All You Need to Know About Scams as a Self-Publisher
You are almost a published author! But the toughest aspect of publishing your next bestseller is finding a publishing company to help you get your book out into the world. As with many things in life, there are people and companies that want to take advantage of your work.
Self-publishing companies that are scamming potential authors are on the rise, but thankfully we have been able to consolidate all the information about what you need to look for in order to ensure your manuscript ends up in the right hands.
What to Look Out for When it Comes to Book Publishing Scams
Identifying potential book publishing scams can be rather difficult if you aren’t experienced in the world of publishing. Looking at specific aspects of a business's advertisements, on the other hand, can give you a good idea of whether their services are legitimate or not.
A Myriad of Unnecessary and Ridiculous Fees
One of the first things you should look out for are publishers who charge extra and rather unnecessary fees and costs for the services they provide.
The first of these ridiculous costs is a reading fee. Imagine needing to pay someone to read your work after you’ve gone through the entire editing process a few times already.
Those publishers may even require you to buy a specific number of copies of your own book in order to ensure good traction on initial sales. They may even add that you are some sort of finalist in a contest and that you need to pay to receive your prize.
Now, we know that this sounds rather ridiculous. However, those that operate these publisher scams are veterans. They are masters of the English language and will make everything sound like there is not a single flaw present.
The key is trusting your gut! If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is!
False and Exaggerated Claims
Many publishing scams promise that you will have the next best-selling book. Yes, you really may have one, but a publishing house with a good reputation will never guarantee that your book will sell a specific number of copies and go viral. Anyone who claims otherwise might not have your best interest at heart.
With that being said, you need to be wary of "book scouts" who will say they found you online. Always confirm that they are real people and that their publishing house is legitimate. People get our contact details in the weirdest of ways.
The Presence of an Unethical Contract
When it comes to obtaining royalties for your book, you always want to make sure that you have researched how much you should be getting for each book you sell. You put a lot of work into your book; don’t let publishing scams decrease the returns you have earned!
You will most likely be given a contract by these publishers that are trying to scam you. After all, they want to do everything as authentic as possible to make you believe that they are the real deal.
However, the problem arises when you don’t read the entire contract before signing it. This is problematic, as there may be an added clause that isn’t necessary for the contracts of legitimate publishing houses. We're talking about your work's copyrights here!
Some publishing houses may have a small clause in the middle of a bunch of legal terminology in an attempt to make you skim over it. This clause will have you sign over the content of your book to them as the publishing house.
This is how you will lose all of the work you have created, as well as the access that you have to the content that is present within your novel.
Avoiding Vanity Press Scams
What, you may ask, is a "vanity press"? Well, simply put, it is content that is put out to the public without a care in the world about what it is that is being portrayed to the public. In essence, they publish whatever, regardless of quality or content.
Now, the makings of a great self-publishing company is that they care about what they publish. What this means is that you will have specific self-publishing houses that will focus on specific niches of content, such as fiction versus nonfiction.
Surely you would think that these vanity press scams are easy to identify? Well, as a veteran self-publisher, you may be right. But we need to contextualize the entire scenario.
Self-publishers are more likely to be new authors who have always wanted to write a book and have done so but are unsure how to publish it. These scams take advantage of this ignorance and will ask for an exorbitant amount of money that is out of proportion to what real publishing houses will ask for.
But, as a new author, we cannot blame you for falling for these press scams. After all, the publishing process can be a rather complex one. Or, you are so desperate to publish your book that you will do anything to have it done now.
The vanity press scams offered by these unsolicited and fake publishing houses will exploit your human nature and make you want to see marked success now rather than later. This is how they get to you!
Other than the red flags we mentioned above, as soon as a publishing house offers to take care of all of the marketing associated with your book, alarm bells should be going off in your head.
Yes, there is a difficulty in marketing that may make a new author seem rather overwhelmed. But it's all part of the process of releasing your next bestseller to the public!
So How Can I Publish My Book?
Taking control of your own publishing is perhaps one of the most mature decisions you can make as an author. After all, what if you want to write another book? Getting scammed shouldn’t be part of your plan!
With that being said, there are a bunch of ways that you can self-publish in a way that is honest, truthful, and completely avoids book publishing scams.
Self-Publishing Online Courses
With everything moving towards online learning, there are a wide variety of reputable online courses that will take you through all the hoops that you may need to jump through to self-publish your book.
Make sure you do more research to make sure these courses are real, especially if they seem to cost more than the knowledge and practical publishing applications they teach you.
Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
Now you may be aware that one of the more well-known book-based reading tools, the Kindle ereader, is owned by Amazon. What’s great is that Amazon came up with the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program!
This program has completely revolutionized your ability as a self-publisher to completely disregard the possibility of any book publishing scams crossing your path! Not to mention that the entire process is a lot simpler than one would think.
All you need to do is create an account—include your tax information for royalty payouts—upload your files, and then voila, you’ve self-published.
Printing Your Book on Demand
Now, although Amazon has this option available, there are other online platforms, such as IngramSpark, that will allow you to print a specific number of copies of your book on demand. As well as in the event someone orders the book online, a single copy is produced and shipped.
With this specific manner of self-publishing, you don’t need to even worry about any self-publishing scams or vanity press scams, as these platforms are reputable and already have hundreds of thousands of authors using their services!
You can expect the price of books that are published on demand to be approximately four dollars, if they are about 30,000 words without pictures or diagrams. Your book publishing scammers will want you to pay between $15 and $20 per copy!
Self-Publishing Houses That You Should Avoid
Although "self-publishing" in essence means you do it yourself, there are some publishing houses that provide you with templates that enable you to self-publish. This is why we make mention of them.
But knowing this, as well as knowing that there are a bunch of self-publishing scams out there, you need to be careful. There are lots of different online platforms, such as the "Watchdog Advisory," that protect potential authors against being potentially scammed.
Many of these publishing houses that want to scam you will provide exaggerated claims on topics relating to communication, sales, and the services they provide and will have varying opinions on the legal and transparency aspects of their services.
Technology has enabled people to become more clever in the ways that they take advantage of others.
But scammers know exactly how to trick you and make you believe that getting published is easier than getting lost in the woods. These ridiculous claims, however, should raise red flags in your mind.
We always recommend going a step further and doing research on how reputable self-publishing platforms and publishing houses are. After all, you don’t want your next bestseller to go to waste.
You’ve worked hard at making it a success, and you deserve to reap the full benefits of it!