The title of this blog post goes back to when I began my journey as an published author. I was a young person and maybe a little naive, but doubtfully my youth was not the source of the trouble. The trouble comes from the fact that publishers LIE.
I really think any new author that begins the road thinks publishers are honest…ALL of them–at least the ones who don’t know or realize otherwise. Also you are led to believe somehow that they are all business professionals.
Well, most of them are, but there are some that aren’t, but they lead you to believe they are. Because the dishonest ones LIE.
Where does the assumption come from? I’m not the only one who has thought this. It also doesn’t matter if it’s a traditional publisher or a self publisher. Sharks are everywhere.
Maybe it’s because many of us grew up or hear more about the traditional arena and they try their best to keep a good public image. That’s not a bad thing, right? Of course not. Dishonest publishers inhabit both worlds.
Publishing companies are not compared to used car lots, credit card companies, or big corporate banks that are known to house sharks and people are taught to be aware of them. Publishers can be sharks too. That is why there are author forums, Writer’s Beware, the BBB, and The Fine Print of Self Publishing, and blogs similar to this one.
With the assumption ‘publishers are honest’ in mind, I begin to try to find the publisher that best fit my needs of what I had planned for the book: editing, custom cover, and illustrations. After some research and talking with my now ex publisher, they seem to conform to all my publishing needs. I don’t think I asked the ordinary questions, but they seemed to say yes to everything and even offered me a discount. That looked good to me because I am a savvy shopper. Nothing wrong with that.
However, things didn’t get terrible until after I sign off on the physical proof–the publishing process had several bumps in the road, but I considered that normal; I didn’t have anything to compare it to. Marketing is where things get unhinged and things go horribly awry. This particular publisher seemed to believe that Fort Knox was in my backyard and my pockets were as deep as the Grand Canyon. I was just a twenty-something who saved up to publish her book. Where did they get the idea I was a trust fund kid? They tried to hard sell me things that were ten times my budget limit. On top of that they did a lot of wrong things, and I began to doubt their integrity. Some things I thought were on the verge of being illegal. I would constantly say that’s not within my budget, and they thought I was lying or something. Any normal business has a budget and businesses working together or with a client discuss a budget, don’t they? What in the heck? I thought that you were professionals, but you sure are not acting like it! Their business sense seems to be from another planet like Mars…
The particular person in question at Publisher A, my marketing consultant, acted as if he may have been a debt collector, a used car salesman, or a loan shark in another life or before he was hired by Publisher A. It was that bad. I began to stress out and have anxiety. I was even being harassed like I owed something I didn’t! It was so bad I refused to answer the phone if he called. I felt like I just entered an abusive business relationship. Is this how publishing a book is supposed to be?
I try to get a new marketing consultant and people acted like they were incompetent. That stressed me out too. Nothing was being done about the situation or it was painfully slow. I would have had better luck trying to dental work on a unsedated crocodile than talking to these people and getting them to work with me professionally.
Over time and working with a different publisher–let’s name it Publisher B. I find out this is not the case at all. It’s not supposed to be stressful. I found out what real publishing professionals ‘look’ and ‘feel’ like. It was not anything like what I had experienced at Publisher A. It’s hard work, but it’s not supposed to cause me panic attacks and depression over a phone call or working with someone. Publisher B is a 180 degrees the other direction as Publisher A.
After leaving Publisher A by reading a book and some other research on forms, the BBB, Writer’s Beware, etc, Publisher A has a notable bad reputation, but they are netting newbies by the thousands…by lying and not living up to their own hype of providing a great publishing experience (which is what they pitch). Their finished product is also second rate. Comparing my completed product, which was the same book, from Publishers A and B, I could see a huge difference in product quality. The product from Publisher A was an overpriced piece of CRAP compared to the well priced and stellar product from Publisher B.
There’s much more to it than that…there are many other lies I have uncovered and others have uncovered as well. All that any newbie needs to know from this is not to believe everything someone tells you, the publisher’s website, or their material. Do outside investigations on forums, reading, or the BBB. Publisher A has hundreds of complaints. Publisher B had zip the last I checked. If they have a handful, there is nothing to worry about, but if a publisher has hundreds of complaints, don’t go there. Publisher A has a good BBB rating since they “attempt” to resolve the complaints. Maybe they lie to the BBB too. That’s what I learned in my own experience after the aftermath. Asking fellow authors definitely is a place to start.
I didn’t have access to these tools in the past. I didn’t know where to find them. As I mentioned before I hardly knew anything about publishing in general. That’s where many newbies begin. Some get lucky and find a decent publisher, and others…well, they share my fate. I suffered a shark bite but I bandaged it up and kept going anyway. It was a painful lesson I don’t want anyone else to endure, but there are thousands of stories out there just like mine. Publisher A has confederates that are under a bigger roof, but that’s another story for another time…