Chris A. Baird | February 22, 2023
Worst Self Publishing Companies

You might be wasting your money when you mistakenly go with the wrong company. Here are the worst self publishing companies that you must avoid in 2023.

Have you ever gotten ripped off by self-publishing companies? Well, if you have or if you haven't and want to avoid that happening, you're going to want to stick around. That's the reason why we are discussing the worst self-publishing companies you need to avoid in 2023.

So, what are the worst self-publishing companies to avoid? Well, there are a couple of signs that you can have. Now, I'm going, to be honest with you. I'm not going to name them out because if I did that, I would get in serious trouble.

Check out this related article: 3 Self-Publishing Practices You Should Do EVERY DAY At Home!

But if you're wondering that maybe they are just fine or maybe whatever, we'll check with people who've gone with them and you will find out. But here are the key things they all have in common, maybe one or more of these specific problems are things that you're going to find. 

Vanity presses pretending to be traditional publishers

The first thing is you have our vanity presses pretending to be traditional publishers. Now, what exactly is a vanity press? Well, it's going to be a company where you have to pay them for the services to get your book on the market.

Whereas with a traditional publisher, there is no transfer of money from you to them. Rather, they go through lots of manuscripts. Then, after looking through them, they select someone, maybe you have an agent who comes in contact with them.

Then, they're willing to pay you money in advance for the work that you're going to write or the document that you have already; the manuscript you've already written. They're going to take it through all this editing and they're going to have a cover design.

They're going to do all of these things to give your book the best chance it can as a traditional publisher. And how much do you pay for these services? Well, you don't pay anything at all, that's a traditional publisher.

With vanity publishers, the way that they will try to trick you is that will start by saying, we only select a few of the absolute best authors to be represented by our amazing publishing house. Then, you're like, wow they sound very professional.

You've been to their website and it seems very legitimate that they don't accept very many. So, you send and they say, unlike those other ones, we will review your book for free and let you know if you passed the test.

Then what happens is you send it to them and they might say, well we looked at it, and maybe if you just make a few changes. And then you make those changes and send it back and they go, your book has been accepted by our publishing house. They of course don't call themselves vanity presses.

What happens is they say, now you just have to pay us $10,000 to fully get this onto the market, and everything is fantastic. Do you think, I was selected, I won? So this is a really big honor.

In reality, they select almost everyone. One of the things I warn here is if you're ever wondering about any of them, go and find a Facebook group. Find a place on the internet where everybody who's gone with them is hanging out.

They can talk about how well it worked out and how they've gone with multiple books. Because if you can't find people in that category, you probably should stay away from this particular model.

I have no problem with this model. It's just that you need to understand, in the beginning, it's going to cost you a lot of money. But then they're going to do all of the services for you in exchange for your money. 

Book deals promised by 'literary agents'

Number two, book deals are promised by literary agents and this one is a scam. It is that you have people who present themselves as agents. They have all these contacts with publishing houses and such and they promise you just have to pay them a lot of money.

But in reality, their failure rate is so massively high. We're saying 99% of all of the self-publishers they help get a deal, never get a deal. So, they don't have connections, they don't have any way to land you a deal.

They may have done it for one person. They may have had somebody who did. Who maybe was a high-level author. Then, they were able to say, oh look, you know I helped you get this job and then they use them across the board again.

I would highly recommend you want to speak to a forum or somewhere. Where you can speak to lots of people who have tried them out and say, oh I've been with them for years and they've got multiple of my books.

You have multiple word-of-mouth Testimonials surrounding these agents. So that you know you're not going to have a problem and they're not going to manage to trick you since their literary agents, you assume it's going to be a high percentage.

I would think it depends upon what we would expect. But if they're getting less than 5% of people who book deals, well then, I'm not certain that this is a great deal. Also, what if they plug up a vanity press in addition to making a problem for you?

Because then again, you're having to pay out of pocket. But you feel so honored that your book was selected by a company you've never really heard of before.

And for some reason, there don't seem to be any forums where people are talking about that company which is kind of odd. But go ahead and check it out for yourself. 

Grossly overpriced self-publishing services

Number three, self-publishing services that are grossly overpriced. And when I say overpriced, you can theoretically pay people cheaply on Fiverr and Upwork. To get your book processed.

But if they're overpriced and you're paying thousands and ten thousand dollars to get your book through, I don't recommend that. That's one of the reasons I teach you in my Formatting Made Easy Course exactly how to go about through those steps. Getting the book formatted quickly and easily yourself.

Check out this related article: Self-Publishing - An Introduction

So, you don't have to pay anybody, you just simply take a course. You get the software and you go through the whole thing. You figure it out and now you're able to do it yourself. The same with ordering covers, all of these things I talk about with my Group Coaching and my 1-On-1 Program clients.

We go through exactly the steps necessary to do that doesn't cost you tens of thousands of dollars to get this through. It really shouldn't have to be so painful and so many people regret it afterward.

So, if you're ever considering one of these high-end premium services, make sure you talk again with people who've been through it multiple times. Who says, yeah it was an amazing experience and I've done multiple books with them and it's just so wonderful.

If you can't find these people who've done multiple books with them, that is a red flag. So, consider, unless you have infinite money, then go for it. I mean, they're probably going to do a fine job.

People don't complain about that. What people complain about is that by the end of it all, their marketing services and all their book services, they're just not getting any sales. They're 15,000 short on money. 

Marketing packages that sound essential

So, number four, marketing packages that sound essential. This is something that often the vanity presses do because they will sell you in on some low. Maybe a low ticket to get you in the door.

But then every single little thing is going to require some service. And then saying, well you know, if you want to get this out and this is your life's work, they'll say all these sorts of things to milk you for as much money as humanly possible.

They're going to come up with services like we'll take your book and spam it out to thousands and thousands of Twitter followers and Facebook groups and stuff. In reality, most of these services do not result in you getting any more sales at all.

So save yourself the time and the pain of hiring people and this can even be on a place like Fiverr. You'll find some of these specific services that are not going to do anything for you. These marketing packages are what they like to call them.

Each one's like a thousand or two thousand dollars apiece. Where they're burning through your money as opposed to why don't we just sit down and we can talk it through in a Group Coaching Session? We can talk through how to set up your ads and get things going very inexpensively on a budget.

Or you can pay tens of thousands of dollars and not understand anything and not see any sales that exceed the money that you spend. So, that's how you know they're grossly overpriced. You're just not getting your money back. 

Writing contests and awards no one has heard of

Number five, writing contests and awards no one has heard about. That thing no one's heard of, right? With these specific types of contests, there are tons of these contests. Now, I'm not saying you shouldn't apply for the contest.

What I am saying though is that sometimes if nobody's heard of these contests, does it move the needle when it comes to your book? To say, I want all of these awards when nobody's ever even heard of these awards?

Secondly, the way these contests run often is you have to pay a fee to even get your book into the contest. So, this is really where the money-making part comes in. And then they will put your book through the ring around. 

They'll go through your book and then they'll choose a winner. And surprise, you have a very good chance of winning in a lot of the contests. Because in reality, there aren't that many people who are competing in the contest. Unless it's the really big ones.

But in that case, it's an actual big contest that people recognize as a thing. But the question I would ask is, does your target reader have ever even heard of this contest? Or is this just somebody who just making up contests for the sake of contests?

That's one of the reasons why I would say to be a little bit careful when bleeding money. If you can register your books in these contests for free, then go for it. But don't kid yourself, you've never heard of most of these contests.

Don't think for a second your reader is going to be tricked into believing that these contests are going to move the needle when it comes to getting your book selling. Whereas this type of marketing activity is not particularly productive for a lot of books.

Even if it can be sort of like now I feel really happy about my book and that can be motivational. And if it builds up your motivation, then go for it. But the idea of paying lots of money for contests, thinking that somehow this is going to result in sales, you are mistaken.

So, you can try it but trust me, it's probably not worth your time, spending too much time with this. As opposed to writing books and focusing on better marketing activities like content marketing which I teach in my Content Marketing Course. Using paid ads and then building an email list so that you can help with getting reviews and such. 

Check out this related article: Self-Publishing: The Best Option for You?

Publishers With Unethical Contracts

Number six, publishers with unethical contracts. Now, what exactly are we talking about? We're talking about self-publishing companies where what they have is a contract that's going to take away your rights to the book. Or permanently take a certain percentage of the royalties you get.

Or even worse, registered under their account, and then they will tell you if you've earned any money. And every single month, nope, we haven't earned any money. Then, they will try to sell you up on these package deals.

You'll find a lot of these services all grouped like nope, you didn't make any sales. But can you send me the dashboards? I can see what the sales look like on Amazon. They're like, sorry, that's what the contract says you don't get to see that.

We will just send you all the royalties that you earn after we've taken our cut. But you can increase them by buying our special marketing package for your book. And then the upselling starts again and we start the game all over.

As you can see, frustration starts to build people. You know, you've been through a lot of, you have probably been through exactly this these exact circumstances. 


So, in conclusion, you need to make sure that you are not getting scammed and ripped off by these self publishing companies. They are trying to rip you off in 2023 using all of their devious tactics. To try to figure out ways to get money out of you with nothing in return.

There's nothing wrong with spending money on your self-publishing business. It's their scam and ripoff of doing that and then getting nothing in return. Or you're not getting the knowledge, you're not getting the motivation. They're not telling you the steps one at a time on how to go about getting your books to sell and getting them formatted correctly.

My question for you today is have you fallen for any of these specific rip-offs that I discussed here and or maybe something else? Let me know below in the comments and check out my other blogs and videos for more answers to your self-publishing questions. 

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}