mean those books didn’t sell, it may be an indication the books weren’t promoted and that few people read them.

-Royalty payments are scheduled too far apart.

-Amazon exclusive. This is my personal opinion, but I believe your books should be available in more than one store.

Don’t be shy when it comes to asking a prospective publisher about these and anything else you consider important. And get advice from an expert before committing to a contract.

Joel Bresler is the author of

Bottomless Cups





Barnes & Noble





4 thoughts on “Tips for Traditional Publishing – Guest Post by Joel Bresler…

  1. One other I didn’t mention, and perhaps it’s subjective. Publishers who price print copies so high nobody who isn’t related to you will ever buy one. Even as POD, they don’t cost nearly enough to justify ridiculous price tags.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I would communicate with the publisher, and try to work out any issues. They will have money invested in your book, and will hopefully be looking for customers other than you to offset their costs and, if possible, make a profit. See if you can work together for a common goal. If not, have a game plan in place for your book when the contract term expires.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. loved your post.
    This is what I love in your post
    I found this blog post to be very informative and helpful for aspiring authors. I completely agree that having a traditional publisher can be very beneficial and I appreciate the warning signs to look out for regarding potential publishers. My question for the author is, what advice would you give to an author who has already signed a contract with a publisher that is exhibiting some of these red flags? Thank you for sharing your insights!
    Thanks, Ely Shemer

    Liked by 1 person


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