Today, we’re going to take a look at the Cardinal rule of publishing. It is, in fact, the only rule. Originally coined by James D Macdonald, Yog’s law simply states:

Money flows TOWARD the writer

That’s it.
Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it?
All too often, you see examples of an author getting scammed by publishers in glaring ways. But there are also more subtle ways that an unscrupulous predator can scam an author. They’re called: FEES. Some smaller publishers charge authors for services going in, before there’s a single sale of any book. It’s normal, they say. Everybody does it, they’ll tell you while adding up what you’re supposed to pay up front.
No, everybody doesn’t do it.

Writers don’t pay agents.
Writers don’t pay editors.
Writers don’t pay cover artists.
Writers don’t pay publishers. Period.

Money flows TOWARD the writer.

I’m not talking about self-published authors. If you’re going it on your own, there are going to be costs, of course. Not many in this day and age of free accounts on Lightning Source and Createspace. It’s always a good idea to hire a real editor, and maybe a cover artist, if you’re not artistically inclined. Those things will cost a few bucks, sure. Those are called business investments. And when a book is bought by a customer, you keep %100 of the profits. You make your money back, without some flim-flam artist picking your pocket.

No. We’re talking about publishers, here. You know, the people that are supposed to produce your book for you after you’ve written it. They’re supposed to foot the bill for that, and everything it involves. That’s why they get to keep a percentage afterward. They pay for the editors, artists, and everything else. Not you.

If you’ve paid a publisher any fee up front, you’re actually paying them TWICE. Think about it. Not only did you pay them up front, but they’re also keeping a percentage of your profits. Does that sound right to you? When you get your car fixed, to you pay twice? When you replace a water heater or get your roof repaired, do you pay for it twice? Of course not. Why would you pay your publisher twice? Traditional publishers DO NOT CHARGE. Period.
The fact of the matter is that publishers and agents get paid ONCE, out of a percentage of your book sales, after the production process is done and the book is on the market. That’s the reason they need to bust their butts to make you successful. Because the more you earn, the more they earn.

Money flows TOWARD the writer.

Do not ever pay a publisher any fees, whether it’s for editing, artwork, swag or anything else up front. Period. If they want to get paid, let ’em take it out of your book sales. And, while we’re on the subject, make your publisher PROVE those sales to you. Don’t believe it for a second if a publisher says something like “All your titles got returned.” or “You didn’t sell very many, so you’re only getting a few bucks. Sorry.” Make them show you an itemized sales report. If they say they can’t, it’s because there’s something wrong with the way their account is set up. A REAL publisher can show you whatever figures you want to see, any time of the day or night. At the very least, you should get quarterly statements directly from your publisher’s account. If you don’t get those figures, or if what you see is altered in any way, chances are that your publisher’s a scam. Get out as fast as you can.

Money flows TOWARD the writer.

Before you decide on a publisher, there are questions you need to ask and answer:
Does the publisher charge any fees?
Is this publisher on Writer Beware?
Is this publisher on Predators and Editors?
Is this publisher on Absolute Write: Water Cooler?
Is there a blog warning you against this publisher?
Are there several blogs warning you?
Do any red flags pop up when you Google search this publisher?
Does this publisher have a low (or no) rating with the Better Business Bureau?
Does this publisher have complaints on the BBB?
Will this publisher pay you quarterly, even though the publishing service they use pays them monthly?

If you answer YES to any of the above, don’t sign with that publisher.

Will this publisher provide you with accurate sales reports on request?
Is this publisher accredited with the BBB?

If the answer is NO to either of these questions, it’s probably a good idea not to chose them.

Money flows TOWARD the writer.

Follow the law of Yog, my friends. Your reputation, your career, and your bank account will thank you.


5 thoughts on “Yog

  1. Not getting a lot of comments, but we’ve got half a dozen dedicated new followers. Welcome aboard, folks. We’re happy to have you.
    And, of course, my most dedicated troll is still stopping by more than I do. Bug surprise.

      • She just doesn’t have the smarts to know when to stop. Even though the truth is out there about her, with more and more people catching wise all the time, she continues to recruit new authors and make up names. She’s such a pathetic joke, and she’s the only one that doesn’t know it.

  2. Loving the information you are posting now that you don’t have that TROLL lurking around and being such an attention whore. It is so much better to come on here and see the good things that you are letting authors know about. Although many aren’t posting, that can be a good thing. Meaning they are moving onward and upward, going out and living their dreams. They aren’t worried about the troll, because you have given them hope, opened their eyes and shown them that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Keep up the good work.

    • She still trolls, often in the wee hours of the night. She still pores over every word we say. So she’s still just as obsessed. Whatever.
      I hope that these posts help writers on their journey. If there are folks out there that don’t thoroughly investigate whatever publisher they’re planning to use, I hope these words find them, too. Nobody should fall victim to a scam.

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