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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

 

The Vanity Trap

I recently received an e-mail from a WOW student informing me she'd been offered a contract for the picture book she'd written during my How To Write a Picture Book and get Published course. Needless to say, I was extremely pleased for her.

In the e-mail, she continued to tell me the name of the publisher and promised to keep me updated. As I had a picture book story looking for a 'home,' I decided to visit the publisher's website and read their submission guidelines. As soon as the browser page opened my suspicions were raised. The website was—to put it politely—amateurish. For example, they wanted people to Like them on Facebook but provided no link to do so. They published a huge range of genres for a small independent publisher (publishers tend to specialise) and lastly, I had difficulty locating their submissions details. When I finally managed to find a link for these on the Internet the link simply timed out.

So I visited a website called Predators and Editors, which lists what the trade call "vanity publishers." A vanity publisher is only interested in making money from an unsuspecting author rather than from the sale of their book. They convince an author they are a legitimate publisher but then request money. They promise much for your investment but deliver very little. I contacted the student and informed her to be careful. A few days later, she replied informing me the publisher had requested $1,500 to help 'fund' the project and that she needed to find and cover the cost of an illustrator. This is not how a publisher works. A legitimate publisher works with the author to hone the story; they find the right illustrator, cover all costs and pay the author (depending on the contract) either a one-off payment or royalties.

So if you submit a manuscript, are offered a contract and requested to 'cover costs,' think twice. Do a little research before you sign anything. If you get to the contract stage, get it checked. In the UK we have The Society of Authors who offer help with such matters. There are also other organisations such as The Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators who are able to help once you become a member.

So remember, the publisher pays you, you don't pay the publisher.

***

Join one of Lynne Garner's upcoming classes, which start on November 2, 2013:

HOW TO WRITE CHILDREN’S PICTURE BOOKS AND GET PUBLISHED

5 PICTURE BOOKS IN 5 WEEKS (ADVANCED COURSE)

HOW TO WRITE A HOBBY-BASED HOW TO BOOK


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1 Comments:

Blogger Iola Goulton said...

Well said.

10:17 PM  

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