December 17, 2008
POD SECRETS REVEALED: Feeding On Your Vanity...or Ignorance: More Hot Air on POD Publishers' Websites By Angela Hoy, co-owner of BookLocker and WritersWeekly.com | printable version
As I wrote last week, "Some companies will say or write just about anything to get your business."
I have always been offended by over-the-top marketing verbiage. I mean, saying something is a "good deal" is one thing but trying to tell me a product or service is going to "change my life" upsets me. I always wonder how people can fall for so much of the garbage being shoved our way by marketing executives these days. At BookLocker, we don't dish out hype. We tell you the truth and, if you like us, great. If you don't, that's fine, too. I'm not going to pull out my thesaurus and rewrite the truth to try to convince you to publish with us instead of elsewhere and I'm not going to write nonsense that tempts someone's vanity, or that takes advantage of their lack of knowledge of the industry. We just don't do business that way.
Last week, while I was researching shipping costs on some of the "other guys'" websites, I ran into some more pretty outrageous statements. See if you can figure out which POD publishers these statements are from (answers appear at the end).
A. "The Rolls-Royce of publishing – the Platinum Service offers an exclusive world of publishing privileges and benefits." (Cost: $12,999 - choke!!!)
B. "...bring your brilliance to life – and sell it to an eager audience around the world."
C. "Imagine sharing your voice with the world."
D. "This is a luxury service that delivers unprecedented opportunities..."
E. "A well-written book is also well read." (No, a well-MARKETED book is well read! This was a marketing page for fee-based editorial services. You SHOULD have your book edited, but not by this firm. They claim the rights to the edited versions of their authors' production files!)
F. "Your books are printed in our state-of-the-art production facility, where we produce not only the highest quality print-on-demand books in the world..." (I'm not sure who, if anyone, did a study to prove their books are the "highest quality" but I can tell you this publisher also has their books printed by Lightning Source, the most popular POD printer, which is also used, in whole or in part, by ALL the other POD publishers appearing in this article.)
G. "...the most free options anywhere, including a free e-book edition, free press release distribution, free Library of Congress number, a free audio excerpt on your free author webpage, and much more." (Their $999 package is what offers all this so-called "free" stuff. Remember, folks, NOTHING is really free if it's part of a fee-based package!)
H. "(The publisher) has made special arrangements to have 100 books featured at such shows with our new Combined Book Exhibit service." (Hey, anybody can get their book featured at a book fair - for a price. Saying only 100 will qualify gives the impression you must act NOW or you won't be included. This is a classic marketing move. Prices range from $109 to $829. If authors really sold enough books to make this worthwhile, wouldn't the publisher be offering this service for free?!)
I. "Leave your family and friends a legacy..."
J. "brings your publishing dreams to life"
K. "Authors around the world rejoiced!" (Groan!!!)
L-1. "the leading innovative print on demand book publisher"
L-2. "the leading self publishing company"
L-3. "the world's finest, most comprehensive book publishing service"
L-4. "one of the pioneers of the print-on-demand publishing services industry, and still leads the way today"
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. When someone promises you the moon, don't be surprised if you end up with a box of cheese. And, when considering a POD publisher, skip the "you're gonna be a star!" verbiage and instead dissect their prices and, as I always say, ask some writing groups about them. You're bound to end up hearing from one or more of their customers, who are authors like you. But, beware of trolls.
Some POD publishers masquerade as "satisfied" authors on discussion lists! Others masquerade as "dissatisfied" authors of their competitors.
I once corresponded with a "best selling author" on a discussion list. When I googled her name and found her website, I emailed her through that avenue. She had no idea what I was talking about. A troll online was pretending to be her - a satisfied POD author of that particular POD publisher. There are lots of snakes in our industry! If someone is posting anonymously, or under a first (or false) name only, or if some simple research reveals nothing about them (most professional authors have an online presence), don't trust them. If someone is speaking (or writing) the truth, whether good or bad about a company, they shouldn't be afraid to post their name and they shouldn't be offended when you do some research to see if they really are the person they say they are.
Here are the answers: