Last month we reported that Writer’s Digest had ended its association with Author Solutions Inc. (ASI), one of the largest providers of self-publishing services to authors and currently the subject of a class action lawsuit in the USA. For several years Abbott Press, a self-publishing division of Writer’s Digest, was powered and run by ASI. The agreement surrounding that partnership was due for renewal and Writer’s Digest in the past few months chose not to continue its association with Author Solutions. Abbott Press is still in operation, but is wholly an ASI imprint.
Since ASI entered into contract partnerships with traditional publishers and writing organisations to create self-publishing imprints, I’ve always believed that the branding and association only ever existed at surface level, with ASI pretty much running the imprint with little input from the publisher, despite the regular assertions at the time of launch that the imprint would be run as some kind of talent feeder. While I was once hopeful these kinds of imprints might herald a shift in how publishers could positively assist independent authors by supplying a menu of book services, much of what I’ve since witnessed is an array of out-of-house, poorly conceived revenue farms gouging ill-informed authors out of thousands of dollars with overpriced and poor quality services. I see little intent to use these revenue farms for any kind of talent-spotting or author cultivation. Indeed, most publishers who dipped their fingers into the Self-Publishing Honeypot just seem happy to watch the money roll into their bank accounts on a regular basis.
It was, and still remains, in my opinion, a short-gap measure for publishers to get a handle on transitioning from publishing to content services, while they figure out the best way forward. Most traditional publishers still don’t seem to have a clue how best to constructively and creatively leverage the self-publishing services market. It’s one reason why so many prefer to outsource a service imprint to a third party rather than build a structure and program in-house.
Writer’s Digest has not let the moss gather and just launched Blue Ash Publishing
, a self-publishing services imprint in partnership with Bookbaby
. Bookbaby will provide the backend for the publishing services, ranging from e-book packages to print packages for paperback and hardback books.
“Blue Ash Publishing takes its name from the home office of the Writer’s Digest editorial team located in Blue Ash, Ohio. And it’s the Writer’s Digest connection that makes the difference.”
Big and bold from the Blue Ash Publishing ‘About’ page, and getting in their with the mention of an editorial team. That said, much of what is contained in the publishing packages is pretty basic nuts and bolts stuff. There is no editing service included and promotion and marketing
is little more than a suite of tools, posters and a press release. As with Abbott Press, Writer’s
Digest offer their subscription-based coaching newsletter, webinars and online tutorials.
The e-book package costs $417, with print packages ranging from $935 right up to $3464. Pretty expensive, though Blue Ash Publishing allow an author to use his/her ISBN and pay out 100% on net royalties. You can find out more here about their packages
Let’s see how this one runs, and as with most self-publishing services new in town, I’m not going to dig into the detail and carry out a full review until Blue Ash is running for some time.
Mick Rooney – Publishing Consultant
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