Pub Rants

A Very Nice Literary Agent Indulges in Polite Rants About Queries, Writers, and the Publishing Industry

If It Sounds Too Good to Be True, It Is

Status:

I can count on at least 60 emails in my inbox by the time my day begins at 8:00 a.m.. I’m on it.

Listening To:

SINK OR SWIM by Lewis Watson

As I was reading Digital Book World‘s daily email blast, I came across a press release in the form of an article called Writer’s Digest Inks Deal with Book Baby. It was about a new self-publishing imprint called Blue Ash Publishing.

What struck me was this bullet point:

  • 100% Net Earnings on all sales: Blue Ash Publishing takes no commission on any book sales. Authors keep 100% of their book’s net earnings. Once retailers are paid their percentage, all remaining revenue goes back to the author. BookBaby offers the largest eBook distribution network, including Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and many other popular retailers in more than 170 countries around the globe.

One-hundred percent of net earnings on all sales goes to the author. Sounds great, right? So immediately I started thinking like an agent. And the first question that pops to mind is, “What’s the catch?” There is no such thing as a free lunch. Just how exactly will Blue Ash Publishing make money in this venture?

Always follow the money…

I decided to do a little digging. First stop, check the source–Blue Ash’s website. Sure enough, right there on the home page was a link to Blue Ash’s publishing packages.

In actuality, writers need to think of this as a service or one-stop shopping for independent contractors to convert the book, do the cover, hire the editor, etc. This is not a publishing house. I repeat: This is not a publishing house. And from what I see on the website, they offer nothing that you can’t do on your own pretty simply, for a lot cheaper—and you’ll get paid directly rather than via a third party.

As my indie authors constantly remind me (and other writers who will listen), no one can publicize your book as well as you can. And it’s certainly not worth the $3,000+ for Blue Ash Publishing’s “Ultimate Package.”

Last but not least, because you are thinking like an agent, if you are going to explore this “service,” be sure to get a very clear definition of what “net” means to Blue Ash.

Bottom line? Pass. You can do this all for a lot cheaper than these price tags.


6 Responses

  1. Ken said:

    There seems to be a new “self-publishing service” every day. Unfortunately, I’ve seen too many authors fall into these traps. Thanks for the warning.

  2. bob emery said:

    Thanks for the comments. Unfortunately, some of us writers (I am published) are complete idiots when it comes to getting a self-published book out there on their own (haven’t tried yet). My job is to write, not learn new “computer tricks.” With that in mind it is in my best interest to hook up with a company to get the nuts and bolts stuff done and let me do the writing. Makes sense? Again, thanks for your comments and I will be cautious when dealing with any of these self-publishing services.

    1. Sonja said:

      What are good places to self publish? I’m thirteen and I am working on a story; I’m really creative, and I want to know where I could get myself started.

      1. Hanna said:

        Sonja –
        I’m fourteen. I’ve been doing research on publishing; I wrote, if I do say so myself, a pretty good novel (around 56k works, I believe), but decided not to self-publish. I’ve been doing research on agents, and decided to submit a query to Jodi Reamer. It won’t happen, but why not? I don’t pay rent.
        Self-publishing, from what I’ve been told, can actually make real publishing harder — ‘if the writer is good, then why hasn’t Chronicle picked them up?’ the agent (or publisher) will wonder, and make the sign of the cross and back away.
        If you were to start small, here’s what I (and my extensive research, and my not so extensive experience) say:
        Write a short story. Try to sell it to a magazine. I know you think you’re Faulkner, but on the first SS, you will not sell to the New Yorker. Find a good, medium-sized literary magazine. You most likely will not sell anything, but it will give you experience in writing query letters (and dealing with rejections).
        Read. Read lots. I know this is a cliche. Do not just read novels; read books on query formatting and Stephen King’s On Writing. (You can get around the query books with the help of our friend Google.) Do not read too many books about writing – as Stevie put it, in the beginning of On Writing, ‘fiction writers don’t know how it works when it’s good, or why it’s bad when it’s bad.’ (Those aren’t his exact words, I read it around six months ago and even my memory is not that spectacular.)
        Here is the link to a website I found great for writing a default query letter, plus tips: http://www.jamesrussellpublishing.biz/queryletterbk.html
        When submitting to an agent or publisher, do not send this format. Do research and find out what their specific likes and dislikes are. But, for a short story being submitted to a literary magazine, it’s good.
        Best,
        Hanna

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