Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Writers- Don't Fall for Archway Publishing!

I'm so aggravated! As if it isn't bad enough that big name publishing companies do shady deals with their own writers, now the're preying on the hopeful, with dreams-in-their-eyes newbies.
Grrr....pisses me off. Sorry for the language, but it does.
Simon & Schuster has gone into business with Author Solutions, a company well known for bilking unknowing writers of hard earned cash in publishing deals. They overcharge, over-sell, take rights that aren't theirs. There's a well-documented list over the past several years.
Read David Gaughran's blog post here. And check out Writer Beware.
Basically, Simon & Schuster created Archway Publishing, a business working in tandem with Author Solutions offering 'self-publishing contracts'.
First off- it's not self-publishing if you contract through a company to publish a book. That's called VANITY publishing. And let's look at what you get when you vanity publish through Archway Publishing.
For only $2000, you get...fluff. You get exactly what you WOULD get if you actually SELF-PUBLISHED yourself, in the truest sense of the term.

  • Amazon and Google search programs- okay, basically you're listed with Google and Amazon.
  • ISBN- okay,  well, several of the publishing sites don't even require an ISBN, but if they do, if you go through Smashwords it's free.
  • Personalized Archway Publishing Bookstore Page- Whoo hoo.
  • Barnes and Noble- Look inside the book option. Okay, again, if you self-publish with B & N on the Pubit platform yourself you will receive this. FREE.
  • Standard cover design- meh, not impressed with their examples. But, of course, you can PAY THEM for a better cover.
  • 'Editorial Assessment'- Okay, it even says in their info this is not actual editing. But, of course, YOU CAN PAY FOR EDITING THROUGH THEM. WHICH MAY PUSH YOUR BILL UP TO $5000!!!
For Non-fiction your book package may cost as much as $25000. What the hell!

And then...THEN.... They want 50% of your royalties. Holy crap, Batman, that's so wrong!

I promise you, I have NEVER put $2000 into a book, let alone $5000. I'm too broke to do that. With a little bit of time and energy, you can put out a professionally covered, well-edited, properly formatted book for less than $500. I know, I've done it. Depending upon the size of the book the price may fluctuate for editing and formatting. And that's for PRINT, too! And that includes all the other little doo-dads they have listed on their site.

I know for a fact they will have business from this venture and I feel sorry for the people that fall for the name. Sadly, Simon & Schuster won't even put their name on your book after you've paid all that money. Nope. It'll be under Archway Publishing, which nobody knows.

I sincerely hope that writers investigate this to their full ability before committing to anything. There are resources out there to guide you in self-pubbing yourself. You don't have to hire somebody to tell you what to do when. Defeats the point of self-publishing, right?

If you have questions, ask another self-pubbed/ indie author. I have found as a group that they are the most open writers you will ever meet. Heck, if you have a question or need help, ASK ME!!! If I don't know the answer I will certainly know somebody who does. Read back through my blog. I have a lot of valuable information listed. 

Be cautious!


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Totally agree! Although self publishing can have little costs that start to add up, it's nowhere near what this service plans to steal from authors' pockets. I've spent around $800 so far, but that's including advertising costs after publication as well. And I'm not having to give up 50% of the sales either. Indie all the way!

JM said...

Exactly, Donna. Frustrates me so much when people try to get one over on others. But this is so obvious. I really hope people don't fall for this.

coffeelvnmom (Jessica Brooks) said...

Thanks for pointing this out!

JO said...

Such a shame we still need posts like this But there are always newbies looking for publishing advice - and can fall for the clever marketing and ridiculous promises of vanity publishers.

Jim Misko said...

I have self-published five books and traditionally published two. And I mean self-published, not assisted published as Archway Publishing proposes. My costs have usually been $500 for interior design; $800 for cover design; $2,000 to $3,000 for repeated editing; and about $2.85 per book (350 pages roughly) printing plus S&H of 2 to 3,000 copies. If you are serious, print the books and market them.

Anonymous said...

Archway Pub.? called me continually for two weeks. I don't know how they got my phone number, since it not listed and I haven't solicited anybody regarding self-pub. I don't know the first thing about it, however, this nice (?) young girl left a message on my machine and I politely returned the call. She proceeded to give a lengthy dissertation on self pub. and told me they heard of my delightful "new" book and would help me self pub for $2000. After asking many questions (I can add and subtract and even multiply if I have to.)I became wary when she said Archway would receive the same amount of "royalty" as me. Since, I pride myself on being a somewhat intelligent person, albeit, not Einstein, but I don't believe he wrote much other that x=mc squared. But, you don't have to be a Harvard Prof. to know that $13 is 6.50 and a fast talker doesn't give answers. I politely asked her to mail me a package re: Archway. Gave no money, no cc, 'nenda', Buyer Beware! I got on the other side of the street before the chicken did. When ready, I will submit through a reputable agent to REAL publishing firms. End of story
Thanks for commentary, SC

Rod Harrell said...

I am a Los Angeles Publicist that has recently taken on an Author that unfortunately paid Archway to publish their book...I have taken my client global but because of what Archway truly is by going with them you can't do book signings with Barnes & Noble they are a print on demand book publisher on top of default being non-returnable two options that you can't have if you want to do signings at B & N.... they are truly a scam company...they are disgraceful in their practices...sincerely, Rod L. Harrell

Regina said...

Thanks for this posting. I visit Archway website myself looking for a self-publishing company. After looking over their prices I knew right away they were not for me.

By the way I like your blog ... thanks again

Anonymous said...

All these beefs with Archway might indeed be true...or not exactly.But the burning question remains--how the hell do you actually land an agent(who does NOT guarentee publication btw... much less a publisher who won't look at you w/o an agent! Worse yet, suppose your material is slightly "risky?" No one in this crazy climate will touch you.Really these are highly unprecedented times in publishing.
Desperate times call for off-beat measures if you want to see your novel in print. (I've been an art book author for 30 years--the industry is chasing its own tail these days)Good luck fellow authors!

Jerry Bronk said...

I won't go into how I was scammed by xlibris, Trafford & Archway. Obviously I didn't know that they are all under the same umbrella and use the same business plan. But I ask: what about those 'hard throws'? I'd never heard of such. When I submitted to Xlibris they simply sent my ms back with no explanation. Trafford then told me that ms problems were my fault, ie, those throws. Since much else that these co's do is less than ethical, I suspect that 'hard throws' -- which one isn't warned of -- are just another 'gotcha' tactic.


I totally bookmarked this page thanks!

Felicia Lilley said...

I have been talking with Archway for a few months now. However, they call at 6pm or after. I requested an appointment to discuss things because I was just about ready to send my work in. They called back 4 times in 1 1/2 week and HUNG UP. I called back the last time and talked to my person. He admitted that he had called and "was disconnected". I told him that it wasn't professional and that we had an appointment. AND that I didn't feel that I could really depend on him to really work with me if he couldn't stand by his word on an appointment and hang up on me. SO, I called back. Spoke with a manager to complain. They said that they would call me back (today.. I called a few days ago. They haven't called so I started looking up other places .... and came across this blog and a few others with warnings.

I'm glad that I did. whew.

NOW, I just have to keep researching to find an appropriate place.

Rob said...

I have heard nothing but bad things when it comes to . However, there is a website/company called e-Authorsolutions. @

god1mylove said...

HELP!!! I'm completely new to this and was almost sucked in to the Archway promise. Can someone point me in a better direction?

Charles Brown said...

I talked to Archway Monday. They position their services as "selective" because they are purportedly connected to Simon and Schusters who is looking for new authors. But, when I asked her to do some raw math, I end up with $1.56 per copy. When I balked, she said DIY doesn't pay out much more. I was in sales almost thirty years and the reason I never made the million dollars was because I wasn't willing to stretch the truth or lie to prospects... It's like politics, you are really voting for the person who tells the best lie. So how do we get past this? The has to be a legit company out there.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the info. I'm new to all of this and I'm hoping to get my book published in the next month or so. But I've heard of so many scam publishing companies and I don't know any REAL publishing companies. Can you recommend a few please. I've worked on my book for about a year and I just don't want to be disappointed. Thanks in advance

Unknown said...

I'm new to all of this. I'm a first time writer and I'm having a hard time finding a agent or a REAL publist to publish my book. I can't afford to be scamed, I put my all into this book. I need help. I plan on getting my book published with the next month or so. Any advice will help. Please and Thank you

Tracy Goodrum said...

I'm in the same boat. Looking for some advice or real publishers who don't scam you.

R.P. BenDedek said...

I have just been through the process with Xlibris - Author solutions. They would not publish my book because it was 'libelous.' But they would not reject it either. They kept asking me what I wanted to do. I kept telling them to publish or reject. They wouldn't reject. It was not until I sent an email accusing them of economic piracy that they decided to refund me my money. If you cancel your contract, they have the right to use your material for another year and they also have the right to carve it up and sell it off in portions. These people - author solutions are scammers. As for their legal advice - they couldn't even hit a dart board let along the bullseye,

Anonymous said...

So grateful to read this blog and all of the follow up posts. Simon and Schuster has sold out to the likes of every low level bottom feeder on the planet, and they treat actual writers like servants who should pay to use the back door. The "editing" is a joke! 1700 words for an "opinion" and then they charge. Simon and SCHYSTER is more like it.

Deeba Style said...

Hello, I am like so many. New writer- want to publish- financially challenged and don't know where to start. I too have been in contact with James Niel and others from Xilibis/ Author Solutions who periodically offer me a special "Deal of the Month"!!!!!How and where do I get started. Thankyou

JM said...

I've gotten so many emails about this, I thought I would copy an email here I sent to one person. If you have direct questions, email me at
I needed to write this to keep all my points in order.
You know, I get a lot of comments and emails about Archway just like yours and it infuriates me that they are still allowed to stay in business. They prey on new authors fears of being overwhelmed by everything there is to do. There is a huge amount of work involved with putting out your work, but if you take things one at a time and don't rush, it can be done. I've done it many, many times now.
Archway is basically a vanity publisher. If you let your 3 year old play on your keyboard and sent it to them to print, they will, for the right amount of money. If you want to be edited, it's extra, or in one of their 'packages'. I just looked at their services page again and it's such fluff.
*ISBN- If they have PURCHASED a block of ISBNs, THEY will be listed as the publisher. Not you. You can go to Bowker and buy your own numbers. It's $99 for 1 or $250 for 10 numbers. If you only want to publish on Amazon Kindle you don't even NEED one.
*It costs $35 to register your copyright.
*Cover design- You can go expensive or cheap. Yes, there are $5 covers out there. There are covers created by the author themselves. You can usually tell that. But there are also amazing covers created by truly amazing artists. Most of the artists the big publishing houses use are contractors. They work for everyone. On my website under Author Helps I have a huge list of cover artists. I still use pre made covers, if they suit the story. If I contract with one of my artists for a special request, I spend $150-180.
*Editorial *Assessment*- Basically it takes them 3-4 weeks to read a chapter and tell you how much they can help you with your writing. You've already paid 2K for their most basic service. Your editing package is on top of that!
*Worldwide Book Distribution*- Whatever. Every place listed on their web page I have books in! You can publish your book to them direct!
I'm sorry if I'm sounding a little aggravated, but they act as if the things that they make happen are special, and it's truly not.
*Author Volume Discounts*- This is really aggravating to me. So, once you send your manuscript in, they will format it for print. Then THEY send it to another company to actually print (Createspace/Ingram). When you order copies, rather than the basic print cost of the book you would pay for if you Indie published, they give you a discount from their LIST price. In other words if your 250 page book sells for 15.99 on Amazon, it probably only costs them about $5 to physically print. But they'll give you a discount from the $15.99 price (not sure what the % is) but they'll still make money. Off YOU, the author.
*Bookstubs*- ie. business cards. 500 for $10 if you do them yourself.
*Amazon "Look Inside"*- given to any ebook published on Kindle.
Same with the B&N.

JM said...

I started publishing with small e-pubs. I'm not sure what genre you write, but if you can find a legitimate epub to help you with your first book, that would be ideal. You can learn for no cost, just time. I write romance, so I started with Decadent publishing. I had heard enough about traditional publishing that I kind of wanted to start smaller. The people at Decadent were phenomenal. They taught me how to deal with cover artists and most especially how to edit. I will always be thankful to them for that.
When I first started indie publishing I used pre made covers exclusively, which you can get for $50 ish. I had friends edit before I sent it to a proofreader and my formatter is extremely reasonable. Now that I'm making money my covers are more expensive, but I still use premades. I love I've always had a strong developmental side, so after it goes through my 2 author critique partners, I use beta-readers for story and flow and a few like to edit as they go, so I let them. I pay for an editor, but it's been a long time since I've needed a content editor. She mostly looks for grammatical issues. If she sees any plotholes, she lets me know, but her focus is proofreading. And again, I have a reasonable formatter. His name is Paul Salvette. Nowadays I can put out a book for under $700 ish. It's very easy to spend the money on it because I make it back within a day on a new release.
If you check out my website I have author helps listed. Editors, formatters, cover artists are all listed. Some I've used but most I haven't, but I wanted people to have options. And they all depend upon your comfort level. If you feel you need to hire a former NY editor, you're going to pay more, definitely. But I guarantee you there will still be the odd typo that sneaks through. I've seen NY books edited by monkeys (ok, probably not but it seems like it.). And I've seen indie books that have blown me away.
If you want to do this yourself I strongly suggest you immerse yourself in the publishing world. There are forums and groups out there specifically designed to help new authors. I joined Romance Writers Of America and joined the local chapter. I learned more from those ladies than I have anywhere else and they gave me the confidence to start on my own. There are writing groups for every genre, and some are nationally recognized.

JM said...

Go to Kindle, register an account as an author and check out their forums.
Solicit editors. Most will edit a chapter or two free of charge to see if you will mesh well together. There's a list on my website.
Again, not sure what your genre is but surf my cover artist list for covers. You can spend many, many hours on it, but you will find an artist you like. Most request 1/2 of the contract price up front. They will modify/design the cover. Once you give approval, pay the rest of the contract and they will send you the various sizes needed for all the platforms.
Once you have your edited file, check out . Paul Salvette is a former Marine who lives in Thailand. He is amazing to work with. You can actually use a tool on his website to get a price estimate according to size of the file. I've never been even mildly disappointed by anything he's sent back. He also does print files. I can send him a 35k word file and he sends me back a file for Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple, and several others, as well as the print file(Createspace- printer) for about $125.
Go to each publishing platform, create an account, and upload the appropriate file to each, as well as the appropriate cover. Literally, once I get my files back from Paul and get my ducks in order, I can publish to all of the platforms within about 1/2 a day.
Or, you can use a distributor such as D2D. You upload your epub and they send it to all of the individual platforms. Part of your percentage goes to D2D, but it's still manageable.
I know your brain is about to explode with all the info here, but I promise you anyone can do it. I'm a former deputy sheriff and never planned to be an author. I now have published 25ish books and make excellent money.
If you have more questions I'm happy to answer them.

Jennifer Rey said...

Please help me! I have published and they want to charge me for marketing!!!!!!!!!

Patricia Penrod said...

Wow, I just got my hardcopy and 10 free paperbacks of my very first Children's book. I self-published through Archway Publishing for about $3000. I have already sold 100 copies on facebook to my contacts and waiting for the order I placed at a 45% discount. Although the process was very new to me, I did find it frustrating at times because I didn't know the process! I think they should tell you more of what is expected of you and what they do for you. I didn't catch some errors and had to go back and forth to get the illustrations like I wanted. I have another book but not sure I want to go through it again. Started in November 2016 and got my author's copy today.....After the comments on the blog, I feel like I did something wrong although I love the book.

lisa Merry said...

It is really a helpful blog to find some different source to add my knowledge. I came into aware of new professional blog and I am impressed with suggestions of author.

o childs said...

Thank you for this information, i generally am not a negative minded person but when a company says "give us this much money and we will make you even more money" it defies the laws of reality and is far from anything you will ever experience. i came from the music industry and it has gone the same way as publishing literature,
there are hundreds maybe thousands of companies up there that want you to subscribe to them in exchange for leads for opportunities, and just like in this case with simon and schuster, big so called reputable organisations are associating themselves with these cancerous charleton companies. i was appalled to learn that ASCAP, a leading music royalty collection firm were associating themselves with Broadjam, a predatory showcasing website that promises to give to exposure to industry boffins for a package fee. but in actually fact is funding a lavish lifestyle for its "president" Roy Elkins.
may a thousand fleas infest their underpants for the rest of time.

Paul Spidell said...

Howdy Anyone, Wow sure a lot to think about when writing your book. Well my second effort in the Light of Day is soon to be released and hoping for some kind souls to give it a glance. Under my pen name Paulie The Ballie One thing for sure it is worth all of the hype to see your words on display. So hang in there as everybody has a story that should be shared. Okay Bubba that's enough of that. Ciao

Anonymous said...

I had an absolutely horrible experience working with the so called "designers" for a book cover. How I wish I did more research before paying them so much money. PLEASE NOTE: Archway Publishing is a PUPPY MILL for book publishing. They have absolutely no vested interest whatsoever in the product. I had to almost beg the person they assigned to do the cover to read the book. She said she has no time and never reads the books she is doing the covers for. The agreement with Archway was that they would produce three covers. They produced three almost identical covers with the shoddiest, most basic design that looked like a child cut and pasted characters onto a slab of two colors and added text. It was so bad I couldn't believe they were not embarrassed. Then they tried to make me pay even MORE money to fix it. There was no way I wanted to give Archway publishing another dime. The only people who do their job well are their sales team as they surely work on commission.

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Harish Kumar said...

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Shaun Pritchard said...

I seen Ben shaperois book on S&S I have a similar style of book non fiction historical book I am so Glad I read this post I think I will stick with KDP thank you for the insight!

Kathleen Ziska said...

I published a book with Archway in 2015. I was recently on Amazon and saw ANOTHER BOOK WITH THE EXACT SAME TITLE AND STORYLINE, different author, also published by Archway but in 2017. Complete Copyright Infringement.
The Mouse in the House by Kathleen Ziska is the original book. SHOCKED.

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