Backward Protocol

When I first entered the world of being a published author, all the way back in 2010 when my story Rediscovered Trust was included in the Passionate Hearts anthology, there was an understand what the rules were. You learned those rules fast, abided by them, or you were out with no questions asked. Since that time, I’ve seen many, many changes but the rules have always remained the same if you wanted to be with a publisher.

  1. Once your book was accepted for publication, you had to accept what the publisher did with it. This included not only editing and proofreading, but cover art and any promotion done by the publisher. In essence, as an independent contractor, you were employed by the publisher to make your book the best one in that genre and act in such a manner that you didn’t being scorn to the publishing house.
  2. Most publishers use stock photos for cover art now. It’s simply a cost saving technique. Cover art is expensive. You, as a first time author, don’t have the necessary fan base to recoup that cost. There were two kinds of publishers. Those who let you select your own image for your cover art, a very rare occurrence, and those who picked the image based on your responses to a questionnaire. Making changes or redoing the cover art completely because you hated it wasn’t happening. You plastered on a smile and thanked them.
  3. An editor was assigned to you along with the time frame it would take to go through your book. You were expected to drop everything and go over those edits the minute you received them. Prior to signing with my current publisher, Solstice Publishing, I was known to be up going over edits in the wee hours of the morning or even if I was sick to get them back on time.
  4. The author doesn’t get to gripe, moan, and complain about how the publisher is treating them. Believe it or not, you, the author, are only hurting yourself when you do that.

Fast forward to 2017 and I’m seeing more and more authors literally shooting themselves in the foot virtually. They’re complaining about their publisher. They receive cover art and in a very nasty manner say it’s garbage and they want something better. They moan about how their editor is destroying their book. At times, I’ve likened dealing with authors as attempting to corral a kindergarten class that just had a field trip to the candy factory and got large bags of samples of everything.

Yes, I meant to say that. I’m not pointing out any one individual, just giving a generalization of authors I’ve seen speaking on social media about their publisher. And offering a solution.

You are an author. You wrote a book and found a publisher or have self-published it. Great. That’s one in the win column. Now, realize something.

You are not entitled to be treated as if you are a well-known author with staff at your publisher dedicated to dealing with every moment of your book’s pre-publication work once you send it to them. You don’t get to run roughshod over your editor and reduce him/her to tears because you don’t agree with what they’re telling you needs to be fixed. You don’t get to call the cover artist an idiot because you didn’t want to find an image that works for your book and left it up to them instead.

As an author, I am forever thankful to my publisher for taking a chance on me. That’s right. I will always be thankful to a publisher who gave me my first contract for a single title novel. I was an unknown quantity. They couldn’t be certain if I had the ability or stamina to dive into social media and promote my book. They weren’t certain if I was willing to do public appearances (although those still scare the life out of me).  And I’m still with this publisher. Why? Because I believe anyone who treats me as my publisher has deserves my loyalty and respect.

This is where I am different from the authors I’ve been seeing over the last few years. It’s like the world has turned upside down and the publisher must kowtow to the author. But that’s not how things are.

Your publisher took a chance on you. It’s time for you to show your publisher you are worthy of their decision to do that.

About K.C. Sprayberry

Born and raised in Southern California’s Los Angeles basin, K.C. Sprayberry spent years traveling the United States and Europe while in the Air Force before settling in northwest Georgia. A new empty nester with her husband of more than twenty years, she spends her days figuring out new ways to torment her characters and coming up with innovative tales from the South and beyond.

She’s a multi-genre author who comes up with ideas from the strangest sources. Those who know her best will tell you that nothing is safe or sacred when she is observing real life. In fact, she considers any situation she witnesses as fair game when plotting a new story. 


Cyn Ley said…