Have You Become Someone’s Cash Cow?

Have You Become Someone’s Cash Cow?


Starting down the publishing path takes money—don’t let anyone … anyone … tell you that it doesn’t. Usually, it’s more that what you think or planned for. And, it takes lots of time. Oh, and energy. Publishing isn’t the time to think you can be a couch potato. It’s a proactive endeavor.

Sure, there are ways to create a book and publish it for minimal dollars. And, it usually looks like it. There isn’t a writers’ or publishing conference that I haven’t attended when my “What were you thinking when you created, printed and published this book?”

The less expensive way to get into the publishing game is via the eBook route or the minimalist version that Amazon’s Create Space and Ingram Spark’s platform offers. It’s getting your toe in the water and a way to start learning the ropes. Within each are templates you can use/buy to load a book-to-be up.

There are hybrid publishers, there are pay-to-publish publishers (all vanity presses go in this category), there are traditional publishers, small/indie press publishers and there are self-publishers who could be indie publishers.

You think it … it’s there. And more are added to the mix on an on-going basis. What you don’t want to get caught up in is the “pay me once and pay me again, and again” portal. You become the cash cow. Good for them … not for you.

          Author Beware: Do not pay more later … determine costs now.

Publishing is a business.
With most authors to-be, the up-front costs are the primary concern. Don’t stop there—what you should also focus on is the back-end costs. The true cost of a book to you—be it a copy at a time or hundreds/thousands of them. What’s a reprint going to run you? How about corrections? Or a revised edition—do you have to pay up-front fees as if you had a new book production? If you are with any type of publisher besides YOU, just what are the royalties to you—are they net or gross (bet they are net!)? What about special sales—are royalties reduced? When will you get paid?

It’s not uncommon for publishers to low-ball up-front fees in exchange for very high back-end costs (we will publish you for $297 ….) down the road (think expensive author copies like $8-10 or very low royalties—less than $1 on a $15 retail book …).  It’s also not uncommon for you to be baited with a promise of library and major retail exposure and the probability is equivalent to winning the lottery.

            Author Beware means you don’t go through this alone. Ever.

One of the traits of successful authors and indie publishers is that they’ve learned that they don’t, and can’t, do it alone. Determine who you need on your team—book designer, cover designer, printer, editor, book coach … who else?What do they cost?

Determine your book creation cost—whether you elect to publish yourself or contract with a publisher … know from the get-go your FULL COST PER BOOK. How many books do you need to sell to cover your initial costs?

Put together a Book Spending Plan to market and move your baby forward. It’s a good thing.