Wednesday, July 23, 2008
I have seen some bad e-publishing websites in my time but this really takes the cake. I summed up the red flags for someone over on the Absolute Wrote forums, and thought I might as well share them here also--even though this is an all genre e-publisher.
My concerns in rough order of importance:
The three named members of the board of directors lack publishing experience. E-book publishing is a highly competitive, crowded industry in which newcomers generally make out like dazed cod at an otter convention.
They say: "The average author royalty rates these days is 8% to 10%, we offer 25%." Industry standard e-book royalties are 35%-45%. If they genuinely don’t know this fundamental fact (and are not making a deliberately misleading comparison to paperback royalty rates) the amount of research they have done on e-publishing must be virtually nil.
They pay no royalties at all on the first 25 copies sold. I would predict most of their books will not sell over 25 copies in the first year.
Their website is ridiculous, extremely slow loading and based on pictures without true text and so inaccessible to the visually disabled—who are a key market for e-books due to the ability to change fonts and use ‘reader’ software to dictate the prose from a digital format. It looks like the president made the website; that does not fill me with confidence.
They charge an unspecified fee for cover art and apparently mandate the use of one provider. That is they “can arrange” for Falaj design to do the cover—the president of Opus Expo and the owner of Falaj are both called Aaron Shapland. What a coincidence.
They say you “retain the rights to your work”. Well a minimum one year e-book contract takes some “rights” by definition (copyright being only one type of right). This suggests they have a shaky hold on the whole business of publishing e-books.
They chose a domain with ‘sex’ in it, which seems questionable in this context.
Need I say more?