It’s pretty easy to tell if a POD publisher is milking authors for too much money. They give a little and take a LOT. Here are the top 11 signs a POD publisher is charging authors too much money:
10. The POD publisher charges extra for more than 10 interior photos, graphs, charts, etc. in the print edition
Any publisher who charges extra for just a handful of photos, graph, charts, and other graphics should be avoided. BookLocker only charges extra if there are more than 50 photos in a print book. Very few books have that many. Unfortunately, many publishing service firms charge extra if there are more than 5 photos/graphics.
9. They make you pay for an expensive “returns” program.
Let’s face it. If making a book returnable resulted in impressive sales, all the POD publishers would be offering the service for free! It’s just another way to separate you from your money.
8. They offer numerous, confusing “packages”.
The low-end packages draw you in with a false sense of low-price security….but usually don’t provide everything you need to be a successful author (like an ISBN and distribution via Ingram, the largest book distributor!). They then upsell you on the more expensive packages and, before you know it, you’ve spent far more than you ever thought you would to get your book on the market. BookLocker provides ISBNs to all authors, including those signing up for the $78 DIY program.
7. They claim rights to your production files, and may even charge you hundreds to thousands to get copies!
Can you imagine paying a cover designer to design your book cover, but then not being able to use your book cover in any way you please, like to print posters? Can you also imagine paying a freelance editor to edit your book, but not being able to use your edited manuscript in anyway you choose? Pretty silly, huh? And, can you imagine paying a professional designer to format your book’s interior, but not being able to use that formatted file where ever and how ever you want?
Why should POD publishers be granted more rights than any other paid professional would demand?
If you pay a POD publisher to create it, edit it, and/or format it, you should OWN IT OUTRIGHT! Watch out for the horrible rights contract clause that prevents you from getting copies of your production files and using them elsewhere. Some nasty POD publishers use this greedy clause to “marry” you to them, knowing you probably won’t move to another publisher, even if you’re not happy with them or their service, because you’ll have to pay someone else to create new files for you. Never, ever, ever use a POD publisher that won’t give you copies of and all rights to your production files, free and clear, without any added fees.
6. List prices are beyond what the market will bear.
Some POD publishers lure authors in with list prices that look reasonable, but then raise the book’s price later, often beyond what the market will bear. Publishers who base their author discounts solely on the book’s list price (not on the length/size of the book) use this trick to charge unsuspecting authors more for their own books later. Some publishers even use creative formatting to pad the book with more pages, thus forcing the price higher.
5. Low royalties paid out only quarterly, bi-annually, or annually.
Some POD publishers make “20% royalties paid quarterly” sound like a goldmine. They’re not doing any marketing of your book so why should they only pay you only 20% of the list price for sales going through their own website…for customers YOU sent to their website? Ebook royalties should never be less than 60% because the entire ebook delivery process is automated and virtually cost-free for the publisher! Demand at least 35% royalties for publisher-direct sales, 15% royalties for wholesale/retail/distributor sales; and 60% or higher for ebook sales (unless the publisher provides any special, free marketing for your book). And, why should you wait for a royalty check every 3 months, 6 months, or 12 months if you have a nice balance built up? Why should your publisher hold YOUR money for months…while earning interest on YOUR money? And, royalties should ALWAYS be a firm, flat percentage of the list price (so you’ll always know what you’re getting). Royalties that are based on the publisher’s net profit (a percentage based on the price less printing costs, publisher’s percentage, handling fees, shipping, etc.) are far too confusing for authors and entirely unnecessary.
4. They force you to buy any marketing products, like bookmarks and posters, through them.
If your POD publisher won’t give you your 300 dpi production files (per #7 above), you can’t use your cover to print your own bookmarks, posters, etc. Greedy POD publishers know this so, after claiming rights to your files, which should belong to you, they upsell you on their own expensive bookmarks, stickers, and more because, basically, if they own your production files, and you need your cover printed on a marketing product, you can’t go shopping for the best price on bookmarks, posters, etc. elsewhere.
POD publishers who own your production files have you by the you-know-whats.
3. They charge you extra to produce a pdf version of your book.
It costs them virtually nothing to slap up the final pdf production file of your print book and sell it as your ebook. Why charge an author extra to do this?
2. They charge you for cover design, but they then charge you extra to “personalize” it…like simply adding your author photo.
Isn’t a cover supposed to be personal? Why lure an author in with a seemingly low cover fee…but then charge them extra just to add their own photo to the back? Ridiculous…
1. They’re charging more than $1K to publish a simple black-and-white interior paperback book.
There are SO many POD publishers now that charge far more than $1K, and most of them use the same printer! Why pay someone twice, three times, or more what a professional POD publisher will do for you for far less? Unless you enjoy throwing money away, don’t be fooled into spending far more than you need to. Check out this POD Price Comparison. Click on the graphic for more details about each form.
BookLocker (which is owned by the author of this article):
* Offers a DIY program ($78), an At Your Service Package, and a Rush Package. for black-and-white interior books and one package for color-interior books. That’s it!
* Gives all production files to authors (and never, ever takes rights from authors)
* Has very reasonable list prices and has only raised them once in the past 18 years.
* Pays royalties monthly to authors who are owed $40 or more.
* Does not upsell authors on worthless marketing materials, like bookmarks. Instead, gives authors links to affordable printers, along with their production files. Charges nothing extra to list pdf versions of ebooks, and does none of the other greedy acts listed above.
* Does not charge extra if authors have artwork/photos they want included on the cover.
* Charges some of the lowest fees in the industry.
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