Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Ethics of 'Slush for Money'--veinglory

In the past I have discussed the case of Chronicle referring rejected manuscripts to a self-publisher (Blurb). Now it seems that Osprey is doing a similar thing and referring to Authorhouse.

see also:
This previous post
Authorhouse Courts Establishment


Henry Baum said...

Personally, I don't see the problem. So the publisher - a business in need of profit - refers authors to a self-publishing service, something the author can reject doing.

It's just another form of affiliate marketing. And if anything promotes self-pubishing as a viable option. What am I missing?

veinglory said...

The short answer is that a publisher makes money referring author they reject to companies that are expensive, not that are good. Also publisher are meant to make money selling books for authors not services to them. It is not in an author's best interests to be referred to a fee-charging company so someone else can get a cut of that fee (neither company giving much of a damn what would be good for the authors, but I would suggest going with authors house is unlikely to be it).

Consider this, if JK Rowling applied to several dozen publishers before getting Schilastic, what might have happened (and not happened) if the first one that rejected her sent her Authorhouse?

Henry Baum said...

I don't know, I think the onus is on the author to research the company. They're only being manipulated if they don't do the research and do something against their own interest. JK Rowling may very well have considered self-publishing, but kept at it instead. Just because it's offered doesn't mean it will be taken.

Mick Rooney said...

Certainly the key to this is the needs and aspirations of the author. While it introduces the possibility of self publishing still further to an author who has been referred by a traditional publisher, and may not have given it much consideration, the fact remains that Self Publishing companies who court established Publishers are operating a marketing ploy under a veil of deception.

As Henry has said, yes, there is an onus on the author to do their research, but for supporters of self publishing, if this is to become a widespread practice, the benefits may be short term. In the longer term, the less scrupulous and expensive self publishing companies who deliver a poor service to authors will only help to perpetrate the stigmas which still exist. And this is at a time where self publishing is starting to get some positive press. I believe AuthorHouse are manipulating this upturn in self publishing and are trying to project themselves into the established publishing business for all the wrong reasons.

AuthorHouse is a large company offering author services and has a sizeable cut in the self publishing market along with companies like iUniverse and Lulu. AuthorHouse are owned by the same company as iUniverse and Createspace, Author Solutions. They are one of the largest money making companies offering author self publishing services because of the capital they expend on advertising.

They do not offer the strongest of contracts to self publishers, do not represent POD publishers as a whole, yet, because of the lask of controls and standards in self publishing, they are taking hold of this mantle. The fact that they are also courting literary agents - I also find disturbing.