Thursday, May 27, 2010

Vanity publisher promoting proofreading needs a new proofreader, and a lie detector

From a promotional brochure for vanity publisher Schiel & Denver, "If you need one of our professional proofreader to perform a line-by-line analysis of your book’s interior proofs to be absolutely safe, please order this now."

Try not to get the proofreader who approved the sentence above. The proper word is "proofreaders" (plural!).

The company's brochure also says, "Caroline, who is a former U.S. Politician from Portland, Oregon..."

The word "politician" should be in lower-case. They also put "University" in uppercase, where it should be lower. They also left the apostrophe out of "dept" (and the word should have been spelled out, not abbreviated). They also used an ampersand where they should have used "and."

They also wrote "U" instead of "U. K." as the abbreviation for United Kingdom.

They also have a lower-case "p" in "iphone and "ipad" and have "IPad" instead of "iPad."

They also hyphenate "press-releases."

The brochure is aimed at American writers, but uses Britishisms such as "whilst," "enquire" and "hard grafting," and "stand" for trade show "booth."

The company also says, "You can rest assured your book will go on sale at over 160,000+ online and traditional retail stores, in over 100 countries."

Not only is that line a big pile of steaming bullshit, it also has redundancy that the proofreader should have caught. There is no need to have "over" before 160,000 and the plus sign after the number. While a book may be orderable at thousands of stores, that's not the same thing as "on sale at" with implied on-the-shelf availability.

The company also bullshits about its printing facilities. It says, "The company operates printing and distribution centers in the following locations:  Lavergne, Tennessee; Nr Bangor, Maine; Allentown, Pennsylvania." It's 99% likely that the facilities in Tennessee and Pennsylvania belong to Lightning Source, not to Schiel & Denver. I doubt that S&D owns the Maine printing plant.

They also bullshit about freebies. They say, "Your book gets free marketing in our professional trade catalog" and brags about providing  "FREE softcover copies on publication." They're free only if you ignore the payment of as much as $19,999 for a publishing package.

They also bullshit about providing books through the instant-printing Espresso book machines at "ski resorts." No EBM is at a ski resort, or any resort.

They also bullshit that "Schiel & Denver is at the cutting edge of book technology to ensure our titles will be available via Espresso Book thousands of library and bookstore locations across America by December 2010." The correct number of EBMs for 2010 is about 30, not "thousands."

They also bullshit about showing customers' books at Book Expo America. I was at the Expo yesterday. The company is not in the show directory, and I could not find them.

They also bullshit about protecting your book from "literary theft and plagiarism." That's impossible.

They also bullshit about a "unique aspect" -- a catalog sent to booksellers. It's hardly unique. Lots of publishers produce book catalogs.

They also bullshit that your color book will be "selling at top bookstores in over 100 countries." They can't possibly guarantee that.

The company grossly overcharges for some services. For example, they'll grab $249 from you to get a copyright, which you can get yourself for $35! Their fee for a Library of Congress Control Number is $150. You can get one for FREE, in a few minutes!

The company says it is a "Christ-Centered Publishing House" and employs "staff who... lead with high ethical and professional standards, embody the character and compassion of Jesus Christ, and who thereby are prepared to impact the world. Our community of Christian book publishing staff seeks to honor and obey Jesus Christ, who is present in Spirit and speaks in Scripture, and to advance God’s purposes in the lives of every member." Also, " a company we strive to publish books that impact our Christian culture in support of traditional family values, sanctity of life, compassion for the poor, biblical view of human nature, limited government, personal freedom, and other such causes that preserve and promote high moral and ethical standards."
  • Somehow, I just don't think that lying and overcharging are "high moral and ethical standards." And how does "limited government" preserve those standards?
The company has some strange restrictions, like limiting a dedication to 200 words and not letting authors determine the cover price of their bocks unless they pay at least $8,599 for a publishing package and (maybe or -- I'm not sure) a $249 fee.

They also  promote their "ISBN book publishing." I've never seen any other publisher use that phrase.

Schiel & Denver is another inept, dishonest, overpriced vanity publisher, with some additional weirdness thrown into the mix. STAY AWAY.



  1. What this country needs is a vanity publisher that is NOT inept, dishonest and overpriced.

    And an honest politician and a cure for cancer.

  2. Seriously, how do you find these thing,s Michael? It's like the hillbilly marathon of publishing.

  3. To Christy:

    I use Google add-ons called Stupidity Detector and Slimeball Sniffer-Outer. I'm a beta tester.

  4. They are surprisingly easy to find, Christy!

    All that is required is 'self-publishing' as a key word into the Google search engine and a very large mug of tea!