Setting the Record Straight With Michael Stackpole
By Dan Pacheco, Founder of BookBrewer
In a recent opinion piece, science fiction author Michael Stackpole wrote about my company BookBrewer, an eBook self-publishing service that launched last Fall. This post included numerous inaccuracies and uninformed statements that make BookBrewer sound like a bad deal for self-published authors, when in fact BookBrewer now offers the best prices and royalties anywhere.
As the founder and CEO of BookBrewer, I would like to set the record straight on a number of key points.
1) BookBrewer is its Own Company and is Not Owned by Borders
2) BookBrewer Authors Will Receive Royalty Payments
Stackpole suggests that because BookBrewer has a partnership with Borders, it's doubtful that authors will be paid royalties. This is also false. FeedBrewer, Inc. receives royalty payments for self-published books, not Borders, and FeedBrewer sends checks to authors. Royalties for books sold on Borders.com will also be paid, as FeedBrewer receives those from Kobo, another of Borders' partners.
3) BookBrewer Authors Receive Royalty Reports
Stackpole says "You do not know and cannot know how many books have actually been sold." In fact, we post consolidated sales reports to authors' profiles every month so that they can see exactly how many of their books have been sold through each retail channel and how much they stand to earn at the next payout period. This was also stated very clearly on our blog when the first reports were posted.
4) BookBrewer Offers Options for Do-It-Yourself Authors
Stackpole says, "If the author did the prep work herself, she'd be making 70% (or more) directly," and he is right about that. But where he is wrong is in the implication that BookBrewer doesn't offer a way for authors to distribute files themselves, or that it’s opposed to it. We’re one of the few self-publishing services that give authors a choice of going through retailers or direct to their readers. This is the most obvious error because the pricing page that Stackpole linked to clearly offers an option for downloading a full DRM-free ePub file.
It's worth mentioning that everything Stackpole says about pricing and payments is now out of date. In response to customer feedback, we recently dropped all of the setup prices on Borders Get Published and BookBrewer, and we also increased the royalties to authors. The most an author pays for file conversion and distribution is now $39.99, and you can even pay less than that if you only want conversion, or only distribution.
In addition, we have increased post-retailer royalty payments to 95%, which is 10% better than the closest competitor. But thanks to our partnership with Borders, authors will now receive 100% of post-retail royalties for books sold on Borders.com.
These changes have been planned for over two months, and we can't expect that Stackpole would have known about them. However, if he had taken the time to contact or call us and ask questions before posting his article, we would have let him know what we were planning.
The general tone of his article implies that Borders (and BookBrewer) are trying to take advantage of authors. In our first three months of existence we have noticed that authors are generally paranoid about this, and probably for good reason. The publishing industry, like the music industry, is full of stories of exploitation. But we are really countering exploitation with BookBrewer by putting direct publishing into the hands of authors.
You can see from our track record that our sole mission is to help new authors get published, be found and become a success. Our new pricing, which promises to give 95% of all royalties we receive (and 100% post-retail of those sold through our partner Borders) underscores this fact. We only make money when authors make money, and they will always make more than we do from their own books.
Finally, we understand better than anyone what it’s like to bootstrap our way to success. Even though BookBrewer has a deal with one of the largest booksellers in the world, we're also a startup. We see self-publishing authors as startups, too, so we always look out for their interests.
If you agree with this, we encourage you to share this article widely. But more importantly, share the news about BookBrewer and Borders Get Published to authors that you know.
Dan Pacheco is Founder and CEO of FeedBrewer, Inc. which owns BookBrewer.com. He’s worked in digital media for 15 years at AOL, The Washington Post and local media companies, and is a previous Knight News Challenge winner.