How to Avoid Self-Publishing Scams

self publishing companies to avoid

Scam Alert! Self-Publishing Companies 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.


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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 already made their transition to the digital age. We enjoy downloadable songs, sheet music, digital cameras, online photographic services, and online magazines to name a few. Book publishing is still working through the twists and turns of its transition to digital publishing.

Therefore, to name self-publishing companies to avoid would be a tricky full-time job. Although sometimes difficult, education is your best defense against self-publishing scams.

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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 what 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 is Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing 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.


Publish your Book Blueprint by Deborah S Nelson

Have a Dream to Publish a Book—
But Lack the Time or Know-How?

Look no further. This potent and detailed DIY publishing guide grants you the time and know-how. Learn how to self-publish a book by doing it! Once you become a published author, friends, family, and peers see you in a whole new light! This unique system propels both aspiring and seasoned authors through the digital publishing process step by step. You won’t even need your completed manuscript to start!

Includes downloadable template
Free ISBN number & POD account
10 steps to print on demand publishing
Displays book parts in chronological order
Publish your book blueprint proof in a week


Those who have completed Ms. Nelson’s Courses are raving fans. See Videos Reviews & Author Library.
Hmmm … I am not quite ready—just send me the Free Self-Publishing Toolkit

Click Here for Your Self-Publishing Toolkit

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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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Are You Writing from Your Heart?

Are You Writing from Your Heart or from Your Head?

By Deborah S. Nelson

Writing from Your Heart or Head, which is better? When teaching, I speak of two writing methods–The Art of Writing, which is writing from your heart; and The Craft of Writing, which is writing from your head.

To be a good writer, you only need one method–writing from your heart. I urge clients, writers, and students to spill their passion. First pour your heart out. Once you tell you story on paper (or computer) it is easy to clean it up. We can hire editors, copy editors, and proofreaders to smooth the rough edges. Most importantly, tell your story authentically with passion.

Most of my clients and students are afraid their writing might be “bad writing.” This fear is a culturally shared fear dating back hundreds of years when publishing houses held the key to the printing press. They defined what was “good” writing and “bad” writing, often based on self-perpetuating factors. Today we enjoy print on demand which allows us to print just one book affordably. We can publish our own works now. We need not be scholars, or celebrities, or part of the elite to be published. Democracy has come to publishing. We do not need anyone’s permission write and to publish.

writing from your heart is the best direction. Warning Sign says watch writing with your ego.

Is My Writing Good or Bad Writing?

No system to filter good writing from bad writing is yet in place on this new playing field of self-publishing. The system inside traditional publishing houses is based as much on the book’s monetization potential as writing quality. I have seen this in action. Yet, we are all likely to agree a difference between good and bad writing is a reality.

Self-Publishing


After working in both traditional publishing and self-publishing, I realize the real distinction between good writing and bad writing boils down to writing from your heart. Too often writers are writing for the attention of being published. They are like people who talk to hear themselves talk.  Similarly these writers crave seeing their name in print. When you write self-consciously like this, it is not writing from your heart, this is writing from your ego.

Writing from Ego Likely to Create “Bad Writing”

To coax the best writing from your heart, drop the idea of appearances. Transcend them memory of your high school or college English teacher. You are telling a story, or teaching something to your readers to help them. You are entertaining, teaching, or providing valuable information. Feeling the connection between what you share and who share you it with, will automatically create good writing. Writing from your heart will cover up a multitude of writing sins when you engage readers with your passion. Next time you write, forget about grammar, spelling, vocabulary. Let it rip! Writing from your heart breaks the spell of writer’s block, and eliminates the quest for writing discipline.


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Is Self-Publishing a Book Profitable?

Publishing a Book Digitally 

By Deborah S. Nelson

Tablet computer color splashNow that digital publishing has entered the playing field of the World Wide Web, a new question arises over the horizon of online book publishing. Is it possible to make money when publishing a book? In this article we address the question for those considering entering the ring of digital book publishing.


Self-Publishing

Book Publishing reaches back into history; and traditionally was an expensive venture to enter. The printing press was a pricey piece of equipment in the first place, as was the set-up involved in printing just one book. This required an up-front investment for printing at least 10,000 books to make one book affordable. See the video below which explains in more

detail the difference between digital publishing and traditional publishing.

Now that digital publishing allows any of us to print just one book affordably, that makes self-publishing doable for a one person enterprise.

Money Required for Publishing a Book

Before we can talk about making money in publishing a book, we need to talk about the costs involved to get started.  Since expensive printing equipment or set-ups are not required, that means anyone with a simple computer and an idea for a book can enter the playing field of book publishing. With no large investment required, the potential profit margin obviously skyrockets.

However, expect to put in a great deal of sweat equity, or pay for labor costs involved in preparing the digital file for publication. To find out more details about the exact costs involved in  publishing a book, here’s an article entitled Real Self-Publishing Costs to Publish a Book to get a detailed analysis of initial costs involved.

The Millions Made by Publishing a Book with Digital Publishing

Digital publishing equipment has made a new self publisher era possible. No longer considered ‘vanity publishing,” many successful traditionally published authors are getting excited about the size of their royalties made by publishing a book themselves. Take Barbara Freethy, for instances, Author of 34 novels including the Wish series and first author on Kindle and Nook to sell one million books. She has been writing for 20 years, and was published through four different publishing houses. Freethly is now self-publishing. “Once I saw how well my self-publishing books were doing and how much more attention and focus I could put on my own books, it was a pretty easy decision [to continue self-publishing] because those books have been doing so much better,” Freethy comments.

Amanda Hocking has made millions with her romance series with on e-book platforms as well. Considering now that the self-publishing industry is estimated as a 52 million dollar industry in 2012, there is certainly big money to be made in publishing a book. This is true now, more than ever, especially when self-publishing figures appear to be eclipsing traditional book publishing numbers many times over.

Amanda Hocking and Barbara Freethy are just two of the most well-known millionaire authors; and this article barely scratches the surface. Huffington Post Live has a comprehensive video interview which interviews the some of today’s most successful self-published authors. With the publishing playing field leveled they interview Hugh Howey, Darcy Chan, Bella Andre, Jasinda Wilder, all New York Times Best Selling authors, and all approaching 1 million or more in book sales. With royalties what they are in self-publishing, you can bet those sales numbers has brought each of these authors millionaire status.


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Self-Publishing ISBN Numbers Surge in 2012

Self-Publishing ISBN Numbers 59% Surge in 2012

Self publishing ISBN Numbers

Self Publishing ISBN Numbers

By Deborah S. Nelson, Author/Publisher Publishing SOLO & VRTG

A new report shows that the self-publishing industry is approaching the $52 billion dollar mark. Stats, reports and figures vary; but one comprehensive way to measure growth in the self-publishing industry is through the purchase of self publishing ISBN numbers; as every book needs them. Last year,  purchases of self publishing ISBN numbers increased a whopping 422% from 2007, when print on demand became viable.

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The ISBN number is on the back of each published book, and cataloged by Bowker Books, who offers a directory of books to bookstores each year. This is an easy figure to measure through such online print on demand companies such as Createspace, Smashwords, Kobo, Lulu who buy  massive volumes of self publishing ISBN number to provide to self published authors/users. See the latest article printed in Talking New Media:

The company most people associate with ISBN numbers, Bowker, said that an analysis of U.S. ISBN data shows that the number of self-published titles in 2012 increased 59 percent over 2011 to more than 391,000 – and 422 percent over 2007. The analysis was done by the company’s affiliate ProQuest.

“The most successful self-publishers don’t view themselves as writers only, but as business owners,” said Beat Barblan, Bowker Director of Identifier Services, in the company’s press release. “They invest in their businesses, hiring experts to fill skill gaps and that’s building a thriving new service infrastructure in publishing.”

A huge portion of the ISBN numbers, over 80 percent, came from eight companies, with Bowker citing Smashwords and CreateSpace.

I’m sure their data is correct, but it may actually underestimate the growth of self-publishing. While Apple requires an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) to publish an eBook inside its iBooks Store, Amazon does not – neither does Blurb.com for its print and eBooks.

In fact, there is a rather lively discussion online right now about the value and necessity of having an ISBN number. For many, they are an expensive luxury, and smack a bit of a shakedown of self and small publishers.

It won’t come as much of a surprise to learn that the first thing on Bowker’s “to do list” for self-publishers is the purchase of an ISBN number. A single ISBN number costs $125 (or about 100 percent of some eBooks sales!). The cost goes all the way down to $1 a piece, but only if you agree to buy 1000 at a time. (See More)

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Talli Roland on Self-Publishing Her Books

By Deborah S. Nelson, Author/Publisher Publishing SOLO & VRTG

After being published by a traditional publishing company, Talli Roland decided to go the self-publishing route.  She took a hard look at the her sales metrics and found that she could do everything the traditional publishing company was doing and keep more of the profits in the end. After going through the process of self-publishing, she felt more empowered to control her own destiny; and here’s her take on self-publishing after trying it both ways:

“Why did you decide to self-publish?

I had a very satisfactory experience working with a traditional publisher for my first two novels, but with hardly any distribution in print and 99% of my sales in ebooks, it made more sense for me to pay a one-off fee to an editor and cover designer, and keep the remainder of the profits for myself. Since striking out on my own, I have published three novels and two novellas, and hit the top 100 on Amazon UK three times. Leaving a traditional publisher was a risk, but it’s one I don’t regret at all.

I don’t think self-publishing is for everyone, though. I’m very much of the mindset that authors are lucky to be living in a time when there are so many options available to them. The rise of the hybrid author – one who traditionally publishes as well as self-publishes – shows that authors can pick and choose which model works best for them. I’ve recently signed a two-book deal with Amazon Publishing and I plan to continue to self-publish, too.

What are the positives of self-publishing?

I think any self-publisher would tell you the biggest positive is having control of every step of the process. You set your own timelines, choose your own cover, and press that “publish” button yourself. You manage marketing campaigns, check your sales figures, and decide on price-points. The ability to publish as quickly as possible is also a huge benefit: self-publishers can take advantage of trends before traditional publishers (witnessed in the US with the emergence of the New Adult genre) and can grow their readership much faster than traditional publishing usually allows. A big advantage of self-publishing is also the financial reward, of course. I’ve been able to make a living as a writer for the past couple of years, something I couldn’t do when I was traditionally published.

And the Negatives?

Having instant access to your sales figures can lead to madness! If you have a whiff of the obsessive about you, it can be difficult not to stress if your numbers start falling. Likewise, if your sales rank starts climbing, it’s hard not to constantly check “just this once” to see where you’re at – I even checked during labour (what can I say? I was getting a little bored …). I’m constantly reminding myself that, while the business side of things is important, there won’t be a business if I don’t get busy and write more books. Being your own boss can be quite difficult if you’re not motivated and dedicated to building your career. I have learned to keep a very strict schedule and not to engage in social media until I’m finished my word count for the day.

As wonderful as self-publishing is, it does have its limits. I’ve found it difficult to get my printed novel into bookstores, despite solid e-book sales figures. It can also be a little isolating – you’re on your own every step of the way. That’s one of the reasons I’m part of an author collective called Notting Hill Press, made up of hybrid authors. We work together to promote our books and share resources, and it’s been a great way to feel part of a team. I’m very much looking forward to working with Amazon Publishing for my next novel, The No-Kids Club. They seem to have hit the right mark by allowing the author to remain an important part of the collaborative process and providing lots of marketing support.” Read The Whole Article Here:


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Publish your Book Blueprint by Deborah S Nelson

Have a Dream to Publish a Book—
But Lack the Time or Know-How?

Look no further. This potent detailed DIY publishing guide grants you the time and know-how. Learn how to self-publish a book by doing it! Once you become a published author, friends, family, and peers see you in a whole new light! This unique system propels both aspiring and seasoned authors through digital publishing step-by-step. You won’t even need your completed manuscript to start!

Includes downloadable template
Free ISBN number & POD account
10 steps to print on demand publishing
Displays book parts in chronological order
Publish your book blueprint proof in a week


Those who have completed Ms. Nelson’s Courses are raving fans. See Videos Reviews & Author Library.
Hmmm … I am not quite ready—just send me the Free Self-Publishing Toolkit

Click Here for Your Self-Publishing Toolkit

FREE SELF-PUBLISHING TOOLKIT