two different book formats

Will my book come out in hardcover or go straight to paperback?

I’m guessing you would know if your book is going straight to paperback, as that would have been made clear upon signing the contract. Here are some advantages of going straight to paperback: 1) They’re cheaper, so people will be more willing to take the risk of buying a book by an author they’ve never heard of. 2) They tend to take less time to produce and release. Here are some drawbacks of going straight to paperback: 1) Libraries might be more hesitant to purchase them because they’re less durable. 2) Paperbacks are nominated for fewer awards.

Will my hardcover book eventually be printed as a paperback too?

Maybe. If you go to your book’s Indiebound/Amazon/BN page you will probably see a listing for your paperback and maybe a projected date for its release (usually one year after your hardcover publishes). But your publisher might decide to delay your paperback, possibly even “indefinitely.” Some paperbacks get delayed because the hardcover is selling so incredibly well that the publisher wants to keep on selling it (because hard covers have a higher profit margin than paperbacks do). Some paperbacks get delayed because so many hard covers have gone unsold that the publisher doesn’t want to start putting cheaper paperbacks on the market knowing that no one will then buy those more expensive hardcovers that are still floating around.

If my book gets a paperback edition, when will that edition go on sale?

Usually around one year after the hardcover. But your publisher may try to publish the paperback at the same time that your second book comes out, or even a few months before. That way, as buzz builds for your second book, readers who haven’t yet discovered your first book will pick up the paperback. Plus, Barnes and Noble, who probably stopped stocking your first book after a few months or so, will likely now stock your paperback for a few months around the time your second book comes out.

Will my paperback get new cover art?

Probably. New cover art means a second chance to appeal to readers who didn’t discover your book the first time around. Then again, if your first book’s cover art is already working well to appeal to readers, it might not get changed.