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Thread: Advantage Books

  1. #1
    callalily61
    Guest

    Advantage Books

    Forgive the length of this, but I need advice from cooler heads than mine. This afternoon I received a phone call from the owner (I think) of Advantage Books. She said she saw my proposal on the ECPA site (that's $89 down the drain!) and asked me basically to pitch my book to her. I gave her my very best 10-minute, wow-the-audience synopsis. Then, and ONLY then, does she say who she represents: an "on-demand" publisher.

    I'm certain she waited to say this because she knew I'd have given her the telemarketer treatment ("Thanks; not interested" and immediate hang-up).

    They charge a minimum of $900 set-up fees.

    I KNOW y'all say RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY! from fee-chargers. But she raised my hopes and then sparks shot out of my hair all afternoon. I wanted to to go the dollar store and buy a couple pieces of china just so I could SMASH something.

    Anyway, here's her follow-up email. Am I right in going with my gut and deleting it forthwith?

    It was my pleasure speaking with you on the telephone earlier today. As I mentioned, Advantage Books has a track record of success in helping Christian authors like you publish, market, and distribute their books.

    I have attached further information about our company in a .PDF file. I have also included additional information for you below.

    Advantage Books, an author owned publishing house utilizing print-on-demand technology, provides comprehensive publishing services to help authors get their book into the marketplace quickly and efficiently. We also provide extensive distribution and marketing to keep your book flying off the shelves.

    With Advantage Books, you can be sure to have a professionally published book that looks like any other found in a bookstore. Best of all, Advantage Books is able to have a book published and into the marketplace in less than 90 days.

    Advantage Books offers three unique publishing plans with no minimum print run. Our publishing plans offer extensive distribution, making your book available to over 25,000 bookstores through Ingram Distributors. Additionally, your book will be listed on Amazon.com, BooksAMillion.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Target.com, WalMart.com, and Half.com where millions of potential customers will be exposed to your book. Your book will also be sold at AdvantageBookstore.com and via our toll-free 800 number.

    Marketing support services can also be prepared, depending on your needs. We can also have your book presented by our sales staff (over 50 sales representatives nationwide) to all major book stores, chain stores, and clubs. Those include Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, Borders, Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Target Stores, and Ingram Book Distributors.

    When it comes to revenue, Advantage Books royalties are some of the most generous in the industry, 20% - 30% depending on the publishing plan you select. If you plan to sell books on site at the conferences, conventions, and church engagements that you attend, authors can expect to receive discounts ranging from 30% - 55% on the books you buy for yourself. With that, you can make a 55% royalty on every book you sell!

    Most importantly, you always own the rights to your book. In that, authors are empowered to sign with another publisher should the opportunity present itself.


    Thanks, everyone.

    --the Lily

  2. #2
    EliseTaylor
    Guest

    Re: Advantage Books?!?

    Sounds like another AuthorHouse, etc. to me.

    But for someone who made me pitch the book, only THEN to tell me that they were a vanity publisher would really upset me. No...that's putting it mildly. I would've ripped'em a new one.

    Absolutely dispicable.
    Elise

  3. #3
    maestrowork
    Guest

    Re: Advantage Books?!?

    Our publishing plans offer extensive distribution, making your book available to over 25,000 bookstores through Ingram Distributors.
    WOW! 25,000 bookstores!

    Seriously, after you pitching your novel to her, all she can offer you is a run-of-the-mill, generic sales email? She could do better.

  4. #4
    priceless1
    Guest

    Advantage Books?!?

    <blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>We also provide extensive distribution and marketing to keep your book flying off the shelves.<hr></blockquote>

    Lily, I'd ask exactly what those measures entail. Extensive distribution and marketing mean a lot of different things to different people. Get the details. If they're mushy about specifics, be wary.

  5. #5
    James D Macdonald
    Guest

    Re: Advantage Books?!?

    <blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>We also provide extensive distribution and marketing to keep your book flying off the shelves. <hr></blockquote>

    That implies that they're on the shelves to start with.

    Can you walk into your nearest bookstore and find any of Advantage's books?

    No?

    That's your answer right there.

    Every vanity press in the world lists their books with Ingram, and with Amazon, BN.com, etc. etc.

    <HR>
    Remember: Money flows toward the writer.

  6. #6
    DaveKuzminski
    Guest

    Re: Advantage Books?!?

    And they used a catchword of available rather than stating that their books could be found on the shelves.

  7. #7
    callalily61
    Guest

    Re: Advantage Books?!?

    Thank you, everyone. I needed some sanity.

    She explained the Amazon etc. listings this way: Someone goes on Amazon and orders my book. Advantages then prints off a copy.

    And their marketing plans also cost the author up-front money.


    I'm still pretty furious, but it's getting better.


    One of the best days of my life is when I came here. Y'all have snatched me from the brink of TWO scams. (Okay, I was 100% sure this was a scam already, but the help is wonderful.)


    the Lily

  8. #8
    Dhewco
    Guest

    Re: Advantage Books?!?

    All I have to say is I've seen a book with a Advantage name as a publisher in a nearby Christian bookstore. If it's the same publisher, do you reckon it was placed there by the author? I don't remember the title but I do remember the name of the publisher.


    Still, I wouldn't pay to be published no matter what the distribution.

    David

  9. #9
    maestrowork
    Guest

    Re: Advantage Books?!?

    It could be. I walked by a small bookstore the other day and they had an iUniverse book for sale (used). I reckoned it was probably placed there by the author or someone who sold the used copy... I really don't think that the store would have stocked an iUniverse book. I could be wrong though.

  10. #10
    vstrauss
    Guest

    Re: Advantage Books?!?

    >>She said she saw my proposal on the ECPA site (that's $89 down the drain!)<<

    This is important to note--what a ripoff these "circulation" services are. Some Christian publishers steer writers to them as a way of cutting down on unsolicted submissions--very unethical, IMO, as these services cost a fair amount and they are absolutely useless. No one but folks like Advantage pays any attention to them.

    - Victoria

  11. #11
    callalily61
    Guest

    Re: Advantage Books?!?

    You're exactly right, Victoria. The only bites I've gotten from ECPA are from a handful of vanity pubs. Their site also has a list of successes, and a monthly mini-newsletter touting another success or opportunity. I never bothered to check any "successes" out. My fault.

    While they did post my proposal for the paid-for timeframe, it was a waste of my time and money in the long run.

  12. #12
    CarolPR
    Guest

    Questions Answered about Advantage Books.com

    Please contact me with your questions about Advantage Books, a new hybrid publisher.

    The publishing team has an average of 25+ years experience in traditional publishing editing, marketing and sales. I am a former director of marketing for traditional publishers that has teamed with several other professionals in order to bring this new concept to the many, many authors with works that need to be published, but may not have the high-profile lifestyle or ministry, or reputation that a traditional publisher depends on in order to make it profitable for them to acquire your book.
    (And there's more you need to know about traditional publishers--just ask!)

    Here are some of the ways Advantage Books differs...
    Advantage Books centers around the author and his or her book. Advantage Books offers the same level professional representation to the same chain bookstore key buyers and trade retailers as a traditional publisher does, but remains accountable only to the author and the author's interests. The author retains the copyright, and decides when the book goes out of print, not the publisher.

    Advantage Books keep book in inventory the same way that many traditional publishers keep books available.
    Advantage Books also has experienced marketing and PR for each book published, plus a PR person that represents you to the press with professional press releases, and follow-up to set interviews and appearances for the author.

    I know that you have heard about Advantage Books. Now ask someone that knows what's been going on with traditional publishers AND this new hybrid concept--AUTHOR-OWNED publishing.

    Again, this is completely legitimate publishing, and Advantage Books attend all the trade shows with your book, but this way, the AUTHOR enjoys all the advantages, NOT just the publisher!

    Please ask me about Advantage Books. I understand that we ALL need to know who we are working with, and who we can and cannot trust with our work. P.S. I'm new to board posting, and will try to figure this out ASAP, so please forgive me if I miss something here. Thanks.

  13. #13
    HapiSofi
    Guest

    Re: Questions Answered about Advantage Books.com's spam

    <blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>Advantage Books centers around the author and his or her book. Advantage Books offers the same level professional representation to the same chain bookstore key buyers and trade retailers as a traditional publisher does, but remains accountable only to the author and the author's interests. The author retains the copyright, and decides when the book goes out of print, not the publisher.<hr></blockquote>Not possible! Not in that combination, at any rate.

    The subject of Advantage Books already came up on this board. For a comprehensive message about it, go here.

  14. #14
    CaoPaux
    Guest

    Re: Questions Answered about Advantage Books.com

    1) Do you have a website? "advantagebooks.com" is listed as a domain for sale.

    2) What stores carry your books on their shelves?

    3) Are your books reviewed by the likes of Publishers Weekly?

    4) How many books does your average author sell?

  15. #15
    CarolPR
    Guest

    Re: Questions Answered about Advantage Books.com's spam

    Hello.
    I've read the message boards with people talking about Advantage Books. Apparently they do not know what I know about the industry. Please direct your questions to me.

    And it is entirely possible to do what I have already discribed--to represent the author, and to promote the author.

  16. #16
    CarolPR
    Guest

    Re: Advantage Books?!?

    Hello,

    Please ask me about Advantage Books. I am the public relations person for this publishing house, and have been a director of marketing for several 'traditional' publishing houses, and I have over 20+ years experience in the industry.

    If you don't understand how it is possible for this new form of publishing--author owned publishing--works, and can work for you, please ask. Please don't dismiss information from me just because you've never heard how this can work.

    Just as you ask publishers to give you an opportunity, I am asking all of you to give Advantage Books the same opportunity to listen to you, and to show you what CAN BE DONE with your book--just as a traditional publisher does. Except, Advantage Books has YOU retain the copyrights. NOT ONLY IS THIS POSSIBLE, WE ARE DOING IT for our authors. Please ask how. We are not out to scam writers. If you need personal references from the publishing industry, I can provide them for you.

  17. #17
    CaoPaux
    Guest

    Re: Questions Answered about Advantage Books.com's spam

    Just in case it wasn't clear, I was directing my questions to you....

    Carol, please answer the following questions regarding Advantage Books:

    1) Do you have a website? "advantagebooks.com" is listed as a domain for sale.

    2) What stores carry your books on their shelves?

    3) Are your books reviewed by the likes of Publishers Weekly?

    4) How many books does your average author sell?

  18. #18
    CarolPR
    Guest

    Re: Questions Answered about Advantage Books.com

    The website for Advantage Books is as AdvBooks.com

    That is where you will find much of your FAQ's answered. However, I am the person providing the marketing and publicity aspects...so I thought you might like to talk to someone on staff, and get answers directly on this message board, since people were talking about the subject, and it seemed that they had very little information available on us.

    Your questions: number of books sold varies by author, as it does with any other publisher--including at a traditional publisher.
    Since we have just begun this past year, the number of books sold per author has also just begun, and probably no one is in the 'best-selling category'. To get to that status, one must have thousands of books sold, and those sales reported.

    Regarding Publisher's Weekly review: If you have your manuscript in to me in the time frame that I can then submit the proper information to Publisher's Weekly editors for review, then yes, it's possible for you to be included in such a review. I've gotten reviews for books before--WHEN I had the information to them in time, and WHEN they wanted to review the book.

    We currently have around 40 authors that we are publishing. It's growing very quickly, though. Traditional publishers in the CBA have downsized in the past few years, and have published 40 titles or much less per year. That's why it's becoming more and more difficult to have a traditional publisher buy your manuscript. They are waiting for 'SURE THING/BESTSELLERS' even if they acquire an author--they often have a ghost writer do the work for that 'high-level exposure' author. Perhaps you did not realize this, but most of the 'best-sellers' are not actually written by the person whose name is on the front. There are exceptions, of course, but it's really unusual to find a well known minister or personality that also can write well enough to be published.
    So the traditional publisher finds someone else to help get a manuscript into publishable condition.

  19. #19
    aka eraser
    Guest

    Re: Questions Answered about Advantage Books.com

    Perhaps you did not realize this, but most of the 'best-sellers' are not actually written by the person whose name is on the front
    Red alert! Battle stations!



    Would you like to go back and edit that Carol? Maybe insert "celebrity-written" in front of "best-sellers?"

  20. #20
    Kate Nepveu
    Guest

    Re: Questions Answered about Advantage Books.com

    Why does the company spend so much time stressing that authors retain copyright? I always look at the copyright pages of novels (it's a quirk of mine) and they always say that they are copyright [author's name].

  21. #21
    CaoPaux
    Guest

    Re: Questions Answered about Advantage Books.com

    "You keep the copyright" means you gotta pay for the copyright registration yourself. :x

    Here are some excerpts from the FAQ page…. advbooks.com/faq.php

    -----
    WILL BOOKSTORES STOCK MY BOOK ON THEIR SHELVES?
    It's up to each individual store, based solely on demand. We can't promise stores will stock your book. However, we do guarantee that any bookstore in the country will be able to search for, find, and order your book, on-demand.

    WILL ADVANTAGE BOOKS HELP ADVERTISE AND PUBLICIZE MY BOOK?
    Yes. We publicize and promote our books in catalogs, on numerous websites, at the annual conventions--according to what is promised in your chosen publishing program and extra marketing initiatives we offer in which you choose to participate. We also offer many additional opportunities to market your book. But, it's important for you to understand that how well your book sells is mostly dependent on the quality of your writing, and how actively you promote it. In publishing, there are no guarantees that your book will sell well.

    HOW IS MY ROYALTY FIGURED?
    A royalty is like a commission. It's paid off a book's wholesale, not retail, price. In other words, you get paid from the amount of money we receive for each copy sold. You will receive your first royalty report within 45 days after the first full quarter your book is published.

    WHO DETERMINES THE RETAIL PRICE OF MY BOOK?
    The retail price is determined by your book's page count. The retail price is imbedded (hidden) in the bar code, so retailers will know how to price your book. The price is not printed on your book. This way you may offer your book at whatever price you choose.

    -----
    So, to answer the question Carol did not: No, books are not in stores unless the author puts them there, and some stores won't stock the book at all because there's no price on the cover.

    Next question: Do you take returns, since this is a critical criterion for stores to stock a book, or do you expect the author to supply the store on commission?

  22. #22
    XThe NavigatorX
    Guest

    Re: Questions Answered about Advantage Books.com

    It just seems like another, typical vanity operation. I don't really see anything wrong with it. The prices are a little high compared to others, and the prices of their books are very high based on their price chart. They also gouge the author and self purchases.

    They state the book doesn't have the price printed on the back, which is a bad thing. BN generally flat-out refuses to carry books without prices listed on the back, even if they're returnable (which I'm assuming these are not).

  23. #23
    Hapsburg
    Guest

    Re: Advantage Books?!?

    Except, Advantage Books has YOU retain the copyrights.
    I've always continued to own copyright to everything I've published. Do you mean retains all licenses?

  24. #24
    CarolPR
    Guest

    Re: Questions Answered about Advantage Books.com

    Wow! Your questions are very good. As for taking my comment about 'bestsellers' not being written by the person named on the front, I had real situations in mind when I said that, and therefore, I will happily change this comment to read...'some' instead of many. It was my experience in a certain part of the publishing industry that I was referring to. Does that clarify things for you?

    If you want to dismiss Advantage Books as a vanity publisher out to scam you...well, I have tried to answer what you wanted to know. I see that I missed a question. I admitted up front that this is my first experience with a message board.

    How do books get into stores? The very same way that any publisher's books get into the stores. 1) a key account sales rep calls on the key buyer at the bookstore chains, or at a trade sales meeting. 2) the key account sales rep shows the new titles and bookcovers, and gives a synopsis of the content. 3) the key account sales rep show the key buyer what the publisher plans to do to support the book at trade shows, author interviews, and appearances that an assigned publicist will attempt to book.
    4) The key buyer decides which books he or she will order at what depth (1-?) books, and how often their system will automatically reorder that book when it is sold. The key buyer may pass on the books being presented, and not order any up front until they see public demand.
    5) individual retailers can see the book presented by Advantage Books at book trade shows during the year...in the same hall as the traditional publishers. Again, the retailer's buyer makes the decision on which books they order and which ones they don't.

    However, both the key bookstore chain buyer and the individual bookstore buyer can at any time order the book via the same system Advantage Books and traditional publishers offer your books on. That's how it works.

    In addition to the retail trade sales channel, there are lots of other opportunities for sales...the Advantage Books website for instance. Hey, I'm just trying to help authors get published! In fact, I've been sharing this information at writer's conferences for the past few years, and have helped writers know which publishing options might be best for them.

  25. #25
    DaveKuzminski
    Guest

    Re: Advantage Books?!?

    Before signing with any vanity publisher, do yourself a favor and do the following:

    Calculate how many books you can sell in an hour. Not many, right? Plus you have your day job in all likelihood, so that limits how much you can roam as well as how many books you can keep handy at any one moment.

    Now calculate just how many bookstores you can reach and the odds that you can convince any to take your book and place it on their shelves. Not many, right? Especially since you can only reach those in your locale. Getting to bookstores in other cities might be just a bit too difficult to manage even with a fast car and a two-week vacation.

    Now calculate just how many customers and bookstores your vanity publisher is likely to find for you. Again, not many, if any, right?

    If you want your book in the hands of lots of readers outside your circle of friends and family, you have to get your book in bookstores and not just for sale on the Internet. You have to get your book into stores where people can see it and might be inclined to purchase it because it catches them just right.

    You need a publisher who places books on the shelves in stores that carry and sell books. Lots of books.

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