9 QUESTIONS FOR PROSPECTIVE PUBLISHERS
Our mission at Publish Your Purpose Press (PYP) is to discover and publish authors who are striving to make a difference in the world. We give underrepresented voices power and a stage to share their stories, speak their truth, and impact their communities. Our purpose and mission is to elevate and amplify the voices of others.
Protecting Yourself from Predatory Publishers:
Questions to ask when reviewing your book publisher
Unfortunately, the publishing industry is crowded, noisy, and filled with predatory service providers. This makes it very hard for you, the author, to understand and avoid those publishers with bad practices.
There are many solid, reputable, and high-quality publishers out there, but finding them among the sea of predatory publishers can be tricky.
When you are comparing publishers, make sure you are comparing a high-quality reputable publisher against another one, and not against a predatory publisher. This is the equivalent of comparing apples and zucchinis.
Below you will find the top questions you should ask when reviewing any book publisher. Whether they are a high-quality, reputable publisher, or you believe there might be something shady happening, ask these questions to get a better sense of the right publisher for you.
PYP was founded to be an anti-predatory publisher. Having seen several friends be taken advantage of in the publishing process, founder, Jenn T. Grace, set out to create a publishing company that puts the author first. Protecting our authors is at the forefront of every decision we make as an organization.
During the publishing process, we carry this on with our authors as we review “opportunities” they are presented with and advise them if it’s a known scam. This ranges from awards someone suggested they should submit for, to an Amazon Ad service provider, and beyond. We work with you to put forth a solid book that aligns with you, your business, and your brand, with no predatory behaviors in the process.
Before We Begin…
Before picking up the phone, sending that first email, or otherwise engaging with that prospective publisher, first visit the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) and view their Watchdog List.
ALLi is a non-profit organization for self-publishing authors. Their mission is ethics and excellence in self-publishing. ALLi’s Watchdog List monitors the self-publishing industry using a code of standards and vetting process to determine services that overcharge, over-promise, under-deliver, or in any way exploit authors. Their Watchdog List ranks publishers based on their predatory practices with a simple coding system of green, yellow, or red. Important to note is that not all publishers are listed on this list, however, the majority of the predatory ones are as a result of the need to prevent others from being taken advantage of.
Green means this is a solid, reputable, and high-quality publisher.
Yellow means proceed with caution. It is worth looking to see why they are getting yellow. What are the top complaints of this company? What else might they be doing to counteract any of the negativity they’ve received that could be positive?
Red is a hard stop. Do not proceed. If they are listed in red they are likely the epitome of a predatory company and you are better off steering clear.
Once you’ve narrowed down that the company is in green (or even yellow), you can proceed with your inquiry. If you are still unclear from your ALLi research, you can also do the following:
Head over to Google:
Google “publisher name + scam” and review the results. Take what you find with a grain of salt, but if there are pages of complaints from others, use that as a warning sign that this might not be the best publisher for you.
Google their phone number listed on their website and review the results. Do they come up on fraud or scam phone number lists? Pay attention to their sales practices. There are many publishers who will call you daily once they have your phone number after you provided it to them to offer more information on their publishing packages.
Once you’ve eliminated the publishers that are not worth your time speaking with and you now have a short list of publishers who you do want to speak with, ask them these questions to help identify if they are the right fit for you.