Winning a contest brings up red flags.

A continuation of the tale started in my other blog:

http://padegimas.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/my-weird-book-contract-dillema/

 

So I entered my space opera novel (one of 64) in a contest and placed – I guess. Anyway, I “won” a publishing contract with the publisher, a small outfit that does mostly e-books (that I will decline to name at the moment). It is a surprisingly hard decision whether to sign t or not. So if you have a moment, follow me while I puzzle out the problem.

After a little research, I learned a few things:

This publisher, despite its efforts to appear to t he contrary, is still widely considered a vanity publisher.

  • Their website is clearly aimed at attracting submissions rather than book sales.
  • Their book-covers are decidedly middle-of-the-pack for small publishers. They are not embarrassing, but they hardly stand out.
  • I looked up some authors and read some sample pages on their websites, and found editing errors. Not egregious ones – for example, the incoming office holder is not called the incumbent – but big enough.
  • The only marketing I could expect from them is a spot on their website (behind an appeal to authors) and their marketing course.

All of these are red flags. If the publisher is considered a vanity press, you gain little over self-publishing except perhaps a reduction in hassle.

I would apparently be getting what I paid for in editing and cover art (and likely formatting).

More importantly, the royalty rates are barely acceptable under the theory that the publisher does the marketing and the author helps. If that formula is turned around, the royalties need to go waaay up.

Most importantly, I don’t think this publisher knows any more about this business than I do, which defeats the larger point of getting a publisher. For a month’s pay, I could have a book in my hands in the same time as they’re promising – likely faster, and in all likelihood better.  Why in the hell would I give these people 70% of books they’re not really trying all that hard to sell?

Because I don’t have a month’s salary to spare?

That seems increasingly a better problem to have than a crappy contract.

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