Yesterday, a notification popped up on my blog saying, 5/5 Brilliant book. I did enjoy it. My heart leapt. I was so pleased that a reader of Seeking the Dark had messaged me on my blog. As I read on, their comment continued, If I help you by voting on your book will you help me? My heart froze. It was spam. Not a real reader, but a link to a marketing website. Nothing to do with books, readers or the publishing industry. 

When I was a child, my mother always asked me, ‘Have you done your homework?‘ My message to all new writers is to do your homework. Before submitting your work anywhere, google the name of the publisher first. There’s a website called Writers Beware. Lucky for me, I discovered the site early in my writing career. I always check on the site before submitting my work to any publisher. Writer Beware site give you information from people who’ve had problems with publishers, agents etc. You can also learn about the issues other writers have suffered after signing contracts. You must read the fine print before signing on the dotted line. 

There are eight types of publishers in the publishing industry.

  • Traditional Publishers: These pay royalties to the author from the sales of the books:
  • Large Publishers: These work with the author and the author’s agent, they pay royalties along with advances.
  • Mid-sized Publishers: These pay royalties and may accept submissions with or without agents.
  • Small Publishers: These pay royalties and accept submissions straight from the author. They may provide limited marketing after publishing the book.

The next three publishers will publish your books for a price. It will include the book cover, but the design might be a cheap illustration. The most expensive and time-consuming element of writing a novel is proofreading. Non-traditional publishers aren’t interested in the quality of the books. You’ve already paid them, so there’s no worry for them recuperating their investment in the sales simply because they have none. The marketing of the book is down to you. All they’re offering you is to print your book. The editorial side, typos, grammar, etc is down to you.

New writers need to tread carefully, with their eyes wide open. Again, let me say read your contract. Make sure you are not signing away the rights to your book. Remember, the publisher pays you, not you pay the publisher. If you are happy with the deal offered, sign on the dotted line but check the small print carefully first.

  • Non Traditional Publishers: subsidised by the author or Do-It-Yourself publishing.
  • Hybrid Publishers: Author & Publishers share the cost. Higher royalties and potential distribution.
  • Vanity Presses: Provide publishing service all cost borne by the author.

Finally, the last option is an author can Self-publish where you do everything yourself. If you use a self-publishing service then check them on this link. The choice is yours. If you have all information and are not under pressure to get published, you can make the right choice for your book. If you sign the contract too soon, you might sign away the rights to your book and you’ll find it will cost you even more to get it back.

The problem with writers is we are our own worse enemies. We are so passionate about seeing our work in print and our name on the cover. While we dream of fame and fortune, wanting to be on the number one bestseller’s list, doing book tours and signings, and seeing our characters make it to the silver screen and made into a Hollywood blockbuster, others are dreaming about making money too. The trouble is we get blindsided while caught up in our dreaming so we don’t recognise when others see us as easy pickings.

The publishing world is like any other career. It doesn’t happen overnight. Fame and fortune aren’t waiting in the wings. It’s like any other job; you have to work hard to make it successful. It all takes time to build a career, book by book. You might have to write ten or thirty before you get a sniff at stardust. It’s all fleeting, too. One bestselling novel doesn’t mean the next will do as well. It’s why you must be careful of anyone offering an easy route to success. Check out publishers, agents and promoting and marketing companies. Never spend large sums of money you can’t afford on your dream because there’s no guarantee you will get it back.

Don’t give up on your dream, just be a little wary.

I hope you found this post helpful.

Chat again soon.


  1. Great advice.

    I once submitted to a “publisher” that was recommended by someone I trusted. I was thrilled when they offered to publish my novel, but as their acceptance letter was riddled with spelling and grammar mistakes, I decided to do a bit of research. Turns out they were a well known scam that liked to fleece authors and never produced copies of their books.

    It taught me a valuable lesson.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I nearly got caught by a company called Publish American. The Internet was still rather new then. I wasn’t that excited after reading they tied your book up for seven years and you had to sell over 500 books before you got paid royalties. Of course you were expected to buy the books from them first 🤷‍♀️🤦‍♀️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, they seem legit and then you look into their contract and you see that it’s terrible! A writer friend got a similar offer recently. The company website was very slick and you’d never know until you got their “acceptance” letter asking for money. I looked up Writer Beware and it was one of a long line of publishing companies for a well known con artist.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I had a new author get in contact with yesterday. They were recommended a company and hadn’t checked them out. I did. One simple Google search and found a Writers Beware post 😢 I’ve just sent them the link to my blog post. Hopefully they will check the site out too.
        After I upset a friend (who unfriended me) with trying to be helpful I’m don’t advise anyone anymore 😢

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’m sorry you’ve had that experience. 😰

        This post is great. Every writer should look into publishers or markets before submitting. It’s wonderful to have sites like Writer Beware – and your blog – to help writers.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome summary! I’ve done both self-publishing and have a book with a small publisher. It’s totally about knowing what you want out of the process – know your goals going in and you’ll have a much better idea of what suits them.
    There’s a lot of help out there for self-publishing too now, as you’ll need to find the editor, formatter and cover designer yourself – if you go that route, ask for sample edits, ask to see pictures of formatted books, and check out cover designer’s websites (never go with a designer who doesn’t have one of those) – make sure you like what you see, because if you don’t you won’t like what they do for your book either.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re right. Finding out who is legit is a minefield. And it’s not cut and dried either. I know of one company who have been perfect for one author, but is being sued for incompetence by another author. And my daughter’s experience while looking for publishing internships shows that employees have to be careful too. The ‘publishing company’ she was working for was run by one woman plus lots of unpaid interns. She grew suspicious and googled the woman, who turned out to be wanted for credit card fraud in both Europe and America.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s awful. It’s so easy to set yourself up as a publisher or anything other publishing services and take money off excited new authors. You just new a fancy professional looking website and a few recommendations and away you go. I’m so sorry for your daughter. Was the woman caught?


  4. Thank you for dropping by and leaving a comment, Nora. Check out your local bookshop, read the inside cover of the poetry books there and then make a list of the publishers’ names. Then check out the companies online to see if you can find out anything about their contracts or other writers’ experience with them before signing on the dotted line. You must protect all your hard work. Good luck with your writing.


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