Warning to All Authors
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Warning to All Authors

online, publishing, PA, publish, america, warning, scam, self, agent, contracts, kevin, c, davison,

A warning for all authors wanting to publish their books with little resources and knowledge on the matter: This article is meant to assist you in what not to do, and how to better make your choice for a publisher.

With so many publishers to choose from that come banging on your door as a first-time author, you should “BEWARE” of those companies that simply mean to take advantage of your dreams. The idea of getting your book published is an excellent dream and very possible for anyone with talent to write a novel and the guts to release it to the world. It is a hard and trying occupation to become an author.

There are many critics that will always try to bring you down no matter how well you write. Many of these critics are people that couldn’t make it themselves in the difficult and challenging industry today and wish to prey on others like a school bully to make themselves feel better or with the attempts to steal your work. My first advice to anyone who wishes to make an attempt to publish is to copyright your work before you submit it to anyone, and this means your publisher as well.

There are many crooked publishers out there that have the ability to lure first-time authors into signing with them and take advantage of them. Here is something to watch out for. If you do not have representation, an agent to submit your manuscript to major publishers, then you will have to learn the format of writing what are called “Query Letters” and submit the letter yourself to those publishers that accept “Un-queried submissions” or non-represented authors. If you choose to self-publish read everything carefully. Sites such as Lulu.com claim to offer authors 80% royalties which isn’t technically accurate, but they get away with advertising this to draw in authors business by explaining it in detail on their sites. How they work is simple. Authors submit their material into the Lulu database and it takes the author through a process. In the end, the author has created the version of his or her book desired and can now set their royalties per book. Lulu claims a percentage of the royalties set and that is subtotaled and then added to a surprising cost of manufacturing the book. Depending upon the number of pages and format in which the author wishes to release the book, it could wind up having a retail cost of $60 with only a profit of $5 going to the author. Does that sound like 80% royalties to you?

Another one to watch out for is Publish America. They prey upon the first-time authors like sharks in blood tainted water and the author is the one with the open wound. Agents representing the company are friendly and often up-talk the company while making promises to the authors they are attempting to get to sign their feared contract. Publish America is a great venue if you have access to an editor and edit your manuscript prior to submitting it to them, and if you are not concerned with sales.

As an east coast business, they mark their products up very high on retail margins and claim that it is an acceptable price for the product. Many of their books are priced as high as $27.95 with a shipping cost of $3.99 or more. The surprise is hidden in their contracts. They offer 8% royalties for the first 2000 units sold, 25% for the next 4000 units, and 505 maximum royalties for any units beyond that. They also offer 50% of any lawsuits regarding author’s books and movie rights. Any promises made to lure authors into signing are null and void unless they are covered in the contract, which the contract claims any promises made by employees not granted in the contract are not binding. There are much more questionable material covered in the contract, however they are a business and many businesses do things we as consumers don’t agree with in order to draw in business. Would I recommend this company?

Knowing what I know today and how they treat their thousands of authors, I would not release any future material through them. I already personally have two books released through them and under contract for seven years and guess who is making all of the money off of the sales for my self-advertising? That’s right, they are. They do not promote your books either unless you purchase a large number of your own books in a package which they make offers to do things publishers should be willing to do anyway, like submit copies to New York Times for review.

I have had the honor and privilege of meeting many authors who I share the same interests and opinions with as well as many authors readers only wish they could meet. My overall advice to new authors is to do the research and if you can’t afford representation, decide what it is you want to accomplish before making your choice on a publisher. I discovered that amazon.com has its own self-publishing venue now available free with no set up fees. Authors receive 35% royalties for their books sold on the site and are available in Kindle formats as well as many others. There are thousands of options available to authors. If you do not have money to invest in a major self-publisher with packages there are free venues available.

Remember that authors are artists of literature and we need to be heard or have our stories read like a painter or sculpture wants to have their masterpieces observed. Don’t be afraid to take that chance as an author. If you think you will be made fun of or ridiculed for what you have written, use a pen name though once you register your copyright with the library of congress it becomes public records and pen name or not, the public can find out who wrote the work. I am an author with a mission to reach out to the world and entertain it.

For more information about me as a writer, please check out http://kevin-davison.webnode.com/, http://authorkevincdavison.blogspot.com/, and http://write-for-a-cause.blogspot.com/.

Article by Kevin C Davison

“I write to entertain, and for a cause.”

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Comments (7)

I tried using Lulu over a year ago. But I couldn't get a sale although I did get downloads. I also used Lulu ISBN instead of my own. Was I still supposed to have earned something or do I need my own ISBN to earn the royalties. Downloads were supposed to earn as well.

This a must read! I learned something new today about publishing. Thanks for shedding light on this Voted up!

With Lulu you make royalties based off of sales from the price you set up. If there is no proffit for you then you need to raise the price. I prefer using amazon's or offthebookshelf due to their lower print cost which allows me to set a lower price and still make profits.

Good work! Voted!

EEP there are some nasty sharks out there, nice to see some uncovered. Great job!

Very informative and indeed helpful, Kevin. It seemed what happened to me when I tried to put up a website and had fallen for a self addessed web designer who took my site name hostage registering it on his name and refusing to release my site for a hosting service of my own choice. Business tactics are a bit more tricky these days.

Yes DB, companies seem to be bending and breaking the rules more and more every year and getting away with it through loop-holes in the system that is meant to protect consumers.

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