Featured Image - Guest Yvonne Gorman article. Image of books open. From Pixabay

The Publishing Debacle by Yvette Gorman

Today’s guest poster is the lovely Yvette Gorman, who shares with us the publishing debacle experience she went through with her first novel.  Enjoy 🙂

I think all of us as Writers believe that not everything we write is worth publishing. We are our own worst critiques after all.

Basically my story begins back when I wrote a simple poem. A poem so long it became more of a rhythmic story. It was a poem inspired by my time working with children, which I had done for years.

After eventually being brave enough to admit that I had written something I was actually proud of for a change. I showed it to a few trusted people. Also known as my Mother. Who convinced me it would make a wonderful story for children. That I should look into having it published as a children’s book.

Confidence, lack of power, who really knows what it was that told me not to go down the traditional route.

Instead, I sat down to carry out research. Research on companies who publish, companies who would allow me to remain in creative control of my story. Companies who seemed legit and had reviews. Eventually, I found one I thought suited perfectly.

“Assisted Self Publishing” was their tag line. I thought wow I can do this myself but with support, if I needed it. This was exactly that. Self-publishing but with assistance.

I fixed up a proper manuscript, gave them detailed descriptions of how I wanted my illustrations to look. I had complete control. Yet they took care of the marketing side of things. They pushed it towards companies like Amazon, Waterstones, Barnes and Nobles and the Book Depository.

They printed the books and kept them on print, ready to go if and when orders would come in. They mad posters, business cards, ebooks, tickets for downloading, everything right down to promotional bookmarks.

They controlled the ordering, printing and shipping of the books. I was free from all that extra work and worry that would come with those sides of things.

It seemed as though it was too good to be true. And it was. I, of course, was so excited and wrapped up in the fact that they liked my book that I ignored one major detail in this whole charade… The cost.

Now any decent writer will tell you “You don’t pay to have your book published. If they are asking for money don’t give it to them”.

So let me tell you a little secret, I don’t consider myself a decent writer now and I certainly wasn’t one back then either. So as I’m sure you can guess, I forked out quite a bit of money. Major mistake.

It took quite some time to get the book completely finished. I was continuously pressured from them through regular calls and emails. They had me brainwashed into believing that I would make my “investment” back.

They had accepted my manuscript and spoke about how it had to go through an editing process and a copyright process as well. One particular lady that phoned me spoke about my story like it was the next best seller.

I should have figured it out right then and there but I didn’t. It was actually really nice to hear such things said about something I was passionate about. She was clearly well trained. My book was accepted, not rejected and sadly that is all I heard.

The money exchanged hands or bank accounts should I say. My book was put into production. Of course, every extra page added, every new illustration outside of what was supposedly included were all extra charges on top of the price of the publishing package that I had chosen.

After quite some time I was eventually happy with it and it went on sale. I received my few copies that were included. They sent copies to some of the bigger libraries in the UK and the US.

They started the marketing campaign. I even got some fantastic reviews on Amazon from some people who had actually bought my book. I also got my first royalty cheque. It was only for twelve dollars but it was a start.

The cheque should have been my first concern. I am based in Ireland and I chose this company because they weren’t based too far away from me. They were only across the pond in the UK. So why did I receive a cheque in dollars?

Because I overlooked or did not realise that their head office was in Indiana. Not that, that would have made much of a difference but I probably would have looked further for someone closer to me.

After the first cheque, some time had passed and there were no further ones. I was worried now that my book had stopped selling. I had done a bit of leg work here in Ireland myself and had a large chain of bookstores on stand by to take my book on to sell.

When I received an email from the publishing company asking for my bank details in order for them to lodge the royalties directly into my bank account from then on. When I logged into my account to add bank details I wasn’t able to because I did not have a UK bank account. Being based in Ireland, I obviously wasn’t going to have one of them.

After several attempts of contact, I was informed that I would no longer be receiving my royalties as they were only payable to UK accounts. But hang on a minute, my first royalty payment was delivered to me as a cheque?

They, of course, denied this and said it wasn’t possible even though I had the bank receipt for the lodgement of said cheque in my hand.

They continued to tell me, however, that they don’t and never have issued cheques to their authors.

This went on for some time, not getting to speak to people, requesting callbacks from the head of the company until I threatened to report them and take it down the legal route. All of a sudden the cheque option was available again.

Through research on this particular company’s name, I found that I wasn’t the first author that they had withheld royalties from. However, according to them, they had completed their part of the contract.

Which was to design and complete the book to put it out for sale. In the end, I pulled all my contracts with them and fought to receive all high-resolution files of my book. Since it seemed from what they were saying I had simply paid for a service to design it.

My book is now no longer for sale and I have two hundred and fifty copies of it sitting in my office (which I also had to pay for on ordering). I can’t sell them through any book stores now because the barcodes and ISBN numbers are all associated with this publishing company.

Since then I have gotten advice from an employee in a much larger and well-known publishing company.

I was informed of many issues in my story. Issues that would have been picked up had the book been put through an editing process which I assumed it had been. Clearly, it hadn’t. So I scrapped the story even though I could have sourced a new publisher. It will forever be known as my initial failure.

I hope that writing about my experience here will prove that forking over any money to a “publishing company” is considered a huge red flag.

I was very stupid and I made a big mistake. It cost me a lot of time and a whole load of money. All I have for it is a box of books that will probably find their way to the bin eventually unless I find a way to sell them and try to get some of my money back.

So my advice to all up and coming writers. Self-publish completely or go with traditional publishing. Whatever your preference is, but if the company asks you for money?

It is a Vanity Press and you are only going to run into a lot of trouble with them. You don’t pay a publisher, a publisher pays you.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

About Yvette

Author photo of Yvette GormanWriting since a young age has sparked a hugely creative mind in Yvette which she expresses through written storytelling and poetry.  She completed a Diploma course in Creative Writing in 2019.

Yvette is an old fashioned soul when it comes to her passion for writing.

Handwriting in journals is her chosen medium though she is often found at her writing desk working with her typewriter.

Handwriting helps her to connect with her story more and without distraction. Currently living with her boyfriend and daughter in Ireland she uses as much of her free time as she can to write.

Twitter

“A Work In Progress”

Chloe Hawkins is a 29 year old singleton. Brought up in the age of Disney princesses, with the mindset that the person you are meant to be with will show up on a white steed.

With a rare chronic illness in her back pocket, Chloe has lived all her years as a frigid virgin. Not a single notch on the bed post and no ex’s to threaten any new man around the block.

In the day and age of technology Chloe is encouraged to try out online dating. Her introverted persona is keeping her away from the limelight of the nightclubs. Making her less likely to find her “Prince” who’s clearly driven into a ditch somewhere. After her overly anxious mind has settled she signs up for an app…

“A work in progress” is the story of one girls journey to discovering her self worth. To realising she is stronger than she believes and worth so much more than she thinks.

Coming to terms with her single life while accepting who and what she is. With a humerous tone throughout Chloe brings you through the highs and lows of dating with an illness.

The crazy men you get to encounter online and how being alone forever, may not be that bad afterall.

An order of dramatic, comedy with some Romance on the side.

~ ~ ~

Big thanks to Yvette for being today’s guest poster and sharing her thoughts on her publishing experience. 

Please check out her link and if you have any questions, please leave them in the comment section below.

 

Would you like to do a guest post or author interview on this blog?  Check out the Guest Post Policy

 

Happy writing

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The Publishing Debacle by author Yvette Gorman. When publishing goes wrong. Dealing with vanity presses. Image of books by Pixabay

 

16 comments

  1. I’m so sorry to hear this happened to you. Unfortunately, lesson learned. I’m glad you were able to get your books back at the very least. I know you couldn’t do anything with them, but at least they weren’t making more money off them. Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. Thanks for sharing a valuable lesson to us all. I went down the vanity route many decades ago with a magazine although I only had two issues published. Still expensive. A reputable small press published my debut novel, so I may go ‘small press’ again.

  3. There is no shame in learning a hard lesson. The shame is on the vanity press for flattering you into a bad agreement. As creators we are so inextricably linked with our art—in whatever form it takes—and the thought of presenting it in a “legitimate” manner to the world is exciting and enticing.

    Thank you for taking the time to write this cautionary tale, reminding authors who may get stars in their eyes over such acceptance they forget that publishing is a business. And a business’ primary reason for existence is not to make you happy, but to make money.

    Years ago I knew an Irish graphic designer who was contracted to provide mock-ups for a one-man ad agency and was never paid or credited for work that became highly successful. Mike, the Irishman, was quite adept at cursing, but would only characterize this cheat as a “scoundrel” and I have loved that word ever since. You may have stronger words, but I think this should be one of them.

  4. There is no shame in learning a hard lesion; having said that, my heart goes out to you because a book, a poem, a song, photograph or other work of art you create is deeply persona,l and when it gets dragged through the mud, it is not the work that suffers, it is the creator.

    Thank you for writing this cautionary tale–writers need to know that despite the flattery that puts stars in one’s eyes, publishing is yet a business and businesses exist to make money. Caveat emptor.

    1. Thanks for reading, sorry to hear you also had to deal with the machinations of Vanity Presses. I hope things worked out in the end?

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