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?