Playing on an author’s vanity is one of the most common marketing ploys used in the publishing services industry. From promises of wealth and fame to ridiculous “your book can be a movie!” promotions, there is seemingly nothing these clowns won’t do to dig deeper into their authors’ pockets.
NOTE: At BookLocker.com, we do NONE of these things. We offer professional services at prices far below the industry standard. We know that playing with an author’s ego is insulting, as well as unethical.
Another similar method some firms use to sign up newbies to their author mills is to run contests, which are worded in a similar false-flattery fashion. One firm in particular promised some lucky authors placement in bookstores. (We later heard that it was actually one copy of one book…in one bookstore.) Another offered the winner(s) traditional publishing contracts (ahem…). There are many ways to play on an author’s vanity, and offering the chance to break out of the self-publishing mold can be effective…except when the authors find out that the “traditional” deal is anything but.
There are two types of contests that publishing services use to prey on self-publishing authors:
1. Contests for their existing authors. They may not only charge a fee these contests, but they may also require the author to purchase a copy of their book for each judge. Cha-ching for the publisher!
2. Contests for prospects. They convince new authors to submit their manuscript to their contest. They may or may not charge an entry fee. One lucky person might win. The rest are subjected to endless spam from the publisher in an attempt to convert a certain percentage of the contestants to paying customers (self-publishing authors).
In my opinion, any publisher who must resort to vanity games and silly contests like this should be avoided at all costs. That’s a classic sign of an author mill.
What is an author mill? We’ll discuss that next week and we’ll give you 10 signs to look for, too!
About The Author
Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).
WritersWeekly.com - the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday.
BookLocker.com - According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is: "As close to perfection as you're going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I've ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can't go wrong here. Plus, they're selective and won't publish any manuscript just because it's accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors' books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know."
Abuzz Press offers FAST and FREE book publication, but only accepts a small percentage of submissions, and only works with U.S. authors.
PubPreppers.com - "We Prep, You Publish!" Print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish. Offers formatting and design services only, and then provides simple instructions for authors on where to sign up to have the print and ebook editions printed/listed/sold. Cut out the middle man. Keep 100% of what bookstores pay for your book!
Angela's POD Secrets Revealed Series can be found HERE.
Got questions about Print On Demand and Self-publishing? Ask Angela.
Have a POD Book with another publisher? See if BookLocker can give you a better deal. (BookLocker offers "disgruntled author discounts" to those who want to move from other POD services.)
See BookLocker's publishing packages HERE.
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Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!
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