Thursday, July 26, 2012

Pay for a chance to perhaps have your book sold in Barnes & Noble

According to paidContent, FastPencil, a self-publishing services company, has struck a deal with Barnes & Noble to carry some of its titles online and in stores. The deal covers two FastPencil "imprints," Premiere and Wavecrest. Participation in the Premiere program seems to be limited to experienced authors who've already published at least one title that sold more than 10,000 copies, while the Wavecrest program is open to anyone who's willing to spend enough money.

FastPencil offers a free self-publishing service, but it's little more than a mechanism for the company to sell the author more services. There are three bundles of editorial, design and distribution services available in FastPencil's basic program, priced from $999 to $1,999. Even the most expensive program only includes five printed copies of the book. Pricing for Premiere is by quotation only, and Wavecrest, which offers exactly the same services as FastPencil's basic bundles plus a package of promotional services, is priced from $4,499 to $7,499. (For $7,499, the author still gets a grand total of five printed copies.)

FastPencil isn't even guaranteeing that Barnes & Noble will carry Premiere and Wavecrest titles; all it will do is pitch all new Premiere and "most" Wavecrest titles to a B&N buyer at quarterly meetings. B&N has complete discretion as to which titles it carries, and FastPencil has complete discretion as to which Wavecrest titles it pitches. I'm certainly not saying that FastPencil is doing anything fradulent--but they're asking an awful lot of money for what they actually do.

Let me be clear: Publishing your own book is the same thing as starting your own business. It requires a lot of work--but frankly, most of that work is neither difficult nor expensive. If you want someone to do all the work for you, pitch your book to an established publisher. They have more and better resources to help you than just about any self-publishing company, and you can save your money for promotion--which is the one thing that most publishers can't, or won't, do for you.
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