Is WestBow Press the Christian Publisher you thought you were getting? Is the self publishing platform fair, or an industry giant making a fast buck?
Becoming a published author is the hope of millions of writers, Christian or otherwise. When aspiring writers create a poem, manuscript, or technical manual, seeing it published is a dream come true.
WestBow Press Christian Publisher Is Not What You Think
Navigating the waters of the publishing world is not easy for writers with a message. All are seeking an outlet to tell their story. When traditional options are not available, self publishing is a valid choice. It is no longer the stereotyped “vanity” press of yesteryear.
For Christian writers looking for a publisher, a Christian publisher seems like a natural fit.
WestBow Press lives in a unique corner of the self publishing market. They are a division of Thomas Nelson, an industry giant. They have long been known as a publisher in tune with the moral and ethical attributes of the Christian faith.
That is changing, as media giants merge and acquire competitors in efforts to remain relevant. HarperCollins and Thomas Nelson became one. Then Zondervan became part of the mix.
If you are a Christian, and you have a Bible, chances are it was published by Thomas Nelson or Zondervan.
Publishing is big business. As is common in many industries, giants get bigger, or they’re swallowed up by even bigger giants. In the case of Christian publishing, that is exactly what has happened.
HarperCollins swallowed Thomas Nelson and along with them, the division known as WestBow Press. WestBow Press is focused on helping Christians self publish their work.
When HarperCollins acquired Zondervan, they created HarperCollins Christian Publishing. The spin off division included both Thomas Nelson and Zondervan.
Now we have WestBow Press, a tiny division of a giant, offering publishing services to the smallest of all niches for the smallest of all writers. They are the writers with no access to real life book publishers like HarperCollins.
It’s okay that the little guy has no voice in a huge market. Why would they? Billion dollar industries focus on proven winners.
In publishing, they listen to agents who are finding and recommending winners.
Often in publishing, it’s not the content, it’s the messenger. A name with a following, and less than first rate work, gets published. All because they already have a market ready to buy. It’s business.
WestBow Press is trading on the Christian label. Their effort is to extract money from writers desperate to have their voices heard. For the writer, a five hundred dollar fee to have a title published in ebook format, seems worth it.
What WestBow Press Does For The Five Hundred Dollars.
They read the work to make sure it has no bad language or otherwise offensive content. They verify the book cover does not violate any copyrights. The images must be original.
They format the work and publish to the various online platforms so the title is available for sale online at places like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
If the writer wants a physical book, they have various packages the writer can buy. A sample would be to pay $1,099 and receive 5 copies of your book in soft cover format. You will have to pay the shipping and handling fees.
For speakers, it is a nice touch to have a real book ready to sell when speaking to a large group. If the author wants 150 copies, they can have them. That package will only cost the writer $16,999.
To be fair, there are other items of value in the seventeen thousand dollar package. You’ll get five hundred dollars in promotional material and twenty book stubs to pass out so fans can buy the book at a reduced price.
Once the book is published, the author has little control. Changing the price is all but impossible. Offering special deals on ebook versions for promotions is not available. The author is not relevant.
You Can Do It All For Free
Amazon’s Kindle is free. An author can write and publish on the Amazon platform for nothing. Book pricing is at the discretion of the author and can be changed with a few computer keystrokes.
Want to sell a physical book? It is now possible with print on demand. A buyer wants to buy a physical copy, Amazon will print it and send it, all in just a few days. Amazon Prime customers get free shipping.
To compare, let say the price of a soft cover print on demand book is set at $12. If you are the speaker needing the 150 copies in the example earlier, you could buy your own book on Amazon. You pay the cost totaling $1,800, and have them available when you give your speech.,
There’s more. You will earn a royalty on the 150 copies. Your Amazon seller rating will go up, and if you are enterprising, you can become an Amazon affiliate seller and collect a commission on the $1,800 dollars you paid for the 150 copies.
If you want to do some math, WestBow charges $16,999. Let’s back out five free copies of the book, 20 Book stubs and $500 in promotional material. The value of the books come to around $1,800 if the book sells for $12. Remember, it’s a paper back.
The amount of value in the WestBow Press package will be approximately $2,600.
The bottom line: WestBow Press has a margin of $14,400 to help a Christian writer achieve their dream of publishing a book. That is big business.
The Amazon example will accomplish the same thing for a total maximum cost of $1,800, and ways to reduce that cost further.
Getting paid is simple at Amazon. They collect the money, take their cut, and send the author their share. WestBow will likely make you wait ninety days or more to collect royalties and there are no royalty on the 150 books you paid $16,999 for.
Why Would You Use WestBow Press?
WestBow Press will make you feel welcome. They will assure you the process is simple. They will take your money.
If you’re an author and you want 500 copies of your book ready to take to your next conference, they can do it. If you want to publish an ebook so that friends, family and hopefully, a broader audience will read it, It’s the wrong place to be.
It seems that WestBow Press is generally staffed with interns. They’re mostly unpaid college students getting a taste of business. Writers expecting serious attention to special needs and concerns will likely be disappointed.
For small time authors hoping to become a big time writer, having no control of your work published at WestBow Press is significant. While the author can advertise and promote in all the media channels they desire, price and promotional offers are off the table.
Compare that to Amazon’s Kindle platform. If you wish to give your book away for free, there is a process to do exactly that.
WestBow Press, part of a publishing giant, is taking the money of unsuspecting writers with an illusion of success. It seems wrong to trade on Christian ethics to expand an already huge, successful business.
Beyond what writers can get for free elsewhere, the best hope from a deal with WestBow Press is the chance to buy your own book at an inflated prices.
For writers who want to self publish, knowing what is available in the market, WestBow Press is doing harm to their customers, and to their name.
If you are a writer, and you want your book published, wouldn’t it be great to have it on the largest sales platform in the world? An get it done for free?
Amazon’s Kindle does exactly that.
WestBow Press knows this yet they collect fees from writers, in part because of their claim to be Christian and the writers trust them.
WestBow Press is not the Christian Publisher you thought you were getting They’re not that much different than any other big business. It is not so much that they are a bad company, just a poor choice if you think it’s about being a Christian. If you believe the are, your choice is flawed.