Monday, March 25, 2019

The Publishing Partnership - Brenda Chapman

Question: What's the most important thing a publisher can do for a writer?  

The publisher does many important things for a writer, but if I had to pick one that I'd rate as the most important, I'd say validation not only on a personal level but also in the industry.

Back when my first book was accepted back in 2002, self-publishing was not as prevalent or considered as good an option as it is today. The advice from many was to write the best book you could and to work equally hard at finding a publisher. I took on both challenges with gusto.

Like most writers, I wasn't certain of the quality of my work and kept the fact that I was spending my free time writing a secret for the most part. I went through the usual rejection first time around, but also received requests for my entire manuscript from two publishers and their feedback about what I needed to improve. I reworked my manuscript both times and this led to another publisher accepting the book two weeks after submission.

My feeling was that people in the industry knew what would sell and could be objective about my submission. They didn't have the vested interest in the story that I did. To be accepted by them was my first step toward feeling like a real author ... even though I know that this is not the litmus test for many writers.

Having my books published by a respected publishing house meant that media and industry publications reviewed my books and they were entered in contests that back then did not accept self-published books. Bookstores readily sold the books through already established distribution channels.    I got invited to events and speaking engagements based on reviews and the fact that I had a publisher. The publisher was a foot in the door.

Standing in bookstores at signings or speaking at events, I've met readers who ask if I have a publisher. Often, they show interest in my book after they learn that I'm not self-published. For many readers, the knowledge that the book was good enough for a publisher means that the book has met a standard because most readers know how tough it is to get published by a bona fide publisher. They also accept the validation that only a publisher can bring.

Over the years, I've had a few publishers, editors, publicists and marketing teams who believed in my books and supported me through the ups and downs that invariably happen. I've relied on them to be objective and honest about each project. This openness and trust has always led to a feeling of  validation after each book is edited, packaged, and out on the shelves. I like being part of a team, something I would miss if I'd self-published.

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1 comment:

Dietrich Kalteis said...

Well said, Brenda. I agree that's it's about working with and believing in a publisher who believes in you.