Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Is Your Book Publisher Playing Favorites?



Do you suspect your publisher favors one or a select few of their authors over other authors within their publishing house? Maybe your publisher and the staff frequently spotlights a certain author, his or her books and successes over the rest? Maybe you feel your efforts aren't getting noticed over those other "special" in-house author's.

Authors pursue publishers to help us package our books in its finest attire, help market and sale it to the masses. We like believing that having a reputable publisher behind our book tells readers that our book is good enough without us authors having to convince them ourselves.

With Amazon and other book sellers making it easier to self-publish, it's only a matter of time before mistreated authors fight back against unfair or preferential treatment from publishers and go into business for themselves. Heck, we do most of the tedious "marketing and convincing" ourselves anyway.

Is it wrong for a publisher to play favorites?


I think a reputable, successful and professional book publisher gives equal attention to all of their authors. In other words, non-preferential treatment is never displayed. It is never beneficial to only highlight one particular author's successes (i.e. positive book reviews, book sales, platform, book covers, writing skills and abilities, etc.) over other authors. The best way to run a publishing business is to not focus on just the bestselling authors but all of your authors; the just signed, the established, the novelists and the anthology writers, all of them.

Publishers and staff should be cautious about expressing their opinion of an author and that author's work, especially if they work alongside that author and their views are easily seen by authors from that publishing house. If it's positive comments, then it looks bias and not trustworthy to an outsider. Not to mention, it will stir up questions from fellow in-house authors like, why couldn't she say something that great about my book? On the other hand, if it's negative comments, it seems shallow and bitter. Neither is good.

Why would a publisher play favorites?


  • Certain authors have a bigger platform/readership and make more sales, bringing in more money.
  • Certain authors are also staff members acting as editors, marketing consultants, book cover artists, proof readers, etc.
  • They somehow developed an online relationship with the author, possibly through emails, social networking, writers groups, etc.

Reasons why favoritism should be eradicated within publishing houses?


  • It invokes feelings of jealousy, mistrust and unfairness.
  • It prevents other authors from feeling part of the group or community.


To continually spotlight an author is plain bad practice. You put too much focus on one author or select authors, then there's not enough focus on the rest. Before you know it, you're depending too much on those select authors to keep your business afloat.

Long-standing, flourishing book publishers are successful because they understand: without their authors there is no publisher.

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