Truths About The Publishing Industry In The Philippines They Don't Tell You.


I had the chance to experience being a published writer at the beginning of 2014. All in all, I already have 3+ years of experience and that three years taught me hard lessons about the Publishing Industry as well as the truths I never even knew when I was just an 'aspiring' writer.

1. It doesn't just happen overnight just like what they tell you.
Seeing your books displayed in the bookstores as well as seeing readers buy them is a very fulfilling feelings. But it doesn't just happens overnight. As a writer, my part is to write a story 'worth' publishing and 'worth' reading by the readers. After its approval, the editors will have to edit them, or sometimes overhaul them, the covers must be thought of, and other hard work to achieve the 'worthy' book to be displayed in the bookstores and be sold to the world. Sometimes you have to revise your story even if you don't want to because the editors are the 'authority' when it comes to having your books published. Sometimes it won't even look like your story anymore but you have to oblige or there will be problems or delays. Or worse, your story will just be in the pending ones for a long time.

2. Your input on things about your upcoming book isn't usually relevant.
I am not saying that this happens all the time, but in my case, it did happen a few times. No matter what suggestions you make, the last decision still stays within the management. I know, it makes sense since they should know what to do because they have been doing it 'for a long time' and you are just the writer, but I just wish they can be more open with the writers in exchanging ideas about the creative process and details of the books.

3. Marketing? What Marketing?
If you're in one of those 'few' publishing houses who are willing to splurge on marketing your books, then you are lucky! Some Publishing houses just rely on their 'loyal' readers from other writers to also try the books from other writers. Some are effective, but not all the time. You have to market your own book. There are also times that you have to pay for your own transportation expenses in going to book signings and launching because they won't provide that for you, even if you are an exclusive writer. But they will provide for the 'venue' and the 'snacks' of the event. Some companies give a few bucks, but some does  provide from plane ticket (if out of town) and accommodations. This practice discourages some aspiring writers thinking they can't succeed because they have no one to market their stories to.

4. Favoritism also exists.
When you enter an industry wherein a lot of people are already well known for something you've been wanting to do just now, it's hard. It gets easier if those people are supportive of you. I guess I'm a little lucky enough that I've met a few friends, old and new writers, when I was starting up. But then, there's also the writers who sees you as a competition or other people who just plainly doesn't like you. It can get ugly. Especially when the management will always be in favor of the ones who has been with them for a long time over someone new. Just like everywhere else.

5. Promises are futile.
We've all been there. Promises of big things and big plans that turned out to nothing. I wasn't bitter about this. I got over this fact because let's face it, you have to be enticed to say YES in every offer. There's the offer of a big possibility of your story will be turned into a movie or tv series (which at that time sounds possible because the hysteria was up!) or the promises of earning good amount of money or more opportunities. Although if I can turn back the time, I wish I became more careful, I don't regret anything now because somehow, it helped me be what I am today. I may not be as successful as other writers from WATTPAD but I learned through the process. And it is the priceless thing of all.

6. There are different type of 'RIGHTS' you should know.
I am still not aware of every rights but all I know is that your story is your intellectual rights. Don't let the publisher get all the rights to your book. Some says it's not allowed but I unknowingly gave my 'rights' the the first publishing house I've been an exclusive with. Meaning, with one payment and a possibility of having royalties, they have all the rights to keep on publishing your story, they can revise it without your permission or things alike. Please do not do this. Then there's the 'printing rights' that other publishing houses practices. It means they are only the ones who have the rights to publish your certain story but you will always have say in it because the full rights are yours. There are other publishing house that only has a few years contract in a certain story. For example, their publishing rights of your story will only lasts for five years. After five years, you can print it again with added chapters or such and self published it or something.

7. They sometimes break what's in the contract and you can't do anything about it.
Just like the PROMISES ARE FUTILE, this one's the written one. It's a binding contract since both parties signed it. There can be dates and other benefits stated that you'll only realize doesn't actually matter. Example, there's the date wherein its stated that before that date, your book should already be published. Or the benefit like if you sighed a contract with them, you will be marketed as their writer or something alike. You'll soon realize that they broke it, but what can you do? You can talk to them and ask for answer but you're lucky if they give even a generic answer. This is the sad truth.

8. Contracts won't be explained well, sometimes.
You thought you are getting the best, but sorry you're not. It's just in the paper. You can ask what some clauses means but you should ask them to explain what you don't understand so you won't regret signing it. But then, they break the contracts sometimes so yeah, it's a cycle.

9. Not all Publishing Houses takes care of their writers the same.
Aside from the favoritism, publishing houses treats their writers differently. You're lucky if you signed a contract that will honor the contract as well as really interested in asking your inputs in the manuscript you gave them. Some will just let you wait for a million years for a response about the evaluation of your manuscripts. Some will just publish your work a month after you sent them. Some will treat you as their queen or king, but some will treat you like they only pity you.

10. Royalty can be really tricky.
Royalty is what you can earn after selling your books, depending on the deal. Some poeple thinks it's a good thing because it's an added income but it's really actually hard work. There's the deal wherein you have to sell this certain number of books first before you start having percentage of the next sales. There's the percentage per books and then there's the certain amount per book. I got the first type of deal which isn't ideal for someone as not as successful as others. My books had to sell this certain amount (5 digits) before I can start having a peso per books sold after I achieve that. I thought that was ideal since I know I'd reach other readers because the books will be displayed in bookstores but that's not the case. The other two are ideal because every books sold, you'll get your share. But you have to reach a certain amount of time before you receive it, or certain amount. Example, your royalty should reach 10,00php before they can give it to you, or your total royalty amounting to four months will be given to you every four months. The likes.


But please do not be discouraged. Knowing these facts, you should know now what to do in case you'll receive an offer or a deal. Or at least you'll know the possibilities. There are publishing houses who does everything in the contracts both of you signed, there are also publishing houses who will take care of you even if you don't have that much readers, and they will help you. There are publishing houses who treats their writers good, same as the old ones they got. You just have to know your options. Or better yet, talk to a certain writer and maybe they can give you a view of what they know about the publishing house they are in.

But please, do not ask for the amount they receive. It's rude. I didn't even post a thing about it above because it's a thing I don't really want to discuss anymore.

I posted this so anyone who thinks that being a published writer in the Philippines is a sunshine and rainbow journey. IT'S NOT. You'll just have to be more well informed and research other things about it before entering the bandwagon.

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