There are many content mills out there that have a confusing, vague, or buried clause in their contract that states contributors won’t receive a check until the amount owed meets a specific threshold. In many cases, contributors never reach that threshold. They end up terminating their contract, hoping to receive payment for the paltry amount they are owed…but then realize the contract terms prevent them from EVER receiving a payment until/unless that threshold is met. That means the writer has done all that work – for free.

In our opinion, that is theft of service and we can’t believe it’s legal. But, if you completed the contract, you agreed to the terms and it IS very much legal. But, just be because something is legal doesn’t make it ethical.

Think it’s just content mills that pull that fast one? Think again!

Last week, I received an interesting note from an author who told the tale of a traditional publisher (a well-known educational publisher) whose contract states authors won’t get paid until 2,000 copies of their book have sold. If they never sell 2,000 copies, guess what? They might get nothing!

The author, along with the co-authors of his book, finally received a royalty check 10 LONG YEARS after the book was published and they only received a few hundred each. He states he has already earned more than that in profits by self-publishing at

This is just another example of why authors MUST read every contract in its entirety, and must question and renegotiate specific clauses that are unfair.

At, we assist with formatting, which is included in the setup fees. All we need is a word processing file with all the text of the manuscript in the order you want it to appear in the book.

Angela Hoy is the co-owner of and is the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday. 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.”

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