Pedernales Publishing: Vanity Publishing Without the Vanity

This is the way it should be done. Truth be told I haven’t used the service, but this is the future of self-publishing. Basically it’s an Author Solutions company (Author House, iUniverse, etc.) but without the royalty percentage and the huge mark-up on book prices.

I’ve long advocated Author Solutions for a certain kind of writer – someone who wants to be totally hands off and have someone else do the work. Though it’s not the best way to self-publish, it’s at least understandable. Pedernales provides the same services of an Author Solutions – cover design, interior design, distribution – for the same basic price ($650) yet with the author keeping all future royalties.

What We Do

  • Submission review; but don’t be intimidated, we just want to make sure it’s ready to publish
  • We’ll guide you in purchasing an ISBN and bar code, or assign one if we publish you ourselves
  • Custom cover design

  • Interior layout.  See Samples.
  • File creation and submission to Print On Demand vendor, such as CreateSpace or Lightning Source
  • Help you obtain proof copies for your approval or editing
  • E-book formatting and file submission, including Kindle, Nook, and others
  • Release for publication and formatting for Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature
  • Financial modeling and consulting
  • When completed, we give you the digital files containing your cover and book interior
  • All for a single, fixed, low flat fee and we provide a money-back guarantee

Publishing direct to Lightning Source is especially important because it will keep book costs down, and some writers have complained that LS is hard to navigate.  What’s interesting is that Pedernales have something of a submission process – they won’t take everything until it’s ready:

We all want to publish a great looking book. We will review your book and let you know if it is ready. If it requires editing to get it polished and ready to publish, we will tell you. If you need help editing, we’ll give you suggestions (if they are minor) or referrals (if you need major work). There are many editing service options available to authors these days.

It’s possible that they have a referral system in place for specific editors, but that’s unclear, and actually verges on accusation – as though they’ll automatically say a book needs an editor so they can charge for more services.

One knock, the covers they list are decent, but not great – they do look self-published, but about the same quality as an Author Solutions book.

In all, this cuts out a fair amount of work for writers to concentrate on writing without feeling like they may be getting ripped off years into the future.  Like BookBaby, the flat rate is the way that outsourced self-publishing services should operate.

  • I went through Xlibris before I became totally independent. Cover design with these companies is not hard. You can have a professional cover done by any graphic artist. You just send them the file. You’re not stuck with any cover services by these companies. I did so with two of my books. They are just taking your cover and uploading it to LS.

    Looks to me they are just doing the legwork for individuals who are afraid to do it themselves. I pulled all my books from Xlibris and went to LS directly. It was very easy. Sure there’s a small learning curve, but $650 is still a huge markup compared to roughly $125 doing it yourself. You can make an interior in MS Word, turn it into PDF, and upload to LS. It isn’t rocket science. I had a graphic artist do my cover for me by providing them the LS template. LS takes care of the distribution anyway, so it’s not like they’re doing anything extra there for you either. Also, since you have to fill out extra agreements with LS to go to AU, UK, and EU with your books, I’d want to make sure they’re doing the same for full distribution.

    Also, formatting required for look inside on Amazon? You send them the same PDF you uploaded to LS. What about price setting? What if you want to change the price of your book? Are you stuck because they have the account with LS and you don’t? You still don’t have access to your work if they are the publisher, even if they do give you the files back. Their name will be on the cover no doubt.

    I’ll be frank, I was petrified doing it by myself. But in all honestly, if you’re intelligent enough to write a book it’s wonderful being able to control all aspects by going directly to LS and cutting out the middleman. You learn so much by going on the other side of the fence and educating yourself on the publishing process. I used Aaron Shepard’s books and a few others for guidance. I’m happy where I’m at.

  • james bruno

    Some of us are virtually IT-illiterate and see better investment of our time in writing. I fall into that category. I take a hard-nosed look at this process financially: I lack IT skills and furthermore find IT processes both daunting and boring. I devote my time to writing and marketing. I paid Pedernales lump sums to professionally design, format and upload my books, while I completed the next book. Each of my books have been steady Kindle bestsellers, earning me plenty of income, a fraction of which I fork over to Pedernales. Finally, I write off all expenses on my taxes. These are opportunity costs that make sense for me.