Amazon is a big deal, we all know it. There are numerous on-line book outlets attached to them, which is good for book sales—until an author has to fight to prove copyright infringement.
One leaves a publisher they had paid to produce and post the book, and unnamed publisher keeps the book posted on Amazon “to recover losses.” But losses for what? Author pays everything from editing to book cover to ISBN numbers to print and delivery—and whatever happens in between—all expenses, so we must consider this to be self publishing.
If you are embarking on a self publishing journey, do not let a publisher of that nature tell you they are better than self publishing. They “publish for you.” All it means is they are going to have more control over your book than you expect. Like when you pay for ISBN numbers and the publisher puts them in their name, with the Ingram account and Amazon account. Make sure you get a publishing contract to view before getting too excited about getting your first book into the world. It’s worth the money to have it looked at by an intellectual property lawyer. I didn’t, because I thought what I received was the contract. It was simple and straight forward, but it only covered editing. I was not told when encouraged to buy books “for 100% profit” that because I bought books, the publisher would take 100% of my Amazon royalties, book for book. What do you think about that? Is it fair? Is it just me? Me who paid for everything?
When I finally viewed my contract, I was appalled at this. But the contract also stated an author could respectful leave the publisher—so I did. But I went through some uncomfortable and long messages from an extremely angry publisher. Which did not surprise me much as the editing process felt heavy. I endured insults to my writing in edits. Belittling a writer is not simply, “I call ’em as I see ’em.” Is it that difficult for some people to be diplomatic?
After I left, I was accused of not paying for my cover, meaning I couldn’t use it after leaving, and I wouldn’t let this slide. I traced it in my PayPal account. Disappointing for the publisher as I was legally free to use my cover I paid for. I was accused of lying when I said I did not receive a publishing contract. I received an editing contract. Nothing about this process was what it should have been. Stress crowned the days, the weeks, the months.
This keeping my book on Amazon is a form of copyright infringement as the publisher has been asked by me to take my property down. Another author does her best to help me, and she, too, mentioned to the publisher it needed to come down. He lied saying he took it down and I put it back up. How can I do that when the account is in the publisher’s name? And I couldn’t open a new account and post it as the copyright page (technical page) needs to change and there are numerous typos throughout my novel. That involves Ingram, which I am locked out of as well, plus rewriting the book ready file, and I couldn’t. I asked him to send my property to me, he did, but in PDF so I could not edit. Fortunately my son is an IT guy.
I am in the process of proving to Amazon the work is mine. He even put the © in his company name. And it doesn’t mean much as he must have my permission to have my copyright. My work is automatically copyrighted when I write it and put my name on the work, and I have several drafts to prove it, and e-mails from publishers I shopped my MS around to. Keep your drafts and e-mails, you may someday need them.
But I’m left to wonder how publishers are able to open accounts, lock them in their name, and they don’t have to prove who the MS belongs to, they don’t have to prove they have permission to use it, but I fight for many days now, and we are not finished. I have made an application to transfer the Ingram account to myself. Publisher may refuse, then I will pay (again) to open my own account. Legal complications are draining. Scammers are everywhere, and the police officer I created an incident with said this person has been at this a long time. He is seasoned enough to stay in the grey area of legalities.
I’ll say this: when a self publisher or any publisher seems to be too good, they are. Take that seriously, because it is. Literature is a cut throat industry. Wear a collar and ask questions. Don’t ever worry you’re insulting a publisher. If they are honest, they will cheerfully answer questions.
Thanks for reading.