Disgruntled Self-Published Authors Launch Blog (Updated)

In the past few days my attention has been drawn to a new tumblr blog set up on October 16th. The blog is called Indepenpress (The Truth About A ‘Self’ Publishing Company) and describes itself as follows:

“We are a group of Authors who have been stung by Indepenpress. Together we have a voice. We want to protect you.”
The tumblr blog clearly refers to UK self-publishing service Pen Press, an imprint of Indepenpress Publishing Ltd, but of course it has no affiliation with the company. The writers behind the blog indicated on October 18th in a brief posting that the administrators (and by deduction the owners of Pen Press UK) were aware of the tumblr blog, though, I’m not quite sure who started following who first. The intention of the blog is alluded to below, and the writers behind it are careful to state the blog’s purpose is not just primarily to be anti-Pen Press UK.

“We have learned the hard way so you do not have to. Although this blog was initially created in order to raise awareness about not going with one specific ‘self’ publishing company (Indepenpress) and a number of posts may be about them, we will also write informative pieces that will help any author self-publish their book.”
I’m all for openness, information and guiding would-be authors away from the pitfalls of  self-publishing, but in choosing the name Indepenpress for the tumblr blog, the disgruntled writers may have presented Pen Press UK with a stick to beat them with. History also tells me that playing online firewars with publishing services more often ends in tears for both parties and nobody wins. Over the years TIPM has followed and highlighted coverage of disputes and legal actions played out online, concerning companies like PublishAmerica and Diggory Press, and it usually results in personalised attacks and abuse stretching far beyond the original remit of placing grievances and information into the public domain. It should be carefully considered, and only undertaken after the full redress of mediation and legal action is exhausted.
About two weeks ago, TIPM was contacted by one disgruntled author of Pen Press UK enquiring if he/she should go public with their grievance in light of a potential impending legal action. As always, I advised that the author should allow any potential legal action take its natural course, as any attempt to place the details of their grievance into the public domain could have a negative impact on the case.
For the record, all the reviews on TIPM of self-publishing services allow authors to comment positively or negatively about their experiences with a company, and, likewise, for companies to respond to the comments publicly or privately with an author. The review and comments section on Pen Press UK can be checked out here.
While I can appreciate the frustration of authors when they have a less than satisfactory experience with a company, misplaced statements like the one below (from the Indepenpress tumblr blog) are not always helpful:

“We hope to write a series of posts that will guide authors towards the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and away from any nasty dragons that may be along the journey.”
I really do shake my head when I see foolish statements like this one and I would have expected more sound sense from ‘a group of  Authors who have been stung by Indepenpress.’ Frankly, and ironically, the fairytale language actually sounds more like something a vanity publisher’s marketing department would string together and place on a company website. As a publishing consultant, and editor of TIPM for five years, I can assure authors – self or traditionally published – that there is no ‘pot of gold at the end of the rainbow’. No advice, masterpiece of fiction or non-fiction, or series of posts can ever guide authors to this mythical place.
I wish these authors well in whatever endeavours they undertake, and whatever wrongs they believe they are putting right, but I would advise that they give a great deal more thought into how they go about it.

UPDATE: Monday October 22nd

It won’t come as too much of a surprise that the tumblr blog referred to above, Indepenpress (The Truth About A ‘Self’ Publishing Company), has been pulled. Whether this was a result of Pen Press UK acting swiftly to report it, this TIPM post going live yesterday, or its group of authors having a serious rethink remains to be seen. I did suggest above that registering the chosen web address indepenpress.com with the Cloud Group UK was something of a faux pas on their part. Something of a serious rethink on strategy is definitely in need.


Domain Name: INDEPENPRESS.COM Registrar: CLOUD GROUP LIMITED Whois Server: whois.hostingservicesinc.net Referral URL: http://www.resell.biz

Status: clientDeleteProhibited
Status: clientHold
Status: clientTransferProhibited
Status: clientUpdateProhibited
Updated Date: 22-oct-2012
Creation Date: 16-oct-2012
Expiration Date: 16-oct-2013

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