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Before you sign with a publisher, there are some important questions to ask. Make sure you know what type of publisher you're dealing with by asking these questions.

Publisher Question #1

Is my book returnable to the distributor?

Big bookstores like Barnes and Noble, B Dalton, Walden Books and Borders order through distributors, not the publisher.

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Publisher Question #2

Are you printing a run on my books or are they Print-on-Demand?

A run of books is when a large quantity of the same title are printed at one time then stored in warehouses.  Print-on-Demand books are stored electronically then printed as there is demand.

Why does this matter? 

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Publisher Question #3

What will my cover price be?

Get the estimated cover price in writing before you sign anything.

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Publisher Question #4

Are you going to charge me for editing?

Editing is a vital part of any book's creation. If you're talking to publishers, the editing they offer is a big clue that will tell you what kind of publishing house they are.

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Publisher Question #5

How will you publicize my book?

A traditional publisher will put time and money into publicity. Even before they puchase a title, they will create a marketing plan.

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Publisher Question #6

What are the distribution responsibilities of the publisher? What are my responsibilities?

 

I represented an author who published through a supposed traditional publishing house.  It would stand to reason that the publisher, who should have a lot of experience with distribution, would guarantee that the book was listed correctly with all major sales venues before the release date. 

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Publisher Question #7

What if I am unhappy with your services? Are you going to sue me if I complain on a public forum?

 

I have been hearing rumors that some contracts stipulate you cannot complain about the company on any public forum.

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Publisher Question #8

What will the quality of my finished product be?

 

This is a very important question but a hard one to get a straight answer that you will understand. 

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Publisher Question #9

How long until I see my book in print?

 

This is a big tell about the size and status of the publisher. 

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