In the fallout from last night's Facebook discussion about a submission call run by an author, (who for some reasons claims they aren't a publisher and is just a writer despite PUBLISHING ANTHOLOGIES) where upon acceptance to the anthology the writer was expected to pay $40 for the anthology to use their story, here is a little handy guide to things a writer should never do / be aware off when finding a home for their story. This list is by no means comprehensive, and if you have any more things to avoid please leave a comment in the section below.
Here is the submission call
Seven Deadly Sins Anthology Sign up.
The Seven Deadly Sins Anthology will consist of 3 anthologies. Each anthology will be published separate, but all in the same month.- Minimum word count for each story is 3,000 words and maximum is 6,500 words.
- I'm looking for 18 stories, 6 stories for each anthology.
I will be writing one for each.
- If selected, $40 is to be paid in full by July, this price includes Cover, Formatting and Promotion.
- Each participant must have their own Editor and Proof Reader if you feel you need a proofreader.
- The anthology will be published to E-Book and will be available for 6 months on Amazon. The anthologies will also have a one year paperback shelf life-the paperback is subject to change. After the 6 months on Amazon, each participant can re-publish their story if they so wish.
- The Anthologies will be published in December. Publishing 1 a week. (This is subject to change)
- Each story will need to be turned in at the beginning of October.
- Each author will be paid by PayPal and the royalties we earn will be split equally.
- Open to all genres.
1. Pay any publisher for the privilege of publishing your book.
This includes submission fees, reading fees, editing fees, cover design fees You should never have to pay to get a publisher or an agent to read your work. Never, ever, ever. Get this through your head. Many scammers will try to lure new writers in a “small reading fee.” A reputable agent and publishing house will never ask you to pay for them to read your manuscript.
The bottom line is that a real publishing company does not get paid until your book is published. That’s why they are so interested in selling your book.
2. Give your story away for free, unless it is a charity anthology
There are still presses that offer "For the Love Of" submissions, the only thing an author gets from exposure is a cold arse.
3. Submit your story to a piss poor publisher.
How do you spot one I hear you ask?
Here are a few handy tips
I. The submission call application form is a burner google docs form with no contact info.
II. Their website has a very vague contact / about section.
If a small press is proud of their work and above board, you won't need to dig to find out who runs it.
III. Look at their covers
do they look like they were done by their kid with zero artistic talent? If so walk away. Despite that adage, you can judge a book by its cover
IV. Author-unfriendly contracts
including rights grabs, taking copyright, restrictive option clauses, sub-standard royalty provisions (including reverse-accounted royalties), inadequate reversion clauses, draconian “defamation clauses,” and a host of other inappropriate and abusive contract terms.
VI. Deliberately misleading advertising
if they are making bold claims about winning awards or publishing Amazon Bestsellers ask for proof of the awards, and sales rank. Unless the award is from an industry recognised source, then the award is bollocks. Just having your book on a top ten list from some blogger, no one has heard from is not winning an award.
And an Amazon bestseller is not a book that was number one for something like this
Books > Fiction > Science Fiction > Adventure>aliens>spaceships>I wonder how many more subcategories I can add until I hit a top ten ranking
VII. Lack of editorial gatekeeping
if it looks like they publish any old shit chances are they publish any old shit without actually reading it
VIII. Lack of editing
check out a few of the books they publish, use the "Look inside" function on Amazon it is your friend. If the books look as though they have had no editorial eye on them, again chances are the publishers dodgy.
Remember now more than ever; the term author brand is king. And if it gets out that your brand is "half-arsed author who puts any old nonsense with edits" you are going to sink like a stone.
IX Breaches of Contract
use sites such as Writers Beware, and Facebook author groups, use Google research the publisher and if there are repeated accounts of them not fulfilling their contracts walk away. Of course me reasonable, sometimes the claims are unjustified and come from a single disgruntled author, but if there are a load of authors complaining about them, and they have made their way onto the Writers Beware website, then the chances are they are totally dodgy.
It's hard getting published, but the worst thing you can do as a writer is publish your book through a publisher that won't do their best to sell your book, and if they are making money of you before they even publish your book then they really don't care if your book is a success.