Thankfully, I am a very careful person. I have not fallen prey yet and hopefully I won't. But I remember that I have heard of several cases of Indie Authors being burned by Book Distributor deals. I heard of a story of a lady whose distributor went bankrupt and she lost her money.
I had looked into a few opportunities and last week, I actually got offered a deal. I was sent a contract and a lot of information about how it would all go down and let's just say it wasn't looking like what I had imagined. I'm not going to mention the name of the company but the marketing packages started from about $1,900 all the way up to $9,000. Automatically I knew I wasn't having them do any marketing for me. Unless I am sure of becoming a # 1 New York Times Bestseller, I'd never make my money back! Let us not forget I cannot afford it either!!! The first 3 or so of the packages (going up to $4,200) were all marketing efforts I have either made or am currently making by myself. It made me feel good that my effort on my laptop on a part-time basis everyday was seemingly worth so much.
Then I looked at the distribution contract itself. It went from a set up fee of about $500 to monthly admin fees and palet fees for storing my books. As a wise author advisor of mine just pointed out, it defeats the purpose of POD when I have to now pay for them to store my books. Let's not even start to talk about the kind of percentages that you stand to part with if you go this route.
They say they are affiliated with Ingram, Baker and Taylor and will get my book into the big three stores: Barnes and Noble, Borders and Booksamillion. I know of Indie authors who have done that by themselves and I am in the process of doing the same.
So, except for the prospect of spending less time in front of the laptop and more time with my family and in the kitchen cooking, I really do not see what they can do for me. Any distributorship they are able to pull off still depends on my marketing since their marketing packages are not affordable.
In fairness to the distributors, their services are probably worth what they charge as they have salaries to pay and overhead costs too. It just makes me feel good about myself to know that the efforts I have been making to promote my book are actually worth several thousand dollars. The real question is this: "Do I need their services however?"
I do not have all the answers yet but I seem to smell a rat! More importantly, I just need to trust myself and what I can achieve with my own efforts. All I will say is, be careful before getting into those deals. I have found one very comprehensive article about this on the net and you can click here to access Apples and Oranges: An Analysis and Comparison of Distributor Agreements by Ivan Hoffman. Please click here for Articles for Writers and Publishers which contain a long list of articles that help writers in general with legal issues as well as two more articles on issues with book distribution, also by Ivan Hoffman.
Whatever I do decide concerning Book Distribution however, I hope it's the right decision.