This post can go hand in hand with mistakes 1 & 2. I did mention this briefly in the last post since some of the information I received was from a representative at my ex publisher.
Most publishing representatives are very helpful people and are the ones to go to if you have questions. However, the publisher they work for must be ethical.
Lying publishers will teach their representatives to lie to their clients. How can you tell at face value? That’s just it, you can’t outside of secondary background checks on the publisher in question like I have mentioned before.
Publishing representatives can and will tell you things that may or may not be backed up by the contract as well. Scary and true. My ex publishing company’s representatives would tell you all kinds of things, but their contract was simple, barebones, and purposefully ambiguous…and/or is spread out over a series of other documents on their various services they have. So, I can tell you this for myself since I DIDN’T know how or where to check. I was swayed by the suave talk of some smooth reps!
Also, if you read The Fine Print of Self Publishing you will learn that this can also happen to a professional, but in Mark’s case he had experience and knowledge to counteract the attack. My ex publisher was one of the offenders, but these are some tips I learned both on my own and from the book when speaking with reps:
- Beware of the reps who act like they’re your best friend that you didn’t know you had. It’s not the same thing as being polite. Real helpful representatives will answer the questions correctly and not say yes to everything while sometimes being a little candid and not tell you everything you want to hear. Don’t be in publishing Neverland where they never say ‘no’.
- Double check everything a representative tells you by checking the contract and materials. If it doesn’t line up, you may want to ask questions or do some other research elsewhere. If you ask two different people and get two different answers for the same question and neither line up with what’s written, you may want to pay attention.
- At a questionable publisher even the supervisors can or will provide questionable information.
- If you get a statement by someone, and it doesn’t line up with the contract, get it in writing for proof or better yet, don’t buy into it. If they won’t give it to you, there may be questionable ethics at work here. Go find another publisher, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- It’s better not to trust people until they prove themselves to be trustworthy and find out they’re clean than it is to be hoodwinked while giving them the benefit of a doubt. Trust me on that one!
- If you feel like you always have to double check for people’s credibility or you have to scavenger hunt for vital information, find another publisher. There are plenty of them that don’t do this kind of behavior and have everything you need where to find it
- A book is like a child to an author and finding a publisher is like trying to find a reputable babysitter for your child. Take the same precautions you would in finding a reputable babysitter when you want someone to care for your baby—that is if you don’t want to do it yourself. Even in the DIY category you will still have to work with people for cover design, formatting, etc that you can’t do yourself. The DIY arena is not free of sharks either.
Tune in next week for Mistake #4: Beware of the Easiest to Find Publishers! After this post I will then do my three part series about my publishing road and the offending publisher that taught me everything NOT to do!