Read this post by Joe Konrath, and you will think that relations between book authors and publishers make those between spouses and mother-in-laws look cordial:)
I have had a less tempestuous relationship with my publisher for two reasons:
a) As a blogger, I realize I am used to a pace and editing independence that a traditional publisher like John Wiley actually tempers
b) When I do rant about delays or quality problems at the publisher, I have a saint of an editor, John Deremigis, who knows how to calm me down.
As the The New Technology Elite gets ready to be printed., though, I have had a more interesting conversation with John:
“If a $ 2 billion publishing company with a 85% share in a book's revenues is not willing to invest in a promotional budget, what message is it sending to a small business author with only a 15% stake in the book?”
John's response is "but every author does his/her own promotion". I certainly did that with our last book together. If you see the website for The New Polymath, you will see the countless press/blog interviews, podcasts, presentations and social media investments I made. I forwarded Wiley many orders for bulk orders – several thousand copies from case studies, events etc. Wiley’s cost of sales was close to zero.
And I have done similar with the new book before it is released – excerpting on the New Florence blog, doing press interviews (see here, here, here), paying for a book web site being developed. But I will be much more selective going forward unless Wiley frees up some promotional dollars.
Honestly, my own economic interests are also not well aligned with the publisher’s. So, the book badge I had on this blog is gone – to make space for a sponsor. I also make much more from consulting on innovation, and speaking on themes from the book, than from the book.
To which John asks me, aren’t you proud of your book? I definitely am – in fact, early reviewers have told me it is even more inspiring in its innovation tales than Polymath was. It has twice as many case studies, countless interviews and guest columns from some of the most innovative technology executives in the world. And it is even more gratifying I wrote it while I was not 100% last year.
I encourage readers to pre-order a copy from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or your local bookseller. If you want bulk copies (25+) I have arranged a nice discount with an independent distributor. I will still be presenting on the book’s themes at several locations. Please contact me directly for bulk orders or speaking/consulting.
So, I will still promote the book albeit in a reduced fashion. And I hope Wiley steps up their promotion. With almost 6X the author’s share, it is definitely THEIR book more than the author’s.
Our misaligned economics, though, is one item I would add to Joe’s list of items that publishers and authors need to both work on.