“I appreciate “insert Print On Demand publishing company here” for helping me get my foot into the door of the publishing world.”
I see and hear this line all the time, and it never fails to give me gas. See, what these folks don’t realize is their foot is about as far from the publishing world as I am convincing Antonio Banderas to marry me.
Oh sure, their books were listed on Amazon and b&n.com, and such. But were they reviewed by any of the trade mags? Will their books be on store shelves? Will their “publisher” work their Victoria Secrets off to market and promote their books to anyone possessing a big mouth and a pulse? Will they go after cover blurbs? Will they cough up ARCs to radio stations and newspapers? Will they even have said radio stations and newspapers calling their “publisher” requesting to be added to their marketing list for future works? Will they discuss promotion plans and how they can support their author?
The answer to all these questions is no.
So, in truth, the only thing to be grateful for is that their “publisher” printed their book and got it fed into the online databases – a feat that takes as much time as I take to pluck my eyebrows. The editing will be substandard, but the author won’t realize that, and they’ll insist they were put through the ringer over their edits. No one has been put through the ringer until they’ve encountered my editor, who is adorable beyond all reason and the keeper of The Red Pen From Hell.
I’ve said it before; you get what you pay for, and PODs rarely have the money to pay for great anything, and the only thing authors earn is a healthy dose of cynicism. Ok, I’ll admit there are some who have money, one comes to mind who owns a helicopter, but they got rich selling to their authors, not the stores – which gives it a vanity feel on the back end. So the reality is that POD authors learn very little about how the industry works.
If you’re going to be grateful to your POD publisher, I recommend that you take a step back and ask yourself exactly how much you really do know about the industry through being affiliated with them. Do you know how books are sold? Do you understand discounting and distribution? Do you understand how sales teams operate and pitch titles? Do you understand how to keep a book on a bookshelf? Have you thought about how to make your title swim among an ocean of thousands of other books? Have you considered the competition?
I’m betting the POD author learned none of those things. So it leaves me wondering if the gratitude is misplaced. Makes me think they really need The Writer’s Essential Tackle Box, where they’ll learn far more than from their own publisher. Meanwhile, I’m so not giving up on Antonio…