Bookpros is Booksleazy

Now that it's possible to get your book published for free, you'd think the vanity presses would just fold their tents. But there are still some out there, hoping to snag the few remaining suckers. One such company is Bookpros, also known as Turnkey Press, Ovation Books, Synergy Books, Bridgeway Books, and Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists…and probably some names I don't even know about. They've billed themselves in the past as  "an author-funded traditional publisher," meaning they are a vanity press that wants to confuse newbies into thinking they're something else. Their crack publicists recently sent me a press release that read, in part:

I noticed you cover self-publishing topics from time to time, and I thought you might be interested in a trend piece on the evolution of self-publishing. […] With the promise of in-store distribution and full-service publicity campaigns, BookPros’ authors have easily competed at a national level. In the seven years since their founding, they have had eight bestsellers and have received more than 50 prestigious industry awards for editing and design. Many of their titles have been picked up by major commercial publishers, while others have attracted the interest of movie producers. BookPros offers a unique author-funded approach to publishing, giving authors access to quality editing and design, real in-store distribution and award-winning publicity.

Of course, they don't mention any of their "bestsellers' by name nor any of the "prestigious industry awards" that they've won because you wouldn't recognize any of the books nor any of the awards. Saying that their books have "attracted the interest of movie producers" is so vague that it's utterly meaningless. But empty boasts like that are typical in the vanity press biz.

What's truly special about this come-on is that they are touting their "unique author-funded approach" — as if they are the first people to come up with the idea of charging writers outrageous sums of money to print their books. That's chutzpah (and almost as ridiculous as vanity press huckster Brien Jones' claim in his bio at Jones Harvest Publishing that he "pioneered the concept of selling self-published books to bookstores." Yeah, right, Brien, nobody ever thought of that before).  

At this point, anyone foolish enough to go with a vanity press as blatantly sleazy as this one deserves no sympathy.

8 thoughts on “Bookpros is Booksleazy”

  1. You know, I hadn’t thought about it, but you’re right — the vanity press scamsters have got to be quaking in their boots right now. Who needs them when Amazon and all the rest make it so easy to get a book into the world more or less free? I wonder if they’ll morph into (purported) packaging/marketing operations that’ll supposedly get your e-book noticed by “industry VIPs” or whatever. Lord knows, they’ll find a new angle. They always do.

  2. For someone that comes from the literary field you are not in any way helpful to your fellow writers. You seem to hate a lot of publishers and struggling writers. You should know that a bestseller is never a gurantee even from a bestselling author. How many “b estsellers” have you written on your own Lee? Don’t include the TV spinoffs.
    All I hear from you are criticisms but how many struggling authors have you really helped?

  3. you have name drop a lot of famous and successful people that have helped you when you were starting out. why can’t you also show the same attitude towards new writers that also need a break.
    karma will soon catch up to you and it won’t be nice.

  4. Betsy,
    I don’t hate publishers. I hate vanity presses that enrich themselves by exploiting the desperation and inexperience of aspiring authors. Apparently, you think I am doing vanity presses a disservice and that they are helpful to struggling writers. Please elaborate.

  5. and how do you define a vanity press lee?
    i went to the ovation books library and randomly selected a book – The Osiris Alliance and googled it. It is available from BN & Amazon.
    There are positive reviews from goodreads,, etc. are you now saying that ovation books did not properly market the book? because if they did a lousy job of marketing and publishing then there would not be a single good review right. the cover for the book is better than some of your covers. granted the author and his family made the bulk of the review but the good thing about the internet is you can’t control it. if the book is bad in any way then eventually it will come out eventually in a review and there is no way to stop it. none that i know of .
    so now lee can you tell me specifically how the author Jack Ford was taken advantage of by ovation books?

  6. Lee – I’m assuming you’re not including the burgeoning ebook/POD industry, which has its share of charlatans,as well. I went with, which had the balls to sue Amazon in a class-action – and WON. They list you with Ingram but you do your own marketing. I’m under the impression that even the traditional publishers don’t do a helluva lot to push their lists unless you’re at the level of a Michael Connelly, James Lee Burke or Martin Cruz Smith.
    Here’s a piece I did recently on Open Salon about my experience with POD:

  7. No one will defend the con artist more vehemently than one of their victims, because they’re ashamed of their own gullibility. By the same token, you can’t point out the sleaziness of vanity presses without triggering hysterical, defensive comments from wannabes.
    I’m curious how many legitimate presses rejected “betsy” for mysterious reasons (surely unrelated to her inability to spell, use the shift key, use proper grammar, or construct a coherent paragraph) before she became such a defender of self-publishers? Or is “betsy” perhaps a shill for Bookpros? Wow, what an entitled society we live in, that people feel they “deserve” the right to foist their illiterate drivel onto the public despite a lack of craft or talent. Fortunately we still have legitimate publishers to discover books and writers that have actual merit.


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