Of course we’re very fortunate to have wonderful authors to work with at Columbia University Press but that might not be the case for all publishers.
Over at his always-interesting blog Close Calls with Nonsense, poet and critic Stephen Burt, author of The Forms of Youth:Twentieth-Century Poetry and Adolescence and Close Calls with Nonsense: Reading New Poetry, offers some advice to authors interested in having a more harmonious relationship with their publisher.
The following are some examples of what authors should recited to themselves upon signing a contract with a publisher (you can read them all here):
I understand that those people may publish other books, from time to time, and may try to make some efforts to sell those books as well; I shall not regard myself as their only author. I shall not take up, unsolicited, more than half an hour per day of their time.
I will not try to design my own book cover, nor to lay out and decide on the graphic elements in my own promotional material. Should I forget myself and try to do so, I will not snap at actual designers should they attempt a redesign.
I understand that even though I know someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows Garrison Keillor, I should not expect Oprah Winfrey to share my book with Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert.
I will never, ever, ever, check my Amazon ranking. By the way, what’s an “Amazon ranking”?