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Self-publishing for the 1%

28 March 2012

From the Los Angeles Times:

Got a story to tell? Got piles of cash? There’s a new self-publishing service just for you.

Venture Press will help you make a book. It provides hands-on custom service: It will set you up with a ghostwriter and designers for the cover and layout. The company acknowledges that creating a book isn’t easy: “It’s an enormous challenge,” according to its website, “requiring hours of concentration and hard work in front of a computer screen, followed by the arduous task of turning your words into an actual book.”

Just hours? Most writers labor for days, weeks and months to write a book.

. . . .

Venture Press’ self-publishing service is designed to ease, streamline and speed up that process. But that all comes at a premium: The cost for a Venture Press book starts at $100,000.

“Who knows, you might be able to pay $100,000 for that service,” said Bob Young, president of the online self-publishing service Lulu, when Jacket Copy reached him by phone. “If you have more money than God, why wouldn’t you?”

. . . .

Self-publishing grew out of what was once called vanity publishing — small private printings geared for friends, family and professional colleagues. With readily available technologies for making books emerging in tandem with online markets for selling books, self-publishing has become a robust and lively business. “What you’re seeing in publishing is this remarkable transformation,” Young said. “It’s creating a huge number of additional authors who want to be heard, and it’s putting pressure on the publishers to reduce the number of authors they pay to do the work.”

. . . .

No one knows exactly who might pay the $100,000-plus cost of a book with Venture Press. As yet, the company, launched March 9, has not signed up any clients.

Link to the rest at the Los Angeles Times


19 Comments to “Self-publishing for the 1%”

  1. Me and my little team will do it for half that. Bargain! Call me…


    (No, really, I would be ashamed to charge that much.)

  2. $100,000? Worth it. No reason to be ashamed. I had to pay almost $4000 for illustrators for my Complete Idiot’s book–Pengy didn’t pay for that. I did the photography. I bought all the supplies. And I made nothing on that book.

  3. What is left out of this article is that for $100,000, the author gets a ghostwriter from a respected literary agency (2M Communications), whose authors have been behind seventeen confidentially written New York Times Bestseller titles, four of which reached No. 1. Utilizing 2Ms extraordinary talent pool, Venture pairs storytellers with writers who will help them organize and burnish their thoughts.

    So, if you have the time and talent to write and publish a book on your own, then by all means pay $700 to Lulu. But if you’re used to working with the very best–and if you want your book to reflect that–then Venture is the clear and only choice.

  4. The thing that bugs me is that the LA Times is calling this ‘self publishing.’ No, it is not. Vanity Publishing, pure and simple. Get your terms right, journalists!

  5. Just as a point of information. 2M is Madeline Morel and has been agenting successfully for many years. I was introduced to her by one of her (at the time) “ghostwriters” a rather famous writer who set out to write a novel and get a million dollar advance to “punish” the publisher for treating her so abysmally on her first novel–and that’s exactly the money she got. So I thought well done, you. Madeline, unlike most agents, treated me with professional courtesy and seemed like a nice woman although we never worked together.

    Without paying a lick of attention to this whole thing, it doesn’t seem much different than Snooki “writing” a book.

  6. Why do I have this image of William Holden, typing away and sucking up, trying to make sense of Gloria Swanson’s messy mountain of pages and prose?

    Somehow I don’t think that Venture Press is going to end up face down in a swimming pool, though….

  7. So, now this is making me wonder about the future of ghostwriting. In the past, writers ghosted because it was sure income, but as more writers make more money self-publishing, I wonder who is going to bother?

    • If you want a guaranteed $100,000 at the moment you complete the book (or soon after), and are a reasonably fast writer… I could see someone doing that. Especially if they actually liked ghostwriting. It’s sort of like Real Person Fanfic, without the fictionalization, y’know? You take stuff, and make it interesting, and try to preserve the “voice” of the original…

      Not my kink, but close enough to some things I’ve tried and liked that I can see how it might appeal to some.

  8. The business model of the Venture Press sounds like an interesting one, to me. A different way to exploit the disruptions going on in publishing. But I hate the name, it sounds like the old vanity publishers who advertised in the classifieds in the backs of magazines back in the day.

    Do they have an in-house design department to do their book covers or do they outsource them, I wonder?

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