Good Experience: Secrets of book publishing I wish I had known
• When you approach publishers with an idea, your main job - practically your only job - is to explain very clearly why the book is going to sell. (Here it really helps if your last name is Clinton.) If you're not a known author or celebrity who can guarantee some sales, then it's best to come in with a clearly defined, market-tested book idea... not to say a knockoff of a bestselling concept or a me-too book on a hot trend, heavens no, we'd never do that, just maybe something "inspired by" a successful book.
• What did you say... you want to do something original? Wait wait wait. Did you not read anything I've written already? "Original" means "risky," which to publishers and bookstores means "it might not sell." IT MIGHT NOT SELL? Oh boy... maybe you could consider doing a cookbook? Or could you become famous and then send out your idea?
• If you do get a publisher interested in your idea, you should know now what the deal will be. You write the book, you promote the book - in other words, you create the product and sell it - and in return, the publisher will allow their name to appear on the book jacket. Oh, and the publisher keeps most of the money - since, they'll remind you, they assumed all the risk in the project.
(via friend of the Almanack Jim Munroe)