The publishing industry is complicated and has many dangers for authors who have never been there before. Our goal is to point out a few of these dangers to help you in your journey to being a best seller.

The first piece of advice I recommend for first-time authors is to find a guide who has been through the process before. This guide can be a trusted friend or a hired agent. It is imperative that they have previous experience with publishing a book.


Here are some of the main dangers to watch out for:

Sharks in the Water

Agents: A professional literary agent will not ask for upfront fees when they represent you and your book. Most legitimate agents work on a commission. Basically, the more money they get for you the more money they make. This usually keeps their interests align with yours. Poets and Writers has a wonderful guide on hiring the right literary agent.

Reviewers: There is black-market in the publishing industry where some unscrupulous reviewers ask for money in exchange for a positive review. Review houses like Kirkus Reviews or Indie readers will offer you a review for $199 – $499. However, many of them will not even guarantee that it will be a positive review. So you may end up paying for a mixed review or even worse a negative review. Publisher Weekly has a guide for Indie Authors on paid reviewers. However, Amazon has recently announced they will penalize authors who use paid review services

Hidden Reefs

Book Publishers: Many publishers will have multiple clauses in their contracts that are not in the best interest of the author. For instance, many have a clause that requires the author to give the publisher the first right of refusal on the next book or two. Many authors actually sign away their rights to editing and design choices. Ironrod Media goes into detail on some of the secrets in their blog post.

Finally, there are Pirates

Piracy is a real threat to any author who plans on using any digital marketing. Just as there is a market for movies and music, books are often targeted by sites and real life pirates.

While current industry-wide data is scarce, according to Publisher’s Weekly, a 2012 report from the Association of American Publishers estimated that “U.S. publishers across all categories lose $80 million to $100 million annually to piracy”. It is important for an author to set Google Alerts for their name as well as their book. Bad Redhead Media has written an excellent post on dealing with piracy.

Writing and publishing are journeys filled with both joy and contentment. It is a journey few individuals pursue when you become a published author you join a select group of individuals who have made an accomplishment.

I wish the best of luck to you in your journey and hope you have smooth sailing.