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ing house is a comparatively easy matter. It can be done by applying for a report from any of the commercial agencies, or by making inquiries through one's bankers, or through friends; for if a firm is reputable, the world at large usually knows it. The light of a publisher known for fair dealing can not be hidden under a bushel.
Beware of the sharks, for they write very flattering reports of authors' works- reports so unctuous that the writers hope to beguile their victims with them. One may be fascinated so easily with the charming manner of Mr. Shark and the cordial welcome he extends that the signing of a contract with him is a pleasure. But beware of the awakening! The terms, the full significance of which the unfortunate author sometimes learns too late, may land him into debt with Messrs. Shark & Company for several hundreds of dollars for publishing his book, of which, as is often the case, very few copies have been sold besides those sold with the help of the author.
THE CHARACTER OF THE MANUSCRIPT
Among other things which the author must consider, the first is: What is the character of his manuscript? Is it a work of reference, one of scientific research, or a theological treatise? Per
haps it is a novel, historic or purely romantic, or
So the author should make a judicious and
er's business is not unlike
many another business. Few men who deal in dry-goods expect to trade in battle-ships; he who builds battle-ships has little use in his yard for the bargain counter. Therefore, before forwarding the manuscript it will be found preferable to submit a synopsis of the contents of the volume proposed, showing its scope and explaining its purpose.
In the event of the book being one suited to the publisher's clientèle, the author will then be invited to submit the manuscript.
Manuscripts submitted for publication should always be kept flat. The sheets should be numbered consecutively, and fastened together in such a way that they can be easily turned over. Never roll or fold a manuscript that is to be submitted to a publisher.
Before despatching the manuscript, insure it against loss in transit. A letter advising the publisher to whom it is addressed should precede the manuscript. In this letter the author should request that care be exercised with his manuscript, and that it be insured against loss by fire while it remains in the publisher's custody.
TERMS OF PUBLICATION Assuming the manuscript is accepted, the publisher may offer (1) to purchase it outright for a lump sum, in which case, if the offer be ac
th of be
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cepted, he purchases at the same time the rights of translation and dramatization, except the author stipulates, before the signing of his contract, that he reserves these rights for himself; or (2) to publish it on a royalty basis, in which case the rights of translation and dramatization are provided for separately. In publishing books on a royalty basis it is usual for the publisher to assume the entire cost of production, which includes that of composition, paper, press-work, and binding
In considering the subject of royalty, the author should bear in mind several things, the chief of which is not to believe implicitly all the stories that are told by word of mouth or in the press of the immense sums of money said to have been paid to other authors as royalties on the sales of their books, and the next is to remember not to kill the goose that may lay him a golden egg by exacting too large a royalty from his publisher. If a publisher does not offer to purchase an author's work outright, but offers to publish it on a royalty basis, the author should not conclude that the publisher has only little faith in the book. He should remember that, in offering to publish it on this basis, the publisher
shows his faith by his willingness to incur heavy liabilities in producing the book. These liabilities may be briefly summarized as follows: (1) The publisher usually makes an advance to the author on account of prospective royalties; (2) he pays an editor to prepare the manuscript for the press, for as a rule authors lack the technical knowledge necessary to enable them to do this work for themselves; (3) he pays the printer for the composition and the press-work; (4) he pays the binder for binding the book; and (5) he maintains a staff of persons whose duty it is to draft and place advertising, to distribute the book to the press, to sell it and ship it to the purchasers, to keep accounts, and to promote in general the interests of the author. It stands to reason that if a publisher has to do all this he can not afford to enter into a contract that shall guarantee the author a large royalty. Not many years ago 10 per cent. was the amount of royalty almost invariably paid to authors by publishers, and then authors were glad to accept it. There were fewer authors then, and most of the books published were successes. But times have changed ; to-day their name is legion, and their demands often absurdly extravagant.