We’ve got a wonderful little public library that’s a pleasant leafy walk away from home. Tom goes there nearly every week to borrow new magazines and books. We pay a lot of taxes to the city so, in a fair civic exchange, we save a bit of money in the cost of magazine subscriptions.
My mother always had a lot of magazines around and I learned to read with them. I love magazines to this day and regularly look over science magazines for research and ideas.
If the new issue is there, Tom will check out for me a writer’s magazine aimed squarely at aspiring writers. Ads for writers’ conventions, editors-for-hire, contests with entry fees, and other gimmicks to pick the unwary author’s pocket abound. But I glance the articles over in case I find any useful information and sometimes I do.
An article about “Partnership Publishing” from a recent issue caught my attention and I want to alert you, too. The article was written by a “literary agent” who “guides” aspiring authors into what I can only call yet another scam. One wonders who pays the agent’s commission—the unwary author who retains her or the “partnership publishers” she lines them up with. Maybe both.
Here’s how her spin starts out (and I quote):
“Authors embracing partnership publishing….are often tired of the hoops they have to jump through for the implied ‘stamp of legitimacy’ conferred by the traditional publishing industry.”
Okay, so are independent authors tired of the hoops. But independent authors can publish their books virtually for free if they’re willing to invest a little time in researching format, editing and proofing their own work, and learning how to put together a nice cover. None of those tasks are impossible or expensive.
The article goes on with the sales pitch: “Partnership publishers are modeled on traditional presses….Partnership presses typically publish their books in both print and e-formats and the traditional print distribution they offer is a big selling point as the self-pub world turns ever more digital.”
Hmm. Well, you as an independent author can also publish your book in print and ebook formats. But it’s quite true, independents still can’t compete with traditional publishers and traditional print distribution. This, as I’ve noted before in this blog, is the major hurdle for independent publishing. I haven’t seen it surmounted by anyone or any publisher yet other than a Big Five imprint.
Now the article tosses a sweetener into the mix: “While many review outlets are still trying to figure out how to classify partnership books, as of July 2014 Publishers Weekly began allowing partnership and other “hybrid” publishers to submit for reviews.”
Well, yes. Publishers Weekly also allows independently published books to be submitted for reviews—for $175 per six months. An established review venue like Book List will take your book for review—for a couple thousand bucks, including an ad. And on it goes. Everybody’s out to offer authors traditional services–for a price. It’s disgusting. And for the record, I haven’t seen any books published by partnership publishers on any bestseller list nor have I heard of any of these publishers prior to reading this article.
And now for clincher (I quote from the article again):
“Authors bear not only the cost of editing and production, but marketing and publicity…Partnership publishing is curated with a focus on quality and marketability. Partnership publishers—often staffed by seasoned book professionals, including acquisition editors and knowledgeable publishers at the helm—vet submissions just as traditional publishers do, culling those they feel have the greatest potential.”
Wait, wait. You have to pay to jump through those tired old hoops imposed by traditional publishers? And who are these acquisition editors? If they’re seasoned book professionals, why are they working for a scam like this instead of for a legitimate publisher?
And now for the sticker price:
“For some authors, the cost of partnership publishing can seem prohibitive…Authors who’ve selected pay-to-publish models have found it to be a $ 5,000–$ 10,000 investment, not including printing costs.”
Let me get this straight: one of these publishers is going to turn down an author willing and able to pony up ten grand to be “selected”? Are you kidding me?
So there you have it, my friends. If you simply want to write your memoirs and send copies to your family and friends, you can easily do that with some research into formatting and cover creation and do it yourself for free or a minimal cost. If you’ve got a compelling story to tell and want to present that to the world but feel you need help with editing, proofreading, and cover creation, you need only google people who will do any of those tasks for a price and, after researching them, hire someone yourself. You don’t need a middleman for that!
And if you want to become a professional writer, you need to educate yourself, read extensively, work hard, take your work out to professional markets, and take your chances.
As I’ve written in this blog many, many times, being a writer isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme!
Previous blog in this series:
State of the Biz: Publishing 2015, Part 1: Is Independent Publishing Dead? https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/12/08/state-of-the-biz-publishing-2015-part-1-is-independent-publishing-dead-lisa-mason-sfwapro/
State of the Biz: Publishing 2015, Part 2: The Smashwords Speech: What Does It Mean? https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/12/19/state-of-the-biz-publishing-2015-part-2-the-smashwords-speech-what-does-it-mean-lisa-mason-sfwapro/
From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo.
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