Steve, I'm glad that you came back to the discussion, and I don't mean to pick on you: but it seems to me that when you quoted me there you did so in a way which changed the implied meaning of my words. You did the same when you quoted aliceshortcake's post, too. Of course, you could have done it in all innocence, and for the sake of brevity: but please don't do that. If you did it intentionally it's wrong of you and even if you didn't have that intention, it makes the conversation much harder to follow for anyone reading along.

Let's look at our conversation again, this time with more of what I said to provide a better context.

I wrote this,

Quote Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post

Originally Posted by Steve H
I suppose I should be flattered that you've taken such an interest in my work.

1- Nope. We paid nothing to get pub'd by ASTD.
That's good news. Because publishers and agents who charge authors anything for publication or representation aren't worth bothering about. That includes charging authors at the back end of publication, by requiring them to buy their own books, by the way.

However, I note that ASTD says this on its website:
Key to the publisher and author relationship is a willingness to partner with ASTD Press to ensure your book reaches its intended audience and that the investment made by you and ASTD Press pays off.
My bold. This is standard vanity press weasel-wording and if the authors concerned don't have to pay to publish, what's this talk about investment?
The part in bold italics is the part you quoted.

And you replied with,

Quote Originally Posted by Steve H View Post
1- Most publishers these days expect authors to participate in the marketing of their book in various ways. And serious authors do. It doesn't mean they pay the publisher.
Most good publishers that I've worked with like it when authors work on the promotion of their books, but I don't know any good publishers which require authors to pay towards the marketing of their work (I've always been taught to differentiate the two on the basis of cost: ads, distributor placement and certain catalogue listings are paid-for, and I count this as marketing; signings, readings, interviews are on the face of it free, and come under the heading of promotion).

Requiring that their authors pay something towards the marketing of their books? That's not a standard practice.

Publishers which require investment from the author are almost always vanity publishers (I can't actually think of any publishers which make this requirement which aren't vanity publishers, but I'm prepared to accept that there might be one or two). This is one of the standard red flags. ASTD Press does seem to require such an investment. What does it do with that investment, why does it require it, and how is it acceptable for them to have this requirement?

Moving on, I wrote,

2) Bookshop placement is not rare for the books which sell in reasonable amounts, and for the sort of books which most people read.

3) Only a small percentage of all books have ever reached bookshop shelves, so this is not new. That's because only a small percentage of books have ever been appropriate for selling in bookshops: calendars and diaries have ISBNs and so are often counted as books, but most aren't sold from bookshops; some periodicals have ISBNs but aren't sold from bookshops; academic publications aren't sold from bookshops, but have ISBNs so are counted as books. I could go on, but I think I've made my point.
The part in bold italics is the part you quoted. You replied,

2- Exactly. Hence, shelf space is not a necessary measure of a legitimate publisher.
Well, yes--but there are all sorts of reasons for that; and it remains that when a book is published by a trade publisher in a print edition, if it doesn't hit the bookshop shelves at publication it's not likely to sell many copies.

Either you missed my point there, or you were trying to make it look as though I'd said something that I hadn't. If the second option is correct that wasn't very nice of you, Steve.

And for your final point I wrote this,

They can, you're right. But again you're taking aliceshortcake's words out of context. She's right that epubs often don't require agents, and right that this throws WWMS's involvement in the deal into a new light.
Again, bold and italic indicates the part of my reply which you quoted. Your response:

3- Agreed. And just as with print, authors with agents generally get better deals.
You're right that authors with representation usually get better deals than those without. But once again, that wasn't the point that I was making and by quoting me in the way that you did, you imply otherwise; and that representation has to be good representation, otherwise the author is probably worse off than if she'd proceeded alone.

Moving on again to the direct discussion of WordWise Media Services: I note that their front page is targetted at selling their services to writers, and not at promoting the authors they represent. This is not a good sign. Then there's the editing services they offer. From their website:

Separation of services. The editing side of our business is separate from the literary agency. This firewall is necessary because, under the generally accepted canons of the business, an ethical agent must not charge fees to his/her clients. We make money only when you do. For this reason, if you hire us to edit your manuscript, we cannot consider your work for representation until at least one year after the completion of your most recent project.
I'd be far happier if they wrote,

if you hire us to edit your manuscript, we cannot consider your work for representation.
I note that neither of the two staff members mentioned on the WWMS website (one of whom is Steve Hutson, who is, I assume, the Steve H who has commented in this thread) appear to have any experience in publishing prior to working for WWMS. This means that they're very unlikely to have a proper understanding of how publishing works. And no matter how good their intentions, that's going to put them at a huge disadvantage when it comes to representing their clients.