From The Urban Writers:
Finishing your first book leaves you feeling like you’ve finally arrived at the center stage. The excitement alone can make your world spin around as you read it once more. It’s understandable when the authors want to rush into the next step.
However, they don’t realize there’s a bunch of sharks waiting out there, waiting to snatch them. New writers must take a step back and consider Amazon’s self-publishing cost and pricing before they allow these predators to grab hold of them.
I was in your position a few years back and I was impatient to get my book out there. I needed people to read my story and listen to my advice. I emailed publishers all over the world with a manuscript, hoping to get a response.
It was only two weeks before the first shark came at me head-first. This publisher was prepared to take my book, but they wanted me to pay for publishing costs upfront. The quotes started pouring in and I was shocked with the requests!
Suddenly, I felt like I had to sell my soul and those of my kids, spouse, and even my dog just to cover the costs. Figures ranged madly but the average was well over $2,000 from publishers that didn’t even leave a stain on the map.
This might not seem like Mount Kilimanjaro, but I assure you that this was only the cost to get started. I still had to pay ridiculous commissions on top of this. The sacrifice of my soul wasn’t enough and they only promised me 25% of future sales.
Unfortunately, I didn’t use the easily accessible internet to find other options like a normal person would. I ended up giving my book to a company that would give me 15% royalties and owns the first 5,000 copies in lieu of printing costs.
I sold my book to the devil, never mind a shark. They haven’t bothered to promote the book and it became lost in the vast world of available reads. The worst of all is that my book is sitting on Amazon at a price that even I wouldn’t pay.
Link to the rest at The Urban Writers
The OP continues with better results after the author discovers that he can self-publish on Amazon.
PG will say again – if any “publisher” you haven’t heard of on multiple occasions (not from a “friend,” but as mentioned in a legitimate publication that talks about books and authors you have heard of before) wants to publish your book, check the sales rank of the publisher’s books on Amazon. Look at several. If the average sales rank is a number greater than something like 5,000, and the publisher doesn’t want to give you a lot of money up front, take a pass. If you can’t find them on Amazon, take an instant pass.
If you think the publisher may be legit, but, again, haven’t heard of them before, contact several of the authors of the publisher’s books on Amazon. Check out the author’s web page and get in touch. (If the author doesn’t have a web page, you probably don’t want the author’s advice on anything. A big Facebook page might substitute for a web page, but PG would be chary of anyone who hasn’t spent the time or money for a web page of their own.)
A great many authors are happy to reply to emails or even give you a phone number you can call. Ask the author all about the publisher. Don’t be afraid to ask about royalty payments and whether they’re arriving on time with royalty statements the author can understand.
If doing this sort of investigation seems like more than you want to do, keep your manuscript, your $5,000 and everything else. Maybe look into a local trade school to learn welding. You’ll make much more money working as a welder for six months than you ever will as an author dealing with a shady or second-rate publisher.