What’s the #1 Hidden Trap Authors Fall Into When Self-Publishing? by Brian P. Whiddon, Managing Editor

What’s the #1 Hidden Trap Authors Fall Into When Self-Publishing? by Brian P. Whiddon, Managing Editor

Even if you don’t use BookLocker to publish your book, we want to share with you the worst business practice still performed by most print on demand / publishing service providers today so you can avoid falling into this trap. Unfortunately, almost every publisher on the market does this. BookLocker does NOT.

Have you ever heard the term “captive market?” In broader terms, this means there are few suppliers for a particular product or service so customers are essentially forced to use one at a higher price than might be necessary.

In this article, we will discuss authors being held captive by publishers who, through very unethical means, hold authors hostage after they sign up, and pay thousands for that publisher’s services.

What’s is this horrible, greedy, unethical thing that almost all publishers do? They claim ALL rights to files YOU paid them to create! This includes files you paid them to:

EDIT – Yes, many publishers claim all rights to the edited version of a book…after YOU PAID THEM hundreds to thousands to edit it. ALWAYS hire your own editor! Not only will you own all rights to your edited manuscript, but you’ll save a bundle of money, too!

FORMAT – You send them your manuscript. They format it for print publication. They let you look at it. But, they don’t send you a file that YOU can use or print. It’s in a different program that doesn’t allow changes, or has watermarks, or is locked so you can’t print it or change it, or it is otherwise uneditable. You have to send them a list of your changes (and they’ll usually charge you a LOT extra if you have more than a handful) and they’ll never send you a useable version of your final, formatted file. After you send them several versions of edits/changes, the original manuscript that you submitted to them is so old that it’s also unuseable. There is no way at all for you to use the final, edited file. They know what they’re doing by making the editing process so convoluted! They’re trapping you.

BookLocker sends all authors the formatted version of not only their MSWord file (if the author submitted one to us for formatting), but also their final, print-ready pdf file. In other words, BookLocker authors always have a current version of their manuscript that the author can use in any way he or she chooses, including having it printed elsewhere. And, BookLocker authors own all rights to those files.

DESIGN – Original cover design can be pricey. If you choose a publishing package with cover design, you’ll end up paying hundreds to thousands more for your publisher’s services (BookLocker’s fees for like services are the lowest at $975 – and you might qualify for a discount). Unfortunately, most publishers claim all rights to covers that authors paid the publisher to design. But, wait… What if YOU provided the background image for the cover? That doesn’t matter to them. They will let you keep ownership of just that background image but they will still claim ownership of the final, full cover design (back, spine, front, text embedded over image, etc.). Want to use your cover on advertising materials? Can’t do it! You’ll need to pay the publisher to design and print your business cards, bookmarks, posters and the like using the cover they designed for you.

NOTE: All BookLocker authors own all rights to their covers to use in any way they choose. And, we don’t sell business cards, bookmarks, etc. We’ll be happy to refer you to an affordable company that offers those and you’ll be able to use your BookLocker-designed cover because YOU will own all rights to it.

ILLUSTRATE – Original illustrations can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. Imagine paying a publisher that much to illustrate your book…and then THEY own the rights to the illustrations. Why is that a problem? What if you want to use them in another edition of your book some day…that you’ll want to publish with another company? What if you want to use them in a graphic novel, on your website, or even to create secondary products to complement your book? Nope! Can’t do it. Need a table or chart created? Same thing. You won’t own it. ALWAYS hire your OWN illustrator.

EBOOK FORMATTING/CONVERSION – This type of service requires special software and, for a quality job, an expert in ebook formatting and conversion. Most publishers charge hundreds or more for this service (Basic epub/mobi services are included in all of BookLocker’s packages except the D.I.Y. one) but, as with the services above, the publishers claim all rights to the epub, mobi, and pdf ebook files. BookLocker authors own all rights to all of their ebook files.

When publishers claim all rights to files authors paid them create, we call this a “forced marriage.” In essence, the publisher has the author so locked into the relationship that moving to another publisher someday is virtually impossible, even if the author is upset with the original publisher, and even if the original publisher isn’t paying the author’s royalties.

This “forced marriage” rights grab is, by far, the most abusive practice in the entire industry. Please do NOT use a greedy, rights-grabbing publisher that will use their power in an attempt to force you to stay with them forever. They’re doing this because they KNOW you’re going to ultimately get upset with them. Firms with these types of practices usually have bad reputations, and long lists of angry authors who are stuck with them. Please don’t fall into this trap. Always read a publisher’s contract carefully.

Again, BookLocker authors own ALL rights to all of their files. Period.


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 has lived and traveled across the U.S. with her kids in an RV, settled in a river-side home in Bradenton, FL, and lived on a 52 ft Irwin sailboat. Angela now resides on a mountaintop in Northwest Georgia, where she plans to spend the rest of her days bird watching, gardening, hiking, and taking in all of the amazing sunrises.

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.

ANGELA ON TWITTER https://twitter.com/AngelaHoy

BOOKLOCKER ON FACEBOOK - Provides links to free excerpts!



Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!

Read More Of Angela's Articles HERE

Fall 2023 24 Hour Short Story Contest

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One Response to "What’s the #1 Hidden Trap Authors Fall Into When Self-Publishing? by Brian P. Whiddon, Managing Editor"

  1. Pamela Allegretto  December 20, 2019 at 4:22 pm

    I am so grateful to have BookLocker for my publisher. Although sticklers for producing high quality, profession work, they maintain a friendly one-on-one relationship with every author. No question is left vague or unanswered.