How long have you been self-publishing? If you've been publishing your books for quite some time now, maybe you've already seen some scams along the way. But if you just started, let me tell you 3 self-publishing scams to watch out for.
The Hybrid Companies
Today's topic has three points and you're going to want to stick around because of the third point. It is a secret as to the absolute best way to avoid getting scammed in self-publishing.
So the topic we're discussing today is 3 Self-Publishing Scams To Watch Out For. By the end of this Blog, you're going to know the necessary to know and avoid the very scams you'll see. You're going to know the difference between scams and things that are not exactly scams and are completely legal.
You're going to feel great knowing that you're not going to experience what so many of my coaching clients experienced when it comes to getting scammed with your books. So let's get into it. But first, check out join me in a one-on-one Discovery Session.
It's free and we'll take a look and build a roadmap for your self-publishing journey as it's helped plenty of other people previously. So from one of my friends' stories, who produces horror films and all types of films.
The thing was that he realized that even though he would put these films in film festivals and stuff, there was a lot of money to be made on Amazon. The problem is putting books (in this case movies) onto Amazon can be quite challenging.
They have all sorts of requirements that you have to fulfill if you wish to have your movies on Amazon just like the books. He hired out a company that specializes in this very skill set. They actually will take your movie and ensure that everything is perfect.
And then they will put it out on their account and send you royalties based upon the sales that happen. They were even telling him at the time the sales that he was making was $500 a month for one of his films. So he was incredibly excited except for one little problem.
They were never sharing the dashboards just like we have with books where you'll see dashboards on Amazon and you'll see your sales. They were not sharing that information with them and for those royalties, they were making.
They informed him that those $500 a month, were enough to cover the costs associated with their work. Well, the question was which work they doing had successfully put the movie onto Amazon? They had done absolutely nothing beyond that.
So they were just sitting on his money month after month. We don't even know what the exact amount was because they weren't sharing even the dashboards from Amazon. After all, they were so busy doing all of this work for his project, right?
He eventually ended up suing them and threatening them. So they released the rights back to him. I think there was a payout he even had to do to get them back.
This is a very common experience for self-publishers as well. When it comes to getting your books on the market, you feel that it's too difficult. After all, I'm not very good with technical things.
I could never learn this stuff so I will just hire another company to go and produce the book and put it on their account on Amazon. So you don't even have to log into Amazon. They'll have your book over there and they'll tell you that you own the rights to the books.
There's no question about that. But your book is on their site, do you see? So as your books are making sales, they will decide how many sales they wish to tell you you've made or not made. Well, is that the actual number of sales?
Are they keeping money for themselves? It's impossible to know these things. Some of these companies will do this for 3 months. It will be like a three-month delay. Now, on Amazon, they'll of course see what's happening monthly.
Check out this related article: Your Price Is Too Low!
But then they can just sit on your money for a very long time. Now I should say that some of my coaching clients have commented and reached out and said "this is a scam". They found that some of the hybrid companies or vanity self-publishing companies are scams.
The reason they will say it's a scam is that after they did the initial service, all they want to do is upsell me on marketing. My point is, this isn't a scam, they're just going to extract an awful lot of money from you.
The other thing is they get to the end and would say that they are not seeing any sales on my books. After having gone through and paying $10,000 to get my book onto the market. They said they checked it and after evaluation, they decided that my book was good enough to meet their strict standards.
Then they will do it but after that, no sales. But they said, "don't worry, for only $800, you can get our marketing package where we will post your book on all sorts of social media marketing". Now you can see where the problem comes from.
It is that even with doing that, they're still not going to be getting any sales on your book. Maybe one here or one there but for the most part, absolutely nothing is going to be coming through.
Best-Seller Of Your Category
The problem is that I guess I've been scammed. Well, not really, because they just said they would market your book or they would produce your book. They didn't promise they wouldn't upsell you all the way across.
They didn't tell you how many sales you would get. You read their sales page and you heard of all these people making millions of sales. But when it came to the end of it, you simply were not experiencing those same things.
They were not claiming we would get but they did say it and in the small print of course. They'll say results may vary and the people who write here are not typical of people who use our service. So it's still not a scam, they haven't promised anything that they haven't delivered.
In other words, they're not doing something illegal. That doesn't mean their customers are happy with them, it just means they're not violating any laws. They didn't promise something and fail to deliver and that is the definition of a scam.
But let's get to it, 3 self-publishing scams to watch out for. I've had a couple of them already here but the first thing is if they have a best-seller guarantee. One of the tricks with this one is they will put you in a minor category.
They will buy a hundred copies of your book that will guarantee you will reach that best-seller status. Now keep in mind, you're only going to have it for one day. Your account can get banned as a result of purposely choosing false categories to put your book under.
I would never suggest using this strategy. You can pick categories that are sort of like your book but never these false categories. When you're choosing which categories, we want to choose categories where we have a chance to compete ideally 100 books in that category.
But as few as 100 to 200 sales in a given day is enough for many of these small categories to bump you over. Putting you in the bestseller of that category. Because few books are sold in that sub-category or sub-niche on Amazon.
So any book you give me, I will put it into that category. I will purchase 100 or 200 copies for a thousand dollars. Each book I tell you to reduce the price to a dollar apiece.
We can get you a best-seller and I would say by the end of the week. So this is a little bit of a scam because we're breaking some rules here. It could get our account banned as a result of all of this.
So we have to be very careful with that. People get too focused on this best-seller on Amazon. Some of my books hit best-seller status, even for weeks at a time.
But the fact is it didn't have a huge massive impact on the number of sales I was making. It's more of a vanity metric as we'd call it. Where you enjoy looking at it but it's not having a massive impact on increasing new sales.
It's just that if you can get it, it will have a marketing impact because they'll see it. When they see in your ads or when the book comes up on first page results, it is the most important thing. It must be showing up on that first-page result and it is why we focus on keywords here.
The other thing is the number of sales guaranteed. We guarantee you that you will sell millions of copies or you'll be a millionaire in a month. Or you'll have three thousand to ten thousand dollars in sales a month.
This is something they cannot do. Now obviously, they can do it if you give them 10,000 and they guarantee you you'll get a thousand dollars for the first 3 months. Maybe they're just using the money that you gave them to give you the first ranking or the number one best-seller on Amazon for your category.
Check out this related article: How To Find Success In Self Publishing
In addition, you're suddenly getting those royalties that they promised you. But this is a scam in a sense because we're talking about making money. We're talking about actual organic sales, not the company that gave you that sold.
This is themselves engineering the very sales that they're talking about. So this would also get you in trouble with Amazon. I would recommend you stay away from this particular thing and watch out for this practice.
The next thing is that they directly get all royalties and you get nothing. Month after month, they know what the thing is. I was recently talking with one of my discovery clients who was after doing a discovery session.
We realized that going through one of the hybrid publishers, they guaranteed the book would be out by a certain date. And yes you own all the rights. That's not the same as, is it going to be registered? Are you going to get the file so that you will register them under your account?
Because if you have them under your account, then you can see the number of sales that are coming through. You can make sure that the sales that are coming through on your book, you can see them day by day. You get the royalties into your bank account as opposed to using them as an intermediary.
Because the way it's sold is, "Look, we will put the book together, we'll get it all done we'll put it out there. Your book will then start making money for you." Then at that point, we don't need to do anything.
Money-Back Guarantee True Or Not
The reality is that they're still sitting on the book. They're going to take probably a percentage of the royalties. As a result of them having to deal with the administration and the bureaucracies around getting the money that you earned on those books.
Do you see it? Amazon will pay them directly then they will decide, "well I don't know how much money do we send each month to the author". This is the thing I would warn all of you about. This is why I'm telling you if you're going to go with something, you would want to format it yourself which I teach you in my Book Formatting Course.
If you don't want to do it, well, at least pay somebody to do the formatting. So you have the files and you upload them to your account. In this part, you can learn no matter how it is technically difficult for you, you still can learn how to do something.
Simple as just uploading it to your account, typing in the metadata for your book title. Importing the cover and putting a description in and so forth. Then put the book on there because then you're at least going to get the royalties directly and not have to go through someone.
If you go through someone else, they're going to ensure that it's going to be a pain. Because they're not going to want to transfer those right back to you. Now you may be thinking, "but I own the rights".
Yes, you own the copyright. But the fact is when they register with Amazon, it is not as simple as just hitting a button. And suddenly, all those books start flowing into your account. So this is another very important point that you're going to want to keep track of when you're trying to avoid scams.
But the third and secret point of the day is to find a forum. Where people who have tried the service and are happy afterward are sharing feedback. Now, this is something that I know all of you out there who have gone for this hybrid solution have not found it.
Because after doing sessions with you, I've sat down and Googled and tried to find where the forums are. The people who have done these services know where they're sitting around. They are saying, "Wow I cannot believe all the sales I'm getting and I'm so happy with how that whole service went. It was seamless and smooth and they were so helpful during the entire process."
Even after the process, they're still helpful. They don't just disappear but are better around and that is something I'm telling you. Do not even think of signing a contract with one of these companies until you found a group of people who can tell you, "look we're very happy with these services".
This is one of the reasons I even have this very blog and my Youtube channel to help you avoid going through the pain of this. I coach people and teach you exactly how you can do it yourself the easy way and not the hard way. So don't allow these scammers to get in your way.
They will tell you "Oh you couldn't figure this stuff out, it's too hard for you. it's too difficult so just let us do all the work and then you'll make all the royalties off of it." I'm telling you that this will cost you more money and frustration in the long run.
Maybe it will prevent you from even writing your next book. Because you'll be thinking, look at the hassle that it was on the first book. Which is something that I believe and Self-Publishing Made Easy Now believes that it doesn't have to be hard and it should be fun.
Check out this related article: 3 Things Self Publishers Should Do
The whole process should be a lot of fun. We didn't say it would be super easy in the sense of you can do it in one day. But after a while, you can do it in a day. As we move through the steps, nice and easy, one by one, we will slowly build up our books.
We'll do it the easy way without having to deal with the scams. The fact is that people are happy with it. If anybody's unhappy, you get your money back immediately. Because I do not want anyone working with me who isn't happy with the service that's provided.
So that's another key thing, you have a guarantee with these people that you're going through. Once you realize this isn't going to work out, are you able to pull the plug and say, "I want my money back? I don't want to go with you any longer."
Most of these companies will say "No, we've already done these services, so you're just not going to get it." That's another big issue, is there a money-back guarantee associated with it? Because if there isn't, then this is something you're not going to want to sign up for.
Well, my question for you is what self-publishing scams have you seen? Have you seen the above-mentioned 3 self-publishing scams to watch out for? Let me know below in the comments and check out my other blogs and videos for more answers to your self-publishing questions.