In my eternal quest to seek out a publisher, I managed to stumble across a company called TCK publishing that looks to be some sort of combination of a vanity press and a marketing company. Ostensibly they take queries like any small press, but they also charge a $500 fee and make the author pay for editing services. In exchange, they would assist the author with marketing, covers, formatting, all that, and split the revenue with the author 50/50.
The mere existence of the infamous Publish America company has made me wary of anyone that asks for my money, but this one makes me arch an eyebrow because some of its authors seem to be doing fairly well and the owner doesn’t seem to be a dream vampire. My question is, of course, what do you and the blog readers here think of this model? Scam? Legitimate publishing company? Still better than self-publishing?
Be careful about throwing the word scam around. Scam implies they are doing something illegal. They are not. They're very clear about what they're doing and it's all legal.
The same is true with literary agents who charge you a monthly retainer: it's perfectly legal, it's not "a scam"
Neither of them however are what I would consider a legitimate publisher or agent.
The guiding principle is this: do they add value to your work?
In exchange for a serious chunk of your earnings, a publisher provides the value of access to the marketplace; something you'd find very tough if not impossible to do on your own. Before the advent of e-marketing, getting books in front of readers involved sales people going to bookstores. For an author assembling a list of bookstores in his/her city, let alone state, let alone nationally was a DAUNTING task.
Now of course, it's much easier to access readers: Amazon and other electronic sales venues.
This company makes no mention of how they help your books reach readers. A survey of six or seven of their authors reveals the books appear to be only on Amazon.
YOU can put your book on Amazon and keep ALL the money. The question to then ask is: what are you buying for that $500 and 50% of the royalties? I don't see the answer on their website.
My guess is that what you're buying is "I'm not self-published" which certainly has some merit.
On the other hand, anyone who doesn't review or acquire books that are self-published probably does what I do when confronted by an unfamiliar publisher name: I look em up.
The website is so geared to signing writers up that I would instantly discount it as a real publisher. And any kind of sleuthing about reveals they don't provide editing which is one of the MAJOR values a publisher brings to the table. Reviewers and book buyers don't ignore self-published books because they're self-published. They ignore them because as a rule they're BAD books (badly written, badly designed, badly printed.)
And of course I just love their comment they don't work with literary agents very often because they want the author to keep more of the royalties. That may be true; it certainly sounds good to writers. My guess though is that it's really the other way around: they don't work with lit agents cause no lit agent would send them a book. I'd advise an author considering this venue to simply form their own company, hire an editor and book designer, and publish their work themselves. That way you control the pricing, and you keep the dough.
If however you want your book in bookstores, and libraries, and at B&N.com, you'll probably need a company that publishes, rather than just prints books.