The good, the nervous and the ugly: aka a new story out, and Dymocks drops the ball

after the world corpus christi issue 4The good news is that After the World: Corpus Christi Issue 4 is out now, and in that book I have a story in which I make a pass at the real reason for the disappearance of Harold Holt. I’m a little nervous about seeing the story in print, because I haven’t seen edits or a proof, so the final product will be a little like an early Christmas present still wrapped!

We visited the Nepean and the beach where the PM took his last swim, and it’s easy enough to imagine a swimmer foundering there, without any help from my twisted imaginings. But twisted imaginings make for more fun, don’t they?

Well, unless you’re Dymocks, trying to run a print-on-demand service under the pretense of being some kind of civic service, in which case, you’re likely to shoot yourself in the tail. Which is exactly what has happened with its “people’s publishing” arm, DPublishing. The site went live on Thursday, and I struggled to make sense out of its terms of service — once I found them, squirrelled away at the bottom of the page far, far away from the “make your book now” button — except to realise they were vague and ever so suggestively skewed towards the ‘publisher’: the publisher accepting no liability and no out-of-pocket expense — this is an author-pays-all kind of deal.

Fortunately, another commentator with more nous had a proper look, and on Friday, published this review of the D Publishing contract — with a big warning. The D Publishing terms, by Friday night, were no longer available where I’d first found them as a web page, and AusLit has somehow found a pdf of a revised set — I still haven’t managed to find where on the website they’re posted, although the rates card is still live from a previous link.

For the moment, then, you’d be well advised to make sure you have all the facts about just what rights you’re signing away to Dymocks before you hit that shiny “make me an instant author” button. Their model might work for you, or it might not, but be aware of just what it is you’re getting into. Meanwhile, you’ll find plenty of other channels to publish your book in both print and electronic forms, with far more clear terms and conditions. It might be worth doing some comparison shopping. Let’s face it: if Dymocks is serious about stocking quality, self-published books, then they’ll be looking farther afield than their own little paddock (with its 50% discount on top of its printing fees and 30% commission — Dymocks, as both printer and distributor, gets two bites of the cherry!).