How much help should you, the author, expect from your publisher? Well, like with most things, that depends. Depends on you. Depends on your book. Depends on your publisher.
Let’s look at some basics.
1. How much of an advance did you get? That’s a hint as to where you rate in the publisher’s stable of authors. But consider that advance in relation to the average advance of the other authors with that house. Small presses generally have lower advances. They're small, after all. The bigger the advance, the more likely the house is to help you with promotion.
2. Where are you in their catalog? All houses have catalogs they send out to bookstores. Some even send them to anyone who asks for one. If you can’t look at the catalog yourself, then ask. Where is your book placed in the catalog? How big is the write-up? Once again, big is better.
3. What will be the print run? Two hundred? A thousand? Tens of thousands? That gives you an idea of how many they expect to sell. And the more they expect to sell, the more they’ll work with you to make it happen. They don't want to lose money.
4. Will they send you, or help send you, on a book tour? Book tours are expensive. If they send you, that’s fabulous. Give it all you got. If they won’t, set up the appearances yourself or with the help of a professional, hop in your car and give it all you got. If you’re willing to do that, the house may find a bit to help you.
5. Will they help you get reviews? You may have to do a lot of the work yourself, sending out ARCs, asking for cover blurbs, asking local papers for reviews. But it will be difficult on your own to get reviewed by Kirkus or Library Journal or Booklist or Publishers’ Weekly magazine. Having the help and support of your house will make those easier to obtain.
4 months ago