Times are tough in the publishing industry, so much so that major publishers have sunk to a new low: fleecing self-published authors.
Simon & Schuster announced today that they are going to get down in the gutter and muck about. They're launching a new subsidiary called Archway Publishing, and they are going to run it in partnership with the scamtastic Author Solutions.
Like the other self-publishing divisions of trade publishers (LifeWay's West Bow Press, Harlequin's Dell'Arte Press [which, unlike other ventures of this sort, produced a furore upon its introduction and had to change its name], Hay House's Balboa Press, and Writer's Digest's Abbott Press), Archway Publishing is outsourced to Author Solutions Inc. S&S is the biggest fish ASI has landed so far. (via Writers Beware), Thomas Nelson's
With prices starting at $1600,Archway promises to do for authors everything they could already have done for themselves: publish a book in digital and paper form. But with Archway authors will be saved the strenuous effort of uploading the ebook to various ebookstores, hiring their own cover designer and layout expert, and they will also be saved the grueling efforts needed to create a POD book via CreateSpace or Lightening source.
In exchange for a measly 2 grand, Archway will also provide a novelist with services which are far too difficult for authors to do for themselves, like copyright registration and buying an ISBN, as well as desperately necessary services like registering for a LOC Control Number.
But don't worry; Archway is going to save money by skipping the unimportant steps involving editing the manuscript to produce a professional quality ebook.
And to top it all off, not only does Archway fleece authors out of money at the beginning; they also demand a cut of any sales. Like Penguin's BookCountry self-publishing
scam effort, Archway takes a sizable chunk of any net sales - 50%.
Do you want to know why I am so hostile to this idea? It's because S&S won't be hiring any new staff to fill roles at Archway. No, all these services will be provided by Author Solutions, a company which is widely regarded as a scam.
Author Solutions might be currently owned by Penguin, a detail which does not speak well for Penguin's business ethics, but there is no sign that they have cleaned up their act. All we are seeing today is that Author Solutions is merely offering the same scammy deals they always have, only this time they get to do so under the formerly good name of Simon & Schuster.