September 05, 2007
POD SECRETS REVEALED: Does Your POD Publisher's Homepage Tell Everyone You Paid to Have Your Book Published? By Angela Hoy | printable version
Last week, we looked at how expensive "free" POD publishing services can be. This week, we'll look at the homepages of the most popular POD publishers.
Your book is finally on the market. You print business cards, update your website, and send out press releases. You know you'll get higher royalties when someone buys your book from your publisher's website, so you send people there.
If your book was published by AuthorHouse, people going to the AuthorHouse.com homepage don't see a list of books for sale. Instead, they see a huge ad for AuthorHouse's services. In large red letters at the top, it says, "All the services you need to self- publish your book!" The rest of the homepage is a pile of flashy graphics and marketing blurbs designed to gather more authors into their fold. There are only two links to the actual bookstore on that page, and one link highlighting only one book in particular. Why aren't they doing more to promote their authors' books on their homepage?
If your book was published by Xlibris, people going to the Xlibris.com homepage also see a large ad for xLibris itself. There is a link to their bestsellers, which is eye-catching, and one author is profiled. The link to the actual bookstore is a small one (third from the bottom!) on the left-hand column. Anyone coming to this website would also know you paid to have your book published.
If your book was published by iUniverse, people going to the iUniverse.com homepage see "Supported Self- Publishing From iUniverse" in large green letters. They also see a decent-sized ad for a "featured book." However, it appears that, like the others, this company is more concerned about gathering new authors than they are about selling their existing authors' books.
At Lulu.com, a huge ad at the top says, "Publish. Sell. Connect." Need I say more? (Note: Lulu.com claims their services are "free." However, they refer authors to third-party service providers and Lulu.com then profits from those transactions.)
When you go to these sites, the obvious question is...where's the darned bookstore? Don't these companies publish books? Aren't they interested in actually selling their authors' books? I guess not...because the pages are all designed primarily to attract new authors, not to sell books. The homepages look nothing like online bookstores and it's obvious to anyone who clicks that their authors paid to have their books published. Gosh, maybe if they make it harder for their authors to sell books the authors will then want to pay even more money for their pricey marketing packages? I know that's a harsh opinion, but I just can't figure out any other reason why they're not promoting their authors' books on their homepages. Can you?
At Booklocker.com (which is owned by the author of this article), the homepage is a bookstore, not a publishing services marketing page. On the homepage, the current best selling print books are lined up next to the best selling e-books. Under those lists are the most recent additions to the bookstore. It's a page designed to SELL BOOKS, showing book covers and short descriptions and, of course, provides links to each.
When you come to BookLocker.com, it's clear that the publisher is more interested in selling books to visitors than we are in selling publishing services to new authors. The only clue for new authors is one, and only one, small "publish and sell" link. Everything else on the entire page is for book buyers.
If you're already a client of AuthorHouse, Xlibris, iUniverse, or Lulu, or another lesser-known POD publisher, perhaps you should try to convince them to make their homepage look more like a publisher's homepage and less like a "publishing services" homepage? You can likely find fellow authors to support you in your request in the forums on each publisher's site. After you and your fellow authors have paid them so much money to publish your book, the least they can do is use their homepage to help you sell some of those books.
You can read previous articles in my "POD Secrets Revealed" series here: