Remember? Those were the days when self-publishing had a very bad rap.
Not so much because the books’ quality was shaky (though that tended to be true), nor even because authors had to pay to have them published (though that was indeed frowned upon), but mainly because of the way the firms offering self-publishing services operated.
These firms cut a very nice profit offering everything from proofing to interior and cover design and could earn even more by proposing pricey add-ons, like copy-editing and developmental editing. Some would even encourage authors to buy into these add-ons by telling them their books had qualified to be nominated for an award but would only be eligible to win if they purchased these extra services. This was — and still is — considered particularly slimy and underhanded. All the more so since many authors, vulnerable in their eagerness for recognition after years of rejection, readily opted in.
Now that self-publishing has been officially de-stigmatized and it’s becoming increasingly acceptable for authors to pay for their books’ production, cottage industries are cropping up around the needs this has created: editing, page and cover design, eReader formatting, distribution to brick-and-mortar shops, marketing, promotion and more.
On one hand, this opens up a whole new world of freedom and opportunity for both authors and publishing-world entrepreneurs. On the other hand, it has given way to a shady side worthy of old stigmas that all authors should be aware of.
On this shady side, service providers don’t just offer add-ons, but either require them or make it very difficult for authors to turn them down. For example, a [Read more…]