Monday, November 19, 2018

What Does a Publisher Do?

At events, I get asked a lot of questions. It’s made me realize that a lot of people don’t know what a publisher does.

Here is a basic outline of what a publisher does followed by some crazy questions I’ve been asked.

A traditional publisher...
  • Receives query letters from writers.
  • Reads through the submissions.
  • Selects the best and most marketable stories and offers the writer a contract.
  • Goes through several rounds of edits with the writer.
  • Sets release date and assigns ISBN.
  • Creates cover art and other graphics.
  • Creates a marketing plan and marketing items and starts promoting.
  • Formats the book for print/eBook.
  • Sends files to printer for print book.
  • Sends files to eBook distributors. Print books go to print distributors.
  • Sends review copies to reviewers.
  • Goes through more edits with writer.
  • Finalizes book and sends to printer/distributors.
  • Continues marketing with press releases, info to bookstores and libraries, events, ads, etc.
  • Pays royalties to the author.

There are a ton of other details (Library of Congress Control Number, bar code, etc.) but that’s the basics.

Now, here are some of the questions I’ve been asked:

You sell books? You’re a bookstore?
No, we’re a publisher of books. We do sell direct, but we rely on distributors to sell to stores, libraries, and other retail outlets.

You print books? You have a printing press at your place?
No, we have a couple book printing business we use. We send the files to them and they print the books.

Can you publish my book for me?
You have to check our submission guidelines and if we are a good fit, then send us a proper query letter.

How much do you charge?
Nothing. We are a traditional publisher, not a subsidy press.

Can you take a look at my story?
Send a proper query letter first.

I have a bunch of recipes I’ve collected from the Internet over the years. Do you publish that?
We don’t publish cookbooks. And oh by the way, that’s called plagiarism and it’s illegal.

And my most favorite question when people see our display at events:

You wrote all of these books?
Yes, I did. Almost fifty titles in nine years. I’m good.

There you have it! Any other questions?

Don’t forget Dancing Lemur Press’ holiday special. Support an author and give the gift of reading.

50 comments:

  1. Thanks for putting us novices straight about publishers Diane.
    Most interesting to read.

    Yvonne.

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  2. I feel like there's soooo much confusion out there on this topic. Thanks for setting the record straight!

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  3. Good post and I did learn one or two things. With all the publishing changes it does get confusing on how things works and what needs to be done. Thanks for sharing that.

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  4. Great post, Diane! Love that people who visit the booth think you wrote all the books :-)

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    1. It cracks me up! Did they not even look at the covers and all of the different names?

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  5. People actually ask the recipe one? They don't realize it's plagiarism? Wow.

    Also fifty is an amazingly impressive number.

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    1. Thank you. And I had to throw that one in because yes, I was asked it once.

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  6. It's good that you've taken the time to educate people. However, how often do you roll your eyes at some of the more inane questions? (Some of those questions sounded reasonable, though.)

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  7. The publishing industry is a tough place. Stay strong!

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  8. Never surprises me how lazy people are. Publish my book, riiiight. And plagiarism nuts get a big eye roll. Publishers sure do a lot indeed. Funny about the 50 book one. If I had no need to work a 9-5, I could get 50 done in 9 years, I think.

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  9. Authors devote so much time to writing and developing a good plot, Isaac Asimov was great at doing this and respected for his universal knowledge. I love listening to the guys wit on youtube, what a legend.

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  10. 50 books in 9 years is impressive. Thanks for sharing what you do as a publisher. I'm sure your real list is even longer.

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  11. I laughed out loud at the last answer. Interesting post!

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    1. I was asked that question 3 times at last Friday's event. 3!

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  12. How in the world do you keep up, Di? You need that intern or assistant:)

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    Replies
    1. I really could use an intern.

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    2. I think we talked about this before, but I bet you could find one at one of the community colleges.

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  13. When people ask you if you wrote all those books, say yes, then offer to sign them if they buy one from you.

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  14. People really don't know. They ask some of those same questions of me when I'm at a booksigning and I'm just a simple author.

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  15. "Spunk" on a stick. Let that sink in....

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  16. I love your answer to that last question! :)
    I get asked some similar things as an author - especially with my independent titles. "How do you publish your own book? Could you publish mine?" My answer: Well, I did a lot of research. And, no, sorry. I could help, but I would rather you read several resources first and decide if you really want to do it after that.

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  17. Hi Diane - it is incredible how naive people are ... and how we assume we know, don't ask, and as you say ... don't research ... great post - and well done on your business and the things you support us with here at IWSG and on your blog - cheers Hilary

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  18. Good post and very informative. I never thought of a cookbook as plagiarism. Unless you have a lot of recipes you made up.

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  19. Wow! I bow down at your feet, even though I had a pretty good concept of what a publisher does. I had to laugh at the publishing cookbook/plagiarism question and answer. I had the evils of plagiarism drummed into my head by many dedicated professors ~ not that I plagiarized, but they all railed against such practices. We're headed to Arizona for December, and as soon as we're there, I'll be checking out your holiday specials. I hope that you have great Christmas sales!

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  20. Hope your Thanksgiving was filled with good food, fellowship, family, friends and....sales:)

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    1. If there were sales on Thanksgiving Day, I missed them, as I did absolutely nothing DLP related for the first time this year. And it was wonderful.

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    2. I bet it was wonderful. You definitely deserved a day away from DLP.

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  21. This certainly spells out the basics of what a publisher does. I laughed at the part about you writing 59 books! That's funny! (I think Patt Hatt has you beat though, at over 100!)

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  22. Today I learned something new that I wished I'd known a month ago. You don't charge anything? I could've sent you query letter before I self-published. Lesson learned. I'm so glad you wrote this!

    Elsie

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    1. Only subsidy presses charge. Traditional publishers don't. Now you know, Elsie!

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  23. Even if you didn't write them:), publishing 50 titles in 9 years is impressive.

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  24. I'd love to hear how you market books some time. I'm sure you have some great tips.

    At conferences, people always ask me if I'm the woman on my book cover. Um...no.

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    Replies
    1. I do have a book full of them. Although everything keeps changing and I have many new tricks now.

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  25. I bet, along with the intriguing, you get some hilarious queries:)

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    1. Oh Sandra if you only knew! LOL

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    2. Hope your day is productive--I'm sure it is.
      And your evening pleasant.

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  26. I loved reading this post. Very informative. I think it's funny that people think you wrote all the books. :) I have been at events where people think I work at the bookstore and ask for help- it happens all the time. :) I even got complimented on a display window that someone thought I made for the store for the holidays.

    ~Jess

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    1. LOL! When I used to do more bookstore signings, I got asked employee questions all the time. I knew bookstores well enough that I would usually try to help them. Often that led to them realizing I was an author not an employee and they would come check out (and often buy) my books.

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  27. Whoa! Almost 50 titles? I had no idea - you're amazing.

    Have a relaxing, safe weekend, Diane.

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  28. Hi Diane, thanks for this amazing post!

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