The ePublishing Scammers come out to play…

Author David Gaughran has posted an article over on his blog warning about the growing minefield of people out there looking to sell overpriced services to self-publishing authors under the pretense of being real publishing houses. The sad thing is that the real publishing houses have smelled money and are now also trying to get into the game!

Most of this is being done by Author’s Solutions, a modern Vanity Press company David gives these stats about:

1. 150,000 customers have only published 190,000 books, meaning there’s very little repeat business – esp. when you factor in all the authors publishing multiple titles right off the bat. For comparison, the average Smashwords author has published over four titles with them.

2. The average Author Solutions customer spends $5,000 publishing their book, and only sells 150 copies.

3. Only one-third of Author Solutions’ income comes from book sales royalties. Two thirds comes from author services – their whole model is based on making money from you, not with you.

These are leeches preying on people’s hope and dreams, and not giving anywhere near back what they take. Note #2, how they charge $5000 on average to “help” you get your book ready to market. Do you know how much most self-pubbed authors pay reputable services for editing and a cover? $300-$500 for the whole package! (It can get up around $1000 if you want more extensive work done and you hire a high-end artist for the cover.) And actually, many pay ZERO dollars if they have friends and family who can help them do it, since the actual publishing side is free for eBooks (and costs around $40 to set up Print-on-Demand services through Amazon or Lulu).

And no matter how much you pay to whom, you still have to do all your own marketing!

All for average sales of 150 copies. (Lifetime.)

So do your homework.

Real publishers ask for ZERO money upfront, because they pay you to publish your work, not the other way around.

Reputable editors and services don’t charge you thousands of dollars to get your book ready.

Read the linked article, ask around, explore your options, and beware the traps! For there are many, and you will get screwed if you pick the wrong one!

Rob

Marvel’s (White) Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

So, ABC finally made the obvious official- there is a new TV series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe called Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. For which you can watch the first trailer below…

Looks amazing, doesn’t it? Gonna be a heck of a show, and I’m seriously looking forward to it. But, there is something that bothered me about it, and I think I can demonstrate with the official cast picture…

marvels-agents-of-shield-cast

Look, I’m not someone who thinks every cast needs to be equally male and female, nor am I someone who believes that every cast should look like it was designed to appeal to every cultural/ethnic group. I always believe what’s more important is the characters, and they should be whatever the creators want them to be, political correctness be damned.

That said, that cast couldn’t be a bunch of whiter people if we sent them to Harvard and dipped them in yogurt! Even the token Asian chick (who is supposed to be the team’s “tough guy”, good luck with that) is one of the whitest and most caucasian looking Asians they could possibly find. (And if you’ve seen other pictures of Ming Na Wen, they’re working hard on the make-up end to made her as un-ethnic as possible.) This cast looks like it was for the SHIELD TV series of 1963, not 2013! Did the execs at ABC not get the memo? Or, did they borrow the casting director from the CW?

Also, is there a factory churning out clones of Nicolas Brendon (Xander from Buffy:TVS)? Because the lead male there could show up at his house for dinner and Brendon’s family wouldn’t even notice! (They’d probably just assume it’s his identical twin brother dropping by to say hello.)

Now, I’m not sure who’s responsible for this, whether it’s the Whedons (the show is done by Josh, his brother and his sister-in-law (who’s Asian)), or whether it’s the execs at ABC. I lean towards the execs at ABC- it is the middle-America Disney channel now, so they are targeting that demographic. But really, a whole show about white people running around and the only major black character in the pilot is a street thug with superpowers? Well, I guess that does fit in with the ABC mindset nicely.

I really would have liked to see a person of color as Coulson’s second in command (or anywhere else on the team!), especially since the Marvel movies are about a group of superpowered white people saving the world again and again. This show could really have been a chance to balance that off a little, and show that the Marvel Cinematic Universe isn’t just inhabited by white people saving the day.

But apparently, it is.

Rob