During the process of negotiating your book publishing contract, get to know the editor who will be your contact. Make it clear that you see this relationship as a partnership, not as a competition, even if they don’t at first. And that you need book promotion funds.
Remind them that they benefit when you are motivated to sell books because your effort will make increased sales for the press. They should have a mindset that when you succeed, they succeed.
But, they reply to any request for better terms, we have scarce funds. They will have a valid concern that you will have to overcome.
One way presses can help – at no cost to themselves: Give authors access to their 501(c)(3) status.
What Is 501(c)(3) Status?
Many presses, especially in academia, are 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporations, which means they can accept tax-deductible donations. If your press holds 501(c)(3) status, make it clear that you want to take advantage of their status so you can raise your own book promotion funds.
Then solicit donations from your friends, relatives, and supporters who are looking for tax write-offs.
Your publisher should have no reason to say no if they’re treating you like a partner, not a competitor.
Earmark Book Promotion Funds
But, make sure any donations are earmarked for your book. Otherwise, they’ll go into the press’s general fund and you won’t see any of it.
Find a contact at the press who will keep a record of income and outgo for you. They can easily give you a monthly report so you always know how much money you have available to spend.
Michigan State University Press Acts Wisely
Michigan State University Press let me do that when I published my four-volume Voices from the Underground Series with them.
My contract didn’t allow for any book promotion funds from the press for travelling to conferences and events. But I was able to raise several hundred dollars for travel by soliciting donations from friends who were looking for tax write-offs that year.
Wherever I travelled, I had books with me. My biggest challenge was lugging a sufficient inventory of four separate volumes.
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This piece was adapted from Ken Wachsberger’s You’ve Got the Time: How to Write and Publish That Book in You. Ken’s other books may be found here and here. For book coaching and editing help, or to invite Ken to speak at your meeting, email Ken at [email protected].
Do your members need to understand book contracts? Contact Ken at [email protected].