Authors Know your Publishers

Authors know your publishers before you form opinions about them.

When you take the risk of publishing something that you have written, you open yourself to a number of possibilities. You could begin to get known or you could only imagine that you’re beginning to get known. You could become a target of those that don’t agree with you or you could get into the hearts of readers. Earning much is a remote possibility, earning the displeasure of others seems to be more likely. It can take several years before publishers begin to take you seriously and sometimes they take you seriously only initially and then think of you as a big joke.

But it is necessary for you to keep humouring publishers or the agents who lead you to them. Be sympathetic to them even if your inner voice guides you to dislike them. For, publishers are after all businessmen. Far from being philanthropists, they too need to earn their bread and keep something for the rainy day. They too need to keep changing according to the need of the times. Individual authors may not change with the times as quickly as publishers do because publishers are governed by economics and their heads whereas authors are often guided by emotional needs and their hearts.

You, as the author, need to present your vision of things to the world. Publishers have to perform the more difficult task of making your vision their own before they get down to representing it. Your book is like a child that you want to entrust to the care of the publisher. It is natural for you to like it but it is much more difficult for the publisher to adopt it and then begin to start liking it. What publishers reply to authors is, therefore, formal stuff. Even when they say they loved your premise but are not finding it the best fit at that time, they are only saying politely that your child wouldn’t find their affection. We easily fall in love with our own writing but it is difficult for us to do that with the writings of others. A publisher is also a human being no matter how much we imagine them to possess the negative capability or the ability to read our writing without getting impatient.

There are few publishers who publish to make the world better. Such publishers should be given grants by our governments and if that does not happen, authors should give a small percentage of their profits to the publisher. For, what happens if the good publisher calls it a day and we are left with only those that publish indiscriminately?


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