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The Biggest Conspiracy in Publishing

I thought I had heard it all, but clearly God has a sense of humor. A big one. Today I heard about a conspiracy theory that’s bigger than anything you could have even imagined. Even Fox Mulder in his X-File sleuthing days couldn’t have fathomed this one. Are you ready? Here it is:

Your book seems like it’s not selling but in fact it is. Millions and millions of copies are selling but your publisher is stealing your royalties and not giving you a dime.

Think this is some wild-ass, far-fetched idea? Well not according to one author who wrote us insisting that Author Solutions had stolen her book and was reselling it and keeping all the money. She insisted that 25,000 copies had been sold of which she had yet to see one dollar from. Then, after we told her to stop writing me with her insane notions, she looped in another friend (equally as insane) to insist that this was true. Of course they were stealing her royalties, how else could it be that she wasn’t making any money on her book?

Reality bites. Especially in this case. It’s far easier to drum up some wild idea that someone is stealing your book sales than to admit the truth: your book isn’t selling. Period. End of story.

I know that a lot of authors might think “Wow, maybe this is happening to me!” I can tell you, it’s not. Look, I get that Author Solutions has complaints out there, so do many of the self-publishing companies, but they are too big to start dabbling in theft. Trust me. That’s just not going to happen. Maybe easier to face the simple truth: your book needs work. I mean candidly, where would you rather spend your energy? Chasing some insane conspiracy theory or doing the work you need to do to make sure your book will actually sell more than a few copies?

Still, the idea that some ET is out there manipulating your sales figures, stealing your cash and spending it on some groovy new spaceship might be more comforting and in some ways, more plausible. Of course your book would sell, I mean how could it not?

I wrote this author back and told her to buck up and face reality, she wrote me and said that no doubt I was in on it with Author Solutions, helping them steal her money, her fame and her place on the red carpet.

Maybe this is an X-File after all.


  1. jacqueline greeno10-25-13

    You obviously have a problem as if you have noticed Author Solutions and Trafford Publishing are under the same umbrealla. I know as I self published with Trafford Publishing, Oct/2012, and in Nov/2012 I notivied Trafford that I was cancelling with them after using up all my savings with advertising. According to Neilson Scanning, my story A Desperate Journey by D.H.Clark did sell some books, according to Trafford, it didn’t. I received approximately $40. in Royalties. I now have republished A Desperate Journey with Createspace, and find that Traffordis still publishing my store. Should I put my head farther in the sand or just drop dead.
    Jacqueline Greeno

  2. Peter D. Mallett11-04-13

    Having worked in a bookstore four years, I understand there are sales and there are returns. Not by individuals, but by bookstores. Someone decided long ago that bookstores could return any book within a six moth period for credit toward something else for any reason, without question. This is done with books more than any other industry.

    So if a bookstore orders 20 copies expecting it to sell, and a month and a half later decides to return them because only 2 sold, initially you sold twenty but for that quarter you actually only sold two.

    It is the author’s job to do everything they can to see that it flies off the shelf in those first few months. Few authors realize that they have to sell the book long before it is on shelves. If they wait until after it’s too late.

    Of course, I am only referring to physical books.

  3. jacqueline greeno11-20-13

    I have read your article and my blood pressure went over the top. I published a book A Desperate Journey by D.H.Clark with Trafford Publishing in Oct. 2010. After paying for the publishing and the advertising that I did, I would watch the websites to determine the sales. In Nov.2012 after receiving approzimately $40. in royalties I cancelled with Trafford. In March 2012 I put out A Desperate Journey (ebook) with Amazon and Smashwords. Sept.2013 I put out a revamped book of A Desperate Journey by D.H.Clark with Createspace and Amazon. Trafford is still out there putting out my book, so I am actually competing with myself but am not receiving anything from Trafford. Can anyone tell me when you cancel with someone can they put your book out forever. I thought they printed on demand. I just recently self published Wreckless the conclusion to A Desperate Journey. I am not the only one according to some complaint websites that has had a dispute with this company.


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