It’s a story that I hear from authors all too often. It’s not the story that they want to tell. It’s a story of disappointment and deception. It’s a story that begins with hope and ends with heartbreak. The adage is all too true, “An unfortunate side effect of hope is deception.”
I’ve never had the talent for writing. Sure, I can write technical manuals, process guides and courseware, but I’m not a fiction writer. I don’t have the creative talent to put words on paper that create a picture in the reader’s mind. I do, however, very much enjoy the publishing process that begins after the writer has created the story. I love taking that work and bringing it to fruition. My world is the process from manuscript to bookshelf. What I really am is the writer’s “sidekick.”
I spend my days helping writers with the technical journey that takes them and their manuscript to delivering the final product, a physical book or a properly formatted eBook file. I love the entire process from interior formatting to creating covers with the author. I especially enjoy holding the book for the first time. Every time a book is “born” a new journey has been completed and it is always exciting for me.
I recently worked with an author that had been deceived. She had paid a lot of money for a poor formatting job, received no customer support and her paid book publisher blamed an eBook distributor for his errors and inability to produce.
I see many self-publishing scams each and every day. This is difficult for us as we offer these same services in a legitimate business to our clientele and frequently have to overcome the lack of integrity in others. In the self-publishing world there are many predators. If you are hopeful to the point where you lose objectivity, you are easy prey, especially on the Internet.
To help those considering print-on-demand and eBook publishing, I have prepared a list of things that I have noticed amongst deceptive author services companies.
The following should make you stop, think and research when selecting an author services company:
They throw a lot of computer technical terms around. By doing this, they make the job seem difficult to the point of intimating, so you must need them!
The price seems so low. How can you not go with them? Keep reading. Many websites offer a low teaser price that at first seems fixed (and too good to be true!), but you soon find out their services are really a la carte. Here is a short list of terms that should be included in any publishing agreement:
- Formatting for each eBook reader
- Custom cover development.
- You should own the work product that you are paying for (cover, interior, etc.)
- You should keep 100% of your royalties unless you’re working with a legitimate literary agent.
- You should control your book, its pricing, and distribution channels.
- The company should truly offer supporting services such as secure storage for your submissions as well as the work product they create for you.
- You should be able to talk to your author services company and get your questions answered in a timely manner.
- You should own and have a copy of your digital work when it is completed.
Rules, rules and more rules. A reputable service should take care of their customers. Some sites have so many rules and fine print in the contract telling you what they won’t do for you. This again makes the process seem so complicated and intimidating. The objective on the part of these deceptive companies is, “again, it must be so hard that I really need their help.”
Work for hire. You might think that you are paying for a company to perform a service for you in which the resulting product is your property. This is a key issue!! Make sure that anything that you pay for, a cover, a Kindle format, any work, is delivered to you as your property (this was worth repeating).
Promises – If they guarantee that they can make your dream come true, then this deal is too good to be true!