Okay, let me say the words self-publishing obviously means different things to different companies – notice I didn’t say people. Since I launched my own Indie publication Off Leash here is what I’ve learned. Getting your indie book into stores is hard.
Last night I tried to get Off Leash into Chapters/Indigo and because they have a bold Self-publishing icon I clicked on that. I read everything, filled in the information and then got my phone call this morning. Here is the jest of it. After I’ve forked out my own money for a cover artist and editor Chapters/Indigo would like me to pay them $599 for their basic self-publishing package which is managed through iuniverse. Oh, yeah, I totally get the I in iuniverse because they own the universe of Chapters/Indigo I’d like to get my book into. That was the basic price structure and trust me it went up from there.
When I spoke with the nice lady on the phone, who I know is just doing her job, I asked her if many people use this service. Hundreds of thousands of people do, she said. Tell me again how this is self-publishing? She told me they’d list my book in their Chapters/Indigo catalogue, ensure book placement in the store and do some marketing. Really if I paid the $4,000 package I’d like you to bark just like my dog Ollie does in Off Leash and shout out “for sale” every five minutes because then just maybe I might make some money off my book. Iuniverse does pay royalties, the polite-lady said. So what?
According to the lady all traditional publishers have to pay to have their books listed in the Chapters/Indigo catalogue. Really, I’m not sure, but again, I clicked on the self-publishing icon meaning I’m not a traditional publisher. I can’t get my head around this.
I explained to her how Smashwords work (FREE and hat’s off to them – they have been great) and how Amazon.com works and yes they do offer platform pricing for more distribution channels but it’s about $40 not hundreds of dollars. She didn’t comment. Why would she? The only person in this self-publishing relationship making money seems to me to be iuniverse.
Now that I know what takes place when I read all those lovely book excerpts on Chapters/Indigo’s marketing site about the “authors that made it” I realize they have something I don’t—money already lining their pockets. Those books don’t look so shiny and great to me anymore.