The Advantages of Being Published by a Big Five Book Publisher
Want to be published by one of the Big Five publishers or other major publishers? There's a high bar to meet to sign a book contract with a traditional publisher, but there is much value in the relationship.
For those who make the grade, here are some of the benefits:
You'll Get Multiple Rounds, Types of Book Editing
You are now in a business relationship with your publisher, and it's your editor's job to make sure what goes out into the marketplace is as good as possible.
There are different types of editors and editorial processes that a manuscript goes through on its way to becoming a book. If you're working with a traditional publisher and editors, you'll see that with each round, your work will become more and more refined – and if you had to pay for these editorial labors from a high quality outside services, you'd be spending thousands if not more.
You'll Get Expert Packaging and Production
From developing the just-right book title to designing the interior page layouts and book jacket, traditional book publishing houses have staffs of editors, marketers, and designers to develop a "selling" book package.
Also, the role of the production department is to make sure the book is copyedited, make sure the hard copies are properly printed and bound, and make sure the digital files are clean. If you were to self-publish, these services cost money and time to manage.
Your Book Will Have Various Sales Channels
While it's generally up to the book buyers to decide what titles they will take in for sale, your book is represented in the publisher's seasonal catalog and via wholesale distributors.
While some self-publishing companies offer a service whereby the books are available on wholesale lists just in case a book buyer becomes aware of it and wants to carry it; traditional publishers actually have warm sales bodies proactively hawking your book to a variety of different bookselling outlets.
These outlets include everything from online retailers to bricks-and-mortar stores that carry a wide selection of books to specialty stores (like Crate and Barrel for cookbooks that might go with the appliances they're selling) to category busters (like Petco), which might take only narrow subject matter but that might be appropriate for your specific title.
You'll Get Book Marketing
A very small percentage of books from a traditional publisher get a big marketing or publicity budget. It's true that these days much depends on the author's existing platform, how hard the author him or herself works to get the word out, and the interest of the booksellers or the media.
But at a traditional publisher, all books get at least a baseline amount of exposure from the book marketing department and an assigned publicist who will at very least do a basic publicity punch list for the books under his or her charge.
That said, the job of traditional publishers' marketing and publicity departments is to exploit opportunities for exposure. So if the book gets a lot of positive review attention or sales momentum then you'll get more marketing support.
You'll Get More Publicity Support
Great reviews and an increasing sales pattern might extend the life of your publicity and marketing. Other occasions where the publishing house will up the level of support for a book are the paperback launch, or at the release of a film or TV adaptation.
Of course, if you do seek a traditional book contract with a major publisher, you'll learn there are bars to entry, and you'll have to make some business trade-offs, but most publishing pros think the Big Five route is worth the effort if you have what it takes to get there.
If you, on the other hand, you think you'd like to self-publish, here's more information on going with the Indie author route.
If you have somewhat of a platform or deep subject expertise and don't want to go it alone, you may want to consider approaching a hybrid publisher. And some beginning writers in genre fiction (like romance) might have luck in digital-first publishing houses to help build their credentials and readership.