I said I was going to start discussing my biweekly Fortnightcaps in WWW.  Well, I did last week.  This week I’m just going to observe that I wrote a story, it’s a story, look, here’s a link to the story.  And here’s another link to the exact same story.  No seriously, those were both the same link and so is this one!

Shoot, sorry, I dropped my dignity for a second there.  Ahem.

There’s a common axiom out there: you have to spend money to make money.  There’s also a joke out there: where does an author sign his checks?  The back.  Now, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, being an author isn’t free.  In a previous WWW I expounded on a blog post where author Tee Morris was looking at the financial reality of life promoting small press published works.  There are times where an author will have to pay to attend a conference, even after the point where their actual registration is comped.  And there are times when it makes sense to pay to enter a contest, situations where there’s a good cash prize for the winner but the money also goes to paying legitimate industry insiders to read and provide critique on every submission.

But there’s a number that’s come up twice in the last week.  $149.  Last week it was the cost that was running around associated with the lambasted First One’s Publishing contest.  This week?  Well this week it’s what Publisher’s Weekly wants for it’s select program.

I remember as a child my mom got a letter.  It was from a group called Who’s Who Among America’s Students.  They wanted, and this was big, to include me in the book!  I was dreadfully excited, and didn’t understand why my mom just threw it away.  Then she explained how the scam works.  They offer it to every parent, charge $50, and in the end the book is little more than a listing of names.  It’s a way for gullible or perhaps just slightly too proud parents to see their child’s name in print.  I’m not sure if America’s Students still prints, but apparently the new cost is $149, because that’s what Publisher’s Weekly is apparently charging for largely the same service.

Okay, that’s entirely unfair.  What you’ll get for your $149:

  • Listed on a text page with no links and no cover pictures.
  • That listing printed as a supplement to an issue of PW.
  • The ability to submit a printed copy of your book for consideration for a review (25/quarter).
  • 6 month digital subscription to PW

Clearly PW can’t offer self published authors the free chance to send them a print copy for review consideration.  Yes, that’s what they offer to traditionally published authors, but the inflow of books would be unmanageable.  But in the end, what is your $149 getting you?  Added to a list that you can point to and say “that’s me” but that anyone else is unlikely to read the entire length of?  The chance to get what is equally likely to be a scathing than positive review in the same supplement, rather than the main body of PW?  Obviously PW can’t go handing out positive reviews for the price of $149, but that’s also a high price to gamble on being picked up for a review at all and then the potentially that it will be overwhelmingly negative.

There are smart ways for an author to spend money, especially an author looking to still make a name.  But this strikes me as not being $149 worth of value, no matter how prestigious of a name is behind the effort.

About the author

DLThurston DL Thurston is a writer of novels, screenplays, and the occasional short story. He has short stories due out soon in the Steam Works anthology from Hydra Publications and in The Memory Eater. When he's not writing, he also brews beer and even drinks it sometimes. Check out his exploits either on his blog or on Twitter.