“Left Behind” author launches “self publishing” scheme

I’ve worked as a freelance writer since ’95. Anyone who has written very long knows the mantra of successful authors: Money flows towards the writer, not away from them.

Evidently Jerry Jenkins hasn’t received that memo. He recently launched his own “Self Publishing” company charging his authors 10k for the privilege of helping them publish their book.

10k. Ten thousand bucks.

Sigh.

I understand the publishing biz is a bit pinched right now. I know the pay-to-play POD (Print on Demand) publishers can make a lot of money piggy backing on writer’s dreams. But it’s not exactly ethical to call yourself a “Self Publishing” company when in reality, you’re nothing but a shark-led vanity publisher of the worse ilk. And to call yourself “Christian” on top of it… that’s just taking advantage of those who sometimes seem particularly gullible.

But that’s just me.

In an about-face, bestselling Christian author Jerry Jenkins, a long-time critic of do-it-yourself books, will help authors publish their works through his new Christian Writers Guild Publishing.

Yeah. He sniffed a big profit so he about-faced.

Co-author with Tim LaHaye of the blockbuster Left Behind series, and someone with more than 150 other books to his name, Jenkins said the new venture was the result of an “epiphany.” Despite the best efforts of his guild’s training, he said, not enough new authors have been able to land deals with traditional publishers, in part because houses continue to insist that authors have a significant “platform.” As a result, “good, passionate authors are ignored because they’re unknown,” Jenkins told PW.

Though having long discouraged new writers from self-publishing because “for too many years so [many self-published works were] awful—poor writing, little editing, sloppy proofing, bad covers”―Jenkins said he realized his school could help. The goal is to help authors “produce books that don’t look self-published, and at the very least could compete in the marketplace without their having to apologize for them.”

Yup. That second paragraph is true. However, you can hire editors, proof readers, and book cover designers for a fraction of what these poor authors will pay Jenkins.

Jenkins described the CWG initiative as “[coming] alongside” writers rather than self-publishing, with integral educational and mentoring components. Those applying to the guild’s Published program must submit part of their manuscript for evaluation. If accepted, they follow a six-month course—costing just under $10,000—that includes mentoring by a published author. Copy-editing, typesetting, proofreading, custom cover design, marketing advice, printing, digital formatting, and e-book file creation in all formats are included in the package. There will be a surcharge for manuscripts over 75,000 words.

Uh, we provide all those services to our authors for free. That’s because legit book publishers make their money selling books, not selling author services under an insipid “self publishing” scheme. Sheesh. Remember, money flows towards the author, not away from them. It shouldn’t be hard to remember this, but it evidently is.

Jenkins’ “forward-thinking” move was welcomed by Steve Laube, a leading agent who formerly ran ACW Press, one of the first self-publishing services in the Christian market. “It is a natural conclusion to what the guild can offer their constituents,” Laube said, distinguished from other packages because it includes the course work “to bring a level of craft to the process.”

Lauded by Laube. I smell a kickback. I may be wrong, though.

Hey, I just noticed I’ve worked myself into a bit of a lather. I’ll be darned. I better make a cup of tea, dismount my high horse, and enjoy the day.

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