Monday, 13 February 2012


New Generation Publishing - When Not To Press Release!


Print Friendly and PDF
I get a large amount of press releases every day to do with publishing, self-publishing, book launches and other kinds of literary events. Some of the press releases are sent to me 'on-spec' as it were, others come via an alert feed I have set up with several fee and non-fee press release agencies. The ones I've set up automatically arrive by email because I have requested certain press releases to be sent using a combination of company names or key words.

Here is one press release that came through my inbox this morning. It's a press release created using the PR Log service. I should point out that most of the services on PR Log are free to the company using the service.


New Generation Publishing quickly rises to become the UK’s leading self-publishing company

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE





PRLog (Press Release) - Feb 10, 2012 -
New Generation Publishing, with its unique range of services, has seen its business sky-rocket over the last six months and has quickly become the UK’s leading self-publishing company.

In addition to offering range of formats, typesetting, bespoke cover design, editing and worldwide distribution, New Generation Publishing is the only self-publishing company to offer:

·     E-lending – e-book editions available throughout UK libraries
·     Reader reviews and Retailer Reviews on major book retail sites
·     A bookseller service – a sales rep selling copies into book outlets

With the opportunities and level of success increasing through self-publishing, an increasing number of authors, both new and established, are now looking to publish themselves. New Generation Publishing’s aim to provide the only service catering for all of the writers’ key requirements.

Daniel Cooke, Managing Director of New Generation Publishing, commented: ‘This is a very exciting time – our authors are clearly seeing the benefits of publishing with NGP and taking advantage of strong retail structure, global distribution and unique services.’


The above press release is pretty typical of the hundreds of press releases sent out by author solutions services, week-in, week-out. I never consider this kind of press release very professional. Simply put - it's primary aim is not to tell us about the latest book available, or an unmissable offer, but, instead, it is almost always drafted by the company's marketing department to promote their services and passed on to the PR web agency to simply 'host' or disseminate to a generic email list of recipients, who may, or more often not, be interested in the press release. I find them helpful because it allows me to keep tabs on what an author solutions service is doing at a given time rather than me having to visit their websites once a week or pick up the phone to them. In short, think of these type of non-fee press releases as brief interviews with a few quotes, where the source is both the interviewer and interviewee! Exactly, it's like having a very loud conversation with yourself in the hope that your 'conversation' will perk the ears of random passers-by. It's like buying 10 cans of paint - opening them - and tossing them at a wall in the hope you will eventually cover the entire wall; often not very effective, a bit hit and miss, and if you don't hit the right letterbox, it's a lot of expended energy for very little return. Press releases like these - free and easy to sign up and put together as long as you know what you want to say - can be very useful for self-published authors, but they are no replacement for proper media releases and engagement with the media and readers of your books.

New Generation Publishing is an author solutions service, and an imprint now owned by Legend Press, a UK independent publisher. The imprint has been around for a few years and was once the publishing service arm of YouWriteOn, a UK-based peer and editor critique website. Think HarperCollins' Authonomy - an author community not entirely dissimilar to YouWriteOn. In 2008, YouWriteOn embarked on a rather foolish endeavour to publish as many as 5000 authors over a three month period (with the caveat of £39.99 for an ISBN), and, understandably, let's just say it ended in tears for many authors and dealt YouWriteOn (partly funded by the UK Arts Council) a seismic blow on their reputation. YouWriteOn did revise down the publishing endeavour to just 1000 titles in 2009. I will not linger any longer on this particular matter. AbsoluteWrite and Victoria Strauss of WriterBeware gave many column inches at the time and parties from all sides had their say in the long-running discussions. New Generation Publishing officially came under the ownership of Legend Press in October 2009 and not longer operate as a publishing partner to YouWriteOn.

So, with some of the history explained, it's back to that press release from New Generation Publishing. We are all used to companies making claims about their products or services through adverts on the TV, radio and newsprint. Many of those mediums are monitored and subject to strict broadcasting advertising laws. When I read a press release about a new product or service online, I tend to treat it with more of a cynical eye. I'm well used to author solutions services claiming to be 'number one' or 'the leading' UK/USA/Irish company in it's field.

New Generation Publishing quickly rises to become the UK’s leading self-publishing company

Indeed, New Generation Publishing may very well be the 'quickest rising' and 'leading self-publishing company' in the UK. But where is the data in this press release to back up this claim? More to the point, there is no such data whatsoever to even record their perceived meteoric rise in the author solutions service industry. I've been compiling the Self-Publishing Index for three years and even I would never conclude, deduce or promote the data I compile to represent the 'leading' or 'best' companies - rather - the data I compile is based on my own reviews, author feedback, titles produced, span of publishing services, book quality, years in service and several other very defined and measurable statistics.

New Generation Publishing, with its unique range of services, has seen its business sky-rocket over the last six months and has quickly become the UK’s leading self-publishing company.

I've taken a look at what services New Generation Publishing offer, and with packages ranging from £299 to £1699, I see very little that is unique from say, Xulon, AuthorHouse, Infinity, Xlibris and many other author solutions services by some of the bigger and smaller companies. Again, like the claim of 'leading', there is nothing to back up this claim of uniqueness. Heinz is a leading producer of tinned beans (measure - tins of beans sold, recorded consumer preferences). Penguin is a leading publisher (measure - Nielsen data, consumer identity to the brand).

In addition to offering range of formats, typesetting, bespoke cover design, editing and worldwide distribution, New Generation Publishing is the only self-publishing company to offer:

·     E-lending – e-book editions available throughout UK libraries
·     Reader reviews and Retailer Reviews on major book retail sites
·     A bookseller service – a sales rep selling copies into book outlets

Every half-decent author solutions service offers formatting, various book formats, template and bespoke cover design - all offered by many printers specialising in book production. Sure, there are poor services that do not offer the paid option of editing, but editing is not just a proof edit or copy edit - it's also plot, content and structural editing. No publisher, even Penguin or HarperCollins, can 'offer' or promise reader reviews from retail sites!! What utter nonsense, unless of course it's the publisher posting the reviews on the retail site. There are a number of author solution services on the UK market who provide full distribution - IndiePenPress, Authors Online, Matador, Apex Publishing to name just four. (why NGP would refer to it as a Bookseller Service, I've no idea. It might be a 'service' to the bookseller, but you can bet the author is paying for it in the £1699 package!) Selling to a bookseller via full distribution requires a proper contracted book distributor with warehousing of physical product and a dedicated and skilled representative selling to the trade - not a bloke from the POD service with a white Vauxhall Corsa van.

Will my book be widely available?
New Generation Publishing will assign an ISBN to your book and will set it up with sterling, dollar and euro prices for national and international trade. Your book will be available through the distribution feeds sent electronically, ensuring it is available via the major online sites, such as Amazon, Waterstone’s and Barnes and Noble, as well as available for bookshops to order through the major wholesalers.

Additionally, your book will be available for direct purchase through the New Generation Marketplace – see links on the left for example of the many New Generation Publishing books published to date.


• Bookseller Service, your book will feature for one month with an independent bookseller who will market and promote your book to bookshops within the UK.

Ahhhh, there we have it - the distribution Bookseller service. Doesn't AuthorHouse offer the same deal with Waterstones UK, and previously with the now defunct Borders in the USA. You nominated your local store and AuthorHouse delivered 3-5 copies to cover a sales period of four weeks. I've heard that some Pen Press authors were offered something similar on their 5 books for £50 deal. Come to think of it, most really good author solutions services do exactly the same. Except some do have full contracted distribution deals in place with full sales force teams!

With the opportunities and level of success increasing through self-publishing, an increasing number of authors, both new and established, are now looking to publish themselves. New Generation Publishing’s aim to provide the only service catering for all of the writers’ key requirements.

I applaud those aims of NGP, but I think it somewhat unlikely considering there are a plethora of bespoke services operating on the UK market like Acorn, Silverwood, Authors On-Line, Matador, Pen Press, York Publishing Services....etc, etc. So, unless NGP expect to see these companies out of business over the coming year, perhaps, the wiser option would be to up their game and send out less of these inaccurate and spurious press releases.

The core of a good press release is:

Know what you want to say
Why you want to say it
Why you are different (not because you 'think you are better')
Reach your target customer (not the barn door)
....
and above all
Give something...don't try to sell something you don't have...or worse, pretend to have it!


Enhanced by Zemanta
Comment With:
OR
It's Your Choice!

No comments:

http://www.theindependentpublishingmagazine.com/p/t.html/

TIPM Live Facebook Stream