Over the last 2 weeks, we’ve received reports from authors that another well-known P.O.D. publisher recently kicked the bucket.
In their email notice (which used the word “regret,” but offered no apologies, nor an explanation), they told authors to pay them ($250 to $300 per author!) if they wanted copies of their production files and an ISBN. That’s right. AFTER those authors paid upwards of $1,000, $2,000 or even more to get published, the publisher is trying to drain their wallets further…as they’re kicking those authors out the door!
They want authors to pay additional money for files the authors ALREADY PAID the publisher to produce! And, yes, under that publisher’s contract, it’s legal. We’ve been warning authors about this greedy practice by a variety of publishers for years. Unfortunately, most publishers do this. BookLocker.com does NOT.
Never, ever, ever sign with a publisher who claims ownership of each author’s production files. If you pay a firm hundreds to thousands of dollars to format, edit, and/or design your files, shouldn’t you then OWN those files? Well, not if you sign with an incredibly greedy firm! In our opinion, these firms have that clause in their contracts for one reason only – to make it very expensive for an author to move their book to another publisher later. We call this a “forced marriage.”
And, remember, these production files are usually pdf files. You can’t easily edit or change those files. To make changes, you must go back to the original manuscript, or strip the text from the pdf file, which can lead to thousands of formatting errors. Going backwards in the process using a pdf file is NOT easy. Why pay hundreds of dollars for a file that you can’t even easily edit or reformat in the future?
To make matters even more insulting, the publisher’s email to authors makes it appear they’re doing the authors a favor! “Although we would usually charge $600 for the print files, and we are not under any contractual obligation to give them to you…” The fact is, if 1,000 of their authors pay them $300 each, the publisher will walk away with $300,000! That’s quite a nice little retirement nest egg, huh? Do authors really want to help line the departing pockets of that publisher at the same time they’re being booted out the door without even an apology? Probably not.
Has your publisher or publishing services provider announced their impending demise? It happens ALL the time! Each month, it seems another publisher (even traditional publishers!) or publishing services provider bites the dust. Did your publisher go out of business months or even years ago, and has your book been “out of print” ever since?
Why have so many failed? The reasons are actually quite simple:
1. Increased competition over the past few years from larger firms with financial backers.
2. Inexperienced owners who should have never started a business in the first place (this is very common).
3. Poor management, which leads to poor hiring choices, and poor treatment of authors.
4. Poor products and services, leading to complaints posted online, and resulting bad reputations (meaning new authors won’t sign with them).
5. Greed/Unintentional Ponzi Scheme – Some of these firms charge authors way too much money up front, and then quickly spend the authors’ money AND incoming royalties arriving from distributors and retailers. (Spending an author’s royalties is illegal.) They use money from new sign-ups to pay the royalties to their existing authors but, if fewer new authors come in, they might wind up short on cash. Eventually, it becomes impossible to catch up. We call this an Unintentional Ponzi Scheme. This type of publisher finds themselves perpetually treading water. And, eventually, they drown. Sometimes, they go to jail for their actions.
6. The Classic Self-Publishing Scam – Some crooks starts a “publishing business,” collect fees from authors, and, if they ever bother to publish the books at all, collect fees from book sales, too. But, they have no intention of paying the promised royalties to their authors. They keep up the ruse for as long as they can until they’re forced out of business. Sadly, they will often start the same business all over again, under a different name. Some of these go to jail while some continue to elude authorities over and over again.
With the amount of money it takes to publish a book, it’s never a good idea to trust a brand new publisher because most new businesses ultimately fail. We advise only using veteran publishers with excellent reputations – ones that have been in business for a decade or more.
Since 1998, BookLocker.com has published more than 8,000 books. We limit the number of authors we work with because it’s very important to us that each author has direct access to the company’s owners (Angela and Richard). We break even on setup fees, and earn our profits on book sales. At BookLocker, the publisher AND the author have a vested interested in seeing a book succeed.
Attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print of Self Publishing, said this about BookLocker.com:
“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.”
If you are the victim of a mismanaged publisher who is going out of business, we’d like to help you!
BookLocker’s “SAVE MY BOOK!” Program is for the many victims of publishers and publishing services firms that have gone out of business. This program is for black-and-white-interior books only. Authors can choose paperback or hardcover editions, or both.
To submit your manuscript for consideration under the “SAVE MY BOOK!” Program, click HERE.
Here’s what BookLocker can do:
OPTION A: If your previous publisher is charging you for your production files, or if they might not, or just plain won’t, provide you with copies of your production files –
1. Help you determine if you might own the rights to your production files.
2. If you don’t, or if it’s unclear based on your contract, we will advise you on how you might be able to convince your previous publisher to hand over your files at no additional cost to you. (If you can get those files, you may quality for Option B below.)
3. Very quickly format your existing manuscript (submitted by you to us in a word processing or text format). After formatting your file(s) to our printer’s specs, we will send that to you for any final changes/edits you want to make.
4. Quickly design a professional, amazing new cover for your book. If you own the original artwork that was used on your previous cover, we can probably incorporate that into your new cover. If you don’t, we may recommend a new cover design so that new readers won’t get confused if they see the previous edition of the book appearing somewhere else online. We know you’ll want them to buy the NEW edition, not the previous publisher’s edition. You probably also don’t want new readers buying used copies of your book.
OPTION B: If your previous publisher HAS given your production files to you –
1. Recreate the copyright page using your new ISBN, and remove text from the copyright page that may mention your previous publisher. We will insert this into your interior production file.
2. Check to ensure the files meet our printer’s specs (most books by our competitors do).
3. Replace the barcode on your existing cover with one that features your new ISBN (we will provide the barcode).
Of course, if you have changes you want to make to your manuscript, now would be the perfect time to do that! If that’s the case, Option A above is for you.
FREE BOOK PROMOTION ASSISTANCE:
Since we break even on setup fees, and earn our profits on book sales, we WANT your book to succeed!
Every author of a Booklocker.com print book receives a free copy of our book, 90+ Days of Promoting Your Book Online.
Anyone can buy a copy, of course, but Booklocker authors get a copy for free.
BookLocker’s print books are listed on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, BookLocker.com, booksamillion.com, Chapters.ca and numerous other online bookstores, both domestic and foreign. Any bookstore with an Ingram account (Ingram is the largest book distributor) can pick up Ingram’s feed, so you’ll find your book listed in stores you’ve never heard of.
Most bookstores use Ingram’s database to find and order books so bookstore customers can ask their neighborhood bookstore to order your book as well. If you use a Booklocker.com ISBN, your book will also be listed in Bowker’s database. Some (but not many) bookstores use that to find a publisher’s contact info. for direct ordering. If you use your own ISBN, you’ll need to register your title in Bowker’s database on your end.
For authors ordering Booklocker’s eBook Conversion and Distribution Service (BePub), which starts at $199, we distribute those to Amazon (for the Kindle), BarnesandNoble.com (for the Nook), Apple (for iPads, iPods and iPhones) and Kobo (Canada’s largest ebook distributor). We sell a ton of ebooks each month!
THE FINE PRINT:
As we’re sure most of you know, some of our competitors have published books of questionable quality. All manuscripts submitted for consideration must meet BookLocker’s quality standards.
To qualify for this program, your book must have been published by a firm that has gone out of business, or is going out of business. Other authors need to sign up for one of BookLocker’s OTHER PROGRAMS.
$18 first year annual POD file hosting fee
$250 original paperback cover design OR $350 original hardback cover design (both are optional if you can provide a ready-to-print cover file designed to BookLocker’s specs)
(This provides a $357 savings off our popular “At Your Service” publishing program for new books. Compare to other firms’ prices HERE.)
$18 first year annual POD file hosting fee
$95 minor cover changes (to place your existing cover on our printer’s template, replace the barcode, and, when possible, tweak the spine if needed)
(This provides a $512 savings off our popular “At Your Service” publishing program for new books. Compare to other firms’ prices HERE.)
If you buy a new ISBN yourself, and can provide ready-to-print files formatted to our printer’s specs, you can sign up for BookLocker’s DIY program for only $78. Click HERE for more info on that.
To submit your manuscript for consideration under BookLocker’s “SAVE MY BOOK!” Program, click HERE.
We look forward to helping you get your book back on the market quickly, and with a smile!
Have questions? Give Angela a shout RIGHT HERE.
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What if it is a traditional publisher going out of business? Is there a way to get even just the final manuscript that transpired out of the galley copies?
Many firms have a specific bankruptcy clause in their contract so check that. Don’t assume the publisher hasn’t or won’t sell their assets (their contracts) to another firm. If you can get your rights back, and if they won’t give you your files, I recommend hiring a college student to re-type your manuscript into a word processing program. 🙂
So many reasons for authors to use BookLocker! Highly recommended!