Writer’s Digest, after abandoning its relationship–and it’s my opinion wisely so–with Author Solutions as a self-publishing arm, had hooked up with BookBaby. Digital can be done for around $400, and a print component added to it will cost a writer approximately $3,000. Anyone can do digital, with a clean draft, by using Booknook.biz for $190, and subscribers are all aware of my position on print, and this is not to consider it until well into the e-book sales cycle so reader interest can be ascertained. And if subscribers should also remember a Newsletter from a while back, when I did the Bookbaby sales numbers per title, the average was no different from the long bandied-about metric of less-than-50-copies-sold per author. BookBaby’s platform provides the writer with 100 percent of the margin once the bookseller is paid, if there is a bookseller, but the issue remains the same as always: With no marketing, how will the public know the book is for sale? Hence, what is 100 percent of nothing? I’m hardly being a cynic regarding this, but it’s the reality as I know it from personal experience.
I don’t know of any operation in the publishing industry that is more respected than Writer’s Digest, and there is zero I know of that is wrong with BookBaby. But one might consider that the immense amount of negative publicity surrounding ASI and its imprints would have indicated to WD that this might not be the best idea for them to seek another vendor, regardless of whom it might be. The reason, as I see it, is that WD would not possess the capability of concurrently monitoring publisher/author relationships. And, secondly but person should lead the “issue” list, concerns the inherent idea that an author using BookBaby might expect preferential treatment from Writer’s Digrest when his or her title is published. Even though it can be made clear that this won’t happen, I can see many authors blinded by the WD gravitas.
The components of the publishing industry seem to be moving to the stage that any entity having anything whatsoever to do with a book is either forming a self-publishing arm or entering into a business relationship with an existing firm. Most start out with a digital offering but are quick to make it clear that print is just a click and an open checkbook away. The number of literary agents remaining independent of the potential for what I believe can be a maelstrom of monumental proportions is dwindling every day, and “hybrid” publishers wearing one skin or another are also cropping up with increasing regularity.