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The Best Way To Avoid Unfair Contracts

June 8th, 2018

A few years ago, I was offered a publishing deal with the first publisher I sent my first book to. I was stunned and euphoric. This was a dream come true for me.  Unfortunately, my joy was short lived. My WB Tutor, David Kinchin, suggested I ask legal experts to review the deal was I was being offered and sure enough all was not it appeared. The head won over the heart and to my astonishment I rejected the offer.

After this narrow escape I was wary of publishers and traditional printing; it wasn’t as rosy and wonderful as I’d been led to believe. There were sharks out there who wanted to take your creativity and use it to make themselves rich, whilst you did all the work.

So instead of trawling my book around to find a fair deal I decided to turn my back on traditional publishing for the creative freedom and financial benefits that can only be enjoyed by self-publishing. My husband had been against this at first but one day he came across the author Dean Wesley Smith who was encouraging people to try their hand at creating their own publishing company.

Intrigued, we read through the advice he’d put on his website and then contacted him to talk further about the subject. Inspired by the idea we set up Lillian White Publishing about two weeks later so we could publish my books. Over time as I came to understand more about publishing the angrier I became that there were people out there snaring unwary authors and persuading them to hand over their copyright for doing very little in return. They were stealing their dreams through these incredibly unfair contracts and cashing in on peoples’ innocence.

Eventually my husband agreed that once we were established, Lillian White would publish other authors as well, but we wouldn’t demand copyright or ask for a ludicrous share of any profits. Our contracts would benefit the author, not us.

It seems we’re not the only ones taking this route, more and more people are taking the plunge and setting up their very own publishing company.

Unfortunately, we’re not ready to accept any submissions yet and our plan has had to go on the back burner because we recently moved house, but if you’re interested in creating your own publishing company the link to Dean Wesley Smith is below.

The information he provides is thorough, he takes you through things step by step and easy to understand.

I don’t regret the choices I made and love the fact that I have complete creative control over my work and am the sole benefactor of any sales I make. The best thing about it is though, is that soon, I’ll be able to help others avoid the same nasty trap I almost fell into. That’s my goal.

Step One

Avoid debt.

If you do choose to start up your book publishing business, only spend money when you know what you’re going to get out of it. Avoid incurring debt where possible and always try to find the most economical way to start your publishing business.

Step Two

Choose a name for your publishing company.

If you are selling purely through amazon than create space is sufficient, but if you want your books to be available in shops it’ll look better if it’s from a Professional book publisher. You’ll need a company name which is distinctive from your own or the title of the book. Once you’d done this you can register your ISBN with your company name as the publisher. This will show up on your book sales page and looks more professional than other POD companies like “Createspace.”

Step Three

Get a Domain Name

Another way to make your publishing business look more professional is to register a domain name for it. But be careful when choosing a name for your book publishing company. Keep the name as neutral as possible make sure it’s usable in a variety of languages. Before you spend money on registering or using your company name, always check that the name hasn’t already been used in the same type of business which could create conflict. A simple search on the internet using various search engines should reveal any issues.

Step Four

Register yourself with the taxman as sole trader.

It can be helpful to have your business and personal finances separate for tax purposes. Make sure you learn the laws related to your business. It’s important to consult with experts before making decisions about your business plan. Many lawyers and accountants offer a free consultation to answer your questions. They can advise you on the best path for your particular situation.

Step Five

Learn to use the software or get professional to help.

There are a lot of Desk Top Publishing software packages to make Self-Publishing easy these days. The current top of the line software for this is InDesign from Adobe. But it’s a lot of money to rent (not buy) as Adobe now have all their software – Photoshop, Illustrator & ID though a monthly licensing fee. At this stage it might not be worth it, so ask professionals to help. You can still do your layout in Word, but you’ll need help with covers.

Step Six

Submitting material and distribution

When you think you have a final manuscript you’ll need to approve an e-copy and always ask for a hardcopy to proof. Once you’re happy with your final manuscript submit your work to Amazon, Smashwords etc, and you’re published! But don’t order any print runs before you have substantial orders, rather stick to POD, until you have an established fan base.

Link to Elsye Harwood’s webpage

Link to Elyse Harwood’s Amazon page






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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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