The Penguin Thing… My Twenty Seven Cents.

Yeah, I’m coming in late but not really.  Last week Penguin announced their “services” for self-publishers.  The bottom line is this… for a fee you pay to Penguin, they give you some kind of service.  The articles I’ve read are vague and don’t match up – anything from formatting to cover design to uploading, but I can’t be sure of it.  On top of that, they take a cut of your books sales.


For those who are in this game, working our asses off, we quickly realize how bad of a deal this is.  It’s suicide in so many ways… all you do is pay, pay, pay.  Penguin gets their hooks in the person by stating that the manuscript will pass before the eyes of Penguin and if they like the ms, they may contact the author for a contract.


You can read this ten times over, Google it for all I care to learn more, but the question is this… who would fall for something so horribly stupid?


The answer… ME.


Well, me a year ago.


See, when you’re sitting and writing and editing and searching and finding nothing, and the rejections pile up, and the world is going to cave in, you’ll do anything for hope.  I’ve been there.  Hell, I once paid $15 to submit writing to a magazine to have the editor write back and tell it was horrible.  Ouch. 

This service with Penguin is from $99 to $500 which is a hell of a range if you ask me. 

But who would pay for it?  Someone who believes it’s easy to make money.  Someone who thinks a person like Hocking, Locke, Konrath, Mayer, etc. are just run of the mill people that got lucky.  Someone who doesn’t have the one year plan, three year plan, five year plan.  And someone who doesn’t have another book writing, written, or ready.

That’s who.

And I could see Penguin making money off this.  People will do a lot thinking their books are the greatest and to have “big publishing” eyes hit it. 

I’m sure there’ll be a success story from this, like everything, but as writers, we need to calm the hell down and focus.


To add to the emotion of it all, the article I read in WSJ had a picture of Amanda Hocking.  I wanted to puke.  Not because of Amanda – she’s a very nice woman – but because of how it makes her appear.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if anyone thinks these big selling indie people are just lucky, pull your head from the sand and get a clue.  They’ve written.  They’ve been rejected.  They’ve stayed the course.  They’ve found a path.  They are professionals and in many ways run themselves as a business… which is why some of them go on to sign with publishers because they don’t want to be a business.  (But that’s another post coming soon.)


If you want to write, then write.  Find your path, plan, and go to it.


And for all that we believe in here, if you need a cover, an editor, a formatter, or anything publishing related head over to Kindleboards and find someone!  Why would you pay $500 for someone to do work and then charge you’re a royalty?  There are plenty of people starting out in cover design that will make a cover for the same cost or even grossly cheaper. 


My point is this:  use the resources at your fingertips first. 


If you upload your book and it doesn’t sell, don’t quit.  Don’t fret.  Move on.  Write another damn book.  Don’t make it free and don’t pay Penguin to “format” it for you.  If you’re in the game moving around blindly, sorry to say, you’ll hit enough walls to mess up your head enough to make the Penguin deal look great.


Like I said, I’ve been there.


If I read this a year ago, and I had $100, I’d probably go for it.  Because I used to chase things like that around.  I’d become desperate to have writing in front of anyone EXCEPT the readers.  And that’s what counts… the readers.  What gets your book in front of them?  This is a community and support system… do I think the Penguin thing is a rip off?  Yes and no.  I haven’t read any concrete data as to what each package gets, but I can say that if they want to charge $500 plus royalties for a cover and formatting, I wouldn’t sign. 


The final thing to say here is this:  Take a deep breath, and plan.  You’ll have good days, and bad.  Don’t be taken off your course for something like isn’t there.  This goes for all the situations now… just because Amanda Hocking made her book $0.99 to sell the rest of her series to sell millions doesn’t mean you should.  Just because John Locke sold everything for $0.99 doesn’t mean you should.  And just because Billy B. Bobby made his books free and landed a deal somewhere doesn’t mean you should.


Find YOUR path.  Find it, follow it, and love it.


This is your journey… keep it yours.


(Just a note:  I have not put any links to this Penguin thing on purpose.  I refuse to give them traffic.  If you want to see it, or the opinions of others, use Google.)


About Jim Bronyaur

Jim Bronyaur writes mystery, thriller, and horror books. Grab a book at Tweet him @JimBronyaur And for those who have Kindles and Prime, you may be able to get some of Jim's books for FREE!
This entry was posted in Booksellers, Business, Jim b, Selling Books and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s