Schedule and Location

Welcome to the Sarasota Writers Group Blog. Meetings are held the first and third Wednesday of the month at the Nokomis Fire Station, located just a few blocks south of Albee Road (where Matthews-Currie Ford is located) at Pavonia Road. We are on the west, or bay side, of U.S. 41, by the Fire Station's flashing yellow caution traffic light. If you are coming from the south on US 41, we are just north of Dona Bay. Turn on Pavonia and pull to the far end, or west side, of the firehall. Please do not block the fire doors! We meet in the training room on the far side of the complex. Gathering time: 6:00 pm Meeting called to order: 6:30 pm Ten minute break: 7:50 pm Meeting Finishes at 9:00 pm

Friday, May 14, 2010

Buyer Beware: All POD Publishers Are Not Alike

The Suncoast Writers Guild newsletter, PENPOINTS, recently printed a very interesting and sobering article about Print On Demand (POD) publishers. Many of them have only one goal: enriching their own bank accounts. And they do this by taking advantage of a writer's own wish to succeed. But they use that wish to their own advantage. The article mentions a specific POD publisher but to avoid any legal entanglements I won't include the name here but will email it to anyone who is interested. I will also email the entire article to you if you wish. Just drop me a note (

According to the article's author, Jean Airey, "Like many other companies around, [this POD publisher counts] on the fact that authors love their own books. They count on the fact that any author will want to buy some number of their books to give to friends and family -- and they [the POD publisher] will make money selling those books to 'their' authors. They lock the author into a seven-year contract where they own the rights to the book ... They say you don't have to pay them a cent to print your book -- and you don't. But you do have to buy your books from them -- and the books are way overpriced -- if you can even get them. There's horror story after horror story of people who ordered for a book signing they'd set up and they never got [the books]. [Bolded emphases are mine: rlh]

[This POD publisher] "recently sent a whole series of mailings to their customers," Airey goes on, "urging them to buy, say, 100 books (I'm not kidding), and 'Get your book on Oprah', or 'Get your book in the New York Times,' or even 'Get your book read by Stephen King.' King -- somewhat more accessible than the other two -- was not at all happy about having his name used in this fashion. The plan: you buy the books and [this POD publisher] would send some quantity of books to 'Oprah's staff,' etc.

"Who gets the money here?" Airey asks. [This POD publisher], right? How do you know if the books were even sent? What do you think [Oprah's] staff would do with an arrival of books they hadn't even asked for. This company is not alone, by far. Today anyone can set themselves up and call themselves a 'publisher.'

"Which is not to say that every 'POD' process is bad. Some are reasonable, realistic, and put out good product. But there are the masqueraders. And the key question you have to ask, first off, is: which way does the money go?"

Thanks, Jean Airey, for reminding us again that, when dealing with salesmen, that well known Old Law is still very much in effect: Buyer Beware.

Posted by Russ Heitz