“Hey, why don’t you copy that other company that screwed me over? After all, their services were FREE!”

“Hey, why don’t you copy that other company that screwed me over? After all, their services were FREE!”

A guy wrote to me last week, saying he and his sister had their author accounts closed/frozen by Amazon KDP. He said it has happened to many other authors as well. (We have reported on complaints about that in the past.) He was unsuccessful in getting it resolved with Amazon and he gave up, despite the fact that Amazon appears to STILL be selling his books. Where’s the money going, you might ask? I’d like an answer to that question as well.

Of course, the author, who has written many books, was looking for another publisher. I sent him our prices and information. I also told him, if his files are already print-ready, he might qualify for our D.I.Y. program, provided the files are to our printer’s specs. (They usually are.) The D.I.Y. program is only $149.

He wrote back, asking why our services are not free. (Forehead slap…)

I explained to him that some companies have offered publishing services for free in the past but they seem to always go out of business. (The largest one was PublishAmerica/America Star Books.) That leads to their authors being left with no book on the market and, often, the book remains for sale. Where is the money going? I bet you can figure that out!

In other cases, the companies claim to be free up front but they have hidden costs. Or, they force authors to do all the design work and, when the author can’t do it (it’s very challenging for beginners!), the publisher refers the author to companies or people who can. And, the publisher then gets a referral fee. Bait and switch!

That’s similar to the tactics of those publishers that offer “100% royalties” but, in the fine print, you learn the author gets 100% of what’s left over after everybody else takes their cut (retailer, distributor, printer, publisher, etc.). That’s how everybody does it, of course. It’s just that some companies are more honest about stating how it really works.

So, this author started emailing me repeatedly, arguing with me. I further explained to him that I have employees, contractors, vendors, utilities, software expenses, IT guys, attorneys, CPAs, government regulations to keep abreast of (and follow), multiple state sales tax returns to file every month, and so much more. We are not running a hobby website. This is a corporation with an outstanding reputation. The parts all work well together but it costs money to keep those parts working.

And, he continued to argue with me. He seemed to think that, just because I already have a website in place, I shouldn’t incur any expenses to publish his book. His specific words were, “…it costs you nothing for us to use the website…” Yeah, this guy had a serious lack of understanding about how a corporation runs.

I wrote, “I admit that I think it’s kinda funny that you want us to follow the same business model as Amazon – a company that has locked you out of your author account because their customer service is so awful. Doesn’t quite make sense, does it?”

And, he KEPT arguing with me. I finally told him he was wasting my and his time. And, I reminded him that he DID sign up with a so-called “free” publisher previously, and that he, his sister, and numerous others got royally screwed by them.

Offering free publishing services guarantees one (or more) of these things:

1. The publisher will eventually go out of business.

2. The publisher will refer authors to expensive services (and the publisher may get a kickback for that).

3. The publisher will start charging hefty fees once they realize their business model is failing.

4. The company will be flooded with so many submissions that they won’t be able to keep up, authors will get upset, and their reputation will suffer. If a company is that bad, and is putting pretty much anything and everything on the market, some libraries and bookstores won’t order from that publisher anymore. That’s already happened to Amazon KDP.

We have no interested in “copying” Amazon’s business model, and destroying our reputation (or going out of business). We’ve seen it happen too many times with our defunct competitors.

There’s one other point, too. When you offer “free” services, you attract a lower-level of clientele – those authors who don’t care about the quality of their writing and the quality of their books. And, they usually don’t promote their books. They’re in the “business” of having their names on book covers. In a nutshell, if an author is not willing to invest any financial resources in publishing a quality book, why should we?

I really have zero patience for cheapskates, nor people who try to nickel and dime me. BookLocker has been in business for more than 20 years. Our prices are among the lowest in the industry, our royalties among the highest, and our customer service is the best in the industry. And, we continue to grow each year.

I’m not changing one darned thing.



Angela is not only the publisher of WritersWeekly.com. She is President & CEO of BookLocker.com,
a self-publishing services company that has been in business since 1998. Ask her anything.


2 Responses to "“Hey, why don’t you copy that other company that screwed me over? After all, their services were FREE!”"

  1. D. Jackson  August 20, 2022 at 11:22 am

    Thank you Angela!

    I always enjoy reading your newsletters. They turn up like bright stars reflecting off the surface of a sea of unread email I dare to face on weekends only for good company.

  2. Arlene Baker  August 20, 2022 at 9:07 am

    Hmmmm… I wonder if he works for free?