It used to be simple. If a publisher was interested in your work he paid you an advance and published your work.
These days once respected publishers like Penguin operate as vanity-presses. They try to sell you something, for thousands of dollars, that you can do for yourself or for which you can hire people do to it for you for tens of dollars.
In other words, they prey on the vulnerable and naive, fleecing them for all they’re worth. In some cases you can take this literally.
This is a warning to new authors who want to be published: beware the predatory publishers like Penguin and save thousands of dollars.
Many articles and blog posts argue that self-publishing will be the end of the publishing industry, no, the demise of Literature, if not the utter destruction of Human Civilization and All Life on Earth.
Often the argument goes that publishing houses like Penguin care for authors and literature and they should be the Gatekeepers. Writers are admonished that if they are good enough, eventually they will be published by the industry and richly rewarded.
Nonsense. Publishing houses don’t exist to produce books and protect literature. They exist to produce money — not for you, silly writer, but for them — and to protect their profit margin. The only person who has any value at all in this process, the only one who creates something out of nothing, the author, is disrespected, treated like dirt and gets fobbed off with a pittance.
For a long time there was no alternative for writers but nowadays you can self-publish and get a far better return for your work by simply bypassing the publishing industry. This, as you can imagine, is not to the liking of publishing houses like Penguin. How dare a writer make money without giving any of it to them, the Gatekeepers, the Arbiters of Taste?
That’s why Penguin bought Author Solutions. Simply put, they take your money up front — and an awful lot of it — without giving anything of remotely the same value in return. No, you can’t even claim to be published by Penguin. Several thousands of dollars later you’ll have an ebook published, which you could have done yourself at no cost at all.
- If you want to know more about Author Solutions and their predatory practices, read David Gaughran’s excellent post, The Author Exploitation Business.
- If you’re interested in self-publishing, Sarah Woodbury will get you on your way with her post, I’m a new author … how do I get published?.
- For more tips on self-publishing, how it’s done and why you should, read Joe Konrath’s blog.