|Me at 17 - possibly the day I|
decided to write short stories!
Skip forward to this week....
I read a story in a regional paper (I'm going to be cryptic, because I don't want to identify the writer) about a teenage writer, who I'll call X, who's had her first book published. X has a little bit of dramatic back story, which is why I guess she was featured - plus her age, of course.
The article explained that X wrote her book, showed mother, they sent it to a publisher, forgot about it (note: I have never, ever, ever forgotten that someone somewhere is considering my work) and then were contacted to say the book would be published. The publisher? Author House, a 'self-publishing company' that has a string of complaints against them. Of course they would publish it, you're paying for it!
If you haven't followed the link, or don't know about this company, they have many complaints about editing, sales, and bad advice against them. A lot of the complaints are fairly basic ones, that just a little research would explain in a moment. In short, they take people who have no idea about publishing, tell them they're going to be the next E.L. James, and ask for lots of money in return. (Note: I looked at the Author House website, to confirm packages/prices etc, but the site is down for maintenance.)
The book in the article is a 750 page romance. Yep, seven hundred and fifty pages! So it's pretty safe to assume that this book has been very poorly edited, if it actually saw an editor at all, and she didn't research the genre she was writing. An editor would have also been able to tell her that the story was too long for the market.
I found the book on Amazon to check the price, and while the ebook is under £3, the paperback is £22.95.
I'm not knocking X in the slightest - there are many industries out there that I have no idea about, and would therefore fall prey to scams - I just feel so sorry for her. The reason I wanted to write this post was to maybe warn other people that, while self/indie publishing is the most accessible it's ever been, with so many readers now willing to read books that haven't solely come from the big publishers, there are still traps, pitfalls and scams out there.
X spent two years writing this book, she had a dream, just like I did. I could be very wrong about this whole thing - she might sell well, rise through the Amazon charts, and make a career of writing. And I wish her all the very best.
Is there anything you've learned about publishing that you can share?