There are many ways publishers can work with their authors for mutual success. I always encourage first-time authors to partner with their publishers as much as possible. But really the advice works both ways.
I see the role of publishers shifting from publicist for a select few high-profile authors to platform educators for first time authors, context builders among the authors on their current and backlists, and content facilitators for readers.
Publishers can do more to help empower their authors using methods that have become quite inexpensive thanks to improved technology and the ease of networking online.
If agents and publishers aren’t viewing authors as partners, it’s just not good for the business of selling books in an increasingly transparent marketplace.
Guy LeCharles Gonzalez recently said--and I felt his comment was apt--Publishers need writers to stay in business, but the reverse isn’t necessarily true.
Maybe we aren't totally there yet, but this sure seems to be the direction we are heading in. Food for thought.