Self-Publishers Do Not “Clean Up” Your Manuscript!

Self-publishing firms do not tidy up your manuscript, they do not copy-edit and Self-Publishers Do Not Clean Up Your Manuscriptproofread it.

Traditional publishers do handle these chores. But self-publishers do not, unless you pay them to do so.

Here’s what it says in some self-publishing contracts about your responsibility to “clean up” your manuscript on your own. The verbiage changes from contract to contract, but the meaning is the same:

  • Bookstand Publishing Contract and Agreement for Print-on-Demand Publishing– The company will “ Not be responsible for editing the WORK, unless additional Copy Editing or Line Edit services are purchased from BOOKSTAND PUBLISHING….” However, the company reserves the right “to correct obvious minor spelling, grammar or punctuation errors of the WORK….”
  • WingSpan Press Publishing Agreement – “Author agrees that Work shall be complete and fully edited upon presentation as Author’s final manuscript and that subsequent changes and additions shall be at the expense of Author per the publication package terms selected by author in this agreement.”

Unless otherwise stated, and very clearly so, assume that you and you alone are responsible for the copy-editing and proofreading of your manuscript. It’s well worth the cost of hiring professionals to do so for you, for even small mistakes and typos can greatly undermine your credibility.

I’m not an attorney and I’m not offering legal advice, but I urge you to read every contract very carefully. Read everything else on a self-publisher’s website, as well as any emails or materials they publish or send to you.

Be aware of the fact that some contracts refer to other documents. If you sign such a contract, you are agreeing to abide by what’s in the other documents as well, so scrutinize everything. And be sure to check with your attorney before signing any contract.

(This information is current as of August 2, 2018)

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