Jarsto's Writing Blog

August 14, 2006

What Would You Do?

What would you do if a podcast you liked interviewed an author who, glibly, mentioned that her publisher is AuthorHouse? For those not in the know AuthorHouse is listed as "Not recommended. A vanity publisher." over at Preditors&Editors and has been described on the AbsoluteWrite Bewares and Background Checks board as "...the worst possible printer you could go with. Well, second worst."

I won't name the podcast or the author, but a few more relevant specifics include the facts that:
1) The podcaster seemed to treat her as legitimately published, even mentioning the possibility of other (older) writers being envious of her.
2) The book, looking at the sample pages, starts with blatant "As You Know Bob" style info-dumping (ref Turkey City Lexicon). Which doesn't bode well for the quality of the work in my mind.
3) The "publisher" was recently forced to pay damages for libel even though it claimed that it “cannot read every book cover to cover,”. Aside from the damages this does not bode well for the editing qualities.
4) Even the author acknowledges, in the podcast, that the book is available form book stores only if you ask for it. In other words, there is no distribution chain to any physical stores in place, a typical situation for a vanity press.

So what would you do?
Leave a comment on the episode, to get buried among hundreds of others? The count is over 600 already so it won't help, but you will have done your civic duty.

Contact the author, which probably serves little purpose as such. Either you end up shattering her illusions, which could get messy, or she's in the denial phase and it won't have any effect.

E-mail or voicemail the podcaster and point out the evidence (maybe just link to this post and have done with it).

Let it slide, the author's heart doesn't seem to be in the wrong place and the podcast will have a normal, not vanity-published, guest again next week. My lazy side, and the cowardly side of me that wants to avoid confrontations, are much in favour of this option. But there's a nagging feeling that everyone who's aware of them should help spread the word about vanity publishers. And in the long run leaving the author in the dark, assuming she is in the dark, about how publishing actually works probably isn't doing her any favours either.

I guess I'll decide in the morning. Right now I still have about 600 words to go today and the section I'm working on needs lots of editing. About a third of it, or more, consists of info-dumps that have to be trimmed or dumped entirely.


  • It depends on the podcaster's past. Have they mentioned their stance on vanity publishing before?

    I think the 'E-mail or voicemail the podcaster and point out the evidence (maybe just link to this post and have done with it)' option might be what I'd go with.

    All you can do is voice your own opinion on it.

    By Blogger Cayendi, at 20:54  

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