In recent months, I’ve seen the resurgence of several terrible “pay to play” publishing contracts that authors should learn to recognize and avoid.
My law school contracts professor used to warn us, regularly, that “a person can make as good a deal, or AS BAD A DEAL, as he or she is able.”
Accept one of these particular contracts, and you’ll be making a very bad deal indeed:
BAD CONTRACT #1: “WE PUBLISH, YOU PAY”
In this type of contract, the author pays the publisher for some or all of the editing, publishing, and/or distribution costs to produce the book. Often, the costs are not listed up front, leaving the author on the hook for undisclosed (and generally, enormous) sums. Where costs are listed, they normally exceed the amount the author would pay to hire professional developmental and copy editors, cover designers, formatters, and printers in order to produce and publish the work herself.
In a traditional publishing deal the publisher, not the author, pays the publishing and distribution costs. [Read more…]