While self-published books don’t carry the same stigma they did even as recently as a few years ago, they still aren’t considered on the same tier as traditionally published books. So, most self-published authors don’t want to make a big deal out of the fact that their book is “self-published.”
If you are one of these authors, and if you self-publish your book through a publishing services company (a POD publisher), you don’t want that company screaming for all to hear that you paid to have your book published.
It’s YOUR book, right? Why would your POD publisher want people to know you paid to have your book published? It’s quite simple, really. Most of those firms are more interested in reining in new authors than they are in selling books. They get the majority of their revenue from authors, not from book sales.
Most POD publishers are going to use YOUR book and money to promote THEIR OWN services, whether you like it or not.
Let’s look at just a few ways that many POD publishers use their authors’ books and money to promote their own services.
1. AD INSIDE THE AUTHOR’S BOOK PROMOTING THE PUBLISHER’S SERVICES
Some POD publishers put advertisements in their authors’ books promoting the POD publisher’s services. Once you sign the contract, you’ve agreed to let them do that.
At BookLocker.com, we never force authors to use our name in or on their book, nor our logo. It’s the author’s book, not ours, and they should have the final say about the content appearing therein.
2. THE POD PUBLISHER’S HOMEPAGE IS PRIMARILY SELLING THEIR OWN SERVICES; NOT BOOKS
Let’s say you paid AuthorHouse (way too much money) to publish your book. You then tell people your book is available at AuthorHouse.com. They go to the AuthorHouse homepage and what do they see? A page devoted almost entirely to promoting AuthorHouse’s services. Your reader will see marketing verbiage like “Selling Your Book” and “Get Your Book Out of the Drawer.” Worst of all, your readers can see how much you paid to have your book published. The only way for them to actually find your book is if they notice that tiny search box up there in the corner, or that small gray link that says “Bookstore” – the very LAST link on the side of the screen. Could it be anymore UNnoticeable?
Which POD publishers use their homepage to primarily promote themselves instead of their authors’ books? Here are just a few –
Lulu (Lists a few books and their categories under a huge ad for themselves)
And, almost everybody else.
At BookLocker.com, our homepage is devoted to SELLING BOOKS, featuring our authors’ book trailers, BookLocker’s best sellers, new releases, a search box and our list of categories. Only one small link on the page is for authors. The rest of the entire homepage is for book BUYERS.
3. NEWSPAPER AND MAGAZINE CO-OP ADS
Many POD publishers offer co-op advertising in newspaper and other periodicals where there are a few books listed on a page along with an ad for the POD publisher (which tells everyone reading that ad that you paid to have your book published). Most of the firms in the list above offer this type of co-op advertising.
One of the POD publishers in the list above charges $250 per book to appear in a one-page ad in a well-known periodical. That periodical charges $1200 for a full-page ad. Per the POD publisher’s website, they promote 12 books per full-page ad. 12 books x $250 = $3000. Authors pay the POD publisher $3,000 and the publisher only pays the periodical $1200…while promoting their own services in each ad to boot. Cha-ching!
4. CONFERENCES / BOOK FAIRS
Most POD publishers offer authors the chance to have their book “prominently displayed” (or other such confusing verbiage) at book fairs and conferences. What they don’t tell you is that your book will be on a table surrounded by dozens of other books (by authors who also paid to have their books “prominently displayed”), and that the table your book is sitting on will be surrounded by dozens or hundreds more tables, also stacked with books, books, and more books. Most authors who pay for this type of display don’t sell enough books to earn back their investment. Instead, those authors are paying their POD publisher to send a couple of employees on a trip for that event where they’ll hang up big posters and backdrops promoting the POD publisher’s services – a far bigger display than what the authors are getting for their books!
5. PRESS RELEASES
You can see an example of an iUniverse press release HERE. At the bottom, there’s a paragraph promoting iUniverse. Authors pay iUniverse to create and distribute press releases…yet iUniverse promotes their own services in those press releases. So, everybody who reads that press release (and we’re betting that’s not a whole lot of people anyway!) knows this author paid to have their book published. Many POD publishers charge authors for press release creation and distribution and then use that press release to also promote their own services.
In our opinion, when a company charges an author, and then promotes their own services using the author’s money, that’s unethical…and just plain wrong. When shopping for a POD publisher, choose a company that doesn’t force authors to promote the publisher itself, too. At BookLocker.com, we never force authors to use our name in or on their books, nor on their advertising materials, their press releases – not even their personal websites. It’s the author’s book and they should have complete control over what appears in and on their book and their promotional materials.
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.
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