An Independent Publishing Editorial: Editors and Predators, Really?

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

The Book Kahuna

There are many people in the publishing world who continually look to organizations as predatory.  When an author decides to self-publish or is an independent publisher, with more than one are two books that they’ve published, they must be on the lookout for those who would take advantage of them and take their hard-earned dollars.  I agree that there are unscrupulous people who are looking to make a buck in any way possible.  Rather than be accusatory my suggestion for authors and self publishers and independent publishers is to get the educational materials and background needed to make informed decisions on who they should work with.

Accusatory Marketing:  The Only Thing We Have to Fear…

The current political climate of the country seems to have everyone pointing fingers at each other that “so and so” is a bad guy and you should not work with them.  This marketing through fear is a great strategy for those who practice it, but what are the protections against these accusers themselves?  Someone who has not been educated and informed has absolutely no way of knowing whether the information they are receiving from a predator accuser and the money they’re spending is well spent.  If one person is completely controlling the project, the individual author can only hope that that person has their best interests in the forefront as they are completing it.  Human nature would seem to point in the direction that there would be those individuals who actually do have the author’s best interests at heart but conversely there would be a large segment in the category of predatory as well.

Investment Strategy?

If you were about to invest in the stock market and someone had given you a tip on what stock to buy, you would take the time and energy to do some research on this particular stock before you invested any of your hard-earned money into this financial gamble.  If you had a problem with your car and one mechanic said it would cost you $2000 to get your transmission fixed, you would do some research and possibly go to another mechanic, if your car was drivable, to see if the cost that was quoted to you was accurate and trustworthy.  If you had a non-life threatening illness and one doctor prescribed surgery, you would take the time to go to another doctor to see if he agreed with the original doctor’s diagnosis.  Why wouldn’t you do this for your book project?  You do not have to be a publishing expert or pundit to learn the foundation of knowing how to examine and critique the various functions necessary to construct an e-book or print book.  Take the time to be involved in your project.  Ask to see all of the bids for the prepress and print aspects of your title.  Find out what the marketing is going to cost initially and find out what that marketing will entail.  You took the time to write the book, why give the keys to the car to someone else as you are nearing the finish line?

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Learn, Live, Earn

I’m not passing judgment on anyone in the publishing industry that is making an effort to help authors get their titles completed.  I am just making the plea as Sy Sims used to say on the old men’s wardrobe commercials, “An Educated Consumer is our BEST Customer”.  Educate yourself into being the best publishing customer you can be.  Your checkbook, wallet and credit cards will love you for making this investment in your own project of intellectual property.

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5 responses to “An Independent Publishing Editorial: Editors and Predators, Really?

  1. The Editors and Preditors (that’s the punny way they spell the site) group perform an extremely valuable service to the small press and self-publishing community.

    Please don’t insult them by claiming that they’re doing it to market anything or as an elitist blame game. They do a fair amount of research on the people and organizations that they list — and they have Good Lists and Bad Lists. (Editors vs Preditors)

    • Thank you for your comments. I do not think you read and understood the focus of my piece. Authors have to take control and educate themselves so that they do NOT get fleeced by people who are just looking to make a buck. I am not insulting the website, but there are many book shepherds and herders who use this terminology as a soundbyte to access business portals. You do not know me, and I do not know you. I have been in the publishing industry for 30 years. You might want to read my blogpost about a Kinder and Gentler publishing industry.

      If the industry is small, as you said on LinkedIn, and will clean out the nefarious providers on its own, why do we need to have people pointing fingers?

  2. I remember the era (which was actually just a very few years ago) when writer and publisher “gurus” were telling all of their “followers” that it would be better to never be published at all — than to self-publish. And many authors did not take the chance because they just believed what they were told and didn’t really educate themselves on options and looking towards the very near future. Now such thoughts are somewhat antiquated and baseless. I sort of think of Preditors and Editors in the same way.

    I’ve always had a problem with the Preditor and Editor format. The site doesn’t list specifics when advising its followers on who the “good guys” and “bad guys” are. How can they damage a business’ reputation without at least giving some concrete reason / proof? I had one author email me (at my current business) and inform me of a response they received about me from P&E. The guy asked P&E about my business and P&E actually told this guy that he should be suspect of the fact that I had so many endorsements / reviews on my site (and actually there were only about 10 -12)! These were all unsolicited reviews from actual, satisfied clients. So, P&E put a negative impression in this guy’s mind over something that I would think would be a positive aspect of my business — endorsements from happy clients. I almost contacted P&E but figured it was pointless. The damage was already done. My response to the author that contacted me: I asked him how in the world endorsements could be a bad thing. I didn’t hear back from him. Again, the damage was already done.

    You are right. Self-publishing authors do have to do their own research. They need to compare options and decide on which option best suits their needs. What fits for one author may not fit for another. One author may have a bigger budget than another. One author may be willing to pay more to have someone take over the processes while another author wants to get down in the dirt and learn on their own.

    Don’t get me wrong … I think outright scammers should be exposed … and for the most part, they are…and usually because of facts.

    Opinions matter but decisions should be based on facts. It’s also helpful if writer and publisher experts are actually up with the times and somewhat forward thinking. I don’t think certain pundits are.

    If someone decides to take a certain self-publishing path and are comfortable with the money spent / results … I think that’s what matters in the end … even if I, or someone else, is of the opinion that there were better options…better ways of doing so.

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