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alvin123
07-27-2011, 10:38 PM
I was dared to do an experiment to see if the salesmen of Author-house knew anything about the publishing world. I know this seems wrong, but notice I didn't disrespect them or anything. I asked them a simple question and didn't get the response I hoped for. I concluded that most self publishers don't research or know anything about their competition.





Please wait for a site operator to respond.
https://server.iad.liveperson.net/hcp/chatinfo/chatinfo.gifYou are now chatting with 'Reese'
Reese: Hi, good afternoon. This is Reese
Reese: How may I help you?
Author of Bound: Hello, Reese. I'm just browsing and I'm wondering why / or need a reason why I should choose Authorhouse over Lulu?
Reese: I dont know much about Lulu but I can definitely tell you more about Authorhouse
Reese: We have been in the business for 14 years and we already published far more books compared to any other self-publishing houses.
Author of Bound: Okay... never mind... I can learn about you guys via the website, but I just wanted someone who knew about publishing to convince me why I should choose you guys over LULU.com. have a good day.




EDIT: Proof, because i conducted the same experiment with LULU.com.


DavidL: : Please hold on while I have a look at the information you have provided.
David L: How can I be of assistance?
Me: I'm just browsing and I'm wondering why / or need a reason why I should choose Lulu's services over Authorhouse?
David L: Let me first state I do not know anything about Authorhouse... Our company offers authors a comprehensive, user-friendly experience, that is, we provide you with free tools to create your book as well as the means by which (our own website and our distribution packages) to market and sell your book. We currently have a free book offer so if you publish before the end of the month, one copy of your book will be free. You really have nothing to lose.



The competitors either are not allowed to speak about each other or the salesman really don't know much about the other companies.

Anyway, my preference is lulu simply because they're not slapping me in the face with a large price.

(of course, I'll Self-publish my novel if all agents reject me.)

shaldna
07-28-2011, 02:20 AM
Not sure what the point in this post is other than to point out that you didn't hang around enough to actually bother to ask either rep any questions which might have actually been of use to to you.

JSSchley
07-28-2011, 05:35 AM
I concluded that most self publishers don't research or know anything about their competition.


Sorry, but as someone who's worked in customer service and sales in a lot of different areas, I'm stunned you'd make this conclusion.

Of course they know all about their competition. And of course they don't tell you what they know. Do you know what a CF it would be for them if people went around going, "AuthorHouse said XYZ about Lulu!" and "Lulu said ABC about AuthorHouse!" To say nothing of the fact that no matter how you phrase it, saying something negative about your direct competitor sounds like sour grapes.

This is like saying HarperCollins has no idea what kinds of things Simon and Schuster does. Of course they know. It's good business.

Marian Perera
07-28-2011, 05:46 AM
I concluded that most self publishers don't research or know anything about their competition.

First you said you were dared to find out if they knew anything about the publishing world.

But now you just want to know if self-publishing services are aware of their competition, which =/= "the publishing world".


Author of Bound: Okay... never mind... I can learn about you guys via the website, but I just wanted someone who knew about publishing to convince me why I should choose you guys over LULU.com. have a good day.I used to work in customer service. If I'd ever gotten a request like this - "Convince me why I should choose your company over another company" - I'd have been seriously tempted to tell the person on the other end of the line to take their attitude to the other company. To me, this would be someone with an agenda other than honestly looking into our services.

Good luck with any other publishing experiments that you're dared to do.

E. S. Lark
07-28-2011, 05:46 AM
I honestly don't understand the point you're trying to make here. You start off by 'asking a question' by negatively saying 'why should I pick you over them.'

A better question would have been about things such as if they can offer wholesale pricing and returns for bookstores, if they offer matte covers and of the like. No offense, but with how you're saying the companies know nothing about self-publishing....neither do you.

You say you might consider it if you don't get an agent. There's more to self-publishing than just working with PODs. Do you plan to use a digital or offset printer? How big of a print run would to purchase if you did offset printing?

Right now, the major digital PRINTERS (not publishers) include Lulu, Createspace and Lighteningsource. Each one has their own pros and cons. Authorhouse, iUniverse, Publish America etc. are print on demand 'publishers.'

Lulu is a printer...Authorhouse is a 'publisher.' Even though I'd never consider any of the above to be publishers. They're just there to sell services.

E. S. Lark
07-28-2011, 05:49 AM
I used to work in customer service. If I'd ever gotten a request like this - "Convince me why I should choose your company over another company" - I'd have been seriously tempted to tell the person on the other end of the line to take their attitude to the other company. To me, this would be someone with an agenda other than honestly looking into our services.


My thoughts exactly. I was going to comment on that, but I'd already written so much.

If you cannot support a company by asking confident, legit questions, you shouldn't bother them. Like I said before, maybe it's just in the wording, but seeing as to how negative it came across, I wouldn't feel inclined to take you on no matter how much you were willing to pay.

bowiefan1970
07-28-2011, 06:34 AM
You should educate yourself about using Lightning Source and drop Lulu and Authorhouse like hot rocks. Same for Xlibris and all the rest of the vanity publishers.

ResearchGuy
07-28-2011, 06:41 AM
Dale Carnegie touches on a similar situation in How to Win Friends and Influence People. (That book, I might mention, is often caricatured by people who have not read it.) In the example, a huffy, abrasive man says to truck salesman Mr. So-and-So that he is thinking of buying from the White Truck Company, a major competitor of Mr. So-and-So's company. Mr. So-and-So replied that the White Motor Company was a fine outfit, praised its products, and recommended a specific salesman there ("Tell him I sent you.") The huffy inquisitor (somewhat disarmed) then asked why he should consider Mr. So-and-So's company's products. A friendly discussion followed, and the formerly huffy man bought a truck from Mr. So-and-So. Lesson: you cannot argue with someone who is not argumentative, and a friendly response disarms hostility. (Going from memory, but that was the gist of it -- and the White Motor Company really was the competition in the story. It was prominent at the time.)

It would be going a step too far for a lowly Lulu rep to praise AuthorHouse or vice versa, but the next best thing and doubtless typical company policy is to say "I don't know about that company, but here is what we offer." Pretty much out of the Dale Carnegie playbook, or as close as feasible. Nothing good would come of dissing the competition. It would just raise the hackles of the inquirer.

That's my take on it, FWIW.

--Ken

spacejock2
07-28-2011, 06:59 AM
I know someone who gave an honest opinion about a business competitor once, with a little bit of prompting from the caller on the other end of the phone, and it turned out the caller WAS the competitor. He recorded the conversation and sued (and lost, but that's another matter. It was nuisance value.)

I'm not surprised companies don't talk about each other. I'd be more surprised if they did.

Cybernaught
07-28-2011, 07:14 AM
Alvin,

I've worked in Customer Service and I didn't have much of a clue about what the other stores were doing. I was expected to know our policies and our product. If someone asked me why they should buy a shirt here as oppossed to there, I'd tell them to go for the better price.

Old Hack
07-28-2011, 11:32 AM
You all know I like a good nit-pick, right?


Right now, the major digital PRINTERS (not publishers) include Lulu, Createspace and Lighteningsource. Each one has their own pros and cons. Authorhouse, iUniverse, Publish America etc. are print on demand 'publishers.'

Lulu is a printer...Authorhouse is a 'publisher.' Even though I'd never consider any of the above to be publishers. They're just there to sell services.



Lulu can be a printer, or it can be a vanity publisher, depending on which of its packages you decide to use.
AuthorHouse, iUniverse, and PublishAmerica are all vanity publishers, although they would all probably deny that.
There are publishers which use POD to print their books which aren't vanity publishers (not that those publishers are usually a good choice for writers, but if you're using labels you might as well use them as accurately as you can).

frimble3
07-28-2011, 12:25 PM
I don't work in publishing or printing, but our customer service people are monitored to make sure they're taking a set number of calls per hour. None of them are going to want to spend much time with someone asking vague theoretical questions about stuff that doesn't directly relate to the caller's relationship to us.
"So, why doncha tell me all about the other guy, 'cause I've got time to kill" is going to get the quick brush-off.
If you have specific questions about our services, or your file, all the time in the world, that's what the phones are there for, but there are too many reasons not to get into talking about the other guy.

LovetoWrite
07-29-2011, 11:07 AM
Hi alvin123,

I can understand why you drew the conclusion that you did. I don't think you were rude either. I just think you didn't have all the facts about what would be considered professional behavior from the customer service staff at both companies.

I work for a national health insurance company, extremely well known. I've also at one time worked for our greatest competitor, another extremely well known insurance company. Both headquarters are across the street from each other.

I have been asked many times on the phone, why someone should enroll with us and not the other company. My response is always a detailed explanation of everything my company can offer a client. Simply put, my job isn't to compare my company to another and it was up to the client to find out what the other company had to offer, compare the two and decide if our insurance fits his/her health needs and usage.

Just because I actually worked for the other company, and knew exactly what that company had to offer (because of said employment) didn't mean it was my place to compare them in an unfavorable light. It honestly doesn't come across as being professional and can do more harm than good to the companies reputation.

shaldna
07-29-2011, 01:11 PM
You should educate yourself about using Lightning Source and drop Lulu and Authorhouse like hot rocks. Same for Xlibris and all the rest of the vanity publishers.

Lightning Source will not deal with individuals, they only deal with companies / authors who are trading as companies.

E. S. Lark
07-30-2011, 05:38 AM
Lightning Source will not deal with individuals, they only deal with companies / authors who are trading as companies.

It is possible for an individual author to create an account with LS so long as they have an EIN or user their social security number. The only drawback is that in order to publish a book through them (in addition to file submission fees), you need to purchase and supply your own ISBN numbers.

I have an account with them but have yet to submit files due to the fees.

FocusOnEnergy
07-30-2011, 10:09 PM
Dale Carnegie touches on a similar situation in How to Win Friends and Influence People. (That book, I might mention, is often caricatured by people who have not read it.)

Completely OT, but that's an awesome book and I recommend it highly.

Focus

FocusOnEnergy
07-30-2011, 10:10 PM
Please wait for a site operator to respond.
https://server.iad.liveperson.net/hcp/chatinfo/chatinfo.gifYou are now chatting with 'Reese'
Reese: Hi, good afternoon. This is Reese
Reese: How may I help you?
Author of Bound: Hello, Reese. I'm just browsing and I'm wondering why / or need a reason why I should choose Authorhouse over Lulu?
Reese: I dont know much about Lulu but I can definitely tell you more about Authorhouse
Reese: We have been in the business for 14 years and we already published far more books compared to any other self-publishing houses.
Author of Bound: Okay... never mind... I can learn about you guys via the website, but I just wanted someone who knew about publishing to convince me why I should choose you guys over LULU.com. have a good day.


Okay, now go back and ask them if they know how magnets work.

Focus