Self-publishing Scams – Exposing “Publishers” That Rip You Off

| July 12, 2012

Self-publishing scams - how to avoid itJust when you think you’re completely covered from scams, something newer, smarter, and more insidious seems to sneak its way into your life. There are similar threats in the world of self publishing. While one article in Business 2 Community has given them the zippily alliterative name of Publishing Predators, they are not to be taken lightly. They are companies, individuals, or programs who fleece naive aspiring writers out of hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars, while claiming to want to help them get their work off the ground.

Sometimes the situations can get even stickier than just being ripped off, as proven in one example:

… she self published a book through Author House in 2010.  Recently a representative from that company called telling her she needed to come to a meeting in Las Vegas with film producers. She was really excited and gave him her credit card number.  I understand he immediately ran it through for $1,500 …

Her son has stopped the account. His mother is mentally impaired. Money should be demanded back. The credit card company should be immediately notified that the deal was “fraudulently” represented. Etc., etc., etc

Who are the greatest perpetrators in this unique brand of rip off?  Not Amazon or Barnes and Noble (both of which offer free publishing services), but rather a fleet of “companies” who are rapidly growing a reputation for duping innocent e-authors into spending way more than they need to, with little to no results.

Author House/Author Solutions is the big gremlin in the publishing sky. Along with iUnverse, Xlibris and others, authors are consistently duped into thinking that they are self-publishing their books. No … Author House, Author Solutions, Xlibris, iUniverse or any of the knock-offs are publishing your book—and you are paying them all the money to do it. They have no risk. It’s called Pay to Publish.

These companies, with the money they take from their “customers” through Pay to Publish, edit the book, create a cover, and print a hundred or so books.  They lure writers in with packages geared toward marketing, but the payoff is far smaller than the funds put into the project.  Generally around 100 copies are printed of an ebook with these companies, but far fewer than that actually sell, even with help from these packages.

All this being taken into consideration, there are a number of questions one must ask themselves before they take the dive into potentially getting swindled.

  1. How much time, energy and money can you commit to your book?
  2. How much time, energy and money will you commit to your book?
  3. Is having any type of control important to you?
  4. Is it important to you to know where your books are sold?
  5. Is it important to you to receive your moneys for book sales promptly?
  6. Is it important for you to be able to track eBook sales?
  7. Are you someone who wants to be involved in the “process” or are you someone who wants someone else to do it?
  8. What’s your vision for your book, really?

One of the best tools for combatting these schemes is just general logic.  Stay knowledgeable about the industry (and continue to read fantastic reports like this one) and anything disreputable will start to seem more obvious.  As they told you time and again in school, knowledge is power.

The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out.

(Published via: Publishing Predator Creep – Business 2 Community)

(Image by Alan Cleaver via Flickr)


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Category: Ebook Marketing

About the Author ()

Caroline Bennett is a freelance writer living and working in Washington, DC. Her work has been featured in the flash fiction magazine Glossolalia, and her first novel, Baldemar Is Made of Clay was a quarterfinalist for the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, where it was reviewed by Publishers Weekly.

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