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Named to "Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites," this #SharingwithWriters blog is a way to connect with my readers and fellow writers, a way to give the teaching genes that populate my DNA free rein. Please feel free to add to the conversation using the very tiny "comment" link. For those interested in editing and grammar, go to http://thefrugaleditor.blogspot.com.

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Danger Ahead: Avoiding "Publishers" That Don't Market

As you know I sometimes reprint columns from my SharingwithWriters newsletter for subscribers and visitors to this blog. Here is one that touches on a topic that comes up often--on forums, when I speak at conferences, and about anywhere else where authors gather.   You can subscribe to SharingwithWriters by sending me an e-mail with SUBSCRIBE in the subject line. Once subscribed, you can send questions of your own or just sit back and learn from the travails of other authors.  

Q&A a la Ann Landers

When Trusted Names in the Industry Can Be Dangerous to Your Career

A new author laments that she got scammed by a well-known publisher associated with big five traditional publish so she assumed she could trust them and assumed she would be getting the same kind of service/publishing as if she published traditionally with the big name. She cries out “Do authors really need publishers like this?”


No we don't need publishers "like" the ones you listed. But we still need SOME partner publishers or POD publishers. They are sometimes called vanity publishers, a term I avoid because discrimination in the past has tarnished its name. There is nothing wrong with a little vanity.

We need these independent publishers for SOME books and for SOME authors. Your lament is the reason I wish (unselfishly, I promise!) I could get to more new authors to read  The Frugal Book Promoter and I wish I could get them to read it all the way through. There are so many factors that go into choosing a publisher not least of which are:

1.book bigotry
2.the author's pocketbook
3.the author's personality (willingness to market, ability to market)
4.the author's time limitations
4.the GENRE/TITLE being published.

Once decided, the answer is still not just "what publisher?" Because even good traditional publishers need the author to market his or her own book. The first question to ask, is "Do I really want to be an author?" And the second, after saying "Yes," is "Am I willing to give it everything it takes to have a successful writing career (or at least a successful book)" That, of course, includes what even the big New York publishers do—market books. It’s part of the publishing process. If a publisher doesn’t do that, they aren’t true publishers.

BTW, in The Frugal Book Promoter I suggest avoiding publishers that are immediately identified as what used to be called "vanity" publishers. They often don't do a good job of editing and no job of marketing unless you pay extra for their overpriced “packages.” But those are not the only reasons I don’t recommend them. Because there is still too much book bigotry out there and they are so easily identified, I believe authors do better with independent publishers that don’t screech their inadequacies with their easily identified brand names. There are many partner publishers out there to choose from. And self-publishers can sure hire people to do specific things they can't do or can't do well (like formatting, covers, etc) so they can truly self-publish. No author need be an island unless he or she wants to be and is willing to take that uphill climb to do it.

Here’s the link to that AuthorU conversation: 

 Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .

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