4.26.2007

"Equity publishing"

Dear Miss Snark,

While recently reviewing a copy of a colleague's book, I noticed she had changed publishers. She has several wonderful self-help books in print by a reputable mid-list house and one book in print through a BIG house. So, I was curious as to the change. This is the link to her new publisher:

What I find unsettling is that this company calls itself an equity publisher -- a term with which I am unfamiliar. On their website they make the distinction between four types of publishing (and I thought three was confusing): royalty, vanity, self-publishing, and equity. Is this a new breed of publisher?


I checked out their website, and I wish they didn't sound so defensive cause I think they're offering a fine service to a niche market. More power to them.

They've got a couple details wrong in their urge to make royalty houses sound evil, when really all they need to do is talk about money.

Their model is you pay for the book. They don't like the label vanity press, and since they don't take all comers, or all kinds of books, I can respect that quibble, but really, they are a pay to play publisher.

If they tell you how much up front, show you sample books, and introduce you to happy clients, I've got no complaints.

It sounds like a good deal for people who want to sell books in the back of the room at speeches (notice they are members of the National Speakers Association?), workshop teachers, people with very niched audiences who come to hear them speak or will seek out their books.

They are smart to limit what they do to what they clearly know will sell: biz, self help, inspirational.

What's smart about this for YOU is you get to tap into their expertise on book design and the mechanics of production. You don't have to learn it all yourself. Yes, you pay for that but you pay for all learning curves too.

I'm not sure they can get your books into stores or libraries (notice there's no information on the site for booksellers or retailers or librarians or "purchase now") and if you look at the prices on the books they are insane, but hey, if they can get it, why not.


And they're in Minnesota. Minnesotans are congenitally nice. That's one of the reasons Miss Snark is not allowed to go there.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

They may be nice, but whoever thought "I'd Like to Buy a Bowel: Ostomy A to Z" was a cute title needs to ... I dunno, stay the hell away from me, at the very least.

jamiehall said...

There's no official new word for vanity publishing of the type that doesn't lie to you, like Lulu and a few others.

I can understand why such enterprises would shy away from a word like "vanity" but technically, that's still what they are, at least until one of the newfangled words they've invented catches on and becomes the new standard.

If the prices are sky-high, be sure to check it out even more. Sky-high prices are a warning sign.

Mark said...

I've seen all kinds of labels for these ventures: Publish on demand Book on demand; print on demand; but miss snark is correct on the model: pay to play=vanity. It's printing, not publishing.

I often wish I hadn't printed two nonfiction books this way back when it was free, and I saw that-- A Random House Venture--label somehow had an air of legitimacy, if only at a farm league level.

As "Emily" Editor at said big publisher later told me in response to a slushpile submission: "There's no farm league for publishing. There's only publishing, and we don't care where it comes from if we like it."

That worked for me. I play the game under the rules of the game, not some personal version.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

Miss Snark,

I read you only for the snark, as I'm not interested in actually writing books...

I have to tell you that I'm from Minnesota and we have plenty of room for an expert in snarky such as yourself... sure, us snarky peopel have to hide behind a thin veil of "Minnesota nice" -- but, the snarky club is large and we welcome newmembers.