On Not Being Scammed

I might as well bring this up now: I have another rule: Yog’s Law: Money Flows Toward the Author. While information wants to be free, entertainment wants to be well-paid, and we’re part of the entertainment industry. “Show business” has two words: “show” and “business.” Despite some hilarious efforts by notorious scammers and bottom-feeding vanity publishers (who have even gone so far as to set up web pages trying (vainly) to “disprove” Yog’s Law), it’s held true ever since I formulated it more than twenty years ago.

“But wait,” I can hear you saying, “how about self-publishing? The author pays for everything there!”

Only, not really. Even if the author is the publisher, the publisher still pays for all the editing, formatting, cover art, advertising, distribution, and so forth and so on. The author collects royalties from the publisher. This may be money moving from one pocket to another in the same pair of pants, but it’s moving from the “publisher” side to the “author” side. If you can’t afford to take 15% of the cover price of each copy sold and put it into a fund labeled “Royalties” (or “Retirement,” or “Vacation,” or “Groceries”), may I suggest that you can’t afford to self-publish? Not including “author’s royalties” as a line-item in the business plan is the #1 error I see among self-publishers. (For those who are interested, I’ve been self-publishing since 1978 and 100% of my income since 1988 has come from writing; I like to think I know what I’m talking about.)

That self-published work is still available (for values of “available” that may not include “able to get a copy”) here.

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