Thursday, November 17, 2011

Penguin plans service to “help” self-published authors.

There has been some talk about Penguin launching a service to help self-publishers called “Book Country” where for a fee of $99 to $500+ (and a cut of your sales revenue) they will provide a cover art creator and book formatting service. I’m sure both of these will be automated.

I hope writers aren’t fooled into thinking that using their cover art creator will be the same as a cover that is professionally designed. Createspace already has a free cover creator. If you design the paperback first, you can use Createspace to make the Kindle version. Converting a book to eformat is not that difficult.
And I seriously doubt that these books will have the Penguin label. They will have the “Book Country” label. There is no mention of marketing, but it sounds like the books will be listed (buried) on a site called Book Country.

How can this be a good idea?
I'm wondering if this is some sort of desperate move from Penguin. How is this different than a vanity press? Why would they want to get involved with that? Why not just make their ebooks prices more reasonable and try to find more talent? Publishing in ebook format is cheap and easy. They have a huge platform and good reputation already. Sure they would have to provide editing and cover art, but they could easily hire people. How many artists would love to have on their resume that they worked for Penguin? People would probably work on a percentage of royalties just to have the opportunity and experience.

By doing this are they saying that they just don’t know what sells and/or they just don’t know a masterpiece when they see one? So we’re just going to open this up to everyone.
Anyone who has already self-published is going to say no to this because we know this is a waste of money.

Note: This was brought to my attention by my good friend JABeard, and you can read more about it here.


Grumpy Bulldog said...

Yeah really it's easier to just go to a stock photo site and pick up a graphic for like $20. You can do the formatting yourself for free.

Michael Offutt said...

Joe Konrath wrote a blog post on this. It's very good. Essentially, he said it made him throw up in his mouth.

Cindy said...

Bulldog: Exactly, and for those prices you could hire a pro to do the cover.

Mike: LOL...I just read his post. I know there have been other blogs on it too. I'm glad others are warning writers.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I think most writers could do all of that for themselves. Right?

Cindy said...

Alex: Yes, they can. It does take some studying and practice. Maybe I will write a blog post on how to do it. It's not that hard.

Rusty Webb said...

I believe big places like Penguin (probably owned by a bigger conglomerate) see this as a potential revenue stream. I think they are, by nature, amoral.

It is a legitimate publisher starting a vanity press. It's unethical. I expect individuals to do the right thing, places like this, I'm surprised it's taken them so long.

Julia Hones said...

Yes, Cindy, I agree with you. I guess they need some extra money to survive these days, so they came up with this new idea. Cheers.