Vanity? Me? No. I’ve The Wrong Glasses On

I like to pride myself on knowing pretty much most publishing services that pop up over time, so when someone this week asked me about Whitmore Publishing, I embarrassingly went All Homer on them. Doh! Who the hell are they?
For now, I will leave you with Postman Pat and his black and white cat, Jess. Specsavers or the BBC will probably sue me for this!

So not too much research revealed that Whitmore Publishing are another entity of the long established American vanity house, Dorrance Publishing. You will have seen them popping up more frequently in those Google ad windows that proliferate so many sites across the internet that mention anything to do with books, authors or publishing. Actually, a day after I was introduced to the name, Whitmore Publishing, they even appeared on my ‘recent posts’ widget at the top of this site page, which does feature a single small Google ad. I tried ads on this site, but frankly, with most of the services, no matter how specific you are in what type of ads you want, you end up looking like you are promoting something you never wanted, and products or services you would never dream of endorsing. Followers of this site will acknowledge, while I had my brief little affair with ads, ultimately, I decided that it did not work with the content I was writing about, and perhaps, more importantly, it did not generate the revenue which would offset the time, expenditure and effort I was putting into make it worthwhile.

Now, Whitmore Publishing looks like they are giving it a real lash on the advertising side of things lately. Their site gives the all-ends-up, mentioning they are helping new authors, breaking the mould, not a word of author fees, request your manuscript for their evaluation, and, of course, may even ‘make a proposal’. This is much of what the Dorrance Publishing parent site would have professed not too many years ago. Have a look at the main page for Dorrance now and you see something a little different. Granted, Dorrance were never as crude as their rival vanity commercial opponent, Vantage Press. Today, the buzz words for Dorrance are:
AMERICA’S LEADING AUTHOR SERVICES COMPANY SINCE 1920
“Building Lasting Relationships, One Satisfied Author at a Time”

Dorrance Publishing has partnered with authors from around the world for many years. Currently, we have nearly 400 international authors from over 30 countries in our publishing family.

Publishing with us allows entry into the American book distribution system while still having your book available in your native country.

Books have carried a Dorrance imprint for close to 90 years (since 1920). Dorrance authors have come from every American state, the United Kingdom and from many other countries as well. Even Lucy Ricardo wrote and submitted a novel to Dorrance & Company on Episode 90 of “I Love Lucy.

In short, authors who publish under the Dorrance imprint receive personalized service that includes a soup to nuts publishing experience.”

Soup to nuts? I like soup—thick potato and leek—well, maybe. I’d even settle for thick mushroom, as long as there were real mushrooms in it. But straight onto nuts after soup? No. I like peanuts, cashews and pistachios, with a beer or two, but definitely, not straight after soup. That’s just simply not on, Dorrance. Damn you, it won’t work!
Where are your real book distribution networks and the charges that you only now, after all these years, say apply. There were plenty of other companies up front with author fees from the very start all those years ago, right back to 1920? I wonder did Sharon Wheeler really discover financial peace after Dorrance?

“I have received and reviewed the promotional packet for my first attempt at writing, Finding Financial Peace. I want to say thanks to everyone for their hard work at making my dream come true.”

Shannon Wheeler, Finding Financial Peace
What troubles me most about Dorrance is the implicit creation of labels and imprints in a growing publishing fog to deal with a changing industry, which are nothing more than different alter egos for a range of Dorrance author services, ranging from imprints like Rosedog, Whitmore or Red Lead Press. I actually have no real gripe with Dorrance or any of their imprints, but rather, the reason for them having so many alter egos.
In fact, Authorsadvocate.net, written by a long time Dorrance staffer does provide useful information for self-publishing authors, but it hides behind its own identity, and like other sites provided by author services like Outskirts Press and Xlibris, ultimately, they do themselves a great disservice, rather than constructively promote the services they provide.
The landscape of publishing is changing. Old vanity publishers have to temper their methods of advertising in a world where the author is looking a lot harder, asking more questions, and ultimately becoming a lot savvier. For the most part, Dorrance are no longer the die-hards of vanity publishing. They moved on long ago and realised the futility of trying to sell an author a 5 – 10k unit offset book run to store away in his or her garage, then running to the hills, leaving the author bereft of support and an arse in their trousers after charging them a fee and a half. While they may stick around a lot longer, the author knows much lies on their plate to market and promote their own book. Vanity publishers are left with little option in this changing landscape—either they become an old printer of the past or a new publisher of the future with a better deal and appeal to authors. For far too long they have sat on the fence and made hay at the authors’ expense while the sun shone.

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