May 18, 2011
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
Previous installments of this series can be found HERE.
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 don't do business that way.
While researching some of the "other guys'" websites for this series, 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: $14,999 - Choke!!! That's also $2,000 more than they charged for the same service just 4 years ago!)
B. "Treat your work like royalty."
C. "This is a luxury service that delivers unprecedented opportunities..."
D. "Imagine sharing your voice with the world."
E. "Roll out the red carpet!"
F. "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!)
G. "The $4000 print run fee identifies artists who have a clear vision for their project."
(So, you get to be an "identified artist" but only if you're willing to fork over $4K?!)
H. "Receive up to 20 FREE Books! Start publishing today and we'll give you twice as many FREE Author's Copies when your book is published. You'll also receive FREE shipping on your free Author's Copies within the continental United States."
(NOTE: Capital letters above added by us. You'll need to pay them at least $699-$1099 to get this so-called "FREE" stuff. Remember, NOTHING is really FREE if it's part of an expensive, fee-based package! You can pay reasonable setup fees and buy 20 copies and STILL pay far less publishing elsewhere!)
I. "With traditional publishing houses and movie producers scrutinizing scores of indie published titles for their next big hit, (our) authors stand apart from the competition."
(Yeah, right. We'd like to know how many of this publisher's books have been made into movies vs. how many books they've published. Don't let this common "your book might become a movie!" verbiage fool you into spending more money than you should get your book published.)
J. "It sounds almost too good to be true..."
K. "Space is incredibly limited, so make sure you're a part of this exciting time in the indie publishing world."
(If this publisher hasn't already charged authors enough - packages range up to $8,000! - they want you to pay another $399 plus travel and lodging for you to attend THEIR conference?!)
L. "brings your publishing dreams to life"
(Do authors really fall for this stuff?!)
M. "enjoy the exposure and sales that come with publishing with an established leader in the field"
(Exposure and sales have far more to do with the author's marketing activities and investment than the name of their POD publisher.)
N-1. "...the indie publishing industry's founding father."
N-2. "...we have been the leading innovator in print-on-demand book publishing."
N-3. "...the leading provider of self publishing and book marketing services..."
N-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 an expensive block 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 yourself. When researching POD publishers, beware of trolls, people who secretly represent a company and who post false praise about them online. Some POD publishers masquerade as "satisfied" authors on discussion lists! Others masquerade as "dissatisfied" authors of their competitors.
I once corresponded with a "bestselling 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:
Angela Hoy is the co-owner of WritersWeekly.com and 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."
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Angela is Publisher of WritersWeekly.com and Co-owner of POD firm BookLocker.com.