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What other people won’t tell you about landing a publishing deal

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What other people won’t tell you about landing a publishing deal

In our conversations with authors, we found that there are 5 beliefs authors have about landing a publishing deal that no one else is willing to tell them the truth about.

With the publishing world changing so quickly, it’s difficult to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s true and what’s no longer when you’re trying to publish a book.

Publishing Deal Belief 1

Number one is that most authors believe that landing a publishing deal means that they don’t have to do any work, once the book is written—that the publisher will take it from there and the book will automatically be a success. 

The reality is that the publisher is going to ask you to do a LOT in the production and marketing of your book. They may bring the strategy, but you’ll be the one implementing most of the decision-making and marketing.

Publishing Deal Belief 2

The second belief that most authors have about landing a publishing deal is that the publisher loves their book, as-is.

The reality is that the publisher might like the market that your book speaks to and might ask you to do anything from re-write the entire book to come up with an entirely new title for the book. When you partner with a publisher who is paying for the book, everything becomes a negotiation.

Publishing Deal Belief 3

The third belief that most authors have about landing a publishing deal is that they’re a shoo-in for every other book they’ll want to publish in the future.

The reality is that a publisher might accept an author’s first book and reject every book the author pitches to them later. Even multiple-time bestselling author, Michael Hyatt, who was both formerly a CEO AND a New York Times bestselling author pitched his sixth book, Living Forward, to dozens of publishers before finding a publisher that would take the project on.

Publishing Deal Belief 4

The fourth belief that most authors have about landing a publishing deal is that the book is bound to be a best-seller.

The reality is that the publisher is guessing, just as much as you are. The publisher might be releasing 100 books that year and hoping 1 or 2 of those become bestsellers. Is yours going to be at the top? No one knows, not even the publisher. 

Publishing Deal Belief 5

The fifth and most dearly held-belief that most authors have about landing a publishing deal is that they’re going to make a lot of money from book sales.

The reality is that most published books sell fewer than 10,000 copies in the lifetime of the book. And a typical first-time author receives 10% of the retail price of the book as their royalty. That’s basically between one and two dollars. Even if your royalty is a generous $2, that’s less than $20,000 in the lifetime of the book. And how many hours did it take to write, publish, and market that book?


This is exactly why we at Paper Raven Books are so intentional about being honest with every author we talk with. If we can help you see how you can position your book differently or grow your audience or be strategic in your marketing, we’ll tell you upfront, whether you ever work with us or now.

We’re here to help you become a published, successful author—your way.


Bio: With more than 10 years of experience in writing, editing, and publishing books both in and out of a traditional publishing setting, Morgan leads the Paper Raven Books team in developing the best practices for publishing successfully in the modern, digital age.

FREE QUIZ: Which "Publishing Path" Is Right For Your Book?

There are four different publishing paths for the modern author.
Do you know which is right for your book?

TAKE THE QUIZ