A publishing opportunity but I am unsure about it. Please Help


Hello Everyone,

Thank you so much for responding to my post. But I believe a few of you are misunderstanding my post. I am not upset, nor complaining about the fee for the consultation. I am aware of most authors charging a consultation fee to people wanting their time.

If you’d read the message I posted, then you’ll understand my confusion belongs to the very end. The message regarding But FYI to publish a book it costs $$

I wanted knowledge on whether this happens to authors heading the traditional publishing route.

Thank you for your time.


Thank you so much! Your response has really helped me understand my situation. I sent another email to claify some things and I wanting on a response.




They don’t up front, but they have to get the money back that they invest in you and that comes out of your royalties before you get a penny.


While I agree, there are a lot of scams out there…I don’t believe the mentoring part is one. We have a situation here where the poster approached the author (scams go the other way around). What it looks like is the author is busy, and asked for her time to be compensated for. Nothing wrong with any of that.

Now, the “publishing side” is something else. Again, while not exactly a scam - it is certainly vanity publishing. And as a matter of course, I don’t believe authors should use vanity presses no matter who is running them.

You are right on the first part – traditional publishing costs nothing. But on the second part – (agent’s charging for services) this has been around for a long time (it’s not new) and it is a SCAM. No “real” agent charges fees, if you find someone asking for a reading fee or other such fees, they aren’t an agent they are not legit.

Again 1/2 right. Self-publishing does require a financial investment (few authors can produce a quality book without hiring cover artists and editors), but it doesn’t give you a “leg up.” (In other words, there is no additional exposure for books that have used these services). What it CAN do (if you choose the right people) is make the book more professional, and a higher-quality book has a better chance than a book that suffers from an ugly cover and poor production.

As for the cost of editing. Yes, it SHOULD be a set price (based on either word count or # of pages (given a standard layout). But SOME editors will charge an hourly rate…which I would shy away from as you have no idea how much you are getting into from the outset.

As for payment terms? The industry standard is 50% upon start of editing and 50% when completed. For a 100,000 word novel you can expect to pay somewhere between $350 - $1,200.

Yours is the only example I’ve seen (except for vanity presses) where the formatting and copy editing are included together. Generally you hire (a) one person for editing (b) another person to format the ebook and © another person to format a print book – if you produce that. In many cases (b) and © will be the same person. But usually the skills for copy editing are MUCH different than layout skills so they ARE NOT done by the same person.

But I would not take just anything that looks cheap and easy. There are people out there will charge a minimum amount of money for a book–regardless of size. So if they are asking for $75 for editing and $50 for formatting…? RUN.

That’s at the higher end, but not completely out of the question…especially if formatting includes a print book as well as ebook. Again price ranges that I think are pretty good:

  • copy editing $350 - $1,200
  • ebook formatting: $50 - $100
  • print book formatting: $300 - $500 (depending on # of pages)


No, not really. You get 100% of your royalties owed. Your royalty percentage, however, is tiny because they are recouping their investment.

If you get an advance, then it is an advance on royalties. So you’re still getting 100% of your royalties, but you won’t see a second check until you’ve earned enough royalties to cover your advance. (Most books don’t earn out!)

Now the math that goes into figuring royalties owed is complex, because most writers sign a contract that says they are paid a royalty percentage on NET earnings. That means the publishing subtracts all sorts of things before figuring out how much the net earning are.


There are many authors and public groups that would be more than willing to help answer your publishing related questions. You don’t need to pay to get a mentor.

If you self-publish, you might pay someone to help prepare the book, but that’s only if you go that route.

Traditional authors don’t pay a dime.


Thanks for clarifying. I think my point was that…really, nothing is for free. Even if you self publish, you only get a percentage of the money.


I self published one of my books. I edited, formatted and did the artwork. I was going to pay for the cover but decided to learn Photoshop myself via YouTube. I can turn out an OK cover. And I get regular sales. So, it can be done for next to nothing.


Yes, and no. This is the most common scenario fo royalties:

  • For print books the royalty is based on LIST price. Now, there are some circumstances (Foreign sales, dee-discounted sales, premiums) where those sales will switch from LIST to NET, but MOST of the sales will be on LIST.

  • For digital books (audio and ebooks) the royalty is based on NET…and net SHOULD be defined in the contract AND it should be the amount of money paid to the publisher. Typically, “Hollywood accounting” (where NET is determined by deducting everything and the kitchen sink) isn’t common in publishing (non-existent in the big-five). There are some small presses who may define net differently, and I would avoid any contracts that (a) don’t define it or (b) define it anyway othe than income received by the publisher.


It depends on EXACTLY what this person is looking for. I actually find it somewhat encouraging that an established author is willing to make their time available, and I don’t think the $75 is too outrageous.


Yes, it is possible for some authors to “do it all themselves,” but it’s usually beneficial to pay professionals for those services. I’m not saying it was the wrong call in your case, I’m just talking generalities here.


I’m glad to help. If you ever have publishing type questions, feel free to reach out. I’ve pretty much done it all (self, small-press, big-five).


To be honest I’d pay for an editor next time. Editing was THE biggest ball ache ever. My book is 147K and I’d be word blind some days. Having said that, I have read books by big names on Kindle, and by writers who have paid for editors, and there are still glaring mistakes. I’d be pretty furious if I paid a lot of money and this happened. As I see it, I’m ultimately responsible for making sure my work is spot on.


I think that’s a smart move. And to be clear. NO editor can find every single error. I generally use two, and even with that some things will fall through the cracks. But, yeah, some are better than others…so it’s good to vet and do everything you can to make the book as error free as possible. But if your editor misses something “here and there” I’d say they did a good job overall.


Thank you for those clarifications. Honestly, it was the discounts I was thinking of more than anything.


But it sounded like the author was asking them to pay and she’d see if their book fit their brand, and if it did, she’d put the money toward the cost to publish.

That doesn’t really fit the mentoring bill. It sounds more like a reading fee and that more costs were to follow.

Red flags all over the offer.


No problem. The high-discounts (and premiums) are becoming more and more of a problem. When I started out it’d be unusual if I had 5 - 10 books per reporting period that were in these “exception” cases. I now have more than 10,000 titles that have been paid pennies on the dollar. Just another case of the changes in the industry and how it’s getting harder and harder for traditionally published authors.


I think there was just a miscommunication…@All4Furious contacted Wahida Clark for advice…which she was willingn ot pay for, and Wahida Clark thought that @All4Furios might be looking for Wahida Clark to publish through her press.


Absolutely. I will. If my messages become overwhelming please let me know