Posted By Sue Collier on December 8, 2010
This post showed up in my Google alerts. It’s all about the inaugural “indie publishing contest” held in partnership by Author Solutions, Inc., the San Francisco Writers Conference, and San Francisco Writers University. <sigh> Here we go again.
To start, we have “ indie book publishing leader Author Solutions.” Say what? Authors Solutions is NOT — I repeat, NOT — an indie book publishing anything, let alone “leader.” Authors Solutions is a vanity press (aka subsidy press). It is a pay-to-publish service wherein authors pay to publish their book under the Author Solutions name, then must purchase their books back from the publisher. Yes, the publisher, which is Author Solutions. There is nothing “self” about this type of publishing. It’s not self-publishing. I assume the generous use of the term “indie publishing” is a thinly veiled attempt to get around this little fact. In most people’s minds, indie publishing equals self-publishing, so it seems they are being deliberately misleading.
I have spoken to many dissastisfied authors who were misled into publishing via Author Solutions as well as others. With the Author Solutions — and other companies like them — imprint on their books, they soon learned that many doors were closed to them in terms of traditional book marketing and promotion options. They also quickly realized their books were poorly edited and poorly designed, further stacking the deck against them actually selling any of their books.
The article goes on to say “while the Holy Grail remains a contract with one of the big six publishers in New York….” This is another untruth. These days, many independent thinkers are becoming independent publishers by choice. Although the traditional publishers believe they are the “holy grail,” savvy self-publishers realize they can maintain control over their project and retain all of the profits by publishing their own books. Even Seth Godin has decided to break ties with the trads.
Companies like Author Solutions certainly have their place on the publishing scene — for those who want their book in print but don’t care about making a profit and for those who go into this arrangement with their eyes open and their expectations realistic. But touting themselves as “indie” is just confusing on an already muddied playing field. I want authors to know that self-publishing (aka indie publishing) means obtaining your own ISBN, starting your own imprint, and publishing your own book — independent of a publisher for hire.
Still confused about vanity versus independent publishing? Read more here.