It happens daily—right under our noses. It’s on social media, it’s on Amazon, and unless they’re told about it, IngramSpark prints for scamming publishers.
I’ve worked hard to stop my former publisher from collecting 100% of my Amazon royalties. In a contract I didn’t receive until I my novel hit the Amazon shelf, it stated if I buy books from IngramSpark, the publisher keeps 100 per cent of Amazon. I had a contract, read it, found it to be sound, and sent in my manuscript. Knew nothing of a second contract.
This is an independent publisher who is actually a self publishing venue in the way the authors pay every dime toward publishing. When I asked about my royalties, it took two times asking before I received a spreadsheet with two sales. Hey, this doesn’t line up, I have screenshots from at least nine buyers! This s when I hit the Amazon venue in November of 2018.
The contract also stated an author could pull out of the company, so I did and I began my fight to get my novel back under my control. The copyright was put under his company name, so I had a hell of a fight with Amazon to prove my novel was mine, my work, my efforts. And I’ll likely never see any of those royalties. I wrote Amazon nearly every day, fighting for my rights. They got frustrated with me and took down the Kindle, considered the case closed, but my print copy still excited, giving this publisher more royalties. I eventually succeeded in getting it off .com while .ca continued to sell it. This has gone on since the middle of April. In the meantime, I received many emails from third party sellers who were horrified they’d sold my novel under copyright infringement. Amazon warned them, but continued to sell themselves. Calling them on that seemed to be what moved things. But not enough. They kept sending different forms for me to fill out, basically taking back to the first of the forms they directed me to fill out. Circles, circles.
Something inside me said to tell IngramSpark. One e-mail and they understood the seriousness of my quest and they cancelled the ISBN. There are two copies available, and once they’re sold, that’s it. No more of that ISBN can be printed and sold.
If I had done nothing, my work would appear as copyright owned by the publisher. It’s a rare incident for a publisher to put the copyright symbol under their company rather than the author’s name. That leads to nothing good for the author.
Make sure before seeking a publisher you investigate their books, their reviews, their websites, and their track record on Writer Beware and Independent Author’s Association. Those two at least. Check the technical page to see who copyrights are listed under.
I actually had two traditions publishers accept me. The fist contract and editing were unacceptable, so no signature. The next offered a negotiable contract, and when we finished, the contract was excellent; however, my publisher worked on edits, but she felt too ill to keep up and continue. The publisher who did me wrong actually knew this publisher and ‘did me a favour’ by cancelling the contract by giving her an author and taking me. This shocked me, yet there I sat in edits with no publisher. Against my gut, I accepted anyway—because the contract I had been given looks fair, it felt good. Too good perhaps….
I will survive. I’m selling copies I purchased before I left, and when the they are gone, I have a new ISBN and will have the novel reprinted with a new technical page, copyright under my own company name. My novel is getting a buzz now, I look forward to enjoying the rest of this journey. Will I get rich and famous? Not expected, but my reviews are outstanding, and I have it in a unique store; 916 Galleria Artisans & Crafters in St. Thomas, Ontario. It’s selling—and it’s me getting the royalties so I can recover from publishing costs.
Best to you and your publishing journey. Stick up for yourself. Don’t buckle under a narcissist.
Thanks for reading.