If We’ve Said It Once, We’ve Said It…

January 24th, 2005 · No Comments
by Booksquare

Can we just say that we winced when we got to the point in this Washington Post article about self-publishining where an author who signed with PublishAmerica admitted she didn’t have a clue about the business of publishing. One part of us feels sorry for her; the other, the part we affectionately call our black-hearted soul, wants to slap her silly. And she wasn’t alone. If we accomplish nothing else with this blog, we will have made one thing clear: writing is your business, and if you don’t learn everything you can about this industry, you’re going to get screwed. This we promise you.

Self-publishing, like any other publishing decision, is a personal choice. You know what is best for you. But if you don’t know what you’re doing, your book can move into limbo and you don’t even have the memories of an okay advance to keep you warm:

…couldn’t enjoy the same resale triumph if she’d teamed up with PublishAmerica; its authors sign over publishing rights for seven years. Instead, the company would have negotiated the purchase and kept half the proceeds.

We don’t know an author out there who hasn’t experienced the desperation of wanting to be published. This isn’t a business for sissies or instant gratification junkies. However, if you’re the type who doesn’t mind having your dreams crushed and hopes shot to bits, you’ll do just fine. All we ask is that publishers offer a little honesty along with the promises. We’re getting the sense here that PublishAmerica didn’t quite do the former.

Yes, we’re almost done, but one final thing caught our attention:

The company Web site says royalties are “slightly above average industry standards,” but they probably run lower in actuality because PublishAmerica bases them on net sales.

We certainly know what net sales are. What we don’t know is what comprises a net sale when it comes to print-on-demand, especially since returns shouldn’t be much of a factor. If anyone has a PublishAmerica contract handy, we are beyond curious. What, exactly, is being netted against the sales? The dollar advance? The price of the book? Editing costs?

  • Making Books: Self-publishing companies are in the business of selling dreams. But what if the dream becomes a nightmare?

File Under: Publishers and Editors