Unfortunately, there are many scams targeting writers. Especially if you are new to self-publishing, you need to research and learn how to avoid scams. In addition to out-and-out scams, there can sometimes problems with low quality self-publishing services.
what is in your contract
Whether you buy a self-publishing package or hire individual professionals to help you publish your book, you need know what is in the contract to protect yourself from paying for services that are not delivered or are substandard.
What can go wrong
The topic can get confusing, however, if you don’t research carefully you may end up with complaints like this: “They used flattery, told me about special discounts, told me there were deadlines, and pressed me to sign a contract. They said it was a joint investment. I paid a high up-front fee and they also want a share of royalties from all sales. I hate the cover. They priced my book too high. I don’t know how many books they’ve sold. They promised to promote my book and haven’t. They did a poor job editing and I have to pay to have them correct their mistakes. Someone added too many commas. They keep spamming me to buy more copies of my book.”
Watch out for red flags (flattery, special deals, deadlines and pressure) when you are shopping around for self-publishing services.
traditional publishers or self-publish?
Traditional publishers assume the financial risk to produce and market a book. It’s like they are placing a bet on a race horse. They choose what they publish carefully because they must sell books to stay in business. And there are high costs to edit, design, market, distribute and sell books. Because of the risk, it is difficult for new writers to get published by a traditional publisher. They need to choose writers who they think will have a book that will sell. This is why there are so very many celebrity books. A ready fan-base makes marketing easier and sales higher.
The opposite is true for new authors. Marketing will be an uphill battle. There are no short-cuts to finding fans (unless the author has a platform of some kind already). Therefore it is not surprising that many new authors turn to self-publishing. It doesn’t necessary mean they are bad writers, only that they are high risk for a traditional publisher.
Thus a self-published author will have to manage the tasks normal done by a publisher. They will have to hire specific professionals for specific tasks. Some new authors may want to hire a company that will do all tasks for them. This is where problems can arise. If you don’t do you homework you may spend many thousands, lose control of you book, and not get the services or quality you expect.
read and research to avoid scams targeting writers
Because you may spend a lot on a self-publishing package of services, it is important to educate yourself first, before you sign a contract. Follow the links below to read about scams targeting writers. Learn before you sign.
Rules to avoid self-publishing scams
TIPM – Writers Be Warned
SFWA Writer Beware – Master List
Writer Beware – Blog
Preditors & Editors
Joe Konrath – things you should and shouldn’t pay for
A twitter rant about predatory publishing companies
Observations of slipshod publishing services
(WGB) Publishing Scams Overview (with extra information in comments)
Did you find any of the resources listed especially helpful? Perhaps you have an idea for a resource that should be listed? Please send an email!
Note: Links and information are for research purposes and do not replace professional advice. In addition, accuracy of third-party websites cannot be verified. Links do not indicate endorsement.