P.O.D. SECRETS REVEALED: Firm Quotes And Facts May Be Hard To Come By!

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Wow! That nice P.O.D. publishing house representative wants to hear “more about your book!” Is it finished yet? Did you need to have it edited? Are you going to included pictures? What’s your target market?

Do you think that “nice” P.O.D. publishing house rep really gives a hoot about your book? Don’t fool yourself. Some of those reps are working on a commission. Like any effective salesperson, they’ll likely say or do just about anything to get you to sign up…and they also may try to suck as much as they can out of our pocketbook.

While some firms may gush over you with false praise, others may never respond to you at all. Could it be spam filters at play…or do some reps ignore emails from pesky, persistent authors who demand real numbers? Who knows? Some may dance around your questions, hoping to wear you out in the process. Maybe they’re hoping you’ll get tired of repeating yourself, and just sign up and pay them already!

Last time, we discussed how some P.O.D. publishers feed an author’s vanity, filling their websites with hot air in an attempt to attract authors who may fall prey to this false praise.

This week, we’re going to look at the vague or confusing responses by some P.O.D. publishers. Think you can send them one question by email, and expect them to answer you, and then go away? Think you can get a straight answer to an easy question at all? Think again!

One author approached the P.O.D. publishers below with precise questions.

Here’s what happened:

CREATESPACE

The author requested a specific shipping quote, including book type and size, quantity of order, and exact shipping address.

Email #1 – Sent a form email that didn’t answer the author’s question.

Email #2 – Sent the author a phone number to call, saying she couldn’t answer his question.

CreateSpace also added the author to their newsletter list so they’re now sending monthly emails to the author…who does not wish to receive them.

The author never received an answer from CreateSpace.

TRAFFORD

The author asked a simple question about why they don’t give authors their production files – files the author paid them to create.

Email #1 – Did not explain why, only said they won’t give the author the files.

Email #2 – Still didn’t explain why, again said they won’t give the author the files.

Email #3 – Still didn’t explain why; said the author must pay extra money for them and you can’t do that unless you cancel your book first.

The author sent a separate email about shipping prices, and did not receive a response from Trafford.

OUTSKIRTS

The author asked why their Apple ebook conversion/listing is so expensive.

Email #1 – Says their package has a “great deal of options.” The author responded that he doesn’t need all those options.

Email #2 – Says Apple has specific criteria. The author responded by pointing out that Apple does not require everything Outskirts is offering (and charging for).

Email #3 – Says they won’t make adjustments to their package. (So, the author would need to pay more than necessary for something he doesn’t want – something he can get for less at other firms.)

AUTHORHOUSE

The author requested a specific shipping quote, including book type and size, quantity of order, and exact shipping address.

Email #1 – The sales rep responded, saying someone else would need to help him. The author replied again, saying he needed the quote.

The author didn’t receive a follow-up response from AuthorHouse and his question was not answered.

LULU

The author submitted a question through Lulu’s website.

Email #1 – Sent a form response, saying, “Lulu is committed to answering your questions…” The author requested a specific shipping quote, including book type and size, quantity of order, and exact shipping address.

Email #2 – A form email from Lulu saying the message couldn’t be delivered.

In another email, the author asked Lulu about production files. Instead of answering the question, the rep said the author would need to call them on the phone for an answer. Hmmm… Why won’t they discuss it in writing?

XLIBRIS

The author requested a specific shipping quote, including book type and size, quantity of order, and exact shipping address.

Email #1 – An Xlibris rep said he would need to purchase a publishing package before she can answer his question! With packages that cost up to $15,000 and more, that’s a pretty steep price to pay just to get a simple question answered!

Email #2 – The same rep sent him a marketing email.

Email #3 – The same rep sent him another marketing email, saying their current special was ending soon. She said, “You’re on my priority list, so I wanted you to know.” We’re guessing all potential authors are on that list! The email also said, “(This) is a very generous offer, isn’t it?” With packages ranging up to $15K and more, I’d say the author paying those ridiculous fees is the “generous” one!

Xlibris never answered the author’s question.

IUNIVERSE

The author requested a specific shipping quote, including book type and size, quantity of order, and exact shipping address.

EMAIL #1 – The “assigned publishing consultant” provided a quote, but said the prices might be different after the book is published.

The email also contained 10 typos in the longest run-on sentence we’ve ever seen (125 words). This may be one of the overseas reps iUniverse uses. It’s no secret that Author Solutions, which owns AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Xlibris, Trafford, and others, uses overseas labor. I can’t think of any other reason why a so-called publisher would employ someone with such a poor grasp of English grammar and basic punctuation.

Incidentally, at BookLocker.com, we are adamantly anti-spam and, if prospective authors ask us a question, we answer it, quickly and personally. We don’t send out “publishing kits”, we don’t add them to a newsletter or marketing list, and we don’t maintain a list of prospects for spamming. We just don’t do business that way.



About The Author

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Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).

WritersWeekly.com - the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday.

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Abuzz Press offers FAST and FREE book publication, but only accepts a small percentage of submissions, and only works with U.S. authors.

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