Publishers are from Mars, Authors are from Pluto

I correspond with a large number of authors and publishers, and speak with not a few on a regular basis. Contrary to popular belief, most publishers aren't insane, they're just tough. Publishers seem like Martians because they are in a tough business, the business of intellectual property. When an author calls a publisher to complain that some error in a book is a serious embarrassment to both parties, it's the publisher's job to decide whether or not that error will affect the bottom line. Unless the "error" is a harmful recipe or an infringement that may result in the publisher getting sued, odds are it doesn't make business sense to recall and pulp a run of books. It's not just the printing and handling costs. It's also the timing of the promotion and the credibility of the publisher with store buyers. For the author, the error looks like everything, to the publisher, it's a little nothing in one of hundreds or thousands of the new titles they published that year. A typical Martian publisher is shown below:

Authors are from Pluto. I speak with, correspond with, and simply encounter in the wild far more authors than publishers and a healthy percentage of them are out there. Mental problems start with not knowing what you want (I'm an expert in this field:-) and most authors haven't even asked themselves the question. I primarily talk with authors who are interested in self publishing, and the first question I normally ask them is, "Do you want to be a businessman?" If you don't want to be in business, don't go into the publishing business. If all you want is to see a manuscript that's been turned down by the Martians a hundred times in print, pay a subsidy press a few hundred dollars to print it and get on with your life. If you want to be famous, mingle with the "quality", have beautiful young people in thrall, you better stick with the big trades. You also better stick with novels unless you're a college professor and already have the adulation of a captive audience. A typical photo of an author from Pluto below:

When you're a self publisher, you win the bonus prize of having to act as your own acquisitions editor. If you want to make a living, you have to be that jerk who rejects your manuscript because it's not commercial. If you're smart and don't suffer from multiple personalities, you'll do the market research and make that decision before you sit down and start writing. It's supposed to be a business, not a horror movie. The publishing industry is not the three headed monster so many outsiders make it out to be. It's actually a three tongued monster, one that is more interested lapping up the dollars out of your wallet than eating your children. Occasionally, though, the publishing industry does go after a kid for variety:

If publishers are from Mars and authors are from Pluto, readers are from everywhere. I doubt there's a country with a major population from which I haven't received an e-mail about something or other that I've written. In fact, I seem to get a large number of e-mails from some rather small countries where the readers were so enthralled that they want to go into the banking business with me! English is probably as close to a universal language as the planet has had since pre-Babel days, but translation opportunities abound for both authors and publishers alike. I figure the majority of the worlds population can read one of my books in their native language, since I've had translations in Spanish, Chinese, Arabic and Russian. I even had a book translated to Farsi, though the Iranian publisher neglected to pay for the privilege. Ironically, the language I've never been published in is the one I've did a whole book of translations from, Hebrew. Readers are indeed everywhere, except Jerusalem:

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