February 10, 2010
POD SECRETS REVEALED: More Hard Core Sales Tactics of POD Publishers Revealed | printable version
DISCLAIMER: We own BookLocker, a print on demand (POD) publishing house. We reject most manuscripts (we only publish quality books and we limit how many new authors we bring in because I work with all of them directly, one-on-one). For these reasons, we don't hound authors who express an interest in our services...unlike most of our competitors. Since we also own WritersWeekly.com, and run a forum called WritersWeekly Whispers and Warnings, we receive frequent complaints from authors who have gotten rotten deals from our competitors...including some who have been downright harrassed.
A year and a half ago, I published an article about hard core sales tactics being used by some POD publishers. Some of the sales reps at some POD publishers work on commission. Obviously, things haven't changed. In fact, they've gotten worse. You should be very, very wary about providing all your contact information to a website while searching for a quality publisher for your book!
This week, I want to share a recent exchange I had with one hopeful author. I'll call her Alert Ada (since she figured out what was going on so quickly). Here, you can see how desperate some of these POD publishing houses are getting. If any firm treats you this way, you should run as far and as fast as you can the other way! They are obviously far more interested in seeing how much money they can get out of hopeful authors than they are about selling books.
Yesterday, I received a call by phone from (a very large POD publisher) regarding publishing my book. I told him I wasn't interested, and he said, "May I ask why?"
I explained I'd done some research, and wasn't interested. Showing true unprofessionalism, he hung up in my ear.
The reason he had my number is I had clicked on a site that offered to help you find a publishing company suited to your needs. I filled it out (perhaps foolishly), and then (the large POD publisher) was suggested as the one to choose. I didn't follow it up, of course, until they contacted me.
Live and learn!
I believe I know which website you're referring to and, unfortunately, it is owned by (that very large POD publisher). No matter how you answer their questions on the site, all the companies that will be given to you in response are companies owned by (that large POD publisher). Of course, they never tell you who owns the site, nor that all the referrals they give you are owned by the company that owns that site as well. In my opinion, this is beyond deceptive advertising.
ADA WRITES AGAIN:
It's me again, Angela. I have a question. How can I get (that large POD publisher) to stop calling me?
I'm on Pacific time and I just got a call from them again at 6:20 this a.m. I was rather blunt again, and then lo and behold if I didn't get a lengthy e-mail message from them, too. I've blocked their mail messages now, but told them they are harassing me. I'm not sure what part of NO they don't understand.
Do you know if there's some way I put a stop to the phone calls? I rue the day I filled out that (online) form!
I hope you don't think I'm bothering you too much on this issue.
ANGELA RESPONDED by referring Ada to the publicity contact at that publishing house.
ADA'S LETTER TO THAT LARGE POD PUBLISHER:
I can't believe your shady tactics with regard to obtaining authors. I was contacted by one of your representatives and I said I wasn't interested. He hung up in my ear. How unprofessional.
Next, I got a call at 6:00 a.m. about three days later. I again expressed that I wasn't interested and didn't appreciate being awakened at that ungodly hour. I checked my e-mails, and again, I had a lengthy "campaign" for my signing up with you.
Please cease and desist from calling me, e-mailing me, and advise any of your affiliates that I am not interested in a shady company to publish my novel. If you do not, I will report all that has transpired to the media. I don't think you need any more bad press than you've already had.
ADA'S EXPERIENCE WITH ANOTHER, SMALLER POD PUBLISHER:
I've been reading, with interest, your information on POD horror stories. I have one of my own.
It's interesting how they grab you. "Publish your book for $800" but then you find out they want $900 (US funds, and I'm Canadian) for professional editing. The only way they'd publish it would be if I paid the $900 for their editors. $1700 seems way out of reach to publish one's book.
Thanks for giving the heads-up on the 'vultures'.
WARNING FROM ANGELA ABOUT HIRING A POD PUBLISHER DIRECTLY TO EDIT YOUR BOOK:
I've written this before but it bears repeating.
Many POD publishers now claim ownership of edited manuscripts (what they call the production files) even though authors paid THEM to edit their books. You will then never get a copy of your manuscript that can be easily edited/reformatted. You would, in fact, need to either strip the edited text from a pdf file (if you get some hacking software), or you would need to retype your entire manuscript. The POD publisher could, if those chose to do so, sue you for using the production files in this way. They claim all rights to these production files to make it virtually impossible for authors to move to another publisher, no matter how unhappy you may be with their services and/or prices later on.
We strongly recommend not paying a publisher to edit your manuscript under any circumstances. Hire your OWN editor! Freelance editors don't claim ownership of an author's files.
NOTE: At BookLocker, authors own all their production files. We don't upsell authors on editing services. Authors can use their own editors, or we can refer authors to excellent freelance editors we know. We earn absolutely nothing whatsoever for referring authors to those editors. Authors retain full ownership of their edited files and have direct access to the editor they hired.
COMPARE P.O.D. PUBLISHERS
BookLocker - $675
Trafford - $1,424
CreateSpace - $1,486
Lulu - $1,536
iUniverse - $1,599
AuthorHouse - $1,993
Xlibris - $2,621
Includes print and ebook publication. Prices above are based on the least expensive publishing services package offered by each publisher on similar offers targeting U.S. authors.