25 Sure-fire Signs Your Publisher May Be Going Out of Business (and what you can do NOW to save your book!)

25 Sure-fire Signs Your Publisher May Be Going Out of Business (and what you can do NOW to save your book!)

I’d like to thank some of Tate Publishing’s victims for contributing a few of the items on this list! What are some sure-fire signs your publisher may be going out of business and what can you do to save your book from instant demise before (or when) they do?


1. The publisher has changed ownership two or more times in the past few years

2. The publisher hosts lavish events that make it obvious they’re not being responsible with their cash-flow. The owner may display (and flaunt) signs of wealth that you wouldn’t expect from someone in this type of industry.

3. They hire editors for English-language books…who barely speak English.

4. Each time you call or email them about your book, you get a different person. High employee turnover. Or, the “leader” of a division of the company, who was very bad at their job anyway, suddenly leaves.

5. You place an order for copies of your book but the order doesn’t arrive, or arrives way behind schedule.

6. The company is no longer responding to emails or phone calls (you get an auto-reply email or a phone recording and nobody ever responds.)

7. Late or non-existent royalty REPORTS.

8. Late or non-existent royalty PAYMENTS.

9. They claim your royalty check was “lost in the mail” and that they’ll send a replacement check (but it, of course, never arrives)

10. Industry insiders are reporting that their business has slowed significantly.

11. Their business drops but they keep bleeding the same amount of cash (they don’t tighten their belts but, instead, keep expanding and sending out newsletters claiming they’re growing).

12. Increasing numbers of complaints about them posted online.

13. They no longer allow authors to post to the publisher’s social media pages. (This is their way of attempting to cut off public criticism.)

14. They start sending out increasingly desperate, insistent marketing messages, trying to get authors to spend more and more money. It becomes obvious that they need lots of money from new authors to pay their existing authors’ royalties, as well as other expenses. At this point, the owners may know they’re going out of business soon and they’re trying to sock away as much cash as they can, knowing full-well that they will not be performing any services for those new authors (who have already paid them). Also at this point, the publisher has usually stopped paying royalties. Some compare this behavior to a ponzi scheme.

15. Employees get noticeably upset when you don’t spend enough money on a product or service (i.e. ordering 250 copies instead of 500 or 1000).

16. They think of ridiculous ways to upsell authors on downright ludicrous products and services that will never bring in as many book sales as those products and services cost.

17. They offer to refund your fees if you sell a specific number of books AND the terms of those purchases must be very specific (i.e. only sales through the publisher’s website qualify…but everybody knows that most people buy books through Amazon).

18. There are online threats of lawsuits (or actual lawsuits) against the firm by authors and/or vendors.

19. Their business dealings are so bad that even their employees are complaining about them online.

20. They claim that, if you pay more money, they’ll publish all your future books for free. (Chances are, this firm will no longer be in business by the time you finish your next book.)

21. They claim to have run advertisements for your book (that you paid for) but they can’t show you any proof that any ads actually ran. Or, they claim to have displayed your book at out-of-state book fairs, but can provide no proof that they even attended those book fairs, much less displayed and promoted your book.

22. They claim to have sent out press releases about your book, or promoted your book to libraries and bookstores, or performed any fee-based marketing task at all…but they can’t prove any of those services were ever performed.

23. You start seeing comments, posts, and articles online about them not paying their bills.

24. The desperate publisher starts to display odd, disturbing behavior, which may be upsetting to employees and authors alike.

25. Increasingly angry authors who post complaints about them online start using the term “class-action.”


Unfortunately, when a publisher goes out of business, many authors look back, and realize the writing had been on the wall for months, if not years. If a publisher has performed so poorly that they can’t even sell their authors’ contracts to another publisher, they really, REALLY screwed up! All of those authors are left in a lurch, with no way for anyone to buy their books.

What’s an author to do? All authors of troubled or defunct publishers are eligible for BookLocker’s Disgruntled Author Special, which means their book can be back on the market in as little as 2 weeks, for as little as $78.

Details are HERE.

BookLocker has published more than 9,000 books in the past 18 years. They are still family-owned and -operated, run a tight ship, and have an EXCELLENT reputation. BookLocker doesn’t upsell authors on worthless products and services and they fight for authors’ rights. They also have an A+ rating at the Better Business Bureau. THIS ARTICLE explains how BookLocker has stayed in business and strong for so long while so many others have failed.

If you feel your publisher may be in trouble, don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact Angela today, RIGHT HERE.


URGENT NOTE FOR AUTHORS OF FAILED TATE PUBLISHING – Your “Production Files” Might Have Problems!


DON’T BECOME ANOTHER VICTIM! When Amateur, Start-up POD Publishers Take Your Money…and Go Out of Business By Angela Hoy

Are You at Risk? When Publishers Go Out of Business By Angela Hoy



Got questions about Print On Demand and Self-publishing? Ask Angela Hoy.

About The Author


Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the author of 19 books, 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).

Angela has lived and traveled across the U.S. with her kids in an RV, settled in a river-side home in Bradenton, FL, and lived on a 52 ft Irwin sailboat. Angela now resides on a mountaintop in Northwest Georgia, where she plans to spend the rest of her days bird watching, gardening, hiking, and taking in all of the amazing sunrises.

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.

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.

ANGELA ON TWITTER https://twitter.com/AngelaHoy

BOOKLOCKER ON FACEBOOK - Provides links to free excerpts!



Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!

Read More Of Angela's Articles HERE

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One Response to "25 Sure-fire Signs Your Publisher May Be Going Out of Business (and what you can do NOW to save your book!)"

  1. Michael W. Perry  March 29, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    Excellent advice. I’ll add two more.

    1. When you see good reason to be suspicious, don’t wait for the ultimate in proof. Then it will be too late. Swallow any losses and leave quickly. The first few authors to go are likely to be allowed to depart quietly. This publisher-in-trouble doesn’t want bad publicity. But once its troubles are widely known, it has no reason to cooperate.

    That reflects an old adage in medicine. “In the first stages of a disease,” it runs, “diagnosis is difficult, but treatment is easy. In the latter stages, diagnosis is easy but treatment is difficult.”

    2. Also some people have a knack for spotting trouble, while some don’t. If you’re one of the latter, you might cultivate friendships with the former and take their advice.

    Keep in mind this applies to all of life, including employment. I’ve written a book—Senior Nurse Mentor—about how matters went sour at a large children’s hospital where I was on the nursing staff. Disgusted with how staff were being treated, I wrote a strongly worded resignation letter and left. Mere weeks later, there was a mass exodus, with some 20% of the nurses quitting and replacements hard to find. My suggestion for a new nursing speciality, a senior nurse mentor, is intended to create a position, beholden to no one, to give voice to issues that damage nursing morale and result in costly turnover.

    Kenny Rogers has a song about gambling that applies equally well to writing. You do have to “know when to walk away and know when to run.”


    –Michael W. Perry, Inklng Books