Traditional Publishing Myth: Your Book Will Be Published Exactly as It Was Written

Nonfiction Book Awards Entry ApplicationAs you may know, I’ve written books using both “sides” of the publishing business—traditional and self-published. Though there are advantages and disadvantages to both, one of the most distressing aspects of publishing a book through the traditional route is giving up creative ownership of your book’s title, concept—even text!

Before you make your final decision regarding which path you want to take to publish your book, read on:

When you sign a book deal with a traditional publisher, you give up your rights to your work–and unfortunately that can lead to some drastic changes to your manuscript. The publisher can choose to remove entire sections of your book or reorganize the materials. These changes will typically be sent to you for “approval,” but don’t kid yourself if you think your vote always counts! Ultimately, it’s up to the publisher how your book will appear, and this is usually stipulated in the book contract you sign.

This also means that the publisher can change the title of your book, something that happens more often that you might realize. And that new title might be better or worse. In many cases that I’ve seen, the new title has been a lousy choice. And even when the author disagrees with the choice, the publisher (usually keeping market trends in mind) moves forward with its own agenda.

This is just one more thing for you to weigh when deciding whether to pursue the traditional or self-published route with your book, but personally, I’m always in favor of retaining as much control over my work as possible!

1 Comment on "Traditional Publishing Myth: Your Book Will Be Published Exactly as It Was Written"

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  1. This is one excellent reason to consider Self-publishing keeping in mind you should still seek feedback and make your work the best it can be. Years ago a friend bemoaned the change of title and cover art on one of her books. It was about the 15th or so she’d published with her traditional publisher. Their choice of titles and art work was chilling weird! One down side to publishing with a traditional publisher.

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