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Simon & Schuster Is Trying To Bribe People Like Me

7 March 2013

From author April Hamilton:

Simon & Schuster Is Trying To Bribe People Like Me …to refer people like you to their new vanity imprint, Archway, which they formed in partnership with AuthorHouse (aka “ASI”) late last year. A couple of days ago, I received the following, kind of astonishingly brazen email from a Simon and Schuster staffer:


Simon & Schuster recently launched Archway Publishing as a new type of offering for self-publishing authors. With services delivered by Author Solutions, Archway was developed to help authors achieve their publishing goals and reach their desired audience. S&S has provided guidelines on book design, introduced certain unique self-publishing services, designed packages tailored to meet specific author objectives, and will monitor titles for potential acquisition.

Your blog is an important resource to help authors navigate the variety of self-publishing options. We believe Archway is a unique new service for authors, and would be valued by your readers.The Archway Affiliate Program enables partners to earn a $100 bounty for each author they refer who publishes with Archway*. Click here to learn more about the affiliate program. In addition, we’d like to extend to your audience a 10% discount off any Archway package, when referred though affiliate links on your site. We can also create contests, webinars, and creative for your site, or discuss other ways to work together.

. . . .

Anyway, it’s obvious that this person has zero familiarity with me, aside from the fact that I own and operate a site that’s very popular with writers, authors and publishing professionals. Anyone who bothered to peruse this blog would’ve very quickly discovered there’s no way I’d ever sign on for such a thing, and I’d be inclined to publicize the offer.

. . . .

I hit Reply on that email, and this is what I said:

I have always advised indie authors to avoid vanity publishers, and AuthorHouse is one of the most notorious among them. The reputation of AuthorHouse as an overpriced, under-performing scam agency far precedes its name. I have warned many a writer away from AH in the past, and will continue to do so in the future.

. . . .

So if anyone on any site you frequent is starting to advertise Archway, refer site visitors to Archway, or running content or contests provided by Archway, in all likelihood it’s because that person said “yes” where I said “no”.

Link to the rest at Indie Author and thanks to Bridget for the tip.

Big Publishing, Self-Publishing

14 Comments to “Simon & Schuster Is Trying To Bribe People Like Me”

  1. The pieces begin to fall into place: so this is how the big publishers think they are going to bring in wannabe, naive authors into the grasp of their tentacles.

    Affiliate marketing and other forms of online bottom trawling (how long before Google AdWords ads show up for Hydra, etc.?) to bring them in, onerous contracts to tie them up, and if one of them actually blows up Hugh Howey or Amanda Hocking style — no worries because they are already in the stable.

    This whole thing may sound ridiculous to most of us, but a very, very low conversion rate still gets them a stable of authors.

  2. The word “bounty” really jumped out at me.

    It really is the wild west out there.

    • It jumped out at me too. I couldn’t help but think it was an extremely poor choice. But then again, I suppose it’s also rather honest…

  3. Integrity is what you do when no one is watching. Thanks for looking out. Cheers.

  4. Just…jaw-dropping.

    • I know. It’s the vile cherry on the shameful cupcake of suckering writers into paying you to publish their books. WFT, S&S? Do you think no-one is watching?

  5. Just when the self-publishing seems to have lost most of it’s negative association with the “vanity publishing” label, along comes traditional publishers’ uniting with true vanity outfits like AuthorHouse and that ilk. Ack.

  6. I received this same email and wrote a very angry email back, which I then deleted and rewrote a curt, professional NO.
    What is extra scary is that the email address it comes from says from @simonandschuster so authors who aren’t aware of this scam will think it is the ‘real thing’.

  7. A sucker is born every day. Plenty of people will agree to this “bounty” and suck in a few authors as a result. Shame on them.

  8. “The Archway Affiliate Program enables partners to earn a $100 bounty for each author they refer who publishes with Archway.”

    We’re just a hair’s breadth away from the ‘Big 6’ launching a hybrid book-publishing/multi-level marketing scheme, aren’t we? “You’ll earn a bounty, plus a percentage of the sales of every writer you refer!”

  9. The ruthless authors will make a killing from this. If I was selfish, cold-hearted, immoral, etc, I’d send the lambs to slaughter. Darn my conscience!

    Aren’t publishers supposed to be struggling against big bad Amazon? $100 per person is a lot of money! Oh, never mind! The authors making referrals are probably paying for it through bad contracts…

  10. And “we’d like to extend to your audience a 10% discount off any Archway package” probably translates to “we’ve just hiked up the cost of all Archway packages by 15% to cover this promotion”.

  11. Good for April! Spreading information, calling a spade a spade and picking up that rock to show what is underneath. Cool! Let’s fight the fight, fellow authors!

  12. That “brazen” email is actually what we call “desperate” in the real world. 🙂

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