Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Don't Make My Mistake, Writers: Never Pay To Publish Your Book- Part 1

Geez, if there was only someone that phrase to me years ago. Now, this DM3W hits VERY close to home for me, which is why it's taken me so long to post this one. (I wanted to make sure I got it right.)

When I first looked into self-publishing my book, I researched, just like we all should do, but I was apparently researching the wrong thing. I wasn't too familiar with the ways people went about making their books a reality on their own, so I figured I'd start simple: Googling self-publishing companies. 
. . . 

And some of you guys and gals are already saying "Oh noooo." So, after the searches came up, I was given a list of sites that compared various companies, what their services included, and giving some pretty solid insight on how where one's money is going.

  • Outskirts Press
  • Xlibris
  • Publish America
  • IUniverse
  • Author House 
These were a few of the names I came across, with all of their services and prices varying. Some were around $200.00 while others were in the $1,000+ ballpark! Ooh, unless you came across the company during a special sales time where you got a special deal. I "fortunately" came across Xlibris around such a time, so I went with them.

Now, let me start off by saying that I am VERY grateful for what Xlibris did for me. "Prossia" was printed beautifully, they always followed up with me to see how my book was coming along, and I even had a consultant that knew me by name since I called them so much. And for that reason alone, it's really hard to speak ill of them in this regards. I sincerely believe that self-publishing companies like them are seriously trying to help authors with their careers. Thing is, there's a better and far more economic way if one knows where to look.

After I self-published "Prossia," I figured now would be a good time to learn how to market it. And that thought was a mistake in itself. Know how to market your book BEFORE you publish it. But in regards to me wanting to learn how to market my book, I decided to attend the writing panels and seminars they had at DragonCon. Surely enough, the issue of paying to have one's books printed came up with successful authors during some panels. Every single one of them thought the concept to be blasphemy, and for good reason.

Consider this: Writing is a career, and people get paid for their careers, right? Now, if you went into a job interview, and the employee said you had to pay x amount of dollars to get started, what would you say? Yeah, I probably wouldn't have much to say either since I was getting out of my chair and leaving too. :P

But here's why some of us, me included, thought needing a self publishing house was necessary if we want to go the way of the indie/self published author. There's so much more to a book than just getting it printed, right? We need bookmarks, posters, postcards, maybe even a website. Or how about a press release, an actual ISBN code, and at the very least a copy-editor to get the grammar kinks out of the way? We're ogled by all of these amazing offers included in bundles that these self publishing houses present to us. . . not realizing the sum of all of the items in these "packages" do not add up as far as pricing is concerned.

It seems authors go to these sort of companies just because we don't know any better, at least it was for me. That's one of the reasons why it's vital we build a network of fellow writers that have gone to the places we've gone before, looked at the same things we've seen, and thought the very same thoughts. Be sure to read my previous article about our comrades in arms for more insight.

But here's the rule, plain and simple. DO NOT. DO NOT. DO NOT PAY TO HAVE YOUR BOOK PUBLISHED. We should never have to give some sort of down payment for our works. Authors get paid to get their books published, traditional and indies alike. 

Since this is a hefty subject, I'm afraid I'll have to break it down into parts. Don't worry though. You won't have to wait long for the other increments. In the meantime, I'll leave a link to a site my author peers, both traditional and indies, have recommended. I really hopes this helps. I'm sure there are other companies like this one


  1. I am both publisher and author of my book:"Winter's Mystery-Time to go Within:Spiritual Journeying. My book is design in a non-traditional way. At first I had no idea of what a dpi was. More, it took me months to retake photos and learn InDesign before I could put it together. The funny part is that the photo I was told could not be used because it was 72 and 300 was needed is in my book and it printed fine. I hired someone to teach me In-Design and photoshop. The creative process is within and the passion to do whatever it takes to bring forth the book. Writing a book was a dream of mine and many encouraged me to publish my poems. I grew from the experience and the many errors, but the end result was rewarding. I am an out-of-the-box person and no publisher would have allowed me to create what I did, so I became the publisher and will continue to publish my books. Many friends wanted me to contact a publisher but I was set on self-publishing. I never realized how difficult it was going to be. I like climbing the mountain and looking back. So, I continued to search for books on self-publishing and then I would follow the guide lines. At some point, I released the inner muse the book was born.

    1. Wow, Patricia, you are my new hero! Congratulations on your book! I look forward to reading it as well as future posts by Raphyelm Jordan.

      Eloise De Leon