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3 Things You Need to Know to Avoid Publishing Scams
By Bethany Cadman on May 28, 2016
Getting your novel published is a hugely exciting time, but whether you are signing up with a publishing house, or going down the self-publishing route, it is good to thoroughly understand the terms and conditions of your contract before you sign on the dotted line.
Nowadays there are a number of publishing businesses who claim to be able to help you get your book into a publishable condition, be that editing your manuscript to designing your book’s cover. Of course there are plenty that are legitimate and will do just that. However, it is important to be wary of some.
Unfortunately there are some publishers that are out there with the sole intention of making as much money as possible from a fledgling author, and put little time and effort into doing a quality job for them.
Understanding what to look for, and what should raise alarm bells can help to stop many authors from falling into this trap. So read on to find out our top tips on how to make yourself aware of publishing scams.
Do your research
A reputable publishing company will have a decent website, and plenty of examples of other authors they have helped for you to look at. They will be easily contactable and happy to talk to you about your needs. They will have good reviews from satisfied customers who are pleased with the job they have done for them, and happy to recommend them.
Spending some time researching and checking that your publishing company does all of this is the bare minimum you should do.
A well-made book with have a professional cover, have been professionally edited and so naturally there will be editing and design costs. Make sure that the publisher you choose clearly states their costs. If you can’t find them them – ask, and make sure you have a written copy. Check for any hidden fees too. You should know exactly what you are paying before you decide to go for it.
It is normal for a publisher to charge shipping and distribution to the author, and a seller commission too. Talk to several publishers to get a good idea of what is normal – that way you’ll be able to spot a publisher who is charging a suspiciously high (or suspiciously low) amount.
Most publishing scams will offer authors a ‘package’ and this package will vary in cost according to the number of services you want to employ them to do. However, what is important to remember is that often buried in the small print there will be a point which says that the book cover, the typesetting and other digital assets belong to them, so if you want to get out of your contract with them you can, but you will be back to where you started.
If you are paying to have your book published it is vanity publishing – it’s not the same as it being accepted by a traditional publishing house. If a publishing house replies to your enquiry saying how much they loved your book, and how much potential they think it has that’s great, but if they then ask you for money in order to get it published chances are they give that same praise to every single manuscript they receive- regardless of how good or bad it is.
Most publishers who think an authors work has potential will be willing to back them. This means providing them with an advance on their sales. So they will pay out a lump sum of money to the author because they believe they will sell a large quantity of books. Publishers, like any business, want to make money, so they only do this for authors they really believe will do well – hence why publishing contracts are so difficult to come by!
Deciding how to publish your book all depends on what your goals are for it. If you simply want to see your book in print and to sell a few copies, and you aren’t too fussed about making money then you can enlist the services of a publisher to help you.
However, just be aware that if you are paying for your book to be published it’s worth making sure you are absolutely clear on exactly what you are paying for and what you will get each time a book sells, otherwise you could simply be wasting your time and money and getting exactly nowhere.