Friday, March 03, 2006

Barnes & Noble, you oughtta be ashamed

This past weekend, my mother and I stopped by Barnes & Noble. Mom wanted another book by her favorite author. I was looking for Ann Rassios's Godquake, which they didn't have. At the checkout counter, Mom asked the checker how a new author goes about getting noticed: we had just spent over an hour looking through the sci-fi/fantasy section, and I was less than chipper.

The clerk talked about book signings, advance copies, and such, and then handed Mom a slick flyer with the announcement "Get published now" blazoned across the front. She passed it onto me; I glanced at the iUniverse lable at the bottom and resisted blurting out, "This is a vanity publisher or something. This isn't my idea of publishing." (At this point, I'm sure somone will come out the woodwork announcing that THEY published through a vanity publisher and everything is peachy, but hey.) I didn't want to cause a scene--I'm not good at real life scenes, only fictional ones.

On the inside of the brochure, a double spread says that , "Barnes and Noble is opening its doors to the very best iUniverse authors." Open it again and there are testimonials from Natasha Munson, Sharon Boorstin and Gary Marino along with the steps needed to publish your book now. (tempting so far, isn't it?)

Step one: Publish your book for an introductory rate of only $999 Now, I can't be ceartain, but I'm pretty sure that I haven't spent $1000 worth of paper, stamps or time on sending queries yet, so I'll stick to what I'm doing.

Step two: When you earn Publisher's Choice, iUniverse will present your book and marketing plan to the appropriate B&N buyer. So how is this better than getting an agent, getting an editor and having the publishing house market it to the best B&N buyer? I was watching publishers very carefully in the store, and I didn't see iUniverse on anything

Step three: You book will appear on the Trade Paperback New Release table in the high traffic area at the front of B&N for a minimun of 60 days. Appear, like magic,huh? Good thing I write fantasy.

The rest is up to you the brochure proclaims.

The only thing left is the small print on the back. Publishing packages range from $299 to $1099. Some include cover design, or even a cover design evaluation and a "tune-up" of the promotional text on the back cover. "A great choice for authors who want their book to be a serious contender in today's competative publishing environment."

They also offer editorial services "at an affordable price" and claim to "offer the most comprehensive range of marketing and publicity products avaliable from any publishing services provider."

I need to go lie down. I'm feeling faint. It could have been the nachos, but I doubt it.


Blogger stay_c said...

At first, I thought I was seeing things. Then I realized that bloglines hadn't screwed up the feeds and that your entry WAS posted at Miss Snark's also.

Thanks for pointing it out to such a wide audience like hers. Hopefully it opens a few peoples eyes.

And by the way, Word Nerd ( is a fantasy reader too. She might have a few recommendations for titles, if you are in need.s

March 4, 2006 at 1:35 PM  
Blogger The Beautiful Schoolmarm said...

I replied to this earlier and my server bounced me offline--grrr.
After posting I decided that I should send this on to Miss Snark. It just seems like such an underhanded thing to do--preying on people's money and dreams.

Thanks for the tip about Word Nerd. There seem to be lots of romance writers int he blogosphere, but fewer fantasy writers (minus Neil Gainman, of course).

March 6, 2006 at 7:48 AM  
Blogger stay_c said...

I know her in real life too. She a fantastic critiquer and I'm so glad she is part of my group.

March 6, 2006 at 11:37 AM  

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