Lies, Damned Lies...and "common knowledge"

I once attended a $120 seminar given by a self-publishing guru who travels the country teaching people "how to get published." The whole point of her seminar was that it was impossible to get published by a mainstream press. Therefore, self-publishing was the only realistic option for would-be writers.During this seminar, she gave an explanation of what an "advance" was. It's not entirely clear to me how she knew about advances, since she had never been published outside of POD. Anyway, she made the statement that authors had to pay back advances if their books didn't earn them out. She claimed that Hilary Clinton had to write a huge check to her publisher becuase her book didn't earn back its advance. I tried to verify this story on the web, and found nothing.This is what I paid $120 for. And this was a seminar held at UNLV.That's why I'm glad blogs like this exist.

Advances do not have to be paid back if a book doesn't earn out.
Even if you are the Senator from New York (and her book sold nicely, thank you)
Even if you are a lying, agenda driven huckster selling seminars to would be authors.

You have to give back the money if you don't deliver a book (P.Diddy) or if the book is claptrap (Joan Collins went to trial over this and won).


Mr. Breese said...

Thanks Miss Snark.

The sad thing is that this lady was actually pretty well intentioned (well, at least I THINK she was). She just had very little experience with any form of publishing outside of POD.

Still, that doesn't mean that she should be forgiven for her incredibly sloppy research on the subject. For example, she also told us that around 70 percent of the books in your average bookstore are self-published. I know now this is absolutely wrong.

I just took another look at her website. She's going to 11 more cities before the end of this year. Too bad.

Kat said...

My friend who was published through Publish America was also convinced of this. I'm not sure if he was basing this information on the recording industry (which he's more familiar with) or whether it's disinformation being distributed by the PODs. Publish America has a book on the Evils Of Traditional Publishing which they send to all their authors, so the latter is very possible.

Miss Snark said...

Mr Breese, I would really like to know who this person is. Can you either post the link to the site or email it to me. She's clearly very misinformed.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I do know that before I came out into Blogworld, I was heavily involved in a Christian writers site called Faith Writers (that's where I first heard about Bookner). Most of the people there are self published, and talk POD like it is the only way. Before I came out in the world, they had me convinced that PublishAmerica was the end-all-be-all of publishing, and several other self-publishers advertise on the site. So there's a whole lot of misinformed people out there!

harridan said...

Again I find myself appalled and nearly tongue-tied.

How a person could run around charging $120 bucks for a seminar on something they clearly know nothing about, well...

Ah, but that is the world as we know it. Any way to make a fast buck off of other people's backs.

I don't know why it is, but aspiring writers tend to be one of the groups out there hugely vulnerable to sharks. And not just sharks. I would be remiss if I didn't say that they also take every little tidbit of new info as if it is gospel.

Countless times I've seen people return from conferences and toss out everything they'd ever learned before. Why? Because they attended this one seminar put on by someone, and dang it, that's the way to go now. Whole manuscripts have been shredded to fit the new mold.

Any advice you get from ANY source should be taken with a grain of salt. Like a crit, you should gather a number of opinions before you make any set judgements.

Miss Snark, you are awesome at stating frequently and loudly that some of your posts revolve around YOUR personal preferences. I applaud you for that.

Now if people would only listen and "play that forward" to others with the disclaimer, one person's advice.

Christine said...

Yeah, that line about advances is one of those that PA touts to haul unsuspecting neophyte authors into their web of deceit and overpriced, badly edited books.


Bernita said...

"Any advice you get from ANY source should be taken with a grain of salt..."
And here I've just trashed 12 pages of a first chapter of a novel because Miss Snark said...

Mr. Breese said...

This is the website:


Look under "seminars."