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10-02-2002, 12:53 AM
okay, I'm giving these people a thumbs down. I just got a shipment of books and the quality of the covers is much worse than the initial "courtesy copy." The image is so dark, you can hardly read parts of the title, let alone see the graphics.

Also, they supposedly do a "professional press release"- not only was it poorly written, but it had actual spelling, syntax, and grammar errors!!

They were also bad about making mistakes and trying to charge me for them.

12-20-2002, 02:09 AM
I have been going through hell with this company for 5 months. All the mistakes they have made are their own but yes, they do love to charge you for them at the tune of $75 per hour. The cover proof they sent me was amazingly bad. They assured me that it would not really look like that and the printer was "tired" ?!?!

01-04-2003, 09:01 AM
I just want to say that half of the authors that are published through 1stBooks shouldn't be! If there were not such establishments as 1stBooks then these so called authors wouldn't even have a published book. So those who complain about service charges and sometimes variable print quality should stop and think "I'm just glad that someone FINALLY published my book". My final point here is....in the end your book is published, isn't it?:)

01-04-2003, 11:42 AM
Yes, their books are published. However, these writers paid for a service and should receive a quality product. 1stBooks is a business, and to stay in business they need to give their customers what they want. And what they want is a well printed book devoid of obvious errors and mistakes.

03-27-2003, 01:18 AM

How could you say something so idiotic. If someone pays for a service they should get what they paid for.

1stBooks claims to use "quality trade" meaning they offer the highest quality paper to print your book and "top notch" binding to put it all together. They also claim your cover will be beautifully designed with a glossy cover in full color.

You say "half of the authors that are published through 1stBooks shouldn't be!"

If they pay their money they are entitled to good service. They would be stupid to except less than what 1stBooks promised. And even more stupid to just say "I'm just glad that someone FINALLY published my book"

What you posted does not make COMMON sense.

05-18-2003, 05:19 AM
I dissagree with your comment. It is not merely about getting a book published. Its about getting an audience to read a book you worked hard on and paid for a service you thought was promising. I sincerely hope you don't think writers only write to get published. No, we write to share our book, with hopes, to everyone. You could go to any printer to get a book printed, but if it sits silently on you bookshelf or hiden in bookstore websites, it is not meeting your fullfilment. I sympathize with those who have paid for inadequate services.

05-21-2003, 10:20 PM
It would seem the old adage..."You get what you pay for!"...doesn't ring true in this case. I've seen their fee schedule and it scares me, being a retired military and living on a fixed income I can ill afford their "services".:rolleyes

05-21-2003, 11:10 PM
I just read the statement down there in support of 1st books. There's no way that you can be, or ever were a professional. If you are in the employ of that company, you should be fired for even supporting such a claim that, "half the books that they published, shouldn't be." I did not have a book published by this company, but I am a professional writer. If a company cannot provide the services that they advertise, then they should not be in business. There are plenty of other places their clients can turn to. However, they paid a company to do the job right, so it should be done right.

05-22-2003, 12:06 PM
The problem here is not necessarily 1st Books. Let me explain. The quality control issues that 1st Books have, comes directly from Lightning Source--they are the printer for 1st Books. Lay most all the blame at the feet of LSI.

05-22-2003, 09:44 PM
the publisher [NOT the writer] contracts with the printer for turning out the finished product... if the product is substandard and/or not what the publisher promised to the writer in their contract, it's the publisher who bears the brunt of 'blame' not to mention legal liability...

the publisher can pass said blame on down to the printer and sue to recover losses, but it's the publisher who was responsible for accepting the bad work on behalf of his client, the writer...

to excuse the publisher from even a portion of this blame would be both wrong and adding insult to injury...

love and hugs, maia

05-23-2003, 01:00 AM
Of course 1st Books shares responsibility, but since they contract their printing with LSI, once orders go into the wholesale distribution system, 1st Books does not see each of those books--the bookstores and end users do. And this is LSI's achilles heel: their abysmal quality control.

I am not apologizing for 1st Books. I am an author and publisher of three books printed at LSI. I am moving all my printing to another place. LSI has been nothing but a pain in the rear on quality control.

Until POD printing gets better, count me out.

Love To Love You Baby
05-30-2003, 02:20 PM
I am being published by a traditional publisher. I received a contract in June 2002 and I barely remembered 1st books until I came to this site. About 1st Books I got contacted by them two years ago. I ran like diarrhea from them as fast as my legs could carry me! I knew what a lot of writers don't...NEVER go with a publisher
( or in this case, a mere printer ) that looks for writers. It's not smart. No reputable publisher is going to seek a writer out. They are too busy going through that junk pile from two months earlier, trying to find a star. I read over the thing because I was curious, than I threw it in the trash with the quickness! All that BS in the packet they said about getting authors reviews and websites and book signings. Where, at the local fish market? I already knew POD books didn't get respect and neither did the authors. They weren't fooling me for a minute and I never found out how they got my address. Anyway, I knew all the horror stories about POD companies. Authors clogged writers' websites galore sobbing about the raw deal they had gotten from these companies. One lady said a POD company lied and told her she'd be in book stores. A woman from 1st Books said that they sold in book stores. ( I am almost positive that's a big lie ). If you think of going POD again...don't do it. If your momma begs for you to...don't do it. If your dog needs a transplant and this is your only way...don't do it! From the words of Chris Rock " Just don't do it. "

Love To Love You Baby
05-30-2003, 02:28 PM
:lol I don't know what that big five hundred dollar fee they give authors goes to. Because from what I heard Stevie Wonder could do a better job printing those books and editing them than the people ( if anyone )hired to do it. I wouldn't be surprised if they had little kids in their printing the books. You never know these days right? Well at least with Stevie you'd get publicity. The only publicity I see for POD authors are legal matters and lawsuits. I agree with someone who mentioned that these companies should be banned. Goodbye!

06-12-2003, 02:59 AM
Regarding this statement:
" The only publicity I see for POD authors are legal matters and lawsuits."

You have not been looking hard enough.

Delights from the Garden of Eden
By Nawal Nasrallah
New York Times 4/2/03

My Three Years Working for Michael Jackson
by Robert W. Wegner
Featured on NBC's The Today Show, Extra, CNN American Morning with Paula Zahn, and Inside Edition

The Guide to Identity Theft Prevention
by Johnny R. May, CPP
Featured on NBC's Nightly News with Tom Brokaw

Terrific Wedding Tips: For a Joyful and Stress-free Celebration
by Judy Sangregorio and Yvonne Hemsey Tepper
As seen on The Early Show (CBS)

Saturday Night Live - Equal Opportunity Offender: The Uncensored Censor
by William G. Clotworthy
"[Bill's] sense of humor and creativity are in full evidence in this beautifully written book."
—Jerry Stiller, actor/comedian (King of Queens, Seinfeld)

Undercover White Trash
by David L. Kilpatrick
Featured in Fort Worth, Texas magazine and won 2nd place in ForeWord Magazine's humor category
Movie rights just optioned by Remarkable of Los Angeles

Golf for the People: Bethpage and the Black
by Philip Young
Reviewed in Newsday and other national newspapers. Author interviewed on CNN's "Business Unusual."

Bad Blood: A Long Island Mystery
by David E. Feldman
Featured in The New York Times (Long Island Section)

Spiritual Marketing
by Joe Vitale
Author is an Amazon.com Bestseller.

Grampas Are For All Seasons
by Richard J. Ward
Featured in Harvard Magazine, The Dartmouth Chronicle (c. 5,600+), and The New Bedford Standard-Times (c. 39,000+)

The Little Guide to Happiness: How to Smile Again
by Michael Kevin Naselli
Featured on WCNY-TV, in the The Syracuse Post-Standard (c. 90,000+) and Central New York's Table Hopper (c. 60,000).

Anthrax: The Game
by Dwan G. Hightower
Featured in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (c. 408,000+)

Practical Home Theater
by Mark Fleischmann
Featured in The Hartford Courant (c. 207,000+) and The Baltimore Sun (c. 314,000+)

Alpine Achievement
by Lori J. Batcheller
Featured on CNN International (viewership 150,000,000+)

From the Attic to Military Museums
by Robert Parker Fondes
Featured in The Bradenton Herald (c. 60,000+), The Port Charlotte Herald-Tribune (c. 30,000+) and recognized by United States Secretary of State Colin Powell

Gut Check
by Dr. Jeffrey M. Aron
Featured in The San Francisco Chronicle (c. 456,000+)

by F.P. Dorchak
Featured on the Internet's paranormal radio broadcast Nightsearch.net

Rez Dogs Eat Beans
by Gordon Johnson
Featured in Riverside, CA's The Press-Enterprise (c. 173,000+)

A Gathering of Souls
by Christopher Taylor
Featured on ABC News and The Los Angeles Daily News

Catalina Hideaway
by Holly Brugman
Featured in The San Diego Union-Tribune (c. 381,000+).

I'm Gonna Teach
by Kenneth S. Karcinell
Interview by The Nassau Herald (c. 750,000+).

This Bo Peep Ain't No Fairy Tale!
by Murray Silver
Interviewed on WSAV-TV (viewership 100,000+) in Savannah, Georgia

Six Days in January...
by Frederick Cooper
Book of the Month selection for AA Online book club

The Shadow of The Succubus
by John Condenzio
Nominated for one of the best horror books of the past year by Blood Moon Rising Magazine

Auto Accident Personal Injury Insurance Claim
by Dan Baldyga
Featured in The Wall Street Journal

The New Gorgon
by Byron R. Bufkin
Featured in The Cleveland The Plain Dealer (c. 378,000+)

The Essential Legal Guide for the Professional Wrestler
by Eric C. Perkins, Esq.
Featured in The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel (c. 274,963+)

Full Circle on the Mountain
by Linda Gardner
Selected as book of the month Woman's Day magazine

Real Fatherhood
by Bob Kamm
As seen on CNN and featured in The Washington Post (c. 762,000+)

Patrick Gilligan Says Be Your Own Boss!
by Patrick Gilligan
Featured on Entrepreneur.com

Growing Season
by T. Jensen Lacey
Native American freelance journalist and contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul series

HEROES or Something
by Brad Kennedy
Reviewed in The Star-Ledger (c. 407,000+) and featured in New Jersey's Daily Record (c.50,000+)

Secrets Men Have Told Me: What Turns Men On & What Turns Them Off!
by JoAnna Nicholson
Highlighted in September issue of Cosmopolitan magazine

Celia, Army Nurse and Mother Remembered
by Pamela McLaughlin
Featured in the Boston Herald (c. 265,000+).

The Ugly Carrot
by Ann Marfey
Featured in Albany's The Times Union (c. 100,000+)

Internal Accounting
by Emanuel F. Schwartz
Featured in Raleigh, NC's The News and Observer (c. 159,000+)

Boston's Blues
by Art Simas
Featured in Worcester's Telegram & Gazette (c. 100,000+)

The Arbiter
by Charles Jackson
Featured in The Hartford Courant (c. 207,000+)

All My Love, Forever
by Dale Stephen Lane
Featured in The Indianapolis Star (c. 226,000+)

Let's review:

Today Show, Extra, CNN, Inside Edition, NBC Nightly News, The Early Show etc..

New York Times, San Fran Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Womans Day, Cosmo etc..

I bet every traditionally published authors would like to see the same media coverage the above POD author's have received.

How many of YOU have been an Amazon best seller? You may not be Joe Vitale, but if you published with a traditional publisher would it not be easier for you to make the best seller's list? He did it and his book is with 1stBooks Library. Strange hun? A POD book selling in large enough quantities to be an Amazon.com best seller. How is that possible? Maybe it's a good book.

Here's a good article written by MJ Rose you all might find very interesting.

www.pw.org/mag/0305/rose.htm (http://www.pw.org/mag/0305/rose.htm)

Fred L Volz
06-12-2003, 03:02 AM
Wow! 1st Books rakes some folks over the coals so that means all POD's are evil? Hey folks, first of all POD is a printing technology, not a publisher. POD providers are basically a self publishing assistance and services.You can have twelve POD service providers and each would have its own way of doing things, its own level of quality and its own share of customers who think they've been snookered. There are some good POD service providers out there and some not so good ones. 1st books, Iuniverse and Xlibris rate poorly as far as I am concerned. The smaller ones like Aventine Press, PageFree and virtualbookworm.com are easier to deal with, offer better deals and are more honest with their ads. There is a reason the larger ones have the top spaces in the search engines. It's because they spend your money getting there!If you want an honest assessment of POD, go to Clea Saal's booksandtales.com. She has done far more research than most folks and has a good line on the POD experience. Have Fun!8)

Anonymous me
06-12-2003, 11:37 AM
I tried to get 1st books to understand that the typical 100 page humor book at Barnes and Noble sells for $4.95 and their price of nearly $8 for the same genre of book would make make mine overpriced. Even worse, that version of book wouldn't even have a printed spine.

Right here in LA, I can get a 100 page humor book printed by a quality printer for about $1.50 each with a nominal run of a few hundred books.

1st Books has more work to do.

06-16-2003, 06:46 AM
I asked 1stBooks for an information package and received a coloring book of how their process works. They even included crayons!

06-16-2003, 11:44 PM
Let's do some homework. I plugged in the newspaper articles into Lexis-Nexus search for the past five years. I also verified that all the sources listed are included in Lexis-Nexus.

>Delights from the Garden of Eden
>By Nawal Nasrallah
>New York Times 4/2/03

No such review exists.

>Bad Blood: A Long Island Mystery
>by David E. Feldman
>Featured in The New York Times (Long Island Section)

No such review found in Lexis-Nexus

>Anthrax: The Game
>by Dwan G. Hightower
>Featured in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (c. 408,000+)

No such review.

>Gut Check
>by Dr. Jeffrey M. Aron
>Featured in The San Francisco Chronicle (c. 456,000+)

No mention

>Real Fatherhood
>by Bob Kamm
>As seen on CNN and featured in The Washington Post (c. 762,000+)

No mention in the Post.

>Celia, Army Nurse and Mother Remembered
>by Pamela McLaughlin
>Featured in the Boston Herald (c. 265,000+).

No mention.

>The Arbiter
>by Charles Jackson
>Featured in The Hartford Courant (c. 207,000+)

You guessed it -- no mention.

Let's review: Seven supposed articles, none verified.

Sounds like that list is pure fiction.

06-26-2003, 06:36 PM
Maybe, I am just one of the lucky ones. I have had success with 1stbooks. I know several other people that I have had the pleasure of partnering with on book signings who feel the same. First of all, with POD, it is the writer's responsibility to send in well written and edited work. They warn you of that from the get go. Any issues I had have been responded to and fixed immediately. I was not charged extra. POD was my first choice. I am not some writer who had their manuscript rejected time after time and then decided to go POD. I never submitted it to anyone. I do not use their marketing package because I have the know how to do it myself and I do it well. I also know writers who use their marketing kit and are doing well. In addition, the writers' I know who use 1stbooks are not people who saw them as a last result just to say "thank goodness I'm published". My cover is great. 1stbooks did what I asked in regards to my cover and it works well with the story. Sorry to hear that so many of you have had trouble with 1stbooks. However, I can not agree with you.

06-27-2003, 11:33 PM
When 1stBooks handled my book, they only charged me for correcting mistakes I'd made. They made a few small ones also but didn't charge for correcting those. I designed the cover and they reproduced it quite well. One batch was not done properly and they replaced it without charge. This was all in November, 2001. I was basically pleased with their service:) :)

06-28-2003, 04:44 AM
Why should someone have too pay a publisher to publish a book. I rather someone appreciate my work on its own merit.

06-28-2003, 07:05 AM
The answer: sometimes you have a book you believe in that "falls between the cracks" of traditional publishing, and you want to give it a chance. My POD book is doing quite well -- getting good reviews (see www.agikissfiction.com), and has sold over 800 copies so far. I'm doing the marketing myself, to specialty markets to which I have access. Published friends tell me their publishers don't do much for them and lose interest quickly after the book is out, and some are considering POD next time. Sure, I hope to get my next book published by a regular publishing house, but I'm not sorry I took the initiative and did POD.

07-09-2003, 02:26 AM
I thought I'd add my experience to the mix as I just received a copy of my book "Deco Tech: Designs for Coloring" which I published through 1stBooks.

I chose them primarily because I had received a copy of one of their books as a sample from a printer who was quoting a run of 1000 books that I'd be publishing myself, and it was a nicely produced book. Having self-published before I knew that connections were the key to succeeding with any book and I had none. I researched the cost of 1stBooks and a few other POD's and realized that for the same cost of my initial run of 1000 (on my lowest quote) I'd be able to have 1stBooks publish it and also take advantage of some of their advertising options, as well as benefit from a direct line into the book industry. So I submitted my book and began the process.

These are the problems I had:

1 - I was told my images could be their original 7.5 x 10 inch size which wasn't true
2 - I was told I could submit my files in Adobe Illustrator EPS format - also not true
3 - Some designer re-designed my gorgeous cover for no reason and made it look goofy
4 - I was supposedly able to buy my book at "wholesale" but it turns out that in the information I was sent "wholesale" was meant to be the discounted price on their website which was $11.95 (instead of the retail price of $12.95). The most common wholesale rate in the industry is %45 of retail so I thought I be getting my books for really cheap.

The solutions:

1. The images were shrunk to 6 x 8 inches. I'm only cool with this alteration because now the images will fit well into a matted 8 x 10 inch frame - giving me an added feature for marketing. 1stBooks did offer to refund my money when this mistake was discovered - but I figured it was a good publishing opportunity before and it still was.
2. Turns out I needed pdf pages in one file - as the free Adobe Acrobat program allows you to save only one page files I couldn't provide this and I wasn't about to go buy the program. I was informed that it would normally cost over $200.00 to have them "merge the files" but they would waive the fee as it was their mistake.
3. I re-submitted my original cover and told them to use it instead of the re-designed one which they did.
4. I re-read their information and it states I can buy the book for "the wholesale price (as shown on our website)." As I didn't know the book would be listed at a lower price than retail I had no way of knowing that this wholesale cost would be more than the industry standard - I essentially feel that this was a mistake in my expectations and I could've figured out the cost (within range anyway) had I bothered to ask or research their site. I don't intend to buy a lot of copies of my book anyway - I'm trying to sell it!

The "payment schedule" is a way for you to choose the price for your book (on the web and retail), not a fluctuating royalty rate. You're given a selection of prices and told what you will get from each sale - both from their site and in retail/online stores. I felt that the average price was reasonable and that's what I chose. I feel that this system is a way for them to please each authors individual preferences while still giving 1stBooks some control over the books price and I'd rather have a selection to choose from than just be told what it will be. I could have used the "schedule" to bring my books cost to me down by making the 1stBooks website price lower, but this would inhibit in-store sales of my book - again I believe this was a well thought out way to maintain some control while providing options that would appeal to authors and I think it's better to have a choice in the matter so I appreciate this system.
As to the quality of the book - the colors are bright and the black is solid on the cover. the inside pages have solid black headers and footers which came out a little faded but with text this wouldn't be a problem; the lines for the images are crisp and clear...

I'm satisfied with 1stBooks. I'm planning another volume of coloring designs and I intend to go with them again - unless another publisher decides to publish my series of books and makes a good offer... I do retain the rights to my work so I'm free to approach other publishers and I can remain open in regards to the future of my book. In the meantime I have a professional (though not perfect) copy of my book on the market that I'm free to promote/sell which comes naturally to me as I like my book! I won't know what the sales are like for a few months, but people seem to like Deco Tech so far and I've only just started promoting it...

I'd suggest that if you choose 1stBooks address any concerns you have via email so you will have a record of their response should any problems or discrepencies arise.
I'd also suggest that you have a good idea of what you want for your cover in your mind before you approach them - a professional cover will help sell your book and the more it reflects what you've written the happier you will be. Think of symbolism you think is important, what style and colors you'd like it to be, maybe browse the web for covers you like - not to copy but for as a reference for the designer...

I hope this is valuable to someone - remember - you can spend years trying to get your book published the usual way. With 1stBooks (or some other POD's) I can still look for other options while my book is on the market. Maybe your book won't sell but at the very least it's a great promotional tool that can be used to advertise your skills in a convenient way. Plus it's in print and it's unlikely to be cancelled (some publishers will cancel a book that sells ONLY 100,000 copies - I would pesonally consider my book sucessful if it sold that many!) There are also a lot of grants for writers out there and it's the authors initiative as well as his/her talent that will win these grants and open doors for the future. POD is a way for you to pry these doors open and whether POD publishing is respected or not is irrelevent if you have a solid book - then all it takes is for your book to be available and be promoted in the right way.

Anyway - good luck in whichever path you choose!
+ If you're interested you can learn more about my book Deco Tech: Designs for Coloring here:
www.johnwik.com (http://www.johnwik.com)

07-17-2003, 11:44 AM
I see a host of complaints about the quality of the books from 1st Books. Do you know that 1st Books and Booklocker both use the same printer, Lightning Source, to produce their books?
They both have the same poor quality, but it stems from a poor choice of printer rather than an indictment of Print On Demand technology.
I was at a conference recently and saw a POD printer test where the same title was produced digitally, and offset. Out of twelve people who tried to pick which book was offset, and which was digital, while I was there, only two got it right.
I was one of the ones who got it wrong, and it showed me that when done right POD is every bit as good as offset.
Maybe companies like 1st Books and Booklocker will spend less time trying to dupe authors, and more time improving the quality of their product.

07-18-2003, 11:53 AM
Hey there fellow authors,
i'm considering hiring 1stbooks as my POD. Have you experienced any problems and/or hang-ups with there fees?
John "G" Allen

Mind Blowing
07-20-2003, 01:31 AM
I think many POD authors are hip to those kinds of lists now-a-days. It may have worked when the authors didn't know about the games some POD publishers run, but now they know and they aren't falling for it anymore. Many companies " claim " to get their authors reviews and in book stores, but unless the author takes this on extremely, it doesn't happen. Once the printing process is over, that's the extent of the company's involvement because they've already gotten what they need. They're not there to sell books but get money and unfortunately they get it from their own authors. POD authors may get reviews now and then, but they are not by magazines and journals of real merit. Big time magazines and journals will not touch a POD book with a ten-foot pole and bookstores won't grant a booksigning, even if the book is selling well. I don't know why companies and " people " run this game of writing lists of what certain authors have done. If the company hasn't helped all of their authors, it doesn't matter! The problem is that a lot of POD companies are ripping off authors' money and their pride and it's shameful. Most give empty promises and 100x below that in return. To people who like POD, I wish you well and much success. But it's been my experience of talking to many POD authors that you're the minority who've actually felt helped from companies such as 1st Books Library.

Mind Blowing
07-20-2003, 01:34 AM
So there's no confusion, my reply was in response to that person on the first page of the thread that wrote the " supposed " list of how well 1st Books books have done with reviews.

07-20-2003, 04:52 AM
From the responses I've seen so far about 1st Books and PODs in general, I'd venture to say that most of you have never been published by a "real" publisher and can't make a comparison.

I doubt if I'll ever go back to a publisher again. I'm doing the same thing now with a POD as I did with a publisher...market the book myself, arrange book signings, contact the local press for interviews, set up a website to promote my books and become a walking salesman, promoting me and my book. With POD I also don't have to deal with remainders or wait for my royalty checks of about $.75 a book. Bought from their site, I make $3.10 per book copy and $1.25 if it's sold on Amazon. 1st Books also puts a downloadable PDF file of your book on their website and gives you 100% of the first $300 in sales, then a 60/40 cut, the 60% going to them. If you have a book that has worldwide appeal, this is the way to reach customers who would never pay shipping costs that equal or surpass the cover price.

With a publisher, don't expect much help in marketing your book because you won't get it. After the distributor gets his cut and then the publisher gets his, the next time you want to publish, you'll more than likely consider POD.

As for the quality of my 1st Books cover? I couldn't be more pleased. I pitched them an idea and was very happy with what they put together.

As for quality control problems, you receive a copy of their press release from 1st Books before it goes out. If there's a problem, let them know. Nothing goes out without the author's approval. They also have nothing to do with the editing of the book; that's your department. Formatting problems sometimes do come up because of the word processing program you use and they will correct these problems at no cost. Anything else is your fault but 1st Books gives you a lot of leeway before they start charging for mistakes that you made and didn't correct, and once again, you make the final approval before the book goes to press.

Go to http://www.1stbooks.com/bookview/16343 for a look. A month ago, the book was ranked 1.8 million in sales on Amazon. Today it's at 89,500 and the press releases haven't even gone out yet and I haven't contacted the same bookstores I used before for signings nor have I yet contacted reporters who have written about me and my books. Once I get my ducks in order, sales can only get better.

All to often, when sales are slow or have slumped, writers look to blame everyone but themselves. Books don't sell themselves, authors do. If you can't see yourself as a 24-hour-a-day salesperson or can't imagine standing in front of a roomful of people trying to look at ease, sounding witty and being as informative as hell, the "real" publisher versus a POD argument is a red herring.

Mind Blowing
07-20-2003, 10:07 AM
I've never used a POD company, but have been approached by some. My book is coming out with a traditional company who works hard to promote. I have a good standing with my publisher and we talk one on one. He runs his business like his beliefs which means he cares to help his authors anyway he can and he shuts out the middle man. Not too many publishers are willing to speak to the author one on one. What can I say, I've been blessed to find someone so compassionate in such a hard world.

About the comment writers need to blame themselves, I agree with that about SOME writers. Some writers can't write and don't do all the necessary things to make sure their books are at the highest level they can be. Some sit around on their butts and whine, of course. There are people like this everywhere. I believe the people on this thread were speaking of hardworking writers who don't get the treatment they deserve. Most of the writers here aren't complaining about promotion, but of being treated TERRIBLY by a company they've paid for. I know tons of authors who have had trouble with POD companies like this one and they have worked hard. I am talking about authors who even have recognition in their field and they still don't get the help they deserve.

The bottom line is, a company is getting paid and they should make sure they do all they can to help their clients. Granted, traditional publishing isn't perfect but let's be real. If someone expects to stay in the world of writing as long as they can, traditional is the only valued option because so many avenues are opened to a traditional or small press published author. I believe POD should be avoided at all costs because it mostly ends in heartache. I can't tell you how many HARD WORKING authors are pissed off because their efforts are wasted. Some spend as much as 6000 dollars on promotion and walk around until their feet bleed trying to get into bookstores, so it's not always an author's fault.

Any career has slackers, but in defense of the hard working POD authors ( ones I have spoken to ), they deserve better treatment. Especially if you are paying someone and they don't come up with the goods. POD companies are to blame too when they LIE and lead authors on. I won't mention names but there are tons of POD companies that have even gone far as to alter their contracts where authors will have to pay to keep their books in online bookstores. Why do that to authors when POD companies claim the reason you should go with them is because they can " keep your book in print "? Others have tried to stop their authors from promoting when it cuts into their realm of how they handle things. Others have treated writers like dirt and refused to help them when they needed it. Some have gone as far as to drop an author's book if the author disagrees with one little thing about the company. All in all it's how people SHOULD treat other people. Writers are human beings and we deserve to be treated with respect. It's our writings that help the companies, not the other way around. Just because POD authors complain, it doesn't ALWAYS mean they didn't try. To tell you the truth they try harder than a lot of traditionally published writers. Maybe that's why they are getting so fed up. It's not easy to put work and money into a project than have no back-up from the company.

It's just about professionals treating professionals the way they deserve. That's something that should be understood whether the author is traditionally published or POD published. On another note, POD authors who get help from their company get this extra help because they've written a book the company wants to glorify more than others. POD companies pick and choose the same as traditional companies. It's not an author's fault if a book they wrote is not what the publisher planned to promote. Bottom line is, fair is fair, and most POD practices are not.

08-07-2003, 03:27 AM
After reading the comments, I was compelled to write this. Why is it that some books are doing very well from the company 1st books, ex: "SPIRITUAL MARKETING", "LITTLE GUIDE TO HAPPINESS', "HE NEVER CALLED AGAIN", and others seem to go nowhere. Does anyone know the answer?

08-07-2003, 07:39 PM
In general terms, if you knew the answer to that question, you could make a fortune in the book business (hell, in Hollywood, too). :)

For 1st Books in general, it's because the better selling authors have larger families.

08-12-2003, 11:37 PM
Because some books are more interestting than others..some are exciting, reader friends. For example, Legally Blonde, this book started with 1st Books and look where it is today.

08-31-2003, 08:41 AM
I found a copy of a 1stbook printed text in a borders. Yes, a borders. There were probably about eight or nine copies.

They were had a big 50% off sticker and they were on the bargains table, where they were getting rid of outdated computer tutuorials and reference guides.

09-21-2003, 09:54 AM
Hello to all,
This post is for those who are considering going with 1stbooks or using POD in general. When I finished my book I researched all the big POD companies before choosing to go with 1stbooks. My book will be out hopefully in the next few months and so far so good with this company. Any questions? send me an e-mail skylerhughes@hotmail.com

www.geocities.com/skylerh...ypage.html (http://www.geocities.com/skylerhughes/mypage.html)

09-22-2003, 02:32 AM

Borders in Reno, Nev has quite a selection of POD books, most in their local authors section. 1st Books, iUniverse, Publish America and Xlibris are all represented. Also in their horror section is a Vantage Press novel (subsidy publisher not POD). I have seen several iUniverse titles on the display table at Borders. Strange--two blocks down is Barnes and Noble--and I've yet to see an iUniverse there...even though they have part ownership in the company. Borders seems pretty succeptable to carrying POD and vanity press publications. Apparently they look at each book individually and make the decision, rather than just taking a blank refusal approach. There are also a number of POD novels in my hometown public library, many are not by local authors, but books picked up by the library from various reference sources. It has been said that because PODs do not contain CIPs libraries will not carry them...not so according to our library.

11-21-2003, 06:33 PM
I am a new book author. My book has been listed on amazon and other websites as a 'top seller' and 'best seller' many times since this past January 2003 to the present.

I also notice that my amazon sales ranking has gone from something like 500,000,000 to a ranking of around 200,000 and the e-version now has a ranking of around 2000, which means that amazon is selling thousands / millions of copies of my books since january 2003... according to their online explanation of sales rankings.

Here is my problem though.... the publisher that I paid is claiming that my book only sold 7 copies total since january 2003 !!!!

They also will not provide any sales statements to me and claim they were mailed to me each time I plead with them to make this matter right and just pay me the money they owe me for my book sales.

I have not received any sales statements but I did finally receive a measly check for 7 book sales after I pleaded with them on the phone (long-distance) for over 3 months.

They keep transferring me to one rep after another, then to the 'manager'. The manager said he would email me what ever info he finds out, then never emails me nor takes my phone calls, nor returns my phone calls.

I have tried to talk with amazon and the other book stores that are selling my book but no one will answer my questions about this.

What can I do? I am so frustrated that no one will answer me, no one will take my phone calls, it is just so so frustrating...

Is it possible that the websites like amazon are falsely claiming my book to be a 'top seller' ?????

Who / What should I be speaking with to get help with this issue?

James D Macdonald
11-21-2003, 07:57 PM
The publisher that you paid?

What's the title of your book? Who published it?

<a href="http://www.greententacles.com/articles/2/18" target="_new">Here's an article</a> on what Amazon numbers mean. You should be aware that it's a little out of date -- these days the absolute bottom Amazon numbers are in the 2.5 million range (one book sold, ever).

The Amazon ranks appear to be separate among hardcovers, soft covers, and electronic versions. Electronic books sell very poorly indeed, so poorly that BN.com has dropped them entirerly.

When and where did Amazon list your book as a "top seller"? Books with Amazon sales ranks orders of magnitude better than 200,000 are selling less than one a day.

11-21-2003, 08:29 PM
my electronic version claims to have a very good sales ranking on amazon with a 2000. the hardcover has a ranking of just over 1 million as of about an hour ago.

Amazon has listed my book as a top seller on many occasions this year, and I do have copies of those web files from amazon.com website, from each day that they listed my book as a top seller with the url, date, etc.... I also have copies of many other websites from other book stores when they claim that my book is a best seller or top seller.

I just really need to find a person or group that can investigate this and help me to get the money that is owed to me for my book sales before I go posting their name all over the internet. ---- especially if I were to find out that book stores online falsely post that a book is a best seller when it isnt.

it is way past my nap time so please excuse any misspellings ;)

James D Macdonald
11-21-2003, 08:48 PM
An Amazon ranking in the 2.5 million range means that one person bought a copy of the book. An Amazon rating in the 1.5 million range means that four or five bought it.

It sounds like the publisher is honestly reporting seven sales.

I'd very much like to see these "top seller" claims.

The remark about paying your publisher makes me suspect that you went the vanity PoD route. I don't recommend that to anyone.

11-21-2003, 10:22 PM
This is my ranking. When the warehouse orders a copy in two geographic locations over the year, that's enough to jump 1 Million places.

Amazon.com Sales Rank: 1,521,298

As for the vanity POD, the ones I used years ago before I knew better send a statement, and have one online at the "publisher's" website. I don't know who the gentleman paid, but it seems he doesn't understand the numbers. 7 would be "brisk" in this venue.

XThe NavigatorX
11-22-2003, 12:02 AM
what's your book's title?

Give us your ISBN, and I can tell you exactly how much it has sold through Ingrams.

If it's only being sold online, and your sales rank on Amazon is in the 200,000 range, that suggests about 7-10 sales through them total. If the e version sales ranking is in the 2,000 range, that suggests about 2-3 e sales total.

If you were selling 'thousands' of copies, your amazon sales rank (not the e book ranking) would be in the top 2,000.

11-22-2003, 04:42 AM
ok, here is my exact amazon ranking as of 2 seconds ago...

plus their are many other book stores that have been selling my book online from all over the world, then they claim to be out of stock, then they are selling my book again.... I do have copies of the webfiles with dates, etc making these claims of sales too....

so, I can go to Ingrams.com and find out how many copies sold that way too?

Who does one go to, to investigate this? I am not going to announce this publisher on the internet while I am trying to find out what is going on. It may be something weird like falsely claiming that a book is a top seller, but I doubt it

11-22-2003, 05:34 AM
Warrior you're not grasping the concept here. You've not had a best selling anything. And without telling us the number or title, well what can we do. You've sold 7 copies. That's correct.

XThe NavigatorX
11-22-2003, 06:06 AM
All those stores that say your book is "in stock" really mean it's in stock at Ingrams' warehouse. If someone buys a copy at Blackwells, it'll suddenly go 'out of stock' at textbook-x. That's the nature of POD.

Just tell us the name of your book. I've never met an author so intent on not promoting his own book.

James D Macdonald
11-22-2003, 06:18 AM
Call Ingram's at (615) 213-6803. Have your ISBN handy.

They'll tell you how many sold (via Ingram's) in the past week, in the past year, and last year. They'll also tell you how many are in stock, how many have been backordered, and where they're warehoused.

Ingram's isn't the only path from a publisher to a reader, but it's one of the major ones.

Look, would you email me your ISBN? I promise not to tell anyone.

11-22-2003, 07:46 AM
Thanks James !

To those of you that are so frustrated that I will not announce the publisher nor the book title on this public board, lighten up, geesh ;) I did not come to this board to promote my book on this board, I just came here to learn.

This board says it is a place to learn about possible scams, who/what to beware of, how to protect yourself, and that is why I am here. If I knew everything I would not come to a board that advertises it is a place to learn how to protect yourself from possible scams.

Like I said I am a very new author and I have no desire to bad-mouth any publisher nor any business. Especially since I am a newbie and do not know the facts without investigating more. I also do not beleive it is an ethical business practice to publicly post any business name with negative comments when I do not even know the facts yet.

11-22-2003, 07:53 AM
I think you're making negative assumptions that are false about the company inadvertently. They sound like a legtimate vanity press. You just don't understand the low sales that are completely normal. The conspiracy is yours from what you've told us.

11-22-2003, 08:01 AM
Thanks XTheNavigatorX,
for that info about POD and Ingram, that does explain things better to me now in regards to 'in stock' ads. :)

I will still have to keep digging to find out why all those sites claim my book is top seller and best seller on some days though with such low yearly sales. Maybe it is just some weird marketing tactic

sorry I am not here to promote my book, just learn.

11-22-2003, 08:44 AM
hi marky,
I am a Newbie to this business and I am just trying to get to the truth about how things work in this business. That is all.

I did not come here to publicly post negative statements about any business nor to promote my book here, I am only here to learn about this business.

some things are not making sense to me and this looks like a place for newbies to learn about the business.

It is very odd to see my book listed as a 'top or best seller' so many times this past year, with such low sales claims, and I am just trying to get to the truth.

I am sure any writer here, would investigate and try to find the facts and truth before making assumptions :)

I think my questions in regards to why a book is being advertised as a top or best seller with very low sales rankings is something that is worthy of further investigation.

marky48 writes
I think you're making negative assumptions that are false about the company inadvertently. They sound like a legtimate vanity press. You just don't understand the low sales that are completely normal. The conspiracy is yours from what you've told us.

11-22-2003, 09:25 AM
We've already told you. It's not a top seller. Call the number and find out. That's the best we can do.

James D Macdonald
11-22-2003, 09:42 AM
If you visit some book on Amazon, that book will tend to show up on Amazon's front page when you look there, with a title like "Recommended" or "Featured book."

That's only on your computer. They track who you are with cookies, and assemble the pages you see on the fly.

If you visited your book at Amazon, it's likely that you saw it on the front page with some kind of label urging you to order it Right Now.

I'm interested in the exact words, and exactly where you saw the "top selling" label.

11-22-2003, 09:49 AM
I can't find that language on #6 on the list.

www.amazon.com/exec/obido...s&n=549066 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0446532231/ref=pd_ts_coop/002-5861267-6619260?v=glance&s=books&n=549066)

XThe NavigatorX
11-22-2003, 10:10 AM
Sorry, warrior. Didn't mean to come across as pushy.

Those damn Amazon recommendations get me every time. I'm living proof they work well on the easily susceptible.

11-22-2003, 12:23 PM
The freaky I had with Amazon was when my book hit the 5,000's for 2 days then reverted back to the rank before it went to the 5,000's - which was over 2 million.

Now that is freaky!

Anyways, isn't there a site that will track amazon sales?

James D Macdonald
11-22-2003, 12:40 PM
Yes... that site is <a href="http://www.junglescan.com/" target="_new">http://www.junglescan.com/</a>.

You'll find all kinds of weird glitches in Amazon, strange spikes in the numbers.

Fortunately, Amazon is a small player in the great world of booksales.

11-22-2003, 10:38 PM
I don't think the inquirer will make sense out of that. Even Amazon's explantion that ranking is based on many factors without listing those is fuzzy.

Matt's doing well. I think.

11-23-2003, 01:36 AM
That site is down.
Anyways, I want to know about the actual sale, not the sales rank.

I thought there was a web site that lets you know the amount of books sold through Amazon and/or BN.

I know one can call Ingram though.
As a beginner in books being sold to the public it sucks to wait for a quarterly sales report.

11-23-2003, 01:45 AM
I don't know about your POD company Tony, but my two have online charts that track what distributors and buyers order and from where. They're always behind 3 months though.

11-23-2003, 01:53 AM
1stbooks Library only tracks books and ebooks sold through them.
I made the prices higer on 1stbooks beacuse I want people to buy at Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com - I would actaully make more money throught 1sbooks beacuse there is no middleman, but screw that, not too many people buy books from a POD publishers website, so why direct them there?

Once they see what it is, they will be swayed away.
That's what I see.

11-23-2003, 03:17 AM

To get information about your book sales from the Ingram computer system, call 1-615-213-6803. Know your ISBN.

That will tell you how many of your books have sold in the past week and to date.

11-23-2003, 03:59 AM
He knows that.

Tony, mine track them from anywhere. But yes, why direct them there? I agree.

11-23-2003, 04:08 AM

Just in case you were responding to me:
You said, "He" knows "that".

Who knows what?

11-23-2003, 04:45 AM
The number. It was given by James some time ago.

11-23-2003, 05:18 AM

What "number"?

Surely you're not claiming the Ingram computer system phone number was given to Warrior on this thread--Warrior being the entity who started the thread?

On this thread, most responses to Warrior's request involved links to understanding the enigmatic amazon.com "bestseller" data. Although interesting, it didn't help Warrior. To my reading, Warrior was concerned he was being cheated by his publisher. Hard sales figures would reassure him, not math equations.

In any case, the Ingram computer system number bears repeating, doesn't it, Marky? It's useful info for published authors. Useful info doesn't deserve dismissive treatment by a bystander. Does it, Marky?

XThe NavigatorX
11-23-2003, 05:32 AM

read nine down from the top. James' response, right after mine.

11-23-2003, 06:47 AM
hi warrior
I'm going to give my two cents on this. from what you've written, your publisher won't give you the needed information about your royalties. obviously they are hiding something from you. instead of trying to figure out how many books you've sold, what i would do is first call the BBB (Better Business Bureau), tell them exactly what you've told us here, and let them put some presure on this publisher. if that didn't work, then i would call the states attorney general and my lawyer and see if i could sue them. if this publisher was honest, then they wouldn't try to hide information from you, by sending you from rep to rep and not returning your phone calls. you shouldn't have to "beg" to get your royalties. also if you could, e-mail victoria at writerbeware (?) i think that's where she's at and dave over at P&E and warn them of this scam. i really think that you were suckered into a black hole and now you need to fight back by getting the law behind you. this publisher is banking on the fact that you'll just leave them alone and you won't be smart enough to fight back. Once they know that you mean business, they'll work with you. good luck with this. i think you'll need it.

11-23-2003, 07:34 AM
It doesn't warrant moronic repetition either. Why didn't you just read the thread before starting the insults. Trust me you don't know who you're dealing with. The kid has no complaint let alone a lawsuit. It's a POD; he paid them; 7 is normal. Like many, he doesn't get it.

11-23-2003, 10:53 AM
I think what needs to be understood here is best selling what?

You have the NYT list

You have hardcover bestsellers

You have mass market paper back



Even broken down by genre

The we can get into best self-published work

And top selling POD books


If the average top selling POD books sells 10 copies, then that book is the "best seller" when you go look at POD books for sale. Period. Not bestseller overall.

And Amazon like any computer advertising "thing" takes what you look at and applies it to what you want to "see." You look at POD books--the software is going to offer you POD books--and it will claim they are great best sellers. Just like every kind of whitening toothpaste says it's the best. They can't all be the best.

You need to understand the ranking system and not just get stuck on those words.

Also I wonder why you don't advertise your book. Published authors do PR all the time. That's how you get to real world of bestseller--how do you know people here won't go buy your book--then you would sell more than the average POD.

Telling people the name of your book and the book number or the name you write under is not bashing the publishing company. And others may have had the same experience or good experiences with the same publisher.

Take a look at others here who are pro writes--we advertise--it's called PR. It's called getting sales and a name for ourselves.

Saying I am a new writer--well, the only way to learn is to get out there, write, and listen to those who have gone before.

Do some PR.


11-23-2003, 11:38 AM
That's right.
No matter what publisher publishes your book, you should always promote it. Publishers like it and they do count on it to a certain degree.

It's also in most contracts that the author will so some PR.

11-23-2003, 10:59 PM
Sure, although it's not required in any way legally, but adding a link to your website; send out one of those free foolish PR's, the list. Just don't expect it to matter with vanity publishing. Nothing you do will rescue one of these dogs. They're designed to fail from the author's end anyway.

James D Macdonald
11-23-2003, 11:16 PM
Generally speaking, when there is a mention of publicity, it says that the author should cooperate in the publisher's publicity campaign. Which means: I they arrange an interview, I have to do it, and if they ask for a photo, I have to supply it.

11-24-2003, 07:44 AM
I just about fell out of my chair when I read ebookren’s list of POD success stories and saw that “The Little Book of Happiness” was included. I made the mistake of buying this stinker on Amazon after reading the glut of positive reviews. It was TERRIBLE!! I couldn’t believe something this bad could make it onto Amazon. The thing was riddled with awful spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. The whole thing was double-spaced, printed in a huge font with slanted lines that often ran off the page. The few pages I managed to get through were full of cloying clichés and outright plagiarism of other people’s writing. I found out (15 dollars) too late that this “author” uses spam marketing to sell his wares, going online and posting outright lies posing as other people. In one of these posts he claimed that his book was the most successful of all the “Oprah recommended books” in another he claims to have seen himself on Larry King. A little research revealed that he’d not been on either show. A little more research and I’ve found that there is not, nor has there ever been a publication called the “Central New York Table Hopper” that ebookrens cites to promote this POD author. So you will excuse me if I question the validity of the rest of the media references ebookrens has listed.

11-24-2003, 09:52 AM
If I would have read this lost thread back in 1492 I probably would not have gone with 1stbooks.

However, they did a great job with my book, of course, one has to edit their own book with a POD. The cover is sweet, only because it's my brothers art work.

Only crap I hated with 1sbooks was the mistakes they kept making, which in turn I had to wait 2-3 weeks at a time before they send the galley. That back and forth crap went on for months.
It was mainly formating problems since my book was poetry; I used many different fonts and sizes for the poems.

Still, I am quite happy with this book.

11-24-2003, 11:42 AM
toodlin, I'd have to ask if you had an agent, and what publisher treated you so poorly.

If you didn't have an agent to negotiate your contract then you needed to make sure that you got some wording in there about PR, selling etc. If you did have an agent I hope you fired him/her.

Yes, you have to do your own PR work, the publisher will do some. But the majority on a first book, or even mid books after that will fall to you, unless you hit mega bestseller money.

You shouldn't be doing sales etc. How is a POD publisher going to differ? You said yourself you still have to do all that, but now you get to have the POD stigma attached. OK OK

Some have said hey in the "book store" here in town they have like three POD books--hey great, but how many other books do they have?(not POD)

I've worked the other side of the fence for many years, as an Editor, an Acquisitions Editor, and a PR person--I've seen every sort of submission. I know what makes books jump off the slush pile, I know what turns editors and publishers off. I've seen the good the bad and the ugly in contracts. Most times I can tell you whats going to be mid list, flop or soar.

Yes, you have to work, no matter what way you go. But if you went with a big name publisher or even a small house--well, a waring to others check that contract. Some agencies even hire to just go over a contract for you and negotiate a good deal for a one time fee.

And, (yes James will disagree with me), but I've seen the difference in sales etc, hire publicists even for a first book. That few thousand you spend will be made up in the sales they earn for you.

Also don't assume that no one here has any pro credentials because you had a poor experience.


11-24-2003, 10:50 PM
Anyone talking about POD and publicist in the same sentence is off the grid. An agent isn't absolutely necessary but a real publisher is. Get one and follow their instructions as to personal effort.

11-24-2003, 10:50 PM
First off...ANYONE who would pay to have their book published is not an author. If you pay, then you are on eht same level as a brain-damaged monkey with a box of crayolas and a stack of paper, because that's as good as your work is. Obviously, you have no respect for your work, so who gives a s*** if the quality is crappy. YOU shelled out the dough, YOU paid the price, YOU have no right to complain, you hypocrittical losers!

11-24-2003, 11:36 PM
follow your own advice and read before you blast--I did not use publicist in the same sentence with POD.

And, when in another thread I suggested it to someone who had self published, well, think about it. If you had the money, just maybe someone in the publishing PR business may be able to get you some sales.

"The Christmas Box" comes to mind. It was self published then went traditional when sales merited. The author hired a publicist.

Also--as to being a monkey with a box of crayons--well, I have not self published, gone POD or vanity. My work is too good to do that to it. And i also understand that every EVERY writer needs an editor.

If you're going to bash someone, read their post carefully first. You may get further with your own work if you lose the chip on your shoulder.

Shawn :rolleyes

11-25-2003, 12:04 AM
dogpile - people do not ask to be disrespected, your statement is unwarranted. In any case, if one does not want to be disrespected, then one must not disrespect.

11-25-2003, 01:12 AM
The writers disrespect themselves by using the POD venues they do. When one has a publisher then they can talk about what worked. Arguing the Mark Twain self-publish cliche, (in which he went broke) isn't an option for most. The examples are a microscopic compared to the pile. And bashing, or what constitutes such, is in the mind of the beholder.

11-25-2003, 01:40 AM
Marky- even if one disrespects ones self, does not constitute disrespect from others.

We all are human beings, and if any peson that uses a pod to put their writings in a book format should not be disrespected.

Afterall, if ever the person does get actually published through the real deal publishers, then the person that conveyed themself as an "idiot" towards the self published is mandated by their own actions in return by the one that has now been unself published.

11-25-2003, 02:09 AM
That kind of circular logic may work in poetry but it doesn't fly very far in the rest of the business. Respect has to be earned. The POD pirates at PA and others earned what they got.

James D Macdonald
11-25-2003, 05:45 AM
Spiritual Marketing
by Joe Vitale
Author is an Amazon.com Bestseller

How many of YOU have been an Amazon best seller? You may not be Joe Vitale, but if you published with a traditional publisher would it not be easier for you to make the best seller's list? He did it and his book is with 1stBooks Library. Strange hun? A POD book selling in large enough quantities to be an Amazon.com best seller. How is that possible? Maybe it's a good book.

-- ebookren, back on page 1 of this thread, 6/11/03

Spiritual Marketing is a specialized non-fiction title. I'm just guessing here, but my guess is that Joe Vitale sells them from the back of the hall when he gives talks on Marketing. That's a perfect niche for self-publishing.

And since Joe knows the value of publicity and marketing, when it comes time for him to reorder the books to sell from the back of the hall, he orders them from Amazon. Gets free shipping for orders over $25, sells them at full-cover price, takes the royalty from 1stBooks, and gets to call his book "A #1 Seller at Amazon." Which is worth it from his point of view. My guess again is that the points where Spiritual Marketing hit #1 and #3 were the months when Joe reordered. I'll further bet that the book was in those slots for a couple of hours at most.

Right now his book is around the half-million mark in Amazon Ranks. That just isn't believable as a pattern for books that are selling regularly. There should be a steady curve, not sudden peaks separated by wide valleys.

11-25-2003, 05:49 AM
We as human beings should not need to earn respect in order to receive it.
People should and must respect each other freely so that humans and the human race can prosper on earth.

If people give respect, then people will get respect.
This is common courtesy among people. Just because people have an attitude, don't constitute that others should be disrespected.

It’s about getting along with other people regardless or race, color, national origin, or if one chooses to dislike or like red meat, or even self publish.

The brainwashing of societies as to think one needs to earn respect to get it, is a stepping stone that humans need to overcome in their life.

If I were to tell you that any person that did not complete a military boot camp, and did not serve their country, should not obtain the respect of the military- then you would think me insane. After all, if not for the military, publication in the USA would not be taken place; we would be run over by communists and dictators. i.e, no USA.

If I were to tell you that your GED will not get you in any college so that you may earn a 4 yr degree, you would think me insane; After all, the people that went to high school took the “Traditional” route to get their diploma, so only they get to go. So now let’s all disrespect the people that didn’t finish HS, and got the GED instead. Matter of fact if you don’t have a 4 yr degree you will have to earn my respect first by getting your 4 yr degree before you may even talk to me.

You see what I mean? This doesn’t work in society, and the disrespect has to stop. Why must people disrespect one another? Well, if you don’t know by now then you’re an idiot. See? Now if I disrespected you because of that feeling, I would be the idiot.

11-25-2003, 06:30 AM
I have not read the book, but from what I read about it, it sucks. However, he did not buy his own books from Amazon. My understanding is that an Amazon account can only move the rank of a book one time when making an initial purchase of that item. Any other purchases of that same item after the first will have no effect on the ranking.

What JV did was the same that Jenna did. He promoted his book to be purchased on one day. He offered a free ebook to any person that purchased it on that particular day. He used his website, and his circle of friends to promote it. Usually, all one needs to get to the top 10 is fifty to one hundred sales in any given day.

Jenna offered many, many nice items. This is a sound and strategic strategy in becoming successful in the business of writing and selling books. If the book gets into the top 10, then many, many people will see it their and purchase it as well. Publishers will see it there and do reviews, ask for interviews, and possibly make an offer for a future publication.

With writers helping fellow writers to become successful, there surely is harmony and happiness within these threads. Wouldn’t it be cool if everyone here did the same for everyone here?

JD- If I got a bunch of people to buy one of your books on Amazon in one day and you made it to the top 10 how would you feel?
Well, if it happened to me, I know I would be extremely happy.

11-25-2003, 06:31 AM
It's not all relative in a competitive society. Judgements are made all the time. When you get out of the military you'll find that out. There's no protection for the incompetent and with this crowd in charge there's no compassion either. Respect in business and in humanity are two different things. The dumb don't move up, and many times neither do the wise.

Is that Joe Vitale the loud basketball announcer?

James D Macdonald
11-25-2003, 06:44 AM
Tony, I've been in the top 100 on Amazon a couple of times. Maybe I was in the top 10 sometime when I wasn't looking -- I wouldn't know. That was without mobilizing the troops or offering bribes or calling in favors.

A one-time spike in Amazon sales doesn't help you. It's the long, slow, steady sales history that does you some good.

If as you say, 50 to 100 sales on one day get you into the top ten, what of it? That's a pretty pathetic number, especially if those are all the sales you see for the next six months.

XThe NavigatorX
11-25-2003, 07:03 AM
I used to spend a lot of time wondering what the Amazon sales rankings meant, but I've pretty much given up.

The first week my book came out, it was ranked something like 1 million. Then in one day it went up to 80,000. Then it went to 7,000 and stayed in that area for a day or so (which coincided with a conference my publisher was attending) and ever since then it has stayed at 50,000 - 90,000.

I know one self-published success story. John DeVito's The Devil's Apocrypha (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/059525070X) is self published fiction, and gets a steady stream of sales because a bunch of people have decided to form a new religion around the book's concept.:rollin

James D Macdonald
11-25-2003, 07:08 AM
Let's give some specific numbers. I called Ingram's line at (615) 213-6803 to see about Joe's sales. Here they are:


5 on hand
2 on order
0 on backorder
0 shipped this week
0 shipped last week
79 shipped this year
22 shipped last year

I checked my most recent title (written under a pseudonym, no marketing whatever done by the author, released 04NOV03 ... that is, a bit under three weeks ago).

1071 on hand
0 on order
0 on backorder
14 shipped this week
119 shipped last week
913 shipped this year
0 shipped last year

You see why I'm not entirely impressed?

11-25-2003, 07:20 AM
Again, with personal facts in hand, the difference between real and fake publishing illustrated. It's not all relative; one is as good as the other and the ship will come in with enough hot air behind it and so on. It just flat isn't the same.

11-25-2003, 08:22 AM
No Marky, he's not that anouncer.

Yeah, I see JD.

Evidently that tactic didn't work out for JV because his book must be crap and self published.
However, Lets see how jenna's book is doing:

0 on hand
700 on order
7 on backorder
19 shipped this week
667 shipped last week
101 shipped this year
0 shipped last year

Since she has done that (Amazon Sale) she has been asked for interviews and book reviews.

Mine for giggles:
Soft cover

0 on hand
17 on order
6 on backorder
0 shipped this week
14 shipped last week
10 shipped this year
0 shipped last year

I think the Amazon Sale can help a legitimate book and its aurthor. Reviews and interviews are long term.

James D Macdonald
11-25-2003, 08:27 AM
How did y'all manage to get more shipped last week than were shipped this year?

11-25-2003, 08:54 AM
Good question, maybe i screwed up listening to the freakin' computer. (I have bad hearing)

I just rechecked mine, I got it right as I stated. Weird indeed.

James D Macdonald
11-25-2003, 09:14 AM

11-25-2003, 09:22 AM
Jenna has a reputable publisher. I've not checked, but wasn't it Lyons Press?

James D Macdonald
11-25-2003, 10:19 AM
Lyons puts out between 200 and 300 titles per year; it's a mid-size specialty publisher.

Guidelines are <a href="http://www.globepequot.com/globepequot/index.cfm?fuseaction=customer.author" target="_new">here</a>.

James D Macdonald
11-25-2003, 10:22 AM
Here's yet another article on what <a href="http://www.booksandtales.com/pod/salesrank.htm" target="_new">Amazon numbers</a> mean.

(Short version: not much.)

11-25-2003, 10:30 AM
Thanks James. I submitted to Lyons but haven't heard back yet. I remember them from the John Gierach fly-fishing chronicles.

11-25-2003, 11:34 AM
James Macdonald writes>>
I'm interested in the exact words, and exactly where you saw the "top selling" label.

Hi James,
amazon.com advertised my book as a 'best seller' on a few occasions this year. I beleive 3 different dates which I do have copies of too.

A few other websites did the same too and have advertised my book as a 'best seller' and a 'top seller' on other dates.

I am travelling on the road for a few weeks though and do not have access to the dated copies of those webpages at this second. So, I won't be answering very fast for now.

I will be calling that number you gave me, later this week when I get a chance, and investigating the marketing tactics that are being used by the online book stores. As the two are obviously not matching up.

Thanks again for the info, James. :)

11-25-2003, 01:29 PM
Tomorrow I’m mailing off my manuscript for the “Walt Whitman Award.”

I figure this will give me my first true book. Why else would anyone enter a contest unless they knew they were going to win?

I wonder how many manuscripts will be entered…..

11-25-2003, 07:31 PM
If you know you're going to win, then it's no contest.

11-25-2003, 10:24 PM
He ws not listed as "best selling" or anything of the kind based on this testimony and the refusal to supply the pertinent information. It's just another "tale of the POD."

11-25-2003, 10:27 PM
That's about as viable a strategy as screenplay contests. I wonder if there's a fee as with those?

11-26-2003, 12:51 AM
Excellent point DK!

Marky- WWA has a $25 entrant fee.
The Walt Whitman Award
The Walt Whitman Award brings first-book publication, a cash prize of $5,000, and a one-month residency at the Vermont Studio Center to an American who has never before published a book of poetry. The winning manuscript, chosen by an eminent poet, is published by Louisiana State University Press.

12-03-2003, 08:33 AM
James Macdonald:

About Ingram:

They'll tell you how many sold (via Ingram's) in the past week, in the past year, and last year.

Are Amazon.com sales reflected in the Ingram totals ???


James D Macdonald
12-03-2003, 08:58 AM
Yes, Amazon sales are reflected in Ingram's, if Amazon ordered through Ingram.

That's by no means guaranteed. Ingram isn't the only distributor out there (for distributor, read "wholesaler"), nor is the pathway through distributors the only path from a publisher to a bookstore or a reader.

Amazon numbers are a dipstick, Ingram numbers are a dipstick. Either will tell you if the water is going up or down in the boiler, but neither will tell you how much water is in the boiler.

Generally speaking, a book with higher sales has better numbers at Ingram, better numbers at Amazon, better numbers all across the board.

12-04-2003, 04:37 AM
Hi James,

I finally got to call that Ingrams number you gave me. It was all automated and very very helpful.

I also finally got my last quarter sales report from my publisher, and it looks like the sales are matching most of the advertised claims now.

My publisher's accounting/recordkeeping information must not be dynamic data, when I phone them, and that is probably why they claim 0 sales while various websites claimed my book was a top-seller of the category on different dates. I think I remember one of the reps telling me that he was having troubles with his computer earlier this year.

Some of the online book stores marketing claims, were causing some confusion for me in regards to sales rankings while my publisher's information must not have been 'up to date' in comparison with the online book stores.

I look forward to promoting my book now that I have verified that my publisher is legitimate and not a scammer. It pays to investigate BEFORE assuming that any online business is a scammer :)

12-07-2003, 01:06 AM
I am a new author and am ready to go to print and have chosen 1st Books, I am from Indiana originally and have sentimental reasons for choosing this POD. I have received good reviews on my story's synopsis but I am impatient and want to publish my first book soon. I am currently working on my second. I like that that the author keeps his/HER manuscript rights since I want to develop a screenplay later for this novel.

12-07-2003, 01:30 AM
Though I thought the movie was inane at least there are those out there who thought it marketable enough to create it into a screen play. Also, "Proof of Life" was based on a book published by 1st books. :peace

FM St George
12-07-2003, 07:13 AM
hope you have a LOT of cash to burn - you'll end up buying more books for yourself and spend more time trying to resell them than you will working on a screenplay or another book...

if you have to PAY to have it published, you're doing something wrong...

jmo, ymmv...

James D Macdonald
12-07-2003, 10:19 AM
How well is Spiritual Marketing doing? Click <a href="http://www.junglescan.com/index.cfm?asin=1403347085" target="_new">here</a> to find out.

What all three, Spiritual Marketing, The Little Guide to Happiness, and He Never Called Again have in common is they are specialized non-fiction with an identified niche audience.

James D Macdonald
01-15-2004, 11:54 AM
Some of this has been replicated on this very web page where one person claims that “The Little Guide To Happiness” enjoyed fantastic press in “The New York Table Hopper” a publication that, upon further research, one discovers does not even exist.

That was in a post from someone called "ebookren" on <a href="http://pub43.ezboard.com/fabsolutewritefrm11.showMessageRange?topicID=28.to pic&start=1&stop=20" target="_new">page one of this thread</a>.

That list, clearly by a vanity press booster, had already been discredited only a couple of posts further down. "The New York Table Hopper" isn't the only non-existent review cited.

James D Macdonald
01-27-2004, 07:21 AM
Oh, dear.

That mention in The New York Times?

It doesn't exist, per a Lexis/Nexis search.

Maybe I did it wrong. Donna? Could you give me the date and page that the story appeared on? It should be available either on-line or on microfilm.

01-27-2004, 11:30 PM
I think spreading deliberate lies to sell something falls under the heading of fraud.

01-28-2004, 12:49 AM
i think justino has his scam detection wires crossed.

01-28-2004, 05:07 AM
Watch the claims of legitimately advertized products on television.

Many of them are quite liberal with the truth.

Ever worked for a firm doing sales or marketing? Ditto!

I'm not suggestion anyone commit fraud, or misrepresent anything.

However, in and of itself, there was nothing wrong with him going to all those boards and promoting his book. If he actually claimed to be on a tv show or featured by a book, and he wasn't, well that was wrong. But since I have not read up on the case, I don't know what he did or did not do.

01-28-2004, 05:15 AM
I personally have no intention of using first books. But if it works some people, more power to them. Basically it works if the writer is very good at sales and marketing (let's assume people like his book).

It may not be for everyone, but contrary to what some books would suggest, there is no one way of making it!

As for all we know, the traditional method of querying an agent probably has a greater failure rate for unknown writers than using 1st books.

01-28-2004, 05:23 AM
justino, in the portion of text you quoted it states that the author claimed to be on television shows that he was not. in addition, he claimed his book was chosen by oprah.

01-28-2004, 06:09 AM
"justino, in the portion of text you quoted it states that the author claimed to be on television shows that he was not. in addition, he claimed his book was chosen by oprah."

I don't know the truth of those allegations, one way or the other. And that includes from the poster, posting the info.

I was just responding to the comments that I implied it was wrong for an author to advertise his books on the internet. There is nothing wrong with advertising on chatrooms and boards, and if it works, it works.

James D Macdonald
01-28-2004, 01:00 PM
As for all we know, the traditional method of querying an agent probably has a greater failure rate for unknown writers than using 1st books.

As we also know, the traditional method of asking a young lady for a date has a higher failure rate than going down to Aunt Bawdy's House of Joy with a hundred dollars in your pocket.

01-28-2004, 01:39 PM
"As we also know, the traditional method of asking a young lady for a date has a higher failure rate than going down to Aunt Bawdy's House of Joy with a hundred dollars in your pocket."

Well, if that's what floats your boat, go see Aunt Bawdy. If that doesn't float your boat, then don't!

All I'm saying is do whatever is best for you!

I'm a screenwriter. I've been getting good responses from queries sent to producers, no responses from agents, and I've been entering various competitions (you pay to enter your screenplay)

Different things work for different people and situations. Some people have been produced after their screenplay won an award or was otherwise noticed at a film festival.

Did they pay to do it? Yes! But relying soley on query letters may not get you anywhere.

Some screenwriters also end up producing their own movies. Sometimes you just have to do with it takes to get your project out there. And producing a movie yourself means you're spending your money, as well as other peoples.

Stop thinking something is wrong just because it's not in those so called how to books!

James D Macdonald
01-28-2004, 02:27 PM
Stop thinking something is wrong just because it's not in those so called how to books!

I don't have anything to say about screenplays or producing movies.

I do have something to say about writing and selling books, because that's what I do.

I don't say that paying 1stBooks to print your book is wrong. I say that it's probably a bad idea if what you're after is having your book read by total strangers.

For that matter, if your book is specialized non-fiction, or has limited niche appeal and you know your market, even vanity publishing can work, for some values of the word "work." If all you want is to hold a bound copy of your book in your hand, going to a vanity press is probably your best route.

It's just that for general fiction, vanity publication is very unlikely to gain any readers outside of the author's circle of family and friends.

01-28-2004, 06:50 PM
if your story (or screenplay) is well written, and has a good plot etc., it will get picked up by an agent.

Your statement makes no sense, as paying to have your book published is no risk of rejection at all. You have a very good chance of being picked up by an agent if your work is done well. But it doesn't compare with no rick of rejection at all.


01-28-2004, 11:15 PM
You clearly do not know much about screenwriting!

All of the major agencies do not accept submissions from unproduced screenwriters.

That's why at the film festivals, a number of screenwriters have collaborated with newbie producers, produced things themselves, etc.

A lot of production companies with big names do not accept submissions from an agented writers. Studios never do.

People like Spike Lee, before they found distrubtion, showed cased their work at film festivals (he wrote, directed, produced ,and acted in all of his early stuff).

Also, a person could send a query letter about a horror screenplay to an agent or a prodco, only to be rejected because all they deal with is dramas.

Agents find the screenplays much more marketable if the screenwriter has been produced, won an award, or otherwise already made a name for himself in the entertainment industry. If Justin Timberlake writes a screenplay, it's a sell (he's already written a book).

01-28-2004, 11:57 PM
Justino, you're talking about screenwriting. We're talking about the other kind where the rules are different. That is why you're being contradicted and why you are both right.

James D Macdonald
01-29-2004, 09:08 AM
It may be worth noting that 1stBooks neither buys screenplays nor produces movies.

It's also worth pointing out that sometimes the reason all the how-to books say not to do something is ... because that thing doesn't work.

01-29-2004, 11:21 AM
"It may be worth noting that 1stBooks neither buys screenplays nor produces movies."

I never said that they did.

"It's also worth pointing out that sometimes the reason all the how-to books say not to do something is ... because that thing doesn't work."

So just because sometimes is printed in a how to book means it is the unspeakable gospel of Our Lord and Savior in Heaven?

First Books and Vanity Presses may not be ideal, or even good for most people. But some people written books published by them that became best sellers. If it worked for those people, then they did the write thing.

If you think first books is wrong for you, then do not publish with them. It doesn't mean that the next person shouldn't!

01-29-2004, 12:13 PM
the problem is the the next person usually doesn't know what they are getting themselves into. they see their book being published and that's all. they don't really explore their options fully. that's why these warnings are here; otherwise, no one would bother posting about them.

01-29-2004, 10:16 PM
"the problem is the the next person usually doesn't know what they are getting themselves into. they see their book being published and that's all. they don't really explore their options fully. that's why these warnings are here; otherwise, no one would bother posting about them."

I understand, and that's quite valid.

01-29-2004, 11:43 PM
One of the things that I have noticed among people who have books through Publish America, 1rst books and other vanity publishing companies is that many of them were attracted to the speed of publication.

01-30-2004, 02:12 AM
I think the majority were attracted to the ease of it--hey no rejections, no rewrites--


01-30-2004, 02:20 AM
no editing, no worries. and it's bound!

03-01-2004, 08:19 AM
Writing the book was hard, but not nearly as hard as dealing with the self-publisher!

My Thoughts on Self-Publishing

I won’t tell you which self publishing print on demand company it is, but I can tell you I wish now that it hadn’t been my 1st choice to print my 1st Book.

It all began with a bombardment of emails and phone calls and incentives to hurry up and sign on the dotted line. The contract looked fine, the promises were not outrageous.

“Our mission is to offer writers a set of premier services which, through the combination of superior customer service and innovative technology, help authors write, distribute, and promote their work in every traditional and pioneering format available."

“To get a better idea of what your book will look like, we suggest you go to a good bookstore and look for a paperback edition of the latest bestseller.”

An experienced account manager to oversee the production process and an established company to create a book that looks like any other out of a major publishing house. Sounds good to me!

Roughly 50 emails, 15 phone calls, 2 Account Managers, the marketing director, the client services manager, and what I can only imagine must be a room full of monkeys at PCs running Adobe Photoshop …after all this, the frustration, incompetence, and dozens of completely unread, ignored, or disregarded instructions, my book has finally been released. I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Except for one thing.

The title, the cover of my book, the first thing that anyone one will see when they see my book, the first thing that anyone will judge my book by, isn’t centered.

I guess I’m a perfectionist.

Actually, its more than one thing.

Their website image of my book cover – where they would like me to direct people to buy the book and promote the use of their print on demand services, is blurry. It’s not the most professional image with which to market their services, but hey, why be picky? Despite numerous attempts on my part to fix it, they can’t seem to handle it.

The dust cover on the physical copy is ill fitting. When I received my author proof, I had to ask – Is this the very 1st book they have ever produced?!

Why don’t they know what size the dustcover and dust cover image should be to fit their own standard size book? I asked, but no one seems to know for sure. When I complained, they stopped production entirely - without telling me!!

And now my bigger question is, if I can’t trust them with my book’s cover, can I trust them with my book’s royalties?

Self-publishing has been a wild ride. No, I take that back, it’s been a nightmare. The only thing I can say for sure is that this company’s only hiring criteria is a history of severe head trauma. Maybe I’ll write a book about it, but trust me; I won’t go with the 1st Book Publisher I see!

Cheryl Bartlett, author of Stripper Shoes
www.strippershoes.org (http://www.strippershoes.org)

Cheryl Winsten-Bartlett, Ph.D.

aka eraser
03-01-2004, 10:16 PM
Maybe it's my innate cleverness. Maybe it's the hundreds of mysteries I've read over 30+ years.

But I have a hunch that you left a clue in your post as to the identity of this anonymous company.

No no, don't tell me. I want to be the 1st to figure out who you published your 1stBook with. :smokin

James D Macdonald
03-02-2004, 04:11 AM
And another article in PoD, this time from the New York Times.


Good quotes:

<hr />
The real challenge is not to produce books, it is to achieve all the goals of publishing - to get the books edited, distributed, noticed and, above all, bought. That is no easy feat: in the United States, 150,000-160,000 new titles were published last year, according to R.R. Bowker's Books in Print. On average, the P.O.D. titles sell just 150 to 175 copies, the companies say. Many authors are happy to pay for 50 or 100 copies of their magnum opus to give or sell to family, friends and business contacts. Others, though, confuse production with publication and end up disillusioned.
<hr />

<hr />
At iUniverse, the "Star" program is another important hook. If a title sells more than 500 copies its first year, the company may invest in marketing the book and invite the author to become a Star.

But of iUniverse's 17,000 published titles, the authors of only 84 have been chosen as Stars, and only a half-dozen have made it to Barnes & Noble store shelves.
<hr />

<hr />
Whatever method of self-publishing an author chooses, one factor is the same: the author is the only one driving the sales. "The bottom line," as Ms. Yoder has learned, "is promoting yourself. When push comes to shove, it's your money."

<hr />

03-02-2004, 09:14 AM
From the same article, re: Random House Ventures' acquisition of a minority stake in Xlibris:

>>These more established publishing businesses decided to invest in P.O.D. to diversify and expand their role. "There was the farm team idea - could we find authors?" said Richard Sarnoff, the president of Random House Ventures. "As niches get smaller, is it a model for the future?"<<

But I remember that at the time the acquisition was made (in 2000), both companies made a point of explaining that there wouldn't be any crossover. So I did a little searching, and sure enough, from from an article about the acquisition, published in 2000 when the acquisition was made:

>>Random House officials said they will not be mining the offerings at Xlibris for undiscovered writers.<<

The whole article is here: www.wired.com/news/cultur...88,00.html (http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,35388,00.html)

- Victoria

03-10-2004, 01:21 AM
Many POD titles are all screwed up through booksellers' channels. They are not listed properly, the old editions are not removed until they sell the last one, and of course they will not pay your royalty.
Neither publishers nor booksellers care about your efforts to sell more.
When you ask them what happened, they blame someone else, others.

They want us to sell books when the customer cannot order them through the booksellers.

That is a big enigma for all of us. Isn't it?

Finally, I have US and Euro agents. I hope they won't act like many publishers, or the booksellers. Lets all pray.

If you have any questions email me
Or go to my website

I will share all with you my fellow writers.

Or post it at my groups

03-10-2004, 02:39 AM
Bazhe, posting the same messages in topics that have nothing to do with what you state is a form of spamming. You will not get people to visit your site and purchase your book by spamming them while they're trying to carry on discussions about other matters they hold to be important.

I recommend you reconsider your actions. Post in an appropriate topic.

03-10-2004, 11:04 AM
Godiva, Mike Naselli's not the only writer doing that. Ever hear of Vanna Bonta? If not, it's not for her lack of trying.

Don: Hi, Mike. Your book sucks.

Justino, what you do to become a bestseller is write books that lots of people want to buy and read. Going around posting lies and offering false hope to the most vulnerable people you can find is not and can never be legitimate. It's dishonest. It's also contemptible.

(Hear that, Mike? Contemptible. And by the way, your book sucks.)

I've known lots of legitimate marketing and advertising people. There are worlds of difference between what they do and what Mike (hi, Mike!) Naselli does. It's not just a matter of pitching your product to people who are likely to buy it. There's the little detail of what you say when you pitch it. If you don't see anything wrong with blatant, shameless lies, that's your choice. It's my choice to judge that if so, there's something wrong with you.

03-13-2004, 09:55 AM
Realistic first time author here. Unless your name is "Stephen King" your best bet to break into the business is self-publicatin, although I have no interest in 1stBooks. I'm one of those authors who has stories to tell and just wants some readers. I don't care if I make money :) It is almost impossible to publish a novel if you are unknown. I think POD publishing is great. I know I can do some marketing and get some readers, and that's thrilling to me.

If we all waited for traditonal publishers, most of us would never get the chance to tell our stories to anybody else :) . I am thinking of iuniverse, as well as trying to do traditional or e-publishing at the same time. I can't wait to see my book in print.

03-13-2004, 10:13 AM
it is not impossible for first time novelists to publish --- go to any mega bookstore and see how many books are blurbed as and amazing first novel by . . .

first novel is almost its own genre.

it is very possible for unknown and first time novelists to sell to companies that pay an advance and a reasonable rate of royalty

and, yes i have (before you ask)

the idea that paying to be published is the only reasonable option is false.

03-13-2004, 11:57 AM
I've read in a couple of posts here about the poor quality of Lightning Source. Could you be more specific in your complaints? I've seen different LSI books and I have not noticed anything. What exactly is it they do (or do not do) they makes their books sub-par?

03-18-2004, 12:51 AM
I went to 1stbooks and had an autobiography published. They had a $300 special going on which including formatting the book into a 6x9 paperback. They have also placed the information on Amazon and Barnes and Noble web sites.
I've read some of the horror stories posted on this forum about 1stbooks, but I have not had any problems with them.
An outfit called Publish America wanted me to sign a 7 year contract and the publishing would not cost me a dime. But I was uncomfortable with the 7 year contract, so I shelled out the 3 bills with 1stbooks.
As far as spelling errors, 1stBooks took care of those, except those that were my fault and I paid a modest rewriting fee-$25 I think for about 4 errors.
The shipping and handling is a bit steep with the object being that the more books you order from 1stbooks, the cheaper the S&H.
But all in all for my first book, I didn't have any trouble using 1stbooks
For more info on my book which is called CHIN MUSIC FROM A GREYHOUND or Confessions of a Civil War Reenactor, please visit:
www.1stbooks.com/bookview/21140 (http://www.1stbooks.com/bookview/21140)
Robert W. Talbott

03-18-2004, 02:27 AM
Pammar said:
Realistic first time author here. Unless your name is "Stephen King" your best bet to break into the business is self-publicatin, although I have no interest in 1stBooks. I'm one of those authors who has stories to tell and just wants some readers. I don't care if I make money It is almost impossible to publish a novel if you are unknown. I think POD publishing is great. I know I can do some marketing and get some readers, and that's thrilling to me.

If we all waited for traditonal publishers, most of us would never get the chance to tell our stories to anybody else . I am thinking of iuniverse, as well as trying to do traditional or e-publishing at the same time. I can't wait to see my book in printIf what you want are readers, then you're doing exactly the wrong thing. Every published author out there was once an unpublished first-timer. Scammers put a lot of work into spreading the idea that it's impossible for an unknown to publish a novel, because they want you to think they're your only option. They aren't. If you write a book that people want to read, you can get published by a conventional publishing house. If you don't, self-publication won't help you one little bit.

Vanity presses do not have a magical hypnotic device that will force readers to buy and read books they don't enjoy. If you want readers, put your work into writing books that readers will want.

Here's the straight dope: marketing and publicizing and selling books requires a great many man-hours of expert labor. It only pays a publisher to run a real marketing operation if the money to hire the employees, and and to cover all the many associated expenses, will be recouped by the increased sales of the books. At a vanity press, that's just plain not going to happen. Forget what you think about your own book; look at the other books the company publishes. Do they look like obvious candidates for success to you? Honestly? Because if they don't, that publisher is not going to have a marketing operation that can help you.

Putting out press releases and shoveling titles into Amazon and B&N Online and Ingram is not marketing books. It is, at most, making them available for sale. Huge difference.

But suppose your dearest dream came true, people turned out to adore your book, and fast-moving word of mouth started selling your book for you. You know what would happen? Not much. I guarantee you wouldn't have a bestseller. Word of mouth does you no good if potential readers can't find your book already there in their local bookstore.

More to the point, though, there's no way a POD or short-run operation can produce and ship even a fraction of the number of copies you need when a title starts to heat up. They're set up to produce little trickles of copies as needed, not pallets full of copies earmarked for Northern New Jersey. Even the most promising word of mouth will falter and die if there are no copies to be had. People move on. Conversations move on.

But what if your publisher could produce copies in that quantity? Then I still sincerely doubt that the chains and distributors would want to deal with them. We're talking about large quantities of an overpriced book which can't be sold and/or returned under the normal arrangements and conventions, and isn't backed up by having a marketing support infrastructure already in place at the house.

Bottom line: There is absolutely no substitute for writing a book that people want to read. And if you can do that, you don't have to deal with any of this other crap. You get paid, and you sit back and let everyone else worry about getting your book in front of the readers' eyes.

03-18-2004, 12:13 PM
It's true, traditional publishers have sales forces that call up the bookstores, Wal Mart, and other retailers and sell to them. That's the worry of the publishing company, getting you in the bookstores as simply being available online isn't enough. Most books are still sold when people go browsing through the book store or some other retail outlet.

However, the writer may also wish to go on television shows to promote the book. If you have a good agent or manager that can get the books in the hands of someone like Oprah Winfrey, or the Good Morning America people, the writer would do well to go on those shows. Also being covered by/interviewed by newspapers like the New York Times, or major magazines helps.

Almost every book recommended by Oprah's book club becomes a best seller.

James D Macdonald
03-18-2004, 12:29 PM
Exactly how many PA, 1stBooks, Xlibris, iUniverse or other vanity PoD books have been chosen by Ms. Winfrey?

Television is ... well, it is. If you appear on TV waving your book around, and your book isn't also available in stores right that minute, your appearance isn't a going to translate into many sales.

If you go on Jerry Springer on the "I Dated My Best Friend's Daughter -- and Now She's Pregnant" segment, and you've also written a novel that you mention on the air ... how many Jerry Springer viewers are big novel buyers?

The number of books that are mentioned on major shows like Good Morning America is ... miniscule. Publishers release more new novels in a day than they mention in a year.

Basically, if you have that good an agent or manager, what are you doing messing around with a vanity press?

03-18-2004, 02:39 PM
James, you misunderstood my previous post. My previous post was all in favor of traditional publishers, as I note that they have their sales departments sell books to book stores, Wal Mart, and other retailers.

I did say, however, that big writers with traditional publishers do not necessarily leave marketing to the publishing company. Those that have top level agents and managers will have them get them on Oprah, Good Morning America, in Newspapers like the New York Times,, major magazines, etc.

My last post was basically about how that will not happen with a Vanity Press or POD.

In other words, I was suggesting to anyone who wants a serious career in writing go with traditional publishing. I'm sorry if my previous post was not clear enough. I hope this clarifies.


Yes, James, I know that the number of books which make it on Good Morning America or Oprah is rather small. However, most of the books that get that kind of exposure become best sellers. Publishers love Oprah's book club, because of the sales it brings.

03-18-2004, 03:07 PM
Oprah's book club,

after the row with frazier, isn't she only selecting dead novelists now?

03-18-2004, 11:36 PM
No. She restarted her regular book club, and in the interim, continued to recommend books that she came across and that she thought was good.

www.oprah.com/obc/obc_landing.jhtml (http://www.oprah.com/obc/obc_landing.jhtml)

She still covers living novelists as well. Many of her shows focus around celebrities, whether they are actors, novelists, cooking show hosts/cook book writers like Nigella, etc.

03-20-2004, 09:43 AM
I did say, however, that big writers with traditional publishers do not necessarily leave marketing to the publishing company. Those that have top level agents and managers will have them get them on Oprah, Good Morning America, in Newspapers like the New York Times,, major magazines, etc.Not really. Publicity isn't an agent kind of thing. Normally, the publishing house does all that. If the author wants additional exposure, he or she hires a publicist. And if the author and the publicist have any sense at all, they'll be coordinating with the publisher's publicity department at every step of the way.

03-20-2004, 12:49 PM
Do either the agent or the publishing company refer novelists to the publicist?

For screenwriters, either agents, producers or development executives can refer screenwriters to managers who take care of those types of things for them.

For the novelists who are interviewed on television, who gets those interviews for them? (Not counting cases where the talk show host just heard about the book and bought it)

03-20-2004, 09:07 PM
and freelancers. The in-house variety are usually spread fairly thin.

Many novelists I know pay out of pocket to hire freelance publicists.

Dragon Chow
03-27-2004, 10:13 AM
It appears 1stBooks have changed their name (http://www.indystar.com/articles/2/132510-2832-031.html) to AuthorHouse.

AuthorHouse, eh? Hmmm, that, to me, is like saying they cater only to authors. Just authors. No readers.

Perfect name for a vanity press, I guess. :rolleyes

James D Macdonald
03-27-2004, 12:30 PM
From the article (http://www.indystar.com/articles/2/132510-2832-031.html): AuthorHouse isn't vanity press, McCormack stresses. It offers too many services and isn't as expensive.

Alas! Being a vanity press doesn't depend on a dollar figure or an array of services (services, incidentally, which are the exact same services offered by Vantage (http://www.vantagepress.com/)), or a printing technology. Vanity press is a business model. If, on the day the first book rolls off the presses, the rights are held by the publisher and the cashflow has come from the author, that house is a vanity press.

03-27-2004, 12:58 PM
Oh my according to 1stbooks err Authershouse own numbers as quoted in the article their author's sell on average108.1 books. And since 2,500 more titles have been "published" than there are Authors, that means that each title averages 100 books for sales. Since they claim some authors have sold thousands of copies I shudder to think how many some of their Authors have sold.

03-29-2004, 04:42 AM
In regards to 1stBooks Library (now known as AuthorHouse), one must consider their goal in publication before committing to ANY publisher. First and foremost - it is best to try the traditional market first. There are good books on how to query agents and traditional publishers. Be persistent and have patience.

If you are merely trying to publish a book that has a very limited market such as family histories, etc. - then a POD such as 1stBooks would be ideal.

Never go into publishing with dillussions of grandure - you will only get hurt. Have patience and allow enough time for the traditional world to have considered your query. If after a year or two you feel that you are going nowhere fast - and just can't wait any longer to see your work in print - then you may want to consider self-publishing.

Any publishing endeavor requires a whole lot of work. If you are self-published then you work your butt off trying to sell your bound book. If you want to be traditionally published - then you work your butt of trying to sell yourself and your manuscript. It all depends on how you want to do the work.

03-30-2004, 03:58 AM
Well, the squeaky wheel really does get the grease. After taking my frustration and emailing the higher-ups in the company I received a phone call early this afternoon. I have finally been offered a resolution. They have agreed to refund the money for the packages that were not fulfilled properly. In addition they have offered me a free Marketing Kit as well as 10 Free copies of my book.

Now, I am not one to jump for joy until I see the proof that this is resolved. I will post back here and let you know how things turn out. Apparently with the name changing to AuthorHouse there has also been a swift move in management and the concept of customer service. I have been assured that they are working to resolve author problems and concerns.

As with any publisher - read the contract and know what you are signing and what you are paying for. If you stay informed as well as being firm you CAN get a resolution to your problems.:hat

03-30-2004, 05:50 AM
I've seen a lot of people on this thread and others say that self-publishing is the best bet for a first time author. I'm sorry, but I have to dissagree. I'm not going to rehash the argument about vanity presses and POD publishers taking advantage of authors. I'm not going to state facts about how few books are sold by self-published authors. Instead, I must make the point that publishing is NOT as hard as the nay sayers make it sound.

I wrote a novel, a paranormal romance, and wanted to publish it. I did not belong to any major writer's groups, such as RWA, WGA, or anything of that nature. Therefore I didn't know about all the alternative means of getting noticed, such as conferences, contests with fees, or epublishing. What I did have was a few books about the business, such as The Idiot's Guide to Getting Published, Writer's Market and the 2003 Guide to Literary Agents. The process seemed pretty easy: Write a query letter, get an agent, get a NY publisher.

So what happened? I wrote a query letter, got an agent, and am getting a NY publisher.

In the midst of all the "options" people forget that sometimes simplicity is all it takes. Good agents are looking for good books that will make them money. They don't sit in their offices entertaining themselves by laughing meniacally at new authors and sending out rejection letters. Sure, I got rejections, probably 30 of them. Luckily, I sent out more than 30 query letters to top-rated agents. I got 3 requests for full manuscript, the second of which earned me an agent who had been in business since 1977, was recommended by Predators and Editors, and was named "Agent of the Year 2000". My book is currently in the "consideration stage" at Avon/Harper Collins.

Don't listen to the propaganda you hear from the self-publishing houses or disgruntled would-be authors. Publishing is a business like any other. Provide a good product and it will sell. With dedication, determination, and a healthy belief in yourself, you will find the process much easier than you ever would have expected.

03-30-2004, 06:05 PM
I can second that as well, never had a novel published--now have a good NYC agent and my novel is now in the consideration stage with DAW and 4 others.


James D Macdonald
03-31-2004, 04:44 AM
KivrinAngel is exactly right; it's what all the published authors have been saying right the way along ... publishing isn't closed to newcomers. The scammers and the vanity presses want you to think so because it's to their advantage. But in reality, every single famous published author you've ever heard of was an unpublished first-timer once.

Write the best book you can. Then write another one, even better.

04-19-2004, 03:20 AM
Jim Macdonald very astutely said:
If, on the day the first book rolls off the presses, the rights are held by the publisher and the cashflow has come from the author, that house is a vanity press.May I also recommend John Savage's analysis (http://scrivenerserror.blogspot.com/2003_07_01_scrivenerserror_archive.html#1059577271 53045899) of this issue?

My only quibble with John Savage's system is that for decades I've heard "vanity" used to describe setups where the author paid to have the books printed, whether the copies of the books thus printed belonged to the author or the publisher. If I'd been asked to distinguish between self-publishing and vanity publishing, I'd have said that at bottom they're the same thing, but vanity publishing pretends it's something else. Self-publication is an honest whore; vanity publishing is a golddigger.

James D Macdonald
04-19-2004, 09:40 AM
I'd say that in self-publication the author is working with a publisher, but the publisher and the author are the same person.

The prime mistake that self-publishers make is forgetting to pay themselves as authors. Self publishers need to set their cover prices high enough to pay themselves their own royalties. It wouldn't be a bad idea for self-publishers to set up separate bank accounts -- one for their author hat, one for their publisher hat.

Small businesses often fail, usually from being undercapitalized. (The other main reason is from misjudging the market.)

Self-publishing can be distinguished from vanity publishing by looking at the direction of money flow. Even if it's only from one pocket to another, it should be flowing from that person's Publisher pocket to his Author pocket.

05-02-2004, 06:57 AM
Self-publishing is not vanity in that you are running a legit business. You may publish your own books, or you may publish someone else's books. You must separate the author from the publisher (you and you). If you're a bad writer, you may not be able to sell any books and your business would falter -- so that separates you from the vanity press (vanity has a different business model -- thus, they're not tied to the quality of the ms). There are a few excellent books out there on self-publishing.

It's a good idea to call your publishing business something else other than JDM House or MacDonald Publishing... don't use your own name. Again, try to separate the author from the business.

05-09-2004, 10:06 AM
I would like to thank you for your advise. I am looking into getting a book published and on line a found 1s books or author house as they now call themselves. I'm glad i haven't gone into things blindly. I was worried about going through a traditional publishing company and the guy I spoke to at author house only added to my fear. so thanks again for your advise.
os there anything else you can tell me about the company? or other advise for a first time writer?

James D Macdonald
05-09-2004, 10:51 AM
Advice to a first-time writer?

Write the strongest book you can.

Submit it to traditional publishers, following their guidelines.

If your book's rejected, send it to the next place on your list.

While you're submitting your book, start work on your next.

If someone asks you to write them a check, they're not your friend.

If a publisher can't get books into a doors-and-windows bookstore (check for yourself!) you aren't interested in talking with that publisher.

A useful agent has sold books that you've heard of.


Go to the biggest bookstore you can find. Go to one side, where you can look down the aisle to the other side, about a football field away.

See all those books? Every single one of those authors was unpublished once. Only a vanishingly small percentage are or were "celebrities."

Perhaps there are a couple of vanity PoD books somewhere in the store -- look on the "local authors" shelf. Even fewer of them than there are "celebrity" books.


Preditors & Editors is an excellent resource, as is Writer Beware.

Learn your craft, learn the business, and enjoy yourself.

05-09-2004, 01:23 PM
"Go to the biggest bookstore you can find. Go to one side, where you can look down the aisle to the other side, about a football field away.

See all those books? Every single one of those authors was unpublished once. Only a vanishingly small percentage are or were "celebrities."

Perhaps there are a couple of vanity PoD books somewhere in the store -- look on the "local authors" shelf. Even fewer of them than there are "celebrity" books."

Also check in mind that Wal Mart is perhaps the biggest seller of books these days. Wal Mart does not do vanity/POD. You need to go through traditional publishing.

Traditional publishers have professional sales forces whose job is to get your book in Wal Mart and the book stores.

Newspapers and major television outlets (such as Oprah, Good Morning America, etc), will bring interview traditionally published authors. They do not deal with Vanity/POD people.

05-10-2004, 08:07 PM
My advice:

1. All the best advice for beginning writers (such as you've already been getting here) is very simple. The trick is to accept it, believe it, and put it into practice.

2. Cultivate what the fanfic community calls "beta readers". These are well-disposed but not uncritical readers who are willing to read your work in progress and give you feedback on it. The good ones will tell you where it made them laugh, or cry, or where a turn of phrase confused them so that they had to re-read it three times to figure out what it said; and the best ones will tell you things like "you've gotten hold of the wrong end of a really cool idea."

Beta readers are not paid. One of the best ways to get them to read your work is to do the same for theirs.

3. Plays and movies are the best place to learn basic plotting.

4. If you haven't yet learned how to plot, steal one. It's easier to learn how to write if you've got a decent plot to work with.

5. Read a lot. Read widely. Read fiction and nonfiction, old and new.

6. Write every day.

7. Write books you would want to read.

8. The last big jump before getting published is the one between writing a book that's good enough to be published, and writing one that an editor wants to publish.

James D Macdonald
05-10-2004, 10:43 PM
8. The last big jump before getting published is the one between writing a book that's good enough to be published, and writing one that an editor wants to publish.

And boy howdie is that a big jump!

That's the difference between writing a book that people will read and writing a book that people want to read.

When your beta readers ask if they can pass your story on to their friends, when they ask if you have any more for them to read, that's when you're getting close.

Editors are just readers, that's all. When I hear people talking about "how do I get around editors?" it makes me a little crazy: that's like asking "how do I avoid readers?"

And I want to find the guy who wrote that "Everyone can be published!" TV commercial for the IBM DocuTech machine (you know the one, with the professor and the snotty student). I want to find that guy and shake him 'til his teeth rattle, while shouting in his face, "Do you know how many new writers you've hurt?"

05-11-2004, 12:38 AM
2. Cultivate what the fanfic community calls "beta readers". These are well-disposed but not uncritical readers who are willing to read your work in progress and give you feedback on it. The good ones will tell you where it made them laugh, or cry, or where a turn of phrase confused them so that they had to re-read it three times to figure out what it said; and the best ones will tell you things like "you've gotten hold of the wrong end of a really cool idea."

Or not. I think crit partners who are skilled in your genre will provide better feedback.

Also, some novelists [e.g., Diana Gabaldon] eschew beta readers, crit groups, etc. and depend on their own gut.

Whatever works.

05-11-2004, 03:01 AM
"Also, some novelists [e.g., Diana Gabaldon] eschew beta readers, crit groups, etc. and depend on their own gut."

I think people would be better off letting their agent service as their reader. The agent is the one who has to sell it, after all, and would probably be better suited to providing the necessary feedback than your fellow writers.

wouff hong
05-25-2004, 10:00 PM
This is my first look through this topic and I was struck by a post from last summer by RealityChuck.

He plugged some newspaper articles into Lexis-Nexus and came up with no mention. He then implied that this proved a prior list was pure fiction.

Chuck, if you are still on the thread, you owe ebookren a major apology for the insinuation.

Either you aren't very good with Lexis-Nexus, or Lexis-Nexus was incomplete.

I searched the NYT for the first two reviews that you say didn't exist. My results:

4/2/03 Dining In, Dining Out/Style Desk
"Taking Comfort From An Unexpected Source"
by Ralph Blumenthal
Book review of: "Delights from the Garden of Eden"
written by Nawal Nasrallah

9/8/02 Long Island Weekly Desk
"Long Island Journal: In the Last 28 Bay Houses, The Past Lives On"
by Marcelle Fischler
Book review of: "Bad Blood: A Long Island Mystery"
by David E Feldman

ebrookren even gave you the Long Island Section as a search aid for this one.

Your poor search does not justify the slur on ebrookren.

I didn't bother looking up any of your other mis-hits, I'll leave it for you to try to figure out what you did wrong. But, in paraphrase of your own conclusion:

Let's review: Two supposed articles: both verified.

Sounds like the searcher is pure incompetent.

James D Macdonald
05-25-2004, 11:06 PM
Wouff hong:

Did you actually read those "reviews"?

They aren't reviews -- they're profiles of the authors. The <a href="http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F03E6DC173EF93BA3575AC0A9649C8B 63" target="_new">Local Man Writes Book</a> sort of story that gets used as filler.

There's a bit of distance between "book gets mentioned" and "book gets reviewed," as I'm sure you're aware.

07-09-2004, 07:31 AM
AUTHOR HOUSE/1ST BOOKS POTENTIAL SUBJECT OF CLASS ACTION SUIT. Clients of 1st Books Library have been contacted by the law firm of Robert L. Lewis in Gary, Indiana, (219-944-2755) soliciting participants in a class action law suit. The firm is gathering information concerning breach of contract by not providing services, product or consideration for payment of money; deception; misrepresentation and fraud.

Peter Hedge
07-12-2004, 09:12 PM
Does anyone have more information about this action?


James D Macdonald
07-12-2004, 09:48 PM
I first heard about this from a 1stBooks author about a month ago, so I knew it was coming. Allegedly, 1stBooks/AuthorHouse hasn't been making royalty payments, or royalty payments haven't matched known sales. I expect that the best way to find out more about this suit would be to call Mr. Lewis.

Peter Hedge
07-13-2004, 08:10 AM
Thanks James. I will fill out the form the lawyer sent send it off and see what happens.

It's a tough one to prove - how many sales - like everyone else my novel is listed on perhaps 300-400 sites from Amazon.com to (of all places) a site specializing in 'Medical text books' (my novel is a mystery set in a UK prison).

But, like I say, I will complete the forms and see what happens. Who knows, maybe I'll make more from the law suit than the sales.

Thanks again,

Peter (Victoria, BC, Canada)

07-13-2004, 08:44 AM
I first heard about this from a 1stBooks author about a month ago, so I knew it was coming. Allegedly, 1stBooks/AuthorHouse hasn't been making royalty payments, or royalty payments haven't matched known sales. I expect that the best way to find out more about this suit would be to call Mr. Lewis.

Thank you for posting this information. I sent a message about the 1stBooks change of name to the Copyediting list serv (because there have been discussions and alerts about vanity publishers posted there before). One member e-mailed me in response, concerned because someone she knew was trying to get a job with AuthorHouse. She'd heard about some of the warnings, and she wanted to make sure the warnings were for real.

So does anyone know if AuthorHouse is a good employer? ;)

07-13-2004, 06:34 PM
Lightning Source prints all of their books. The lawyers only have to subpeona the number of books printed and try to match that quantity with the number sold.

Peter Hedge
07-14-2004, 08:27 AM
Thanks Mark for that reassurance.

For anyone who might be interested I have sent off the info that Robert Lewis & Associates asked for and "jumped on the band wagon" they are putting assembling.

If and when there are any further developments that I'm allowed to share, then I shall so do.

Thanks again for the postings everyone.

Peter J Hedge (Victoria, BC, Canada)

Peter Hedge
07-15-2004, 02:57 AM
That last reply of mine sounds a bit "flippant" It wasn't meant to be. It also had some typos that I should have flushed out before posting.

So, to set the record straight I have simply sent the lawyer (who contacted me out of the blue) the information he requested.

Peter J Hedge (Victoria, BC, Canada)

07-20-2004, 01:52 AM
For anyone who's still interested:

www.writersweekly.com/php...php?t=2535 (http://www.writersweekly.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=2535)

Brother Kevin
08-18-2004, 04:50 AM
I hope this isn't too late. I've already sent them a check, I'm afraid to say for how much because.....well you can just guess.

At any rate, I've already sold numerous copies of my computer how-to book on CD, and want to get it printed and bound in order to prevent file-sharing.

This company will be doing some promotion and marketing for me, an ad in the NYT Book Review section, updating the copyright, getting an ISBN#, etc.

Before things go much further, has anyone heard anything at all about this company? I checked out the BBB and there were no negative reports so I decided to go ahead.

If anybody out there knows anything I don't, PLEASE let me know!

08-18-2004, 04:07 PM
Authorhouse is a vanity press -- I would put it in the middle of the field as mildy deceptive and inclined to push over-priced editing and distribution services

here are a few relevant discussion threads and articles:
www.booksandtales.com/pod/1stbooks.htm (http://www.booksandtales.com/pod/1stbooks.htm)
scrivenerserror.blogspot....chive.html (http://scrivenerserror.blogspot.com/2004_04_01_scrivenerserror_archive.html)
www.thumperscorner.com/di...1088023923 (http://www.thumperscorner.com/discus/messages/1/1279.html?1088023923)
www.writers.net/forum/read/1/17925/17925 (http://www.writers.net/forum/read/1/17925/17925)

Here is a useful general link on the different types of publisher: www.sfwa.org/beware/subsi...shers.html (http://www.sfwa.org/beware/subsidypublishers.html)

James D Macdonald
08-18-2004, 04:46 PM
See also:

<a href="http://p197.ezboard.com/fabsolutewritefrm11.showMessage?topicID=415.topic" target="_new">p197.ezboard.com/fabsolutewritefrm11.showMessage?topicID=415.topic</a>

Brother Kevin
08-18-2004, 06:25 PM
WOW! There was a great deal of specific information in those links, thanks for supplying them!

My book is targeted to a specific audience. 70% of K-12 schools in the US and Canada use a student database program called SASI ('sassy'), "School Administrator Student Information". This program, while functional, produces hideously ugly and inflexible reports. Report cards, schedules, rosters, progress reports etc. are printed in a Courier 10 font, field sizes for teachers' names and course titles are fixed and so long entries are truncated, etc.

Every SASI users conference I've been to has had people who have complained vociferously about the reports. Sometimes it's gotten ugly.

The parent company of SASI has offered a Report Writer module to address these issues but is asking $1,800. After our school spent well over $10,000 for the original software, I was incensed at being asked to spend more money to fix a problem that shouldn't exist in the first place.

Microsoft Access can easily produce school reports from SASI data, and my book teaches the Access 'newbie' exactly how to do that. I use a step-by-step approach and employ numerous screen-captures to guide the user, and include fully-functional MS Access databases.

I've been selling my book and database set in CD format for about two years at $99 a copy. I've sold 300 copies or so. This is how I've been able to afford Authorhouse. I also have some money left over for the next phase.

Recently I discovered a website that contained a list of all the K-12 school names and addresses in the US. I DO know that EVERY school in South Carolina is required to use SASIxp.
Fortunately I work in a school! We have a machine that will fold 81/2 x 11" paper, and a postage machine that will apply postage to envelopes. I've used students to help apply address labels and stuff envelopes, and we can usually do about 1000 envelopes in less than 1/2 an hour.

Once my book hits print, my plan is to have an attractive flyer printed up by Kinko's, and then mail them out to K-12 schools one state at a time.

The printed version of my book will sell for $29. World-wide, there are over 50,000 schools registered to use SASI.

Dare to dream! Selling one book at $29 to each of those schools, and settling for a 1/3 commission is still a nice chunk of change. Realistically though, if I sell a book to one out of every 10 schools I'd be happy.

Actually my primary goal is to provide a realistic alternative to my colleagues in education. I am SO ticked off that the SASI people are asking us to shell out extra cash for a problem that A) shouldn't exist and
B) they should have rectified for us, for free.

End of rant.
Thanks again for your feedback above!!

James D Macdonald
08-18-2004, 06:41 PM
Specialized non-fiction for a defined niche market is one of the places where self-publishing shines.

See Dan Poynter's book for details on doing it yourself.

09-16-2004, 10:22 AM
Now I know this might just be another P.O.D. company.
When I started marketing myself, I was looking at this company but something kept me from contacting them again.
(lets call it a touch of common sense)

However, I'd be interested in hearing some feed back about this company. Does anybody know of anyone who uses this company.
Jenna, Dave, James.. I know you're out there....Whats your feed back.. ?

:cheers cheers

James D Macdonald
09-16-2004, 03:03 PM
AuthorHouse is the new name for 1stBooks Library. Search for reports under that name.

They're just another vanity POD. They have the same problems from an author's point of view as all the rest of the vanity PODs.

I'm told that there's a class-action lawsuit against them under their old name for damages resulting from a breach of contract and other potential liabilities related to misrepresentation, fraud and deception.

09-16-2004, 08:48 PM
Yeah I knew them as 1stbooks...then I wondered why the name change.

I did an inquiry to their services and they sent me back a reference to their services.

First of all the cost of publication was $1000.00 U.S.
and that's with a page limit 120max, up to 50 color images included with that....and 10.00 for each additional image..
Apparently they have different 'packages' to meet certain needs.

Then there's the line 'Freedom to set your own price for your book, as well as some of the highest royalties in the industry(up to 50%)'
Not sure what your take on that would be, but I'm positive there is something sketchy there.

....and to top it off....(I think this is what made me hesitate)

Unlimited free review copies will be sent to media outlets at their request...
**At the conclusion of the production process, you will be required to purchase at least 20 copies of your book before we will make it available for sale.**

That pretty much did it for me.....so I never replied to them... they still try to contact me. I like to see the various offers they have, ..but all of it is unrealistic......

:cheers CHEERS

09-17-2004, 12:29 AM
Heck, for $1000 U.S., you could publish it yourself. And then some.

09-17-2004, 01:41 AM
I checked out a few reports on Author house. Naturally I was right about my assumption....

www.booksandtales.com/pod/1stbooks.htm (http://www.booksandtales.com/pod/1stbooks.htm)
good synopsis of the company

www.writersweekly.com/php...php?t=2535 (http://www.writersweekly.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=2535)
this must be the beginnings of the suit James was referring too. Dated in July

www.humorwriters.org/Richwine.html (http://www.humorwriters.org/Richwine.html)
this one is not only humorous .. but ironic...

Check out the links that I've found.. these guy's are no better that P.A. or any other POD.

It's really too bad that there is no legitimate company that provides this simple service and yet keeps the professional attitude of a offset press publication.

Unless, of course, James you know of any. Seems to me all the ones that offer POD show the same characteristics as Authorhouse and P.A. Upfront fees, marketing fees, purchase your own book.
I guess theres enough suckers in the world to keep these places in business.

Through one of the links there is also a section where it displays companies that have changed their name... One was changed four times. I guess that's a way of getting out of bankruptcy or liabilities???

BookPublisher was iPublisher (changed back in 2001-2002 note: seeing how this name changed a few years ago, it may be less relevant than in the other cases).

BookSurge Publishing was Global Book Publisher was GreatUnpublished (changed to Global Book Publisher in December 2003 and then to BookSurge Publishing in April 2004).

AuthorHouse was 1stBooks Library (changed in March 2004).

Damn glad I hesitated....

:cheers CHEERS

09-17-2004, 04:43 AM
I was told that AuthorHouse changed their name because they were being confused with another place called "First Books". This is all good to know about the lawsuits. I also checked out some of the stuff they publish. GARBAGE!!! I looked up Juvenile Fiction and each book had a posted passage. Each passage totally sucked, so I'm assuming that this is what is flooding busy editors/agents/publishers. Anyone agree?

09-19-2004, 12:26 PM
Today at a bookfair I happened by a table with big signs that said, "Stop" and "Think", among other things.

The woman at the table was agressive. She insisted I take a bookmark, and though I twice said "no thank you", she tried to force handouts and a pen on me, that I did not want.

She had no concern for my not wanting or needing her wares. I wish I'd said, "Stop and Think!" (swear word withheld.)

Later I noticed "authorhouse, formerly 1st books" on the bookmark, as I tossed it in the trash.

Perhaps her marketing tactic is more effective with other customers. The man at the table did nothing more than rock back in his chair, shielded behind dark sunglasses.

James D Macdonald
09-19-2004, 05:58 PM
The book wouldn't have been <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1414057903/madhousemanor" target="_new">Stop Think ACT: Improving Behavior Through Cognitive Intervention</a> by Grisper, would it?

(While searching at Amazon for AuthorHouse books that had the word "Stop" in the title, I came on this astounding item:

<a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1403384142/madhousemanor" target="_new">Stop! Then Count to 10 Before You Lose Time, Money, and/or Reputation. . . By Selecting the WRONG Internet Business Opportunity: And Determine Your Willingness to do What it Takes to Succeed!</a> by A. W. Schade. I couldn't help noticing the Amazon sales rank of 2,715,818. I'm tempted to write to ol' A. W. and ask "How's that working out for you?"

09-19-2004, 08:44 PM
So tell me.., is it customary for crappy books to have long titles.
You might say his/her lack of success was 'made in the Schade':wha

09-19-2004, 08:56 PM
>> I was told that AuthorHouse changed their name because they were being confused with another place called "First Books".<<

There is another outfit called First Books--a fee-charging literary agency plus vanity publisher (though the publisher has a different name) plus various other services--but it has been around longer than 1st Books had been around, so it seems odd they'd make a change now. I think maybe they felt "AuthorHouse" suggested a broader range of services.

They're located in Bloomington, Indiana, where my brother lives. We're going out to visit this Thanksgiving, so I think I may just stop by AuthorHouse...should be interesting!

- Victoria

09-19-2004, 09:17 PM
Keep in mind that changing the name doesn't preclude responsibility for other actions or reduce liability. At best, it temporarily loses a bad reputation because it will take awhile for the watchdog sites and others to learn of the change.

However, there are many others who don't know of the watchdog sites, so for them it's an insidious way for the business with a bad reputation to shake off that self-inflicted scar for a bit longer. Still, that is also only temporary as the word will get out eventually when the company repeats the same behavior and that new name acquires the same stench beyond the confines of the watchdog sites.

By the way, Marti's Casewatchers site may bear some monitoring. Seems she's come up with a new label for us and is planning on a new board that can't be posted to except by her. She plans on pre-approving all posts so those have to be emailed to her and she'll then strip the identity so that her verified PA author contributors won't have to fear retribution from the "pitiful Viagra over-doser" PA bashers.

Personally, I find it incredible that she would risk the good her site could be accomplishing by going to war with those who are seeking to make it possible for her to succeed. What's worse is one of her stated reasons: "Besides, I'm bored to tears. My book isn't selling anyway and I have nothing to lose."

09-20-2004, 12:01 AM
That is just sad. And I agree with Whacha: THAT TITLE STINKS!

Besides Dave's and Victoria's sites, can I get some links to more of those watchdog sites?

09-20-2004, 12:01 AM
James--that was indeed the book. Not knowing the authors personally, I didn't want to slam them too hard. But that woman was like a Mexican on the beach in Cancun trying to force me to take one or her cheap pens. She needs to Stop.

09-20-2004, 01:59 AM
Greenwolf, you're on one now. Writers Net forum which lists many warnings is at www.writers.net/forum (http://www.writers.net/forum) . You can also check out the Rumormill at www.speculations.com/rumormill (http://www.speculations.com/rumormill) for more good information. Then there's another favorite of mine at webnews.sff.net/read?cmd=...s&from=-10 (http://webnews.sff.net/read?cmd=xover&group=sff.publishing.scams&from=-10) where the SFF newgroup lists scams and answers questions. Another good choice is Writers Weekly's listings in its forum at www.writersweekly.com/php...m.php?f=14 (http://www.writersweekly.com/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=14) . There are others, but these came to mind just now.

aka eraser
09-20-2004, 03:52 AM
Dave, that list of urls (minus our own) plus yours and Victoria's and Ann's would be good additions to the sticky post regarding general warnings on our front page.

09-20-2004, 04:43 AM
Personally, I find it incredible that she would risk the good her site could be accomplishing by going to war with those who are seeking to make it possible for her to succeed. What's worse is one of her stated reasons: "Besides, I'm bored to tears. My book isn't selling anyway and I have nothing to lose."

That is sad. People link to her site and her articles all over the Internet -- I found more than 150 off-site links with Google alone. People link to the missing persons articles there, the articles on murders or other crimes, etc. There are probably lots of regular visitors. No wonder her book did rather well -- well enough to scare PA with potential good sales! A lot of her regular visitors probably ordered a copy.

She obviously has lots of supporters. I guess she just has to realize that her publisher is not one of her supporters. And that they didn't "give her a chance." They screwed up the good she is trying to do.

09-20-2004, 08:28 AM
Yes, it is sad. What's worse is she buckled under to PA's bullying just after I warned her what they would attempt to do. Just for the record, I made no threat to close her forum down and didn't contact anyone asking that it be closed. All the same, she stated before closing it that she was being forced. I can assume only that PA didn't want her getting involved with any discussions that permitted those with opposing views to those of PA to participate, so they forced her to close in order to keep her book available.

09-20-2004, 09:03 AM
A friend told me about a publisher named Author House but I can't seem to find it on the internet. Has anyone every heard of them?:shrug

09-20-2004, 09:15 AM
You mean you couldn't find www.authorhouse.com after a cursory google search?

I can't be sure, but I think it's a POD publisher. Someone will be by shortly to comment on that...

09-20-2004, 09:16 AM
I'm pretty sure there's a topic on this already under 'Bewares and Background Checks.'

Writing Again
09-20-2004, 10:59 AM
I found it right off by typing authorhouse.com in the addy box an clicking go.

It is a self publishing house. I did not bother to check them out as the only thing I self publish is profanity. I write it on bathroom walls as it is cheaper.

09-20-2004, 12:43 PM
Thanks for those links! :)

09-20-2004, 03:33 PM
check the background check and bewares board a few spots down for a discussion on this topic.

10-03-2004, 04:49 AM
....and now Ingram won't stock POD books.

Sounds like this 'new technology' is being unplugged before it gets even a glimmer of light.

Now they're going to have to come up with another scam.

10-15-2004, 11:13 PM
This is from one of the reps.....

"Are you serious about publishing with AuthorHouse?
I know you must be very busy, because I have not heard from you. You had requested information from AuthorHouse (formerly 1st Books Library)a while ago, and I assumed that publishing with AuthorHouse was something you wanted to discuss, or at least learn more about. I've tried to reach you many times, but I haven't heard anything from you.

If you are still interested in our services, please contact me. If this is not the case, please let me know. I am not comfortable with wasting your time or seeming "overly persistent". If I don't hear back from you, I will assume you are not interested at the present time. But, I hope I will hear back from you when you are ready to publish your book.

Best of luck to you!
Cordially, "

I suppose I'll be polite and reply to his email,...not sure if I should state a purpose or a rebuttal for extra measure.

L Robyn
10-22-2004, 04:15 AM
wow...thanks... I almost went with these guys!:ack

10-22-2004, 06:55 AM
Whacha, I don't think you should reply. It sounds like spam to me. You probably weren't the only person to get that message.

(Hate it when they personalize spam to make it look like it's from one person to one other person -- and not several.)

10-22-2004, 09:52 PM
Yeah, you are probably right Greenwolf, but I did contact an individual salesperson, to discuss possible business arrangements. Then my file got switched over to this person who wrote the letter. I'm pretty sure he has a mailing list a mile long by now.

In retro spec I wound up not writing a rebuttal/refusal letter and marked it spam on my computer so, they'll be blocked for a few months.

L Robyn,... ya gotta do your research about anything these days. Look around the board there's lots of helpful advice. Separating the sh*t from the shaft is the tricky part.

11-03-2004, 05:52 AM
I have published a novel through AuthorHouse. The quality of the book is very good. They provide a number of options: cover design, advertising, promotional materials. I purchased several items, all of good quality. Authors must understand - they print what you send. You do get a galley and can make changes. Ingram, the distributor, has been purchasing one copy of each POD book for its inventory, and there is a lot of POD books. Ingram and the printer, Lighting Source, Inc or LSI, have changed their policy, they will no longer stock a copy of every POD book, but will adjust the ordering system. The ordering system is the problem when you sell a POD book to the major booksellers (B&N, BAM, Borders, etc.). For example, you call a B&N store and they place an order for 25 of your books. The Ingram order page shows one book in stock, so it is necessary to backorder. Major bookseller chains’ ordering programs does not allow backorders to be place. No books are ordered from Ingram. According to a posting on the LSI webpage, the Ingram inventory program will be changed so that POD books with a sales history can be ordered, not backordered. How does one develop a sales history for a new book? Good question, not answer provided.

11-03-2004, 07:03 AM
Unfortunately, the downside of this new system is that many authors will soon recognize that they can create a history for their book by ordering one or two copies. I don't see this as developing quite the way that authors would like to see.

11-03-2004, 10:41 AM
They provide a number of options: cover design, advertising, promotional materials. I purchased several items,

That's good... I guess for them.

Most authors don't 'pay' for those services....

Authors must understand - they print what you send.
That's funny.. according to other professionals there seems to exist a position called an editor and/or proof reader. Who is the main person who decides what gets published and what doesn't (i.e. mistakes)...

I also posted the new 'so called' rules for LSI's inventory control on the Publish America thread. These are not going to be in existence for at least half a year,... till then P.A., and other P.O.D. authors will just have to keep their fingers crossed.
You may also want to check out the reports I found on page one of the thread.

Heres a new one too! Nearly 500 dollars this guy spent to get his, already published book, in eform.
www.ripoffreport.com/reports/ripoff105765.htm (http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/ripoff105765.htm)
The simple fact is, that Author House charges way to much for their printing services... and I have yet to see one of their books in stores.

Since the last email.. I have not responded back. Nor do I intend to. After careful evaluation, I have come to the conclusion that, ...although not P.A., Author House is definitely a bad choice for anyone looking to get published.

11-07-2004, 01:17 PM
I live in Bloomington, Indiana... just a few miles away from AuthorHouse. I've seen them up close and personal and I know someone who works as an editor at AuthorHouse (ironically, she edits AH sales copy and not authors' manuscripts). She feels miserable about the company she works for. This is not a good company to do business with. It's that simple.

... and as for that e-mail message -yea, it's SPAM. I'm on their mailing list -just out of curiosity and I've seen that one at least ten times.

They only want to sell you a product.

11-07-2004, 11:15 PM
... and as for that e-mail message -yea, it's SPAM. I'm on their mailing list -just out of curiosity and I've seen that one at least ten times.
---Ah...Damn it! Here I thought I was special.---

Too bad your friend is associated with them and knows what they do, Voodoo. But, I guess she has to make a living!

11-08-2004, 12:30 AM
Aw, of course you're special, Whacha!! :hug

11-29-2004, 09:48 PM
I think you misunderstand the rankings. If your book is ranked at one million, that does NOT mean it sold one million copies. It means one million books are selling BETTER than your book this week. The LOWER your rank the better it is selling.

As an example, for a period of about three months, my sales rank fluctuated between 3,310 and 76,000. During that time I sold about 300 copies. If your rank is in the millions or hundreds of thousands, you are only selling about one copy a week.

Also, keep in mind that your roaylties may take up to 120 days to get to you from the time of the sale, depending on how your publisher pays.

11-29-2004, 10:12 PM
Regarding vanity publishing and bawdy houses, I do wish that vanity publishing were not so often viewed in these forums as being morally reprehensible. While many (if not most) authors who vanity publish do so hastily and foolishly, such publishing does have its place and its purposes, and it can help some authors to meet their moderate goals of supplying a niche audience with a quality product and of making a small profit.

Those who choose to vanity publish, however, ought to do so because they are aware of a non-familial pre-existent market that is large enough to enable them to earn a profit but perhaps not large enough to enable them to attract a traditional publisher. They should be aware that they will earn no respect from other authors or publishers. And they should be aware that their books will only be available from online retailers. They should also be prepared to do their own marketing.

11-30-2004, 03:58 AM
This 1st Books.. that you're all talking about here...
Is this the now... AuthorHouse.com... or is this something else?

11-30-2004, 05:39 AM
Yes--1stBooks.com changed its name to AuthorHouse a few months ago.

James D Macdonald
11-30-2004, 10:15 AM
<blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>Those who choose to vanity publish, however, ought to do so because they are aware of a non-familial pre-existent market that is large enough to enable them to earn a profit but perhaps not large enough to enable them to attract a traditional publisher.<hr></blockquote>

Those folks ought to consider self-publication. See what it would cost them to go to a local short-run printer and run off the number of copies they'd need for that niche audience.

11-30-2004, 11:57 PM
Well, since this is about AuthorHouse/1st Books/ what ever they call themselves now,... there is another thread titled AuthorHouse on page three of the board, started by myself.

I would think twice if you or anybody else is considering this company. Heck, post on that board to bring it to the front.
Read the links that are associated with ripoff reports and court proceedings towards AuthorHouse. My own personal contact and conflict with the company is also there.

See what it would cost them to go to a local short-run printer and run off the number of copies they'd need for that niche audience
If I'm not mistaken, James gave the same advice on the AuthorHouse thread. Highly adviseable!

12-01-2004, 10:24 PM
Self-publication, however, requires a much larger time commitment and expenditure, and that is the trade-off. I did not want to purchase a block of ISBNS (which alone costs almost as much as vanity publishing with a POD), warehouse my books, get them listed with online retailers, fulfill each order myself, etc. I can't imagine having to address and mail out hundreds of books already...I'm glad that is taken care of for me. Once my book was in the publisher's hands, other than self-promotion, I had nothing to do, and I could concentrate on writing instead. If I had self-published, my initial cash outlay would have been six times as much. My profits would have been higher, however, and so I would have eventually broken even and perhaps profited more in the long run. But that extra money just wasn't worth the extra trouble and extra risk.

I have noticed that while using a "vanity" POD is much disparaged on these boards, self-publishing is not. In both cases, an author is paying to publish. What is the essential difference, then, in the virtue and honor of the two enterprises? (I'm not asking a technical question here, but rather why a self-published author may be regarded as respectable and a vanity published author as unrespectable.)

12-01-2004, 10:52 PM
<blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>In both cases, an author is paying to publish<hr></blockquote>
I agree. And using Cafe Press to run off copies is the same, though some of those on AW who use Cafe Press will be the first to bash the other two methods.

I accept that people have a comfort zone that differs from mine.

I don't POD or Vanity, but as I've often said, I support those authors whose work I respect, and have critiqued their work, gone to their signings or events, and purchased their books. I've tried to convince them to go traditional--it's their decision.

Internet and printing technology has changed the way it's all done and appreciated.

Confession: my ego's feathers get ruffled when writers come into town bragging about being a "Published author" and I know they paid. Many people out there don't know what that means and assume those are "real" (ha ha) books. In one case a woman was donating the proceeds from her books to people who bought them within a charity org I'm in. I was tempted to raise my hand and ask, "So how many more in your garage you trying to get rid of?" Not!

I prefer traditional publishing, though might use iUniverse or Cafe Press in future if I'm making an anthology of local writers.

12-01-2004, 11:35 PM
I have noticed that while using a "vanity" POD is much disparaged on these boards, self-publishing is not. In both cases, an author is paying to publish. What is the essential difference, then, in the virtue and honor of the two enterprises?

I also fail to see the difference. I suppose there is some grey area where a self-published author may have seen that all the costs are his to bear and therefore has no illusions that some vanity publishers may try to engender.

However the bottom line is that you pay the piper.

I have 3 or 4 copies of my novels that I ran off at Kinkos on regular paper and then put into an Acco binder. I am happy to loan or give these to my friends who may wish to read my books. That's the extent of self-publishing I wish to go.

I suppose I could run off 50 more copies and stick them into a keen pastel binder and try to sell them at some craft fair for ten bucks. Would that make me a 'published arthur'?

02-25-2005, 02:33 AM
Does anyone know anything concrete or had any experience with AuthorHouse? They are a vanity press, I believe. Last month they were OK on PnE. This month they are "Not Recommended". What happened?

02-25-2005, 03:03 AM
I don't know what the latest warning results from, but AuthorHouse (formerly 1stBooks) has a long history of customer dis-satisfaction. Page back on this board for more discussions. Or check out WritersWeekly. Or Google.

02-25-2005, 07:02 PM
AuthorHouse is in fact a vanity press, no matter how it tries to evade that categorization by distinguishing itself from old-line vanity presses.
(1) As the books come off the press, the legal title is in AuthorHouse, not the author; therefore, it's not self-publishing.
(2) As the first book comes off the press, capital flow is away from the author; therefore, it's vanity, and not commercial, publishing.

Without commenting on their validity, I have seen many complaints regarding timeliness of publication, printing errors, and inaccurate/late sales data from AuthorHouse over the last few years. I have also seen many complaints concerning what is technically called "fraudulent inducement"—an unfortunate term in contract law that really isn't all that close to what most people understand as "fraud."

To me, this is sort of like recommending which limb to lose if one has to choose, but if one wants something from the "mid-line" vanity presses, one can do a heckuva lot better than AuthorHouse without digging very deeply, and a heckuva lot better than a heckuva lot better with a moderate amount of research. Of course, some of this may be colored by privileged information provided to me; but I think P&E is too generous in its overall assessment of AuthorHouse's suitability for authors.

02-25-2005, 09:21 PM
Okay then, thanks. I was almost once again thrown under the bus. This forum is a God send. Please, some of you more expeienced writers, Recommendations--I need recommendations. I have put off the Self-publishing aspect simply due to the stigma. However, should I choose to go that route, where should I go and why?

Thanks so much!

02-25-2005, 09:52 PM
Okay then, thanks. I was almost once again thrown under the bus. This forum is a God send. Please, some of you more expeienced writers, Recommendations--I need recommendations. I have put off the Self-publishing aspect simply due to the stigma. However, should I choose to go that route, where should I go and why?

Thanks so much!

Head over to Yahoo! and check out the SelfPublishing group (http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/Self-Publishing/). There is a lot of great information and there are many people there who have gone the self publishing route who will give you some pointers in the right direction.

02-25-2005, 09:53 PM
Check out the self-pub forums farther down on this board.

Also, a comparison of POD publishers on http://booksandtales.com/pod/index.html

02-25-2005, 10:34 PM

I can't help but wonder why you want to self-publish at all. Since you say you have narrowly avoided Authorhouse (good for you!) why not go the traditional route? It would help to know your subject matter, so we could advise you one way or another. If your subject is nonfiction with a very narrow audience, self-publishing may be the way to go. If it's fiction, get Writers Market 2005 from your library and start reading. WM will tell you all the basics of the industry you need to know to get started. Contrary to some popular belief, commercial publishers will publish unpublished authors. You just have to look for the right one that matches your subject matter, and who is open to unsolicited manuscripts. Unless you have an agent, which you can also consider.

I advise reading everything that pertains to your situation on Preditors and Editors (http://www.anotherealm.com/prededitors/). Dave has many great articles on writing and publishing on that site. If you find a publisher or agent you wish to contact, cross reference the lists on the P&E site first. Any questions, come back to the AW forums and post whatever's on your mind. Also, start reading the Publish America thread for information on what to avoid with POD companies.

Just my two cents.


02-26-2005, 07:43 PM
One other thing about AuthorPress - they charge an absolute shitload of money. I saw one of their price sheets a while ago (a friend of mine had wound up on their lists and sent me a copy to take a look over. I returned it as confetti).

02-26-2005, 10:32 PM
There are red flags going up everywhere on this...:(


02-27-2005, 02:41 AM
Once again, I can't thank all of you enough. But to answer a previous question (trying not to be redundant). One MS is an identity theft thriller set with the real estate finance industry as the background. The other is about a high school athletic hazing gone terribly wrong and the retribution that follows years later.

With what limited knowledge and experience I have, I would classify both as "commercial fiction".

Both have already been copywritten, so if anyone knows of anyone else who is willing to read and render an honest opinion, I would be grateful. Or if there are services out there that I am unaware of, please enlighten me.

I have already gotten the WM 2005 edition and have sent out about 40 query letters. I realize that isn't much but I thought I had targeted some of the proper agencies.

Also, is anyone aware of the procedures involved in submitting to independent publishers or should I just start smiling and dialing?

Thanks guys--keep the helpful info coming.

02-27-2005, 04:30 AM
You're already going about this all wrong. First off, it's copyright, not copywrite.

Second, if you registered the copyright, then you already baited the water for every scam shark to come after you. They cruise the copyright registry for newbies to scam.

Third, if you registered the copyright, you've slapped agents and publishers across the face because you're stating that you don't trust them. This is even more insulting since copyright status is automatically given to most writings upon creation. Real agents and publishers aren't going to steal your work. Scammers generally won't, either, because they don't know how to sell that work. Instead, the scammers are after your money and will promise you everything but deliver little or nothing.

Fourth, you do not want to go with self-publishing for commercial fiction because that is one of the worst venues for that. Self-publishing is more suited to other types of writing.

02-27-2005, 08:47 AM
edfrzr, I suggest spending a day or two reading through this site: http://www.sfwa.org/Beware/, especially the sections on copyright and POD.

aka eraser
02-27-2005, 08:57 AM
There's lots to learn about the business side of writing edfrzr and sometimes the lessons can sting. But stick to it. CaoPaux referred you to a good site and there's lots of info tucked into the nooks and crannies of our Cooler. Hang in there.

02-27-2005, 09:20 AM
Both have already been copywritten, so if anyone knows of anyone else who is willing to read and render an honest opinion, I would be grateful. Or if there are services out there that I am unaware of, please enlighten me.

Do you mean that books have been copyedited? That's when someone goes through and edits for spelling and grammar, inconsistencies, etc.

Are you using the 2005 Writers Market or a guide to agents? The two are not the same.

Finally, I'm not sure what you mean by "independent publishers." What I think you mean are publishers who accept unsolicited (often meaning unagented) manuscripts. You should be able to find out which publishers accept unsolicited manuscripts and their guidelines in the Writers Market (although the information can often be out-of-date) or at various online resources. You don't call up publishers for submissions, unless you want to find out to which editor you should address your submission.

02-27-2005, 09:26 AM
Thanks for the correction Dave. My skin is thick. There was never any intent to embarrass, insult or mistrust anyone in the publishing business on my end. Being new, I "assumed" that is what one had to do. Yes, I already know about "assume". I never at any time thought that anyone--agents, publishers, editors or otherwise were in the business of ripping off writers.

Aka eraser is right, these life lessons do sting--like a 6 hr sunburn on an albino. But, I guess that's how you learn to apply the sunscreen.

CaoPaux, thanks for the website, I'll definitely spend some time there.

Dave, you seem to be fairly knowledgeable (as are the others). If there is never a favorable response from an agent or publisher, and one wants to get into print, do you have any other suggestions?

Remember, I'm new. Don't assume that I know anything.

Thanks, all.

02-27-2005, 03:38 PM
If you just want to see it in print, and nobody's interested, I'd suggest www.lulu.com. They're a POD company, but they don't make any attempt to claim they're anything else, there are no fees to pay at all (at least, nothing mandatory - there are a couple of optional ones), and you retain total ownership of your work. The books are fairly pricey, and you're probably not going to sell many at all - but they're okay quality, and you're not going to get reamed if you take that route.

That said, POD fiction is the absolute last resort. If you look at most of the catalogues, from PA to Lulu, you'll see that most of the people idly ambling past are there for the publishing service, not something new to read. You'll have to do a whole ton of marketing to sell more than a handful of copies. And before even thinking about it, make sure that no publishers/agents are interested first - don't throw away a good manuscript after just a couple of rejection notes ;-)

Gratian Gasparri
02-27-2005, 08:10 PM
Hi folks,

I have one book with AuthorHouse (my other two are with established traditional publishers). Unlike my professional projects, my book with AuthorHouse was a personal project for which I knew the potential audience was no larger than 1000 people. So basically I needed some sort of vanity outfit that could publish the book and look after distribution for me.

I chose AuthorHouse back when they were 1stBooks because some of my friends with similar private/personal writing projects had gone with them. Their experience had been okay, so I thought I would go with them as well.

Basically, they resorted to all the usual hype that vanity publishers use, they tried to sell me a bunch of extra services, cut me deals on buying copies of my work, etc... More than once I had to tell them to cut the sales pitch, publish the book, and fill orders. And no, this is not gonna be a best-seller so quit pretending it might be.

Additionally, I harbor no illusions about the marketting or about this book helping my career as a writer. The only reason my AuthorHouse book and those of my friends succeeded financially is because each of us already had an established readership to whom we could market this book.

In retrospect, I would not say this was a negative experience, but I wouldn't call it a positive experience either. It was a neutral experience that simply made a book of extremely limited interest available to those with a credit card and an email address or telephone number. Actually, upon further thought I take that back; there were some negative experiences in that AuthorHouse attempted to hit me with some added costs that were not explicitly listed in the contract. Things such as footnotes, heading layouts, etc.

Regardless, if I had to do the same thing over again, I would probably go with LuLu. I think LuLu could have better fit my needs, would have been less expensive in so doing, and is more upfront in my opinion about who they are and what they do.

02-27-2005, 08:22 PM
Basically, there are so many legitimate publishers that you shouldn't run out of choices too easily or too soon.

Lauri B
02-27-2005, 10:43 PM
Also, is anyone aware of the procedures involved in submitting to independent publishers or should I just start smiling and dialing?

Hi there,
Just an FYI from an editor at a nonfiction house: please don't EVER call a publishing house, independent or not, with a book pitch, regardless of how great it is. Calling and pitching over the phone shows only that the author isn't respecting the guidelines a publisher has set for manuscript submissions, it marks the writer as a complete novice, and it shows that the caller either doesn't know enough about the publisher to submit correctly, or doesn't care enough to do it properly, both of which are red flags to editors. Who wants to work with someone who can't be bothered to learn what the publisher wants and how it should be submitted? It also won't make anyone more likely to read your manuscript and could make the person you're trying to pitch so irritated that he or she won't read your book at all.

Good luck to you--just wanted to give you a heads up to avoid a mistake.

02-28-2005, 05:09 AM
Thanks Nomad for the heads up on the "smiling and dialing" question. I was using it just as a figure of speech, but I get what you are saying.

I do however have one more question for all of you and I really feel that I know the answer even before I ask, but here goes. I am what I would consider "computer illiterate" (but, I am learning). Having said that, if I have submitted anything single spaced--when double was requested, (but, only out of ignorance of no knowing the difference between the two)--would that be an automatic flag for rejection without any consideration or would they continue to read and evaluate.

Also, would any of you recommend the "book doctor's" that I am reading about?

Susan Gable
02-28-2005, 06:41 AM
I do however have one more question for all of you and I really feel that I know the answer even before I ask, but here goes. I am what I would consider "computer illiterate" (but, I am learning). Having said that, if I have submitted anything single spaced--when double was requested, (but, only out of ignorance of no knowing the difference between the two)--would that be an automatic flag for rejection without any consideration or would they continue to read and evaluate.

Also, would any of you recommend the "book doctor's" that I am reading about?

Hi! You've come to a good place to get an education. Keep asking questions! :welcome:

Single-space is hard on editors' over-worked eyeballs. I'd say they'd keep reading if your submission is so outstanding they can't help themselves. (And that's exactly the kind of submission you want to have!)

As for a book doctor - buy yourself the book Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. Read it, study it, then take a red pen to your own ms. Really, you don't want to pay someone else to do it. You need to learn to do it yourself. (Not to mention the fact that book doctors can be very expensive. I suppose that's why they use the term doctor. <G> Also, many of them may not be qualified to do what they say they do.)

Good luck!

Susan G.

Mark Anderson
02-28-2005, 07:36 AM
Having said that, if I have submitted anything single spaced--when double was requested, (but, only out of ignorance of no knowing the difference between the two)--would that be an automatic flag for rejection without any consideration or would they continue to read and evaluate?

Rejection, especially for an unknown writer. The publisher might receive thousands of submissions a year. They pile up against walls, on tables, in the basement. First readers (or junior editors at smaller houses) go through them on an 'as time permits' basis. Reading the slush is considered secondary to their day to day duties, so they may only have 1 hour to reduce the pile after staying until 11pm on a Friday night. They are faced with hundreds of manuscripts (at a minimum) while their schedule may only permit 200 novels to be published that year (Tor for example, http://www.tor.com/schedule.html). You'll notice how many reprints and famous authors are on that schedule. Maybe 20 (if that) of these books are from new writers, and they came from that slush pile of thousands.

The first dicate of the reader is not to find a great book, but to reduce the pile. It bears repeating: The first rule is reduce the pile. They are looking for a good reason to toss your manuscript into the rejection box. And a HUGE reason is single spaced mss. They are harder to read, true, but the biggest problem is that there is no room for notations by the editor. If they cannot edit, they won't bother reading one sentence into your masterpiece.

To be fair, I'm sure there might be exceptions to this, but I don't believe there would be too many. Ignoring the submission guidelines is not the best foot to put forward.

Now if I could get some more acceptances, this advice might be worth more than what you paid for it... :horse: