With traditional publishing, writers submit their work for consideration to a publisher (or an agent), who in turn either rejects or purchases rights to the manuscript and publishes the book.
However, the definition and characteristics go deeper than that. Writers need to know all the aspects of traditional publishing, and just what, exactly, traditional publishers do.
• Accept queries/manuscripts from either writers or agents.
• Accept or reject submitted queries/manuscripts, selecting only the most marketable for publication.
• Offer writers a legally binding contract that covers rights and royalties. The publisher purchases rights from the author in exchange for publishing the book.
• Offer authors a percentage of sales (royalties) based on either the net or retail price of the book and with or without an advance on those sales.
• Work with authors to make editorial changes using either staff or freelance/outside editors.
• Format the interior and the exterior of book. (Author illustrations are rarely used, although small presses are more open to the idea.)
• Form a marketing plan. Titles with large sales potential receive the most attention and marketing dollar.
• Send books to outside printers for physical copies.
• Send books to wholesalers, distributors, book clubs, retail outlets, libraries, etc.
• Send authors royalty checks based on sales. (Less the initial advance, if any.)
Traditional publishers, whether large or small, have numerous resources available to market a book successfully. They possess knowledge, experience, capital, and the necessary connections. Since these presses are investing their time and money, they are selective. Every project is a gamble and can be affected by factors such as the market, the economy, timing, and promotions. Their goal is to make good on their investment. After all, it is a business.
Care to share your publishing and promoting knowledge? I am looking for guest posts on any subject surrounding the book industry! Full guidelines are HERE.