Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Small Press Warning Signs.

 Just how much promotion and marketing is your small or indie press doing for your book?

Granted, I know from the other books I have published that the author should participate and do promos (per most of my contracts), but I keep hearing from other authors that their  publisher also "puts their best foot forward" and helps out. In almost all cases. Oh, really? And how do you know that unless you Google your book's title and perform a thorough online search to find out if that book is listed in any other venues, like advertizements, PR websites and display sites, press release services or paid advertizing slots? Has your publisher emailed you and alerted you to these showings and announcements? Publishers who actively promote and market your book will have no problems alerting you to the fact. If you see nothing but listings on your publisher's website, Amazon and other default retail sites and nowhere else, you've got a problem.

If you see these problems it is an indication that the publisher's "best foot forward" is going to kick the author in the ass and tell him/her to get out there and sell books.

Just like a recent publisher just told me to do upon a new release. They told me to "Get out there now and sell books." I didn't do my research. All I had to do was Google the other publisher's books to see where they appeared. Then I would have to differentiate between what the publisher had obviously listed and what the author had done.

I  took great offense to the publisher's direct order and, frankly, am getting fed-up with hearing these push/shove tactics from small press. I've had my share of grief from these amateur printers, and have delighted in tearing up more contracts than I've signed in the past seven years. Eleven total.

A free sales force is the most enticing aspect of why small mom and pop publishers go into business in the first place. They have to make money to survive. That's understandable. A love of books and respect for their authors come second, IMO. There are exceptions, but the fine lines are still there.

I don't mean to paint this with such a broad brush. I do have some very involved and effective publishers who really know what they're doing. But you have to watch out for the others and perform due diligence during research. It took me a while to spot the lazy or insolvent ones by carefully reading their mission statements. Any excessive author promo and marketing advice or declarations that appears in a publisher's mission statement is enough for me to back off and seriously reconsider. I'm talking above the normal expectations of what an author is expected to do. 

You'll find some of these examples after you've signed the contract. In that case, start proceedings to remove yourself from the contract and have your rights returned. (Watch out for termination and buy-out clauses that will cost you money upon contract release).

If you're asked to purchase the publisher's promotion/marketing book--run like hell. Before contract signing. 

If you're asked to compile a friends and family list with email addresses, house addresses or phone numbers--run like hell. Usually after contract signing.

If you get bombarded with instructional emails on how, why, when and where to market and promote your book--run like hell. After the fact.

If you're asked to contribute financially to a group ad for the publisher so your book can be included in a major media publication--run like hell. Either before or after.

If you're asked for a comprehensive marketing plan and budget--run like hell. Before or after.

If you are required to do book signings on your own dime and you must perform a certain amount of signings within any type of a time frame--run like hell.  Especially if you're required to purchase your own books for resale. Before or after.

If you are constantly reminded by your publisher that your books are discounted and that you should buy multiple copies for resale--run like hell. Before or after.

If you can see that the publisher sells exclusively from their website, with little or no penetration into the other online retail stores or lists--run like hell. Before.

If you are warned that low sales might be grounds for halting paperback publication and going to out-of-print status--run like hell.  After.

Read that contract and obtain legal advice, preferably from an attorney that specializes in literary contract clauses and publication rights.Before

Or get stuck with a publisher who has landed you as a free sales person. 


Welcome to The War Gate, a paranormal romance/thriller. IT WILL BE LISTED ON AMAZON FOR FREE, STARTING AUGUST 9TH AND LASTING FOR TWO DAYS. Reviews will be greatly appreciated!

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