My first three books were published by the (then) largest publisher in the Netherlands: A.W. Bruna. I got an official contract and a €5000 advance per book, which would be an exception nowadays. Most publishers currently ask the author for a financial contribution when they publish a book.
Bruna took care of everything: they arranged an editor, a designer, contact with the bookstores, printing, distribution, and marketing. In return, I received ‘only’ 8% of the proceeds from each book. Of course, I first had to recoup the advance.
At first, I felt so lucky. Here I was, a first-time writer getting a contract with a large publishing house. I should have known this was too good to be true.
Working with a big company has its advantages and disadvantages. Without realizing it, my marketing skills were more developed than theirs. Some serious mistakes were made. When in the end I discovered I had earned less on my own books than the truck driver who drove them to the stores, I decided to self-publish my books from then on. I am now working on book number 30!