Publishing Comparison

Beware! Read What Fellow Writers Can Teach You

publishing contract

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Brooke Warner, author and publisher, writes on Huffington Post: “Most writers have traditional publishing aspirations.  They want an agent to fall in love with their project and champion their work; they’re looking for the external validation of being accepted by a publishing house; their fantasies about getting published involve a red carpet experience that’s increasingly elusive in this industry.”  But she also cautions: “Be vigilant, self-advocating, and savvy during this process.”
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Caveat. Scriptor: Let. the. Writer. Beware! 

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Be Careful What to Wish For.
Following blog posts of “published” writers, you might have read similar remarks as I found on the website of a bestselling author, who went for many years with traditional publishers.  She explains in her blog that she has never been paid on time.  She had to threaten her publisher more than once to pull her books, in order to get her royalty payments that were months overdue.  This author sometimes had to wait only for her royalty statements two months.
But that’s not all: “The production on my last two books ran so late that there were no review copies sent to major markets and reviewers. I had turned in my manuscripts early, so the problem was entirely on the publisher’s end.”  For her latest book she had to remind them for the copy edit because the book – its launch was only two months away – had no copy editing, proofing, or Advanced Review Copies (ARC’s). Her e-book came out nine months after the print book…

She is talking here only about book production and payments. Another example how unprofessional publishing companies are handling the book promotion and sales pages of their authors at online retailers, can be found in two of my recent blogs :

http://www.savvybookwriters.com/test-yourself-how-professional-are-you-publishing-part-1/
http://www.savvybookwriters.com/2nd-part-of-test-yourself-how-professional-are-you-publishing/

Book Rights And Wrongs And Traps To Avoid


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Check the Publisher Before you Sign an Agreement.
Talk to a variety of authors who work with this publisher, bestseller, mid-list and first-time writers, but also with authors who left the publishing company and are now self-publishing.  Ask these writers:

  • Has the publisher lived up to its contractual obligations?
  • Has the publisher tried to change the terms of the contract after signing?
  • Does the company pay on time (within 30 days of the payment’s due date)?
  • Does the company issue royalty statements on time?
  • Has it published the books in a timely fashion?

Before you ever contact a traditional publishing company, do your research.  Start with Publisher’s Marketplace, and don’t forget to google the publishing company with the added word: “complaints”.

Websites that are stating complaints and are giving advice what to look out for:
The Fine Print of Self-Publishing
Predators and Editors
Author Beware Thumbs Down Publisher List
So far you will not only find complaints and cautionary stories about trade publishers, but also about Vanity publishers.
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Vanity Publishers or so-called “Self-Publishers”.
“Self-publishing companies” – the worst of predators – are really an oxymoronic: you are either self-publishing or someone is publishing you.  Paying someone to be your publisher is like hiring someone to take a vacation for you so you can stay home and work.  Read my former articles about Vanity publishers:

Five Worst Publishers
Comparison of Trade/Vanity/Author-Publishing
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Here is the definition for the term, “publisher.”  A publisher is an entity that invests in and assumes the risks for the producing and distributing a piece of media, such as books, e-books or audio-books.  And you as an author license the copyright (or parts of it) of your manuscript.

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What to Look for in the Publishing Contract?
Find out if the trade publisher company:

  • will negotiate certain points of its contracts
  • will reserve the right to revise my manuscript
  • will try to buy all book rights
  • will want to own all rights to any pen name used by the writer

There are many more traps in publishing contracts, such as mentioned in these blog posts:

https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2013/08/16/the-traps-in-publishing-contracts/
https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2014/05/05/do-you-understand-your-publishing-contract-2/

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NEVER, NEVER, NEVER sign a contract without having your contract lawyer going over it and explaining it to you in detail – sentence for sentence.
“There is no consumer-type protection for authors, the laws governing (publishing) business contracts assume that each party to such contracts will watch out for themselves.  
If both parties sign a contract, the strong presumption is that each party understood what the contract meant and voluntarily agreed to be bound by it.  In extreme cases, if a lawsuit were filed, a contract might be deemed unconscionable and voided in whole or in part, but that is a high (and costly) hurdle to clear.”

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5 Worst Publishers – BEWARE!

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Yikes!

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Author and e-Book Builder Deena Rae wrote in one of her blogs:
“The world of publishing has always been filled with scammers, and top of the list are vanity publishers. To those who have been in the world of publishing a vanity press used to be a bad thing, but with Penguin, Random House, Simon & Schuster, and even Harlequin getting into bed with AuthorHouse / AuthorSolutions to form so-called subsidiary presses. Now there is a sheen of “respectability” to vanity publishing…
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Want to know which vanity publishers I personally find the worst?  This is based just on my own research, observations and studying of lots of “publishing contracts”.  Top of the list are the ones that are operating under so many names and are changing them so often, one can barely keep up with listing them:

  1. PublishAmerica, America Star Books
  2. AuthorHouse / AuthorSolutions (Penguin)
  3. Alibi, Hydra etc. (Random House)
  4. iUniverrse, XLibris,
  5. General Store Publishing, Renfrew, ON, Canada

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    “I wish I had seen this site (and many others popping up out there) before paying … to destroy my four years of hard work.”
    “Stay away from those people, do not invest a penny in …. Save yourself time, money and frustration! Buyer beware! Author beware! Writer beware!
    “I am their client too and very much disappointed with the way my book is handled, unless it is the matter of grabbing money, it is difficult to get a response.

These are original comments of authors to articles about the vanity company practices.

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Century-old Scams
Authors are surprised when so-called publishers want money up front. Publishers are supposed to pay authors, aren’t they?  There is nothing wrong in this. The trouble comes if the author, having signed a hefty check, is led to expect that his book will be treated in the same way as all the other books coming onto the market. To pay for publication is no guarantee that a single copy will appear on the shelves of even the local bookshop.  Authors feel they have been conned, persuaded to part with money for services not rendered.  If you think writers and publishers today are dodgy, get a load of the crooks and scoundrels of 18th-century London Publishing scams seem to be nothing new. Read this Salon.com article about the worst publisher of all time.
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Author BEWARE!
Despite the evidence, there are still writers who fall into the trap of vanity publishing – often with open eyes. That is why as soon as one vanity publisher goes out of business, another soon fills the gap. Here are a few tips on what to look out for. Read it in a former blog post – and BEWARE!
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The expression “publisher” should be legally protected and it should be forbidden by law to call themselves publishers! Read more about vanity publishers and un-ethical publishing contracts in Stop: Vanity Publishing aka Subsidy Publishers.  

Here is an excerpt from a contract where the vanity firm extends the right to the universe – in case people make home on Mars or the moon:
“The author hereby grants the publisher, during the full term of copyright, the sole and exclusive right to manufacture, print, publish and sell and to otherwise use, as set out further in this agreement, including, but not limited to, acting as agent and/or exercising any or all subsidiary rights, throughout the universe.”
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More about this topic:
http://whatever.scalzi.com/2013/03/06/a-contract-from-alibi/
https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2011/08/15/easy-to-lose-money-a-lot/
http://emilysuess.wordpress.com/
https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2011/11/23/author-beware-its-a-long-post/
https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/how-to-choose-an-ebook-publisher-or-diy/
http://accrispin.blogspot.ca/2014/02/publishamerica-is-now-america-star-books.html

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If you would like to get more support in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites – or to learn how you can make yourself a name as an author through content writing: We offer all this and more for only $179 for three months – or less than $2 per day! Learn more about this customized Online Seminar / Consulting for writers: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars

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Tagged: author-publishing, Book distribution, never go with a vanity publisher, platform in order to build a brand, Publishing Comparison, vanity publishing


Comparison of Trade Publishing – Vanity – Author Publishing

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Comparison

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Every writer, no matter if they author-publish (self-publish) or if they have sold their manuscript to a publisher, have to do their own marketing. But how can you promote your book, if you are on the mercy of a publisher – trade or vanity?  What if you don’t own the ISBN and if you have no access to the retailers’ publishing / author pages, such as Amazon, B&N or Apple?  We had clients who’s publishers where not able to properly set up the Amazon page, did not choose the proper category, took weeks to make changes to a wrong price and months to add the images and text the author had provided for their Goodreads or Amazon page.
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This is a huge problem (among many others) that authors face after they have given away their work for a pittance – or worse, have paid thousands of dollars to a vanity publisher. So, what’s the difference between both, beside the fact that they make it difficult for their authors to market their books?
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TRADITIONAL PUBLISHERS

  • Author needs to have a platform
  • Trade publishers accept very few submissions (average: 4%)
  • Authors might have to pitch dozens or hundreds of puplishers / agents
  • Authors receive a small advance and even smaller royalties
  • They do not use POD (single or few books), rather print large quantities
  • Authors have barely any say to cover image, publishing date etc.
  • Authors cannot decide the sales price, e-book prices are often un-competitive
  • It takes very long until the book is published (12-18 months average)
  • Publisher pays for printing, editing services and cover image
  • Distribution services are covered by the publisher
  • Professional marketing services available – but only for celebrity writers
  • They own the ISBN for the book

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VANITY PUBLISHERS

  • Author needs to have a platform
  • Accepts almost ALL submissions
  • Author never receives any advance in this “partnership
  • Author contracts are often worse than those of trade publishers
  • Author pays for printing or ebook-formatting, editing services, cover image
  • Authors have barely any say to cover image, publishing date etc.
  • Authors cannot decide the sales price
  • Mostly Quick turnaround and Print on Demand (POD)
  • Barely any distribution services, compared to commercial publishers
  • Vanity publishers don’t live from book sales, they live from printing/author services
  • No professional marketing services
  • Very few royalties – if any at all
  • They own the ISBN for the book
  • Your book has only 3 months time in bookstores to sell – before being discarded!
  • Bookstores generally are wary of vanity books (except maybe local writers)

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AUTHOR-PUBLISHING

  • Authors needs to have a platform in order to build a brand
  • Needs to learn about the publishing / book distribution industry
  • Needs to plan the publishing / marketing process
  • Authors have to find / compare author services (POD, distribution, formatter, designer)
  • Authors pays for printing or ebook-formatting, editing services, cover image
  • Authors can decide everything: cover image, publishing date, retail price etc.
  • Authors can do their own or hire marketing services
  • Authors get up to 70% from the books retail price (or 100% if sold from own website)
  • Authors own their ISBN – which is FREE in Canada! and low-cost in other countrie
  • Bookstores generally are wary of author-published books (except maybe local writers)

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Conclusion:
If an author has all these challenges, waiting times (or costs to cover, in the worst scenario) – and cannot even do the necessary marketing without huge problems, what is the point in having or even paying a publisher?  Why not author-publish / self-publish in the first place, and be totally independent when it comes to your marketing?
Whatever you will decide, take your time, don’t rush in anything and don’t let you sell any services, before you have thoroughly evaluated them. It does not matter if your book launches a month or a year later – important is that you have a platform as a writer and that you find a way of publishing that suits you and that gives you the freedom of your own decisions. If you decide to go with a publisher, don’t forget: Real publishers sell to readers – vanity publishers sell to writers!

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If you would like to get help in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites: We offer all this and more for only $ 159 for 3 months. Learn more about this individual book marketing help: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars
Or visit http://www.international-ebooks.com/book-promo to advertise your new book, specials or KDP Select Free Days.

Please check out all previous posts of this blog (there are more than 900 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.

Thanks a lot for following:

@111publishing

http://on.fb.me/TvqDaK

http://bit.ly/VmtVAS 111Publishing @ Google+

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Tagged: author-publishing, Book distribution, never go with a vanity publisher, platform in order to build a brand, Publishing Comparison, Publishing considerations, Trade Publishing, traditional publishers pro and con, vanity publishing, ways of publishing


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