Mar 16 Written by 

Why Writers Hate Their Publishers

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It is normal for writers to hate their publishers: They don’t promptly return emails or calls. The book, they said, would be out in May but now they say August. You tear out your hair. They choose the typeface and cover, the fun stuff, while you collect copyright permissions and back-of-the-book blurbs (isn’t that their job?), and they demand that you have an author platform and a marketing plan. They want images at 300 dpi. Awful. This is as true of self-publishers as it is of commercial publishers.

Your book naturally means the world to you, but to publishers your book is only one of many, and you are one of many authors. I can’t say whether they “hate” authors, but publishers can’t possibly enjoy working with horribly anxious or prima-donna authors—and they deal daily with more than one—authors who don’t seem to remember they sold or signed over the manuscript to the publisher. Yes, it's theirs. Remember, you wanted that. At that point your book became a business commodity. Your baby has grown and gone. There's no use trying to be a helicopter parent.


It is normal to feel horribly tense during the weeks or months while your book, especially your first, is in production. Publishers get knocked, because right then there’s no one else to knock. But writers, trying to helicopter-parent your book is not good business, will not help, and your publisher will learn to dread your calls and emails. And he or she will lunch with other publishers and talk about your helicoptering. Please use that energy to write your next book.

1111 Last modified on Friday, 09 February 2018
Catherine Rankovic

Writer, with 30+ years' writing and publishing experience, 20+ years' teaching experience. Last book read: Mrs. Lincoln by Catherine Clinton.