Last year, I published a blog on myths and misleading information perpetuated by some in the publishing industry. Those myths included the following:
Myth #1: That it takes a traditional publisher 12-18 months to publish a book
Myth #2: That traditional publishers do little or no marketing and are merely printers
Myth #3: That traditionally published authors earn only a 10-15 percent royalty on their books
Myth #4: That traditional publishers give authors little or no “say so” about their book’s title or jacket
Myth #5: That self-publishing is more profitable
Myth #6: That reviews, awards, and mentions in major publications don’t matter
To see the publishing facts contradicting the above myths, you can read my earlier blog with full details here.
In this blog, I’ll address two more myths that crop up from time to time in podcast interviews, ads, and articles on social media:
Fact: Never has a publisher asked—nor forced—me to buy back copies of my 48 traditionally published books. That statement includes publishers Penguin Random House, Simon and Schuster, HarperCollins, Warner, McGraw-Hill, and Berrett-Koehler.
Of course, authors who state in their proposals that they intend to buy back copies of their book are certainly attractive to publishers. In fact, publishers offer authors deep discounts when they buy copies of their own books. After all, when authors buy back copies of their book—even at a deep discount—they are confirming to the publisher several things:
─That they believe in their book’s content
─That they believe there’s a market for the book and have great confidence they can resell these books to their fans and followers
─That they intend to help market and sell the books
Certainly, authors who buy back their copies of their books upfront before the first printing remove some of the risk for the publisher. Those purchases cover some of the hard cost of printing right upfront. So the author’s buy-back is definitely part of the consideration when publishers make their decision about whether to offer a book contract and what size advance they’ll pay to the author.
But many authors win book contracts without guaranteeing to buy back ANY copies. To repeat, in selling 48 of my own books to major publishers, I have never guaranteed to buy back copies of my book. Sometimes I’ve bought a few thousand to sell through my training company. Sometimes, I’ve bought a few hundred to sell at a speaking event.
But on other books that have no connection to my training, coaching, or speaking business, I’ve bought NO books to resell. All my buyers were simply directed either to the publisher’s website or to an online store for the purchase.
Fact: Publishers still give advances—often big ones. To see the size of advances, you can subscribe to the daily ezine for access to the publishing deals of the day, along with the size of advances given each day. These advance amounts are classified in major categories such as:
─ ”a nice deal” ($1 to $49K)
─ “a very nice deal” ($50K to $99K)
─ “a good deal” ($100K to $250K)
─ “a significant deal” ($251K to $499K)
─ “a major deal” ($500K and up)
─ “a major deal, for seven figures” ($1 million and up)
─“a six-figure deal” ($100,000 to $999,000)
Granted, publishing advances have been falling in the last 10 years. The latest survey by the Authors Guild (2019) documents that fact. But advances are still very much a part of the traditional publishing scene.
I have always received an advance (sometimes large and occasionally very small). My coaching clients—often first-time authors—continue to earn advances when they sell to traditional publishers.
If a publisher is NOT offering an advance, consider the reason: Often, they are a vanity press, making their money from fees charged to authors for printing their books.
So before you believe what you hear from a podcast guest or read in an article by someone selling you a service, check out these facts for yourself: Authors are not obligated to buy back copies of their own books. Publishers still pay advances!