by Bruce Wayne Sullivan
After ten years of being a published book author,.I have learned a few tips along the way that may save you a lot of heartache and money. There are two routes into the world of publishing: self publishing, which would most likely be through a vanity publisher, and traditional publishing. I would first like to operationally define the two types of publishing. A vanity publisher is one who charges a fee for services and this means any kind of service that the vanity publisher provides, including, but not limited to, editing, photo design, changes in manuscript after submission, proof reading, etc. In short, a vanity publisher is one who requires payment for services rendered.
A traditional publisher does not charge a fee for anything. They edit, design, do photo ops, font set and any other service your book will need to make it attractive in the market. Traditional publishers are trying to sell books to the public. They are not in this to make their income on selling to the authors. A real traditional publisher does not even charge you for author copies albeit some may call themselves traditional publishers and charge for author copies and this may be the only charge at the end of the process. However, they should let you know in the contract if there are any fees involved, even costs to you for books.
If there is nothing in the contract about a fee to the author when the last stage is reached and the book is ready for publication, then a sudden charge appears out of nowhere, beware! This is a scam unfolding! Let me just warn you up front, it is VERY difficult sometimes to tell the sharks from the Guppies and let me assure you, there are far more sharks in the tank than Guppies. If you get stuck with a deal like this, whatever you do, don’t give them any money! I know, I just got it in this same situation. While I am writing about this, let me also warn you not to sign any contract beyond a year, because you may have to wait out the end of the contract to avoid the scam should one emerge from out of the shadows. If you have money then you can hire an attorney to void the contract and get out of it before the year deadline is up. Can you imagine what horror would ensue if you signed a six year contract under these type of circumstances? In addition, there are not many traditional publishers who pay author draws any more. If you find one who does, Hallelujah for you!
Lastly, there is a great watch dog agency that is extremely helpful when trying to find a legitimate publisher. It is called Predators and Editors. They list the publishers and issue warnings concomitant the ones that are not legitimate; although their list is not exhaustive, it includes volumes of agencies and publishers. They are also very good about answering any questions you have through email. Predators and Editors has been my life line over the years. A great vanity publisher that I had an excellent experience with was Createspace.com. Good luck with your publishing, and remember to keep your eyes wide open and listen to your gut feeling.
Bruce Wayne Sullivan is a native of Jackson, Mississippi. He completed his undergraduate work at two private schools in Mississippi. His concentration was in history and social science. He attended the University of Memphis and earned his Master's degree. He’s a Licensed Professional Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a Clinically-Certified Forensic Counselor with more than a decade of experience in mental health care and treatment. Bruce is the author of Up From the Ruins: Based On a True Story, Refections from the Other Side, Vodka Tonics for the Soul. His website is www.brucewaynebooks.com