So I’ve lightly touched on some of this topic before, but I feel very passionately that there are good people in the self-publishing space who want to help each other and lift each other up. We know that a person will read more than one book in their life and that means we should all help each other. But where there are good people, there are also bad actors who look to make money off of your dream. So here is a shortlist of what I consider to be scams and also just poor value for self-publishing authors.
Vanity presses in general should be avoided. If someone is coaching you or managing your book project you can pay a fee, but you still own everything for the book. With vanity presses, you are paying them money AND signing over ownership. That’s a scenario that only benefits the vanity press. It’s not a scam per se because they have all of this information upfront, but there are a lot of aspiring authors out there desperate to have the validation of a “publishing house” and they sign on with these vanity presses with a lot of money lost for little results.
Do not purchase ISBNs in the US from any agency other than Bowker. If an individual or vanity press is trying to sell you an ISBN – run! These numbers are non-transferable so it doesn’t matter if someone says they are selling it to you, there is no way to transfer ownership.
*** SEVERAL VIEWERS HAVE BROUGHT TO MY ATTENTION THAT ISBNS DO HAVE TO BE PURCHASED IN THE UK AND SHOULD BE PURCHASED THROUGH NEILSEN- THANK YOU FOR CORRECTING ME! XOXO IGNORANT AMERICAN ***
Do not ever pay for a library of congress number in the US – they are free
It does cost you $65 to submit a copyright number. In the US you do have a charge to purchase ISBNs from the registering agency – Bowker. There are a lot of “official-sounding” names out three that use the words US and Congress and Copyright in their name but have NOTHING to do with the official US Library of Congress. If something seems fishy, ask. Even if it looks legit, just ask. Ask another author friend, ask me! Ask before you swipe your credit card.
Another scam I’ve seen is when I get an email from someone who says they saw my book online and they think it would be great to promote using their service. If I just send them the ePub file they will blast it out to thousands of people for me. So in this email, I can see I’m on the BCC line. They have no mention of what my book title is. Clearly, this is a mass email, not personalized. They also offer this as a service and mention no charge. Hmm, that’s weird. Also, they ask me to just send them a digital copy of my book without any details on how this benefits me. DO NOT REPLY TO THESE EMAILS.
So this was a much more negative video than I usually like to make but I felt that it was important. I have met far too many aspiring authors who say that they don’t have any money to invest in the book for editing or cover design or marketing or just buying copies for themselves because they lost money on some scam. It makes me so mad that people are trying to take advantage of the dreams and aspirations of others. Stay mindful friends and when in doubt, ask.
Usually, this is the part of the video where I remind you to subscribe and like and comment below. Please do all three of those things, but keep in mind that any comments that call out a specific individual or company will be removed so that I don’t get in trouble for libel.
Now you can get back to writing your book.
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