The Ruinous and Dangerous Showroom of Self-Publishing Companies

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The Ruinous and Dangerous Showroom of Self-Publishing Companies

The spectacular changes that have transpired in the literary industry have virtually created a free for all  portal in writing and publishing books. In some was, those changes have been wonderful and have given access to fairy talented writers , who were otherwise barred from the publishing world in the past. Prior to the staggeringly noticeable writing revolution that has been engenderd by the use of digital print technology; many fairly decent writers had had the door of access to writing success slammed in their faces. They had the natural writing knack, the burning passion to inspire society with their gift, the unflinching resolve to make it happen for them, and plenty of supporters goading them to push with all their might at their wonderful writing talent.  Unfortuantely, for most of these fairly talented writers, traditional publishing was a heavily guarded garrison whose gates of access were closely  watched around the clock. Sumptuously equipped with a burly dashing gaggle of literary agents who did the dirty work for the major publishing houses, some writers simply did not stand a chance at getting published; and even those who did get a crack at it found out that, if their first book did ot sell well, that was virtually the end of their literary career. It was a thorny, gritty, spiny operation that required precision writing skills; a measurable amount of luck; and a date with the beautiful mistress of fortune in order to walk through the golden door of literary success  and remain inside. For many wirters, the thorny, exquisite process took decades before things began happening for them; thus shortening the span of their writing career. Fortunately, the age of digital printing changed all that and washed away those formerly cumbersome and convoluted requirements and prerequisites of writing success. Over a relatively short period of time, staggering changes began to unfold; virtually permitting anyone–with or without writing talent–to  enter the free for all publishing industry.


There is a famous adage that says: “Nature abhors vacuum.” You see: That huge backlog of writers who were just sitting on the bench of literary hard knocks and waiting for their passport from some benevolent publishing agent had gouged out a huge chasm in nature. There was simply too much talent sitting idly by and not being used, which otherwise could have been used more productively. Nature had to find a way to diffuse that problem—and she did. Digital print technology was the team of brawny workers who lifted the unwieldy stumbling block of traditional publishing’s maze of guileful, crooked agents out of the way. When the floodgates finally broke, it literally washed traditional publishing away. It is just a matter of time before that form of publishing is tossed into history’s trashcan of scorn. The digital revolution’s is too powerful a crane to leave an obstacle as large as traditional publishing even at the side of the road. The titanic tsunami of change engendered by the digital revolution is a wide-ranging, sweeping catastrophe for traditional publishing; it is just a matter of time before the brunt of the wreckage unfolds. Unfortunately, the digital revolution’s boon for tolerably good writers has had some dire side effects that dangerously threaten the entire writing industry. Addressing most of the revolting and objectionable byproducts of the digital revolution lies well beyond this article’s scope; however, the tremendous damage and ruin that have been done to the world’s literary system cannot be ignored. As it turns out, the world is not what it appears to be: Big publishing houses intentionally screened out certain content from being published. Democracy in the West has been touted as a system of freedom and justice for all: Unfortunately, this has not been the case for writers. Authors floating certain philosophical views were purposely filtered out the system—and this wanton type of censorship still exists up to this day. With the massive transformation of the writing industry in the West—and around the world, as a whole—three broad and striking changes have unfolded: First, writers now have unfettered access to publishing their content, even though they are still being watched and monitored very closely by those who are supposed to grant all American the freedom of speech to express the entirety of their thought stream. Secondly, a tsunami of crap has washed ashore in the world of publishing and marketing books. This dangerous slush pile has become a miscreant menace for all writers because trashy books now find their right next to high-quality literary content, mixing up the butter with the sand. This violent storm of trash has not only invaded the literary world; but, quite surprisingly, some of these trashy books have racked up pretty decent sales. The world is an amusing place with a great sense of humor; and good, skillful marketing has turned a bonanza for these slush-pile writers. In this regard, some of these writers have become immensely successful. Thirdly, and most importantly, the digital revolution has spawned a poisonous sewer of rotters who assist many of it’s new writers.

Just when many of the writers mentioned above, who were waiting everlastingly to get their feet into the door of publishing success, thought that they had finally scaled the thick iron wall of misfortune of the past; a fresh crop of thorns mushroomed in their path to literary success. Sometimes, the price of success is exorbitant; and that indefatigable resolve to succeed must get stouter and stouter. In response to the sensational changes effected by the digital revolution, a brand new breed of publishers has arisen to make things happen for these long-deprived writers. Equipped with a dashing showroom of glitzy websites and pert salesmen who can virtually sell polluted water from a sewer; these brazen, unscrupulous self-publishing outfits even promise these long beleaguered writers a suite in the White House. These callous, greedy self-publishers wine and dine unsuspecting writers with many jaunty, unbelievable lines of instant literary success. They present themselves as the new wave of the future whom the good God of heaven has sent to help frustrated writers achieve long-sought after literary success. They promise these writers real estate lots on the moon, the sale of thousands of high-quality books, their own author representatives, their own design teams, one hundred percent royalty, and having their books listed all over the world. And, for a new writer on the block; these vulturous, rapacious self-publishing outfits seem like an old, long-shelfed dream that has finally come true. They present these writers with a stream of packages that all cost a lot of money, relative to the return that they earn these innocent, naïve human beings; unaware of the dangerous scam that is presented to them. Most writers, new to the game, passionately embrace these serpentine, subterfugeous publishing packages only to discover a few days later that they had been scammed. The minute that they sign on the dotted line and hand over their hard-earned money to these cormorant scoundrels and dangerous psychopaths; within a few days, many discover that they had been scammed: The more naïve ones, still holding on to the dream, generally find out later; by then, they need oodles of money in legal fees to wrest their intellectual properties from some of these dangerous societal miscreants.

The gleaming showroom of false self-publishing outfits would fool even the well-trained agent if he is new in town. The archives of writers’ discontent and complaints abound with sorry, peevish tales of self-publishing companies stealing writers’ royalties; continuing to sell their books even after the contract was abrogated; and publishing the eBook version of their books and making solid cash on the sales without their consent. In most cases, the self-publishing authors’ return is not much, and for their publishing companies to steal whatever royalty that is due to them is simply atrocious; nonetheless, these are the complaints of many self-publishing writers. Other complaints from these writers include shoddy marketing packages that they bought from their self-publishing companies, expecting to sell a ton of books; and needless to say that when these expectations are not realized, the jarring disappointment is equivalent to being hit by a bolt of lightning. And oh, how unfortunate that has been for so many earnest, hard-working self-publishing writers. Many of these writers bemoan the fact that, once they signed the publishing contract with their publishers, the communication line went virtually dead. Some writers complain that when they called their publishers about issues of concern and the publishers’ vulpine, artful salespeople spotted their names; they would merely let the phone ring and ring and ring: They flatly refused to answer their calls. Many self-publishing writers have complained about the trashy, inferior quality of their books, substandard cover designs, publishing errors that went uncorrected despite repeated requests for the matter to be addressed, books taking almost twice the time to be launched, companies denying authors the right to their files, their books not listed in books in prints and in the American Library Association, phony teleconferences with design team and design sessions, phony press releases that placed the ball in the authors’ court, and extremely edacious print mark-up cost that the author must pay for his own books.

The upshot of this very messy self-publishing scam is that the author, in most cases, winds up with a nightmare. He is overcharged to launch his book; he is sold phony, guileful marketing packages that never deliver on the claims of the dashing salesmen selling them; he is mistreated in the course of the publishing process; and, in the end, he is sold his own book at two and three times what it actually cost at Lightning Source to print the book digitally. To compound the problem, many genuine publishing houses; recognizing the palpable shift of the wind, have cozied up with quite few of these crass and verminous self-publishing outfits. Accordingly, when an unsuspecting writer floats an unsolicited manuscript to a major publishing house, he might be referred to Author House, Xlibris, Balboa Press, I universe, Outskirts Press, West Bow Press, or some other slick self-publishing outfit; and to his unfortunate chagrin, he would be tossed into the howling jaws of greed and disgraceful moral practices. I have done quite a bit of homework on this matter: I have a fairly decent understanding of which self-publishing companies do what. The above-named companies have been the ones that have been mentioned most often in these rotten self-publishing deals. Many of these companies operate like bull sharks: They leave the comforts of the open ocean and swim thousands of miles into fresh water bodies. They are dangerous and deadly. They account for most of the fatal shark attacks around the world; this is because they leave nothing off limits to them. They swim everywhere, looking for prey; and when they finally catch up with you, they merely shred your bones to pieces. Several of these companies have hounded me for more than one year about publishing my book Crashing Streams of Change. Fortunately for me, I had wised up from the very beginning. I had contacted Author House, I Universe, and Xlibris about publishing my book. I almost went with Author House. And oh, the darling conversation on the phone made me feel as if I were going to be an instant millionaire. My wife was at home and overheard the ardorous and passionate conversation on the phone. She hounded me to hurry up and get the book out to Author House. I am not going to lie; I felt like an ultra-successful writer on the verge of becoming a millionaire. But thank God, I wised up pretty quickly; jumped online; and did some detailed investigation into the corrupt practices of these self-publishing companies, in particular, Author House. They kept after me for more  than two years; but, by then, I had already learned the score—and the score is: Stay away from the rapacious, cormorant self-publishing outfits; dig deep into the Internet archive of research information on self-publishing companies; connect with writers’ blogs and forums—they are an invaluable source of good, pragmatic, matter of fact information on the better self-publishing outfits; and get reviews from any self-publishing company with whom you wish to do business. Use this test to determine if you should use a particular self-publishing company: If its business model is based on publishing books and raking in as much as it can get from the author up front before the book comes out, that self-publishing company is a bull shark. It knows that your book may not sell and tries to squeeze as much as it can out of you with phony editorial services, shoddy publication work, and guileful and misleading marketing packages. Do not use a self-publishing company like that: It is a scam, and you will be sorry later.

Companies that make the bulk of their money by selling your book have a stake in it, and would do whatever they can, within reasonable limits, to sell it. The key to publishing the right way is to conduct a thorough investigation on self-publishing companies, not by studying their various packages in terms of what they say that they are offering, but by networking with blogs and author websites that treat the matter of corrupt self-publishing companies. Specifically Google the key words “Corrupt self-publishing companies and work your way from there: You will find a whirling wash of information and enough guidance to lead you to a reasonably good self-publishing company. Additionally, you may want to invest some money in books treating the subject. Mark Levine’s Fine Print of Self-Publishing is a classical piece of work in the area of exposing these verminous, serpentine self-publishing units. This same gentleman; Mark Levine, the writer of this book; also owns a self-publishing company, Mill City, which I recommend if your word count is under one hundred and ten thousand words. While I like Mill City and have had some rave reviews from a couple of its former writers, I am a shrewd self-thinker. These are my gripes with Mill City: Its restraint on a writer’s word count to one hundred thousand words is dishonest and “bull-sharklike.” Ultimately, the goal of any such arrangement is to gouge the unsuspecting writer. For example, if you like to write like me and your word count climbs high, you will have to cough up oodles of money to pay for additional editing, formatting, and eBook work since all their publishing packages only cover one hundred thousand words. Mill City charges an author one hundred dollars for every additional twenty thousand words of editing, formatting, and eBook services. That, in my opinion, is hypocritical on the part of Mark Levine; the one who has thrown some heavy boulders at self-publishing companies and touted his company as being author-friendly. That kind of behavior is not author-friendly at all. A second issue that I have with Mill City is the overall cost of its pricy packages, only offering the writer one hundred thousand words of publishing services; it addition, it services, as a whole are too steeply costly to be viewed as an author-friendly publishing company. A third gripe that I have with Mill City is the fact that it makes the bulk of its money up front from its publishing packages, editorial service, and ridiculous demands that authors spend in excess of ten thousand if they purchased any of its expanded packages. Mill City’s prices are simply too high to really address the needs of the average author on a low budget. In this regard, it is elitist and insensitive to the needs of the ordinary guy. A fourth gripe that I have with Mill City is its annual renewal fee of one hundred and seventy-nine dollars per year in order for the author to  maintain his contract with them and not having to start all over again. In my opinion, an author-friendly company should maintain an indefinite contract like Dog Ear Publishing does. This gives the author much room and leverage, in terms of having plenty of time to market his book without having to shoulder that additional fee.  A contract that expires at the end of the year with a steep renewal fee is a slap in the author’s face.

If Mill City can address these legitimate author concerns—raise its publishing packages’ word count to one hundred and seventy-five thousand words, lower the overall cost of its services, cancel its extravagant renewal fee (which is subject to keep on rising), and do away with all its mind-boggling array of add-on charges for this, that, and the other which are not clearly explained up front—it will, be without doubt, be the number one self-publishing company in the world. Someone should email this article to Mark Levine. If the recommendations mentioned above are fully addressed and implemented by Mill City; it will not only be the most outstanding self-publishing company in the world; it will also be the most profitable. I am a economic geographical scientist with some background in business consulting. I know how business works; and the way most self-publishing companies are  conducting business is wasteful, ruinously greedy, sloppily unmindful of economics’ basic laws of supply and demand, and disregardful of the power of word of mouth buzz. The idea of having business that rips off unsuspecting writers is inherently ruinous to the company and sets powerful word of mouth currents working against the growth and success of that company. You can generate all the flashy, glitzy websites and mouth-watering publishing packages that you want to, if your business model is based on fraud; eventually, it will sink the ship of your business. Moreover, it will not be long before someone like me comes along, adopts the right print and demand business model, and washes your business into the sea by simply treating my authors with the respect, justice, and dignity that they truly deserve. Cheating and stealing from your writers is no way to run an effective business. Print and demand businesses should be operated on the business model that emphasizes the author coming out with a profit because, ultimately, if the author wins; the publishing company wins as well. Clean business may mean passing up some projects that do not measure up to publication standards. Each publishing package should realistically embody a proof read and an evaluative analysis with the option of giving the author some more time to refine the manuscript, in view of the self-publishing company’s recommendations.

You may say, “Well, I can’t do that; that is too costly.” You just wait until a sober, self-publishing company comes along that does that, you will see how far it will sweep your self-publishing trash into the sea. The truth of the matter here is that everyone who is writing books today should not be doing so—he just does not have the writing knack. Suppose an honest self-publishing company—now an utter oxymoron—begins to pass up trashy stuff and push good, quality writers; help out here and there with some basic marketing; give them insight about how to market their book; and vigorously push their work: Things may not happen for that company right away; but, eventually, they will. The world has changed much since I was a boy. I was taught that honesty “is, not was, the best of policy.” The jarring breakdown of morality in the West—and the rest of the world, as a whole—today is nothing short of looming catastrophe from which this world will never recover. Bristling with dashing crooks, vulpine scoundrels, clever thieves, pert robbers, corporate knaves, and a dizzying array of moral psychopaths; the West—and to some degree—the rest of the world, have thrown themselves into the yawning iron jaws of doom. The current rate of deceit, falsehood, scoundrelry, and moral sabotage in the world is simply not sustainable past the year 2020—and that is if it does not implode before then. The political engineers who run this world are playing a dangerous game with the devil, and their uncunning brinksmanship is unsafely dragging this world to the brink of doom. One of these days, those crooked suckers will wake up to a world that is stark crazy and demon possessed. They will one day wake up to a world that they can no longer manipulate and control with their brutal iron hand of cruelty, for the world would have become much more cruel and brutal and savage as their brightest Pentagon Arm Chief of Staff.

The West is playing a dangerous game with the devil for which it will pay a very steep and extortionate price. And with the random development of nuclear weapons all over the world, controlling those vicious weapons will become increasing difficult as the world wonders into the dark forest of moral anarchy. Some of the brightest political engineers in the United States now admit that it is not a matter of if nuclear weapons are going to be dropped in the United States: It is just a matter of when. And God forbid that such internecine events should unfold here in the United States of America; but given the rate at which sane, sensible, rational morals are fading in America; it is just a matter of time before this entire society implodes through a variety of possible doomful scenarios. The nuclear possibility has already been envisioned by leading government think tanks in this country; the cumulative damage done by brutal, savage storms year after year can literally bring America to its appointment with doom long before the atomic bomb scenario unfolds; and just the sheer and explosive growth of moral decline and lawlessness can force America to its knees, leading to sectionalism and political fragmentation of the entire country. My point here is that all these scenarios have transpired in societies that had gotten besides themselves and lost track with the natural order of things, such as allowing children to disrespect their parents; allowing self-publishing companies to wantonly steal from authors and rob them of their hard-earned money; turning a blind eye to gun violence that has transmogrified America into a strange slaughter house, and allowing homeowners associations to literally own their members’ homes with the power to snatch those homes from their legitimate owners with a shadowy outfit of corrupt, crooked attorneys.

You may say, “Well, I thought that this was an article on corrupt self-publishers;” and indeed it is. You see: The world is filled with connections. These are I’s and T’s that people fail to dot and cross. My principal point here is that Western governments’ cavalier permission of wholesome moral traditions to fade in an ever-increasingly insane world is a dangerous game, to say the least: That is the reason that odious self-publishing companies have mushroomed, ripping writers off with impunity. This sort of thing is caused by Western Government officials’ shameless refusal to maintain the rule of law and enforce strong ethical traditions that support wholesome, sane societies in the West. Accordingly, the bloom of corrupt self-publishers is only the tip of the iceberg: Wherever you look today, corruption and tearful eyes are visible everywhere. Western peoples, washed away in a tsunami of fairytales called movies and sleazy entertainment, have not caught on to what is really going on in the West; however, just a cursory look at the news and the powerful electric storms playing out in the streets of the world’s major cities would alert even the dead that more frightening doom is fast approaching the door steps of the West, and the rest of the world. Thus, the moral disparities that one sees in the United States today—as are reflected in some of the issues that have been raised in this article—are not just isolated incidences of moral aberrations: They are reflections of a broader pattern of moral chaos and insanity engulfing the whole wide world with the tacit approval of its shadowy government machine. And what must the self-publishers do—they must educate themselves as much as is possible before signing on to these rotten and callous self-publishing contracts because, once they sign on the dotted line; they do not have the financial wherewithal to fight these slimy, crooked, shadowy self-publishing companies—and the United States Government, or the French Government, or the German Government would not step up to the plate and help them—they need to know that!

If this article has enlightened you and made your self-publishing journey shorter, leave me a note with a valid email address and encourage your friends to patronize my website and purchase my books. They are loaded with eye-opening, mind-boggling information that can change your life forever! Watch for the book Crashing Streams of Change due out early this summer; and, whatever you do, get a copy and swallow it whole: It contains information that is unique, original, brand new, and life-changing!.

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