Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Is Your Book Up To It? | Catherine Ryan Howard with THIS Test

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There's self-publishing, and then there's publishing. In an ideal world the quality of books produced from both routes should be of a similar high standard. But if you peruse the online shelves of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, or any online e-tailer listing and selling self-published books; the results can be very diverse when it comes to the quality of book covers and content. Add in the value for money you get with some dubiously priced editions, and, in short, you reach a conclusion that an author may be able to self-publish, but few can self-edit, self-design and self-market. You can come up with any other 'self' you'd care to throw into the pot. The truth is that almost all authors can and should benefit from using professionals within the publishing industry, whether those editors, designers or marketers are freelance or working for a reputable company offering publishing services. Sure, some authors may have a gift in design skills and are familiar with design and layout software, but few authors will have the whole gamut of skills required to write, polish, produce, publish and market their books.

I don't know of a single self-published author (including me) who sat back after publishing a first book and concluded that they couldn't have done it any better. We are learning all the time, and as long as we keep self-publishing, the book inside and out can always be improved. All too often with that first self-published book, we vastly underestimate what is required to compete with the big boys and girls of publishing.

Self-published author, Catherine Ryan Howard, in her blog this week asks: 

Could Your Book Pass THIS Test?

'THIS Test' is Jane Smyth's The Self-Publishing Review.

Once upon a time, Mousetrapped was 400 sheets of double-spaced text resting in a Muji kraft box under my bed and its destiny was to remain there forever. I had no intention of self-publishing it, not least of all because I figured self-publishing was for delusional losers who despite being rejected by one literary agent and five publishing houses just couldn’t take a hint.* But then a friend sent me a link to Lulu, which led me to CreateSpace, which started the wheels in my rejection-filled head turning…

Soon, the decision was made. I’d self-publish using the cheapest and easiest form of Print on Demand, or POD. I’d already checked the manuscript a few times during my agent/publisher hunt, so I was pretty confident it was mistake-free. All I had to do was re-format it and convert the Word document into a PDF. I could throw together some kind of cover using the software provided by CreateSpace and then point people in the direction of its Amazon listing. The whole thing might take a Saturday, a weekend at the most.


Um, no. Not even close.

You can read the rest of Catherine's piece here.
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Friday, 24 February 2012

Bubok UK - Overview

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Bubok is an online self-publishing service and bookstore founded in 2007 and has just launched a dedicated UK service this week. Bubok is marketing to the DIY self-publishing area and files uploaded must be in a PDF or doc format.

Yet, the online download advice conflicts with what is stated in the press release (PDF, doc or ppt). Either it's PDF only or PDF and docs as acceptable formats.

...and from the online website load up information:

"Remember, it must be in PDF format, its extension must be between 30 and 800 pages, the fonts must be embedded and images in high resolution1 and, preferably, it should be in any of the publication2 sizes of Bubok (although if it is not correct, Bubok will resize it automatically)."

The online tools pretty much work like Blurb or Lulu, but honestly, step back a few years, this seems like a work in progress and remains far behind the versatility offered by the competition. An author can load up completed PDF book files or use the basic custom cover design tool. Bubok will supply ISBN's so the book can be sold through online retailers and in their bookstore, but distribution is limited, though Amazon Kindle is included.

Initial use of Bubok requires registration to upload a book. Yes, it is free to use the online tools, but a 'proof' purchase is required. You see where I am going with this. Print costs - like many DIY publishing services - are high comparitive to working directly with a printer, and if you want to make a decent profit, you may be disappointed. Bubok is a million miles away from what CreateSpace offer for free as well.



(Above, some of the additional services. The website and domain is a crazy price!!)

As you can see, we are on the high end and this is a publishing platform built on sell-on services. Blurb figured this out years ago and developed their BookSmart design tool to download and optimised compatibility with Adobe products, including InDesign, and this appealed to DIY authors and photographers. Sure, this might appeal to the casual author looking at ebook publication (80/20 for the author on a royalty split), but Bubok are faced with the same growing pains as their competition years ago to make this platform far more flexible and versatile.

For purchases of 15 copies or more receive a 10% discount.

For purchases of 50 copies or more receive a 15% discount.

For purchases of 100 copies or more receive a 40% discount.
(On the retail price - gee, thanks!! -  EDITOR)

I'm glad those editing services don't include text editing because the website and downloadable manual are appalling and read like a Hong Kong DIY furniture manual. Critical information like royalties, online distribution outlets (Wattpad and Scribd included, but nothing beyond big name e-tailer Amazon) and the core information a self-publishing author needs is missing or simply too deeply embedded in the website. Nobody wants to beat up the new guy on the UK self-publishing block but this is a case of a  little done, and a great deal more to do! Bubok do provide some 'How To Publish' instructions here, but be sure to have your Hong Kong interpreter close by for gibberish English translations.

From their press release (and keep in mind all I posted about last week on press releases from companies):

Bubok, the global self-publishing website, announces expansion into the UK, proving that self-publishing is on the rise. Bubok operates a no upfront print or production fees policy but instead simply takes a percentage of the cover price once a book has been ordered or sold. There is no stock holding, no sign up fees and the copyright remains with the author. (no distribution beyond Amazon, Scribd, Wattpad and their bookstore - EDITOR)

Traditional publishing takes time, technical skill, personal connections and financing, factors which up until now have convinced so many budding authors to abandon their writing aspirations. Bubok is completely changing this model proving that there is now a trustworthy and professional alternative to traditional publishing. Bubok provides a fast, easy and affordable alternative so that anyone can now publish a book whether to sell, share or use as a promotional tool. (Nonsense - these claims were made ten years ago and competitors of Bubok are still way ahead - EDITOR)
Says Justine Petrenko, Head of Internationalisation, Bubok Publishing: “There are nearly 11,000 new publishers entering the literary field every year, most of which are self-publishers, (well now, are we talking publishers or authors or both, and where is the back up for this info? - EDITOR) which is why Bubok is doing all it can to support the book writing experience. In fact for the first time in 2010 the total amount of non-traditional, social print produced titles outstripped traditional print titles by three to one, a fact that many would have considered impossible 5 years ago. Research (What research? - EDITOR) has told us that 81% of people felt that they had a book in them and despite feeling compelled to write they were completely overwhelmed by the rigmarole of the whole book publishing industry and as result abandoned their writing aspirations. Bubok is changing this by making it easier for anyone and everyone to self-publish.
Continues Justine: “People have much more choice now as to how and in what format they want to digest their media. You only have to look at the growth in the Kindle with Amazon’s Kindle business. Add to this the spectacular growth in eBooks and it’s very clear that consumer reading habits have changed forever. Bubok is here to facilitate this phenomenal movement in the publishing world by helping budding authors to realise their talents and in turn bring a much greater and wider choice of reading material to the general public.”
With no software to download, users simply upload their file in pdf, doc or ppt format; (online manual says PDF file only - EDITOR?) create a title, author and synopsis; choose binding style, size and cover design or upload their own cover design; set the sales price for the book whether as an eBook or hardcopy and finish by ordering a printed copy to check the final result. Each book is printed on demand and in any quantity, whether as a gift for one or thousands for a much larger audience.

-ENDS – (who the hell puts this in a press release! EDITOR)
About Bubok
Founded in 2007, Bubok is committed to self-publishing and has secured a global customer base built on its passion for books and writing. Offering a full professional service throughout the entire writing process, Bubok is easy to use, smart and cost effective. Its international presence means a book can be promoted on any of the Bubok country websites and printed in the country where the order has been taken. Bubok has partnered with Amazon in Spain and is hoping to secure an arrangement with Amazon UK later this year.

To arrange an interview with Justine Petrenko, Head of Bubok Internationalisation, and to find out more about self-publishing please contact:

Media Contacts:
Paul Spiers / Andy Eastham
Tel: 0845 017 7522

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Thursday, 23 February 2012

John Oakes Interviewed at TOC 2011 - (Random Rosset Thoughts)

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Rosset and Beckett lost in New York!
John Oakes, co-founder of OR Books, interviewed on new publishing models. In the week we lost publishing maverick, Barney Rosset, I thought this piece from TOC 2011 strangely appropriate. Oakes started out at Rosset's Grove Press.

In 1987 Oakes co-founded Four Walls Eight Windows, which he first ran as co-publisher for seven years, and then directed for another ten years before selling it to the Avalon Publishing Group. Among the authors he has published are Louis Begley, Andrei Codrescu, Sue Coe, R. Crumb, Cory Doctorow, Andrea Dworkin, Abbie Hoffman, Ross King, Gordon Lish, Harvey Pekar, Rudy Rucker, John Waters and Edmund White. Oakes is a member of P.E.N. America's board of trustees and is on the U.S. board of Alfanar, an Arab-run foundation promoting democratic values in the Mideast. He has written for the Review of Contemporary Fiction, the Associated Press, the International Herald Tribune, and most recently The Huffington Post.

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Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Guest Post | Self-Publishing in the Internet Age - Ella Davidson

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In the age of blogs, Facebook profiles and pages, everyone is beginning to develop an opinion to share. The benefit of this technological age is that now all of those wishes, opinions and great ideas found on the Internet can be turned into polished novels. Before the Internet and self-publishing existed, traditionally you had to have connections or preexisting street credit (and a quality and marketable book! - ED) to strike a deal with a publishing house in order to get a paltry 5 or 10% in royalties. This is not the case now.

Now with the option of self-publishing, anyone with an idea and a little money can skip the whole publisher section of the book making process. This means you can turn any idea—whether it is a great novel, a manual, teaching instructions, or just a legacy—into book form within days.

There are both benefits and drawbacks to self-publishing. The benefits are that you can get any idea turned into just the right number of books quickly and determinately. Some websites can have your book to you overnight, you can order just as many as you need, and you really get the satisfaction of turning your work into a tangible finished product.

Also, since you own the rights to your own book you can do anything you want with it. You can change markets, advertisements, distributors, and styles anytime you want without having to check in with your publisher. You also have the opportunity to tailor all types of promotions to get the best value for your book, whether your view of the value is profits and sales margins or a gift to close friends and family.

The downfall of self-publishing is that you no longer have the benefit of a publisher. This means that after you finish all of the writing, editing, and fine-tuning, you now have to do all of the marketing, promoting, advertising, selling, distributing, and all other –ings associated with book sales. This large amount of hard work involved normally means that it is hard to make money off of self-publishing. You may get to make more per book—since all profits go straight into your pocket instead of just small royalties—but normally you end up selling less books or spending all of your time marketing instead of writing.

So if self-publishing seems like your cup of tea then your next step is to get an ISBN number. This book identification number marks you as the publisher. If you want to be the true publisher and hold all the rights of your own book then be wary of the publishing websites that give away the numbers for free.

Once you have that number, you need to track down a website that will print the book for you. Plenty of different places exist to make your book, so do a little shopping to find the best price for what type of book you want. Some places even give you a discount if you get the ISBN through them. Other differences between companies include quality, time of delivery, and quantity. Places like booksjustbooks.com and selfpublishing.com provide a good place to start researching basics and details of purchases.

If you make it this far, then you should be enjoying the feel of that brand new book in your hands and the smell of newly printed-paper. The final step, if you so desire, is to try and make money from the book. At this point a multitude of options still exist. You can get your book onto Amazon, try to sell get it on the shelves of stores, do book signings, and even convert it into an online book for e-readers and Kindles.

But many self-publishers stop before that last step, and this makes sense in the majority of cases. Maybe the book was personal poetry or a family heirloom and you do not need sales margins. Instead the book can be an end in itself. There is a special feeling that arises from seeing thoughts and creations in print form. Now everyone has the ability to attain this same feeling of accomplishment.

Guest Post: This post was written by Coupons.org’s Ella Davidson. Coupons is a provider of consumer related news as well as top-retailer coupons and deals for books, electronics and more.

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Irish Pen Debate - March 8th, Dublin

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Thursday, March 8, 2012 : The Irish PEN Debate :

from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Dublin, Ireland | United Arts Club
Traditional or self publishing? As publishing options change and more and more authors find success self publishing, what is the best option for authors?
Traditional or self-publishing? As publishing options change and more and more authors find success self-publishing, what is the best option for authors?
Catherine Ryan Howard and Mick Rooney argue for Self-Publishing; Hazel Gaynor and Patricia  O Reilly argue for Traditional Publishing in a debate chaired by author Ruth Long.

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Thursday, 16 February 2012

Simon & Schuster Picks Up CreateSpace Author In Three-Book Deal

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Simon & Schuster has signed up self-published author Brittany Geragotelis to a three-book deal on the strength of her Young Adult novel, Life's a Witch. Geragotelis used CreateSpace to self-publish her novel just a few months ago. Geragotelis only signed up with her literary agent at Christmas after she self-published. She also had tremendous success and following on Wattpad, an online writing community. Interestingly, Amazon Publishing was once again one of the major publishers involved in trying to hammer out a deal with the author's agent. More here and below from PW.

"Since Publishers Weekly ran a story about Brittany Geragotelis, an unrepresented aspiring writer with a self-published YA novel and a huge online following, her life has taken a dramatic turn. Geragotelis’s novel, Life’s a Witch, self-published this fall via Amazon/CreateSpace, has been acquired at auction by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers in a three-book, six-figure deal that features an e-book prequel series to be released in 2012. Life’s a Witch will be published in fall 2013 and a sequel will be released in 2014.
The deal was negotiated by Justin Chanda, v-p and publisher of S&S Books for Young Readers and the author’s literary agent, Kevan Lyon of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. S&S has U.S. and audio rights to the books and Gerogatelis retains foreign rights. Gerogatelis will be edited by BFYR senior editor Alexandra Cooper whose authors include Jane Yolen, Nikki Grimes and Heather Vogel Frederick."

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Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Self-Printed: How To Self-Publish With Catherine Ryan Howard | Inkwell Writers' Workshops

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Catherine Ryan Howard is hosting another workshop on behalf of Inkwell Writers' Workshops on March 3rd (Saturday) from 9am to 4.30pm at the Royal Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. Catherine has also given workshops for the Faber Academy and  they are excellent for any author considering self-publishing. Believe me, this should be the first €125 you spend if this is the publishing path you choose. Below is summary of what will be covered on the day long workshop. Go here for booking.

Self-Printed: How To Self-Publish With Catherine Ryan Howard
About the Workshop:
Do you think that no one has the right to stand between you and your published writer dreams? That the publishing industry is going down in flames and self-publishers are going to rise like a 99c phoenix from the ashes? That all literary agents are interested in doing is blogging sarcastically about the rhetorical question at the start of your query letter, that editors will just use your submitted manuscript for kindling and that you'll be senile before you hear back from either of them? That once you've uploaded the book you finished yesterday afternoon to Amazon, it'll be mere minutes before the money starts rolling in and you can quit your day job? Do you say things like gatekeepers, The Big Six, Dan Brown, legacy publishing and indie authors a lot? Are you self-publishing to "show them all"? If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions then I do apologise, but this isn't the self-publishing workshop for you. 
This workshop is for writers who consider self-publishing to be a good Plan B, or even a sideline to traditional publication. Who want to do it the cheapest and easiest way possible while still producing a quality product. Who understand that much like Starbucks outlets and Nespresso coffee machines, traditional and self-publishing can peacefully co-exist. Who know that they don't have to sell a million copies of their book to start earning a living from their writing, but that they do have to work hard and treat it like a business. Who are blessed with common sense and live in the real world at least most of the time. Who find my jokes funny. 
If this sounds like you, then SELF-PRINTED: HOW TO SELF-PUBLISH WITH CATHERINE RYAN HOWARD may be just the self-publishing workshop you were looking for. It will tell you everything you need to know in order to publish a Print On Demand paperback and e-book, and - crucially - sell them, without sounding like anti-Big Publishing propaganda produced by the Ministry of Truth. 
Be warned: you are now entering a No Saying "Gatekeepers" Zone...

Workshop breakdown:
1.  Is Self-Publishing for You?
Defining what “self-publishing” will mean for you, deciding whether it’s right for you and your writing career, how to tell if your book is good, setting realistic goals.

2.  Preparing to Self-Publish
Setting the right price, the importance of a professional cover design, why professional editing is not optional.

3.  Publishing a Print On Demand Paperback

4. Publishing an E-book with Amazon KDP and Smashwords

5. Selling Your Book
How to use blogging, Twitter and Facebook to build anticipation about your book, launch it with fanfare and, ultimately, sell copies of it.

Q&A Session

About Catherine Ryan Howard:
Catherine Ryan Howard is the coffee-guzzling twenty-something behind the popular blog, Catherine, Caffeinated. In March 2010 she self-published her travel memoir, Mousetrapped: A Year and A Bit in Orlando, Florida, using the Print-On-Demand service CreateSpace, Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing and Smashwords. Using free promotional tools like blogging, Twitter and Facebook, she managed to make Mousetrapped an Amazon bestseller and sell 4,000 copies of it in a year. Her success story has been featured in The Sunday Times, Sunday Independent and Irish Times newspapers, and Catherine has been interviewed on BBC Radio Ulster, Newstalk and RTÉ Radio's Marian Finucane Show. To date she has sold more than 11,000 self-published books—without spending any money on marketing or advertising. She lives in Cork, Ireland, where she divides her time between her desk and the sofa. She wants to be a NASA astronaut when she grows up. (She's 28.)
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Bowker | British Book Buyers Switching To eBooks From Print and Spending Less

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From the latest press release from Bowker UK...

Bowker plots latest purchasing trends via BML’s Books & Consumers survey

London, United Kingdom – February 14, 2012 - E-book sales are rising to offset a decline in physical book purchases, but only in volume. With the lower price points of e-books versus their print counterparts, the value of book sales is shrinking. That revelation is just one finding from the latest Books & Consumers survey, an ongoing study of the habits of British book buyers by category experts at BML, a Bowker business.

“Through Books & Consumers we are tracking a remarkable period of change in the book industry,” said Jo Henry, Managing Director of BML Bowker. “And publishers are using these data to make better informed decisions and plan their futures more effectively.”

The Books & Consumers survey shows that in the 48 weeks ending 27th November 2011, compared to the same period the previous year, British consumers’ purchases of physical books declined by 4%, with value down some 6%. However, with e-book purchases included, the total consumer book market grew very slightly in volume terms, up 0.4%, with a market value drop of 3% overall.

You can read the full release here.

Monday, 13 February 2012

New Generation Publishing - When Not To Press Release!

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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


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!

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Tuesday, 7 February 2012


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The PUBLISHING SERVICE INDEX for author solutions services is something we have been providing since June 2010. This is the first index for 2012. Please see the separate page link for a list of individual reviews of all service providers. 

(Click image to enlarge)


DIY - Do-it-yourself bespoke sevices
ASS - Author Solutions Services (Packages)
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.         
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