Friday, September 2, 2011

Thomas Nelson is bragging again, but has nothing to be proud of, and can't count.

Thomas Nelson calls itself a "traditional publishing powerhouse" and largest Christian publishing company in the world and the seventh-largest trade book publishing company in the U.S."  It's probably larger than any Christian publishing company on Neptune or any Jewish publishing company in Saudi Arabia.

Two years ago, Nelson went into business with pay-to-publish behemoth Author Solutions Inc. (ASI). ASI has absorbed several former competitors including Xlibris and iUniverse and calls itself the "world leader in indie book publishing." (NOTE: if you have a book published by ASI, you are not involved in indie publishing.)

Nelson and ASI spawned WestBow Press to extract money from wannabee authors who are not good enough to be get a traditional royalty-paying book deal from Nelson. Its first book stunk. It was overpriced and under-edited.

WestBow functions like a typical self-publishing company (the type of business that used to be called a "vanity publisher," "subsidy publisher" or even "author mill") with a bit of implied holiness. Its publishing packages cost from $999 to as much as $6,499. Like most of its less-holy competitors, WestBow lies about providing from 20 to 100 "FREE" books with its publishing packages. They're not free if author customers have to pay thousands of dollars to get them! Liar-in-chief of Nelson is paranoid hypocrite Michael Hyatt. He seems to have a Jim Jones-like domination of his sycophantic disciples who frequently defend him in comments on this blog.

Hyatt said, “One of the reasons we created WestBow Press was that we wanted another way to find the new voices. [Of course, the main reason is to extract money from writers.] Publishers aren’t omniscient. We miss numerous opportunities every year. Finding the next bestseller is like searching for a needle in a haystack." The holy alliance with ASI is said to "provide a 'farm-team' opport
unity for the countless authors whose manuscripts are not initially acquired by Thomas Nelson."

A few days ago, Westbow announced that parent Nelson has "acquired" Call of a Coward by Marcia Moston. The book "will be the first WestBow trade title acquired and distributed by the Thomas Nelson Trade Division."

Strangely, the Nelson website says that "Thomas Nelson's recently picked up their first WestBow Press title, Three Cups, which will be released soon." A press release about that deal was distributed last March.

Westbow said, "The acquisition of [Call of a Coward] and its resulting trade distribution marks a seminal moment for WestBow Press." 
  • Exactly how many seminal moments were there?
  • Maybe Westbow finds it difficult to keep track of where it has been spreading its semen.
  • Did it lose its virginity twice?

Two presidents are excited:
  • “We’re excited for Marcia . . . .” said Mark Schoenwald, Thomas Nelson president and CEO.
  • "We're very excited for Marcia . . . . " said Kevin Weiss, ASI president and CEO.
Call of a Coward will be released in trade paperback format by Thomas Nelson in the summer of 2012. The announcement is not very impressive and does not inspire confidence in Thomas Nelson.
  1. If Marcia's book was good enough to be published by Nelson after she paid to have it published by WestBow, how come no one at Nelson was smart enough to offer a contract before she paid to publish?
  2. If this is the first (or second) book chosen by Nelson in two years, WestBow must have published a lot of crap.
  3. Why should it take a year to RE-publish a book?
Author, self-publishing expert and fellow skeptic Mick Rooney commented on the delay: "Hmmm, would it be anything to do with having to properly edit and design it professionally? :-))"



  1. Those pathetic Nelson/Westbow assholes can't do anything right.

  2. OK, let's see if I understand this right:

    (STEP ONE) I submit a book to Thomas Nelson, and the company rejects it because one person there thinks it stinks. She suggests I have WestBow publish it because it has lower standards than Nelson.

    (STEP TWO) I pay WestBow $2,999 to publish my book and it sells well and I make an average of $5 on each book sold.

    (STEP THREE) Nelson is impressed and offers me a $1,000 advance against possible royalties of about $1.50 on each book sold.

    (SUMMARY) I give up income on each Nelson book, but I'm a STAR and Jesus loves me.

    Did I miss anything?

  3. Michael,

    I took a look back at the piece I originally did about Thomas Nelson's 'original' claim of a first acquisition in March 2010, and things were not quite as they seemed with Three Cups back then.

    Take a look at the piece for yourself - particularly the last part of the piece I wrote.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I published a book at WestBow Press and I believe the quality is as good as any other book on the market. I take offense to the comment that all WestBow Press authors are just not good enough to be published by a traditional publisher. If you know the bookworld, you probably know that a very high percentage of published authors in the Christian world are already well known authors. So yes, it is hard for many to get picked up. Personally, I had a goal to get my book published as quickly as possible. I was not willing to wait the two or more years to get it out. I didn't even send one query letter or manuscript submission to any other editor or publisher. I went directly through them for speed to market.

    That said, there are many authors that followed suit. Before you lump all of them together into one big bucket of trash, do some research.

    Michael L. Henderson
    "Those Who Are Wise Will Shine!" Understanding God's Work in Your Redemption

    This book is endorsed by a former SBC president and President Emeritus, Lifeway Christian Resources. James Draper

    I may not have great sales, but I am not much of the self-marketing type. I challenge you to take a look at the Hardback then come back and make your not-so-kind comments.

    God Bless

  6. To Michael Henderson:

    (1) Your book has exactly one review on -- and YOU wrote it. That's pathetic. There are two reviews on the B&N site -- from people who refuse to provide their names. That's suspicious.

    (2) The hardcover edition, which you want me to look at, has an absurdly high $35.95 cover price. Even the paperback, priced at $19.95 for 280 pages, is very expensive. You apparently have a huge ego, or know little about the book business, or WestBow has extremely high production prices. Who is going to pay 36 bucks for a book written by an unknown in a very crowded genre?

  7. Yes it is called an authors review. I did not set the prices. I have no control on that. I did not like that either. I did not say WestBow was perfect, I said all of the authors shouldn't be lumped together as bad. If you like I will send you a hardback just to review at no cost. Do you have a P.O. Box?

  8. To Michael Henderson:

    (1) Posting a positive review of your own book does not seem right. What would Jesus say?

    (2) You could have chosen to use a self-publishing company that doesn't price books so high that few people will buy them. "Reasonable" prices for a book with 280 pages would be $13.95 - $16.95 for paperback and $19.95 to $22.95 for hardcover -- unless the book offers a vital new information or a guaranteed path to Heaven.

    (3) I'd like to see the book and possibly review it. However, as a Jew, I might have trouble with such concepts as redemption, grace, Satan, born-again, etc. Despite my gender, I have previously reviewed two "chick-lit" books, and I can promise you a fair review. Based on a quick look at the online sample, I see that you can write well. You get a 10-point bonus because we share a first name (Which, by the way, is Hebrew for "Who is like God?) I'll email you my mailing address.

  9. Michael,

    1) I appreciate the criticism. I really never thought of the review in that manner because Amazon allows an Authors Review. It requires a star rating and certainly, I did not desire to give it one star. It certainly does sound vain. But I did not intend it to come across in that manner. I will look to see if there is any other way to explain the content better.

    2) I was not aware of the pricing structure of WestBow. They do not determine that until it has been formatted etc... I am in dismay about the price for those who would like to purchase. On the other hand, I buy the book at around $10.00 for paperback and $15.00 for hardbound. My wife and I use it as a ministry and we always give the book away. I have given away a few hundred copies already. As I said, I am not a salesman. Unfortunately Amazon does not allow a book review unless you purchase from them. I have received a lot of verbal reviews in person and on the phone. So far, none have been bad.

    Just last week I received a call from a former college professor and Doctoral Graduate of Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He said he picked the book up and read it from cover to cover in one sitting and could not put it down. He went on to say that in all of His years of teaching and ministry he had never read a book that was this good. He wanted to know why I was not teaching in Seminary. He also asked who my editor was. I said I did all the editing myself. He then said he was very impressed with the readability, research, and references.

    I have considered re-publishing under a different title since I alone have full rights to the content. WB owns the ISBN. So it would have to be re-packaged. I am still thinking about it. I just need to know more.

    3) I would be delighted to send you a hardbound copy. Please understand, I am not in the least bit concerned with the religious differences. As a matter of fact, I would think a lot of it you would enjoy with respect to your heritage. I am a very firm supporter of Israel as a nation and as a people. Although I am a Christian, and write from that point of view, there is a tracing of your heritage from Adam to the birth of Christ that you may enjoy. Anytime I approach any of the topics you list as, "Having trouble with" I try to give explanation for why I believe them. The Jewish people have a glorious future ahead, of which I am excited.

    "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, "Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you."'" (Zechariah 8:23 (NKJV))

    What an awesome day that will be!! I am very much looking forward to it!

    As far as a fair review, as long as you look at it as being from the Christian viewpoint, I am not in the least bit concerned. If you read it you may find a couple of formatting errors that were not in my submission. I am not sure what happened there. I also have found two missing words. ????

    The appendix itself, could be republished as a book on its own, if I were to use maps and charts. But I put that in this book for the serious Bible student that may desire to take a deeper look into the Hebrew prophets.

    My email is Just email me your mailing address and I will drop the book in the mail this week.

    God bless!

    Michael L. Henderson

  10. Mike,

    I completely agree with you. We decided to go with WestBow press because we were not willing to wait the two years to get our story out, and like you never sent a manuscript into anyone else. Instead, we prayed about what to do and got our answer. We needed our book available by May, which would have been our son's first birthday, (he was received into Heaven just shy of 3 months old, in Aug. 2011 due to SIDS). We are planning a Walk for SIDS and wanted to get it out in time that the proceeds could go to the Iowa SIDS Foundation. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about WestBow Press, they have been amazing! Justin's Jesus has been on the market for 6 weeks now, the sales are GREAT, and we already have the book on bookstore shelves, and 4 author signings scheduled. So I agree with all Michael has to say, I think a little research needs to be done before we use our words against any person, business, or organization.