Well, I won’t pretend this month’s index pretty much blew me away. In the three years The Independent Publishing Magazine has been providing this index, I’ve never experienced such a collective downturn by so many self-publishing services at once. I had to run the statistics a number of times over the past few hours to make sure that I wasn’t missing some anomaly. Down, down, down… Actually, the list shows little dramatic change from February’s index, but it is the consistency of drop-off from 75% of services which is most striking.
Things are pretty poor in the general retail and service sectors at the moment, but these results did make me wonder if we are seeing the first signs of a marked decline in authors using print self-publishing services, with many now moving to ebook services like Kindle, iPad and Smashwords. If that is the case, then these results this month may highlight one of the most important shifts in the self-publishing services industry we have ever seen. I just wonder how equipped many of the companies reviewed on The Independent Publishing Magazine predicted this kind of shift. Of course, it could be a seasonal shift, but I have my doubts. If anything, self-publishing services have been more active with discounts and incentives over the past two months to pull authors in.
More, perhaps, in later posts.
The PUBLISHING SERVICE INDEX for author solutions services is something we have been providing since June 2010. This is the index for April 2012. Please see the separate page link for a list of individual reviews of all service providers.
DIY – Do-it-yourself bespoke sevices
PUB – Also offers Mainstream Contracts
PRT – Printer
FULL – Fulfillment Services provided
The most asked question we get at The Independent Publishing Magazine is often along the lines of; ‘What self-publishing service should I go with?‘; ‘Is so and so a good service to go with?‘; or ‘Is so and so a scam?‘
In some cases, that is an easy question to answer, cut and dry, but in other circumstances, the answer is entirely arbitrary. We are not here to review and run down a company’s name, nor are we here to endorse a company’s services. If we were only to review author solutions services according to every point in our ideal list of what an author should get from a company offering publishing services; we would have very few reviews to share with you. In truth, no company has ever attained a 10/10, and only a few have recorded more than 08/10. In the autumn of 2010 we will be posting all our reviews with a rating, and any new reviews since February 2010 have automatically had a posted rating at the bottom of the review.
The reality is that some author solutions services begin in a blaze of glory and we might rate them favourably at the time; others, frankly, are just poor, and yet, they improve (sometimes in response to our reviews) to offer reasonable services for authors. We are constantly updating our reviews, but this takes considerable time, and so do the initial reviews.
We get a vast amount of information from authors and the companies selling author solutions services every day – good and bad. We get a great deal of information from monitoring services week by week against the experiences of what authors report back to us. Simply put, and truthfully, we cannot reflect all of this information through the reviews. That is why the comments section under each company we review is so important. It is your recording and dealings with that specific company, and a positive or negative flag to subsequent authors considering using the same company.
So, how do we reflect the changing ups and downs with services?
We believe the SELF-PUBLISHING INDEX will help to guide authors to services on the up, and those, gradually on the down. If you like, what we are proposing is effectively, a kind of stock exchange for author solutions services.
The SELF-PUBLISHING INDEX was first launched in June 2010.