Saturday, November 8, 2008

Five expensive ways to get into print

1. Outskirts Press, Pearl Package, $1099

“All Pearl books include professional interior layout, an ISBN number, and unlimited wholesale printing, fulfillment and distribution via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Ingram, and Baker & Taylor, among others.”

There are also Diamond, Sapphire, Emerald and Ruby Packages. Something about them turns me off, though – maybe I was just never into bling.

2. Raider Publishing Services, Silver Package, $1799

But that $1799 is completely worth it, because along with other services, you’d be paying for a “Personal Promotion Assistant”. Can I pick mine out of a catalog of assistants (young, male, 5’10” or above)?

For the Gold Package, you also get

“Professional Consultation at our main office in the EmpireStateBuilding (including flights to New York, hotel stay, extras)”

Understandably, the price for this package isn’t included on the website. If a Platinum Package ever comes into existence, may I suggest that it includes a commercial airplane with a picture of the book’s cover painted on the side?

You could use that to fly to New York.

3. Tate Publishing, $4000

“Hey! I have a contract with Tate Publishing signed...the only thing I'm trying to find is the $4000.00”

I’m kind of disappointed that this broke the “sliding scale of expenses with shiny names” pattern. Oh well.

4. Elderberry Press, over $5900

“Our fees, inclusive of all included services are:

Adult books: $5900 plus 2¢ per word all inclusive.”

Remind me again: is everything included? What’s funny is that on its main page, Elderberry Press repeatedly claims that it’s cheaper than other vanity presses.

Its mission is “To publish, distribute and promote books the way they should be at a fraction of the cost of vanity presses... A better product for less money… Though our fees are a fraction of the fees of vanity publishers…”

Well, 10/2 is a fraction.

Elderberry Press goes on to say, “For authors on a limited budget we recommend these reputable, large, inexpensive publishers:, or” Nuff said.

5. Xlibris, Platinum Package, $12,999

“The Rolls-Royce of publishing – the Platinum Service offers an exclusive world of publishing privileges and benefits.”

Someone please tell me there are no metals beyond platinum. If there are, the package would have to include a personal alternate dimension where you didn’t just spend thousands of dollars to feel like a published author.


Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness! I can't believe those outrageous prices. My favorite was the, "plus 2 cents per word."

And to think- many people fall for these scams. There is a wealth of information out there on the publishing industry. I really hope more would-be writers do their research so they're not taken in.

JH said...

Introducing the...


We do all the work of making a novel: we make notes, write drafts, revise, send for review with prestigious critics and authors, draw the cover, and present the finished product for your approval and signature. From there it goes to the printers, the book catalogs, and our sales team works 'round the clock to get it into stores. We even have our team of expert "inverse shrinkage specialists" make sure it reaches the shelves of even the most reluctant bookstores. Also included are press conferences and an appearance on one of: Oprah, The Colbert Report, Saturday Night Live, or The O'Reilly Factor. For $500,000 and the still-beating heart of an infant, the glamor and status of a Real Published Author has never been more affordable!

Marian Perera said...

Hey Tasha,

I calculate that, at two cents per word, my shortest manuscript will cost just over $2000 to print. And that's before the basic fee of nearly $6000.

Here's a new slogan for Elderberry Press: "Print 10 chapters, file for Chapter 11".

Anonymous said...

Amazing. It's horrifying to think people fall for these.

Marie said...

Oh. My. God. That Platinum package is for *300* paperbacks. $13,000 divided by 300 means that you must sell each of them for over $43 in order to break even.

Yea. I'll take my chances with a regular publisher.

Kim said...

Whoa... I guess the only thing left is the titanium package - $6k plus your firstborn child. But hey, you'll be able to say you're a Published Author! And yes, it must be capitalized! =)

Marian Perera said...

Might as well give up the firstborn child - we certainly can't afford college tuition and publication!

When I typed the above, I was making a joke - or at least, I thought I was. Then I wrote a bit more about vanity presses I'd left out, and realized that one of them was Dorrance, the oldest and one of the heavier chargers. I looked for a link about this, and a here's what I found.

"But in the letter that they sent me it says that the publishing fee is between $6,000 and $10,000 thousand dollars. Me and my husband have credit cards to pay and wev'e had countless fights about how we couldn't be able to afford to have children if we pay off that fee."

ChristaCarol Jones said...

Wow, crazy stuff. I'd say I feel sorry for the people who get suckered in, but honestly, it's their own fault. Come on! Grow some brains!

A good read, none the less, thanks as always Marian.

Marian Perera said...

Hi Marie, thanks for commenting!

Yes, even friends and family might balk at paying over forty dollars for a paperback. But just think - XLibris will send emails to one million recipients in exchange for your $13K.

We all know one million people who would be happy to get an email from us, right?

The package also includes "A complimentary paperback book of your choice from the Xlibris Bookstore". Wow, a complimentary paperback! That's like checking into the Burj Al Arab and finding a free mint on your pillow.

Marian Perera said...

Hey amybai,

It is horrifying. After browsing vanity websites - and winnowing the list down to five - I could see why so many writers leap into the webs of vanity presses which don't charge upfront - or POD micropresses which have good intentions and little else. Those must seem like answers to prayer after Xlibris and Dorrance.

When I first read this Cautionary Tale from James MacDonald, I thought it was the kind of fleecing that happened in the past.

"The fellow who called me on the phone told me he'd mortgaged his house to raise the money.

Got that, everyone? Mortgaged his house in an economically depressed area, to pay a vanity press run by blatant scammers. Talk about believing in your work. Talk about betting the farm."

But it's still going on, and the vanity presses are getting cleverer about it. The more people know about them, the better.