FALLS CHURCH, VA – September 20 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — A high-tech successor to yesterday’s “vanity” presses is luring thousands of aspiring authors with notions of money and fame. But today’s would-be Hemmingways still end up buying most of their books and don’t earn a cent, said Stephen Weber, publisher of Self Publish in 90 Days, a Web site that examines the self-publishing industry.

In years past, a few well-known vanity presses lured aspiring authors with advertisements in the back of magazines. Amateur novelists who dreamed of becoming the next Mark Twain mailed in their manuscripts, and were invariably told they had real writing talent, but some funds were required to produce and promote their book.

Today more than 75 modern-day vanity presses are aggressively advertising for new authors on the Internet. But since most American homes already contain a PC and software capable of producing a book, today’s vanity presses call themselves “self-publishing” or “subsidy” houses. But many authors still end up disappointed and complain that the company did little to promote their work, Weber said.

AuthorHouse, one of the best-known subsidy presses, is rated worst according to a new book that evaluates author contracts. The ratings appeared in “The Fine Print: What Print-on-Demand and e-Publishing Contracts Really Say” by Mark Levine. He says authors who know how to negotiate with a publisher can increase their royalties as much as 600 percent.

Authorhouse received a rating of 2 out of 10 in Levine’s book. “They were the lowest because their contract was terrible, [and] their upfront fees were ridiculous for what you get,” Levine said. Based in Bloomington, Ind., AuthorHouse claims to be the “world’s largest and most experienced self-publishing house,” and has produced 27,000 titles, according to promotional materials on the company’s Web site.

iUniverse received the best rating, 8.9, and Xlibris was in the middle of the pack at 4.6. One other major subsidy house, PublishAmerica, didn’t receive a rating because not enough information was available. About 74 subsidy or vanity presses are described in the book. More information is at http://www.book-publishers-compared.com

Levine was recently interviewed on Publishing Basics radio by host Ron Pramschuffer. The complete interview is http://www.wbjbradio.com/viewshow.php?id=31&aid=#.

All trademarks acknowledged.

News issued by: Stephen W. Weber

# # #

Original Story ID: (809) :: 2005-09-0920-001

Original Keywords: Stephen W. Weber Stephen W. Weber

News Source: Stephen W. Weber