|You might as well burn your books than be in publisher hell.|
"It could ruin your future writing career," a writer friend said.
"It might make you sound like you're a nightmare to deal with," said another.
Of course I thought about it. These guys know what they're talking about. They were concerned about me. But, in the end I decided that I had to write this blog because other authors deserve to know what they might get into if they sign up with this publisher. And how can they know anything if authors don't share information?
When John Hunt Publishing offered me a contract, I looked around the web for information and found very little. I wish I'd known then what I know now because my relationship with them was a nightmare.
It started off well enough. Their readers' reports were extremely positive. Comments like "what's not to love here" and "this could sell in the thousands." And, I had a right to have high hopes. I’m an award-winning writing and have been writing for 20-odd years.
- The database had important details missing like email addresses, phone numbers and contact details.
For example, over a number of months I worked towards getting my book Hell To Pay featured in a top newspaper with a 250, 000 readership. I knew 2 weeks in advance that my book would be featured and told the marketing department. I stupidly thought because the book was set in
I felt demoralised. That my time had been completely wasted. That my publisher they didn't care about whether my book sold or not.
I was contacted by several people who saw my book and told me they tried to buy my book in a store and it wasn't for sale.
John Hunt Publishing missed a golden opportunity to sell more books.
Note - I could have contacted bookshops myself, but my royalty on paperbacks was 10 percent and the publisher's was 90 percent.
They wrongly spelt my surname on all the book sites and I had to get it changed myself. That was made more difficult because it was the publisher who were meant to make changes, not the author.
For instance, Throwaways, my novella about murdered
They have a closed online forum for authors and after repeatedly being ignored about certain issues, I started to post on the Facebook page - a few posts, written in a friendly way - that's when without a word I was kicked off FB and the JHP forum with no explanation after one of the head honchos at the publisher accused me of "aggressive and bullying behaviour." I asked others on the page if they thought that had been the case and nobody did.
Before they signed me up, they made it sound like they only asked for contributions when the book in question was niche, but once I was allowed onto the forum I discovered there was a very high amount of authors who'd paid huge sums, despite what the publisher claimed. And those books were far from niche. One was even entered for a fiction award by the publisher.
Many authors queried their contracts on the online forum and those contracts seemed to average 2-3 thousand pounds. Note - that was just for editing. They also paid for marketing. One author I know spent over £4, 000 in total.
To me, that's a publisher taking advantage of an author's dream at a time when very none of the big publishers accept contributions unless you have an agent.
No, I'm not kidding. Both my novellas cost around £60. It was deducted from royalties.
NO LEGITIMATE PUBLISHER SHOULD CHARGE TO CONVERT YOUR BOOK.
Later on, they came up with the bright idea of charging £100 to put your book into print. Yeah, really. After complaints they decided not to go ahead.
- I believe John Hunt Publishing take advantage of the lines being blurred between vanity presses and self publishing. They charge for many authors’ services like editing and marketing.
1. If a publisher has contracts where you contribute financially (on any level) avoid them like the plague. They're a vanity publisher.