Mick Rooney put a post up on his site today that details a long-running dispute between an author and self-publishing company in the UK. I think it’s worth a read because it draws attention to a number of ways authors can become enmeshed in processes that consume time and money, as well as stomach linings and sanity.
We don’t often end up in court, but most of the things we do each day have the potential to land us there, whether or not we’re the ones motivated to seek some sort of justice. We also tend to think of our online communications as social networking or community building, but our online personas also establish a permanent record and obligate us to conversations we might not otherwise want to have.
Self-publishing is an opportunity, and online methods of marketing our works and ourselves are a benefit in that regard. But there are still risks to be recognized and managed, and our individual conduct may matter more than we think.
As I noted in the comments on Mick’s site, you don’t have to choose sides to see his post as a series of cautionary tales. Given the explosion of author-service providers — including the already re-branded Harlequin Horizons, and other publishers and imprints working with Author Solutions — it only makes sense to be cautious.
The goal, it seems to me, is professionalism. From the people who provide us services, and from ourselves. In this case being a professional means arming yourself with knowledge gleaned from the experience of those who have gone before you. Because it might keep you from losing, time, money and sleep.
— Mark Barrett