About Us » Authors Beware
Publishing Houses - Are they 'One and the Same'.
There are many issues to be aware of in the world of self publishing - but here are two that you definitely need to be aware of.
Printer or Publisher
Many publishers, especially those that are offering to print your work online, are just glorified printers. They profit by packaging your work into a book, not by selling that book once it's finished. That's why they have no standards and will print anything that comes their way. Furthermore they may have low entry publishing fees but they charge you for absolutely everything on the publishing journey... Choose a publisher (not a printer), who supports your book genre and will help you promote your title to increase sales.
One and the Same
Make sure your chosen self publisher individually deals with each book title they receive ... do not be one of those misguided authors paying for a book template system with hundreds of thousands of other authors... you are but just a number. They print and publish your book then leave you to your own devices.
In this era of publishing there is a gradual co-opting of the independent publishing houses worldwide in the form of an alliance with subsidy king Author Solutions (a massive book producer - not book seller).
Independent publishing houses are struggling in these economic times and they are seeing every day how much authors are willing to pay to publish their books so they've cash in, and Author Solutions is the back end of their self publishing company (a hugely automated money machine promoting as many add-ons as they can to increase the money they receive from you).
Author Solutions owns AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Trafford Publishing, Xlibris and Wordclay imprints. It describes itself as 'a world leader in indie book publishing' and yet to be honest there is nothing really 'indie' about the books it produces (or the company). It is the same mass produced production line for all books no matter which division you go through (the cookie cutter book machine on a treadmill).
It gets worse - now you can't distinguish them in the market place as many independent publishers have joined forces with Author Solutions. First it was Thomas Nelson, the huge bible and religious publisher, with West Bow Press and yes even Balboa Press is an Author Solutions subsidy branch of Hay House (a respected independent publisher of self-help and spiritual books). Truly, both Balboa Press and West Bow Press are enterprises operated solely by Author Solutions. Here is a listing of who else is really just another Áuthor Solutions website in disguise.
Abbott Press (Writers's Digest)
Acorn Independent Press UK -
Authorhouse UK -
AuthorHouse US -
Authors On Line UK -
Aventine US - Reviewed
Balboa Press (Hay House Publishing)
Booklocker US & UK -
Booksurge US - (merging under CreateSpace brand, Nov, 2009)
Callio Press (Discovered Authors/BookForce UK)
Chandler Book design UK -
Choice Publishing Ire -
Cold River Studio US -
CreateSpace US -
DellArte Press (Harlequin)
Diadem UK -
Dog Ear Publishing US -
Dolman Scott UK -
Dom Tom Publishing UK -
Elm Publishing (UK Unpublished)
Epic Press UK -
Grosvenor House Publishing UK
Infinity Publishing US -
iUniverse US -
Mill City Press US -)
Open Book Editions (Berrett-Koehler Publishers)
Original Writing Ire
Outskirts Press US -
Pegasus Elliot MacKenzie -
Pomegranate Press UK -
PublishAmerica/Independence Books US -
Raider International Publishing US & UK
Schiel & Denver UK & US
SilverWood Books UK -
Spire Publishing US & UK
The Author's Friend
The Choir Press UK
Trafford Publishing US
Unibook US & UK
Vantage Press US
Wasteland Press US
Xulon Press US)
York Publishing Services UK
The inference with all these websites (and this is just some of them) is that the company wants to be consistent with the types of books published by the parent company. For example Balboa Press would make you believe that it is an independent publishing house run by Hay House Publishing and that they deal with all submissions. In reality none of the parent companies employ a submission filter that tells the author that her/his submitted book of 'Dreams' will not find a home at Balboa Press, and nor for that matter will any author submitting the next great Aussie novel. They publish all and sundry through Author Solutions.
In reality you are not aligning yourself with Hay House Publishing (or any others mentioned above) whatever their website might suggest or allude to. You are in fact aligning yourself and your book with Author Solutions (ASI), the author solutions company who run and provide the publishing services for Balboa Press (as an example).
It would be much better for all authors if self publishing houses where more transparent. Nowhere do they mention the involvement of Author Solutions, and the continued implication is that an author is paying for services and work carried out by staff aligned directly with the independent publishing house (i.e. Hay House Publishing). In essence, Author Solutions do not share the same core values as the independent publishers that they represent. In reality these imprints of Author Solutions just provide another book by Author Solutions (ASI) and that is not what the likes of Balboa Press claim to be selling authors.
Now there's nothing intrinsically wrong with paying for publishing services with Author Solutions. That's how MBS Press operates too - except for - we do the work. However writers are sold by manipulating the dream they have of becoming successful published authors by riding the coat tails of the parent company. The best thing to do is to take a book from a self published website and see if the parent company offers it with their trade titles (we do).
Furthermore, if you look at the "packages" that these companies offer (Author Solutions in disguise), you soon realize you will be spending thousands of dollars to get into print, and that's before all the up sells kick in. And, before you start buying your own books at inflated prices (not a BASE price).
Who sets the recommended retail price (you or them), how much does the publisher ask you to pay for your own books (usually a highly inflated price where they profit from every book purchased by the author)? Do they have their own distributors? These are but some of the questions we would ask - or go here for a list of due diligence questions before you commit to any publisher.
Isn't There Another Way?
Many writers don't want to take on the considerable chores of publishing their own book, and look for a "one stop shop" type of solution. All we ask is that you educate yourself before you commit to a particular publishing path (click for questions to ask).
We've consulted with half a dozen writers recently and just by showing them how to educate themselves with better information (by using our questions) in the publishing process that authors make better decisions. When the facts are plainly in front of them (in black and white - not a wolf covered in sheep's clothing), most people know right away what to do, it's not confusing at all.
We would hope that many of you will see that as a self publishing company that we honour our authors instead of ripping them off. We are transparent about our services instead of relying on hype to seduce you. We provide you with as much information as possible to make informed decisions. We are committed to helping our authors succeed at the most important task anyone in this business ought to be dedicated to - getting their books the widest possible readership (and sales).
Self publishing is an incredibly exciting and rich place to be right now in 2012. There are huge opportunities for the entrepreneurial and committed author.