Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Archway Publishing: Simon & Schuster Adds a Self-Publishing Division

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

Well, it's happened again. Another traditional publisher has added a pay-to-play "division."

Yesterday, venerable trade publisher (and one of the Big 5) Simon & Schuster announced the launch of Archway Publishing, a self-publishing services provider.
"Through Archway Publishing, Simon & Schuster is pleased to be part of the rapidly expanding self-publishing segment of our industry," said Carolyn Reidy, president and CEO of Simon & Schuster. "Self-publishing has become a viable and popular route to publication for many authors, and increasingly a source of content for traditional publishers, including Simon & Schuster. We're excited that we'll be able to help more authors find their own path to publication and at the same time create a more direct connection to those self-published authors ready to make the leap to traditional publishing."
Like the other self-publishing divisions of trade publishers (LifeWay's Cross Books, Thomas Nelson's West Bow Press, Harlequin's Dell'Arte Press [which, unlike other ventures of this sort, produced a furore upon its introduction and had to change its name], Hay House's Balboa Press, and Writer's Digest's Abbott Press), Archway Publishing is outsourced to Author Solutions Inc. S&S is the biggest fish ASI has landed so far.

S&S seems to be hoping to differentiate Archway by presenting it as a "premium" service. According to the Archway (God, I have to stop thinking about those cookies) Free Publishing Guide--which you can't access without giving Archway your name, email, and phone number, even though it's present on the website behind a hidden URL--the familiar ASI basics are joined by such "unique" extras as inclusion in Edelweiss (a national bookseller catalog), a Speaker's Bureau, an author reception at BEA (cue eyeroll), and various video services (some of which are already available from ASI a la carte).

There's also a concierge service, where you work with just one person to coordinate all aspects of publication. Unlike the other extras, this doesn't appear to be included in any of the packages; nor could I find an a la carte price. Instead, Archway invites authors to call to learn more. Hmmm.   

As you might expect, with premium services go premium prices. Even by the standards of ASI--which is generally pricier than similar self-publishing service providers--the cost of Archway's packages is eye-popping. For fiction and nonfiction, prices start at $2,000 and rise to $15,000. Children's books are slightly more economical, beginning at $1,500 and topping out at $8,500. For the business package, you can't get in the door for less than $2,200, and if you go for the whole shebang you'll be on the hook for a cool $25Gs.

Plus, as with all the ASI "brands," there's a whole range of additional--and often highly dubious--"marketing" services you can drop big bucks on.

Archway Publishing has the S&S name in its logo. However, unlike West Bow Press, which prominently touts its connection with Thomas Nelson--or Dell'Arte Press, which doesn't mention Harlequin at all, anywhere--Archway is at some pains to make clear that while S&S has provided "guidance," it's ASI that's running the show. There's still the carrot, though.
Additionally, [ASI] will alert Simon & Schuster to Archway Publishing titles that perform well in the market. Simon & Schuster is always on the lookout for fresh, new voices and they recognize a wealth of talent in Archway authors.
Um, yeah. But that's not actually what Archway Publishing--or any of the pay-to-play subsidiaries of traditional publishers--is all about. What it's about is the money--publishers' desire to cash in on the boom in self-publishing services, and capture a piece of a lucrative revenue stream.

How lucrative, though? The action in self-publishing right now is in the ebook realm, where publishing services are available free. Beside Smashwords, Amazon's KDP program, PubIt! from Nook, etc., expensive POD-centric ASI-style services seem clunky and old-fashioned. Why invest in a costly publishing package when you can ebook for nothing on Smashwords, POD for nothing on CreateSpace, find reasonably-priced cover design services on DeviantArt, and so on?

Of course, there are people who don't want to DIY, and there's no shame in that. Even so, there's no reason to pay an arm and a leg for a publishing package. There are many service providers that are far more cost-effective than ASI.

Crucially, there are also many self-pub service providers that have far better reputations. It's not an exaggeration to say that, right now, ASI is the most hated name in the self-publishing services world. For why, do a search on "Author Solutions" on this blog, or take a look at Emily Suess's many posts about the company. Emily breaks it down:
 The short list of recurring issues includes: making formerly out-of-print works available for sale without the author’s consent, improperly reporting royalty information, non-payment of royalties, breech of contract, predatory and harassing sales calls, excessive markups on review and advertising services, failure to deliver marketing services as promised, telling customers their add-ons will only cost hundreds of dollars and then charging their credit cards thousands of dollars, ignoring customer complaints, shaming and banning customers who go public with their stories, and calling at least one customer a ‘fucking asshole.’
These are all very similar to reports Writer Beware has received over the years. ASI is the only self-pub service provider about which we get regular complaints.

Look, I understand why traditional publishers want to get involved with self-publishing. It's a business decision--a way for publishers to bring in money to help support their core operations. As long as the publisher doesn't misrepresent the benefits of paid self-publishing services, or mislead authors into thinking that using its service is a back door to a traditional book deal, or attempt to monetize its slush pile by steering rejected writers toward its service (see below), I can live with that.

(I can't help but roll my eyes when self-publishing advocates condemn traditional publishers for an outdated business model, yet get morally outraged when they actually change the model. But I digress.)

My problem is with how S&S and others have chosen to dabble in self-publishing--by choosing to work with a company that exploits authors through deceptive PR tactics, misleading rhetoric, and terrible customer service. ASI's poor reputation is not a secret--it's all over the Internet. Could S&S and others not have chosen a more complaint-free service provider--or, even, created the service themselves? You've got to at least give the much-reviled Book Country props for that.

There's also this disturbing tidbit in PW's coverage of the launch: "S&S will refer authors who submit unsolicited manuscripts to the Archway program." I didn't find this in other news coverage, and I'm hoping it's not true--or if it is true, that S&S will re-think it. Such referrals are seriously questionable, since authors who receive them are likely to give them more weight because they come from a respected publisher.

It's been pointed out by journalists and others covering the Archway launch that there's a weird twist to the story: ASI is part of S&S's competitor, Penguin Random House. When Penguin's parent company bought ASI and folded it into Penguin, I expressed the hope that Penguin would start to clean up the problems at ASI, make it more customer-friendly and transparent, as Amazon did years ago when it purchased the then-very-troubled BookSurge. I still hope that will happen--but I know better than to hold my breath.

42 comments:

C. M. Albrecht said...

Evidently Simon & Shuster isn't so snobby when there's an easy buck to be made.

PT Dilloway, Superhero Author said...

It's absurd in this day and age for anyone to pay $25K to publish a book.

The Rodent said...

Heh heh... Yesterday The Digital Reader also eviscerated this new venture... http://www.the-digital-reader.com/2012/11/27/simon-schuster-launches-new-imprint-to-fleece-self-published-authors/

David Gaughran said...

I'm not sure why you are rolling your eyes. When we called for change, we didn't ask publishers to make things *worse*.

Francis Hamit said...

This is way overpriced for what it delivers and the entire paradigm is moving away from print. E-books an be produced, even with a contractor for formatting, for a few hundred dollars. Lightning Source/ Ingram Digital will print your books for you, with your brand. . Bowker will sell you ISBNs. Cover art can be found through Freelancer.com at very reasonable prices. It takes a little effort but DIY is not all that hard.

C.S. Severe said...

So basically you have to be rich to publish a book. Yeaaaah, I'll pass thank you very much. :)

Christine Tripp said...

Just saw this news on a writers/illustrators group this morning. I said there, will say here, S&S should be ashamed. They have likely partnered up with AS, because it costs nothing to do so. I am assuming lending their name was enough for AS to cut penguin in on the profits, which will certainly grow because of the association?
On the AS web site they have already posted they are now part of the Penguin group and the YouTube featured on their site is just very sad. Most especially the cancer victim who published to leave something of herself behind. Does S&S not care about profiting from that kind of thing? I suppose not.
The children's package is just ridiculous!!

>your book will be drawn by hand and colored digitally. At this level of artistry, your Archway Publishing illustrator will add basic shadows and highlights to objects and scenery, giving your book’s artwork a greater level of depth and dimension.<

WOW, for just under $400 you can add 6 ( yes 6 only as far as i can see) digital drawings to your book, and COOL, there will be basic shading!!!!

David Gaughran said...

Hi Victoria,

You might remember that I told you a month or two ago about Author House calling up a prospective customer and asking them "if they wanted to be published by Penguin" saying that Penguin would help market their book etc.

You asked me to let you know if I heard any further reports of Author Solutions companies using Penguin's name in this way. Well, this morning I got a comment on my post about the S&S/ASI link-up. Here it is in full:

***

I very nearly got sucked into Xlibris ... Still trying to get my money back.

They told me that with Penguin buying them they could, basically, guarantee that penguin would look at my book and because it was so good (she'd read the first couple of pages) they would definitely pick it up - the next 50 shades I was told I would be!

They talk a good game and definitely take advantage of the unaware newbie author.

I'm just glad people like you are warning others and saving so many people money and heartache.
Well done.
Thanks
Khloe


***

The comment is here if you want to read it (scroll down, it's comment #108 near the bottom): http://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/simon-schuster-joins-forces-with-author-solutions-to-rip-off-writers/

And if you want me to put you in touch with Khloe, let me know.

Dave

Christine Tripp said...

But don't forget Francis, self publishing through the practical, proper and business like channels will not give one that "association" with a big name publisher, it will not include that hinted at dream of being "discovered" by Penguin:)
Your comparing facts to fantasy and fantasy has a way of trumping all, sadly, for most new writers:)

Christine Tripp said...

Dave, did Penguin buy AS?

R.M. Prioleau said...

So this is pretty much S&S sitting back and letting the author shell out their life's savings with a figment of hope that they might make it big someday. If their book happens to 'slip through the cracks' and become a best-seller, then S&S will immediately snatch them up and bank on the money themselves, leaving the author with pennies'-worth of revenue.

Connie said...

You did a great job of researching this in depth.

I looked at the terms they were offering and when I got to the $1,500 to $25,000 price tags, I clicked out. I didn't even care about the negative associations this deal presented.

For a reason: About a decade ago a friend of mine wrote a cookbook. I published it for him - went out and found a printer and a bindery myself. Had 1,000 copies printed - total cost for everything was about $1,100. I had them perfect bound, which is more expensive than paperback. That price includes all the peripherals associated with getting a book into print. With doing the design and layout, it was definitely a learning experience, but fun.

Even lacking the PR resources of a company, the book did sell well. I thought I had sold out, but I found a couple of boxes buried in a closet when I recently moved, so I will now probably have to come up with another strategy to move them.

I live in the Twin Cities, so I most likely had more resources than a lot of folks, but people can do this themselves if they want hard copy.

Claude Nougat said...

Thanks, Victoria, as always your advice is excellent! The association of S&S with ASI is simply one that every newbie is likely to fall for, I'm sure they'll make a pile of $$$!

And this should serve as a good reminder to newbies that it's very, very easy to publish without incurring any costs, not just e-books but paperbacks too, using Create Space's program which is really incredibly user-friendly! I love the POD model, it avoids all storage problems...

Anonymous said...

"S&S will refer authors who submit unsolicited manuscripts to the Archway program."

It's not just that writers will give them more weight because the recommendation comes from S&S... many of them will assume that the referral is an actual "offer" to publish. In my experience most of the general public thinks authors pay publishers, if they think about it at all.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Victoria.

This was an informative and well-researched post.

If it weren't for sites like these, writers would be signing a sucker's deal.

Thanks for your hard work.

Dennis Latham said...

So now almost all publishers will be vanity publishers. I see the demise of the industry coming fast. Never thought I would see it. If a writer wants to self publish and can learn to format and do covers, the best way is to do it yourself through LS. You can do a book there for probably 100 dollars if you are willing to do the work to fit their format. Why pay a fortune to people who only want your money?

J. R. Tomlin said...

Victoria, you can roll your eyes all you want over our indignation, because the fact is that they are NOT changing the model. They are adding a new income stream by ripping authors off with over-priced services and false promises that this will get Penguin to look at their work.

You want to tell me how that is "changing their business model". Well, all right, maybe now actually ripping people off instead of merely having draconian contract terms is. But hardly for the better.

Victoria Strauss said...

David Gaughran said,

"I'm not sure why you are rolling your eyes. When we called for change, we didn't ask publishers to make things *worse*."

I'm not talking specifically about pubs allying with ASI--which I've criticized consistently since Thomas Nelson established West Bow Press (which, IMO, is presented in a much more deceptive manner than Archway Publishing). That is worthy of condemnation.

What I mean is that there seems to be a general condemnation in the self-pub community for trad publishers having self-publishing divisions at all. The outrage over Book Country is one demonstration of this, I think. Book Country did not get in bed with ASI--it created its own service from scratch. But it was greeted with the same outrage, and the same accusations of "Traditional Publisher Goes Vanity!", as the ASI ventures.

As I've said, I understand why trad pubs want to get into self-publishing. It's lucrative, and (like agents, who are increasingly branching out into adjunct businesses and services) trad pubs need to find new ways of supporting their core operations. There needs to be separation and integrity, of course. If S&S had done something similar to Book Country, I'd have looked just as closely at the service and at the way it was being pitched--but depending on what I found, I might well not have had the same concerns. I'm willing to bet however, that much of the criticism on the wider Internet--which is currently focusing on ASI, but which I think has at its heart a profound conviction, on the part of trad pub supporters and opponents alike, that trad publishing should never sully itself by dabbling in pay-to-play--would have been very much the same.

Victoria Strauss said...

Dave--thanks for alerting me to that comment. I would definitely like to be put in touch with Khloe--thanks.

J. R. Tomlin said...

Victoria, when you pay thousands of dollars up-front, that is vanity publishing and not self-publishing as many of US understand it. KDP, PubIt, iApple are self-publishing. I would have less criticism of them, though if their serves weren't ridiculously over-priced and if there wasn't the whole implication of getting something that they just do NOT get-an in with a big publisher.

If the Big 5 (or however many they've reduced themselves to now) ever get into self-publishing, it will be an interesting event. So far they have not. You are simply wrong to say that they have. What they have done is glom onto old-fashioned rip-off vanity publishing and tried to pass it off as self-publishing as it is now known. I am truly sorry to see you either helping them or buying into it.

I think your own general condemnation of self-publishing and those of us who self-publish is blinding you.

Victoria Strauss said...

JR Tomlin--

I don't condemn self-publishing. I counsel taking the advocacy with a grain of salt, and making the decision to self-publish (or to seek traditional publishing) on the basis of knowledge and a sober assessment of your goals, rather than on the basis of the hype and misinformation that's everywhere around.

However, I think that in some parts of the self-pub community, anything less than a full, uncritical embrace is seen as hostile. That's too bad. Authors need to make decisions that are right for them--not what other people tell them is right for them.

As to vanity publishing: years ago, when the ASI-style services were pretty much the only game in town for self-publishers who didn't want to go to the expense or the work of hiring printers, etc., I was pilloried for pointing out that the ASI-style business model was, essentially, the same as vanity publishing. ASI called it self-publishing, and so did the people who used it. Anyone who disputed that was accused of bias.

Nowadays, with the free services--and especially with the advent of free digital services like Amazon's KDP--a lot of people have decided that "true" self-publishing is free, while any service you pay for is "vanity publishing." The EXACT SAME SERVICES, mind you, that a few years ago would cause advocates' heads to blow up if you breathed the "v" word.

And by the way, when did "self-publishing" become associated with "free"? Richard Bolles didn't self-publish "What Color Is My Parachute" for free. Richard Paul Evans didn't self-publish "The Christmas Box" for free. What about Lisa Genova, who paid for an iUniverse package to publish "Still Alice?" She's often presented as a case study of self-publishing success. Did she vanity publish?

Heather Button said...

Actually, given the way this comments conversation has steered, are there many differences at all between vanity and self-publishing?

Andrew Ashling said...

Is it only me, or has the publishing industry just reached a new low in money-grabbing indecency and cynical, parasitic behavior?

For all new authors out there: there is a simple litmus test. Money should flow to the author, not from the author.

Maia said...

Why would anyone do this-- and not only this particular Archway Publishing scam, actually. Why would anyone pay one cent for self-publishing? WHY? This is not a rhetorical question; I'm really asking. There must be some kind of strong appeal. I've read the article and all the responses, and I still don't really see any clue why any author would do this.

I know an author who paid for design of their book cover. This is totally legit. I've been using PS and AI for ten years, and by the time the final cover is done, I'll have been working on ideas for a year. So I'm not going to do that, but I can see why he did. Some people pay for line edits. I was a proofreader for two years, and I've been a beta editor since 2004 on several large boards. I'm not going to pay for line edits. But these are legitimate choices on the part of authors. But anything even REMOTELY like the Archway situation-- WHY???

(Sorry about the excessive exclamation points. And yes, I can't stop thinking of those cookies either! ;)

Anonymous said...

A few thoughts on the decline of western civilization and the pub industry's role in it all (not to mention our depraved society and mentally disordered government):

1) Simon & Shyster is just the next of major corporations to screw consumers and potential clients/employees. Author Solutions and ideological exploitation of the naive and easily deluded is the cancer that is killing publishing (not to mention American politics -- hint, hint, the "free stuff" society).

2) Self-pub will always have this stigma regardless of what the big names hope to do with it, and maybe now a bigger one. The blame lies not only with scammers like ASI (which should be drawn and quartered by the FTC, by the way) but with trashy fame whores like E.L. James. Amanda Hocking I have respect for because she is earnest and hardworking and deserves to be living her dream. She also does not write pr0n and is therefore not a fame whore. James is. She's the self-pub equivalent of Marquis De Sade, and the popularity of her book above others that might be decently or even well written but not toe-curlers like that filth renders self-pub the equivalent of amateur skin vids.

3) None of this matters anyway, since nobody reads anymore, and Fifty Shades would do better as a movie aired late at night on Skinemax or distributed on Redtube. A book? What's that? Something in the dinosaur exhibit? People are declining in literacy, and as the Internet generation ages and others die out, books will become as antiquated as land lines, typewriters and stone tablets. This is the dumbing down of our society and it's inevitable. So don't bother creating something that might have lasting impact. People would rather pay $0.99 for a burger and steal your book if they really want to. But more likely, they'll still pay $0.99 for the burger and pirate Photoshop instead to make cat memes for a site also called -- ironically enough -- "I can has cheeseburger."

End of world. End of transmission.

Maia said...

Rants are fun, but do they really ever convey any serious information? This is an issue that we *should* all be discussing seriously instead of descending into Rantland. And I'm sorry, but I really would feel that I could take posts like that more seriously if they didn't always seem to come from "Anonymous."

Giselle London said...

Simon & Schuster also just announced their new Friendly Connections division. For a modest fee, you can "connect" with a new friend, who will be your companion, attend fun events with you, hang on your every word, and give you a shoulder to cry on. It's all the benefits of friendship with none of the inconveniences.

Want to go to the movies? You get to choose. The opera? Your new friend will love it. (Or at least pretend to.) You can tell your new friend about the jerk at the office who keeps backstabbing you--and you can tell the long version--without fear that your friend will be bored after hearing it for the fourth time.

Packages start at $20 an hour for basic companionship, to $100 an hour for less-popular events such as attending knitting classes together, to a week-long post-breakup friend session where your new friend camps out on the couch with you eating Ben & Jerry's, handing you tissues, and telling you that he was a jerk and you deserve so much better. (Post-breakup sessions begin at $7000 plus expenses, with an a la carte menu for extras such as back-patting, tear-wiping, and translating your incoherent, cry-talking.

The premium package is the Simon & Schuster Post-Rejection Package. Your new friend will arrive at your door with the rejection letter from S&S for your most recently submitted manuscript. He or she will bring along two boxes of tissues, a case of wine, a case of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, two spoons, a fifth of vodka, and a lovely shadow box in which to mount your rejection slip. The new friend will stay with you for two weeks to help you recover from the rejection and to spend several days assisting you by outlining the new Archway Self-Publishing packages available to you. Please note that picking up the two-week-old tissues, empty bottles, and old ice cream cartons before your friend leaves is an optional service. Please call Simon & Schuster's new Friendly Connection division for pricing on this premium package.

Jennifer said...

I'm sorry to hear about all this - it's as if people were sheep to be fleeced by publishing companies...it's just depressing.
There are ways authors can self publish without spending a dime - but it's complicated and most people don't have the time or aren't tech-savvy enough to get an acceptable copy (thinking Lulu or Creat-a-space) and of course, the company offers 'help' for a 'small price'...

Firetulip said...

This doesn't surprise me one bit. With all these other houses providing self publishing services at hefty prices, like iUniverse and such, the traditional publishing houses see it as the revenue they are not getting, but can dip into. So why not? But for those amounts to not receive the best editing, cover and formatting as well as marketing, and shitty treatment from their customer service and the house itself, it's beyond the shame and I truly can't see why would a reputable publishing house stoop so low and partner with someone like this.

David Gaughran said...

Hi Victoria - I saw your response on Porter's blog, and I thought I should reply here too in case you don't see it:

Victoria,

I don't have a problem with publishers offering services per se, but I think clear dividing walls need to be built (a point with which I presume you agree). I argued that was not the case with Book Country. As I said in my blog post at the time:

"The head of Book Country is Molly Barton, who has been working at Penguin since 2005, and was promoted this week to the position of Global Digital Director. Book Country was set-up by Penguin, is funded by Penguin, Penguin’s logo is all over the site, and Penguin staff write blog posts for the Book Country blog. The demonstration for Book Country’s new self-publishing services was even given in Penguin’s offices."

This, of course, leads to inexperienced writers thinking they have a shot of a deal with Penguin if they go with Book Country (something Penguin play up in the promotional literature). And it also leads to articles like this one from The Guardian, which really don't help:

"Want to be published by Penguin, the historic press which is home to authors including Roald Dahl, Beatrix Potter and Kathryn Stockett? Now you can be – and for as little as $99 (£60), as Penguin’s American arm announced a move into self-publishing."

That issue aside, my problem with Book Country was (and is) two-fold: it overcharges for basic services, and then picks the unsuspecting writer's pocket a second time through grabbing a huge chunk of your royalties (despite disingenuously claiming otherwise).

I detailed all this in my blog post at the time:

http://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/penguin-launches-rip-off-self-publishing-service-targeting-inexperienced-writers/

Self-publishers aren't reacting angrily to Book Country, Author Solutions, Penguin and Simon & Schuster because of some reflexive disapproval of anything a publisher does, there is real substance to their complaints.

It springs from a desire to protect our fellow writers because we know there is a much cheaper and much more effective way to self-publish.

Dave

Frances Grimble said...

For anyone interested in self-publishing other than through a vanity press, I'd suggest the Yahoo self-publishing forum http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/Self-Publishing/. It's free and anybody can join.

Anonymous said...

So now even the last few big publishers have become vanity presses. But as long as you are cashing in, I guess you don't mind and will not put them on your "worst publishers" list.

Marion said...

While nobody ever went broke underestimating the stupidity of... etc. etc., it really sounds like S&S's strategy depends on people being very stupid indeed. Why the hell would anyone pay for "services" which are either unnecessary or cost less elsewhere? Once Amazon made self-publishing virtually "free" for e-books and inexpensive for print, they won the game. Unless these "affiliated" self-publishing scams can actually get books on store shelves (the continuing bete noir of self-publishing) this new venture is doomed. And even getting into stores grows less important every day as online shopping takes over.

Cecelia Dowdy said...

I'd be shocked to discover that S&S would actually make a good deal of money on this venture? With the plethora of e-publishing ventures out there (as you pointed out), it just seems hopeless and pointless to pay up to 25K to get a book published nowadays!!!

Kelly Hashway said...

Wow. Times are definitely changing. I'm interested to see how all this plays out.

Anonymous said...

I hope S&S puts you on their worst scam authors list and charges you one million dollars for a crappy book with your actual crappy writing unedited.

Shawn James said...

$25K to self-publish a paperback book
You can do that for under $300 if you just learn how to use the Adobe acrobat and photoshop software.

Even less if you use CreateSpace.
What a Rip.

Steve Bevilacqua said...

Excellent post! That was extremely informative, and very helpful - thanks a lot! Happy New Year!

Steve Bevilacqua said...

Btw - Victoria - I was looking through the Archway site today when tiny bells began going off in my head. So I immediately came to your blog and found this post which answered so many questions. Nice going! And thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Well, for a big company, a $25,000 package that provided real service, such as editing, distribution, and excellent illustration work, etc that would be ok. Problem is that they don't do that.

I wrote some chapters for a book put together by the military. When I saw the book I was kind of appalled. There were chapters with glaring typographical errors, and the chapter content varied from excellent to ridiculous.

The book publishing was contracted out to Praeger Security International. Praeger collected something like $25,000 from the army, and kept the copyright! They then sold the books back to the army for hundreds of dollars each.

heliotrope said...

Having worked in book and magazine publishing for decades, I can't help but balk at this rabid desire to self-publish "for free." In publishing houses, designers and editors are paid salaries. I've been among them. The assumption is that every author needs at least one other set of eyes on his or her material. Ah -- but not you clever aspirants who just wanna lay it on the world as cheaply as you can ... who exempt yourselves from editing, revisions, book design or marketing plans. Guess what? You're the flip-side of ASI. You're as dumb and greedy as they. It's honorable to pay for professional services. Maybe not 25K. But expect to pay something if you want to publish a book worth other people's time.

Self Book Publishing said...

This doesn't surprise me one bit. With all these other houses providing self publishing services at hefty prices, like iUniverse and such, the traditional publishing houses see it as the revenue they are not getting, but can dip into. So why not? But for those amounts to not receive the best editing, cover and formatting as well as marketing, and shitty treatment from their customer service and the house itself, it's beyond the shame and I truly can't see why would a reputable publishing house stoop so low and partner with someone like this.