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Friday, August 29, 2014

The Guardian--A traditionally published piece of rubbish.

The Guardian recently published a blog on self-publishing. As you would've guessed by the title of this blog, I was not impressed. You can read the blog HERE and then check out my response below. I posted the same thing in the comments section of the blog.

Ladies and Gentlemen. You have all read the biggest piece of nonsense imaginable. I don't know where the author of this op-ed got their information from, but speaking from personal experience, the above-mentioned figures are very exaggerated. What bothers me even more about it is that it misrepresents the publishing industry.

There are points which the author and I agree on. The main ones being that it is very difficult to get representation from a literary agent or sign a legacy publisher deal unless you already have an author's platform, ie. fanbase. The other point that's true about the industry is that if one decides to become independently published, there's a price tag that comes along with it.
However, having published four thrillers on my own, I was surprised by the amount of misinformation presented in this op-ed. Some of the statements were so outrageous, I had to question the true motive behind it.

Take for instance the part which mentions purchasing an ISBN. Even though it's true that it would cost an American author $125 to obtain one, the article quoted a Canadian author, Ashley MacLennan, who claims to have purchased several ISBNs. Why would you quote a Canadian author as your source for this information, especially when she claimed that she purchased 100 ISBNs? Canadian authors don't even have to pay for an ISBN. They can simply register through the Library and Archives website at It's beyond me why MacLennan would spend $1250 in ISBNs. And she actually believes that she's saved money?

Secondly, the $4000 price tag is not completely accurate because not all editors charge per hour. Many of them charge per word. The most I spent on editing was roughly $2000, and that was for two editors--one for content and the other was a copy editor.

The cost of getting a professional book cover will vary from one graphic artist to the next. It will also vary whether the cover is being drawn from scratch or if stock images are used. If you choose to go with a stock image, then you can get it designed much cheaper. On a side note, if you're just opting to have your novel available only as an eBook, then you could go to and have a professionally designed book cover for as little as $20. The author will be responsible for choosing the stock image.

I nearly had a heart attack when I read the part about it costing over $825 for reviews through Netgalley and Kirkus. The author mentions that: "It all gets a little more complicated if all you have to work with is an electronic file," and then quoted MacLennan, who mentioned: "The alternative can chew up a lot of time and energy, though, because you’ll have to make sure that your novel is available in whatever format the prospective reviewer prefers."

I find it very silly of both the author and MacLennan perpetuated the belief that having a novel in electronic format is more complicated and more time consuming. On the contrary, I've found that it's much easier to send out eBook copies to reviewers. There aren't any shipping and printing costs associated with sending eBooks. And any author who's serious about writing needs to have their novels in both electronic and print formats. Having a book only available in print is as inefficient as working with a dot-matrix printer.

As for my thoughts on Netgalley, before forking over $400 to, I'd recommend consulting with authors who've actually used their service. I'm glad that I did, because I was warned that what they're charging is a waste of money, especially if you write in the thriller genre. As for Kirkus, DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY. Giving $825 to these guys is not going to guaranty you a ton of reviews this op-ed will have you believe, especially if it's your first novel. The best buzz an author can get is to write several books.

As for putting aside $300 for mailing out review copies, you'd have to be an idiot to spend that amount of money sending print copies. I've always advised new authors to never mail a print book to someone you don't know or haven't worked with. Serious reviewers have eReaders, and the cost of emailing an eBook is $0.

The most atrocious way this op-ed misleads readers is by perpetuating the belief that legacy authors have it better than indie authors. That's not true. If you're a first-time author who's lucky enough to get a book deal with a legacy publisher, that's great. But it doesn't mean that said publisher will invest a lot of money on you. Their budgets are reserved for the Stephen Kings and John Grishams. And even first-time legacy authors don't always make it. Look at Joe The Plumber. A lot of money was wasted on a book signing in Washington DC, and hardly anyone showed up. Plus his book bombed, which served both he and the publisher right.

Come on, Guardian, you guys need to do better research than this.

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