1. Quanta

    Quanta Senior Member

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    First book published, what's next?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Quanta, Jan 18, 2017.

    No, I'm not there yet, but I would like to know what to expect once a novel has been accepted by a publisher.
    I know that it's good to have more projects underway. Will the publisher ask about that before accepting the first manuscript? Will it be expected that you produce another work within a certain amount of time? Will a subsequent manuscript be automatically read? Can you expect that your publisher will be loyal to you and will your publisher expect you to be loyal to them?
     
  2. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    If you're with a major publisher you'll almost certainly have an agent who will function as a go-between, and that agent will help you with a lot of these issues. With a smaller publisher you're more likely to be on your own.

    In my experience - the publisher won't necessarily ask about other unrelated projects, but your agent probably will have and will mention this to the publisher if relevant. It's quite possible that the publisher will be interested in series potential for your first book, especially in genres where series do well. So the publisher may ask for another book in the same genre, if there's room for it to be a series. If you sign a deal for a series, there will be a rough schedule included in the contract for future MS deliveries.

    If there's no series, there's no real expectation for future books. You've probably got a better chance of getting future MSs read, but I wouldn't say it's "automatic", no.

    And I'm not sure what you mean by "loyal"... your publisher will expect you to meet the terms of the contract and to behave professionally (not badmouth them publicly, etc.) but unless there are contractual terms (right of first refusal or equivalent) there's no expectation that you'll submit future work only to that publisher. And while it's generally in their best interest to look favourably on publishing your future work (assuming your past work sold well for them), there's certainly no guarantee that they'll be interested.
     
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  3. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

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    First, I think that you won't get the exact expectations and questions from every publisher.

    Yes, publishers don't necessarily want to publish a one book author. Very often the first novel does not do very well--it may not even turn a profit for the publisher, but the publisher hopes to build upon that novel, build your readership with subsequent books.

    That may depend on your contract. But a publisher is not going to be interested in waiting years for the next book.

    You can expect (or at least hope--researching a publisher before submitting might offer a glimpse at this aspect) your publisher to have some loyalty but, in the end, publishing is a business. If your books don't sell, and it doesn't appear likely to change, getting them to offer another contract may not happen. A publisher that doesn't turn a profit, is a publisher that doesn't stay in business.

    In addition, there is nothing wrong with loyalty to a publisher, but you should also be open to opportunities beyond that publisher. The other concern might be putting all of your eggs in one publishing basket. With self-publishing, this isn't as great of a concern as it was even a decade ago, if you're willing to go that direction. Also, some publishers focus on romance, for example, but may not do urban fantasy romance, so you'd want to be published by a different publisher.

    Another item is that many authors who are considering trade/traditional publishing have agents represent their manuscripts. Those individuals are expected to be knowledgeable with respect to various publishers, and editors within publishers, and help a manuscript find the proper home, where it has the greatest chance of success. After all, the agent earns his/her pay from advances and royalties the author receives (15% is a figure to work from).

    Also, 'loyalty' may not be an issue if you sign a contract that gives them first reading/consideration of your next novel, or next novel in a series, or similar novel, and within what time fame, opportunity to match, etc. That's a clause that can be very sticky, and one that many suggest you would want to get stricken from a contract if possible (unless the publisher pays handsomely for it). An agent, or even a literary agent could be very important--even vital--especially if you're not very knowledgeable about literary contracts.

    Ignoring what is said above, an author would hope so, but not necessarily. Some reasons why a publisher might not: If an author's books sell very poorly. The publisher decides to go a different direction (dropping an imprint where your genre is placed). The author proves to be very difficult to work with (in the editor's/publisher's opinion)

    My comments are based on my experience (personal and through getting to know/work with other authors, etc.). I've been around a few years but there are others out there with far more experience and may be able to answer your questions, offering a different perspective.

    In any case, I wish you luck, and persevere. Get that first novel finished...and then begin another!
     
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  4. Quanta

    Quanta Senior Member

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    Bayview and TWErvin2,

    Thank you for your replies. I figured there wouldn’t be clear cut answers. The time it’s taking me to finish my WIP would have been long enough for the publisher of a previous work to have forgotten all about my existence. I see that for my next novel, I will need some kind of a plan so that I know where I’m going before I even begin.

    I don’t think I want to write series, but I will keep writing in the same genre. For now, I can’t decide if I want to try for an agent or not. It might depend on my final word count, which is on the short side for now. This year, I have finally let myself buy the Novel &Short Story Market. I have found some small publishers who accept un-agented, shorter manuscript…

    I suppose my main focus for now should be to make my WIP as close to publishable as I can and hope to find more answers (crossed fingers) through my own publishing experience. Thanks for the good wishes, I will keep plodding on.:)
     

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