Archway Publishing, the new self publishing arm of Simon and Schuster has gotten quite a reaction from the indie community already. Why? This self publishing imprint was created by a partnership with the Evil Galactic Empire of Self Publishing (Author Solutions) and run by the Empire. All S&S has on it is its name–they don’t have any other part in the whole deal. I will include some other great articles at the end for your reading pleasure ;).
It does make good sense for the Big 6–now 5–to understand self publishing since it is changing publishing as we know it, but then it makes me ask this one question: What in the heck were they thinking? They are learning about self publishing from the WORST possible source. So, in short, they still don’t get it. There are quite a few other people they could have asked how to do self publishing the right way. In this scenario it makes as much sense as a young couple asking Charles Manson how to start a family.
Furthermore, S&S is not going to lend any of its editorial or design expertise to this new imprint (see articles). Instead all of that is going to be handled by Author Solutions. *headdesk* I have personally dealt with Author Solutions staff in editing and design, and it is a waste of time and money and the only payback is heartache and misery. S&S is trusting AS to handle all of this, and to make matters worse, S&S will send rejected authors to Archway. Insert Home Alone scream here. I view this scenario like this: People who don’t make the cheerleading team get sent to the camp coached by Ted Bundy. What are they thinking?
What does this mean for new authors? It means there is construction for a deadfall going on here for both self publishers and for authors seeking to be published traditionally. Since Author Solutions has entered into the hallowed halls where no self publishers has gone before and made itself a seat at the round table, it now has some very powerful bait to catch unsuspecting authors. They were good at this when they were on their own, but now they have silver spoon status. A robber dressed in fancy clothes is still a robber.
They have already been caught tooting the horn that they are affiliated with Penguin and using that as bait, so they will do the same here.
Note to author: You are not getting a contract with S&S. You are not going to be working with S&S editors or designers. If AS tells you that, they are lying to you. I knew that even before I read the first article and knew where this would probably head. They are very good at that (lying to authors)–I know this first hand without any big names being involved. That’s what makes this whole thing reek even worse. S&S may have their name on it but that’s it–it’s AS all the way, baby. It’s just another personality for Sybil nothing more.
So basically speaking this is like AS having S&S name on the bumper of their car. It’s still their car and it wasn’t made by the big name either. You can put a mustang body and emblem on a Honda and change nothing under the hood, and it’s still a Honda. That is basically what we have here.
Stay Away. There are more (and better!) alternatives out there.
Here are some other related articles about Archway. Check them out. If you have written an article about it and would like to share please do, and also feel free to leave comments!
GN Braun: Simon & Schuster and Author Solutions: Not a Winning Combination?
David Gaughran: Simon & Schuster Joins Forces With Author Solutions to Rip Off Writers
Emily Suess: Sure You Don’t Want to Name It Simon and Schyster?
Vicky Chan says
Please give us some alternatives…..I have no idea what they are or where to look for them.
Thank you for being so honest. The first thing I noticed on the Archway site was the poor quality of their cover designs in the children’s books. Also the prices for softcover averages about $17 and hardcovers about $25 which is extremely high. Yes, please tell us who are the alternatives in self-publishing?
AK Taylor says
Some of the publishers I recommend are on the resources page, but dogo by their sites and check them out before agreeing to anything–costs, contracts, book and cover design, etc. If none of them fit the bill for you, then you can find the people to contract out what you can’t do yourself. I am in the process of creating my own publishing company which will be open to working with clients. I am not sure when I will be starting this, but hopefully not too long 🙂
How much shall I plan on budgeting to publish a children’s book?
AK Taylor says
A lot of things depend. The high end would be a couple thousand dollars. For a children’s book, the largest costs are in the illustrations. If you can do your own quality illustrations or already have an illustrator who can do them for you for a reduced price, then you can get the book done lower. You will still need an edit. Editing for a children’s book would be lower than for a longer novel. Formatting and design are what’s left over. Don’t skimp on anything for anything for the publishing process or everything else will be a waste.
Jean Marie Wiesen (@kbearsma) says
Simon and Shyster is the funniest thing I’ve read all day, as in LOL funny! Thanks for that 🙂
AK Taylor says
You’re welcome! Glad you liked it! 🙂
Woody McClendon says
I got a cold call from a sales person from Archway, fell for the pitch and gave them a $1,200 down payment. The next day I realized I’s made a mistake and asked for a refund. Lots of smoke, no refund. These guys are the worst kind of scam artist, preying on the vulnerabilities of new authors.
Tara Kline says
Archway Publishing is a group of liars and frauds they draw you in then just keep wanting more and more money. Then if you want your money back the basically refuse to give it back to you.
Karl W Hubbard says
Avoid Archway like the plague!
Archway sure is smooth-talking as they rip you off from the get-go. The high-end editing option was totally useless as they scammed me for $10,000. All I got were a few remarks to “please spell out all acronyms” on the side and back and forth verb tense changes recommendations which totally screwed up the book. They must have had several “proofreaders” who got hung up trying to insert past perfect tense when no comparative time frame outside the simple past tense existed. No recommendations for shortening, lengthening or rearranging the book or any editing advice. My daughter’s 3rd grade public high school English teacher did a more thorough proofreading of her essays. Clearly unnecessary censorship by Archway when I wrote about my father who was deceased, and at Archway’s request had already been named as a “fictional” character: ” He regularly liked to punish us with three spankings a day for one offense. I’m sure there was some pathological element to this.”
Then my back page “about the book” summary was totally gutted by this idiot editor. My book was a hardcore, no-nonsense, tell-it-like-is expose of the medical-legal system involving a terrible divorce, medical malpractice, patient death, medical board corruption, lawyer incompetence, abuse of summary judgment, and this f-ing editor was trying to appeal to a lay Oprah Winfrey audience of housewives who sat home and watched soap operas! My intended audience had been lawyers, medical students, law students, and doctors. Archway was slick as can be as they ripped me off for doing nothing. I would have been much better writing it myself as a true story /non-fiction. After all, I had all the records, court videos, pleadings, depositions on file and much of it was already public record. What was a terrible chain of bad life experiences was capped off by my publishing experience with Archway.
Elizabeth Hawkins says
I have had the worst experience with Archway Publishing. I wish I found a better self-publishing company. Stay away from Archway is my best advice to potential self-published authors.