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Thread: [Publisher] Spiderwize

  1. #1
    Writer is as Writer does Terie's Avatar
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    [Publisher] Spiderwize

    I'm helping a friend self-publish his recently deceased wife's unpublished books, and we're looking at various companies and the services they offer.

    Has anyone worked with Spiderwize, a UK self-publisher? Any comments positive or negative about the experience?
    Changing Gears (available now) -- Winning the race doesn’t equal winning at life.

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  2. #2
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    If Spiderwise owns the ISBN, it's not self-publishing. Nor would be it be self-publishing since they claim to be selective. As a vanity publisher, they use the usual weasel wording (such as hyping their "distribution"), but they're relatively open with what you'll get for your money.
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  3. #3
    Writer is as Writer does Terie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaoPaux View Post
    If Spiderwise owns the ISBN, it's not self-publishing. Nor would be it be self-publishing since they claim to be selective. As a vanity publisher, they use the usual weasel wording (such as hyping their "distribution"), but they're relatively open with what you'll get for your money.
    The project we're working on is really intended to be a 'friends and family' thing, where he's not expecting sales to the general public. (I'm going to suggest that he go ahead and make the books available to the public, with proceeds going to the cancer research fund set up in his wife's memory, but that's not the focus of the project; any sales to strangers would simply be icing on the cake.)

    For this kind of project, would the ISBN ownership really matter?

    As far as distribution goes, again, since it's really only for friends and family, I don't think that will matter to him. Of course, for posterity's sake, I realise it's worth mentioning for folks researching this company in the future.
    Changing Gears (available now) -- Winning the race doesn’t equal winning at life.

    The DragonSpawn Cycle: AutumnQuest | WinterMaejic | SpringFire | SummerDanse available for Kindle

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  4. #4
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terie View Post
    For this kind of project, would the ISBN ownership really matter?
    Not really, just clarifying what's self-publishing versus subsidy/vanity. I think the only time it'd matter is if he wanted to submit it for an award or something. Some accept self-published books, but not subsidy.

    As far as distribution goes, again, since it's really only for friends and family, I don't think that will matter to him. Of course, for posterity's sake, I realise it's worth mentioning for folks researching this company in the future.
    Also just clarifying that distribution isn't what this company calls it. Be sure to inspect their current books for production quality, etc.
    ICAO
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    Censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates in the end the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. -- Henry Steele Commager
    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

  5. #5
    Writer is as Writer does Terie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaoPaux View Post
    Not really, just clarifying what's self-publishing versus subsidy/vanity. I think the only time it'd matter is if he wanted to submit it for an award or something. Some accept self-published books, but not subsidy.

    Also just clarifying that distribution isn't what this company calls it. Be sure to inspect their current books for production quality, etc.
    Thanks! My advice will be for him to randomly order -- off Amazon -- a book or two put out by each of the companies in the final running so that we can do a spot check on quality. Luckily, I know enough about publishing to steer him clear of any bogus rackets. He wants the books to be nice and professional looking so he can give them as gifts and so friends of his wife's can buy them, and he's happy to invest a reasonable amount of money to pay for the expertise he doesn't have. (That is, he isn't looking to do this 'on the cheap', but he also doesn't want to pay more than something is worth.) I should be able to make sure he doesn't get ripped off.
    Changing Gears (available now) -- Winning the race doesn’t equal winning at life.

    The DragonSpawn Cycle: AutumnQuest | WinterMaejic | SpringFire | SummerDanse available for Kindle

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  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW para's Avatar
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    £549 is a lot for the little they offer. It might be idea to investigate if you can source the services cheaper separately. Paying more doesn't necessarily mean it will be better quality. Your friend can buy a block of isbn's for around £120 if he needs them. You might also want to consider local printers.


  7. #7
    Writer is as Writer does Terie's Avatar
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    I want to follow up on this. My friend ended up choosing Spiderwize, and we're impressed so far. They've been brilliant about communication, which is important to my friend, and turned everything around in a timely manner.

    And now, I'm really impressed. My friend didn't understand the optimum workflow, and he sent the unedited manuscript to them. There are, of course, numerous fixes, which would be expensive as they exceed the limit of free proof changes. So I had him ask if I could just edit the manuscript and resend it, rather than them having to make a bazillion changes, and they were happy to do that. It's good for everyone: it'll be easier for me to edit using Track Changes (my friend understandably wants to approve all changes as it's his wife's work) instead of having to write out all the notes, and it'll be easier for them not to have to make bazillions of changes.

    So far, we're very happy indeed.
    Changing Gears (available now) -- Winning the race doesn’t equal winning at life.

    The DragonSpawn Cycle: AutumnQuest | WinterMaejic | SpringFire | SummerDanse available for Kindle

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  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW MickRooney's Avatar
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    I did a review of this author service provider earlier this year. The company is based in Scotland and I think it is one of the better publishing service options available for authors. Their retail book prices are competitive, and crucially, the company is reasonably upfront about their business and what can be offered to an author. Books purchased by the author directly from the publisher are just above the print cost and there is no attempt to gouge the author out of profit. Editing can also be purchased and the company places a premium on authors utilizing this service or having it carried out before the MS is submitted.

    Spiderwize offer availability and online listing and there is no attempt to pull the wool over an author's eyes. I've spoken to a number of authors who have used the service and all are more than happy with their expectations and what was actually delivered.

    I think the biggest mistake we can make with services like Spiderwize is attempt to compare them to what mainstream publishers offer, or taint them with the 'vanity' slight. Neither would be appropriate.

  9. #9
    Brian Boru brianm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MickRooney View Post
    I think the biggest mistake we can make with services like Spiderwize is attempt to compare them to what mainstream publishers offer, or taint them with the 'vanity' slight. Neither would be appropriate.
    I'm curious as to how you would classify this publishing entity if not vanity?

    I understand your concern if this company is a good option for writers seeking this form of publishing, but it is what it is and new writers need to realize that vanity presses do fill a need and that there are good and bad options. Just as there are good and bad options when it comes to other forms of publishing.

    ~brianm~
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  10. #10
    Writer is as Writer does Terie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianm View Post
    I'm curious as to how you would classify this publishing entity if not vanity?
    I can't speak for Mick, but to me, an 'vanity' publisher is one that appeals to a writer's, yanno, vanity. That is, makes it seem as if the company works like a commercial publisher, with selectivity and all that.

    From our experiences with Spiderwize, they're a service provider, and doing a good job of exactly that. There's no illusion that someone purchasing their services is being published commercially; they're just doing a good job providing customer service to someone who wants to get books out there and, for whatever reason (in our case, the author herself being deceased), aren't going for a commercial deal.
    Changing Gears (available now) -- Winning the race doesn’t equal winning at life.

    The DragonSpawn Cycle: AutumnQuest | WinterMaejic | SpringFire | SummerDanse available for Kindle

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  11. #11
    Brian Boru brianm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terie View Post
    I can't speak for Mick, but to me, an 'vanity' publisher is one that appeals to a writer's, yanno, vanity. That is, makes it seem as if the company works like a commercial publisher, with selectivity and all that.
    You are describing a bad vanity publishing option.

    From our experiences with Spiderwize, they're a service provider, and doing a good job of exactly that. There's no illusion that someone purchasing their services is being published commercially; they're just doing a good job providing customer service to someone who wants to get books out there and, for whatever reason (in our case, the author herself being deceased), aren't going for a commercial deal.
    Perhaps no illusion of commercial publication but a less savvy writer could believe they are self-publishing because Spiderwize refers to their services as being self-publishing services throughout their website.

    By avoiding the correct terminology we are not educating newbie writers and this concerns me. I completely understand why you do not want to refer to this entity as a vanity press, but in the professional world of publishing it is a vanity press and newbie writers need to understand this when considering Spiderwize's services.

    ~brianm~
    "This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever." Sigmund Freud (about the Irish)

    "Opera singers have resonance where their brains ought to be." Anna Russell

  12. #12
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    The widely-accepted definition of a vanity publisher, as coined by Jonathon Clifford, is this (paraphrasing): a vanity publisher is one which makes the bulk of its money by selling books and services back to its authors, and not by selling books on to new readers.

    Hope that helps.

  13. #13
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Bought by Bonacia Ltd. in March. Updating link: http://www.spiderwize.com/
    ICAO
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    Censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates in the end the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. -- Henry Steele Commager
    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

  14. #14
    practical experience, FTW MickRooney's Avatar
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    Alas, another publishing service gets sucked up by greedy and unscrupulous hands - Bonacia. Anyone recall Forward Press and Young Writers' Poetry? Here ye go ...

    It's actually disturbing, because Cambridgeshire UK is quickly becoming the capital of UK publishing scams and printers. I've spoken about this before on AW, and named some of the companies, publishers and printers. I don't know whether it's the air in this part of the UK, but it has attracted some of the most notorious vanity house directors in the UK since Jonathan Clifford and the Daily Mirror uncovered them during the 1980s and 1990s. They are back with a vengeance (now in retirement), passing companies to sons and daughters, and buying up subsidy presses and printers.
    Last edited by MickRooney; 12-18-2013 at 08:39 PM.

  15. #15
    Writer is as Writer does Terie's Avatar
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    Oh! I missed this when CaoPaux posted the update, and I have an update of my own.

    My friend, who used Spiderwize a few years ago to publish his deceased wife's first novel and was very happy with the services rendered, planned to use them again for books 2 and 3. Both he and I contacted them multiple times to get the project underway, and they couldn't be bothered even to reply. Which I guess is good if they were bought up by a less-than-stellar organisation.

    Now that he's been through the process and feels more comfortable with it, he's decided to properly self-publish the other two books with help from a bunch of us who have at least a clue what we're doing.
    Changing Gears (available now) -- Winning the race doesn’t equal winning at life.

    The DragonSpawn Cycle: AutumnQuest | WinterMaejic | SpringFire | SummerDanse available for Kindle

    Author website | Author blog

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