Archive

Posts Tagged ‘scams’

Self-publishing FAQs

June 29, 2017 7 comments

I get these same questions so often that I decided to turn this into a blog post:

  1.  I have a manuscript. How do I self-publish it?Before you self-publish this:
    * If you have writer friends, get them to beta-read your manuscript.
    * Get your manuscript edited.
    * Get your manuscript proofread.

    Then:
    * Commission an cover for ebook (print/paper book cover will be separate).
    * Get the book formatted for ebook (and print/paper book, when you’re ready for it).
    * Create an account on Amazon and upload formatted ebook file.
    * Set a price and make it ready for sale with a click

  2. Do I publish as an ebook, or a print book?* Start off with the ebook.
    * Get it formatted as an ebook.
    * Upload to various vendors like – Amazon.com, Smashwords.com, pronoun.com etc. You cannot upload to many international vendors (like Apple) directly.
    * When you’ve learned more about the process, learn how to upload the files for print/paper books.
  3. How do I pick an editor?Ask around. If you’ve read a book you liked, check the acknowledgment section. The author will often thank the editor.

    Talk to multiple people. Ask for sample edits. Maybe the first three chapters, to see if the editor and you are on the same page.

  4. How much does it cost to have a book edited?Prices vary widely, but between Rs. 20,000 – Rs. 25,000 for every 100,000 words.
  5. How much does Amazon charge to sell my book?There is no charge for you to upload your book and sell it. The royalties they share with you will depend on the price you set for the book.
  6. What is ‘genre’?Each book needs classification in order to find a category to sell it under. Some examples of genres are: Romance / Horror / Thriller.
  7. Give me the formula to make my book a bestseller.No one can give you that, not even traditional publishers. If they could, they would ensure that every book of theirs was a best seller.
  8. Can you suggest a ‘banner for publishing’?I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. Self-publishing is when you, the author, create an account on Amazon, Apple etc, and upload your own book. You set the price, and you collect the royalties. If you give control of this to someone else, they will be the ones controlling this.

    At various self-publishing workshops I conducted, I heard horror stories of stolen copyrights, and stolen royalties.

    Do the research. Spend the time learning about what you’re getting into before taking the next step.

  9. I have a ‘package deal’ from a prestigious company. They are asking for money. Or: they want to share the printing costs.Money should flow from the publisher to the author, and not the other way around. Anything else, you need to be careful.

    Lot of reputable traditional publishers are trying to cash in on the self-publishing phenomenon. They’ve tied up with not-so-reputable vanity publishers. Since the vanity publisher often approaches the new author under the banner of the traditional publisher, understandably, authors are confused.

    A good rule of thumb: if they are asking for money to publish you, be careful. Traditional publishers do not need money from you – they already have your work.

  10. Can I get help with self-publishing?Lots of “publishers” will be desperate to sell you their services. Don’t buy packages because you don’t know the quality of editors, cover designers, book formatters etc. Join writers’ groups. Ask questions. Learn everything you can, before jumping in.
  11. What about ISBNs?Ebooks don’t require ISBNs. When you upload your book to Amazon, for example, they will assign their own proprietary ID for your book.

    When you do a print book, the vendor (like CreateSpace, pothi.com etc) will assign you an ISBN. If you want your own, apply from the government of India, though I have not bothered to do this.

  12. How do I get my royalties?When you upload a book, you set the price. If your book is priced between $2.99-$4.99 you can keep 70% of your sale. Otherwise 35%. No other charges. If your bank account is linked to Amazon, your royalties will get deposited there.
  13. I’ve self-published my book. Can I submit it later to publishers for traditional publishing? What happens to the ebook then?

    Unless you have cracked the Amazon/NY Times bestseller list, no, you can’t. Unless you can get creative and generate demand for your book, there will be a limited number of buyers for your book. Once you exhaust those, no publisher will be interested.

    In the extremely unlikely event that a trade publisher offers you a contract after you’ve self-published, what will happen to your ebook / printbook / audiobook etc. rights will depend completely on how much clout you have. You might be able to negotiate to keep certain rights though, honestly, I don’t see that happening because trade publishing contracts have gotten extremely restrictive. They are claiming rights to everything, and in perpetuity.

 

Advertisements

#TraditionalPublisher or #Self-publishing Scam?

May 19, 2015 5 comments

Lately I’ve been getting lots of invites from “Traditional Publishers” offering to publish my books for me. I’m always leery of such ‘offers’ because many of these outfits are self-publishing scams dressed in traditional publisher clothing.

Some quick and easy ways of checking if the traditional publisher is legitimate (though they are getting smarter by the year):

* Is the publisher’s website geared to the reader (as it should be), or are they in the business of selling you, the writer, services or ‘packages?’

* Is it a digital-only publisher? Frankly, I don’t see how this is beneficial to the author. Instead of a one-time payment to your editor / book cover designer / ebook formatter, you’re now paying a lifetime of royalties. If you have also been asked to pay for these services (in addition to the royalties) definitely stay away. Self-publishing is so easy – create an account on Amazon, smashwords etc and upload your book. Why would you hand over your rights to someone else for this effort?

* Are they asking you to pay for publishing your book? Stay away.

* Typically, traditional publishers have provided the author access to in-store distribution, which was what authors wanted / needed. But things are in such a flux now that it is hard to know whom to trust.

I wish I could say only scummy self-publishing outfits are demanding payment for publishing a book, but I find that (in India, at least) traditional publishers – the big established-for-decades ones – are also selling services on the sly. I’ve heard of a few of them offering to publish a book and provide in-store distribution for these books, provided the author ponies up hundreds of thousands of rupees. Not only that, these established traditional publishers are then pressuring the author to buy up the entire print run so the publisher can declare the book a success. If this isn’t smarmy, I don’t know what is.

Jane Friedman also deal with this on her own blog. Click here for her take on it.