Thanking the Publishers

When you’re an agent, you get to see a lot of what publishers do every day.

At the same time, because you don’t actually work in their offices, you don’t know a lot about what they do.

Since I’ve been an agent a long time, I don’t need to write a blog like this to butter up the publishers. They already know me. But because there’s such publisher bashing, I think now’s a good time to consider what publishers do for their authors.

To the publishers, thank you for:

  • Thinking through each and every book project before bringing it to market. This means vetting each manuscript through several meetings, composed of different groups of people who’ll have a say in whether they think the book will be a success. As a result, every author will have a team of publishing professionals behind each book. No one stands alone in a publishing decision. Does this mean each book will be a bestseller? No. But it does help more authors become successful once they are published.
  • Investing many dollars in each book. It’s hard for authors, and even agents, to understand just how much money we’re asking a publisher to invest in an author. Great cover designers, editors, marketing people, accountants, contracts people, administrators, and author relations people don’t come cheaply – nor should they. It must be frustrating for publishers to hear authors complain that not enough money was invested in their particular books. Maybe in some cases, more money could increase sales; maybe not. But even the last book on the list has still had considerable investment.
  • Hiring fabulous editors. As an agent, I can attest to the high quality of editors in CBA. I would hate to be an author going it alone in the publishing wilds, hoping to find an editor on my own. And while not every author and editor are a good fit at every publishing house, the publishing houses I work with consistently hire the best editors in the business. The fact that I rarely if ever read a book review saying, “The author could have used a good editor,” regarding a CBA book is testimony to the fact. Readers of secular book reviews will see such criticism time and time again – justified or not.
  • Caring about their authors. Yes, this is a business. And sometimes authors don’t “feel the love” but the editors themselves really do care about their authors. I’ve seen the tender loving professional care editors give to their authors’ books – and real friendships can develop.
  • Caring about the quality of the books they publish. The editors and publishers I know truly want to glorify the Lord by presenting readers with quality books. Isn’t that what authors want as well? What more can we ask?

Your turn:

What would you like to thank your publisher for, as an author?

As a reader, does anything come to mind?


11 Responses to Thanking the Publishers

  1. Avatar
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser September 24, 2015 at 5:10 am #

    I was published by a ‘vanity’ press that inexplicably gave me a standard royalty contract, after one of their editors had seen the book available on Kindle.

    They did ask that I change the title, and of course withdraw it from Kindle.

    Their marketing people set me up with a good initial list of book signings, from which I learned a lot…and from which I got invites back when I was still physically able to do them. Met a lot of great people, had a lot of fun, and sold a ton of books.

    I lived the author dream, thanks to Tate Publishing, and their decision to leave their normal business paradigm for a book that’s ended up helping a lot of veterans, if personal feedback is any indicator.

    How could I ask for more?

  2. Avatar
    Karen Whiting September 24, 2015 at 5:15 am #

    For taking the time to converse about a project/proposal. This can mean transforming the concept and changing the proposal, but it makes for a stronger and better book (and helps land the contract).

    Setting up a marketing conference call to discuss what can be done and being willing to do quite a bit when to match the author’s efforts.

    Praying for the author during the writing process–I am thankful that so many of my publishers have let me know they pray as I write.

  3. Avatar
    Kathy N. September 24, 2015 at 5:32 am #

    For seeing more than I could see in our current project. I would have been satisfied with this book at its current level because I’ve been working on it for years. My publisher knew it needed one more tweak, and I am grateful.

  4. Avatar
    Vannetta Chapman September 24, 2015 at 6:50 am #

    I write for two of the major publishers in CBA, and I wholeheartedly agree with you points. Thanks for reminding us, Tamela!

  5. Avatar
    Jackie Layton September 24, 2015 at 6:51 am #

    I was very impressed with the editors I met in Dallas at the ACFW conference. I could see how much they cared about the business and their authors.

  6. Avatar
    Rick Barry September 24, 2015 at 7:45 am #

    I thank my most recent publisher for taking a risk on a CBA book that is just a hair outside the realm of their past projects. The temptation must be to stick with the same plots and genres that have always worked for them in the past, but I realize my publisher took a risk by accepting a story they loved even though it’s slightly different.

  7. Avatar
    Beverly Brooks September 24, 2015 at 7:59 am #

    Always a wonderful reminder to say thank you. A grateful heart writes well.

    So, in advance, thank you to whatever traditional publisher chooses my future books.

    And thanks to Westbow for allowing an alternative as I learn.

    While I’m at it – thanks to all those who blog and give help to writers!!

  8. Avatar
    Chris O. Alawode September 24, 2015 at 8:48 am #

    Your post has enlightened more about the length which publishers ho to make a book. I always view author’s ordeal like that of a mother birthing a baby. But now I can say that if the publishers as that of paediatrician. Xilibris published two of my books. Thanks for your enlightenment.

  9. Avatar
    Linda Riggs Mayfield September 24, 2015 at 9:57 am #

    Sincere thanks for some great perspective. I once sold two books to a widely respected, multi-national publisher, and even got to participate in the preliminary marketing planning. Instead of receiving the promised formal contract, however, I received a notification that the decision to purchase them had been overruled by someone higher up in the company. No apology, just an email notification from someone at that “higher up” level. That experience was so disappointing and disillusioning that I didn’t even try to publish any of my books again for years. I did keep writing books and publishing articles, however, and now that I’m again “sticking my toe in the water,” with books, your post reminded me of some things I need to remember when I have another book publisher. And besides being grateful, I need to be able to trust again. Very timely! Thanks!

  10. Avatar
    rochellino September 24, 2015 at 2:09 pm #

    Tamela, great post! It could make one melancholy when looking at it from yesterdays long term view up to and including todays modern day context.

    Remember when a clean, CHEERFUL, uniform wearing person with a bow tie pumped the gas in your car at the “filling station” (for 25 cents a gallon no less)? (1960’s)

    How about when men used to go on Saturday morning to an actual barber shop to get a “haircut” (didn’t know what a “style” meant). Today the word haircut means something entirely different in the bond and financial markets. Few men were comfortable back then in a co-ed (beauty, styling) salon. (1970’s)

    Remember when “date night” was a nice dinner and a good, clean, wholesome movie at a cinema. The discussion as to whether or not we should wear our bullet proof vests never came up.

    Will we be looking back at traditional publishing someday with the same affection and fond memories? A remake of a Joni Mitchell classic (1970) by Counting Crows (2002) kind of brings to mind an endless paved parking lot with a great big sign over the entrance that says “AMAZON” (no kids, it’s not an amusement park river thrill ride).

    Listening to the words in the context of todays publishing industry has potential relevancy.

  11. Avatar
    Joanna September 25, 2015 at 6:57 pm #

    What wonderful, gracious insights! I would like to thank publishers for getting personally behind each book they contract. It takes a whole team of people getting excited about a book to give it a good send-off, and that’s no small amount of work. I love that these people invest in our “babies” and sort of adopt them as their own.

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