This week, we’re going to show you why reading contracts is imperative when considering a P.O.D. publisher.
Did you know…
1. AUTHORHOUSE OWNS YOUR PRODUCTION FILES…AND SO DOES ALMOST EVERYBODY ELSE (but not BookLocker!)
Most P.O.D. publishers claim ownership of your production files. That’s right. You pay for the service…yet they own the files you’ve paid them hundreds or even thousands to create.
From the AuthorHouse Contract –
“AUTHOR shall have the right to purchase the text and cover digital production files of the WORK in PDF format in accordance with the provisions of Paragraph 8 of Schedule A.”
PDF files are NOT production files! More on worthless PDF files appears below.
Note: BookLocker.com authors own their production files outright.
2. XLIBRIS IS ALSO SELLING PDF FILES TO AUTHORS…BUT THOSE AREN’T THE PRODUCTION FILES!
From the Xlibris contract:
“The Author acknowledges and agrees that Xlibris retains all property rights and all ownership of all data, files, and materials that Xlibris prepares for the publication of the Work, including but not limited to production data, files, and materials, whether or not completed, in the possession of Xlibris and/or on Xlibris’ computers and servers. However, AUTHOR shall have the right to purchase the text and cover digital production files of the WORK in PDF format…”
What? PDF format only?! What about the actual production files so you can easily alter them if you need to in the future? Nope, that’s not part of the deal. They used to charge a lot more ($1500) for the real production files. Now, they simply charge too much for something you can’t use if you have changes to make to your files. For example, want to type a new publisher name on your copyright page of the PDF file for the printer? That won’t work because the font of the new text won’t be embedded. Want to move some text around or add a few paragraphs? Nope, can’t do it without jumping through hoops and you may not be able to do it at all. Want to alter the text on your cover? Again, nope. Won’t work. It’s a flat PDF file and changes can’t be made. So, these files are essentially worthless if you have any changes at all to make to your book.
Think you can just strip the text from the PDF file? If they haven’t locked it up, you might be able to do so but it’ll be completely unformatted and there will be a hard line break at the end of every single line in your book. Those would all need to be removed manually, one by one. The text will then need to be moved to a word processing or design program so you can start all over on the formatting.
Again, these PDF files are essentially useless if you have any changes to make at all but most authors won’t realize this until it’s too late.
Note: BookLocker.com authors own their production files from the get-go. No additional fees required!
3. TRAFFORD ALSO SELLS PDF FILES INSTEAD OF ACTUAL PRODUCTION FILES!
From the Trafford contract:
“We will retain in our possession all of the materials submitted by you. However, you shall have the right to purchase the text and cover digital production files of the WORK in PDF format…”
Don’t forget. Even if you paid them to edit your book, they STILL own the production files! Even if you paid their illustrator to create a custom illustration for you book, they own that production file, too! Why pay a company for something they’re going to retain ownership of?!
4. CREATESPACE (a.k.a. AMAZON) CAN PRICE YOUR BOOK AT WHATEVER THEY WANT
From the CreateSpace contract:
“…we have sole and complete discretion to set the retail price at which your Titles are sold on the Amazon Properties.”
Upset that CreateSpace has your book priced lower than everywhere else, including your own website? Too bad! Upset that they’ve overpriced your book? Again, tough luck!
Note: BookLocker.com authors can price their book at or above the minimum list prices. BookLocker does not re-price books. The authors decide their own list prices. It’s YOUR book so YOU should be able to choose the retail price, right?! CreateSpace apparently doesn’t think so.
5. CREATESPACE ALLOWS CUSTOMERS TO RETURN EBOOKS AND THEY DEDUCT THOSE “RETURNS” FROM YOUR FUTURE PAYMENTS
From the CreateSpace contract:
“We will determine how to handle Customer returns of Units…”
Note: BookLocker.com does not accept returns. Ebooks can’t really be “returned” anyway. It’s an electronic file. The customer has already received and likely even already read the book anyway!
4. IUNIVERSE ONLY MAKES ROYALTY PAYMENTS 4 TIMES PER YEAR, 2 MONTHS AFTER THE END OF THE QUARTER, AND ONLY IF THEY OWE YOU $25 OR MORE. AND, SO DO MANY OTHER P.O.D. PUBLISHERS!
From the iUniverse contract:
“PUBLISHER will make four royalty payment per year, if earned, to AUTHOR within sixty (60) days of the end of each calendar quarter… If the royalty payment due in a single calendar quarter is less than $25, the balance will be applied to the next calendar quarter…”
iUniverse is owned by Author Solutions. So is AuthorHouse, Xlibris, Trafford, Palibrio, and others. They all have similar if not identical royalty payment schedules. If a firm pays you once per quarter, and 60 days after the end of that quarter, you’re getting paid for some sales up to 5 months after the fact!
Note: BookLocker.com mails royalty checks on the fifth business day of every month to authors whose unpaid royalties were $20 or more on the last day of the previous month. That means authors are getting paid less than a month after some sales!
6. IF YOU DON’T WANT TO USE PAYPAL, LULU WILL ALSO PAY YOU ONLY ONCE PER QUARTER.
From the Lulu contract:
“If you choose to receive your Creator Revenue via paper check, you will be paid on a quarterly basis. Specifically, no later than 45 days following the end of the calendar quarter…” (and only if they owe you $20 or more.)
7. LULU DOESN’T HAVE TO REPLACE DEFECTIVE PRODUCTS IF THEY DON’T THINK THEY’RE DEFECTIVE ENOUGH
From the Lulu contract:
“If you receive a book that is damaged, we will provide a replacement copy at our sole discretion based upon photographic evidence provided through the ‘report a problem’ link in your Order History.”
“Refunds are issued at our sole discretion.”
Note: If an author or customer receives a damaged BookLocker.com book, it is immediately replaced by the printer. Most replacements are shipped via UPS Next Day Air.
8. AUTHORHOUSE TAKES 90 TO 180 DAYS TO PUBLISH A BOOK (and so do most other P.O.D. publishers!)
From the AuthorHouse contract:
“SERVICE PROVIDER intends to publish the WORK within 90 days after receipt of all required materials relating to the WORK but in no case later than 180 days…” That means 3-6 months.
Trafford also says 180 days but that doesn’t include the time the work was in your possession (like when you were checking their work), nor the time their editors were working on the book.
Note: BookLocker.com usually gets a book to market within a month. BookLocker also has an expedited two-week program for black-and-white-interior paperbacks and hardcovers with full-color covers.
9. XLIBRIS GIVES YOU 6 MONTHS TO SUBMIT YOUR MATERIALS AFTER PAYING. IF YOU DON’T, YOU LOSE ALL YOUR FEES AND YOUR CONTRACT IS TERMINATED.
From the Xlibris contract:
“If the author fails to submit his or her complete materials for publishing before six months have elapsed from date of service order, he or she will forfeit any right to claim a refund for monies paid.”
Note: BookLocker.com does not place any time limits on authors who sign up now but want or need to submit their file later.
Always read EVERY WORD of your contract. If you don’t understand something, ask an attorney or someone in the publishing industry for advice before signing and paying any fees!
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