2 publishing horror stories from Tim Grahl’s newsletter

Posted May 19th @ 2:28 pm by Roger C. ParkerPrint

Thursday’s profit tip for authors

There is currently a lot of dialog taking place as self-publishing continues its media-inspired growth. However, as Joel Friedman pointed out in a recent post about subsidy publishing, all is not perfect in the indie publishing world. There are publishing pitfalls and horror stories that can severely undermine an author’s profitability.

I was impressed when I read this cautionary tale of publishing horror stories from a recent newsletter from Tim Grahl’s OutThink Group and immediately asked Tim’s permission to share it with Published & Profitable friends and members. Tim graciously agreed.

If Tim Grahl’s name is familiar to you, he was responsible for Sunni Brown’s Doodle Revolution website, and great Doodle Revolution Manifesto. Tim’s also created his own Manifesto. Tim’s words follow:

As the publishing world continues to struggle through the current upheaval, one of the constant arguments is self-publishing vs. traditional publishing.  Today I have two short stories for you from each side of the aisle that I have witnessed first hand.


“I’m so stressed out.  I don’t want to be a f**ing publisher.”

Just a few weeks out from launching his book, the author really started losing his mind.  He found another mistake on his cover.  While it was an easy one to fix, it’s the fourth time that the printer or the designer made a mistake and now he’s rushing to fix it.

This is after months of struggling to make sure the manuscript was properly edited and laid out for the printer.  While it’s easy to get a manscript thrown together and printed through a service like CreateSpace, this author wanted it to be the same quality of a traditional publisher.  That takes a lot of work and a lot of expertise.  Expertise the author doesn’t have.

The new goal for his book:  Sell enough copies so he can get a traditional publisher to pick up his next book.  It took going through the horrors of self-publishing to figure out that there is a pretty good reason to go with traditional publishers.

Traditional Publishing

“I’m regretting signing with a traditional publisher.  Next time I’m absolutely self-publishing.”

Just a few weeks before his book was published he realized all of his misgivings about getting a traditional publisher were coming true.  He couldn’t get anyone on the phone and the promises of promoting the book were falling flat.

The final realization came when he was trying to generate some advance reviews of his book and the publisher said they didn’t budget to send free copies out.  However, the author could buy as many copies as he wanted at 40% discount off the list price.

Amazon.com had his book at a 32% discount.

The author only got an extra 8% discount on his own book even when it was for marketing purposes.

What to do?

And the debate rages on.  Unfortunately there is no clear cut answer.

There is a solution though.

Do your research and read the fine print. (emphasis added) If you want to send advanced review copies of your book, make sure that’s in the contract with your publisher.  If you want to self-publish and do it professionally, make sure you understand what kind of project you are getting into.

You have your own publishing story?  I’d love to hear it!  Just reply to email Tim Grahl at the Outthink Group or add a comment, below.

About our publishing horror stories guest post

Tim Grahl helps authors sell a lot of books. He is the owner of Out:think. You can get more of his advice by signing up for his newsletter at www.outthinkgroup.com or you can follow him on Twitter. And, remember, as today’s takeaway profit tip from these two publishing horror stories, Do your research and read the fine print!

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