A Warning To All Writers Who Need Help Indie Publishing

This post, by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, originally appeared on her The Business Rusch on 8/29/12.

From the beginning, I have warned readers of this blog away from services that promise to publish your e-books for a percentage of the royalties. I haven’t done so in a while, and I really need to again.

Here’s why:

These businesses will harm you and your career. Best case, they’re run by well-intentioned idiots who have no idea how a business works. Worst case, they’re scams.

Most of the ones I’ve seen are scams.

This particular topic came up this week in a strangely roundabout way.  I have my Facebook e-mail notifications shut off, but every now and then one slips through. On Thursday, I got one in which a friend of mine mentioned me and Dean in a comment on a bestselling writer’s post. I was rather stunned that my friend, also a bestselling writer, knew the bestselling writer in question. My friend’s a military sf guy, and she’s a romance author.  Neither reads each other’s genre. But, I figured as I clicked on the link, that shouldn’t get in the way of friendship.

His comment was rather strange. It said that he had self-published five e-books and he would never, ever pay anyone 15% of those royalties. Then he told the bestselling romance writer to look at my blog and Dean’s blog for his reasons why.

When I clicked on the link, his comment was gone. There were 30-some other comments, but none from him, and none negative.

The post he was responding to was also strange. It purported to be from the bestselling romance author. She listed a service—which shall go nameless here—that was now e-publishing her backlist. She recommended everyone use it because “e-publishing isn’t as easy as everyone makes it out to be.”

Okay, fine. I know that for some people the learning curve is high and it frightens them. I know that others simply don’t have the time to spend on indie publishing. I figured she was one of those.

But as I scrolled through the comments, I noticed something else strange. She responded to every five comments by linking to that e-publishing service’s website. The language of her posts was odd as well. It was riddled with typos and other mistakes that she didn’t make anywhere else on her Facebook page.

And the posts didn’t sound like her.

I never did find my sf friend’s comment. Someone had deleted it. If anyone had responded to it by agreeing with my friend (and I have no idea if anyone did), then that comment was gone as well.

It wasn’t until I dug into that e-publishing service’s Terms of Use that I figured out what was going on. The bestselling romance writer didn’t write that post on her Facebook page. The e-service did. They handled all social media related to books for the author.


Read the rest of the post on The Business Rusch.