This sort of hinges on Mistake #1 in how publishers can lie to you. If everything in the material and website is a lie and you don’t know it, then you can get really screwed like I did. Sometimes you don’t know you are stuck with a lemon until you enter the ‘point of no return’, and then it’s either too late or really difficult to get out. This is what happens when you work with the worst of the worst. I will post the full story in it’s entirey at a later time and tell you the identity of the offending publisher as well.
Anyway, back to what I was saying. I am a science student and I know how to do research and comparisons, but that wasn’t the source of the problem. You can do good research with bad information so to speak. This is what happened. If you don’t know where the good information is or where to look for it, then you can get screwed. Then it becomes a game of Russian Roulette.
When I started out, I didn’t really know anything about self publishing. All I knew about was traditional publishing, and it wasn’t working. A friend of ours knew someone who had self published, but I never talked to this lady myself. Frankly, I didn’t know such a thing existed. I am from the backwoods, and publishing books is uncommon knowledge. There aren’t too many authors in Georgia. They exist, but I didn’t know of any I could talk to. I ask that friend of ours to find some self publishers. I definitely was not savvy enough to go the DIY route either. Post The Fine Print, the publisher this lady worked with was a bad publisher too.
She was able to find four publishers. With these four publishers I begin to request information from them. Three seemed really friendly and helpful. One seemed really blunt and snippy in their reply to my query like it was a traditional publisher instead of a self publisher. They didn’t bother to send any other information or offer any other assistance. So that one gets crossed off straightway since they didn’t really seem they were interested in doing business with me.
Another publisher looked very cost effective, but the problem I had with it was they didn’t offer any editing and only template covers. Illustrations were a lost cause too. I didn’t know where to find any editors. After further reading I find out that they are more DIY and it was above my technical know-how which could lead to a disaster. It was not CreateSpace, BTW. Crossed off this one. Back then I hadn’t even heard of CreateSpace.
Then it was between two. I study the information packets closely. I also talk to the reps to price compare. Publisher A was going to charge bookoos of extra money for what I wanted done in addition to the package. I trusted my gut here, and looking back through all my accumulated knowledge it was right, but I didn’t know it. Two mistakes here. One being the printed material, and two, talking with the reps. These can be good, but only if the publisher is reputable. When in doubt, check it out–elsewhere.
Publisher B was willing to give me everything I wanted/needed with a publishing package PLUS get a discount. For a savvy shopper that was music to my ears (in hindsight this was overpriced even with the discount). If I had known where to look elsewhere for secondary research, this publisher has a bad rep, they rip people off, and they are the most egregious liars in all of the indie community. Also, when I looked through their brochure I felt like their marketing services were REALLY pricey. Gut instinct. That was too correct, but I figured I would wait on that stuff anyway and do other things first. That was until I met my loan shark marketing consultant.
I didn’t know any other indie authors. I didn’t know any other authors in general. I had to do everything on my own. I was one of the unlucky ones that everything turns to crap after the fact. I didn’t know authors helped each other. I thought the opposite. I felt like I was always going to be on my own and no one would offer a favor with or without reciprocation. That’s the way it was my whole life; peers don’t help you; they leave you to fend for yourself and stab you in the back in the process. Everything I ever done was on my own because family and friends never could comprehend or understand anything I ever did so they COULDN’T help. It turns out, that’s not the indie author way, but more on that later.
Most publisher information is good, but it doesn’t hurt to check out their reputation. They do tell you what they have to offer, but double checking this also tells you whether or not you’re getting a good deal. It CAN hurt if you DON’T.
Looking back at these four publishers post books and forums, two were extremely bad, and two were just okay, but they wouldn’t or couldn’t give me what I needed. I wished I had found the publisher I had found now in the beginning, but the worst offending publishers pour a lot of money making sure they are easy to find for the obvious reasons, but that’s a later topic.