Friday, July 21, 2006

Ah, the vanity of Hollywood.

Perhaps all vanity publishers should relocate to Los Angeles, in order to tap into that egocentric abyss to the north. You'd think all those memoirs-in-the-making would want to find a publisher (*yawn*) nearby. I mean, if Alec (held up by litigation) and Stephen Baldwin can publish memoirs, why wouldn't the tall one and the fat one want to publish them, too?

Why did I bring this up? Turns out actress Meg Tilly's new book, GEMMA, will be released this fall by Syren Book Company. I'd never heard of the publisher but I went to check them out (I really enjoyed Meg's first novel, SINGING SONGS, released back in the mid-90's by Dutton.) As soon as I poked around the Syren website, it became clear what they were about. I started seeing catch-phrases that made my stomach turn.

"You're self-publishing options."

"Advantages of self-publishing."

"The author has control."

And under Costs, they do not list any; this is a certain kiss of death. ("Contact us for a publishing estimate.") At least they admit right away that they are "not the cheapest option."

Poor Meg Tilly.

Based on the quality of her first book a decade ago, I'm sure she could've found a home if she had tried longer. This is not the same thing as Jamie Farr releasing a fairy tale through PublishAmerica.

Worst of all, it sounds like Syren does a print run, like Vantage, which--unlike the POD world--is the most expensive, worst-risk option to take.

I'll buy her book anyway, but I hope she tries a little harder to find an editor next time.

If you want to read more of why she went this route, check out this brief article from Publisher's Weekly.