Do not be impressed by the enticing packages that several small vanity publishers offer, touting that they are affiliated with well-known companies like Random House or Penguin. Before you make any decisions, go on the internet and check out the many reports of scams that result in financial loss and broken dreams. (ie. http://bit.ly/1TbkTCr )

authorsolutionsprh

I have learned this through personal experience. In 2011 and 2012, I self-published two books through two different “vanity” publishers who assured me that my work was mine and that I had full control over everything.

When I decided that I wanted to expand my market, I quickly learned that I did not own the “print ready” files for my books. When I offered to buy them, I was told that I would have to pay a given amount and my contract would be terminated.

That really annoyed me. I had already paid for a cover change and it had taken weeks to go through all the paperwork. Also, I only had ONE opportunity to change the price of my ebooks.  If I lowered them once, that was where the price would stay. 

In the end, I decided to use PDF’s of the final prepublication files that I had sent to the companies and I publish through Smashwords without the print ready files.

My husband has always believed that you have to invest to succeed. He has never shied away from hard work and he was absolutely convinced that writing, publishing and marketing would result in the same success he had achieved in his other business ventures.  

He truly believed that his books were best-seller material, so he published through one of these houses in 2013 and went with high-end packages. After the books were published, he was expecting the company to market for him, but they only offered him many different marketing programs that resulted in money in the company’s pocket and vanishing dreams for him.

To lower his purchase price of one of the five books he had published with this company, he was convinced by a marketing representative to buy 3000 copies of it for a total of $12,000.00 USD (we are Canadian so figure the exchange on the dollar into that too). I listened in on the phone call because I was very unhappy about this contract, and I heard the company representative PROMISE him that real people would take that particular book to bookstores and if they didn’t sell at one place, a real person would take it to other stores until all of the books were sold.

He had 1000 of the books shipped to our home in Canada, and over two years, through dogged determination and hard work, he has sold more than half of them. To date, less than 50 of the 2000 books that went into a company warehouse have been sold. Tonight I checked on Amazon to be certain that I had the correct date of publication, and the book is listed as being out of stock, availability unknown. Yet the company assured him that all sales would be taken out of the big print run which is languishing somewhere.

In March of 2015, I self-published a four book series (The Belanger Creek Ranch Series) through Amazon Kindle and CreateSpace. I am very happy with the quality of the paperback books and when I want to make a change on the cover, or a price change for the ebooks, it’s simple and quick to do.

In 2015, one of my husband’s books, as well as all four of my books in the series received the Readers Favorite 5 star reviews. My husband had to go through the whole procedure and reams of paperwork to add a simple sticker to the cover of his book. It cost $179.00 USD and took almost three months to see it happen.

I contacted the girl who had designed my covers and she placed the seal on each of the four books, as well as a proudly Canadian symbol, for $40.00 in total and the covers were changed through CreateSpace in a couple of days.

There is no magic bullet for authors wanting to publish. My advice is to research thoroughly before you put your work into the hands of any company, no matter what they promise.  When you get to the fine print, their only obligation is to get your book into print. They do not market for you unless you pay them more, so you’d better have deep pockets. Marketing is hard work and ultimately YOU have to do it. You are the one who has invested your heart and soul in your work—and truly, in these situations, you are the only one who really cares if you are successful or not!