Review of BookSurge Website
Written By: Timothy Fish Published: 6/21/2007
NOTE: This article deals the BookSurge website. For information about the service BookSurge offers you may want to read the article What BookSurge's New Prices Mean
Self-publishing service company, BookSurge, which is a subsidiary of Amazon.com, now has a new website. There are some good things to be said about the new website. One thing is that the site now gives the impression that BookSurge is interested in selling books. It should be noted that Amazon.com, the parent company of BookSurge, has always been interested in selling books, but BookSurge makes its money by selling services to authors and publishers. Publishers expect to sell their own books, but authors have the idea that the publisher should make an effort to sell the books. The new website may give authors more confidence that BookSurge is trying to sell books. The old website redirected people to Amazon.com’s listing of BookSurge’s top selling books. Unfortunately, some of the top selling books that BookSurge has are some niche market books that many people would throw in the trash. BookSurge has not abandoned these books, but they are not as prominent as they once were. At the time of this writing, one of them is listed on the front page because it has won some obscure award, but the rest are in the categories where they belong and no longer detract from the higher quality books that are printed by the company. That, I believe, is a major improvement.
Another thing that I like about the site it that the site encourages authors to brag about how their books are doing. If the company deems the information worthy, the site will feature the book on the front page. Before, the site only mentioned four or five books. At this time, the site lists a book by a syndicated columnist with a link to an article in the Seattle Times and a couple of books that have won some very obscure awards. Awards are usually a marketing ploy of some sort and I think we will find that many of the awards we will see here are exactly that. While the awards organizations my not be controlled by the authors listed, they are probably interested in pushing authors that meet a certain criteria. Even though I tend to aim at niche markets, my work would not be considered for many of the awards that are available because it is too mainstream. Still, even though I expect we will see a lot of obscure awards that may have been created to showcase bad authors, I think it is good for BookSurge to give all of its authors a fair chance to be highlighted.
Much of the new website is the same as the old website with new wrapping. As before, it is a little weak in some areas. BookSurge offers a few helpful tips to self-published authors, but he operative word here is few. From the standpoint of what would be good for BookSurge and their website, they need to add more helpful tips. To do so, I think they have a problem. Some of the things that self-published authors need to know, BookSurge may not want to tell or may not know what to say. A primary concern to self-published authors is marketing. Authors want to know how to sell more books, but the book market is very competitive and most people who are willing to give advice on how to sell books are doing nothing more than guessing. They analysis successes like that of J. K Rowling and tell authors to do certain things, but when the authors do these things their chances of success are not greatly improved. If there are people who know what brings success in book sales, they are probably going to keep that information close to the vest rather than write an article for BookSurge. Self-publishing presents its own challenges, the authors who overcome these challenges may pull their books out of BookSurge in search of greener pastures, so BookSurge may not want to help authors memic them. Self-published authors can recoup their investment more quickly if they provide print-ready PDF files they have created rather than paying BookSurge or someone else to do the work. Given that the average self-published book sells 150 copies, it is unlikely that an author who dumps $6,000 into getting his book published will get that money back. It would be helpful to authors if BookSurge provided this information and more information about how to do the work of editing and typesetting a book, but I do not expect to see this information on the site because it is not logical to train your customers to do the work that you would like to do for them.