Self Publishing: Don’t Get Conned

con artistNo one likes being taken advantage of, but it happens all the time. When I think about professional cons, I’m mentally infiltrated with ideas of ponzi schemes, investment scams, time share rip-offs and the like. But when I started to hear horror stories of self published authors being conned, my ears perked up.

People can be talked into anything, and writers are no different. These days there are various self publishing “services” that provide more financial gain to the middle man than the writers themselves. But don’t expect them to tell you that. Authors generally don’t take the self-pubbing route for a chance at a huge paycheck. Surely they wouldn’t object to being the next Amanda Hocking, but for all intents and purposes, money isn’t the only incentive. Having said that, the proceeds of a self published book should go to the author, not someone else’s pocket. This is where doing your research is important.  Writer Beware has been the whistle blower for various scams and cons that have impacted new authors. Before you write that check and sign on the dotted line for a service, put on your Sherlock Holmes hat and investigate.

Completing your masterpiece has always been the hard part. Once you’ve got that out of the way, pat yourself on the back. Next step – editing and creating a book cover. To some this may sound overwhelming, but honestly – it’s a relatively simple process and can typically be done with minimal cost. Marketing is where it gets tricky. As many of you know,  BookRix offers an online community filled with thousands of readers with a thirst for new material. Rather than pay money hand over fist to have companies market for you, use our community to post portions of your work, interact with readers and start building a fan base. Essentially, marketing is the act of getting your name (and your book) out in the open.

Is Social Media not your forte? Grab a cup of coffee (or tea if you prefer!) and kiss your keyboard cause in a few days you’ll be Twitter/Facebook/YouTube/Google+/Tumblr savvy. Not convinced? Challenge yourself! Take 30 minutes and create an account for each site (you’ll probably be done in 20). When you’ve finished that, log into Youtube and get your turorial on. The beauty about YouTube is that they have thousands of user created ‘how-to’ videos for pretty much every topic you can think of, including Social Media. So type in your inquiries, i.e. “How do I create a FB fan page?”, “How do I use Twitter to market my business?”, etc., and LOADS of results will surface. Sure it might sound time consuming, but trust us. It’s worth it. If you decide down the line to delegate this task to a marketing team, then at the very least you’ll understand how it works and will be an educated shopper. Just remember, no one is going to work harder for you, than yourself!

Everyone knows that self-publishing is the exciting wave of the future. But there’s also someone at every corner looking to make a money off those who let them. Don’t let ‘em get you down. Beat them at their own game! Know your options, educate yourself, and have fun. You’re about to be a published author! What can be better than that?

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One Response to Self Publishing: Don’t Get Conned

  • Tony Lister says:

    Agree with the need to be aware of the money makers out there in the self publishing world. I have seen a couple of examples where the cost of self publishing a book (by unit) is some where in the region of $20+, even $50+ and god help you if you want illustrations, leaving no hope for profitability (or even saleability except at a huge loss).

    It seems that these middlemen publishers make their cash through the vanity of authors thinking that their work needs must be published at any cost. Hence another term for self publishing being Vanity Publishing.

    Not sure that we will ever see an improvement in the vanity publishing area as there will always be an up and coming author who has written that magnus opus that needs to get out to the reading public so as to have them (the reading public) recognise the genius that is.

    Vanity Publishers prey on that author driven perception.

    And when you end up with ten cartons of unsold sitting in the garage at home, only to have to make the ultimate decision days, months or years later (depending on the depth of your beliefs that your genius will be unearthed) to pulp, dump or recycle. How do you recycle an unwanted tome except as a door stopper? There could be the next business opportunity.

    Written by Tony Lister who can state emphatically that he has never sucumbed to self/vanity publishing (nor has he ever been published at all for that matter) but who has knowledge of a number of AUTHORS who took the self/vanity publishing route and always the equation is the same.

    Unrecoverable cost of publishing +
    Insufficient market coverage for number of books published
    = about 10+ cartons of unwanted books sitting in garage waiting for
    (1) recycling/dumping
    My money is on (1)

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