Dear Airleaf Victims and Friends,
There is no new news for this week concerning Airleaf. I should hopefully have some new news by next week, so please hang in.
Our book co-op is moving along nicely. I'll be meeting with the web designer on Monday. I have changed the name of the group at the suggestion of one of our members, Jim Akenhead. Instead of Authors New Start, I have taken out the new domain name of www.BooksOfExcellence.com, and we will be known as the Books of Excellence Author's Co-op. I think the name says it all! It will also be savvier for advertising purposes of the group. If you want to join the co-op, there are still a few spots left. Email me at Bonkaye@aol.com and I'll send you information. For those members who are enrolled in the group, I will send you an email by Tuesday after I meet with the web designer on Monday.
In moving ahead, I would like to reiterate about some of the lessons learned from the Airleaf experience. There's a saying, "Those who do not learn from the past are bound to repeat the same mistakes in the future." I see that happening to many of our victims who are re-victimized again.
If you have re-published since Airleaf, make sure you receive quarterly notifications about your sales and royalties. A publishing company should make sure you get a statement and/or check on a quarterly basis. I have had a number of people who engaged in book deals nearly a year ago who have received one or no statements. This is a red flag of a problem.
Also, before you re-print or publish again, talk to the company so you will fully understand what your profit will be for every book sold. There is so much confusion surrounding this issue which inevitably leads to author disappointment. For instance, some publishers tell authors they will earn a 50% split on profits, but the key word here is "profit." First ask what the printing cost will be because that's the first number deducted from your "profit." Then take into account that if your book is sold on outlets such as Amazon or Barnes and Noble, there is a 55% discount. This is why authors can end up with a dollar or less per sale after splitting the "profits." If you are paying $1,250.00 or more to get your book in print, that means you have to sell over 1000 copies just to break even on your outlay of money. This is why so many authors are so disappointed when they realize the reality of POD publishing.
Even if you sell a book and receive an advance, it could be a long time before you see any additional money. My first book was sold traditionally, and I received an advance of $2,000.00. I had a literary agent for the book who receives 25% as a commission from every sale I made, including the upfront money. That meant my advance was $1,500.00. It took me three years to start earning new money because of how little I made on the sale of each book.
Please keep in mind that the price of promotions should be weighed against the sales of your book. In other words, if you pay $750.00 to have your books displayed in book festivals, and even 20 of them sell (which is highly unlikely), you are looking at a possible profit of $80.00 against your investment of $750.00. You would definitely do better investing your money with a legitimate publicist who can spend 20 hours just working on your book setting up book signings, newspaper interviews, radio shows in your city, or even taking out ads in local papers to promote your book.
When you are negotiating with a new publisher, DO YOUR HOMEWORK THOROUGHLY! Do comparative shopping. There are so many inconsistencies from publisher to publisher of what you are getting for your money. Check and see what the cost of printing will be before you set your price for the book. If your printing cost is too high and your sale price is too low, you could be losing money on your sales.
Make sure before you go with a company you have a SIGNED CONTRACT. How many of us never had a signed contract with Airleaf? How many of you have gone with companies and still don't have a signed contract? If you don't get a signed contract, it will be harder to get what's due to you if you have to go to court. If you have republished and have not received a signed contract, call your publisher on Monday and ask to receive one.
In your contract, make sure you see it clearly stated how often you can expect royalties and statements. If you don't, it's left to the publisher to decide. Some people are told they will only receive payment once a year. Make sure you clearly understand what to expect time wise and money wise.
I have seen some publishers say that they will never keep your money for books sold when they charge you a very large fee upfront. They say you can keep all of the profits after the printing costs. But they will charge you 20% - 25% more for printing charges which is where they also make their money. Check with at least 3 companies to see what the printing charge would be for your book.
Check your credit card bills. A number of our victims have written to me about monies that were taken from their credit cards without authorization. One slimy publisher told his customer that he would make it up to her in printed books. There is never an excuse for anyone to use your credit card UNLESS YOU APPROVE IT FIRST!
If a publisher uses your credit card without your permission, this is grounds for criminal charges.
Research the company you want to use on the Internet. Go to websites like Writers Beware! or Preditors & Editors to see if the company you want to use is listed. Also when you type in the name of a company into a search engine, type in, "Critics of Airleaf Publishing" or whatever the name of the company is. You will surely find some revealing information before you walk into a trap again in almost all cases. If there is any doubt or concern, CHECK WITH ME FIRST. I don't have all of the answers for sure, but I am happy to research it for you and call on my predatory publishing experts.
Learn how to do inexpensive marketing yourself. No one can sell your book as well as you can sell it! Get an inexpensive webpage, have cards made up, pass them out to everyone, everywhere. I have a place on line that makes up 250 beautiful cards for $10.00. If you want to use this service, let me know and I'll forward you the information. Call your local newspapers. Tell them that you are a local author and you have a book that has recently been released.
For those of you who have been successful doing your own marketing, please send me some ideas to share with everyone else. Also, if you feel that something didn't work for you, share that as well.
Also, until a book promoted by publishers taking books to Hollywood is actually being turned into a movie, stop throwing your money away for a company to take your book there. Let's learn from the Airleaf tragedy—Hollywood is NOT waiting for our books. Don't be sucked in by the glitz and glamour of fame by predators that want to take and use your money for themselves.
Have a good week!
With love and hope,