#019 - Flattery can cost the Author dear!
If you think that all the offers arriving from so called 'publishers' who want to charge you for allowing them to put your work into print are genuine ... THEN THINK AGAIN! Take our word for it ... there are a lot of sharks out there looking to empty your bank account as soon as you send them an enquiry. Their marketing materials are top quality; their promises flattering and their charges extortionate. They will suck you in by offering to 'read' and 'comment' on your manuscript no matter what the subject or word count. You will be flattered by their report and here is a small sample of the actual meaningless words used by a well known UK based 'contributory' publisher.
"I can confidently state your work was found to be a gritty read with a wide scope. The narrative is immersive and creates within its pages a place within which the reader can become fully invested in the fate of its characters"
This is, of course, a complete load of BS ... so let's get it straight!
It's great to know you produce work with an 'immersive narrative' but how much will it cost for you to see such narrative in print? The particular offer noted above in 2019 would have cost you anywhere from £2,300.00 to £5,100.00. In US Dollars that's roughly $2,875.00 to $6,375.00. Whichever way you look at it, you are NOTgoing to become a wealthy writer with these sorts of costs to reckon with.
This very same offer also contained a schedule entitled 'Advances', but these were not advances offered to the author by the publisher, as one would expect. No, these were the advances required from the author to the publisher. So are these figures provided by the publisher the total amount the author will be called upon to pay? Well, they are titled 'Advances' not 'Total Payments'. So, it is possible that any contract signed by the author could commit that individual to paying out more in the future ... doesn't it? This is NOT a suitable way to manage your limited and precious finances.
But what about YOUR royalties? Yes, the infamous 'Royalties' we all hear so much about; the checks that regularly drop into your bank account from a grateful publisher and passed to you through an even more grateful agent. Well, in the contract offer we are discussing, the royalty rate is understood to be 25% ... but 25% of what? This percentage is of the NET sales price. That means what is left after everyone else has had their cut; the bookshops and distributors discounts, the printer's charges, the cover artist and their invoices and the various commissions to any stray agent that may have been swept up to join the party along the way. This kind of contract is NOT a 'blueprint' to make money and don't even think of asking your 'publisher' for a complete set of accounts telling you who has been paid what ... because you may have to wait a long time!
Then of course, there is the time scale. In this particular contract the publisher promises to produce your book ... wait for it ... within 290 working days. You will note they say 'working days' and not 'calendar days'. That means you could possibly not see your book for 58 weeks or over one year and the publisher will still be within its contractual rights. You will NOT be happy with that will you? Well, if you sign this kind of contract you will have little choice.
The answer to it all is simple. Do NOT get involved with this type of publisher and if you feel the unrelenting urge to do so ... then please read the very small print! Good advice will always be to read whatever they put out in the public domain such as a website or social media account. When describing what they do you may not ever find the words 'vanity publisher'. However, beware of those purporting to be 'hybrid' publishers offering a mix of 'traditional' and 'contributory' publishing services. Anywhere in their web 'marketing blurb' where the word 'contributory' is mentioned should ring a warning bell. Not everyone is a crook of course, so you may find a 'contributory publisher' who you are happy to pay for work done on your behalf, so the byword is to investigate and make sure you fully understand what service is on offer ... and how that service is to be delivered!