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Do You Love Your Publisher?
We conducted a major survey of more than 300 professional authors in the UK – the largest recent such survey conducted – and asked them about their relationships with their publishers. The authors... we approached were typically very experienced: they mostly had literary agents, plenty of book deals outside the UK, and two thirds of them had published three or more books. The feedback we had was surprising in multiple dimensions. For all that we hear about the ‘death of the editor’, the fact is that no one seems to have told the authors: our respondents were generally very positive about both editorial and copy-editing functions. Levels of dissatisfaction were very low. When it came to marketing, however, authors were broadly dissatisfied (and the wording of our question took care to guide authors away from an “I wish they’d spent more money on me” type answer.) Almost two thirds of authors were dissatisfied with the marketing campaigns generated for them by their publishers – and many felt barely consulted. It is also notable that publishers very seldom ask authors for their feedback in a genuinely open way. The million dollar question is therefore how authors rate publishers overall: would they stick with the devil they know, or would they move elsewhere. Here authors split into roughly equal thirds: stick, twist, and not sure. (Literary agents, please take note: this finding suggests that literary agents should often be more active in hawking authors to new publishers.) Our infographic offers a punchy visual guide to these issues: picking out the major findings and presenting them in a way that’s hard to ignore. We’ve love it if the infographic circulated widely among publishers and literary agents: we think these issues deserve wider public discussion.
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