17-Year-Old Author Falls Victim to Yet Another Defunct Publisher by Angela Hoy

17-Year-Old Author Falls Victim to Yet Another Defunct Publisher by Angela Hoy

Small publishers, as well as print on demand and publishing services firms, are biting the dust left and right. With stiff competition worldwide, it has become increasingly difficult for some of them of them to stay in business. And, it’s not just the small firms that are having trouble. In fact, the small ones seem to be doing better than the large ones, probably because they’ve kept their overhead low.

I received an email from a woman who claimed her 17-year-old son was one of the victims of defunct Green Ivy Publishing. She wanted to have her son’s book republished and she was, of course, very skeptical about which publisher to trust moving forward.

She wrote:

“We are being very careful this time with who we trust because we’re talking about the dreams of being a great writer. Dreams that, as a mother, I don’t want to see shattered. My question to you is the legality of copyright. We’ve never seen any royalties from his book and it seems as though the site is permanently closed. So, books are being sold as we speak and there’s nothing we can do about it.”

How does an author avoid becoming the victim of a firm that’s ultimately going to go out of business? There are no guarantees but there are ways to protect yourself. First, you need to fight the temptation to race full-speed ahead with publishing your book. I know how exciting it is when you finally finish a book. You want to put it on the market yesterday! But, that can lead to disaster in the long-run.

It literally takes just 10 minutes to research a firm you’re thinking about doing business with. And, finding red flags is so easy!

RED FLAGS FROM EMPLOYEES

The first place to check is GlassDoor.com, which is a site that allows employees to post anonymous reviews about their employers, and workplace in general. If there are no reviews about a company at all, that’s a good thing!

While it’s blatantly obvious that some positive reviews about some companies are fake on that site (some employees even point out the false positive reviews and some have reported that their employers told employees to post positive reviews!), you can usually figure out which ones are real based on the details provided. I’m not saying any of the Green Ivy positive reviews were false. In fact, they all look pretty legitimate. However, no positive reviews were posted after 2016.

The negative reviews for Green Ivy Publishing mention things like:

2015 – “greedy”
2017 – “went downhill this year”
2017 – “company is not trustworthy”

A term like “downhill” is a HUGE red flag. That may indicate the company is about to close its doors. And, in this case, the employee was right. Employees posting words like not trustworthy and greedy are also huge red flags.

RED FLAGS FROM CUSTOMERS

There are also 55 reviews for Green Ivy Publishing on PissedConsumer.com, dating back to early 2016, with $150K in claimed losses. And, they’re not pretty!

If I had considered publishing a book with Green Ivy Publishing, and saw the myriad of negative comments about them, I’d have run screaming the other way.

Unfortunately, it seems most authors who are in a hurry to publish their new books sign up with a publisher without doing any research at all. One, or two, or even a handful of bad reviews, in relation to the number of books that firm has published, is to be expected. And, you should always keep in mind that some disgruntled employees and even competitors can post false negative reviews about a company, including under a variety of names.

But, if you are seeing dozens of negative reviews that seem to revolve around similar themes (non-payment of royalties, the publisher ignoring its authors after they paid the initial fees, extreme disorganization, repeated use of the words “scam” and “rip off,” etc.), you should avoid that firm at all costs.

As to the author’s question about copyright, each publisher’s contract should state if they or the author own the rights to the production files the publisher creates for the book – files the author PAYS them to create. If there is no such clause, and barring a work-for-hire agreement (which none of them have), the publisher owns the rights. Authors should never, ever sign over the rights of their production files to publishers, no matter how good they make that “special deal” look. If an author retains the rights to their production files, they can use those files anywhere they choose if that publisher goes belly-up. If the publisher owns the rights, the authors must start all over again to get their book republished, including paying for new editing, new cover design, and more.

Unfortunately, there are only a handful of publishers that don’t take rights to their authors’ files, and don’t charge authors extra for those files later. However, among those, many charge outlandish set-up fees (they gouge authors up front), and have numerous bad reviews posted about them online.

Below is a very short list of well-known, stable publishers that do NOT take rights from authors, and don’t charge additional fees for production files, along with a comparison of the costs of similar services offered by each. Additional details about each are HERE.

We have not included publishers that:

  • Don’t openly publish their prices online. If you are forced to ask how much, that usually means you can’t afford it! And, forcing a potential customer to give you their contact info. before they can even see your prices is unethical. They do that so they can add you to their marketing (ahem – spam) list.
  • Have too many complaints posted about them online.
  • Are new and/or virtually unknown publishers (those are the ones most likely to go out of business).
  • We know, through industry insiders, are at risk of going belly up.
  • Don’t have their own online bookstore where authors can earn much higher royalties.

Here they are:

BookLocker.com: $725 with this discount code – WritersWeeklyReader 

  • A+ Rating at the Better Business Bureau
  • 20 years in business
  • Rated “Outstanding” by attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print of Self Publishing

Dog Ear Publishing: $2099

  • A Rating at the Better Business Bureau
  • 18 years in business
  • Rated “Outstanding” by attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print of Self Publishing

See? I told you the list is small.

Next week, we’ll look at a list of print on demand/publishing services firms that have gone out of business. In every case, the red flags were painfully obvious before each firm’s demise.

3 Responses to "17-Year-Old Author Falls Victim to Yet Another Defunct Publisher by Angela Hoy"

  1. Chief  May 19, 2018 at 1:42 am

    I’m NEW to this website, but getting published very soon with “BookLocker“.
    Angela, THANK YOU for doing what you do, and for publishing THIS page as well.
    I was “ALMOST” another victim to “Green Ivy” publishing as they hounded me for weeks.
    Things just didn’t smell right, along with “Page Publishing” and “Archway”, which wanted to keep 95% of the book, and so many others I can’t even begin to count them all, never mind name them.
    What I do know is that even when an Author does their homework, there still are no guarantees there won’t be more sharks in the waters. Finding BOOKLOCKER was the best thing that ever happened to me. You are SO APPRECIATED!
    Chief

    Reply
    • By Angela Hoy - Publisher of WritersWeekly.com  May 19, 2018 at 5:12 pm

      We LOVE working with you, Chief!!! 🙂

      – Angela

      Reply
  2. pamelaallegretto  May 18, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    Another good reminder, although I don’t need one, that I made the right choice in signing with BookLocker.

    Reply

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