Saturday, October 8, 2011

Thomas Nelson : Send referrals to vanity press

A year or so ago I signed up for Thomas Nelson’s book blogger program (called BookSneeze), and now I request occasional copies of their books to review. The books arrive quickly, there are no obligations to give a positive review and I’ve come across more than one keeper this way.

But a few days ago, the BookSneeze team sent me an email titled “An Exciting Offer from Our Friends at WestBow Press‏”.

Houston, we may have a problem. WestBow Press is Thomas Nelson’s vanity-publishing arm, and made it to the top position in my list of the most expensive ways to be printed. So I thought they were offering me a chance to see my work in print for $999 and up.


Use your blog to earn revenue and guide Christian writers. As a BookSneeze® Blogger, you are passionate about books.

But as a writer, I’m passionate about writers being paid for their hard work.

The WestBow Press Affiliate Program rewards influential bloggers like you with $100 for every referral you make, once that referral publishes their book.

Well, obviously they’ve never read my blog.

I’m fine with earning a little through my blog. Although I draw the line at Google ads and any content over which I have no say, I’m an Amazon affiliate and promote Swag Bucks here as well. On the other hand, that’s because I use both Amazon and Swag Bucks myself, and like the services they provide.

But there’s no way in hell I could promote WestBow Press as a good thing when writers will be $999 poorer right off the bat. Even the ten free paperbacks they get with the cheapest package aren’t entirely free. According to WestBow, “Packages include the cost of the free books, but you’re responsible to pay the cost of shipping and handling.”

Why doesn’t the email suggest I refer writers to Thomas Nelson? Wouldn’t that be a better choice for writers than a vanity press asking for a grand at the very least?

Use your blogging influence to empower others, and earn something for yourself in return. Since there's no added cost or effort required on your part, every published referral is pure profit for you.

I’m not interested in being a Judas goat for any amount of profit.

Other bloggers, especially if they aren’t aware of WestBow’s exorbitant prices, may well sign up for this. But I also hope this attempt to get referrals indicates that vanity presses are feeling the pinch as more and more writers resort to affordable self-publishing instead.

And that’s just fine by me.


Robert Collins said...

Hm, well, that's new. In fact, thinking it over, it sounds like an idea off the top of someone's head. Sadly, sometimes the promise of money overtakes people's better judgement. I hope no one goes along with it, and I hope you're right that it's a sign of desperation.

Angela Ackerman said...


I am with you 100%. In fact, this is one of the reasons why I don't do ads and such--I don't have total control over what gets promoted and I could end up with site ads that try and scam writers. Uh, NO THANKS!

colbymarshall said...

Eep! Sounds...scary. I hope this is not something that catches on.

Marian Perera said...

Robert - I suppose the only good thing is that WestBow is upfront about being a vanity press. People who don't have a thousand dollars lying around the house (or who have better uses for the money) will probably go elsewhere.

At least I hope that's what they'll do, rather than taking the money out of their emergency funds or something.

Angela - Yes, that's one reason I'll never have Google ads here or on my website. Too many of those are from vanity presses or outright scams.

Colby - I'd just like to know if bloggers who do recommend WestBow are upfront about the kickback. :)