Thursday, April 8, 2010

Wordclay responds to my criticism

Wordclay is part of pay-to-publish behemoth Author Solutions, which also owns former competitors AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Trafford and Xlibris. A few weeks ago, I criticized Wordclay for being "dysfunctional, dishonest and overpriced.

I sent an email to the company with a link to the blog post, and asked, "Is there any reason for me to change my mind about Wordclay?

Here's Wordclay's response:

Thank you for writing. I have reviewed your blog post, and I will be glad to answer any questions you have about Wordclay's services.

Wordclay is a self publishing imprint with years of experience. We employ new technology that allows authors to have total control of the production of their book at no cost. Our goal is to open up more low cost publishing options to allow more writers the chance to become published authors.

As a blogger, you are aware that technology may not function perfectly all of the time. I apologize if you were unable to register. If you have any problems, we are available to help you via LiveChat, email, or at the telephone number listed below. By contacting us through any of these easy methods, we will be able to resolve your problem. Reading your blog post, it appears you may have been trying to register as a new author, instead of logging in to your existing account. (If this is true, the Wordclay website should have told me I already had registered, instead of providing a useless error message that just wasted my time and pissed me off.) To log in to your account, click the "My Account" tab on the Wordclay website.

Looking into your account, I see that you have started the book creation process for two titles (Book IDs 57340 and 57419). This indicates that you are able to access your account. If you are not able to access it, please let us know. Currently, your user name is (deleted) and you should be able to log in using this name.

After logging in, you can complete the book creation process. Wordclay uses a online book creation process for authors who wish to take advantage of our free services. (It's not free if you want any books to be printed!) Using this process, authors have dynamic control over the production process, and you may create a book, cancel it, or leave it on hold as long as you like. We do not wish to rush your creative process, and we are glad to work at your own pace. When you are ready to move forward with publication, you have total control of the production through the website, including the design of the cover and interior. After creating your book interior and cover, you will be prompted to enter pricing and marketing information. Wordclay authors choose their own pricing, and as such, they can set the royalty amount as high or as low as they like. Additionally, Wordclay authors retain absolutely all rights to their work.

After completing the book creation process, your book will become available to purchase through the Wordclay website within two weeks. Typically, however, books become available to purchase within 4 business days, and it may become available to purchase in as little as 24 hours. This is significantly faster than the publication timelines for comparable publishers. (Not faster than CreateSpace.)

We offer all of the services described above at no cost. (Wordclay's publishing is not "no cost" if you want any books to be printed!) By allowing authors to use an online-based book creation process, we provide free,  (It's not free if you want any books to be printed!) do-it-yourself publication services. This is a great option for writers who do not have money to invest in editing, design or other publication-related items, but still wish to produce professional results. (It is extremely unlikely that a writer who does not invest in editing and design will "produce professional results.") Authors earn royalties (again, royalty amounts are set by the author) for every sale, and we send royalty checks four times throughout the year.

If you have a book you wish to publish with us, I encourage you to review the material in our comprehensive FAQs and click through the steps of the book creation process in the “How It Works” tab. Not only do they answer many frequently asked questions, they address many issues that new users haven't even thought of yet. As always, we are glad to answer any questions you may have, and I think that you will find our services to be easy, fast, and free if you choose to publish with us. Additionally, we have an excellent customer service staff that can help you with any issues. We want our authors to be happy with their final product, and you will find that we are glad to "go the extra mile" for authors that need special consideration.

Again, I would like to point out that we offer these services at absolutely no cost. (Wordclay's publishing is not "no cost" if you want any books to be printed!) You are free to publish as many books as you like in this manner through Wordclay. (But, why lie about free publishing?)

We also offer various professional editing, design and marketing services through our Services Store. You can purchase these services to help create a professional and marketable product, (Up above, he said that writers could get "professional results" without paying for editing and design.)  but you are not required to purchase services if you do not wish to do so. Wordclay does not employ salespersons of any kind, so you will never be pressured to purchase any service.

As a do-it-yourself publisher, we find that some people do not require our assistance to register their copyright or apply for a Library of Congress Control Number, among other items. In these cases, we are able to work with their materials, and any services, such as these, which have been purchased for the book, will be applied to the Wordclay publication. (I could not find that stated on the Wordclay website.)

However, some authors prefer to have the publisher complete this work on their behalf. In this case, we offer Library of Congress Control Number registration, Copyright registration, etc. for a fee. (Very high fees!) Additionally, we offer other services that may be unavailable through other channels that authors may need, such as cover design, interior formatting and professional illustration, just to name a few. (They are all available through many other channels.) As a publisher, we feel it is our responsibility to make these items available to people who may not have access to them otherwise.

Furthermore, if the author wishes to complete any of this work on their own (formatting, illustration, cover design, etc), the author can avoid the need to purchase these services from Wordclay. Typically, we are able to apply these items to the book at no charge; the only exception would be in the case of an author-provided cover, which would require purchase of our DIY Cover Converstion service for $49.00. (CreateSpace and Lulu don't charge for this.) We also offer regular promotions which reduce the cost of certain services for the length of the promotion.

I hope this email helps to clarify your understanding our publication services. We offer free services to any author that wishes to use them, and if you require additional services from us, we are glad to provide them for a fee; this helps us ensure that we can fulfill any publication-related need you may have. Additionally, I hope this email helps to show that our customer service staff is helpful, responsive, and willing to make extra effort to ensure you are satisfied with your book. If you have any other questions, I encourage you to contact us at this email address, via LiveChat, or at the telephone number listed below.

Thank you for your time and interest in Wordclay. We look forward to working with you.

Nathan Brown
Customer Service Supervisor



  1. I thought that was a pretty good response for Wordclay. At least the guy had the balls to respond to all your critiques.

    I still would rather use Lightningsource or CreateSpace, however. I like getting a check every month. Quarterly royalties are for the birds.

  2. This smells like nothing more than an inbound csr cut-and-paste canned knowledge base response. The question was not answered. This response was probably from a csr who could care less about the blog post, and cared more about his next 10 minute smoke break.

    Trying not to be negative. Just sayin'...Rich