Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Five even more expensive ways to be printed

Inspired by the recent Harlequin developments, I searched for more vanity presses and found an even heftier price tag for vanity publishing than xLibris’s $13K Platinum Package. This post is the sequel to Five expensive ways to be printed and Five more expensive ways to get into print.

We’ll start with the cheapest, though. That’s the upfront vanity arm of a “traditional publishing company” created by an ex-PA author.

1. Publish4U, $725

As well as calling itself self-publishing to appear more palatable, this press’s spiel includes the usual claims – self-publishing is the wave of the future, commercial publishers don’t want you unless you’re a celebrity, etc.

Wait! There's more ... you will also receive 15 copies of your book, gratis! Our gift to you.

And you’ll only have to sell each book for $48.33 to recoup your investment.

2. Pinnacle Package, AuthorHouse $1999

That’s the basic fee for this package. There’s an additional $500 to have the printing expedited, and editing can be up to $0.084/word. Which may not seem like a lot, put this way, but that means editing for my 116,000-word manuscript Before the Storm would cost $9744.

3. EntryWay Publishing $2500

Entry Way Marketing will retain 10-25 copies of the book (for which the writer paid? -- Marian) in order to help you sell the books. Of these books, 5 or more will be designated towards booksigning events. When a booksigning event is scheduled, 10 of the books will be shipped ahead of time to the bookstore location so that you will not have to worry with getting them there. This amount automatically ensures you two book events.

What’s really scary, after reading the above paragraph, is that this operation charges for editing as well.

4. Video Plus Package, Westbow Press $6499

This package includes “80 Free Paperback Copies” and “20 Free Hardcover Copies”. I’m glad they’re free. Imagine how much they would cost if you didn’t fork over $6500 for them.

You also get a “Complimentary Author Copy” and a “Windshield Flyer”. Apparently just the one, maybe so you can sell your one Complimentary Author Copy.

5. The Writers’ Collective $18,000

If I hadn’t read it for myself, I might not have believed it.

Our authors typically pay an average of $2k-$3k for pre-press charges which include a digital galley run. Add another $10k for a 5000 copy print run (hard cover) and $5k for a publicist, and you’re up to about $18,000, paid out over the year it takes to launch the book.

Plus, this has got to be one of the most unprofessional websites I’ve ever seen, even for a vanity press. The “What’s New” page leads to an article about how the “publisher” lost 65 pounds with some sort of aquatic aerobic exercise.

Writers, of course, stand to lose a whole lot more.


Randall said...

It's good to know that there's something more expensive than Horizons, or as it is now to be known, Dellarte.

Aside to Harlequin: when in a hole, stop digging!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the heads-up. I'm planning to give my book proposal a full-court press in 2010 and I had considered self-publishing.

colbymarshall said...

I think I'm going to stick to the they pay me way, even if I never get there ;-)

Mary Witzl said...

I'm sending the link to this post to a friend of mine right now. He has a good, riveting WWII memoir he's been working on for ages, but is unaware that there are sharks out there eager for fresh blood, masquerading as Good People who want to help you publish your book.

They pay you -- bottom line. The road to publication may not be smooth or easy, but the finished product has to be something you can be proud of.

Anonymous said...

For $6500 dollars I could take an amazing vacation somewhere, or I could buy my own books and receive a free windshield flyer.


Marian Perera said...

Randall : no matter how expensive a vanity press is, there's a costlier one out there. It's like some immutable law of the universe.

What I find most interesting is how they justify the costs. So many different spins on this.

Marian Perera said...

jeffwinbush : Hi, and thanks for commenting!

Self-publishing can work for some books - usually, specialized non-fiction with a niche audience. And it's generally a better bet than going with a vanity press.

What's your book about? And best of luck!

Marian Perera said...

Colby - You'll get there. Of that I have no doubt. :)

Tasha - For $6500 you could have an awesome vacation in Dubai. Lots of sun and shopping.

I thought it was funny how people there paid $$$ to visit the indoor ski slope, but I came to Canada and got far more snow for free.

Marian Perera said...

Mary - if this post helps your friend, that's wonderful. The informed use of vanity presses is fine, but I'd like to reduce the number of serious but inexperienced writers who get caught.