Agency Lessons: How much input do authors get?

Agency Lessons is a weekly post that gives authors and readers an inside look into the mind of a literary agent and a peek behind the curtain of how books are made.


There are plenty of assumptions I made when I first got into publishing. Little lessons that I thought I learned from reading blog posts and publishing articles. One of those was that authors going the traditional route didn't get any input in the decisions around their book.

I accepted the idea that once an author sold their rights, they gave up the ability to weigh in on the decisions impacting their book. Decisions like book cover, title, editing, and interior.

I was wrong.

Now, let me say that I haven't worked with every publisher out there so I can't speak to a universal truth of publishing. News flash, there is not a universal truth in publishing for everything.

But here's what I do know.

Every publisher I have worked with has, at the minimum, sent the initial cover concept over to the author to get their thoughts. This doesn't mean the author has the final say, but they at least got to give their thoughts.

When it comes to title, I've only had one instance of the publisher requesting another title and their reasoning was based on several other books with the same title already on the market. And, they gave the author the choice in the new title. Hardly, the decision grabbing situation I expected.

The reality of publishing is that situation is much more of a partnership than some would have you believe. After all, it's in the publishers best interest that you love the finished product of your book. The more you love it, the stronger you'll push it and the better the sales. It's a win-win for everyone.

There are still a lot of aspects of publishing that the author gives up when they sign with a publishing houses. But they keep to keep a lot more than I ever expected. And in the end, readers win with new amazing books releasing every week. I can get behind that.