I would like this to be the start of an ongoing post on the perils of publishing. This business is fraught with minefields that cost thousands of dollars, take your rights, and/or rip you off by not delivering what is promised or what we thought was promised.
This forum has a wealth of experience that can help others avoid many of these pitfalls. I don't think that most of these companies are dishonest, but they may not be the best way to get your book out. Remember, when you are talking to one of these companies, you are talking to a salesman. Let me repeat, a salesman. They want to please and some will say anything to get the business.
So lets help each other by collecting our experiences, good and bad, in one place.
Let me start with my own experience. I did a lot of research up front. I was very discouraged until I found ebooks on Amazon and Createspace. These folks are straight up and I'm pleased with the process so far. Book will be out first of December.
I'm also having a wonderful experience with Circle of Seven Productions who are doing my publicity.
I did run into one big pitfall. It's the number of people who will give you honest help, but when added together the cost goes far beyond any expected sales. For instance, cover designers $1500, editors $4000, compilers $699, and publicists $2500. All of these folks are honest business people and do good work but you can spend $10G before you know it. My warning is only use those services you can't do yourself. For me, it the publicist.
What are your experiences with the publishing business?
You cannot make much money as a midlist author going through a traditional publisher. The advances are small, and they keep such an enormous amount of the profits that you'll most likely not earn out, or if you do, not at the rate the publisher would like you to. If you have a book that commands a significant advance, things change dramatically: you get promotion and marketing paid for by the publisher and your contract most likely will give you a better share. You also get some exposure through book store placement, though book stores will not keep selling your book the way Amazon sells it. Bookstores return titles quickly, within 2 months.
What you do is your choice. At least people have some options these days.
Interesting points, Benjamin. Thank you! I am going to do some searching to learn more about these small presses you mention, but perhaps you would also be kind enough to offer me(us) some guideposts?
My books are on Kindle and Nook, and I own the e-book rights for 2 of 3 in the series. E-books are definitely a piece of my marketing plan. But I'm not putting all my eggs in one basket. People like Joe Konrath are the exception, not the rule.