A Publisher's Conversations with Authors: Proposals with Claims of "Best-Selling" Authors

(photo by Frank Perez)

It is Tuesday. Time to tall turkey. Monday's madness is over, and Wednesday will take us over the hump, so Tuesday it is--for some serious discussion with authors. Tuesday talks mean to address authors in waiting and self-published authors who would like to go a more traditional route or who would at least like to take their steps with a publisher by their side.

Today's topic is inflated claims from self-published authors looking for a "I have published traditional contract. "I have published three best-selling books" is a line on a recent proposal that came in to MSI Press. Such a claim ("best selling") is almost never warranted, in the experience at our press. 

Here is why making such a claim can undermine your chance of being published.

- Such claims are easily checked out; numbers are available from a variety of sources; if found to b e inflated, than the honest--or at least the ability of the author to see and accept reality--is questionable and will likely make it difficult to deal with such an author, for which reason, most publishers of my acquaintance will turn down

- If "best-selling" is the goal of the author in publishing a book, there are a host of problems that will fall out as time goes on and the book is not a best seller. (Obviously, not all books can be "best"--the word implies cream of the crop, not the whole crop.) 

- And there remains a very good question: if an author will be untruthful about one aspect of his/her writing life, where else might s/he be untruthful?

- There is as an underlying egoism in a false claim to fame--and that egoism can doom the building of a good publisher-author relationship.

If you are a self-published author seeking traditional publication, this kind of claim can doom you to remain a self-published author.

Lesson for today's Tuesday talk: Truth and reality checks count--a lot! 
If you have published before, be honest about the results. Publishers know that most self-published authors have poor sales. That won't make a publisher unlikely to accept a new, good book, but inaccurate claims by an author may make a publisher unwilling to risk working with someone who does not have a realistic understanding or expectation of publishing results.

Read more posts about publishing HERE.

The Tuesday talks reflect real discussions between the management of MSI Press LLC and our own authors or those would-be authors who come through our doors but don't make the cut--yet. If you have a topic you would like addressed, leave the question in the comment section. Chances are, in our 17 years of publishing first-time and experiences authors, we have had a conversation with one of our authors that we can share with you.


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