POD: Prey On Dimwits?

I got this email today. I have deleted the name of the book and the author:

I read something you
wrote about AuthorHouse and its too-good-to-be-true (because it is) package and
stuff, ending with “whoever signs up for this ‘publishing package’
is a dimwit who deserves to be taken for every last cent he has”.

Guess what….You’re
looking at one. Wish I’d read this missive before dealing with
AuthorHouse. POD means “Preys On Dimwits”. If that fits, pass it
around. Just don’t tell AH I said that. (groan)

My long-awaited (by me and my friends anyway)book XYZ went live in October 2004.
Blood, sweat and tears went into that damn thing. I was placing my “baby”
in the hands of people I trusted. (BTW, my contract with AH runs out in Oct.
2006) Really a shot in the arm to get my 30 free books (which I mostly GAVE
AWAY, thinking nobody would actually pay the $11.95 AH wanted for it. I get
like 80 cents per book). I went through the finished product and proofread it
after the fact….why? Because I couldn’t afford the proofreading
services like everything else they tacked onto the bill. Typos fixed at $10 a
word (or close to it). A typo on the back cover took $30 to fix. Punctuation
problems blamed on me. Because they print, word for word, everything you give
them, typos or not. If that is not a red flag my friend, it should be on fire. I’ve
made a whopping $17.98 or so. They sent me my W-2 form for the tax returns. Oh,
break out the bubbly!

I sunk more than $1000 into the PRINTING, not publication, of my book (a trade-sized
paperback) that is in the middle of being rewritten (typos removed, new characters, new crises and fleshing out of the story; it’s called “author’s remorse”  [you could’ve done better before it went to print]. I want to send this to a REAL publisher…. “Traditional” means nothing nowadays).

Long story short, I like what you write about this POD stuff. Just sorry I didn’t read it
sooner. Think I have any hope?

You’ve learned an important and  expensive lesson. Now, if I were you, I’d focus less on getting published and more on just writing a good book. Because in addition to going to Authorhouse, you made another serious error — you sent in a deeply flawed manuscript. The punctuation problems are your fault.  And by your own admission, the manuscript still needed work. So here’s another lesson you can glean from this experience — don’t submit a manuscript to agents or editors that’s riddled with typos, punctuation errors and has a lackluster story that needs new characters, new crises, and fleshing out.   

3 thoughts on “POD: Prey On Dimwits?”

  1. I think you’ve said this before, but POD does have its place. I am the author of a non-fiction manual that I sell via mail order, at a price point of $49.95 (I use LuLu.) I don’t want to keep inventory, the production values are worth much less than the content, and I am able (and do) find nearly 100% of my own buyers. I think you should pound people into saying that “POD has it’s uses, in very specific circumstances. If your book is ‘general interest’ you need not apply.”

  2. If POD were acknowledged as simply a practcal method of printing and supplying books relative to ongoing demand, everyone would be much happier. For niche publications, small print runs with the ability to bang out more as needed seems more cost efficient than printing thousands. Did the Authors Guild utilize POD for the reprint of your Unsold TV Pilots paperback? I have considered having the Authors Guild re-release MAN OVERBOARD. Whatcha think?

  3. As I have said here many times before, there are times (as Londo says) where POD makes sense, particularly for non-fiction, course materials, corporate reports, etc. In the case of the Authors Guild program, it’s absolutely free…and brings your out-of-print book back into print…so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.


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