Author Alert: There Is No Free Lunch-Publishing Fraud is Alive!

Author Alert: The Is No Free Lunch – Publishing Frauds is Alive and well 

Have you ever been caught in something that sounds too good to be true? Most of us have.

Did you know that self-publishing has grown into a Bait and Switch for many authors—most in the newbie mode? A painful truth.

Self-publishing has grown exponentially. And with great growth, great fraud, and predators are bred. Sometimes the fraud is about money; others, your intellectual property. Neither is good.

Let’s face it … there are publishing predators in the author’s mist—your midst. They come in all types of shapes and forms. Some are ruthless in their pursuit of you, your book, and gulp, your credit card. Others are subtle. Caution is in order. Run, don’t walk, from any person or company who tells you: 

Understand this: they’re taking care of themselves. Not you. Scammers, con artists, and predators go where the opportunity is-and right now, there is a huge opportunity in self-publishing. Research companies and coaches who will work with you and teach you what you need to know to launch your book as a business and listen to their recommendations. You’ll wind up with a better book that will get good reviews.

Factoids to Ponder…
Fact: If you are not the publisher, meaning that it’s not your publishing company’s name as the imprint, you have not self-published. Self means “self”. “Indie” means independant.
Fact: if you have to purchase your own books from a “self-publishing” company, you have not self or indie published. Publishers purchase books from a printing company, wether it’s POD or offset.
Fact: if you receive a “royalty” from a “self-publishing” company, you have not self or indie published. If your self/indie published, revenues from book sales would flow to you, not a small percentage that is split from proceeds after distribution/publisher takes a share.
Fact: POD is a printing-process on demand. It is not a method of publishing. There is no free lunch, in self-publishing or any other area of life.
Your “To Do” list is a must to follow: Start with;

1. Determine Publishing Predator Status: Do your homework. Authors must watch out for the unscrupulous types who prey on unsuspecting authors in the making who are so eager to see their work out there that they get trapped by the publishing predators.

Before committing to anything, BEFORE PAYING ONE DIME, go to Google, type the company or person’s name—after it, add “complaint” – “problem” – “scam” – “con” – “ripoff” – “lawsuit” and see what others around the web are saying. Do not stop on the first page, make sure you do several pages into the search. You can usually tell if they have a good reputation or are out to suck you, your bank account and credit card dry.

2. Does the company or individual promise or guarantee publishing and book success? Any “publishing” company that guarantees it will make your book a bestseller is lying. There are no guarantees. Period.

3. Is Exclusivity Required? Before going with any company to help you publish your book, make sure you know what your escape clause is —your divorce clause. You need to know how, and when, you can walk away. Don’t sign anything that says that it has to “mutually be agreed upon.” When it’s time for a divorce, it’s time. Don’t sign away your rights, especially your electronic or audio rights.

4. Are you required to purchase a minimal number of books through it? Commonly used with the “pay to publish” or “subsidy” crowd, it simply means that you have to buy “X” amount of books—whether all at once or over a specific period of time. Pay to Publish means that … you the author … pay the company to publish your book. Understand this … it is not really a publisher—the financial risk/commitment is basically zilch for it.

What it is, is a “packager” for doing the cover, layout, setting up print options, and possibly getting you on Amazon (which controls the listing)—that’s the business. If any books find their way to a bookstore, moneys come to them on your behalf, eventually to you. Many that require you to buy books will often print them and add a surcharge on top of it. They make more money.

5. Are you considering the free/cheap door to publish? OK, the hook is in, you’ve followed the link—that special, low- price deal to “publish” your book is now in domino mode. “Deals” upon more deals a la packages are being pitched to seduce you. Sounds good on paper …is it/are they? You need to know what’s behind the door. Get your calculator out and really determine what all this is going to cost you, including the a la carte menu. Then, it’s time to talk to someone like me—actually, you should have done it in the first place.

6. Have you gotten an out-of-the-blue solicitation for publishing or marketing your book? Somehow, you, your website, your book has entered the radar of a predator. The caution sign is up. Block the caller or emailer.

What’s lesson #1 for all Authors? 

Be careful out there. For self-published authors (and indie as well), book publishing today has become a new frontier—that’s the good news. One with challenges, amazing opportunities, and yes, schemes, scams, cons, and rip-offs. Always verify credentials for individuals and companies you work with. Never take on unskilled service providers—they will cost you far more money undoing what they did. And when those out-of-the-blue solicitations find you—nix them.

And please, don’t rush to publish. Do your homework. Understand that publishing is a business and those that proclaim that they can do it easy-peasy for you are BSers. It’s also Lesson #2 and Lesson #3.


Dr. Judith Briles is a book publishing expert and coach. Often, she must roll up her writing sleeves and become a Book Doctor, juicing up storylines and author words. She empowers authors and works directly with authors who want to be seriously successful and has been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the ’80s. Judith is the author of 37 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book PlatformsSnappy Sassy Salty: Wise Words for Authors and Writers, and How to Create a $1,000,000 Speech. Her personal memoir When God Says NO-Revealing the YES When Adversity and Loss Are Present is a #1 bestseller on Amazon. Collectively, her books have earned over 45 book awards. Judith speaks throughout the year at publishing conferences. 

Throughout the year, she holds Judith Briles Book Unplugged in-person and online experiences: Publishing, Speaking, Marketing, and Social Media. All are two-day intensives limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. Join Judith live for the “AuthorU-Your Guide to Book Publishing” podcast on the Toginet Radio Network HERE

Follow @AuthorUYOUBooks and @MyBookShepherd on Twitter and do a “Like” at AuthorYOU, and join the Facebook group Book Publishing with The Book Shepherd. If you want to create a book that has no regrets, contact her.

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