February 22, 2012
POD SECRETS REVEALED: Print on Demand's Bottom Feeders! By Angela Hoy, co-owner of BookLocker and WritersWeekly.com | printable version
Previous installments of Angela's "POD Secrets Revealed" series can be found HERE.
It seems it's not enough that some POD publishers charge new authors thousands of dollars to publish a book. Some have taken the low road by attempting to trick their competitors' authors into thinking they need more than one publisher.
Once you put your book on the market, the bottom feeders will find you. It's not that hard if you have your name on your book and if you have your own website. You will be contacted (spammed) by companies that want to offer you all kinds of services - services your POD publisher likely already offers...and services you probably don't need. In most cases, these services cost far more than any resulting book sales.
One POD publisher in particular preys on new authors (authors who have recently been published by the POD publisher's competitors) by telling them they can get the author better distribution, more sales, etc...for only a few thousand dollars. Their marketing pitch is pretty shameful, to say the least. They woo the author using high praise, targeting the author's vanity, of course. Before the author knows what's hit them, they have spent thousands of dollars to get essentially the same services they were already receiving from their first POD publisher. They also find out later that this particular POD publisher uses the same printer as their first POD publisher (the major POD players all use the same printer), along with the same distribution system (Ingram). Of course, these authors have been hoodwinked into paying twice to have their book published.
And, that's not the only company doing this sort of back alley business. Another POD publisher has been luring authors in with the promise of selling rights to their books. They charge the authors several thousand dollars, use the authors' existing files (designed by their first POD publisher - if the author can get their hands on the files), and then force the author to buy copies of the books the new publisher will distribute. Worst of all, their contract claims exclusive rights in specific countries for the authors' books and, when the author signs, they will then be violating the worldwide, non-exclusive rights they gave to their first POD publisher. They must then terminate their first publisher's contract and direct all sales to the new firm. In my opinion, these authors are being tricked into moving their books to a new publisher with the promise (NOT guarantee!) of possible sales of rights in the future.
Traditional publishers (including foreign ones) aren't standing in line waiting to give contracts to unknown authors for their rights.
Still another POD publisher hunts down newly-published authors, and then spams them to Kingdom Come, offering the world if they agree to move their books. Of course, it's not free! Once the new edition is published, the authors realize they are in the exact same position they were in before - their book is on the market, on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, distributed by Ingram, etc. - yet they've now paid twice for setup fees, design, distribution, etc.
Some POD publishers claim to offer "cooperative publishing" in an attempt to lure newly-published authors into their lair, saying they are investing as much money as the author in the project (ahem...). Yet, they still charge the author thousands of dollars - often far more than what the author would pay for similar services elsewhere. Be extremely cautious of companies that use "too good to be true" marketing verbiage on their websites! Some will say or write anything in an attempt to empty your wallet.
If your book is for sale, and you're happy with your POD publisher, and you are then contacted by a company that is trying to tell you they are better than everybody else, ask yourself what this company can REALLY do for you since your book is already on the market. Companies that spam authors in an attempt to get them to move their existing, published books (for a hefty fee!) are bottom-feeders. They're going after any scrap they can, in any way they can, and their primary business model is seeing how much money they can get out of each author.
If you are a newly-published author, don't fall victim to the sweet talk and empty promises you will inevitably hear from the Print on Demand industries' bottom feeders. Believe me - they're already looking for you.
More in the POD Secrets Revealed Series -
And, even more HERE.
Angela Hoy is the co-owner of WritersWeekly.com and BookLocker.com. WritersWeekly.com is the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday. 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."
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Angela is Publisher of WritersWeekly.com and Co-owner of POD firm BookLocker.com.