Thursday, May 2, 2013

Beware of blogs that are really ads for self-publishing companies




There are millions of blogs on the web. I write this one because: (a) I like to write, (b) I think I am providing a useful service, (c) I hope that some readers will buy my books.

I write other blogs that have absolutely no commercial aspect or intent.

On the other hand, there are blogs where making money is the prime raison d'être. There's certainly nothing wrong with that, but what I don't like is what seems to be a growing trend for "corporate" blogs to hide behind personal, non-corporate names that mask the intent of the blog.

Some blogs display corporate logos, but it may not be apparent that the logo belongs to the operator of the blog and is not just a paid-for ad.

A casual visitor seeking unbiased information from a blog is often given a dose of highly biased -- and often inaccurate -- information.

Here are some examples:
  • Self-Publishing Advice looks like advice about self-publishing, but it really exists to promote inept and dishonest Outskirts Press.
  • freeselfpublishingblog.com was not merely a blog about "free" self-publishing. It was an advertising medium for recently shuttered Wordclay, part of self-pub behemoth AuthorSolutions.
  • "Self-publishing is the new black" was really advertising for Xlibris, also part of AuthorSolutions. The blog's host says, "This site has been archived or suspended for a violation of our Terms of Service."
  • Indie Book Writer is the blog of Keith Ogorek, vice president of marketing of AuthorSolutions.
  • michaelhyatt.com is not sneaky. It's obvious that it's the blog of the boss of Thomas Nelson, a "Christian" publisher that now provides paid-for publishing services. Although it's not sneaky, the blog IS sleazy, because it's programmed to block comments -- even complimentary comments -- from people who are on Hyatt's enemies list. I am one of them. 
  • It should be obvious that LuluBlog is not written by or about someone named Lulu. It's presented by pay-to-publish company Lulu.com, and provides useful and interesting content. While I dislike Lulu as a self-publishing company because of high printing prices, I have been pleased with their PDF ebook publishing service, and the company is more honest than some of its competitors.
  • Although I am on the verge of puking as I type this paragraph, I have to give a little bit of credit to the blog operated by Outskirts Press boss Brent Sampson. Although Brent and Outskirts are frequently dishonest in the way they portray other paths to publication, at least this blog does not hide its corporate connection and I have not yet noticed any big lies. On the other hand, the blog is not very useful or interesting.

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