There’s been quite a lot of hoopla over the announcement by Jerry B. Jenkins that his Christian Writers Guild is getting into the author services business. Victoria Strauss but together a great analysis of CWG Publishing over at the Writer Beware blog.
Meanwhile, over on the Lost Genre Guild e-mail loop, we started discussing just what sort of person pays for this kind of service. It pretty much comes down to two types: people who understand that $10,000 is a lot to pay for a publishing package but pay it anyway because it’s Jerry B. Jenkins (squee), and people who don’t understand that $10,000 is a lot to pay for a publishing package.
That said, I’ve seen quotes for more expensive packages. It all depends on how many people are going to handle your manuscript and how much you have to pay them based on their levels of experience. Line editing and cover art are both huge expenses when done at a top-notch level.
Thinking about it reminded me of the time my husband, who worked his way through college at a high-end menswear shop, told me, “I never pay more than a thousand dollars for a suit. Any more than that, and you’re just paying for the label.”
Some people can sew their own clothes, but not all of us have the skill set to do that. Some will go to Sears and buy the hundred-dollar suit, some will go to a specialty store and buy the thousand-dollar suit, and some will go to Armani and pay ten thousand dollars for a label.
“Jerry B. Jenkins” is a label. Some people will buy CWG Publishing just to wear that label. The real problem is that those buyers may believe that “Jerry B. Jenkins” is their publisher. He’s not. They are self-publishing and hiring CWGP to do the work.
I have met too many people who don’t understand how publishing works. Most of them are businesspeople who only know that a book is a good way to promote their business, but they don’t know who to write or publish one. But I’ve met plenty of aspiring novelists with the same blind spot. The problem is exacerbated by author service companies calling themselves “publishers” and authors referring to their service providers as “my publisher.”
If you paid him, he’s not the publisher. You are.