Understanding Publishing

Traditional Publishing is less of a partnership between the writer and publisher and more of a business contract. In that circumstance, the wise author will take time to get a clear understanding of the rights and benefits of the contract.

In Traditional Publishing, you complete your manuscript and write a proposal, and then submit them to a publishing house (or, if possible, have a literary agent do it for you). An editor reads it to determine whether it’s right for that house and whether to reject or to publish it. In some cases, an editor who is interested may send a manuscript back for revisions. If the publishing house decides to publish your book, the house normally buys rights from the writer and pays an advance on future royalties. The house puts up the money to design and package the book, printing as many copies as it thinks will sell; markets and finally distributes the finished book.

Since ‘traditional’ publishing means that publisher offers an advance against future royalties, it’s expected that they actively market and promote their titles and assume all production and distribution costs. All contracts must be read carefully for any costs or charge-backs that can be deducted from royalties. They also have standard royalty rates and established distribution to the marketplace. Traditional Publishing houses either have in-house sales and marketing teams or work with an outside sales team to pitch their titles.

Other notes on Traditional Publishing:
Traditional Publishers offer between 10% to 15% royalty, on average. Some offer a percentage of publisher’s net revenue and others of cover price. It’s important to clearly understand what is being offered.

Traditional Publishers normally retain full control over title and cover art. If the author has a strong feelings about their title or cover appearance, its important write this into the contract.

Traditional Publishers can demand editing changes or refuse to publish.

Traditional Publishers promise marketing or advertising. The exact nature and extend of the publisher’s promotional commitment needs to be spelled out. Some publishers may do a great job promoting their titles, others still expect the author to do to work. Sometimes author and publisher may have differing
definitions of ‘marketing.’

Traditional Publishers may not be committed to growing an author’s fan base for future sales. When books don’t show increased sales with each new title, an author may have future titles rejected even when reasons for declining sales can be traced to publishing decisions.

Traditional Publishers retain rights to the content and possible future uses regardless of whether the book is still on the market. Getting rights re-assigned back to the author is difficult or next to impossible with some publishers. Traditional Publishers may take a surprisingly long time to publish a book; in some cases, more than 18 months.

So what’s the Ark House difference?
That’s a great question, and we’re glad you asked. At Ark House, whilst we do offer full contracts, generally speaking, we are positoned in the middle ground. We clearly understand that 99% of authors are not high profile, are trying to get a start, and don’t have a major following on social media. That might stop you from getting a traditional contract, but it won’t stop you working with us.

We’re here to unearth good content, plus support committed Christians who are looking for a start. We don’t have packages or special offers. Every manuscript that is submitted to us is independently reviewed. It’s labor intensive for us, but it is part of our commitment to authors in providing with an ethical, Christian owned and run publishing house that will look after you on your publishing journey.

We’ve been doing this successfully for 20 years, so if you’re new to book publishing and you have a manuscript to submit, we’d love to look at working with you.

© Ark House. All Rights Reserved. Initiate Media.

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