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Paying to be self-published

PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:47 am
by virgilDebique
Hi all,

I am after your opinion. I have self published several short stories through Amazon's KDP and while they have had a few downloads, nothing spectacular as of yet.

I am finishing my manuscript for a fantasy novel and I am currently running an online campaign through a website called publishizer. So far I have interest from a company called Happy Self Publishing. They are offering me packages to self publish, with the cheapest being $1,299. They do more which include editing.

My question is, is there a benefit to paying a company that much money to help you self publish, when it's relatively easy with Amazon? Is that sort of money justifiable? They are offering 3 rounds of editing, book cover design and publishing (though technically self-publishing), I also still get 100% royalties.

Thanks for your advice and opinions.

Re: Paying to be self-published

PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 1:03 pm
by ostarella
Most companies that are pay to play are to be avoided (research "vanity publishers"). This is different from you hiring an editor, or paying for print copies, or other business costs involved in publishing your own book. Many of these companies take way too much money for very little service (if they provide them at all after they've got your money). And don't be fooled by a few that are 'affiliated' with major publishers.

Re: Paying to be self-published

PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 3:29 pm
by virgilDebique
Thanks, that's basically what I'd thought and I'll keep that in mind.

Re: Paying to be self-published

PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:19 pm
by mikeyboy_esq
I agree with Ostarella. Of course, you have to have a good book to start with, but I see very little benefit to paying a company (like Balboa) to publish my books when I can self-publish them (I hire my own editor, book cover designer, graphic designer, etc.) for cheaper and still produce a quality book. At the end of the day, I think book sales for any book (whether traditionally published or self-published) will greatly depend on the author's marketing activities. So if your books aren't getting much traction in the market, it may be because of lack of marketing efforts or perhaps you haven't tried the right marketing efforts yet to reach your target audience (this assumes you have a good quality book that meets the needs or desires of your target audience). Just my 2 cents.

Re: Paying to be self-published

PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:52 am
by MikePhillip
Just as self-published authors/books are still perceived as sub-par in many corners of the writing/publishing world, the pay-to-play publishing industry receives its unfair share of negative "press". There are good ones and there are not-so-good ones. And there are some really bad ones.

The rub comes when trying to determine if a firm is reputable or not. Here are some suggestions on how to research an unknown publisher:

1. Does the website feel like high pressure sales? If so, one probably won't receive expected value for money paid.
2. Do all links jump to section on the front (and usually only) page? Repetition is often a popular tool for hiding important information. And to be avoided.
3. Is the business trying to remain anonymous? No physical address, phone number, or email address could be a strong indication the business will be less than forthcoming on any issue.
4. Use of a contact form is not really a form of communication. Not that using one is bad, but if that's the only way to contact a business, well, see #3.
5. Check their local BBB for complaints and reviews. How the business handles complaints is as important as any other aspect of doing business. However, to find their local BBB one must have an address, so see #3, again.
6. Find information sources not associated with the business. Searches for <business name> CEO, or <business name> reviews can reveal a plethora of information. But, be skeptical - many disreputable businesses in all industries use shills. (LinkedIn does not count as a reputable source)
7. Make a list of what results are expected, ask the business about them.

Happy Self Publishing's CEO is a stay at home mother raising two children according to one article. Really? My preference would be that the CEO be in the office helping get the book published and doing other CEO stuff. Not knocking CEO's who have children, but using that as evidence of providing publishing services is a little shaky in my book. The website hits all the Buyer-Beware buttons. So, my opinion concerning them is that they won't deliver no matter how much money is thrown at them. Makes me wonder what their last business name was and what the next one will be.

Re: Paying to be self-published

PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:32 am
by ostarella
If I were ever to decide to go the self-publishing route, I would be very wary of any "self-publishing company" that offered package deals. I don't want generic packages. If I'm paying for something, I want to know the individual(s) doing the actual work, and what their credentials are, especially when I'm paying possibly hundreds of dollars for their "services". Those dollars could be spent on an individual editor with long experience in publishing versus the CEO's second cousin with a BA in English from a community college, or a graphic artist who's worked with publishers versus a guy that won a local art festival award.