Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Whose bullshit should you believe?

Many writers like the convenient “one-stop shopping” provided by a self-publishing company. With these companies (which used to be called subsidy publishers, vanity presses or even author mills), it’s vital that you (1) don’t buy overpriced or unnecessary services and trinkets, and (2) get the most perfect book possible.
Dozens of companies want your business and will try to impress you with dubious claims of superiority:

·      Arbor Books: “the world’s premier, award-winning ghostwriting and self-publishing company”

·      AuthorHouse: “the leading provider of self-publishing and book marketing services for authors”

·      Bloodstone Books: “the on-demand publisher at the forefront of self-publishing”

·      Dorrance Publishing: “America’s leading author services company since 1920”

·      Infinity Publishing: “the leading innovative print on demand book publisher”

·      InstantPublisher: “Everyone’s favorite Book Publishing Company”

·      iUniverse: “the leading book marketing, editorial services, and supported self-publishing company”

·      Lulu.com: “the global leader in self-publishing”

·      Outskirts Press: “the fastest-growing full-service publishing provider”

·      PublishAmerica: “We publish more new titles than any other traditional book publisher.”

·      Schiel & Denver Book Publishers: “North America's leading book publishing services company”

·      Trafford: “by far the easiest, fastest and most dynamic publishing experience”

·      Wordclay: “by far the easiest, fastest and most dynamic DIY self-publishing experience” (Gee, that sounds familiar.)

·      Xlibris: “the leading print-on-demand self-publishing services provider”

How can there be seven leaders? There can’t be.
How can InstantPublisher be “everyone’s favorite” if it’s not my favorite? It can’t be.
What is a “dynamic publishing experience?” Beats me.
Don’t base your decisions on boastful claims or the glowing recommendations on the publishers’ websites. Read evaluations on such websites as

BookMakingBlog (Where you are now)

Under no circumstances should you do business with PublishAmerica.

Read the Better Business Bureau reports on companies you are considering.

Do web searches to find comments from unhappy customers (e.g., “PublishAmerica scam,” “Outskirts Press complaints,” “Xlibris ripoff”). Keep in mind that companies may get better—or worse—over time. Bookpal has gotten better.

Many self-publishing companies’ websites feature glowing endorsements from their customers (who may actually be disenchanted former customers). Contact some authors whose books came out a year or more ago and ask how they feel now.

Find books from companies you are considering on Amazon.com. If the sales rankings and number of reviews seem very low, contact the authors and ask for opinions about their publishers.

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