Monday, June 8, 2009

The New Gatekeepers? IndieReader.com

This story from GalleyCat gave me pause. Go ahead...read it. (Right click on the link and open in a new tab so I don't lose you, of course ;))

So basically, I self-publish and hope these folks (IndieReader.com) agree to let me pay them a yearly fee to list my self-published book on their site (plus they take a % of sales). The supposed benefit, I guess, is that their site would have more traffic than another website, giving said self-published book visibility. Because face it: a website without traffic is just digital doo-doo. I haven't even heard of IndieReader (not that I'm any kind of gatekeeper or 'net expert) but they launch um, like now.

I don't think so.

First of all, "gatekeepers-jeepers creepers". The fee is what they are after, plain and simple. The base cost is $149 (regardless of book #s), plus a $25 submission fee for each book after the first. I don't pay to submit, unless it's a contest. This gatekeeper crap is ridiculous. Maybe, just maybe the "gatekeeper" mentality is what has hindered traditional publishing? In the world of infinite variety (thank you, InterwebTM), artists find their fans, making the quality of work the gatekeeper, not some third-party profit monger.

...and wait. Doesn't Amazon have more traffic than just about any other book-related site out there? (For better or worse--I know some peeps have issues with Amazon) Um, you can self-pub with them for next to nothing (how about a $3 proof?). Sure, you haven't been "gate-keepered", but well...you didn't shell out 150 bucks, either.

Shite like this makes me oh-so-mad. This is akin to those charlatans (masquerading as agents or publishers) that charge all sorts of fees to look at a manuscript. I'm not the first to take a shot at the cost of being an IndieReader author (look around your friendly neighborhood internet). Not that taking a % is a problem, but up-front fees certainly are. I think the business model is all kinds of jacked up.

But guess what? I bet they have truckloads of hopefuls sending in their books.

(shakes fist at ceiling)

(oh...and for the record: self-publishing wasn't invented with the 21st century)

Edited to add: This post (or non-post, as the post has been removed but the comments haven't) sums up a lot of my feelings. ;)

More goodness from Publisher's Weekly: It seems IndieReader.com is partnered with Blurb.com (a Lulu knock-off). The plot sickens me.

21 comments:

Jamie Eyberg said...

sounds like a scheme to me. Especially with no real traffic going to the site. As of yet, and if ever! (allow me to shake my fist at the sky with you)

Aaron Polson said...

The brains behind this bad boy, Amy Edelman, is a bonafide author (traditionally published, etc.). No disrespect intended, but pleeeaaase.

Natalie L. Sin said...

Is there anything more provocative I can shake my fist at? The ceiling and I get along pretty well.

What I need is a picture of Quentin Tarrantino. Then, now matter what is pissing me off, I can shake my fist at the picture and scream, "I blame you for this!"

Alan W. Davidson said...

I can understand a publisher making their slice of the pie (however large or small that may be) but I see no reason to pay money up front. Their insentive should be: the more books sold, the more money they make. End of story.

Aaron Polson said...

Natalie - I've wanted to curse him since Pulp Fiction.

Alan - Amen to that.

katey said...

Total scheme. Self-publishing is a f@$king jungle-- there are so many times when it's appropriate... and so many people who want to take advantage of it. So upsetting :/

Aaron Polson said...

Hell yeah, Katey. I bet these folks get stinking rich off this, and then vanish into the ether in a year or two.

Jeremy D Brooks said...

I've ranted on pay-to-play before, but I just fail to see the value proposition that makes it worth anyone's time to deal with this model. Only one party makes money in this, and it ain't us, folks.

Keep on truckin'...

Benjamin Solah said...

Wow, sounds like a real scam. I'd rather publish on my own site and take my chances on that getting seen.

Who's to guarantee you'll get actual readers not just random traffic anyway?

L.R. Bonehill said...

The really sad thing about all this is the number of ‘budding authors’ (god, I hate that phrase) who’ll think it’s the answer to all their struggles.

It’s so, so wrong.

Aaron Polson said...

Jeremy - Kind of smacks of the scams folks run in education. Schools are always paying big money for programs that just don't work.

Benjamin - People are always trying to sell "cool"--the oldest trick in the book.

L.R. - I pretty much seeing "continued struggle" as the answer to my struggles.

Barry Napier said...

The REALLY bad part of it all is that there may actually be a few good books to come out of this that will never get read because I doubt anyone is going to take the scheme seriously.

Catherine J Gardner said...

My scream may have shattered a few windows. I feel so sad for all the naive writers who will fall for this scheme.

Aaron Polson said...

Barry - That's the risk, I suppose.

Cate - I heard it all the way across the "pond".

Brendan P. Myers said...

"accepted members will pay an annual fee to sell books on the site. "

Scam
Scam
Scam

Jeremy D Brooks said...

So, here's the napkin-back upshot:

iuniverse average price seems to be about $14. Take away $3 for media rate shipping per book. Take away $3.50 for IndieReader's take. That leaves the author with $7.50 per book. The author then needs to sell at least 20 books before paying off the $150 'acceptance fee', at which point the profit is $7.50 per book. For that, you get a listing on their website, cursory proofreading, and printing services.

Note that the $150 is an annual fee, so you need to sell 21 books every 12 months to see a dime; otherwise, you are underwater and still on the hook for the fees.

The only thing I can see positive at all is that their proofreading fee is a fraction of iuniverse, but if iuniverse charges $1500 to proof 70k and indiereader is doing it for at minimum $150 for every year you list with them, do you think there may be a difference in quality? It stands to reason, or at least solid speculation.

"Vetting" process aside, in addition to the resistance they will continue getting from the literary world, it seems like they may also be running the risk of being gamed as a cheap proofreading service.

Aaron Polson said...

Jeremy - Spooky numbers. I don't have that kind of cash.

Brendan - scamilicious

K.C. Shaw said...

I saw that on galley cat this morning and thought, "Hey, wait, that's the ripoff Aaron was talking about." Of course, the kind of person (generalizing here) who self-publishes is the kind of person who'd think this was a good idea.

Robert said...

$1,500 for proofreading??? I'll do it for $150, tops, and I'll actually read the thing :-)

BT said...

Money flows to the author!

Don't ever pay a 'publisher' to proof read. Don't ever get into bed with a publisher aligned with a manuscript vetting 'company'. There plenty of indie publishers out there who have a good name - send them your manuscript.

Has any mention come about this on Predators & Editors yet? I didn't see anything but I'm guessing it won't be long.

Carrie Harris said...

Le sigh.

That's all I've got to say.