Introducing the Publetariat Vault

April Hamilton, of Publetariat, has a new service for self-publishers called The Publetariat Vault. Unlike other listing services, the Vault will include sales data, as well as reader reviews.  The idea is to make a searchable database for publishing pros to use in order to find authors that are a lower risk to publish.  Indie Reader, another for-pay listing service, is aimed primarily at readers (hence the name).

As it says on the site,

The Publetariat Vault is a searchable database of independent literary works for which the authors own all rights free and clear and are interested in selling those rights, with accompanying sales data and reader reviews to take the guesswork out of determining commercial potential in the mass market…

April Hamilton says, “It’s basically a listing service for indie authors who are interested in a mainstream publishing or production (i.e., screenplay, teleplay, videogame rights) contract for their books. Publishing pros and content producers can search the site based on specific content criteria and then look at the detailed listings to view actual sales data, reader reviews, author platform links, publicity & buzz and more. This will allow them to identify books that are trending positively, haven’t yet reached ‘breakout hit’ status, but probably could break through with a pro’s backing. The first 300 listings to be published will be free for 90 days from the day the Vault opens for pro searches–not coincidentally, that will happen when the 300th listing is published. From the 301st published listing onward, the normal rate of $10 per 30 days will apply, but all new listings will have the first 30 days’ fee waived to provide a free, trial period.”

I asked April about the cost issue, as one of the major criticisms about Indie Reader is the high cost of submission when there are so many free listing services already available (Goodreads, Amazon, Red Room, Filedby, etc.).  At $10 a month, the site is not much cheaper for an entire year.  Indie Reader costs $149 year and The Publetariat Vault will cost $120 for a full year’s subscription.  A.H. replied,

Unlike IR, the Vault’s service *begins* with a free 30-day trial for all regular listings, enabling authors to try the service out for 30 days at no cost or risk to them. Also unlike IR, the Vault’s fee is renewable month-to-month, there’s no requirement to invest a big lump up front on a new product or service and authors can cancel at any time because there’s no minimum listing period. On top of this, the first 300 published listings will get their first 90 days’ listing time (from the date the Vault opens for searches, estimated to be early July) for free, and an additional 30 days for free if they elect to renew at the end of the trial period. They can sign up today and not part with a single penny until sometime around Halloween—by which time they should know very well if the service is worth $10/mo. Finally, the Vault is a totally different concept from IR, it’s a type of service that’s never been offered before. I don’t see the sense in paying $149/yr to list my book in an online bookstore when my listings on Amazon (the world’s #1 bookseller) are free, but investing in a Vault listing is an investment in trying to gain mainstream publisher and producer attention, sort of like the money authors typically invest in toner, ink and postage when they do mass-mailing of queries or manuscripts, or when they go to pitch-fests, or attend publishing conferences.

The subscription system is a good way for author’s to have an “out.” The question is whether or not it’s worth it to invest this amount of money at all when there are free alternatives for getting the word out about a book.  What separates the Vault is there’s no free service that acts as a database that publishers can access.  However,  as the subscription model demonstrates, writers should have a wait and see approach to any new venture. And given the fact that the Vault is for those writers who are selling well anyway, signing up for a monthly service doesn’t take as great a leap.  It’s those writers who are selling only a handful of books (i.e. most self-published writers) who may be more wary of putting a book on a site that reveals sales figures.  In other words, the Vault may be best suited for those writers who have sold well using available tools and are now ready to try and sell the book to traditional publishers.

Time will tell how effective both the Publetariat Vault and Indie Reader turn out to be: the Vault for reaching Publishing pros and Indie Reader for reaching consumers.  But they are both services with a lot of potential if they succeed in doing what they set out to do.   According to Hamilton, publishing pros are already registering with the site to find new writers.  Overall, sites like these are a good signal that publishing is changing significantly and self-publishing is becoming a more-active part of the framework.  The Vault could very well become an epicenter for authors looking to make the leap from self-publishing to traditional publishing.

Given April Hamilton’s criticism of Indie Reader, it’ll be ironic if Indie Reader and the Publetariat Vault end up working symbiotically: writers first show an effective sales base at IR and then take that info to the Vault, where they then try to get a publisher.

Try the free trial of the Publetariat Vault.

  • I, too, find it curious that the Vault will charge so much. As I understand it, the “Publishing Pros” (whatever that means) don’t have to pay a subscription fee. What’s up with that? So authors have to turn over all of their sales info, pay a huge fee, and they aren’t even allowed to know which of the “Publishing Pros” have accessed their sales data; meanwhile, the “Pros” get the VIP treatment. The traditional publishing/self-publishing hierarchy is preserved!

    And it’s one thing to offer a list of social media sites where an author is active, or to offer samples of one’s work, or to offer a list of reviews, but I would feel very nervous about making my sales info available for the whole world to see. It also pretty much limits which authors can use the site. If your self-published book hasn’t sold that well (as most self-pubbed books don’t) then you’re wasting your time and money with the Vault. It seems like the Vault would only be useful to those authors who have had relatively strong sales — something to brag about and something to catch the “Pros'” attention — but those authors, if they really do want to make the leap to a “real” publisher don’t need the Vault to make that leap.

    Finally, in the article, Hamilton reports that some “Publishing Pros” have already signed up, but I wonder if Hamilton will offer a complete list of all of these “Pros” when the site goes live (or before). I wouldn’t want to join a site like this if I didn’t know which agents or publishers (if any) will be sneaking a peek my sales data.

  • JM –
    First of all, I’d hardly consider $10 a “huge fee”. $10 is the same or less than it costs for any other activity intended to attract publisher attention: attending a publishing conference, toner + paper + postage to send out queries and manuscripts, or purchasing an author copy of your book + packaging + postage to send it out for a review.

    Secondly, anyone who claims one of the first 300 promotional listings won’t have to pay *anything* until around Halloween, and if they *still* don’t want to pay then, they can simply cancel their listings. Anyone who misses out on the 300 promotional listings still gets the listing fee waived for the first 30 days as a free trial, and anyone can cancel any listing at any time, there’s no minimum listing period.

    The fact that pros don’t have to pay to search the Vault has nothing to do with treating them like VIPs and everything to do with simple logic. The site’s FAQ explains why pros don’t have to pay to search like this:
    “Why do you charge authors to create Vault listings, but allow publishing pros and content producers to search the listings for free?
    The more publishing pros and content producers are searching the Vault at any given time, the more likely it is that one of them will discover and acquire your book. In order to maximize publishing pro and content producer participation, the Vault must be easy and free for them to use. However, since there are hosting, software and staffing expenses involved in setting up and maintaining the Vault, we charge authors a nominal fee for listings.”

    RE: your sales info, it won’t be available for the “whole world” to see, only to publishers and producers searching the Vault. They need to see it because sales + reader reviews are the primary criteria they need to decide whether or not a given book is trending positively. Again, from the site FAQ:

    “What level of sales, or quantity of positive reviews, is high enough to impress publishing pros and content producers?
    There’s no set number, it depends on the individual pro/producer and other qualities of the book and author(s). While a book that only moves a handful of copies each month doesn’t look very promising on that basis alone, very positive, high-profile reviews or buzz can convince publishers to take a closer look. Conversely, a book that has few reviews, but consistently sells hundreds of copies every month is also worth further consideration.

    Publishing pros and producers realize indie books are at a disadvantage to mainstream books in terms of publicity and media coverage, and remember: the whole point of the Vault is to help publishers find promising books *before* those books become breakout hits. If your book is already selling thousands of copies a month and getting lots of high-profile, positive reviews, you’re probably already on pros’ radar and don’t need a Vault listing.”

    RE: publishing pros, OF COURSE there will be a posted list of registered pros and companies, but it’s impossible to post such a list before the Vault is even open to pros.

    Look, JM – the Vault is not right for everybody. It’s not even right for ME, because I am not interested in pursuing a mainstream publishing contract. But I realize that many, if not most, people who self-publish do so in an effort to prove themselves and their work worthy of mainstream attention. Publishers and content producers know that a successful indie book is a low risk acquisiton, but until the Vault, there was no way for them to identify promising indie books *before* those books became breakout hits. There are hundreds, maybe thousands more that are trending positively and *could* break out with some professional weight thrown behind them, but all those books are lost like so many needles in the haystack of the internet.

    Now, you may well ask (as I would, were the roles reversed), how I can be saying that any indie book can benefit from having pro weight thrown behind it, when I’ve long held that mainstream publishers reserve their marketing and promo support for ‘big books’ and books they feel confident are sure things. Well, any book acquired through a Vault listing will only be acquired because the pro thinks it’s a proven quantity and therefore, the closest thing they’ll ever see to a sure thing. The Vault aims to narrow the gap between the haves and have-nots among publishers’ client rosters.

    But I’ll be honest with you—whether within the Vault or without, nonfiction will always be an easier sell than fiction. You’re right to think that general and literary fiction listings aren’t likely to get much attention unless their sales are exceptional. Even so, that scenario does play out with some regularity, so indie authors on *that* road need a way to raise their books’ visiblity too.

  • Ms. Hamilton,

    I’m glad that the list of “Pros” will be made public, and I understand why providing sales info is necessary, but I continue to maintain that it is patently unfair to require authors to gain access to the vault but not require “Pros” to pay too.

    The “Pros” aren’t going to be selecting books according to their intrinsic literary value; they’ll be selecting books according to how much profit they believe those books will bring in for their corporations. Yes, authors want to make money too, but as we all know, authors don’t always get the biggest slice of the profit pie when they enter in to contracts with the big corporate publishers. Since the “Pros” stand to make potentially more money from their participation in the Vault than authors, I think it is wrong that you require authors to shoulder all of the financial burden while the “Pros” get access for free. Either require that “Pros” pay too, or don’t require that the authors pay.

    (You mentioned some special deals for early-bird subscribers that you offer as you try to get the Vault launched, but I’m thinking about those future subscribers who aren’t able to take advantage of those special deals. Perhaps you should allow ALL new subscribers — now and in the future — to get their first six months subscription for free. That would be fair.)

    And $120 a year IS a big deal for self-published authors who must already bear the whole financial burden of bringing their work to publication. Most self-published authors are not rich. Most do not have their own online businesses that charge $120 a year from subscribers. With unemployment climbing towards 10% in the US, with so many people losing their retirement savings, with gas prices going up again, I would suggest that $120 a year IS a huge fee in 2009.

    And if you still insist that $120 a year isn’t a big deal, then don’t you think that the “Pros,” most of whom are owned by large multinational corporations, could afford to pay that fee, too?

  • “patently unfair to require authors TO PAY to gain access to the vault” is what I meant, of course.

  • JM –
    You keep trotting out that $120/yr figure as if it’s a fixed fee, which it is NOT. The fixed fee is $10 per 30 days, with the first 30 days free on all new listings, and the first 300 published listings free for 90 days after the Vault opens for pro searches. I’m not rich either, and I’m all about economizing where possible, but even you must admit that authors who are actively seeking mainstream attention are already investing quite a bit more than $10 per 30 days (or $120 a year, if you must have it so) in those efforts—and the things they’re already doing are entirely subject to the gatekeeper system, whereas Vault listings are not.

    When authors who haven’t yet made the decision to go indie do a mass-mailing of queries, they’re easily spending $50 or more in a matter of a few days on toner, paper, ink, envelopes and postage, and they know going in that statistically speaking, it’s highly likely the investment will come to naught because because most queries are rejected. And if that’s the outcome, they’re out their money with nothing to show for it. No agent, let alone publisher, has even seen their work.

    Authors who’ve already gone indie and turn to book reviewers to try and raise their visibility in the mainstream spend even more, since they must purchase author copies, package them and mail them to reviewers. When I sent out a round of review copies of my first published novel (to raise its visiblity among consumers, not publishers), those 20 copies cost me a total of over $200 to buy, package and ship ($5 per book + $1 padded envelope + $4 or more per copy to ship), and in the end all I got out of it was one review that may or may not have helped my sales. If I had sent the review copies to garner mainstream attention, I’d have concluded the effort was a failure. And there went $200 in the span of one month.

    Whenever you send out review copies, there’s no guarantee that the book will be reviewed by the recipient, that if it IS reviewed the review will be positive, nor that if it IS reviewed and the review IS positive, any agents or acqusitions pros will see the review. Speaking as an indie author myself, if I were seeking a mainstream contract I’d much prefer to do an end run around the system and spend $10 for 30-days’ worth of direct exposure to acquisitions pros who are actively seeking indie books than keep throwing my money down the black hole of maybe-someday-if-you’re-lucky-someone-who-matters-will-see-this. The Vault is a an absolute bargain compared to other means already available to authors, and where else can you get your book directly in front of acquisitions pros for 30 days for $10? I’ll tell you: nowhere.

    RE: why pub pros shouldn’t pay—again, if they have to pay to use the sevice they won’t use it, and then EVERYBODY loses. Is it any less ludicrous to suggest they pay to receive authors’ queries and manuscripts, since anything they acquire may go on to make them lots of money? But I doubt you’d propose such a scheme.

    Your proposal that the Vault be kept free for 6 months is outrageous. I’ve already invested LOTS of my own money and time on this, and will continue sinking my own money and time into it for at least the next 4 months with NO money coming in. You’re very righteously concerned for the financial well-being of indie authors, well…I’m an indie author too. What about MY financial well-being? I can’t keep operating this service at a loss indefinitely, and it’s already a strain for me to pinch the necessary pennies from my household budget to keep it running till then. The staff I have helping me are also indie authors, and they are also not rich, and they are also working for free on the project for the next 4 months at least because they believe in the idea. All of use are convinced the old gatekeeper system is broken and want to give indie authors a direct line of access to the pros who will ultimately decide whether or not their work has merit.

    Be fair, Reep. We’re already being pretty darned generous.

  • I listed my novel. I like that there’s no gatekeeper, and I REALLY like that I can pay by the month when the free period runs out. That way I can opt out if it’s not working for me without losing anything. I’m not opposed for paying for services on principle. 😉

    Attracting a mainstream publisher is not something I’m actively pursuing. It’s not even my ultimate goal. But I’m all for keeping my options open.

  • One of the issues that continually troubles me about the self-publishing mindset is that everything should be free. There is a clear sense of entitlement. WHY should everything be free?

    Anyone else who starts a business is required to spend money on it.

    If you mail a full manuscript to a publisher or agent you’re already spending almost $10 with return postage for ONE submission to ONE place, which will most likely end up in a rejection.

    With something like the Vault, you are paying $10 a month which you can cancel at any time, while your work is effectively “submitted” to several decision-makers at a time who are actively searching the vault. IMO it’s far more cost effective than even mailing manuscripts to agents.

    I understand that self publishing authors are now very wary about anything that costs money in the interest of promoting their book or marketing it, but authors have to start making decisions not based on whether or not something costs money, but based on whether or not it may be of benefit to them.

    If self pubbing authors reduce their decision-making abilities to: “does this cost me money?” then they won’t be very competitive in the world, even of other self publishing authors. All business choices are a risk, large or small.

    Also, I’m pretty sure most self publishing authors spend more than $120 a year on fast food. or more than $10/month on fast food. Most people spend $10 a month on stupid things they don’t need, even in this economy. Each person is responsible for how they spend their money. If they determine that the Vault is something they want or need more than 2 cheeseburger triple combo meals a month, then they will be willing to pay $10 a month.

    If not, they won’t.

  • I have to agree with J.M. In any other subscription format, it is the seekers who pay, not the listers.

    Look at any resume website clearinghouse like monster.com. The resume posters don’t pay. The resume searchers do.

    When the Vault was first announced and in planning stages, I assumed that it would be this type of arrangement, and frankly, I’m disappointed that there’s a charge for those who list their works-with-stats-and-accomplishments like they’d list a resume. Because, well, that’s what it is: A resume.

  • One of the issues that continually troubles me about the self-publishing mindset is that everything should be free. There is a clear sense of entitlement. WHY should everything be free?

    I’m not talking about entitlement here, Zoe. I’m talking about a subscription arrangement that is out of the norm with analogous services.

    I don’t have a problem with it being out of the norm; I simply don’t know why it’s attractive.

  • Ridiculous. This reeks of employment agencies that have applicants *pay*. This is not how the world works among grown-up professionals. Listings should be *free* fior writers and these “publishing pros” (puhleeze, pull the other leg, I’m still standing) should pay to *access* it.


  • Mojo,

    But the thing is, as April mentioned above, no one is suggesting publishers should pay to see query letters and such.

    I think if it was reversed, where authors got to list for free but publishing pros had to pay, that it wouldn’t be beneficial to anyone. Because publishing pros won’t pay when they already have agents coming to them with work.

    Many employers have to advertise their job openings, but publishers don’t have to advertise open publication slots because it’s too competitive already.

    You mention resumes and jobs, but how many people seeking regular jobs have to get an agent first? How many regular employers only accept agented job resumes? it’s a different business model with different business realities.

    If it were reversed where Pros had to pay but authors didn’t here is what would happen:

    Since there would be no risk to the author at all, every indie author would list, whether or not they wrote a good book, have decent sales and reviews, could attract a publishing pro at all.

    Publishers wouldn’t pay to use the service because it would be the SAME slush pile they’re already dealing with, except that it would be something they had to pay for.

    When Pros are not charged a fee, then more of them will sign up which gives the authors who sign up more exposure. When Authors are charged a fee, then they have to weigh the cost/benefit to themselves and won’t sign up unless they believe they can interest a publishing pro, resulting in only authors who have a reasonable belief in their sales data and reviews posting their work… instead of every indie author posting their work “just in case” a publisher is interested.

    I understand your point about things such as monster.com, but really I don’t think it applies in this situation for the above reasons. Also, I’m pretty sure that places like monster.com have tiered services where job hunters can pay for better exposure. A lot of times employers will see those who have paid because they’ll narrow their search that way or look at the most visible people, which are the people who upgraded their account.

  • Interesting post.

    My first thought is if your book is not making at least $10/month in profit, you shouldn’t list it at Publetariat. If it is making at least $10/month, just roll the profit back into the system and it is self sustaining.

    The goal is to attract enough VIP’s to make it worthwhile for authors to join. Pay to play as it were.

    In order to make the numbers work as an author, you need to be publishing as professionally and inexpensively as possible. That way your return on investment is manageable.

    This will be one to watch in the coming months.

    Bernie Malonson

  • I have to agree with Moriah and Mike on this one. While I like the underlying concept of Publetariat itself, this attempt to monetize the site strikes me as well-intentioned but totally wrong-headed. The authors the Vault would seemingly be most appropriate for are most likely hitting mainstream editors and agents’ radars via other means, while those who are most likely to sign up for it are probably overstating their success and/or potential.

    I’ll be curious to see who the “publishing pros” are and how things like sales info are vetted, though, before passing judgement.

  • PS: On the resume analogy, the Vault could be akin to something like TheLadders.com, which positions itself as the source for $100k+ jobs and job seekers have to pay a fee to access the listings and respond to jobs. Recruiters also have to pay to post jobs and search candidates, though, so it maintains its value on both sides.

    Again, it will really come down to who the “publishing pros” are using the service and the integrity of the info provided by authors.

  • “But the thing is, as April mentioned above, no one is suggesting publishers should pay to see query letters and such.”

    This is an entirely different system, Zoe. It’s not analogous and as far as I understand it, it wasn’t meant to be.

    “You mention resumes and jobs, but how many people seeking regular jobs have to get an agent first?”

    Again, if people wanted an agent that badly, they would have stayed on the hamster wheel of query/reject/query. This is *different.* It is NOT analogous to that system. It IS analogous to posting a resume.

    “Publishers wouldn’t pay to use the service because it would be the SAME slush pile they’re already dealing with, except that it would be something they had to pay for.”

    Didn’t we all self-publish to get away from the slush pile? The whole idea of the Vault is a slush pile–a PASSIVE one. Those who want to wade through it can pay for the privilege. I’m not looking for a big pub contract, but if it came calling, I probably won’t turn it down. On the other hand, I self-pubbed so I wouldn’t have to. What you are arguing is to get back on the query/reject/query wheel, only this time it’s with a bound book instead of a manuscript.

    To me, monetizing this on the authors’ end only perpetuates the query/reject/query process of begging acceptance from the mainstream publishers. I self-pubbed to get away from that, go directly to the readers, and let them decide.

  • Ms. Hamilton:

    You wrote, “You keep trotting out that $120/yr figure as if it’s a fixed fee, which it is NOT. The fixed fee is $10 per 30 days . . .”

    I’m aware of that. I just assumed that since you claim to have so many expenses related to this new website that you might prefer authors stay subscribed for as long as possible.

    It’s interesting how both you and Amy Edelman of IndieReader feel the need to set your subscription fees so high, arguing the high cost of setting up a website, whereas the founder of jexbo.com, Jill Exler, who has also just recently set up her own website, only charges $1 a month from authors. I wonder why there is such a big difference?

    Whatever the case, here’s my advice to any other money-conscious self-published authors out there who might want to give the Vault a try:

    1. Don’t sign up now. Wait a couple months after the Vault’s launch because you first need to see who the “Publishing Pros” are who are participating. Since many self-published authors are genre writers, you need to make sure that the “Pros” are representing corporations or literary agencies that actually publish the kind of book that you have written. For example, I write YA novels, so it would be a waste of my time to join the Vault if the only “Pros” are representatives from, say, Tor and Harlequin.

    2. Assuming that there are “Pros” who might be interested in your book, once you’ve signed up, you only need to sign up for a single month. One month is plenty of time for the “Pros” to examine your profile, crunch your sales figures, and make a decision about whether to contact you.

    3. If you haven’t heard anything by the time the first month is about to end, treat that silence as a rejection and then quit the site. This way, you don’t have to pay anything — that first month was free trial, after all!

    So that’s my advice. But don’t worry, Ms. Hamilton, folks rarely take my advice, so I’m sure you’ll be bringing in money hand over fist by the end of the year.

  • “So that’s my advice. But don’t worry, Ms. Hamilton, folks rarely take my advice, so I’m sure you’ll be bringing in money hand over fist by the end of the year.”

    JM, first, I think that was a cheap shot.

    Second, I think most of us are smart enough to figure this out if we wish to experiment with the project.

    Third, I agree with you on the principle of the thing, but every time we self-pubbers go out of the realm of point/counterpoint into name-calling and cheap shots, we look like idiots. Don’t we get enough flak for self-pubbing in the first place we don’t need to go making asses of ourselves in our own communities?

  • Amen to MoJo’s entire comment. ^^^

  • “name-calling and cheap shots”

    A cheap shot? I disagree, but that’s a matter of opinion.

    And where’s the name-calling? I haven’t called anyone any names in this thread.

  • JM are you kidding? Signing up now would be the time TO sign up to get in as one of the first 300 for the 90-day free trial. (The trial that only starts after the 300 is reached and it’s open to publishers) Then you have 3 months of exposure free, no loss at all. Authors who don’t feel it’s worth their while to stay subscribed can cancel after the 90 days without it costing them a penny.

    Authors who wait will only get 1 month free. (IMO 3 months free is better than 1 month free any day of the week, especially when trying to decide if a service is worth paying for or not.)

    I further don’t agree that 1 month is enough to know whether or not it “works.” Since new Pros will likely sign up over time and search The Vault at different times for different types of work. But it’s up to each author to decide for themselves if it’s worth the money for them to continue to subscribe.

    Mojo, we just see this very differently. I understand you wanted off the hamster wheel and I wanted off the hamster wheel but many people who self pubbed still want a contract, and if there is another opportunity out there for them to get exposure, especially if the first 90 days is free, why *wouldn’t* they sign up even if just to test it out?

    The point of the 90 day free trial is to let people get a taste of it.

    No one has to make a decision about paying for it, right now, just if after it opens officially and 90 days passes, unless you don’t make it into that first 300. Then it’s 30 days.

    I really don’t understand the cynicism against this at all. Between this and the indiereader debacle, I’m frankly tired of all the cynicism aimed at anything that’s meant to help a certain type of self pubbing author without being free or so cheap to be laughable ($1 a month.)

    And I second the Amen to Mojo against name calling and cheap shots. I have spoken extensively with both Amy Edelman of IndieReader and April of The Vault. I think both have the right motives even if some people disagree with whether or not it will work, whether or not it will be beneficial, and whether or not it’s worth it to the authors.

    And I think whether or not it’s worth it to the authors will be for *each* author to decide for him or herself based on their own needs, budget, etc. Clearly none of this is right for you, JM. And that’s fine. But you don’t speak for everyone.

    I’m tired of seeing every time someone gets off their butt and tries to do something to help indies (even if it’s not right for every indie) they get crucified by their own community if they attempt to monetize it.

  • Irk

    I think $10 a month makes for a pretty good vetting process, myself. That’s about the fee you pay to submit literature to a serious journal, for which you’ll only receive, oh, a contributor’s copy in return, and another notch on your CV.

    I’d rather pay a small amount for a service I think pubs will use than waste my time for free.

  • Mike, Reep, Moriah, Guy & Others –
    In fact there already IS a nearly exact analog of a service like the Vault, for spec screenplays, and it has been very successful for both screenwriters and producers: The Inktip Executive Index.

    The Vault’s rates match Inktip’s on a per-30 days basis, but unlike Inktip, the Vault allows authors to pay month-to-month. Inktip requires a 6-month, $60 investment up front. Also unlike Inktip, the Vault begins each new subscription with 30 days’ free listing time. And VERY unlike Inktip, the Vault is handing out free, 90-day listings to try and build trust and confidence among authors. I’m doing everything I can to make this risk-free and economical to authors.

    Also – I’ve had contact with all of you elsewhere, and to a man and woman, you all agree that the current system is broken, that the gatekeeper model doesn’t work and is inefficient, and that major changes are needed in mainstream pub if things are ever going to get better. Yet you’re all very quick to criticize and dismiss the Vault, which stands in total contrast to the existing system, cuts gatekeepers out of the equation, creates a direct line of communication between acquisitions people and authors, shifts the acquisitions paradigm from passive to active where publishers are concerned, and does it all AT NO COST OR RISK TO AUTHORS, FOR A MINIMUM OF 30 DAYS AND UP TO 90 DAYS. In fact, if authors elect to renew at the end of the 90-day promo period, they’ll get ANOTHER 30 days free at the start of their paid listing period. Honestly, if all that isn’t enough to satisfy you, I can only conclude that nothing will.

    RE: Reep’s suggestion that authors should take a wait and see attitude, if they do, they’ll miss out on getting a free published listing for 90 days after the Vault opens for pro searches. Registration is free, creating listings is free, and keeping those listings published for 90 days is free—my intention, again, was to make the Vault something risk-free and easy for authors to try. Why else would I just eat the $3000 I could otherwise charge for those first 300 listings? Seriously, what has any indie author got to lose in trying out one of those promotional listings? And how much to gain?

    RE: Reep’s suggestion of skipping the promo listings and only listing your book for 30 days…Reep should know very well that publishers’ acqusitions needs shift with the marketplace. One month it’s all about jumping on Harry Potter’s coattails with YA fantasy adventure, the next it’s about jumping on Meyers’ coattails with supernatural romance. AGAIN, this is why I’m offering those 300 promo listings with a full 3 months’ free listing time. You’ll know by the end of one month if pros are searching the Vault for books like yours because you’ll know if they viewed your listing, but you won’t know if they might come back to your listing later when their acquistions needs change.

    RE: ‘monetizing’ Publetariat – that isn’t what this is about. If the Vault were about ‘monetization’, I’d follow Inktip’s pricing model more closely and certainly wouldn’t be offering those 300 free listings that have the potential to run for free at least until Halloween, and possibly longer. Anyone who’s seen my reaction to Indiereader here and elsewhere should already know I suggested this concept of a searchable database of indie books as a preferable alternative to Indiereader’s curated bookstore model, and Indiereader’s founder dismissed the idea. Rather than keep moaning and complaining about the current, broken system while waiting around and hoping someone else—someone outside the indie author movement, whose primary motive would probably be profit—brought my idea to fruition, I decided to do it myself.

    This is about creating a revolutionary change in the existing acquisitions system. This is about recognizing the explosive growth and increasing mainstream acceptance of indie authorship, realizing that an awful lot of it is done in an effort to get mainstream attention, and providing all those hopeful indie authors something they don’t have today: a direct conduit to the very pros they hope and pray will one day happen to stumble across their work. This is about providing indie authors with an inexpensive, low-effort, highly focused means of getting mainstream attention for their work. This is about effecting CHANGE, which is never easy and rarely cheap, but in this one instance I’ve done everything in my power to keep all the expense and difficulty to myself rather than pass it on to authors.

    FINALLY – Reep and Gonzalez, I strongly resent the implication that I’m doing this for money-grubbing reasons. How much more money and unpaid time must I invest to convince you otherwise? How many more free copies of all my books must I give away? How much more free can my 300-pp The IndieAuthor Guide be than completely accessible and readable on my author site from cover to cover? How many more free resources for authors like Publetariat must I build, launch and maintain, all on my own dime and time? What do I have to do, start sending out checks and money orders to individual authors? How much more selfless can I possibly be in my efforts to help out my fellow indie authors and effect real change in publishing in my lifetime before you’re convinced I don’t have a selfish or abusive motive?

  • If my book is actually getting looked (and I hope there’s some kind of counter/stats for the authors to prove it), then it is worth it to me to pay $10/month. If nobody / not enough pros look at my book, or lots of them look at it, but nobody contacts me, well, then I’ll know it won’t be worth it to me any longer.

    I could (and probably will) list my book at the mentioned Jexbo.com, but there I’ll be hoping for retail sales – not publishers checking it out.

    Hopefully, the $10 a month is enough of a hurdle to make unpublishable manuscripts fall out of the system, rather than merely pile them up into an ever-increasing heap of poorly written fiction.

  • Guy –
    You said:
    “I’ll be curious to see who the “publishing pros” are and how things like sales info are vetted, though, before passing judgement.”

    Have you read the site’s FAQ? The info you want about how sales are vetted is there. Authors report their sales themselves, and are required to present actual bookseller sales reports or, in the case of authors who only sell by hand, via their websites or other means, financial records verifying their claimed sales to pros on request. Sure, they can lie in their listings. But if such a lie results in pro interest, the lie will be quickly uncovered and the offer will evaporate. Furthermore, that author will be blackballed from further consideration by the pro who exposed the lie and every pro that one knows.

  • Wait Guy – it’s not in the FAQ, it’s on the listing form screenshot in the input area for sales (which is linked from the front page of the Vault site):

  • April, while I agree that $10 isn’t that big a deal and YES I do recognize the 90 days free opportunity, and NO I do not believe in any way you want to profit from this because hey, I run websites. I know what it costs. Hosting space doesn’t grow on trees, after all.

    Also, you know (or I hope you do) that I respect you very much and that I’m grateful for the efforts you make to blaze the trail for indie publishers.

    However, I don’t think it’s analogous to InkTip and IS analogous to resumes and, because I’ve since had time to give it some thought, perhaps I can articulate it better.

    Contrary to what I said earlier, I have to backpedal and say, NO, this is not a slush pile and NO, “scouts” would not be paying to wade through it. Rather, what they would be paying to wade through are proven works.

    When one posts one’s title, it comes with editing, sales stats, platform information, and all the hallmarks of an already-published book. One is proving that this particular work already HAS a place in the market and all it needs is a bigger distribution channel. That is FAR from a slush pile; thus, the onus to pay for that information should be on those who want to “scout” a better (and better prepared) bet than a plain query/manuscript.

    Scripts . . . well, to be perfectly analogous, the writer would have had to produce the play/film (a la EL MARIACHI and/or STRICTLY BALLROOM).

    So my point is that what the “scout” is paying to see is the viability in their distribution channels, not whether the work is worthy to send through the gate. The indie author has already proven via sweat and equity that s/he has the chops to do what it takes on their end, thus, there is very little risk to the “scout” to snap them up other than a fee to be able to cruise the Vault.

  • Mojo,

    I just want to interject something into this. On the analogy issue. I don’t think any analogy is perfect, but even if you want to say it’s analogous to the resume thing, I think it’s also analogous to the InkTip thing, and here is why:

    A resume is something with like a list of credits, work you’ve done that was considered legitimate work.

    No matter how much we may not like it, Mainstream publishers do not consider self published books a publishing credit. It’s not part of your resume and you can’t use it to help you secure a mainstream publishing contract unless you have very impressive sales to back it up. But it’s still not seen according to mainstream publishers as a publishing credit.

    So it can’t very fairly be called more analogous to a resume site than to a site like InkTip. I would think that it is somewhere in the middle of the two if we want to get really exact. But I think it’s a little “more” like InkTip, and the reason I think that is because, while an indie author has put the blood, sweat, tears, money into producing and selling their work, they still aren’t a fully proven entity yet.

    If they were fully proven and blowing it out to that point, they likely wouldn’t “need” the vault.

    From what I understand, the Vault is meant to help publishers and content producers find work that has potential, not necessarily self pubbed work that has sold a hugely impressive number yet. (Though if there are such books that haven’t yet been picked up on the radar of publishers, the Vault might help them as well.) This is not work they would likely stumble on themselves. By the time it gets to the stumble upon point it *is* a proven book, not just a book with the early potential.

    In this way I think it’s more like InkTip, and less like a resume site, especially since publishing pros don’t consider self publishing a part of a legitimate publishing resume (and us screaming about it won’t change that view, IMO.)

  • “It’s not part of your resume and you can’t use it to help you secure a mainstream publishing contract unless you have very impressive sales to back it up.”

    If you have impressive sales to back it up (and this is part of what’s required to list your title), it is most definitely a publishing credit. $$$$$$$$ is always a publishing credit because it proves that a market exists.

    “From what I understand, the Vault is meant to help publishers and content producers find work that has potential, not necessarily self pubbed work that has sold a hugely impressive number yet.”

    I see it as both; however, were I a publisher looking to “scout” titles I could slide into my publishing schedule fast and cheap, I’d look at sales numbers before I’d look at “potential.” If they show up to scout the talent in the Vault, they’ll cherrypick the ones with the largest sales numbers and leave the rest.

  • Impressive sales aren’t part of what’s required to list your title. And if your sales are trending upwards and you have good reviews in several places, that could influence a publisher decision as well.

    I’m not sure that I agree that it’s a publishing credit when you have impressive sales. A publishing credit is defined by the fact that another publisher vetted you. While you certainly can get a contract based on impressive sales of self-published work, the fact that you published it yourself is not a publishing credit in the same way it would be if another publisher had published you. via the industry, not via my opinion.

    (But this is true in normal job situations as well. Having run your own business is not necessarily something you can put on your job resume as legitimate work experience unless it was a successful business. Even though it “is” work experience, most employers view work experience in the context of working for other people.)

    Though that *is* my interpretation of what they consider a publishing credit based on what various agents and publishers have said.

    It depends Mojo, there will likely be smaller publishers searching as well, and they may very well be interested in less impressive numbers, which would give the author a publishing credit that publishers would recognize and might help them as an additional stepping stone to get into NY if that’s what they wanted.

    I think there is likely to be a significant portion of authors who don’t necessarily have impressive sales yet, but are trending positively and have many other things such as good reviews, it’s not going to be considered a “publishing credit” most definitely in those cases, so I still contend that it can’t be compared exactly to a resume site because resume sites are based upon the idea of legitimate work experience, and most publishers don’t consider self publishing to be “legitimate work experience” until and unless there are impressive sales numbers behind it which won’t necessarily be everyone on the Vault or even everyone who ultimately gets a contract. IMO.

    The bottom line point, IMO, is that there is no perfect analogy here, but I still think April’s InkTip analogy is at least as good as your resume site analogy, and IMO a little better since it does deal with the business of writing specifically.

    Basically though, I think we’re just splitting hairs here. I can understand why April set it up as she did and I don’t think it would work if it was reversed where publishers paid and authors didn’t. It *may* still not work, I don’t know, but I think this way has the best chance of being beneficial to both groups it’s supposed to serve.

  • Whether you think it’s like a resume site or not doesn’t really matter, Mojo, because acquisitions people don’t operate that way and aren’t ever likely to start. They don’t “hire” an author based on a c.v., they “hire” an author based on either:

    1) the say-so of a half-dozen or more publishing pros who are willing to vouch for an as-yet unsold and unpublished manuscript
    2) the actual sales figures and reader reviews of a surprise, breakthough self-pubbed hit

    An indie author isn’t in a position to provide #1, at least not in the case of a book they’ve already published, and the chances of #2 happening for a given indie book, regardless of how well-reviewed and respectably-selling, lies somewhere between slim and none. What about the many, many more books that aren’t destined to ‘break through’ on their own, but are trending positively in terms of sales and reviews, and *could* break through with a publisher push? Today, in spite of all the author websites, blogs and bookseller listings in the world, there’s no practical way for publishers to find those books. That’s where the Vault comes in.

  • Zoe –
    You’re right, small presses will be among the searching pros and they’ll be looking for books that fit their specific market niche. Small presses aren’t chasing blockbusters, so they’ll likely be more influenced by the book’s content, reader reviews and the author’s platform than sales figures.

  • April,

    “Monetizing” and “money-grubbing” are two very different activities. I was referring to your own statement: “What about MY financial well-being? I can’t keep operating this service at a loss indefinitely, and it’s already a strain for me to pinch the necessary pennies from my household budget to keep it running till then.”

    You’re not running a non-profit and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to have parts of the site generate revenue to support the whole setup and keep it running.

    As I said, I’m not personally sold on the Vault’s concept. Emphasizing sales data while targeting niche small presses doesn’t jibe — if I have decent sales, the next level is major distribution and marketing, not a lateral move to a niche publisher; If I’m a niche publisher, I’m more interested in a nascent platform that I can add value to and help grow, not an established. To each his own, though.

    I certainly hope you’re successful with this initiative and attract the kind of “pros” (are indies amateurs?) that will make it a truly valuable service to authors who sign up. Until I see who they are, though, I continue to reserve judgment.

    Good luck!

  • Guy –
    Didn’t you see my last post to Zoe, about how small presses will be involved and big sales probably won’t matter as much to them as other factors? I’m not emphasizing sales, just making that information available to the pros to whom it’s a big deciding factor.

    RE: “pros” (are indies amateurs?…

    Guy, you know I refer to *myself* as an indie author, so in what universe would I make it a derogatory term? It’s just a lot easier to refer to “publishing pros and content producers” as one group called “pros” when writing about this. The long phrase is unwieldly.

  • April: I know your stance on indie authors, which is precisely why I questioned the phrase. “Publishing pros” implies, intentionally or not, that those in the Vault are amateurs. If I were a prospective member, it would make me pause. Words have meaning, exponentially so for writers.

    Why not eliminate the marketing speak completely and just call them what they presumably are: small press publishers, editors and literary agents interested in working with self-published authors?

  • Guy –
    Because that’s not what they are, large mainstream houses will be involved as well. I’ve been writing and posting about this thing all over the place, and it’s both awkward to the reader and cumbersome to me to keep typing that lengthy phrase over and over.

    Besides, the one has nothing to do with the other. If I were to mention a “sports pro” and his “indie author” friend in the same paragraph for some reason, does it automatically follow that I’m saying the indie author is necessarily an amateur? Of course not. So why do you make the same leap here?

    I am an indie author, but I am not a “publishing professional” because I am not employed by a publisher and never have been, nor do I own or operate my own small press or imprint. I don’t consider authors, not even big-name authors like Rowling, King or Gaiman to be “publishing professionals” either. They may be professional authors, but does anyone EVER refer to them as such? No. Because it’s not necessary and just sounds silly. “Professional author Neil Gaiman’s new book…” See?

  • Guy – I suspect it’s because it’s much easier to say/write/read “publishing pros” than “small press publishers, editors and literary agents interested in working with self-published authors”…

    Man alive, I can’t believe April is taking this kind of flack. Isn’t this a free country? Does she not have the right to start up and try out pretty much any business model she wants? If you’re never going to use her service, why should she listen to you at all, when there are plenty of folks who will?

    I guarantee that if the business model she trying out doesn’t work, then she’ll switch to something else or go belly up. I’m perfectly willing to give it at least the free 90 days to see if my book gets any interest from a small publisher. Everybody is either certain that is going to work great or die miserably – why not just let the market decide?

    I don’t care if April is just doing it for the money – as long as I get my money’s worth. I’ll never know if it’s worth the money until it gets going and I try it out.

  • Why not let the market decide?

    I agree with this and I wrote a comment on Zoe Winters’ post about the flack that the Vault and Indie Reader have gotten – there’s a new post about Indie Reader at Writer Beware that is overloaded with criticism.


    I wrote: These new ventures are trying something that hasn’t been done before. They may fail miserably, but that failure will help the industry correct itself so someone will come along and say, OK, that didn’t work, I’ll try it this way. That’s capitalism, really. But it’s like people don’t even want to see the attempt, they’re skeptical out of the gate. People need to be a bit more open if the publishing industry’s going to improve.

    I don’t think the ventures will fail miserably, but people should be applauding someone for trying, not criticizing them for everything they’re doing wrong, especially before the sites even go live and there’s no way to determine if the sites will or won’t be successful. This is new ground being tread, so “wait and see” makes a lot more sense than “this is fundamentally flawed.” The conversation has been fruitful because April Hamilton’s answered the criticism well, but there’s also been a lot of knee-jerk negativity.

  • And gee, why can’t anyone offer a disagreement without being cast as the villains of the piece?

  • The disagreement is disproportionate to the problems of the service, sort of like using the word “villain.” I don’t want to get into a fight with anyone, but the word: FAIL comes to mind in how people have been overly critical. My original piece was critical of the Vault, seeing it as not necessarily useful for everyone – but just because it’s not useful for everyone doesn’t mean it’s not useful for anyone.

  • Bryce: I’m offering constructive criticism, not flack, as someone who has promoted Publiertariat and contributed to it in the past, as well as having vouched for April professionally. I have a bit of a vested interest in how the Vault is perceived and am pointing out what I believe to be flaws in April’s approach that beg legitimate questions.

    April: We’re getting into semantics here, straying from my primary point which is the true value of the Vault will be difficult to communicate without knowing WHO the publishing pros accessing the listings are. You referenced InkTip as a similar service, which I don’t agree with, but they have a complete list of “Registered Entertainment Pros” for everyone to see. Creative Byline does, too. You know what you’re getting with both of those sites, and with the former, you know exactly who is accessing your information. With the Vault, those Pros are currently unknown and your free trial offer is understandably being viewed as a marketing promotion to build a database to attract those Publishing Pros.

    If anything, I’d equate the Vault to Poets & Writers’ Directory of Writers (http://www.pw.org/directory/), which originally was a print directory for events organizers to identify vetted poets and literary writers for readings, conferences and festivals. Organizers had to buy the Directory, and the value to them was in P&W’s vetting process, ensuring everyone listed had legitimate credits. It’s now a free resource on their website, available to all, and they still vet applicants before including them in the Directory.

    As for the semantics of “professional”, I’d argue that once an author takes the step towards independently publishing their work, with or without establishing an imprint, they’re stepping into the professional realm and need to act and think like a professional. I’m actually a bit dismayed that you don’t consider yourself a professional at this point.

  • Guy, you’re asking a site that is just starting to have the same extensive database as a well-entrenched site. She’s very likely not listing who the pros are because there aren’t a huge number of well-established agents and editors currently using the service. And why should there be? The site has barely started. If the site turns out what it’s intended to be, high-profile editors and agents will use the site. “Your free trial offer is understandably being viewed as a marketing promotion to build a database to attract those Publishing Pros.” What exactly is the problem with this? It’s a start-up.

    This is why Bryce used the word “flack.” It does seem like nitpicking, not just simple constructive disagreement. This is exactly what happened in the criticism of Indie Reader – people criticized the site for having problems for some authors and translating this as being a problem for all authors – like authors having to reveal their address to buyers. Some writers might take issue with this, but everyone? The fact that the pros aren’t listed seems like a good professional move. Maybe once the “pro” database is established, the Vault will reveal who’s involved, but maybe April can correct me on that. I’m sure she’d want to advertise if high-profile agents and editors were involved.

    I agree though that April Hamilton is a “pro” – but the issue doesn’t matter.

  • Guy –
    Again, the answer is provided on the Vault site in the FAQ (and above, in this thread):
    “Who are the publishing pros and content producers who will be allowed to search the Vault’s listings?
    Anyone who is in a position to purchase …..(rest of this paragraph omitted, since not salient to your question)
    …Once the Vault opens for pro searches, a list of registered pros will be posted to the site and updated regularly. We will also post any Vault success stories reported by authors or pros.”

    Publishing acquisitions people, editors, literary agents, content producers, movie producers, television producers, magazine publishers, game content producers, et al (does that really sound better than “pros”?) are not even able to register for site membership yet, so how can I provide a list of such members? I do have a lengthy list of those types of people who’ve expressed interest via email or tweet and several who’ve signed up to register even though their registrations won’t be processed till the Vault has 300 listings, but it’s premature to publish such a list. I suspect that to do so would only draw more fire anyway, since some suspicious critic or other would not doubt decry this as misleading since no one on that list is an actual registered publishing acquisitions person, editor, literary agent, content producer, movie producer, television producer, magazine publisher, game content producer, et al at this point.

    Damned if I do, damned if I don’t. Damned if I even try to do, apparently. =’/

    The Vault IS the same type of service as Inktip’s Executive Directory and is NOT AT ALL like Poets & Writers’ Directory of Writers, specifically because THERE IS NO VETTING. I don’t know how I can make this any clearer. The books listed in the Vault must stand on their own merits and performance, not any third-party vetting. That’s PRECISELY what’s so different, and potentially revolutionary, about it. And isn’t that what so many of us have been crying out for? The opportunity to let our work stand on its own merits instead of being subjected to the vagaries of the gatekeeper system?

    At this point someone usually grumbles that without vetting the Vault will just be the same kind of slush-pile system already available to [here we go again] publishing acquisitions people, editors, literary agents, content producers, movie producers, television producers, magazine publishers, game content producers, et al. But it’s not like that AT ALL, because unlike a slush pile, the Vault is searchable on multiple criteria. It’s EASY to find the specific type of book they’re interested in acquiring, and just as easy to click through to a full listing to see if the book matches their needs in terms of content and/or already has traction in the marketplace—whether in terms of sales, reader reviews, author buzz, or anything else.

    Also, I would very much appreciate it if, instead of just airing your doubts and potential grievances with the Vault sight unseen, you would look at the site’s FAQ, ‘About’ pages, and screenshots linked on the front page. Every doubt or concern you’ve raised thus far about the site’s inner workings is answered there. The FAQ is very lengthy and answers every question I could conceive of, both for authors and [takes deep breath] publishing acquisitions people, editors, literary agents, content producers, movie producers, television producers, magazine publishers, game content producers, et al. But if there’s one I’ve missed, I’d be happy to answer it and add it to the FAQ. I have nothing to hide and no one to mislead.

    You keep saying you don’t feel this will work, but all your reasons for saying so thus far have been based on wrong assumptions and unanswered doubts, all of which I hope I’ve now clarified and answered for you. So if you still feel it won’t work, despite the fact that the same basic idea *does* work and *has been working* for many years in the film industry, please tell me why.

  • To All The Critics:
    I’ve been a mainstream author, a screenwriter, and now, an indie author. And like all of you, I’m annoyed by the unjust bias against self-publishing wherever it rears its head, I’m wary of scam artists, I’m convinced the gatekeeper system is broken, wasteful and inefficient, I’m frustrated with the many ways deserving authors are dismissed and displaced, I’m heartbroken at the death of the midlist, and frankly, I’m worried about the future of literature as a whole under the current publishing model.

    That’s why I’m launching the Vault. When I saw Indiereader’s business model and determined my own reasons for feeling it wasn’t viable, I proposed an alternative. When my proposed alternative was dismissed by Indiereader, I went out and built it myself, with my own money and on my own time.

    So – if you want to ask more questions, I’ll be happy to answer them. But if you just want to reject the idea regardless of how I answer your questions, then why not propose a better alternative? If you think you have a better idea, make it happen. By all means, go out there, build your solution, and let it beat the Vault till the Vault looks like an amateur boxer in the 8th round. Because none of the negative the things we’re all dealing with in publishing are going to go away by themselves, and I very much want them to go away, whether through my efforts or someone else’s. In fact, I’d prefer if it were someone else’s, because then I wouldn’t have to answer all these groundless accusations, doubts and suspicions when all I’m trying to do is HELP.

  • Hang in there Amy! Keep fighting the good fight.

    You are the one making it happen so good on you!

    Best Wishes For Much Success!

    Bernie Malonson

  • Mojo, my post and Henry’s points I don’t *think* were aimed at you. There’s nothing wrong with polite discussion but you have to admit that there has been a lot of over-the-top cynicism and snark with regards to both of these concepts. It’s all well and good for people to ask questions or have an intellectual disagreement or prefer if something was run one way rather than another. You, for example would prefer it if the publishing pros paid and authors didn’t. On indiereader I would prefer if it was charged month to month instead of a yearly flat fee.

    But to my mind these types of disagreements over minutiae are not the same thing as the heavy skepticism/cynicism and people trying to caution and “warn people” off something that hasn’t even gotten off the ground yet, with barely veiled hints that it could be a ripoff, with all the insult and suspicion of motive that entails.

    There have been a lot of cheap shots in many places and a lot of snide little remarks calling people’s motives into question in a way that is borderline slanderous IMO.

    It’s like people don’t *want* anything like this to succeed, and *that* attitude, I just do not get.

  • Guy: You keep bringing up the true value of the vault and knowing who the publishing pros are. Do you believe that April has a crystal ball? That she’s psychic? Until there are a certain number of authors in the vault you can’t really attract a large number of publishing pros to even KNOW who all will be involved.

    That is part of why the first 90 days (from the date it’s open to publishers to search), is FREE for the first 300 authors. During that trial period I’m sure a list of publishing pros involved will be compiled.

    Before any author has to spend a PENNY on any of this.

    And April has also said this will not just be a place for small presses and agents to congregate and search. So acting like it’s just a “small press thing” is misleading. Let’s just *wait and see* please. It’s not like April is asking for money before trial periods are up. Jeez. Cut her some slack.

  • Perhaps I’m just not making myself clear, but since I believe I’ve stated my criticisms pretty clearly, I’m just going to leave this alone and, again, wish April the best of luck in getting the Vault off the ground.

  • I’m sorry if I’m not getting your point, Guy, it frustrates me when that happens to me as well. It’s just that you’ve talked about the only way to judge value is by knowing who the pros will be.

    April has stated she’ll both post and regularly update who the pros are once the Vault is open for Publishing Pros.

    The first 90 days is free to the first 300, so no one “needs” to judge the value of something free before they’re asked to pay.

    April has also explained why she calls them “Pros” instead of the LONG list of names she’d have to use otherwise.

    I’m just not sure what you’re asking from her that she’s not already doing, planning on doing, or can’t do.

  • Thanks for the support, Zoe. If Guy wants to drop the matter, I’m inclined to let it go. Some skepticism can only be quashed with time and evidence, so if he wants to wait and see, I guess we’ll ALL know what’s what in a few months.

    It’s very frustrating to me that the majority of authors don’t understand what the Vault is and end up judging it harshly based on the misperception that it’s ‘just another showcase site’, ‘just another peer review site’, ‘just another listing site’, or ‘just another self-pub bookstore’. The Vault is none of those things, and I’ve tried and tried to explain this but the message doesn’t seem to be getting through. Let me try a new, more concise approach. I’ll quote what some people who DO understand it have said.

    Laura Hazard Owen’s reaction to the Vault, in a tweet:
    “Cool–like eBay for rights?”
    Yes, it’s quite a lot like that. Except that all negotiations and deals take place off-site, and the Vault does NOT get a percentage from those deals.

    “I don’t see the sense in paying $149/yr to list my book in an online bookstore when my listings on Amazon (the world’s #1 bookseller) are free, but investing in a Vault listing is an investment in trying to gain a mainstream publisher … The Vault could very well become an epicenter for authors looking to make the leap …” – Andrew Matthews, everythingselfpublishing.com

    “Wow, this looks really interesting and could be a winner…” Peter Cox, Litopia and Redhammer Literary

    “It looks interesting…I can say that, at a glance, you seem to have a viable notion.” Mike Shatzkin, Idealog and FiledByAuthor

  • Tom Dark

    Look, here’s the problem. You writers ain’t good enough. So just shut up and start writing good for a change. Hear me?

    Any of you who don’t find this rough-hewn joke secretly chilling, please give up and leave somebody else another angstrom unit of room. Not even being Pia Zadora will help… and her genius may not be recognized for centuries.

    I’ve been discussing this very thing with a fellow who’s been asking my advice about it for some time now. What to do, how to pay for it, who to charge. I have reliable insider info that “the pros” wouldn’t pay for it — at least, not until “the next Harry Potter” came out of it. I sympathize with the complaint about $10, as I’ve sure as hell needed those burgers, and on the other hand with the cheapness of a mere $10 to sign up. But if I am out a few days’ worth of 99 cent burgers, I’m going to be plenty po’d if this thing doesn’t work at all for me.

    I haven’t got more to say than is already in the other postings, except that I can’t help but think something’s missing. Like an “X” unknown in the equation. It’s a subjective thing, I’m sure of that much, but it’s the kind of subjectivity that becomes a consensus, and finally, a social “given.”

    It’s one of those feelings like when you don’t know what you want to eeeeeeat…

    We may be in a period where the public, literarily speaking, also doesn’t know what it wants to eeeeeeat…