Pay thousands…sell 150 books.

So while I was link gathering for Sunday’s post on Get the word out, I found this post at Juno Books.

The really good part was this:

If nothing else, self-publishing is a choice a writer needs to make only after seriously considering it and only if they understand the amount of money they commit may never be recovered. Read the SFWA’s Writer Beware article on he subject for a good idea of what should be considered. The truth is that most self-published books sell very few copies. (Author Solutions’ CEO Kevin Weiss stated in a 2009 New York Times articlethe average sales of titles from any of the company’s brands at around 150. One assumes this includes books sold directly to authors. According to a 2004 NYTimes article, 40% of iUniverse’s books are sold directly to authors.)


Talk about a DEAL.

It boils down to:

  • Go through the trouble of writing a book.
  • Pay the set up fees for the vanity press or the self publishing press.  (ranging from $99 and up… Dellarte’s basic package starts @ $599)-this is set up only, includes nothing for editing.
  • Pay more $$ to get it edited. (please, please never publish a book without some sort of editorial input-authors in general make lousy editors-at least as far as our own stuff goes)
  • After you do that?  You can hope to sell about 150 books.  It says so, right in the New York Times, from Mr. Kevin Weiss himself, CEO of Author Solutions.

Author Solutions… that is who Harlequin teamed up with for their venture into ‘assisted self publishing’.  Previously named Harlequin Horizons, now named DellArte Press.  So, going by what Mr. Weiss said to the New York Times, writers who go into business with AS/Dellarte, you can expect to pay a lot of money (and with them, you will be pay more-nearly double in some instances, or worse… five times more in other instances, like the $200 for copyright registration-you can do it yourself for $35. It’s a form.  It’s easy.  So why the 5x markup?)

After you pay all that money, Mr. Weiss reports that lovely 150 number.

It’s on the second page of the article, but the whole thing is choice reading.  Make sure you do read it through, because the first page offers some numbers that might sound appealing, but the real meat of the post comes from statements made in reference to who buys the books released by self pubs/vanity pubs.  Most of them are bought by the author, per Eileen Gittens, CEO of BLURB (on the first page of the article).

Pay thousands.  Sell 150 copies.  Wow.  And those 150 copies?  If you went the vanity route or the ‘assisted self pub’ route, you don’t get the keep all the profits.  You split them.  With Author Solutions/Harqequin Horizons/DellArte Press.  Wow.  What a deal.

Now, even though I’ve said this before, I’m saying it again.  I have nothing against self publishers.  True self publishers.  You know, the ones where the writer fronts the money but keeps the profits.  Not a problem with them at all… I do think traditional publishing is more lucrative, but it may not be ideal for all.  Self publishing provides another option. Some self-published authors of non-fiction and niche books have sold very, very well.

I do have a problem with vanity presses though.  I have a problem with the ‘assisted self publishers’.  With them, a writer may very well find themselves paying double what they’d pay with a variety of self publishings.  See my post on self publishing versus ‘assisted self publishing‘. And even after they front all that money?  They split the profits.  Yep, I have a problem with that.

For those who think…well, if you have a problem with them, don’t go that route.  I’m not going to.  But that’s not enough, for me.  I also want to get the information out there for those who are researching the options in publishing-all venues.  Which is why I’m blogging about it.