March 23, 2011

POD SECRETS REVEALED: Hard Core Sales Tactics of Some POD Publishers | printable version

Wow! That nice POD publishing house representative wants to hear "more about your book!" Is it finished yet? Did you have it edited? Are you going to included pictures? What's your target market?

Do you think that "nice" POD 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 anything to get you to sign up, and fork over as much money as they can get out of you.

Or, you may contact one firm over and over again and never receive a response at all. Could it be spam filters at play...or do some reps ignore emails from those pesky, persistent authors who demand real numbers? Who knows?

Last time, we discussed how some POD publishers upsell (nickel and dime) authors on services that should already be included in their incredibly high setup fees - like using photos/images in a manuscript (even when those are supplied by the author), the use of an index, endnotes/footnotes, and much more.

This week, we're going to look at the hard-core sales tactics of some POD 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 new author approached the most popular POD publishers with the same questions, seeking precise quotes.

Here's what happened:

LULU - SENT 12 MARKETING EMAILS, NEVER ANSWERED AUTHOR'S QUESTION

Good luck getting a real human being to exchange emails with you at Lulu. An author sent Lulu an email asking for a shipping quote on 100 copies of a 6 x 9, 248-page black-and-white-interior book. He requested UPS Ground and gave them a specific address. They responded by telling him to place an order for the book on their site. Huh?! Clearly, he stated he wanted to publish the book. It was not yet ON their site, making the merry-go-round email conversation a complete waste of everyone's time. They never answered his question yet they added him to their marketing email list and they're still sending him emails today. You can read more about Lulu's customer service problems HERE.

TRAFFORD - ADDS AUTHOR TO MARKETING EMAIL LIST, NEVER ANSWERED AUTHOR'S QUESTIONS

1/29 - Author sends Trafford an email asking for a shipping quote on 100 copies of a 6 x 9, 248-page black-and-white-interior book. He requests UPS Ground and gives them a specific address.

1/29 - Trafford sends introductory marketing email to author but doesn't answer his question.

1/29 - Author once again requests shipping quote, once again providing info. above.

2/1 - Trafford sends another form marketing email to author.

2/9 - Trafford emails asking the author for the number of pages. Trafford already had this info. from previous emails.

2/11 - Trafford (the same rep) sends another introductory marketing email to author (same one as before).

2/16 - Trafford sends another form marketing email to author.

2/22 - Trafford sends follow-up email. Still doesn't answer shipping or pricing questions.

2/24 - Trafford sends another follow-up email. Still doesn't answer shipping or pricing questions.

XLIBRIS - SENT SAME FORM EMAIL TWICE, NEVER ANSWERED AUTHOR'S QUESTION

1/28 - Author sends email asking for a shipping quote on 100 copies of a 6 x 9, 248-page black-and-white-interior book. He requests UPS Ground and gives them a specific address.

2/1 - An Xlibris rep writes back, saying the cost would depend on the number of pages. The author had clearly provided the number of pages in his previous email.

2/1 - The author once again provides a copy of his previous email.

2/8 - The same rep once again responds with the exact same message (word-for-word), saying the price would depend on the number of pages. He either copied and pasted it from his previous email or he was sending out a form email to authors asking about pricing. Either way, the author's question was never answered. There are numerous complaints posted online about Xlibris.

CREATESPACE - RESPONDED...BUT DIDN'T ANSWER QUESTION. AUTHOR THEN RECEIVED NO FOLLOW-UP RESPONSE

These guys did respond to the author but they didn't answer his question. They told him to place a test order in their system. He didn't know how to do that since the book had not yet been published (and they knew that from the email he sent). He wrote back, asking how to process a test order. Good news is they didn't add him to a spam list. Bad news is the author didn't receive a response, nor an answer to his question. You can read more complaints about CreateSpace HERE.

AUTHORHOUSE - AUTHOR EMAILED THEM THREE TIMES WITH QUESTIONS, RECEIVED NO RESPONSE AT ALL

1/28 - Author sends email asking for a shipping quote on 100 copies of a 6 x 9, 248-page black-and-white-interior book. He requests UPS Ground and gives them a specific address.

2/1 - Author sent his email again because he never heard back from AuthorHouse.

2/8 - Author sends another email, this time asking about list prices and royalties.

He never received a response. There are numerous complaints about AuthorHouse posted online.

IUNIVERSE - AUTHOR SUBMITTED QUESTIONS TO THEIR ONLINE FORM TWICE, RECEIVED NO RESPONSE AT ALL

The author filled out their online form, asking for a shipping quote on 100 copies of a 6 x 9, 248-page black-and-white-interior book. He requests UPS Ground and gives them a specific address.
He didn't hear back from them so he once again completed their online form, this time asking them for list prices and corresponding royalties. He didn't receive a response to that one, either. There are numerous complaints about iUniverse posted online as well.

BOOKLOCKER.COM - ADAMANTLY ANTI-SPAM AND ALWAYS ANSWERS AUTHOR'S QUESTIONS

Incidentally, at BookLocker.com, we are adamantly anti-spam and, if an author asks us a question, we answer it, quickly and personally. We don't hold their email and then dog them repeatedly with sales pitches. We don't contact them again unless they respond, requesting additional information. We don't mail out "publishing kits", nor do we maintain a list of potential authors who are ripe for spamming. We just don't do business that way. If an author's manuscript is accepted and they don't sign up, we do NOT contact them again - ever.

You can review a comparison of the above POD publishers' setup fees, author discounts, and more HERE.

Angela Hoy is the Publisher of WritersWeekly.com and co-owner of the POD firm BookLocker.com. WritersWeekly.com is the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday. According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is: "As close to perfection as you're going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I've ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can't go wrong here. Plus, they're selective and won't publish any manuscript just because it's accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors' books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know."

Angela's P.O.D. Secrets Revealed Series can be found HERE.

Got questions about Print On Demand and Self-publishing? Ask Angela.

Have a POD Book with another publisher? See if BookLocker can give you a better deal. (BookLocker offers "disgruntled author discounts" to those who want to move from other POD services.)

See BookLocker's publishing packages.


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