Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How to know when you're getting screwed

Publishing can be a tough road. How do you know if you're getting a good deal or a raw one. When is the publishing company eating you alive and when are they looking out for your best interest?

There are so many choices out there. Do you go with one of the big New York companies, or something small? The big NY publishers are most interested in their interest. Not that they are trying to screw you over, but they aren't going to hold your hand through the minefield of edits, emotions and disappointments that come with bringing your baby to publishing.

Small print publishers usually have more time to help you through the little stuff. But small print publishers don't have the same entree into the bookstores as large publishers.

Some publishers who act like small print publishers are really vanity publishers. What is a vanity publisher? It's a publisher who makes you pay money, often in the thousands. If your publisher is making you pay a huge sum, run, not walk away. You are getting screwed.

Many new authors are afraid of getting taken advantages by other writers. They think an author is going to take their ideas and steal them away. Yes, that happens every once in a while. But you can't live in fear and never share anything. You have to build relationships, learning from those who have gone before.

Cassandre Dayne has six books out with Rebel Ink Press. Rebel Ink Press started a year ago. Why go with a new publisher. Cassandre took a risk but it payed off for her. Here's what she had to say.
Not only has Rebel Ink Press and the entire team given me an opportunity to bring my stories to readers, but they've been supporting through the entire process. From the creation of covers where so much time is paid attention to detail to the editors that do everything they can to understand my voice and then to the final product, they're been caring and much more like a family than a business. They're professional, detail oriented and when a publisher will email you late at night squealing with you at your latest release, then I have to say I'm hooked on being a Rebeler. They constantly provide ideas for marketing and are willing to listen to every idea I throw their way. I hope to be with them for years to come.

How did Cassandre not get screwed over? She went with an unknown but the big key was Rebel Ink Press didn't require her to pay out of pocket. Don't let a questionable publisher trick you into forking over your money. Real publishers, like Rebel Ink Press, don't charge.

What can you do if you find yourself in a pickle of a place? Look at your contract. Contracts are were it's at. A big publisher, small publisher or an ebook publisher can screw you in the contract or help you out. This is where your friends come in. If you've made writer friends then you can ask them to help you understand the ins and outs of your contract.

Just don't sign anything before you ask an author. You may be excited and fascinated by the fact that you are now an author, but it's not worth losing your rights to a questionable company.

There are a few companies who prey on young teens. They wow them with the opportunity to publish and get the teen's parents to drop thousands. Unfortunately most of the parents have no clue that they and their children are being taken advantage of. They are ruining their opportunity to publish the book that they've worked years on. Their dreams are dashes and they have no clue until it's too late.

Be smart and don't spend any money on getting your book published. Find a professional writers group and ask some questions first.


Liz said...

nice post Sara, thanks.
I'm finding my experiences with both Rebel and Breathless Press so far to be useful and helpful in a handholding sort of way.

Kellie Kamryn said...

Great advice in this post, Sara. Joining writing groups was the best thing I did because you get so much insider information that you can't get on your own. Plus you make friends who can look at your work and possibly suggest a publisher for you. That's how I got the first contract!

Sara York said...

Liz, I'm glad everything is going good great with Rebel and Breathless. I've heard great things about both.

Kellie, So many people just won't join a writing group. The insight I've gained from joining a group has been invaluable.