Wading through the sea of Print-on-Demand titles, one overpriced paperback at a time--and giving you the buried treasure.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
iUniverse: Facelift and liposuction success.
In case you haven't checked out the iUniverse site lately (granted, I don't imagine most of you surf POD sites in your spare time), you should see it now. They just re-launched the website and it's all flashy and sexy and exactly 180 degrees from this other POD site. If you can judge the quality of a POD publisher by their website (you know, like judging a book by its cover?) then iU wins hands down.
They have, however, increased the price of their packages lately. (Hey, someone's gotta pay for that new site, eh?) What may make the additional price worthwhile is iU's Star program, where they competitively price and market successful titles, along with accepting returns; it's a model that other PODs have yet to mimic. It's no more a guarantee than going the traditional publishing route, but at least it's something.
It seems to me that the marketshare of the POD world is being gobbled up primarily by two companies: iUniverse and Lulu--and both have different offerings and a different approach: iUniverse is costly but full-service; Lulu is cheap and DIY. In the past few months I've only had seven submissions from Authorhouse authors and zero from Xlibris. In the same time period, I've had 317 submissions from Lulu authors and about the same from iU authors.
What does all this mean? Who cares. Remember this simple tenet: If your book is good, go find an agent and a traditional publisher; if your book is good but finds itself niche-less, give POD a shot. Otherwise, use that delete button, baby.
Authorhouse was ordered to pay the hefty sum (roughly equal to a year's worth of royalty checks for their stable of authors (that's a joke (sort of))) despite the fact that their contract said they would not be liable:
The Kansas jury ruled for Brandewyne even though AuthorHouse’s contracts state that the publisher assumes no legal responsibility or liability “for any loss, damage, injury, or claim to any kind or character to any person or property” in publishing the works of its clients. Jay Fowler, an attorney for Brandewyne, maintained that the “contract does not absolve AuthorHouse of their responsibility. AuthorHouse published the book, put it on the Internet, did everything a publisher does. They’re responsible for publishing this book without vetting it first.”
Sweet fancy moses!
Sounds like the tell-all (tell-nothing) book was really flying up the bestseller lists:
Fowler said that AuthorHouse claims 74 copies of Paperback Poison in total were printed, 21 were given to the author, three were sold, and the company destroyed the 50 copies they had remaining in stock after receiving complaints about the book from Brandewyne and others.
Not exactly the Opal recall.
If in fact, Authorhouse loses on appeal (I'm not a lawyer; I'm just assuming), imagine what that would do to the world of POD?
S-l-o-w i-t d-o-w-n.
And you thought regular publishing was slow! Guess what will happen if (for lack of a better term) non-publishing professionals have to vet these books? PublishAmerica may actually have to get in to the dry cleaning business (not a bad idea; they're good at sucking things dry.)
I am an author and instructor, in that order (for now.) My debut novel (which debuted in the midlist) was released by Penguin Putnam in 2004 and my second novel was released early 2006.
As for this blog, it has been profiled in many online magazines, blogs and news stories, including the Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, the Boston Globe, the Dallas Morning News, the LA Times and Publishers Lunch.
To answer the deluge of questions I have been receiving from publicists: I'll review pretty much anything that is good--but it better be good, or I'll never look at another one of your books again. Then I'll hunt you down. Fiction preferred (no fantasy or young adult, go easy on the science fiction.) Non-fiction should be memoir, humor, self-help. Definite no-nos: cookbooks, textbooks, porn, books without verbs. And it must be POD (no small presses.) Otherwise, email with pitch first.