Sunday, January 13, 2013

Self-Publishing Scams to Avoid

1. Flattery

Reliable publishers don’t butter you up to gain your business. Beware publishers will play on your emotional heartstrings and tell you that your work is perfect and ready for publication as it stands. phrases to look out for are — “You deserve to be published” or “You have worked so hard, and we intend to share your voice with the world."

2. Promises, promises, promises...

When a self-publisher says, “We’ll get your book into every bookstore,” you might think your novel being on the shelves of every WHSmiths and Waterstones. But in reality at best this means your book will be llisted in every bookstore’s computer database. Customers can only buy it if a customer requests it.

3. Ineffective marketing

Most author services companies (which print your book on demand when one is ordered) and self-publishers offer all-inclusive packages that bundle printing and binding with editing, proofreading, sales, distribution, publicity and shipping. It’s easy to assume that the more services you buy, the more success you’ll have. Unfortunately, the “professional marketing materials” you receive may just be boilerplate press releases that journalists will ignore or a brief listing in a catalog that book buyers trash.

Remember marketing and publicity charges are one of the main ways these businesses make money.

4. Gobbledygook contracts

Self-publishing contracts are filled confusing terminology such as “author profit,” “royalty” and “net payment."

Before you sign anything, ask questions. How will you get paid? How often? How much? And when? Will you be paid based on the book’s cover price? Are returns (unsold books) taken into account? Get answers in writing and added to your contract before you sign.

5. Copyright tricks

Some publishers like to play: They tell you how difficult and expensive it is to obtain an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and/or a copyright, then offer to “help you” with those piddly details. But an ISBN, which identifies a title for tracking and sales, actually is easy to obtain. You can purchase your own. I have bought an ISBN number for my writing group anthology, and if I can do it, anyone can.

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