There’s no shame in paying to have all the technical aspects of getting your book to publication done by others if you feel that you really don’t want to tackle these things, just as there’s no shame in paying for formatting and print runs of your book from publishing companies who do this if you can afford it. With new Indies arriving online all the time without knowledge of how these businesses work, it’s probably wise to post a reminder now and then of what to avoid with this. I was speaking to a blogger friend by email the other day, and he mentioned that he was considering one of these companies. Of course I zoomed right on over there and had a look. The first things that jumped out at me were “The cost to you will be….” and “We will pay you royalties……”.
There should only ever be two totally separate choices here. You either pay a publisher to print runs of your book, which you then sell, or they pay you for your book, which they then sell, as well as paying you future royalties. You must never, ever, never – seriously – never, ever pay to have anything at all done to your book as well as signing any contract involving copyright and royalties. It’s one or the other. I know that there is a lot online about these unashamed scammers who will charge you for everything from cover design to paying for copies of your own book – which you would then have to sell yourself anyway, all the while owning your copyright for years and paying you a small royalty percentage for any sales, but it’s clear that they’re still doing great business. If they do advertise it would really be minimal, and they load your books for sale on the very sites that you can load them up to yourself for not a cent. They set the book’s price – you have no say in this. This situation benefits only them, and never you.
It’s exciting when you’ve just finished your first book to let everyone know that you’ve been “signed” by a publisher, especially if said publisher appears to be large and impressive. Signing deals with these “publishers” is really not a good idea at all. They will take on all comers, regardless of talent anyway. It’s not the quality of your story they’re interested in – it’s the size of your bank balance. So take care if you’re about to go zooming out there with your first book, seeking a publisher. Google any of them that take your fancy, research properly, and look for anything that involves the kind of “deals” above, and if they are there, then run away sharply.
If you’re not sure, then ask. There are lots of seasoned published scribblers around on the internet, on their blogs and writer’s groups as well as on forums, both Indie and traditionally published. They’re generally a helpful bunch, so don’t be shy to seek their help rather than finding your copyright signed away and you getting royalties for the book that took you years to write, and which you have to pay your “publisher” to purchase from and sell yourself anyway. Don’t hand your hard work over to these unscrupulous shysters.
Self-Publishing is the Future
by Kimberly Castillo
Two separate small publishers offered me contracts to publish The Convenience of Lies. I turned both of them down because I didn’t like the terms they were offering. For both contracts I would receive minimal royalties (less than $0.25/copy sold), would be required to do all of my own publicity, and I would have to sign away the rights to my book. One publisher even required me to pay my own editor! At that point, it seemed like all the publishers were really providing for me was cover art and prestige, and for a very high price.
To be honest, I didn’t want to sell myself out like this. The Convenience of Lies is a project I started 10 years ago and I have truly invested my heart, time, money, and soul. While I was shopping my book around the traditional publishing world, it fell into the hands of an editorial reviewer, who gave me a glowing review of my work. Not only that, but my mom is a high school English teacher and she’s had boys in her class who don’t like to read complete it in one night, by choice. I was not about to let a traditional publisher take advantage of my creation.
At the same time as I was querying publishers, I was also researching self-publishing. I discovered that I could self-publish through Amazon’s CreateSpace and receive royalties of over $5.00/copy, which is more than a 20x increase from traditional publishing. Also, CreateSpace has a cover creator tool that I could use to generate the cover, and has a print on demand option. Meaning, when someone orders my book from Amazon, CreateSpace prints it, takes their cut of the profit, and sends me the royalties. There is no up-front cost for either party.
Not only is self-publishing arguably a better business decision, due to the internet it is now the choice of the future. We are in an era where we don’t need a publisher to reach our audience. The internet has cut out the middle man and made it so that artists can reach their audience directly. This applies not only to publishing your book, but also to promoting your book. Between tumblr, twitter, facebook, reddit, and the blogosphere, you can reach out directly to readers as I am doing now. Keep in mind that many traditional publishers require authors to do this promotional work. So, let me ask you, what is that traditional publisher really doing for its authors?
As ironic as it is for me to say as an author, the world of traditional publishing is ending. Artists can now affordably create professional works and also reach their audience as never before. Not only that (and a real cincher) the author can also keep possession of the rights to their works through self-publishing. The world of traditional publishing is simply taking too much from authors and not giving them enough in return. The internet has cut out the middle man with the connections and has given you direct access to those connections. As they say, it is simply up to you to seize this opportunity.
Buy Convenience of Lies at Amazon
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