First, you get an advance up front. Sometimes they even pay you to start writing. In all cases they should pay you the full advance amount by the time you hand them the manuscript. Especially if you’re in a tight money situation, this can be a Godsend.
Next, they take care of all editing and cover design for you. They have a firm eye on what will sell. If you trust them to make good decisions on these fronts, it’s a lot of stress off your shoulders. They give you a finished book, they give you a cover, and you are good to go.
Third up, if you are “worthy enough”, they have the pull to set up TV interviews. A benefit of those expensive New York City offices is that they meet-and-greet with a variety of media types. You could get that interview on the Today Show.
You generally shouldn’t have to worry about book inventory. They normally do a run in the tens of thousands of books if they’re going to take you on as a client. If you need more to bring to signings you normally do pay a fee to get them but they are there and available.
They can generally get you into bookstores and libraries. This can definitely be a huge plus. Many top-end bookstores like Barnes & Noble won’t stock self-published books. They simply don’t have the space. Their shelves are full. But if MacMillan calls them and asks them for space, Barnes & Noble will say yes. The same with libraries – especially school libraries for kids’ books. The large publishers have an influence that smaller houses just can’t reach.
Also, if you want to write a book on a topic which costs money to research – for example a story set in Nova Scotia – that advance can cover your bills. If you’re able to sell the publishing company on the “idea” of your story, without having the story completed yet, then they can in essence fund you those costs (out of your own profits, of course). Still, it means the book can get done.
Publisher Options - main page
Overview of Publishing Options
... Pros of Traditional Publishers
... Cons of Traditional Publishers
Small Press Publishers
... Pros of Small Press Publishers
... Cons of Small Press Publishers
Vanity Press Publishers
... Pros of Vanity Press Publishers
... Cons of Vanity Press Publishers
... Pros of Self Publishing
... Cons of Self Publishing
Using a Literary Agent
What Does It Cost to Ghostwrite a Book?
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