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The Writer's Compass » About Writing, Becoming A Writer » Author Services, Middle-men, and Scammers

Author Services, Middle-men, and Scammers

The publishing world had been turned upside down. As a writer you have many options for finding and getting your words in front of an audience. BUT it’s not that simple. The biggest problem for authors is that more than ever they have become the buyer of author services, the middlemen, and scammers.

What traditional publishers were expected to do, writers are now doing for themselves. This means that instead of the services traditional publishers were expected (or thought to provide), would-be authors now have to find and pay for. The biggest problem is that traditional publishers were interested in making money off the authors by selling their books. The author services/middleman/scammers have little to nothing invested and therefore little to no interest in whether your book sells. These service providers make their money off the author, regardless of whether the author sells 1 or 100,000 or 0 books. Keep that in mind as you start to look at the services you need to self-publish your book.

1. Can you really make more money self-publishing?

You have control over how much you spend on self-publishing and on how much you charge for your book, therefore, you should be able to price your book reasonably enough to make more money per book.

Consider how many books you will have to sell to cover what you are paying to get your book ready to publish and be published. Figure you will sell on the low side rather than what you dream you will sell in a perfect world.

2. Will the price for your book compete with similar self-published books in your genre?

If in order to make a profit you have to overprice your book, realize that your audience will probably buy a similar book from your competitor or do without, just like most buyers do in the real world.

3. Are you publishing quality or feeding your ego and publishing garbage?

If you are are taking shortcuts in cover design and editing in order to get your book “out there” then you are probably more interested in feeding your ego than in publishing a quality book. If that’s the case, I doubt if you are taking the time to read this blog or care what it says. However, you are part of what gives the self-publishing industry a bad name.

4. Are you part of a group that understands your topic and giving you peer feedback?

A group of peers, either writers or people knowledgeable on your topic, will help you to write to what your audience needs, to seek better quality, and to raise questions you need to address.

5. Do you have an audience or a platform? Have you presented your material in any format previously?

Do you teach on your topic? Have you given talks on your topic? Is there a group interested in the specific fiction you are writing. Although a blog is not necessarily the best way to market your work, it is a way to see if you can find an audience, build interest, or get feedback from readers. If you are writing and no one is reading your blog, how are you going to find an audience to buy your book?

Self-publishing is a potential way of making more money per book you sell, but it is also a good way to get scammed. Remember, you are the customer, you are the one these services are selling to. You have to figure out how you are going to sell the book and whether the service you are buying will add value to what you have to sell.

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