Unfortunately, there are so many bad actors in the publishing industry now that many authors don’t know where to turn. Today, I’m sharing a list of what I feel are the absolute worst ways many of them are fleecing authors. Protect yourself by researching all of these before signing with any publisher.
1. TAKING RIGHTS AWAY FROM AUTHORS WHO PAID FOR THEIR SERVICES.
So, you paid a publisher to edit and format your manuscript, design your cover, perhaps create original illustrations, and format/convert the ebook files for your book so you MUST own all rights to all of those files, right? NOPE! Read more about this ridiculous and greedy practice RIGHT HERE. NOTE: All BookLocker authors own ALL rights to ALL of their files. Period.
2. COMPLETELY WORTHLESS “MARKETING SERVICES”
Pencils and pens with your book’s name on them won’t sell books. Those are small ticket items. What about the ones that cost hundreds to thousands? From “ads” in major newspapers (which are primarily just ads for the publishing company’s self-publishing services itself), to biased, fee-based “reviews,” to “email blasts” that go to thousands of editors’ spam folders, there is no end to the garbage many publishers are tricking authors into purchasing these days. None of these is going to sell enough copies of your book to justify the initial, outrageous fees. Learn how to promote your own book for free in 90+ Days of Promoting Your Book Online. NOTE: BookLocker authors get a free copy of that book.
3. “EDITORIAL REVIEW”
So, you find a publisher, and sign up, and you immediately start getting upsold on an “editorial review.” What’s that? It’s pretty simple, really. You pay them to tell you that, yes, your book needs to be edited and, gosh golly, they’ll be happy to do that for you, too, for several thousand dollars! Yes, you are PAYING the publisher to upsell you on another expensive service. Utter nonsense…but many authors fall for it. And, per #1 above, by paying them to edit your book, you’ll very likely NOT own the edited version of your manuscript. If you need an editor, hire one who won’t take any rights away from you.
4. LIMITED EDITORIAL REVISIONS
Wouldn’t it be easier if they simply sent your formatted file back to you so you can read it, and make final edits? That’s what BookLocker does, and at no extra charge! With many publishers, it’s too easy to fleece authors during the formatting and editing process. You have to send THEM a list of your edits and THEY make changes to your file. But, you won’t get unlimited changes! You can send them only 25 or 50 edits and then you have to pay extra if you want to make more. Worse, they then own the edited file. And, don’t assume all of your edits will be done correctly. You’ll still have to read your manuscript again if you want to ensure the work was done, and performed correctly. If you find more edits to make, the process will start all over again, which will cost you more money, and require you to read through your entire book again, and possibly again, and again, and again. THAT is why it takes so many of those firms 4-6 months to publish a book. Their processes are unnecessarily complex (because that justifies charging authors even MORE money!). BookLocker gets books to market in just a month. Our process is simple and fast, and, of course, costs far less than the “other guys.”
5. BOOK EXHIBITS / BOOK FAIRS
You pay the publisher’s fee, often to the tune of hundreds or thousands of dollars. Plus, you have to pay for copies of your book to be printed and shipped to the venue (which the publisher profits from). Your book may or may not appear at that out-of-town exhibit or book fair. How would you even know? And, your one or two copies will be surrounded by THOUSANDS of other books. In all likelihood, zero copies of your book will sell at all. Book fairs and exhibits are a huge waste of time and money.
6. TRAVEL TO BOOK EXHIBITS / BOOK FAIRS
Ooooh! Your publisher wants you to FLY to one of these events, and sign copies! But, they also want to serve as your travel agent so they can overcharge you for travel expenses. You’ll end up paying WAY too much in airfare, for a rental car, and for lodging. And, chances are, you still won’t sell any books.
7. BOOKMARKS AND OTHER WORTHLESS BITS OF MARKETING PAPER
Do yourself a favor. If you need bookmarks, posters, or something else, do NOT pay your publisher to produce those. You’ll pay FAR less if you’d hire an independent printer like printingforless.com or bestvaluecopy.com. I recently ordered brochures from the latter and I was extremely pleased with their customer service, their speed, and the quality.
8. PRESS RELEASE SERVICES
Wow. Pay your publisher hundreds to thousands so they can send a mass email to editors, many of whom might have that publisher’s emails going directly to their spam folder. Editors have enough “real” news to cover. They aren’t interested in publishing yet another press release about yet another book by a publisher who spams them to Kingdom Come on a daily basis.
9. PAID PRINT, TV, AND RADIO ADVERTISING
One publisher charges authors DOUBLE what the actual advertising fees are for several publications. Why not approach those publications yourself? But, I must warn you… Many consumers must see an ad multiple times before they’ll purchase that item. A one-time ad in a print publication isn’t likely to generate many, if any, sales. And, any resulting sales will likely not even come close to paying for the ad itself.
Think TV or radio is the way to go? Think twice. As with print advertising, you’ll likely spend far more on advertising fees than you’ll earn in book sales. And, your publisher is likely grossly inflating the actual price of the ads. Online advertising is far less expensive. Book trailers are very popular because video advertisements outperform text and stand-alone graphic ads combined.
10. YOUR BOOK AS A MOVIE!
Everybody dreams their book will someday turn into a movie. The fact is, that almost never happens. In my opinion, there is no scam more disgusting than this one. You’ll be charged thousands upon thousands for the chance that some movie producer, or other industry head, or maybe somebody who perhaps sort of lives near California (seriously, that’s how secretive it is) might, just MIGHT, take a look at your script. Of course, your book first has to be turned into a script! And, the publisher will be happy to charge you thousands for that service, too. Use your money to buy a lottery ticket. Your chances of walking away with a few coins in your pocket are much higher with that.
These items represent only the tip of the iceberg. It seems that, with every passing day, many print on demand publishers and publishing services companies think of more ways to fleece authors. When you see a publisher offering these types of services, run as fast as you can the OTHER WAY.
HAVE YOU BEEN FLEECED BY A PUBLISHER? PLEASE SHARE YOUR STORY IN THE COMMENTS BOX BELOW.
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- “A radio talk show host saw my book and wants to interview me. Should I be leery?”
- Radio Interviews = Poor Book Sales for Authors? By Angela Hoy
- “A marketing company says my book was ‘endorsed’ by movie producers but they want $5K! Is this too good to be true?”
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.
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Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!
Read More Of Angela's Articles HERE
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Thank you so much for this article. It stands right along with your many other alerts to help aspiring authors get and keep more money in their pockets by not getting hoodwinked. I am so glad I found you, and I always look forward opportunities to tell others about your unique and cost-saving services, valuable guides and resources, and short story contests. I also enjoy your story-telling of your family’s lives in such a humorous and personal way.
One love from our Topaz Dream Palace guest home veranda in Montego Bay, Jamaica (with a adult life-long home base in Philadelphia)
Thank you for keeping us on our toes.