Home » Self-Publishing » City library unveils self-publishing service

City library unveils self-publishing service

24 February 2016

From the Las Cruces Sun News:

Thomas Branigan Memorial Library has added a self-publishing and e-publishing platform to its collection of resources.

“We chose FastPencil for Libraries because it’s easy to use and the end result can be published and sold as a printed book or distributed onto OneClickdigital and be made available to thousands of libraries around the world,” said Renée Payne Frankel, library administrator.

FastPencil for Libraries is a self-publishing platform for new or established authors to develop and edit works, along with the tools needed to publish.

. . . .

“We’re very excited about the possibilities FastPencil for Libraries can provide for library users who want to write and publish their own book,” said Mark Pendleton, outreach librarian. “So, we’ll have three hands-on seminars to introduce FastPencil for Libraries to users in April to coincide with National Poetry Writing Month and National Library Week April 10-16.”

Link to the rest at Las Cruces Sun News

Perhaps something happened while PG wasn’t looking, but he thought FastPencil was a vanity publishing operation operating on the Author Solutions model.

If so, what could be a better attraction for uninformed authors than the library’s implicit sponsorship?

Self-Publishing

15 Comments to “City library unveils self-publishing service”

  1. “Perhaps something happened while PG wasn’t looking, but he thought FastPencil was a vanity publishing operation operating on the Author Solutions model.

    If so, what could be a better attraction for uninformed authors than the library’s implicit sponsorship?”

    Any bets someone got a little AS kickback for all the poor fools they hope to rope in?

    • Me went Googling …

      http://www.theindependentpublishingmagazine.com/2013/05/fastpencil-reviewed.html

      “However, signing up to FastPencil and getting your hands on the basic software and FastPencil’s marketplace is free, but serious authors and publishers need to be prepared to shed some serious dollars to break from FastPencil’s propriety software restrictions. Using FastPencil is a little like a visit to the carnival down the street with its noise and flashing lights. You pay little or nothing to get in the gate, but once in, if you really want to have fun and have a go on all the exciting rides—you’re sure gonna pay for it!”

      Sounds like a lot of fun — if you don’t mind paying for it! Me thinks me will pass …

      • @ Allen

        You no fun. You be stick-in-the-mud. And you cheap, too! You no want support you public library? 🙁

        • I would love to support libraries and would gladly give my ebooks to them for free.

          But I’m not going to pay through the nose to do it …

          Yes, me assumes sarcasm, but too many won’t see the danger until it’s too late and they’ve lost their rights to their work …

          • @ Allen

            “too many won’t see the danger until it’s too late and they’ve lost their rights to their work …”

            Caveat Scriptor! 🙁

  2. Hmmm. It’s hard to tell.

    PG, please put up links to actual bad reviews of this company; it is very hard to find any.

    There is a place for companies that do all of the things that a publisher (whether in a NYC office or a kitchen table) needs to do for an author to be a success.

    The problem with AS is that they take your money – and are notorious for NOT delivering those things. Looking at the prices quoted in the one review (the same one as Allen F found, apparently) – their prices are about the same as if you go looking for the same services (cover, copyedit, etc.) a la carte – except for having them all in the same place.

    If they don’t deliver those – then, and only then, are they a scam. Please give references (there are PLENTY for AS, there should be for these people too).

    • A quick search of Writer Beware, Preditors & Editors, and Absolute Write doesn’t seem to show them on any of the usual sh*t lists. But the brief write-up on Absolute Write (possibly in a member-only area) doesn’t sing their praises:

      […]Prices start at $10 for the basic ability to have the option to print your book/get the ebook (cost of books/S&H is not included in that) to $300 for standard ebook and print distribution, with add-ons that can run up to $14,000.
      […]The sponsor thread on Nano is filled with complaints: slow/non-loading website, confusing process, inability to render covers, delays in shipping books, and shipping costs (for one book) that range from $45 to $85 (this seems to stem from the fact they only ship outside the US via FedEx, but at those prices I’m betting they’re using Express, not Ground.)
      […]Someone also pointed out that there’s a rights grab for movie option rights on a 3 year exclusive period to Voyage Media, who seem to be about selling people the opportunity to pitch various producers.[…]They claim a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive right to modify your work for advertising their services. The rep in the thread stated their services are for “up to three years” but the ToS doesn’t specify that, nor does deleting your account delete your work (it only renders your account inaccessible to you.)

      Looking at their own website, they assign you an ISBN, not an ideal solution for creating a brand. They will be listed as your publisher. Their packages are not cheap and don’t seem very useful. Editing is not included but is available separately at rates 3-10x higher than I see most freelancers quote. The cover creation service included in some packages is similarly high-priced compared to freelancers. ($599 for “front and back covers with One Image and Basic Fonts. You can expect to see 2 versions with 2 rounds of revisions.”)

      The screenplay packages are particularly egregious.

  3. I somehow keep missing the part about ‘the money flows TO the author.’

    I’m old. I’m extremely slow. My brain doesn’t work, and when it does, it’s for a couple of hours a day. Okay, it used to be a good one.

    And yet I managed to learn about and execute ALL the steps necessary to write and publish a novel, at a total cost of whatever I paid for Scrivener, Pixelmator, and AutoCrit (within the past couple of years). Plus one cover image I liked and a few font licenses.

    It’s not that hard.

    • For some, yes, it is that hard. Or they have better uses for their time than doing everything for themselves. (Hugh Howey pays a cover designer, as do many others. He could probably do it himself – but writing and promotion are where he has more interest / makes more money – so he farms it out.)

      Now, at my level, lower than yours, actually – I can’t pay someone else to do these things, so I am forced to do it myself. Doesn’t mean that I want to – and I’m not writing when I’m playing around with graphics programs.

      That’s why I ask for actual complaints about the quality of their services – I can’t find any but the few (and there are only a very few, unlike AS – which everyone who does a service is going to get).

      They may be a scam – or they may be a service worth the money.

      • They may be a scam – or they may be a service worth the money.

        There’s a middle ground there that may just be closest to the truth; they are a service not worth the money. Which isn’t necessarily a scam, as I’d think a scam would have to be fraudulent.

        But as noted above, their screenplay package is egregious, and their editing packages aren’t a whole lot better. Their complex line editing price works out to about $4720 for an 80,000-word manuscript, when really even a good developmental edit would probably be about half that, at most, and that only from the very best developmental editors with vast experience in the context of genre, market, and industry.

        It looks like their bronze package really only formats out an ebook and puts it in wide distribution for like $600 (sorry, just closed the window). Doesn’t look like that includes a cover and other stuff, but it does include an unnecessary ISBN, so I guess there’s that?

    • Alicia, I’m pretty much in the same boat. Days when the old brain isn’t quite up to snuff. But Scrivener and Pixelmator see me through. I looked into Autocrit, based on your comment, and wound up also looking at ProWritingAid. Will spend some time reading reviews of both. I self-edit, and though I’m fairly good at it, I’m not too proud to ask for help.

  4. Here’s the “knowledge desk” for this program (one among several from FastPencil): https://fastpencilforlibraries.zendesk.com/hc/en-us.

    There are videos, FAQs, etc., there.

    I don’t know FastPencil and don’t vouch for them, but this is a service package that the company is trying to sell to public libraries that are seeking to become relevant to their self-publishing patrons.

    Basically, the library pays FastPencil to waive a $249 fee that would otherwise apply to you. (I don’t know what libraries have to pay, but probably a much-reduced fee.)

    In the world of online training, Lynda.com has something similar that they sold to Tacoma Public Library. As a patron, I can sign onto Lynda and take online courses free.

    At some level, you can do something similar with FastPencil if your library joins.

    That level involves you agreeing (vs other options) to distribute your ebooks to libraries via OneClickdigital. There are no royalties with this choice, however, because the ebooks are offered to libraries for free (similar to the ALA’s own program, Self-e). To me, that’s a rip-off and I would do it, if at all, very selectively – after discovering I had reasons.

    If you opt for wider distribution (than libraries through OneClickdigitat), then there’s a royalty split, 80/20 in your favor.

    I have no idea what’s in the actual terms of service, but I’d read them before using… BIG TIME.

    That’s probably enough from me.

    🙂

    • I should add that FastPencil will also try to sell you other author services if they find you participating in this program. So, for example, editing or cover design.

      • It was the ‘but serious authors and publishers need to be prepared to shed some serious dollars to break from FastPencil’s propriety software restrictions’ bit that sent up a red flag for me. That smells of DRM (digital restrictions management) to lock you in to having to use (and pay for) their services for your work to ever see the light of day.

  5. $49 to change your price. ‘Nuff said.

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