How do you deal with frustration over a publisher's choices?

  • All the stories and art for an anthology are in the publisher's hands—camera ready in digital form—and approved (deadline was 4 months ago).
  • Publisher decides to spend months hyping the book and then they will start a fundraising page. How well it does there will determine the print run.
  • Publisher is even doing a tour of potential customers (locations that fit in well with the theme of the book) in the hopes of building anticipation.
  • Publisher wrote all contributors to ask us to do the same.
  • There is no website, no pre-order page, and no fundraising page.
  • There's still over a month left before the fundraising even goes live.
  • Publisher is a single person, not a large house.

I have no reason to believe the publisher is anything but sincere and trustworthy. We all have signed contracts and have not given publisher any money. I also don't need any convincing that publisher is making a mistake here. I've told them so, but it did no good.

How do you cope with such unreasonable delays?

  • 1
    Admittedly, it is very frustrating...
    – xilpex
    Mar 3, 2019 at 6:22

2 Answers 2


This is an endemic problem among small publishers and it's one of the ways that writers are kept writing at a hobby level (this in response to a previous response which basically said 'chill out you're just a hobbyist') rather than being able to move on to professional. Even then, I've read professional full-time writers complaining about problems with delayed payments.

Outing myself here: I'm in the same anthology and have written the publisher criticising (no profanity!) some of their recent business decisions. Delayed payments are only part of the problem in this case; the publisher is making a lot of decisions which, even for a just-starting-out amateur, run contrary to basic business sense.

Outside of that, the only options are sadly to withdraw from the anthology in hopes of finding a better market, and to make allowances when given the opportunity to work with the publisher again.

  • Part of my frustration is that, while it is not my first (or second) published work (including in professional places), it is a first in other ways. First contract. First time getting paid (though far less than the cost of the artists). So I'm eager to see it out already. I think it would be easier if this were not my first rodeo. The other piece I'm working on is a novel, which is going to take longer to come to fruition.
    – Cyn
    Mar 3, 2019 at 16:31

A good way to cope with such unreasonable delays is to not bug the publisher but remind them here and then, in polite manners. If you bug them, they might publish your piece faster but will be hesitant to do anything more. If you remind them numerous amounts of times, all in different fashions, at the right moment, it will stay at the top of their head.

  • Thanks. It's not just my piece though. It's an entire anthology which includes my piece. I have politely responded to pub's emails saying things like "I know my community will be interested but I'm waiting for a link to send them for either the fundraiser or a pre-order." And one equally polite but more direct. Twice total I think.
    – Cyn
    Mar 3, 2019 at 6:24
  • Oh, wow. I don't think I could handle so much dealy.
    – xilpex
    Mar 3, 2019 at 6:27

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