I had an out-of-body experience upon reading the news about Writers Digest partnering with Author Solutions to form a new vanity publishing company. It boggles the mind so much that I need to repeat myself.
Writers Digest…a company who has a earned a solid reputation over the years has joined with…
As quoted in their press release:
Writer’s Digest editor, Abbott Press is devoted to helping writers improve their work and realize their dreams of getting published.
For starters, any kind of verbiage that includes “helping realize authors’ dreams of getting published” makes my hair hurt. I appreciate there are authors whose books are wonderful and, for whatever reason, can’t get published. It could be for lack of a market or a heavily impacted category/genre. But MOST of the vanity books flooding the market simply aren’t publishable on any level.
So let’s dispense with the whole “giving you the chance you deserve” garbage. It’s disingenuous and ignorant.
It’s all about the money, baby
It doesn’t matter what these publishers anyone say, or how they try to wrap themselves in a cloak of goodwill and magnanimous benevolence – the truth is it’s about the money. Vanity publishing is a vast, untapped profit center that will earn A LOT of money because there are a record number of writers who all desire to see their name on the cover of a book.
What’s worse is that Author Solutions will run Abbott Press.
Why does my heart hurt?
Then I remembered Victoria Strauss’ post on Writer Beware. And then I knew why I felt faint for all the new, unsuspecting writers who will be caught in this web.
Ok, that might be unfair, but I urge you to read Vic’s post, and you’ll see why I’m pulling out a black armband. It seems like everything that Author Solutions touches turns to cow manure.
Writer’s Digest has enjoyed a stellar reputation for many, many years, and I can’t help but feel like they just took a small step down to SlimyTown. It’s like well-respected magazines charging for reviews. I think it’s slimy and denigrates the purity of a review. So why would Writer’s Digest – like Harlequin and their Dellarte Press – take this route and accept a hit to their reputation? Well, the money is great.
Hmm. Seems I’ve just come full circle.
So while WD and AS laugh themselves to the bank, I hope we don’t start hearing complaints about poor quality, mistakes, lost material, and ignorant customer service reps. I have to assume Writer’s Digest did their market research with this company and knows what possible fate awaits Abbott Press.
‘Tis a dark day when another solid company falls into bed with bedbugs. My only hope is that authors won’t suffer too many bites.
Edited to add: For a discussion about the differences between Self-Publishing and Vanity, visit Jane Smith’s fabulous blog.