Saturday, April 23, 2011

Publisher - Author Etiquette

          Finally an author has a contract from a publisher in hand. Now all he has to do is sit back and wait for the money to come rolling in, right?

          A publisher has several excellent books under contract. After the manuscripts are edited at least lightly, all the company has to do is sit back and watch the money fill its coffers, right?

         Actually no. After an author and publisher sign a contract, the work begins, and successful launching of a book depends on cooperation between company and writer. One way to avoid some minefields in the process requires etiquette, good manners. Let’s examine a few “tips” for good publisher/author etiquette.

1. The publisher (meaning all upper staff) should remember that the author’s excitement and desire to know every step of action means he wants his book to be the best it can be. Allowing the author to realize that he can’t be involved in every portion of the process should be gentle and caring, not hateful.

2. The author should remember that the publisher’s desire to have the book edited to the nth degree means he wants the book to be the best it can be. Working with the editor(s) results in a much better book and fewer problems.

3. The publisher must be kind, even when informing an author to grow up and let the publisher do the job needed.

4. The author needs to realize his publisher does know what to do and the best way to do the job of producing a quality book.

5. The publisher should always publicly promote authors in a positive way. Even if one person is easier to work with doesn’t give his book more importance over the book from a more difficult author.

6. The author should acknowledge the publishing company in interviews and reviews, giving links to the publishing company. That doesn’t mean the author should bow down to the company and “gush” about it, but giving credit for the group that made the book possible is good manners.

7. The publisher giving credit to authors, illustrators, artists, and editors aids in promoting books they helped create. Without the full team working together, the publisher wouldn’t have quality books.

8. The author should give credit to editors, illustrators, and/or cover artists who helped make his book one that interests readers. Sharing credit for a successful book doesn’t take any glory from an author.

9. The publisher shouldn’t distract from an author’s accomplishments. Praise never hurts a relationship, especially if justified.

10. The author shouldn’t distract from his publisher by including books from another source with the books or book from that publisher. Any promotion of other books from other publishers or that are self-published should not be posted or linked to the publisher’s information (blogs, websites, etc.).

          I’m sure there are other areas where good manners aid in good relationships in the author/publisher arena, but those ten are a good beginning.


          Now, for those who celebrate Easter: May today bring peace, hope, and love through Christ's sacrifice for us.

Vivian Zabel author of Stolen  


  1. Common sense, but good reminders. :) Happy Easter!

  2. All this is so true. Words to the wise for authors, illustrators and editors as well.

    Happy Easter... we are having SNOW at the moment. *:)

  3. Happy Easter.

    Oh, no, not snow. However we may have some much needed rain tomorrow.


  4. Excellent post. Have a great Easter.

    Mary & Jean