[Publishing Advice] On self-publishing and corporate partnerships
This was fascinating to read because I made this claim (likely in 2014).
In 2022 I will update it as this: Self-publish first if you can, and then treat corporate offers thereafter as partnerships. They have to woo you. You are worth it.
You are not a publisher’s “hybrid author,” you are a partner. When you come to a corporate publisher this way, meaning you have experience self-publishing and have seen success and have access to all sorts of sales and readership data, you should not merely submit to their way of doing things. You set the tone, ask for the same level of competence that you expect from any contractor or supplier you work with as a self-publisher, and leave (because they failed you) if you have to.
I’m mostly speaking about the Philippine publishing industry, but since posting on Wattpad I’ve actually signed deals with a few other Philippine publishers and today can reflect on the experience of working with different companies. Sadly, it’s no longer the case where as an author you get to rest easy and know that your book is in capable hands. There’s a lot of employee turnover at a publisher, and one time I worked with three different editorial assistants before the book was considered done. Sometimes the employee turnover happens at the editor or manager level, so expectations you had when you first partnered with them may never actually be fulfilled. There’s no continuity, and most decisions are based on personal feelings or vibes, and you can’t count on making any long term plans, and you don’t even know when or if your book will come out.
So, no more “hybrid” if that means a publisher gets to consider me one of their authors to add to a list, and then ignore. I am, at the very least, a partner. And if that partner is a corporate entity, has a team of people, and made it their career to make and sell books, I expect them to know a lot more than I do and provide value in that way. They should provide better editorial and covers, innovative marketing ideas, access to readers I don’t have. If I know or can do more, just by myself, then they shouldn’t take a percent of what my books earn.
In 2022 yes I do still love to self-publish and it’s so exciting when I meet people who are so great at what they do (especially if it’s something I could NEVER do). Valuing ourselves and our creations in 2022, friends!
This is an ongoing blog project where I return to my Publishing Advice column on Wattpad and add updated commentary! If this was helpful to you and/or if you want me to continue this, you can buy me a buko pie.
Tags: publishing advice