What follows is one of my Rules for Authors.
These rules are things that all real authors should make a part of their mentality and are words to live by. Trust me…
After more than twenty-five years in this crazy business, I have learned these things well and they do make a difference!
No. 4 – If your “publisher” wants money, they are a printer, not a publisher.
See also Rules 1, 2, and 3 as they are closely related to this Rule.
This Rule summarizes the previous three rather nicely.
Honestly, this is just common sense, and needs very little in the way of expansion. But that has never stopped me from doing it anyway.
Look closely at your publisher. Do they want money to edit your story? Do they want you to pay for or provide cover art? Do they want to charge you a fee to read your story? Does your publisher charge you to have your story listed for sale in their catalog?
In other words, are you, as the writer, going to have to pay the publisher any money at all? What about paying for things that are a part of the publisher’s costs of doing business?
If so, you are not dealing with a publisher…you are dealing with a printer.
If you are dealing with a printer, that’s just fine as long as your goal is to be a printed writer. But let me give you a little tip here…save some money and go down to The UPS Store or maybe the FedEx/Kinko’s and just have them print your story. They can do a nice book-like layout and even put a cover on it (if you provide the art) and make you as many copies as you like.
Yes, it really is just that simple.
Here are seven things that are common to real publishers:
(1) They do not charge for editing.
(2) They do not charge for cover art.
(3) They do not charge to read your story.
(4) They do not charge to have your story in their catalog.
(5) They pay royalties. (The printers do this, too.)
(6) They pay an advance. (All decent print houses, anyway.)
(7) After you are established—and if you’re any good at all—they will contact you (or your agent) asking for new stories.
Again, if the operation you are dealing with doesn’t do all of these things, you are—at best—dealing with a printer. At worst, you are being conned.