In every industry there are those people who have nefarious ways and would like to separate you from the money in your wallet. I know there is a website dedicated to questionable practices in the publishing arena, and I would like to weigh-in on the direction an independent author can go to protect themselves from those people who want to charge higher fees to complete the book production process. The website I referred to details those so called predators who will gladly separate an unsuspecting author from their hard-earned dollars.
I agree that in any industry you’re going to have good people and you are going to have bad people. This is the same dichotomy of life wherever you go. To continually hear talk about the predators that are out there is a great marketing tool using fear as a way to build more sales and more participation in a given program. I think the current political climate has put many people in a position where they would like to see the fear marketing take a backseat to actual information and education. We don’t have to work as adversaries in this publishing climate because there is more work to go around for everyone. Two times in the past 15 years I have been unemployed and have gone through the Five O’Clock club to get back on my feet and into a job situation. I always remember the painting that they have in the offices with the following statement:
The Garden of Life is abundant, prosperous and magical. In this garden, there is enough for everyone. Share the fruit and the knowledge. Our brothers and we are in this lush, exciting place together. Let’s show others the way. Kindness. Generosity. Hard work. God’s care.
Since I have been through this program twice I always remember these words and think about them as I go through my work life, whether in an office/corporate situation or self employed.
The best thing an independent author can do to safeguard against unscrupulous practices is to become a better customer of services to complete their production product. I suggest that all self or independent publishers go out and educate themselves on the process before they even start talking to anyone about how to get their book completed. I am not recommending that you take the time to go and become a publishing professional, but it does behoove you to have a basic understanding of how the process is completed and better still, an understanding of what things cost. As Sy Sims would say on the old men’s shop commercials, “An educated consumer is our best customer.” This is the way to make sure that your book project and experience will be one that you can look back on with fondness and a feeling of exhilaration. No one in publishing wants to see anyone hurt, betrayed, or defrauded of intellectual property or actual treasure. A publishing process should always lead to an outcome where all involved are happy with the results.
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I am not judging anyone who uses the fear of predators to get business; I just think there are other ways to express a desire to help people then through fear and accusations. I also believe that the author should have a very large part in making decisions that will impact his/her fiscal well-being. I do not think a centralized system where only one individual has oversight over all of the bidding processes and submissions is commensurate with keeping the author as an equal partner in the finalization of his project. The author should always have the last say in what green leaves his pocket, and that is inclusive of the credit card green as well.
My message to authors: become an educated customer.
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