How To Avoid Scams When Getting A Book Deal

By Victor Hood

How to get a book deal without being scammed is a hurdle for any writers. Not exempt from questionable practices are the publishers.

Make Sure to Keep the Warning Signs in Mind

A fee is charged to read your manuscript. You are the one providing the product that they should sell. There's no reason why you have to pay to see if they are interested in your work.

Were subsidy contracts offered? Just so you can have your book published, you have to them when they promote themselves as commercial publishers. There are publish-on-demand, or POD, publishers such as Xlibris, authorshouse, and IUniverse but are they all legitimate publishers? They are, just as long as the author is aware of the limitations and costs of POD publishing. These POD books are rarely seen stocked in bookstores.

When it comes to bait and switch There are some publishers who, even though they are a vanity press, would hide behind the mask of respectability and call themselves traditional. Is there a way of telling for sure? Try to look at their websites and you will see that it's a red flag if the focus is on recruiting writers rather than promoting books they publish.

Other publishers 'will accept' your manuscript and then come back a few weeks later and say that their list for the next season is full but they would dearly love to publish your book. You just need to share the risk with them by giving them some money.

A new twist is to tell the author that their project has merit but the author will have to find an investor to sponsor their title. The publisher doesn't directly asks the author for any funds however, rather than try to find an investor, many authors would shell out the necessary dollars.

What about rebates? The publisher says that any fees you pay them will be completely refunded once your book reaches a certain sales level, usually in the thousands. Or that they will provide a comparable number of 'free' copies when the magic sales level has been reached.

A twist on rebates is that the publisher will match your monetary contribution in marketing efforts for your title. Publishers are supposed to market their own titles. The match will most likely be the efforts of the in house staff and not be in advertising dollars, review copies sent, or book tour expenses. These efforts probably won't be specifically focused on your title as well.

It is possible for any author to get a book deal and avoid getting scammed as well. All they need to do is remember these warning signs.

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