February 27, 2013

Don’t get conned!

We have had such a huge response to the Self publishing rip-offs post that we have decided to do a couple of follow ups on the subject, using some of the comments that we received. So, although we have always stressed that The Publishing Café is a blog for everyone who loves books, and the last thing we want to do is use it as a vehicle to plug YPS, this response from David Zelder has such sensible advice for all authors, that we decided to run it…despite his last paragraph!

A Guest Post by author, David Zelder

The published book
I retired from business to start my writing career. So, as early as 2008, I started investigating the market, looking at agents, publishers and reading such publications as “Writing magazine”.  I started sending off for brochures, both hard copy and electronic to find the route I would need to pursue to get my work out into the public domain.

Thus I soon began to view the information contained in the brochures with an enquiring mind, some might say suspicious mind (yes, I’ve got the song by Elvis, thank you).  I bought a copy of The Writer’s Handbook and started writing to agents and publishers listed in there.

All this time the words in the novel were creeping up to my target level of around 90,000 and I was still fishing in the dark looking to get it published.  Then I read a copy of Writers' and Artists' Yearbook and my attitude changed, I became more focussed and realised that I needed to look for the dolphin swimming against the tide in a sea full of sharks.  I read the exposé on vanity publishing by journalist Johnathon Clifford, who won the Daily Mirror good service award for exposing the sharks in the industry.

By the time I had got to this point I had already received several 4 page letters from the many sharks who pretended to help those authors who wished to self publish.  The letters were usually 3 pages of fulsome praise for my work, and then the 4th page requested a cheque for amounts ranging from £6,800 to £3,000.  Up front payments for work of unspecified quality and you end up with a truck load of books with no marketing support and no means of order fulfilment.

I met many authors and talked to them about their publishing experiences.  It was like reading a horror story by Edgar Allan Poe.  Some I spoke with were earning 20-30 pence for each book sold. Others had books that were produced in a fashion that they looked home made, and yet had cost the author a fortune.  In most cases, the company who had printed the book kept most of the money from book sales, despite receiving £000’s from the writer up front.  Yet the naïve author believed they had self published. How wrong they were.

So my mind was made up, I would be in total control and maximise the earning potential.  So here in summary is the route I took:

• I sought out a publishing services firm that did not ask for up front fees.
• I only signed an agreement on the basis that I was the publisher.
• I own every book that is printed and keep the £8.99 retail price.
• I insisted on visiting the premises and meeting all the key staff.  I looked at printing presses, guillotines, packing, and storage capability.  I did a search on the company at Companies House to see if they were clean.

So after a year searching I found what I was looking for with YPS.

• No up front fees.  I pay when the work is done.
• First class book design and formatting by the company’s own in house department.
• No pressure to order 10,000 books, or 1,000 or 500.  Honest discussion and advice on a reasonable quantity to order.
• Long established and well respected in the industry.
• Whatever professional marketing support you need is provided on a menu basis.  You choose and pay for whatever elements you need.


  1. What is wrong with my last paragraph? Not sure !!

  2. Absolutely nothing David, it is great! Thank you! I just didn't want to everyone to think we were blowing our own trumpet! :-)


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