No Risk. No Reward.


Before I get too far into this post I want to commence with a quote.

“Be so good they can’t ignore you.” – Steve Martin

The inspiration for this blog post comes after talking with an author recently. He was feeling dejected and frustrated due to not receiving any responses from publishing houses. He has written his first book which is currently unreviewed and has yet to sell a copy.

The publishing industry has changed which is something we certainly don’t have to tell authors. You know this better than anybody. It use to be that large publishing houses would occasionally take a risk on a unknown author simply because they liked their writing and their first novel. Agents would be able to convincingly twist their arm, strike a deal and secure you a publishing contract.

However you had to keep selling books because if not that deal wouldn’t come around again if you didn’t.

So why are we writing this post? What has changed?

Now you have to show sales. You have to show interest. You have to show that people are paying for your book and they want more. We make the comparison to a startup company looking for investment. Investors want to see traction and customers. This is no different for an author. Publishing houses now want to see that you have customers in the form of paying readers.

This of course means that you as the author carry much more of the risk. Many would argue this is wrong but it is simply the case that publishing houses can remove that risk. Part of it is they want to see true commitment from you as an author as well. Self-publishing is a brave move and carries risk as you must invest the capital to realise a successful novel.

The question is then who will take the risk and who will enjoy the rewards?