Three years ago a friend asked me to advise her niece about publishing her book. She was a new mom, married to a man in graduate school, and she needed to make a lot of money. We spoke at length; I told her publishing is not a road-to-riches. She thanked me, but clearly still had stars in her eyes.
A week later she e-mailed me with the news that she had signed with a traditional publisher. I was floored. I wrote for the big five for twenty-five years, and it took longer than a week to get a rejection letter. Then again, perhaps she had an amazing book. I congratulated her and asked which publisher she would be working with. It was not one I had heard of because she had signed an egregious contract with an online publisher.
She was locked into a ten-book schedule, the royalties were miserly, the contract did not promise traditional distribution as she believed it did, and there would not be publisher promotions or advertising. Most concerning were the ladies who ran the company. Their qualifications were that they were all avid readers, one had a degree in English, and another had worked in marketing for a manufacturing firm.
I called my friend, a businesswoman, outlined the problems with the contract in regards to her niece’s objectives. The reality was that she would never be in bookstores, would be responsible for her own marketing, and would make next to nothing (sadly this proved true even after she’d written five books). When my friend asked if I would ever work with such a publisher, my answer was ‘never’.
SO MUCH FOR NEVER
Two weeks ago I signed a three-year contract with Wolfpack Publishing, an online publisher. Here’s why I did it:
1) The owner and his team are professionals in their book related fields (editing, online marketing, graphic artists, etc.).
2) The owner and his team are accessible to every author, at any time.
3) Wolfpack curates their catalogue, carefully choosing their authors.
4) Wolfpack is dedicated to understanding, nurturing, and marketing each author in their very specific genres (action adventure, westerns, thrillers).
5) Wolfpack is transparent, giving their authors monthly accounting of their sales and publicly celebrating those who hit lists.
6) Wolfpack encourages camaraderie not competition among their authors.
7) Wolfpack constantly evaluates the corporate and individual brands and adjusts for success
8) Wolfpack joyously promotes both the Wolfpack brand and their individual authors.
9) Wolfpack’s contract is reasonable, responsible, and fair.
10) Wolfpack asks their authors to do one thing: write good books.
As in traditional publishing, online publishers are not created equal. It is up to the author to do their due diligence, look closely at the online publisher, their capabilities, qualifications, and their contracts before signing on the dotted line. In publishing there is no golden ticket, there is hard work, luck, and, hopefully, support. For me, Wolfpack Publishing knocked the paradigm for online publishing out of the ballpark. I’m thrilled to be ‘running with the pack’.
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