A Publisher's Conversation with Authors: Should Authors of Multiple Books Publish Exclusively through One Publisher

 (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 addresses prolific authors as well as authors working on their second book. Who should publish subsequent books by an author -- the publisher of the first book or another publisher? This is not always a simple question, but there are simple ways to make a decision about where your next book gets submitted. Consider the following:

  • What does your contract with your publisher say? Some publishers require authors give them the right of first refusal for any subsequent books. This is more especially true for novels than for nonfiction books. What your contract says you are beholden to do. There are some advantages to allowing your publisher right of first refusal even if it is not in your contract.
    • You do not have to seond time looking for a publisher for your new book.
    • There is a bundling affect -- one book sells another.
    • The more books you have with a publisher, the more attention you will get from the publisher.
    • You develop a relationship with your editor; the great writers of the past had a special relationship with their editor.
  • If you have no contractual obligations, then indeed you have choices. Consider the following:
    • You have a good relationship with your publisher, like how your first book turned out, and the topic is primarily the same. Approach the publisher then about your subsequent work.If the publisher turns it down, the look at the options below.
    • The topic/field is different and not one your publisher typically publishes. Then, you must find another publisher, one that works in the field about which you are writing.
    • The book is in the same field but has a different target audience; then you need to go with a publisher who reaches your target market.
    • The book would fit with what your publisher publishes but you wonder how it might fare with another publisher. This is normal. Sometimes, it is better to put all your chickens in one basket; other times it is not. You can sometimes vastly increase your reach when two publishers, with differing readerships, publish your book; the new book can sell the old book and vice versus.
    • Your have the opportunity to go with a larger publisher because your book has done well (be careful of scams if you are contacted; the only way a bigger publisher will be communicating with you is if you initiate the conversation).

The bottom line is that there is no right and wrong, wise and unwise. Every book is born into its own environment. Follow your instinct or ask your publicist. If you have an exceptionally good relationship with your publisher, ask your publisher. We sometimes advise our authors to place a subsequent book with another publisher--and occasionaly facilitate that. 

Want to read more about the right of first refusal? Click HERE..

Lesson for today's Tuesday talk: Understand the pros and cons of staying with one publisher. Most aiuthors do stay with one publisher; they likely are happy with the relationship they have with that publisher's staff. But, as noted above, there may be benefits to shopping around after your first book is out and has done well.

 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 to see 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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