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I would like to talk about publishing, or should I say the job of getting your work to the public. It is a confusing road that should not separate you from your hard-earned money, but there are companies out there looking to do so. They veil themselves in empty promises, double talk, one or two examples of successes and confusing contracts.
You have poured your heart and soul into the pages of your book. You may have even purchased the work of an artist to adorn your masterpiece, hoping that the flash will attract the wandering eye of a consumer. Now you have pushed copies to publishing companies who have rejected your work outright and now one says “We love your work!”
They have dangled a worm in front of you, hoping that you respond. And of course you do, hoping against hope that they will give you something, anything, to get the rights to your book. But no, the email says “We will help you. Here is how.” And low and behold, that carrot shows its hook. They want money. But not that much if you take a special package. They want you to send them $1,000 for special editing, and they will edit the manuscript, package it and send it out. If you are lucky, they will even line up a book signing in your local bookstore along with a press release in your local paper. They sit back and wait.
A special may be dangled, a bonus if 1,000 copies sell, and that means a $1,000 in your pocket. But is it? They say most authors buy the copies or have family help them out. It means more for the author and no more fees to push your book? Yes, they will give you 20% as a royalty but you have spent $1,000 to get them to publish and $14,000 to buy the books to pay you a $1,000 bonus and $2,800 in royalties. You spent $15,000 to only get $3,800. Who wins? The publishing company.
Yes, your book is now on the shelf at a number of bookstores, and it is selling. You are getting royalties for writing but it will take another 3,700 books before you break even! It is the new way publishing companies catering to the self-publishing authors are making money. Not the best way, just what they are doing. It makes you wonder why you wrote a book in the first place, having to spend so much money when you want to make some.
Remember, traditional publishing has a flow of money from the consumer to the bookstore, from the bookstore to the publisher, from the publisher to the author. When that flow moves the other way to the publisher, we have a problem. But if you did take an offer like this and have made money from it, well congratulations to you, for many people have lost their shirts doing it.
A very intelligent writer told me to do one thing if a publisher asked me for money to publish my novel, and that was to run. I now pass that advice to you, from one writer to another, never pay a publisher to publish your book to the world. It is okay that they take a slice of the sale, and usually, they take a big slice for they print and distribute, but they should not take it from you.