Publishers are the people in charge of making sure your work as an author is properly checked, edited and distributed.

So then what happens if a publisher wants your book?

This is a question I recently came across and it got me excited so I thought I should write about the general of what exactly happens when a publisher is interest in your book.

Of course this is simply going to be a general outline of what the process would look like because publishing houses as you may know it all work differently despite their model being the same.

Now that we have that out of the way let’s get into what happens when a publisher wants your book.

First communication

When a publisher wants your book the first thing they’ll do is setup first communication with you. If you don’t have an agent they will reach out to you directly by any way that they feel necessary. But we can pretty much narrow it down to via phone or email because these are the most formal methods.

If you have an agent, then the publisher will contact your agent and express interest in your work so that the agent can have a sit down with you as the author and give you details of the communications with the publisher.

Second communication

After you have a sit down with your editor and discuss what the publisher is looking for from you. You can then decide the course of action moving forward.

At this point the publisher will want to set up a meeting with you and your agent so they discuss and communicate their interest on your book.

The offer

In your discussions with the publishers, they’ll give you their plan for your book and give you an offer for an advance.

An advance is basically a rough estimation of how many copies of your book can sell ….mind you, the publisher has to recoup their investment and only after can they start paying out royalties to you.

The offer for the advance can vary anywhere from $500 and up depending on your stature as an author, the quality of the work, the demand for your work and several other factors that could contribute to how well your book sells.

In these negotiations, your agent is vital and key because they’ll be able to tell you whether it is wise to accept the offer or not.

Agents will usually want to get you the best offer possible so they can get a better cut off the advance.

The terms

Once all discussions are done, the follow up will be the terms. At this stage the publisher will send you a copy of their terms so you can review them and decide whether or not it’s a good idea to accept these terms, sign and get the ball rolling.

Most authors at this stage will involve a lawyer to help them read the contract and understand it.

The agent play

If your agent had submitted your work to other publishers, once an offer presents itself, it’s going to be the role of the agent to reach out to all publishers that have received the book for a response.

The agent at this time will use the on-going offer as a bargaining chip to solicit a response from all publishers and possibly get a better offer.

If you don’t have an agent on the other hand, you’ll have to reach out to these publishers yourself and explain that you have received an offer.

This may get publishers to step away and let the other publisher get the book or they may make you an offer to sort of out-bid the publisher that has already made an offer to you.

Negotiation plays

If at all you get more offers from other publishers, it will be the role of your agent to work out the best possible offer.

Mind you, the offer is not only about the advance. It’s about many other factors such as the terms in the contract, the reputation of the publishing House, the royalty-rate agreement, release dates, marketing budgets and many other factors.

Your agent will use all these factors solicit the best possible offer from publishers.

Setting up the deal

Once your agent gets the best possible offer, contractual proceedings can take place.

Usually the publisher will draft up a contract based on the terms and the actual offer that the Publishing House promised.

Once this contract is drafted, the publisher will email it to you for consideration.

At this time your agent with a lawyer will go through the contract and ensure that everything you had agreed upon with the publisher is reflec3ted in the contract.

If everything is in place, you as the author can sign the contract to get the ball rolling.

Contract finalisation

Once the contract is signed you’ll have a meeting with the publisher to put everything in order and work out all the details.

The publisher will give you an understanding of what to do in the time leading up to the official release of the book.

This is important because it will give you an idea of the overall process.

It is at this time that the publisher will avail the overall plan and provide you with the advance as agreed upon in the contract.

Follow up

The publisher at this time will have the ball in there court. They’ll give you all the details you need to know and will let you in on their plan to effectively release your book.

Most publishers at this time will allow you to announce your book deal to the public.

Your editor at this time will also be free to announce your book deal on the publisher’s marketplace.

After the signing is complete the publisher will likely at this time advise you to get in touch with your editor so the process of fine tuning the book can begin.


In conclusion, when a publisher wants your book they’ll generally reach out with an offer to publish it via their publishing house.

Categories: Writing