Not long ago, the norm in the publishing industry was that publishers would find great writers, publish their books, and take care of publicity in order to help the author become known. This is no longer the case! More and more, publishers expect an author to have already developed their online platform (social media, website, email, etc.) before they get a book deal. (This is even more the case for large publishers; smaller publishers are a bit hungrier.)
Why is this? Generally speaking:
- Publishers are under increased financial pressure
- So they are forced to do less, and count on the author more
- They focus on few authors; generally authors who they already work with
- Publishing has become more of a “hits” business – similar to music or venture capital – where they are looking for the “big hit” that will make up for all of the books that don’t become bit hits
So what WILL a publisher do for you? Generally they will help you promote your book during a few months before it is released. And they will give you advice on how to do the rest yourself.