At Find Your Voice, we believe there is no one-size-fits-all approach to getting your book out into the world. At times, the traditional publishing industry can be frustrating for authors — and it isn’t always the best option! We also know there are so many incredible books out there, ready to be shared with the world, that are being stonewalled by an outdated publishing industry. Here are some of the top ways we believe publishing gets it wrong:
Publishing gets it wrong by focusing too much on “platform”
We hear this question more often than we can even count: “How much does my platform matter?”
Or worse, we hear from hopeful authors who have an incredible story to share, but they think it’s pointless to even try getting their book published, because they don’t have a large enough platform.
We think that’s a shame. Unfortunately, many traditional publishing houses do take into account how large an author’s platform is, rather than focusing solely on that author’s writing talent, the strength of their story, or anything else having to do with the actual book. This discourages so many authors from even beginning the process — and there are so many untold stories because of it.
Publishing gets it wrong in diversity
The publishing industry has plenty of work to do in diversifying — both within its own ranks, and in the books the industry chooses for publication. According to a recent survey by Lee & Low Books, in which 150 companies participated, 76% of publishing professionals are white, with only 7% identifying as Asian American and 6% Black.
Those kinds of numbers do not represent the rest of the country. And it has a direct impact on the voices and perspectives being invited to publish their work. Authors whose books are chosen by traditional publishing houses are also overwhelmingly white. The publishing industry can — and should — do better in putting resources and time into books from non-white authors.
Publishing gets it wrong by sticking with outdated technology and processes
Ask any author who has been through the publishing process, and they will probably tell you how tedious it all was. The back and forth editing process, the sending of files back and forth, the lack of clear, easy digital collaboration — it can all be frustrating for an author, especially if it’s their first time publishing a book.
There is plenty of digital technology available that could make the publishing process much easier. But the problem is publishing is one industry that continues to hold fast to traditional processes, and the “way things have always been done.” Not only can it be inefficient for all parties involved, but it can also be another point of frustration or discouragement for authors.
Publishing gets it wrong through poor communication with authors
In a study of 800 authors, 75% reported that they had never been asked for feedback from their publisher. And 28% of those authors felt that communication with their publisher had been inconsistent both during the process, and after the book came out.
There’s nothing more frustrating for a new author than feeling like they’re not even getting proper communication from their publisher. In a process that’s already stressful enough (edits, marketing, the writing process itself!), poor communication from their publisher can be discouraging for an author trying to get their story into the world.
Does publishing ever get it right?
All that being said, yes, the publishing industry has brought many wonderful books into the world and to our bookshelves. When it goes well, an author has a secure and lasting relationship with both their agent and their editors, the imprint (that’s a publishing house) helps the writer develop their voice, and the industry reaches the people who need to hear the author’s message. Editors know their markets well, and they often pursue people because of the value they see in what the author has to contribute.
We wish we could say it went like that every time — but, either way, we’re here to help you navigate your publishing options. If you’re looking to get your own book into the world but need one-on-one support doing so, check out our Prepare to Publish VIP program for authors.