Saying "No Thanks" to Author Assisted Publishing

Do these publishers advertise the part about "assisting" in the costs? Or, is it just common knowledge? If you're offered a contract with one of these publishers on the condition that you "help" financially, is it bad form to pass on the offer since the LDS market is so small?

I don't think any of them advertise that they offer author assisted publishing. If you're interested, you may need to ask them. In our company, we don't mention it unless the author has indicated that they might be interested in self-publishing.

No, it is not bad form to say no thanks to this type of offer. You don't have to accept any offer you don't like. Here's the thing--everyone knows you're going to make a decision based upon what's best for you. Author assisted publishing is not your best option and should only be considered if all other avenues are closed. Publishers know this. If you want to publish traditionally and you still have options elsewhere, explore them. If you later determine that you've exhausted all traditional methods for publishing your book, you can always go back to the publisher who made the offer and see if they're willing to re-open negotiations.

And don't worry about intra-industry gossip lessening your chances of being accepted by publisher B if you turn down an assisted offer from publisher A. First, we probably wouldn't know that you'd taken a pass on the offer because we don't generally sit around and talk about who turned US down. Second, even if we did know, it wouldn't be a negative. Depending on who made the offer to you, it might even work in your favor. But I wouldn't include the fact that you passed on the offer in your query to other publishers. It's not good form.


C. L. Beck said...

I'm new to the site, but find it to be most worthwhile. Thanks for your time invested and helpful advice.

Kent Larsen said...

I agree that this is quite an important topic. I've posted about it myself on Motley Vision.

The difficult part of using 'author-assisted' publishers, vanity publishers and the so-called POD publishers who publish for a fee (some publishers do use POD - print-on-demand - without charging the author a dime) is that they generally have a poor reputation in the market. Booksellers are suspicious of the quality of books when the publisher didn't believe in the book enough to invest in it.

There is also the additional problem of distribution in the LDS market. Often the publishers that ask for an author contribution, especially the "POD" publishers, get you into the national market through the largest wholesaler, Ingram. But if you are targeting the LDS market, this won't help. LDS bookstores generally don't buy from Ingram, in my experience.

Anonymous said...

I think, if publishers do offer "assisted publishing," they should let potential authors know that an acceptance may be conditional on participating in the costs. It's hard to make a decision about where to submit if all the information isn't readily available. If a potential author knows a house requires "assistance" and that author is not in a financial position to participate, then a lot of time, money, and energy could be saved.

Just my 2 cents.

Janette Rallison said...

I know authors who have gone this route, and few of them recoup their costs. My advice, run away from a publisher who wants to make you pay so they can publish your book.