Excellent question! While scam artists like the National Library of
Poetry (aka poetry.com) have existed offline for years, e-book
publishing offers a whole new market for dishonest entrepreneurs.
Since it sounds like you're heading in the subsidy publishing
direction, you're wise to be vigilant.
First, let's address the subsidy publishing issue. You need to be
aware that many authors don't recommend subsidy publishing, but prefer
to go with ebook publishers who edit and publish your ebook for free,
making their profits from royalties. Non-subsidy publishers, like
traditional book publishers, are selective with their material, since
they're depending on sales. Subsidy publishers, however, will accept
almost anything for a fee and generally don't do much editing.
That said, for many individuals who want more creative control in the
publishing process, or perhaps have a book that's more on the "fringe"
and not likely to interest non-subsidy publishers, subsidy publishing
is the way to go. Just bear in mind that subsidy publication credits
don't get as much respect as non-subsidy.
Karen Wiesner, in an article at Writing World, differentiates between
"full-fledged" and "cooperative" subsidy publishing
"Full-fledged vanity or subsidy, royalty-paying
This type of publisher requires upfront fees. Your book won't get
published if you don't accept them.
'Cooperative' subsidy, royalty-paying
This is a new breed of publisher, and I have included a few of these,
which have been clearly marked. This kind of publisher requires no
upfront fees to the author; however, they don't provide some of the
basics free. An author has the choice of paying for these "extra"
services (like covers or in-depth editing), and whether or not they do
them doesn't change an acceptance of the book. This is an adequate
alternative for authors who know exactly what they're getting into
before signing a contract. Authors, please look at publishers of this
type with a scrutinizing eye before making the decision of whether or
not they're right for you and your work."
Full-fledged subsidy publishers generally charge anywhere from
$15-$500 to publish your book. Here's another excellent resource from
Electronic Subsidy Publishing: An Inexpensive Alternative?
Moira Allen lists a number of legitimate subsidy publishers, and gives
subsidy publishing a fair hearing.
The definitive starting point for cautious writers of any stripe is
Preditors and Editors. P&E posts warnings provided by writers who have
had bad experiences with publishers/editors, and also notes publishers
who aren't recommended.
P&E Book Publisher Listings (including e-publishers):
A members of the WorkForWriters mailing list
(http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WorkForWriters) had this to say about
non-subsidy e-book publisher PublishAmerica:
"I haven't had a good experience with them. Their claim that they can
your books into bookstores is false -- when you go with a POD, it's
impossible to get them into the brick-and-mortar stores. And zero help
marketing, of course.
And they charge too much for their product.....$19.95 for a trade
Nobody but your best friends and relatives are willing to pay that
much for a
Their funky layout, with "no chapter headings" is ridiculous, and
editor and I had a battle over the use of commas (guess who won?) and
were typos that I had corrected that came out in the published book
me look like an idiot. (Of course, some people don't notice those
things, but I
I will say I was pleased with their cover designs, which you can
Here are a few more links to get you started:
ebooks n' bytes' Featured e-Publishers, Distributors and eBook Sellers
Practical Tips for Online Authors
Warnings and Cautions for Writers - Electronic Publication
Epublishers (non subsidy)
An Introduction to Ebooks - Writers Write
EPIC - Electronically Published Internet Connection
e-book publishers list
WorkforWriters mailing list comments on PublishAmerica:
My search strings:
"reputable e-book publishers"
"recommended e-book publishers"
Best of luck!
Clarification of Answer by
08 Jul 2003 14:02 PDT
Sorry for the confusion - let's sort this out!
You're definitely right - there's an incredible range of ebook
compilers available. The experts certainly have their favorites, but
all emphasize that you must choose the program with the features that
best meet your e-publishing needs.
That said, here's the scoop:
Across-the-board winners were Activ EBook Compiler, EBook Generator
and EBook Edit Pro. Here's the lowdown on each.
- Around $30 US
- Future updates free
- Add-ons available
- Six month money back guarantee
- Editor's Pick at eBook Crossroads
- If a customer requests a refund, you can remotely disable the ebook
to prevent further use (feature unique to this software)
- 3 versions: standard, silver, and gold (around $30-$100 US)
- Gold version features statistics tracking (how many times the book
was opened, user IP addresses, screen and color resolution of the
Ebook Edit Pro
- About $90
- Free upgrades
- Has unique visual features like customizable toolbars
- View a rave review at The Direct Marketing Review site
You might wish to avoid Hypermaker and WinEbook - these require the
user to have special viewers.
One more thing you may wish to consider:
"There is virtually an unlimited list of ebook software programs
available on the Internet. But one thing to consider before you buy is
readability. Most of the ebook compilers are only compatible with PC,
and not Mac. Considering that there are millions of Mac users online
who may want to download your ebook, it is smart to use a program that
allows them to do just that. Be sure the program you use is
Cathy Kessler, "Top Ten Checklist for a Professional, Best-Selling
A few more link to help you out with your decision:
Ebook compilers comparison chart
Ebook compiler software reviews
Small Business Ebook Compilers
Includes a comparison chart and a list of the essential safety
features to look for in a compiler
All the best!