Thanks to the very informative website put up by Holly Lisle I know more of what to expect if I chose to pursue a large publishing house. Holly said that as a new author I might get an ‘advance’ of $2k to $5k with a standard royalty on sales of 6%. Most of the time the publisher will print 38k books and send them to stores. The stores will keep them on their shelves about 30 days, then rip off the covers and return them for their money back. All the unsold books then come out of any royalties I might have earned. If I don’t sell more than 50% of the books printed, then the publisher wont print anymore of my future work since it’s not profitable for them. The book could be out of print in less than a year. From what I gleaned, the publisher doesn’t do much promotion of the book.
I spoke with Kristy Denice Bock, who is a writer friend with 4 books out, and she went with a smaller publishing company. Smaller publishing companies do not offer an advance but have a higher royalty rate such as 40% to 50%. Promotion is left solely to the author. The book will most likely no appear on bookstore shelves but Kristy says that only about 1% of books make it into a physical store.
Then there is self publishing, which Holly recommends, where I would have to buy the ISBN and pay for a copyedit and do all the promotion but I’d retain all rights and all royalties. Holly recommends a place, Booknook.boz, which can publish on Amazon, B & N, etc. She cautioned against vanity publishing where the company you publish through owns the ISBN.
So after my freak out regarding the truths of publishing, I have decided that I want to publish through a small publishing company. Then once my contract with the publishing company has come to an end, I will self publish that novel. That way my novel will never be out of print. Of course, that is of the assumption that a publisher will pick up my work. 😉