How to Avoid Self-Publishing Scams

self-publishing scams alert

Self-publishing Scams to Avoid

Self-Publishing Scams

by Deborah S. Nelson

So you are thinking of publishing a book! Fabulous. And you want to know how to avoid self-publishing scams that dot the landscape of digital publishing. Good idea. This article will help arm you with knowledge, BEFORE you publish a book.


Self-Publishing

As a self-publishing coach, I am often asked: Which are the self-publishing companies to avoid? Although this sounds like an easy question to answer, it is not. In the changing landscape of digital publishing, companies are coming and going daily. Self-publishing is an emerging industry. The music and photography industries have already made their transition to the digital age. We enjoy downloadable songs and sheet music, digital cameras, online photographic services, online magazines to name a few. Book publishing is still working through the twists and turns of its transition to online digital publishing.

Therefore, to name self-publishing companies to avoid would be a tricky full-time job. Although this is not the easy answer, education is your best defense against self-publishing scams.

Basic Self-Publishing Terminology

Before you decide which company to hire, learn the basic terminology of self-publishing. Two great tools for this are the Dictionary of Self-Publishing Terms  and WIKIPEDIA, the definition of Self-Publishing. Once you understand self-publishing is you handling your own project, which self-publishing company to hire is solved. It is nearly impossible to hand over your self-publishing project to someone else. When you do, you create an unnecessary middleman. As SELF-PUBLISHER, you are responsible for all aspects since everything passes through you (or should). Inviting a third party could complicate and slow down the project.

Self-Publishing Companies to Avoid

Avoid self-publishing scams by choosing not to hire a so-called “self-publishing company.” By definition, only you, the author, can be the self-publisher. Shift your focus to hiring  a good print on demand printing company for book printing. The two most experienced print on demand companies are CreateSpace and LuLu. Educate  yourself about the book publishing process. Hire your own freelancers for book covers, interior design, promotional copy, editing, and proofreading. For further details read: Self-Publishing Companies: How to Shop Them. For further education, download our free self-publishing toolkit below.


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Self-Publishing a Book: 3 Rookie Pitfalls

Self-Publishing a Book Rookie Mistakes

Catch Self-Publishing Rookie Mistakes Before You Make Them

Self-Publishing a Book: Common Rookie Mistakes

By Deborah S. Nelson

So you are thinking of self-publishing a book! Bravo! Publishing a book is an excellent choice for a project that will stretch your imagination, patience, and fortitude. I have self-published 14 books and coached and taught authors to self-publish over 100 books. I can help you avoid the common rookie pitfalls. Self-publishing is similar to taking on the general manager role of building your own home. With that understood, get ready to discover mistakes that could sabotage your book publishing project and make you want to throw in the towel.


Self-Publishing

Mistake # Three: Hiring a “Self-Publishing Company”

Let’s get your thinking straight right away.  The term,Self-publishing companies” is one of the biggest misnomers of the twenty-first century!  If you truly want to master at the art of self-publishing a book, let me help you with terminology. Also see the Dictionary of Self-Publishing for basic terms. Self-publishing a book as defined in WIKIPEDIA: Definition of Self-Publishing

Self-publishing is the publication of any book or other media by its author, without the involvement of an established third-party publisher. A self-published physical book is said to be privately printed. The author is responsible for and in control of the entire process, including, in the case of a book, the design of the cover and interior, formats, price, distribution, marketing and public relations. The authors can do it all themselves or outsource all or part of the process to companies that offer these services.

What does this mean? It means you do NOT hire someone to “self-publish” your book-this is crazy! The ONLY  one who can SELF publish your book is YOU! I get questions and inquiries daily about “self-publishing companies to avoid,” and I say, “AVOID ALL OF THEM!” Having said that you will need to select a printer, most likely a print of demand printer (which often label themselves as “self-publishing companies”)

The reason for this is, since you are the author, YOU and only YOU are the publisher. You are responsible for the entire project. When you hire one of these so-called “self-publishing companies” you are putting a third-party in the middle, spending more money than necessary, while still needing to oversee all the work. This will not save you much time, if any.  These “self-publishing companies” are, are really print on demand printing companies. Yes, you will need a printer, but that is all you will need from these so-called “self-publishing companies.”

Solution: Subcontract your own workers. Hire a print on demand company for the printing only. Then contract experts in each area. You will need a book cover designer, an interior designer, content editor, proofreader and many other freelancers throughout the process. Many so-called self-publishing companies are happy to overcharge for these services. Read my article on Managing Self-Publishing Services.

Mistake #Two: Manuscript Written Equals Book Completed

Once finished writing your manuscript, you are done, nearly done, or halfway done. WRONG. You are one-third of the way to the finish line of your book project. I tell all my clients right away that you can expect THREE parts to the life cycle of bringing a book into the world:

  1. Write Your Book
  2. Publish Your Book
  3. Market Your Book

Keep in mind that once you have written a book, you are only 1/3 of the way to knowing the complete joy of self-publishing your book! Publishing or self-publishing a book is a marathon, not a sprint.

Solution: Keep this in mind throughout the entire process to build mental and emotional  stamina needed to make it to the finishing line.

Mistake #One: Including Friends, Family & Random “Experts” in the Process

This is the top mistake most people make when self-publishing a book that keeps them from actually finishing. However, if they do persevere through all the conflicting critical eyes, the book is likely to be a mish-mash of styles, looks, proofreading rules, editorial approaches, and your watered-down message.

Let me put it to you straight. Writing a book is about giving your readers a passionate message that only you know… a story that only you can tell. When self-publishing a book get a vision for your book, and stick to it. Everyone is a “so-called” expert, and when it comes down to it, most of the decisions in book publishing are personal and artistic preference. Don’t let everyone’s well mean opinion water down your passionate message to the world.

Solution: If you feel you must get feedback, do not ask for “feedback” to feed your ego–rather for the good of the book. Plan two focus group sessions, and carefully invite your key supporters, along with your book publishing coach to moderate. In the first focus group session, share your original unedited manuscript, and ask people to report back within 7-10 days with their ideas and positive feedback. After that, move on with your book publishing project. Self-publishing a book has a timeline, and you must stay on track to get it done. You may also create a focus group later, for the book cover, and again give people 7-10 days for their reaction, and then move on. This is the biggest mistake that rookies make when self-publishing a book. Looking for support, and complements, and an ego boost, can ultimately sabotage your book project.


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Alert: Avoid Wrong Turns in Self-Publishing

Self-Publishing Companies to Avoid

Self-Publishing Companies to Avoid

As a self-publishing coach, I am often asked what are the self-publishing companies to avoid. What are the worst “self-publishing” companies? How can I make money in self-publishing without overspending or getting caught up with scam self-publishing companies?

If you have landed here, you are probably asking the same question. A quick easy answer is to say that self-publishing companies to avoid are ones which will not fit the needs of your self-publishing project. This article will help you select the best self-publishing companies for your book publishing projects and how to be aware of particular self-publishing companies to avoid.


Self-Publishing

If you are preparing to self-publish a book, this article we will help you to properly prepare for success in self-publishing. I have worked on the inside of traditional publishing and offset printing for decades. For the past five years,  I have worked extensively in the self-publishing industry and have a good grasp on the landscape of services available in the book publishing industry. In this article we will tackle the questions of which self publishing companies to avoid. But first, let’s consider the following:

  • So-called “self-publishing” companies are really just print on demand companies. Many offer extra services, but they are secondary. To get a more clear understanding of what self-publishing or print on demand really is and what other publishing terms mean, see the Dictionary of Publishing Terms.
  • Selecting a print on demand company or printer is only one step in the self-publishing process. If you have decided to publish a book yourself, understand that it is the equivalent of being your own general contractor for building your home. Selecting a printer to publish your book would be like selecting someone to pour the foundation, put on a roof, or frame up the house. It is but one piece of the entire picture.
  • Selecting the best printing company to print your book depends entirely on the type of book you are going to publish. So the “worst self publishing company” will be one who least likely matches the requirements of your book project. If publishing a four-color hardback illustrated children’s book, you will want to select a different printing company (“self-publishing company”) than if you are printing a black and white paperback. To learn more about the basic steps of how to publish a book, read the other articles on this site.

The Best Way to Avoid the Worst Self-Publishing Companies

To avoid the worst self-publishing companies, the best approach is to do an analysis of the requirements of your book publishing project. Ask yourself the following questions:

What is the purpose of my book project? Is it to sell lots of books, sell books online, sell books in person, enter the speaking circuit, give workshops using the books, or to leave a legacy for your family?

 Will you need a small, or large inventory of books?

 Is your budget tiny to small? If so, you will want to consider a print on demand method; books are printed as sold, with no inventory needed.

 How important is quality of printing and paper? If your book includes high quality four-color illustrations or photos you will need a different kind of printer, than if you are publishing a normal paperback book.

    • Make an Informed Decision

      The trick to finding the best printer for your book publishing project is research. Define the specifications of your printing job first. To put together the specifications of your printing project answer the following questions:

    • Will my book be paperback or hardback? (hardback is more expensive and complicated to do)
    • How many printed pages will my book be? (about double number of pages of a 12 point Word document manuscript)
    • Will I have illustrations inside the book?Will I need four-color inside the book?
    • What level of printing quality will my book project need?
    • What size will my book be? Will it be a custom-size or a standard book size?

Some of the Best Self-Publishing Companies

For paperbacks, I recommend starting your research with CreateSpace, LuLu, and Outskirts Press. These “players” have been around since the beginning of print on demand technology and they have their game down. Still, I get many comments about these self-publishing companies who sometimes are being seen as scam self-publishing companies. Keep in mind that although it is free to sign up for a print on demand account in most cases, extra services are often quite overpriced, and this is where the “scamming” comes in. People feel mislead when they discover the “extra costs” involved in self-publishing a book. I suggest reading my article on self-publishing services to learn more about this area. For small quantities (or even just one published book) of four-color books (lower quality),  I recommend starting your research with Blurb, and for larger quantities I recommend starting your research with Lightening Source. These are just some suggestions as there are many thousands of self-publishing companies available for printing your book. But the very first step is to clearly define the goals and needs of your book publishing project.  As for which self-publishing companies to avoid, I urge you to first do your research on your book project. Then you’ll understand which companies will be a better fit for your project. To learn more about the process of defining your book project, see the following articles:

  • How to Self-Publish a Book
  • Self-publishing Checklist: Publishing a book Yourself
  • Print on Demand- 12 Money Motives

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