I always forget that there are new people entering the writing world who don’t research the Hell out of publishing before they aim for a publishing contract. They don’t even make themselves familiar with how publishing works. This was brought strongly to my attention when an acquaintance was pointed in my direction. She was having editor issues. (Not the first, surely not the last.)
I asked the question “which publisher are you with?” for purely selfish reasons. I always want to know who to avoid. She gave me a name which I googled while I was on the phone with her.
“Oh, you’re self-publishing?” I winced at this point because I recognized an infamous name associated with her publisher. She wasn’t aware of the fact that she was 1) with Author Solutions 2) Self-publishing 3) being sadly and utterly screwed by not knowing how to write a query and 4) didn’t know how to find a publisher in her genre. (I realize my parallel construction has been wrecked in this paragraph, but moving on…)
She didn’t know the main rule: “Money flows toward the writer.” She signed a contract and paid a lot of money to get a publishing contract.
Now, I have opinions about vanity presses, which I will now hereby separate from self-publishing. In general, vanity presses are scams.
There is nothing wrong with paying an editor to edit your work prior to self-publishing.
There is no reason not to hire someone to create your cover if you don’t feel your art skills are up to it.
Hire a marketer or layout artist.
Heck, find an off-set printer to who will do all the above for you.
But MAKE SURE they follow through on their promises. Research is your friend.
Always check Writer Beware. Google the company. (It took me less than 15 seconds to find warnings on the above referenced publisher.)
Vanity Presses don’t always follow through. Those related to Author Solutions? Oh, they are a danger. Red flags all over the place. Author Solutions hides under the skirts of other publishing houses. They upsell and upsell and provide crappy products on the back end. (At least by everything I have found on them.) They’re dangerous and they’re in the middle of a lawsuit for breach of contract and more. The lawsuit is pressing to be turned into a class action suit, but this is still in litigation.
So rule of thumb:
1) Genuine publishers do not ask you for money after accepting your query.
2) Publishers pay editors.
3) Publishers pay for cover-artists.
4) Publishers pay printers.
5) Publishers pay distributors.
If you are self-publishing:
1) Research distribution channels! Amazon is not the only one.
2) You pay for the editor.
3) You pay for cover art.
4) You pay for printing.
Before paying for *any* service, research the company.
The Author Solutions Case
Crossposted at: The Art of Procrastination