So, your book is finally being published! Congratulations! If you’re like the rest of us, you envision yourself walking into your local bookstore and seeing your book on the shelves. You start to plan book signings and appearances. And you dream about how big your first royalty check will be! But, if your traditional publisher is a small one…or even a new, unestablished POD publisher, how long will it last, and how much money and time could you lose?
It happened again last Monday. I was contacted by yet another author whose publisher had gone out of business. He was lucky. He not only got all his rights back without hassle, but he also obtained the electronic files to the interior and cover files of his books. The unlucky authors are the ones who learn their publisher has closed up shop and who then can’t find the previous owners. Some business owners get in too deep, close their doors (and their website), and just walk away, leaving authors wondering who owns the rights to their books, who has the remaining printed copies, and if/when their unpaid royalties will ever come.
“MY PUBLISHER WENT OUT OF BUSINESS”
How common is this problem? Well, I googled the term “my publisher went out of business” and this is what I found:
This author’s publisher went out of business, too. He said they were a victim of the collapse of the video game industry.
And here’s another.
I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Small presses and small POD publishers die each year. They just don’t have the financial backing needed in this industry and, when things get tight, they often don’t survive.
Mary Wolf’s site features a list of 32 traditional, electronic and POD publishers who have gone out of business or who have been folded into other entities or sold.
BUILDING A SUCCESSFUL PUBLISHING COMPANY TAKES MONEY – LOTS OF IT – AND MORE…
There are new, so-called “POD Publishers” emerging on the market every day. It may look like an easy business to get into, but these individuals often have no idea what they’re doing…and their future authors will end up paying the price. Building a successful publishing company takes money – lots of it, expertise of the industry, a high-tech, professional website with fraud protection, instant downloads for customers, live author accounts, professional book and cover design, and much, much more. Lots of individuals have tried, and failed, to dive into the POD Publishing game. Others have set up sites simply to take an author’s money and run.
Don’t let your book be the victim of one of these fly-by-night outfits. Only publish your book with an established, respected POD publisher who has an account with Ingram (the largest book distributor) and who doesn’t offer unrealistic expectations. Those “get rich quick” POD publishing sites MUST be avoided because they’re selling pipe dreams, not books, and or way too much money!
And, just because a traditional publisher is not charging to publish your book doesn’t mean they’re going to sell a ton of books and be in business forever. In fact, the smaller and newer they are, the better their chances are of going out of business.
So, what’s a wary, hopeful author to do? First, think twice before trying to be the “nice guy” by risking your money, your book, your time, and even your reputation (their quality may be very poor), while trying to give a brand new company “a chance.” The risks are just too great.
Before you sign a contract with any publisher, whether they’re paying you or you’re paying them, you should check them out online. Get on some of the writing forums and ask some questions. Find some of their authors. How? Look at the publisher’s website, find some of the authors’ names, and google them. Most professional authors, even those who are self-published, have their own websites. Contact them and ask if they’re happy with their publisher.
Contact the Better Business Bureau to see how many complaints they’ve received about that particular publisher. If they have unresolved complaints from both authors and book buying customers, that should serve as a huge red flag.
Traditionally published authors who are victims of dead publishers are sometimes thrown into a legal nightmare. Some publishers insist they get to keep the rights to authors’ books, intending to sell those rights to another company “someday.” They also insist they own the rights to the cover design. While some willingly give authors their rights back, they often don’t or can’t give the authors their files, meaning the final, edited copy of the book is not what the author has in their computer. The writer must then either scan or retype their entire manuscript before republishing. The entire bad dream turns into an endless financial and administrative nightmare.
Self-published authors who have paid to have their book published find themselves right back where they started. They’ve lost all the money they paid to their POD publisher. Their ISBN can’t be re-used, all the web pages at all the stores online that feature their book are now invalid (meaning customers will be told weeks after their order attempt that the book can’t be obtained from the store’s distributor), and all the author’s advertising that mentioned their book’s ISBN, publisher, and more is now considered a waste of time because the publisher, and the book, are dead. The author must find a new POD publisher, pay new setup fees of hundreds or thousands, pray they have a copy of the last version of their book text, have a new cover designed (if they didn’t own the rights to their first cover – lots of POD publisher claim all rights to covers and interior files authors pay them to design!), etc., etc.
A book takes weeks, months, or even years to write. Don’t take unnecessary and costly risks.
Avoid ending up like one of the unfortunate authors above by only signing a contract with an established, reputable traditional or POD publisher.
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 lives on a 52' Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch (sailboat) with her family and pets. Keep up with her family's adventurous liveaboard lifestyle at GotNoTanLines.com
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
This article may be reprinted/redistibuted freely, as long as the entire article and bio are included.