Traditionally Published Author Intervention

It’s become painfully obvious that I must take matters into my own hands and stop my friends from continuing to traditionally publish their books.

Yes, I need to have an author intervention. This letter (below) is for you, my well-respected friends and associates who have at least one traditionally published book out, and are continuing on with another one instead of going the self-publishing route.

I will not name names, but you know who you are.

Dear Author,

I’ve gathered you here among your friends, associates, and readers to express some concerns we all have about your future. It’s become aware to us that you have decided to continue to work with a legacy publisher for your next book, as opposed to pursing a self-publishing option.

We feel that this is very destructive behavior and we wanted to get you here to tell you about it so that we might be able to help you change your path and not suffer the long-term consequences you will face down the road.

For instance, you do realize that by continuing to sign contracts with a traditional publishing house you are signing away the rights to your book for years and years, right? That means that you have no control over your content. You can’t change the book content or cover without their approval. You can’t adjust pricing. You can’t play around with new forms of digital distribution. You can’t do anything unless they say you can. This is truly destructive to your future as an author, we hope you can see that.

You have read your contract, right? How many years do they own it? Please think about the future. Do you really believe that the landscape will be the same in a three-years, or even one-year?

What about the commission structure for your book? The average traditionally published author is taking home 17.5% of their book sales. When the bookstores go out of business for good, and your book is being peddled digitally and the vast majority of sales are coming in that way, will you still be ok with only earning 17.5% on each book sold? Amazon offers 70% to you now. What will it be in a few years? Why will a publisher still need to make so much money on your blood, sweat and tears? For what? You could have easily put it online digitally without them. You could easily create a cover and get it edited and proofed yourself.

We know, we know, you choose to legacy publish because you use your books for speaking or training or consulting. Yes, that all makes sense for you, the .0000001% of authors in the non-fiction space who make money that way. But think about the future consequences of not owning your brand. Think about the future of your sales. Think about how those are bad business decisions. Take the emotion out of it. Take the vanity out of it. And really think about how your future will look if you continue down this destructive path to doom!

We love you, and we’re here for you. We just want you to get better.



P.S. Quit signing contracts that give the first right of refusal for your next book to the publisher. Just “don’t do it. Have it removed.

All that being said, I hope you took this post in the fun it was intended to be in. But I hope it made you think a bit too.

If you haven’t read my post on my experiences with a legacy publisher, check out my Broken Promises post.