This Makes Me Sick: How Far One Company Will Go to Snare Hopeful Authors By Angela Hoy

My POD Best Practices articles series states that POD publishers “should not do business of any kind under a false name.”

A reader notified me last week about a website that appeared to be set up to help authors find the best “indie publisher” for their book. The site leads authors through a series of questions, including asking them for their personal contact information, and then, when they’re finished, the name of a so-called “indie publisher” pops up. In their words, they’ll provide you with the name of the “indie book publisher (that) has the best publishing package to help you reach your publishing objectives.”

I don’t know if you’ve noticed yet or not but the new, trendy name for POD publishing (obviously thought up BY POD publishers themselves) is “indie publishing.” They’re likening POD, I mean indie, publishing to indie films and indie musicians. That’s all well and good…but it doesn’t change the fact that these proponents of “indie publishing” (I’ll say it again – POD publishers) are pushing the term for their own profit.

Note: I own a POD publishing company, BookLocker, but we don’t do business that way.

Anyway, this allegedly independent website that is “dedicated to helping both first-time and experienced authors identify the most suitable indie book publishing company for their book” (that’s the part that makes my stomach churn) says:

“But I have to pay to get published”
Have you ever heard an indie filmmaker or indie band complain about investing their own money to get their work produced and distributed?


That part is true. However, the guise under which this website is pushing POD publishing is, again, making me sick. Comparing authors to filmmakers and bands draws them in for the marketing kill with a pseudo “cool” or “I’m part of a grassroots movement” mentality. Trust me – some savvy marketing people wrote the blurbage for this website!

The website also states:

With the information you provide about your book and goals, FYP makes a recommendation as to which indie book publisher has the best publishing package to help you reach your publishing objectives. Then on your behalf, FYP forwards the information you’ve provided to the recommended indie book publisher. That indie book publisher will call you to discuss which publishing package is best for getting your book into the hands of readers.

The site states a lot of other things, too, none of them comforting when you know the truth about the site itself. So, I went to the site and pretended to be an author of a romance novel. No matter which way I answered the questions, the site kept giving me the same three “indie” (POD!) publishers, over and over and over again. Who were they referring me to? AuthorHouse, iUniverse and Xlibris. Hmmm…

Now, unless you just got on the Internet or you’re new to the industry, you likely know that all three of those “indie publishers” (ha ha ha) are owned by the same company, Author Solutions, Inc.

And, as our savvy reader pointed out in his letter last week, if you look up the owner of this so-called “web site dedicated to helping both first-time and experienced authors identify the most suitable indie book publishing company for their book”, you will learn (and this should be no surprise at this point) that the owner of the website is none other than Author Solutions, Inc. Of course, we couldn’t find any disclosure of this imperative fact anywhere on the website itself.

If you want to check out this, in my opinion, fallacious website for yourself, here it is:
http://www.findyourpublisher.com

Click on this link to see the whois record for the domain, which verifies that Author Solutions, Inc. owns the website:
http://whois.domaintools.com/findyourpublisher.com

And you can click here to see all the companies Author Solutions, Inc. owns:
http://www.bertramcapital.com/news/index.html

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, again – in my opinion, dishonest, shady, unethical and dirty marketing ploy. Email me at: angela – at – writersweekly.com

Angela Hoy is the co-owner of WritersWeekly.com and BookLocker. WritersWeekly is the free marketing ezine for writers that features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday. According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is one of the top-rated POD publishers in the industry.