Dishonest vanity presses tend to be smart, both to deal with warnings about such presses and compete with each other for victims. So for instance, they claim they’re not vanity presses: they’re traditional publishers or joint-venture publishers. And they’re careful not to charge sums of money upfront. Instead, they shift their fees to some other aspect of publication that isn’t likely to register on writers’ radar.
For instance, in PublishAmerica’s case, writers are charged for their own (overpriced) books. Plus inflated shipping and handling charges. Plus advertising, corrections to mistakes made by the publisher, calls to the publisher (PA now has a 1-900 number), and so on. Strategic Book Publishing is similar. It’s amazing how many ways such outfits can take writers for the proverbial ride.
Just looking at their website first, Strategic Book Publishing claims,
We are a smaller "boutique" publisher. We seek authors that want a close relationship, and trusted counsel from their publisher. Our turnaround times are faster, and we believe we are more responsive than larger publishers.
Red flag right there. I don’t want a publisher that has a warm relationship with its “family” of authors, I want a publisher which sells books in substantial quantities or which has titles on the NYT bestseller list. Also, only vanity presses would boast of their fast turnaround times.
The rest of Strategic Book Publishing’s website doesn’t set off any DANGER WILL ROBINSON alarms, though the lack of testimonials from readers and heavy emphasis on authors doing their own marketing isn’t a good sign. However, what’s really fascinating is the link to Strategic Book Marketing - “Leading Edge Marketing Services To Help You Sell More Books”.
Cha-ching! (all color-enhancing is mine)
Book review blogs
Also, it is a good idea to optimize your Amazon listing as well, there are a some other techniques to enhance your listing, and we can do all the above for $295… We have been building a network of blog reviewers and we can get your work into their hands. We pay them a small amount so they prioritize our clients. Typically, we ask for $192 from the author to cover costs.
I’m a book review blogger for Thomas Nelson. I’m willing to bet they don’t charge their authors a cent for that service.
Internet radio talk show
A non-refundable one-time setup fee of $199.00 for our Author Exclusive package, or $149 for our 30 minute Author Showcase package, or $99 for our 15 minute Author Showcase package.
Additional shows cost $75 for each half-hour. Remember, we do all the work, all you have to do is talk about your book, yourself, and your market.
All you have to do is talk about your book, yourself, your market and the new charges on your credit card.
Audio sample of your book $99
There are more services, such as building a website, coaching, electronic press kits, author displays and so on, which don’t have charges mentioned. Instead, Strategic invites authors to email them for quotes. I can only imagine how much all this might eventually add up to.
Especially when you add fees to the list.
AEG/Strategic Book Publishing (a.k.a. Robert Fletcher) is currently offering authors a choice of buying 5 books a week for a year at list price (250 books total) or paying $675 upfront.
And all this is before the fact that if you’ve had dealings with Strategic, the Florida Attorney General wants to hear from you. This place is best avoided.