Part of the work we do at Harrelson Press is advising or consulting with authors. Although we love to publish great books, we also want to offer authors a place to go to find out about the publishing process.
What I’ve realized is that I haven’t written about the different types of publishing. I think this is important because there are so many authors who have been “fleeced” (as my friend Elisabeth Kauffman says) by people offering to take care of part of the publishing process for just a little percentage of the books sold.
If you are in the world of self-publishing, you should expect to pay some upfront costs like book formatting, editing, and potentially book cover design, but for any of these people to say that they want a percentage of the profits or sales, negates the reason for self-publishing. Authors choose to self-publish because they want to not only retain their rights, but also because they want to receive full profits on book sold. Once you agree to split profits or agree to sign your rights (whether just foreign publishing, digital, or printed) away, then you are out of the realm of self-publishing. This excludes if you are working with another author on the project.
If you are putting up all the money upfront, you want to be able to make that money up through book sales. Part of me hates that I have to write this kind of post because it means there are people and companies out there who are taking advantage of authors. Then again as the Lorax says:
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing’s going to get better. It’s not.
With that in mind, I will be writing more openly about the publishing process in hopes that we can be disseminators of insider information for the authors out there who have a story to share with the world.