I know I posted about this yesterday, but this article by Kris Rusch is excellent. Kris talks about companies that charge for things like editing, formatting, etc., and then ALSO take 15 or more percent of the author's royalties.
In one of my previous blog posts I called these companies Vanity Presses because the moniker seemed to fit, but no one else is using that name. To make things easier I'm going to call these companies Snake Oil companies, because not only are they selling authors something they don't need, they're selling something which can harm them.
Judging from what I'm hearing in the community and from friends, as well as friends of friends, it seems that more authors are turning to Snake Oil companies to put their books online. I had thought, though, that these scams appealed mostly to writers who didn't have the money to pay a flat fee for cover design, etc., but it seems I was wrong. Kris writes:
This writer has multiple New York Times bestsellers published at more than three per year for at least twenty years. She has sold 35 million copies of her books. She can afford to pay someone a flat fee to put her out-of-print backlist up as e-titles. She can afford to pay someone with real experience to handle her social media for her.To read Kris Rusch's article in full click here: The Business Rusch: A Warning To All Writers Who Need Help Indie Publishing.
Instead, she gave it all to a start-up for 15% of royalties earned.
By the way, the service doesn’t pay for copyedits or proofreading, and so you get charged for those services by a flat fee separately. If you read the bestselling romance writer’s supposed Facebook post, you can see why this service doesn’t do copy edits. But really, there’s no one at the service who knows how to design covers either, certainly not covers worthy of a New York Times bestselling author.
And speaking of that author, she’s spending thousands for a service she’s tied to at 15% of royalties earned. If she cancels, she gets nothing.
There are many reputable companies who charge a flat fee for things like cover design, formatting, and so on. Joe Konrath has links to the folks he uses (you may need to scroll down the page) and John Locke has recommended Telemachus Press and still uses them to format and publish his work.
This is from the landing page at the Telemachus Press website:
Telemachus Press is a "work for hire" author services epublishing company. What makes us different than a vanity press? You keep 100% of your royalties and receive complete sales reporting. All material that we create on your behalf belongs to you — it's your property. We store all working copies of your book (interior and cover files) on a secure FTP site where you have access to your work 24/7. You don't need our permission to retrieve a copy of your files. We set up all eBook accounts in your name. It's your book - access sales reports and keep all royalties. Some of our channel partners are listed below. We work for you.I've never used Telemachus Press, but that's the sort of information you need to ask about when you're shopping around for someone to help you put your book online.
Best of luck to you. And, remember, don't get so caught up with these publishing details you forget to write!
Other articles you might like:
- Writer Beware: The Return Of The Vanity Press
- Indie Authors: Don't Give Anyone Ownership Of Your Work
- Book Promotion: Where's The Line?
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