The incorrect book publisher can turn your dream of becoming an author into a nightmare.
One out of each eight people call themselves a writer, which indicates there are roughly 24 million people in the United States who carry that banner. Sadly there are charlatans and scam artists just waiting to ambush the unsuspecting author. How can a novice writer protect themselves against unscrupulous book publishers?
Anyone can call themselves a book publisher.
Always remember money flows towards the author from the book publisher, not the other way about.
What to look out for:
The book publisher charges the author a fee up front, to have their book accepted, regarded as or study. These charges are sometimes called a reading charge, intake charge or administrative charge.
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The book publisher directs authors toward specific editing services or provides authors' names to these solutions, with the caveat that if the author hires the editing service, their book will be published. Every book needs editing. It is component of the publisher's job to offer that editing at no price.
The book publisher offers a contract where the author has to pay for part of the publishing costs. The acquisition editor will sometimes say that the publisher's list is full for that season, but the author's book has so much going for it, they would still like to publish it. Nevertheless the publisher's resources are fully committed and the author will have to share in the costs.
Some book publishers offer contracts that are unfair, such as they obtain rights that should stay with the author of the work. Some book publishers' contracts include a clause that if the author says something negative about the book publisher, there is a monetary fine. There are also book publishers who hold the rights for a lengthy time period, regardless of whether the book is nonetheless in print or selling.
The book publisher doesn't disclose they are a Publish on Demand (POD), or vanity/subsidy publisher, or actually denies they are a POD book publisher. There is nothing incorrect with an author using a subsidy/vanity book publishing company as long as the author is well conscious of the disadvantages.
Publish on Demand books are not, as a rule, stocked by bookstores. Some POD book publishers will insist that their books are accessible in book stores, as a way to get about this problem. Accessible is not the exact same thing as stocked. Accessible only means the book can be ordered through the bookstore. Since the majority of books sold, are stocked and sold by bookstores, this scenario puts a damper on sales.
What else can a writer do to check if a book publisher is reputable?
Go to the nearby bookstore and see if any of the book publisher's titles are stocked. Ask the manager if essential.
Search the Web utilizing the book publisher's name plus the word 'scam' or 'complaint.'
A book publisher's website is targeted to its customers. If the website promotes the books they've published that's a great sign. If the web site is focused on recruiting writers, that's a bad sign.
Go to forums or bulletin boards that are for writers and see what the authors who have published with the book publisher you're considering have to say about their encounter.