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Tuesday 20 September 2016

Just when you thought it was safe...

It was a sequel to Jaws, the not entirely originally titled Jaws 2, but it had the tag "Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water..." A classic line from Peter Benchley.

After sifting through the Bowker review of publishing trends, 2010 to 2015 and seeing the hit the Vanity press had taken, a hit so hard that Penguin Random House ditched Author Solutions at the beginning of 2016, and the declining numbers of authors buying their product I should have known there would be something lurking around the corner. Just when you thought...

I had that feeling when I clicked on David Gaughran's blog and started reading, he is running through the latest money scamming idea from the dodgy end of publishing, Vanity Publishers pretending to be legitimate trade publishers and hiding their true colours until the author has taken the hook, been played on the line and finally reeled in.

Just go to David's blog and read it here.

I'll let David tell the story, my job tonight is merely to pass it on, at David's request!

Wednesday 14 September 2016

Looking under the carpet

That moment, you reach the point of searching for something and lift the corner of the carpet  to peer underneath, you know full well that what you're looking for isn't there, but you haven't already looked. So, the corner of the carpet comes up.

I guess it's also the moment that anything you swept under there before stares balefully back at you.

A couple of things had me looking around the other day, one was Bowker's Self-Publishing in the United States. 2010 - 2015; an analysis of print and ebook publishing trends and the other was a search at the top of the page. After wasting a few minutes, alright, more than a few minutes on the trending hashtags of twitter I moved on. I typed in Publisher's Weekly and read the search result at the head of the page; chooseyourpublisher.com.

Some time ago I posted a blog on the workings of the vanity presses in general and Author Solutions in particular, I remarked on the number of times the web page of something like FindYourPublisher had Author Solutions tucked at the bottom of the page (nothing has changed).

Chooseyourpublisher had; chooseyourpublisher. Now I was curious, so who are chooseyourpublisher, moving sideways across to an Internet domain site - I used get dotted  - I searched for chooseyourpublisher found the suffixes still available and clicked on the information icon of a domain name already taken and scanned the whois information.

Sound advice for an individual is to sign up for the privacy deal, big companies and organisations aren't always so particular. The owner of the domain name was tucked into the listed information and the usual suspects' information was there on the screen.

David Gaughran and Victoria Strauss and others have long held a spotlight up to the shady world of Vanity Publishers and the recent class actions dismissed against Author Solutions notwithstanding. Some of their activities deserve closer scrutiny.

What caught my eye about the Bowker report and the trends identified within the industry shed some light on Penguin Random House's quiet release of their hold on the company in January 2016. A contrast to the purchase four years previously

PRH bought AS in 2012 with considerable fanfare, and many thought the new owners would change the MO, not so! The old practises continued and the company expanded under the new owners.

However reluctant AS and PRH might have been to change their ways, the world was changing around them. The attitude towards self-publishing was shifting. Middle ranking and other authors previously held by commercial publishes were moving their back catalogues and self-publishing titles as they recovered rights previously signed away.

Commercial presses were already snapping up successful self-published authors and the expansion of authors working through the medium of the Internet shared their knowledge and experience. All contributed to a decline in the number of ISBN's issued through the Vanity outlets.

Caution is needed here; the Bowker document gives an indication of the trends visible through the distribution of ISBNs, Most self published authors are aware that an ISBN isn't essential for publication, so the picture laid out by Bowker isn't the whole picture.

What that might be is anyone's guess, but one thing seems certain, change is the only constant. Have a look at the article where I found the report and a hat tip to The Passive Voice for pointing me towards the-digital-reader.

Caution should be a watchword, check the links, dig deep into those who come knocking and ask Whois looking for your book to publish it, or help you do the donkey work. protect your investment. The time and effort you have put into your creation are worth it, and if you do make a mistake, pick yourself up and have another go.

When you need that boost, that hand up to get you back on your feet. Dust yourself down and remind yourself the large lady will have to find someone else to entertain.