Writing a book is one thing, getting it published and enduring the many money-making schemes of publishers is another. I found publishing to be a very expensive and daunting task.
Xulon Press is a Christian publisher that published 4 books of my books. I had some major discrepancies in regard to promises unfulfilled in regard to their press releases. I published four books with Xulon Press within a year and encountered some problems.
Upon making some inquiries, I learned that Xulon Press uses PRWeb to do its press releases. PR Web offers four press release packages:
– Standard – $80
– Social Media – $120
– SEO – $200
– Media Visibility (includes all of the above) – $360
Xulon Press only did a press release for one of my three books they completed, while engaged in publishing my fourth. Upon thoroughly researching why Xulon’s press releases and publicity I paid for weren’t producing any press for me, I made a shocking discovery.
It seems two of my three books done with Xulon never received a press release done for them at all. Upon doing my homework, I learned that the one press release Xulon did for my book on Adultery 101 was under the “standard” package.
My fourth upcoming book with Xulon, Poems that Propel the Planet, I asked them not to do the press release as I feel Xulon publicity and press releases are weak and leave much to be desired. Any PR obtained by their authors as they advertise “Christian Book News Alert” does not necessarily mean it came as a result of Xulon’s efforts. Popular, famous, and noteworthy authors who diligently market their books can generate press without Xulon’s help.
The purpose for this article is to warn authors of what they are buying, or thinking they are buying when they pay for press and publicity at Xulon Press or any other publisher for that matter. Do your homework and ask several questions before assuming what you are getting. Many selling publicity packages and press releases are essentially merely selling an illusion.
Upon asking the publisher’s representatives, I learned Xulon always uses the PRweb’s standard package, though they don’t tell their authors that on the front end. On the Xulon Press website for the “best-seller’s package” costing around $2,000 – authors are told that Xulon’s “media publicity” press release could get them on Oprah or Larry King.
This is very unlikely considering the press releases at the “standard package” are not released nationally, preventing national exposure to be seen by such high level talk show hosts and producers as Larry King and Oprah. I know because i’ve been on Oprah & Friends Radio three times, plus Fox News Radio, Playboy Radio and several other top media outlets.
When a publisher like Xulon promises the possibility of national media attention as a result of buying their publicity package, but fail to mention no national press release will be given; it’s a bit misleading and unethical.
Xulon Press however only saw fit to refund me $287 as they claim it takes time to write a press release and allege their press release will put authors in front of national media. It’s interesting I never got a single inquiry from the Xulon Press release.
The way I see it, my refund for the press releases needs to be in the amount of $1,440. Each full publicity press release costs $360 with PRWeb. (4 x 360 = 1,440)
Considering I chose Xulon primarily based on the publicity pacakage they offered, the opportunity cost lost of publishing with them is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars considering my expectation was getting on Oprah & Larry King where an author can sells millions of copies of books. Yet at $2,000 per book, I should at least be able to recooperate $8,000 for the four books published.
My argument against the “Christian Publisher” is very solid both morally and legally.
1. Xulon Press states their press releases provide media exposure to TV and radio. This however is not accessible with the “standard” $80 package you use at PRWeb. Such media publicity comes with the $360 package at PRWeb labeled “media publicity.”
2. PRWeb archives all press releases. Neither the Supernatural Fire book, nor the Are You Ready for True Love? press releases were archived. Hence the power of the ongoing press release accessible by the worldwide web is non-existent.
3. The Supernatural Fire attachment Xulon Press initially sent me claiming a press release (which can’t be found at PRWeb) was poorly written. “Catch the only seasonal bug worth keeping” adorns the headline which has nothing to do with the book, neither is desirable to read.
4. Opportunity costs lost for me as an author by reason of press releases not sent (though promised) far exceed the cost of the releases themselves. My life consists of time which Xulon Press has greatly robbed me of personally and professionally.
5. Selling an illusion of being on Oprah or Larry King when you are merely doing “standard” press releases that cannot reach such people is unethical, immoral, and by no means Christlike for a Christian publisher.
Xulon Press advertises their “Press Release Service” saying:
“Let our professionals craft an effective press release for your book. It’s not easy to grab the attention of the media, but we’ll separate your book from its competitors with copy that sizzles. Our one-page press release gives the media all the information they need to contact you for news stories, columns, articles – even for TV and radio interviews. You never know, you might end up on Oprah or Larry King Live!”
Xulon Press says, “You never know…” Well, as an author of 4 books with Xulon Press, I do know! Don’t buy the lie.
Incidentally, I have only received a check for $64 for royalties – again indicative of their poor publicity. When I inquired about my royalties, I was told the checks would be sent out two months late this year. I suppose they don’t cncern themselves with authors living off of those royalty checks. I guess their press release doesn’t generate much PR, nor sales anyhow.
My last book done with Xulon was another nightmare as they nickled and dimed me trying to charge me $75 to change the back cover which I as the author never got to see before it went to print. How does that work when a paying author can’t even see his own back cover before it goes to print. Thankfully they waived the $75 fee for changing the back picture, but not before some unpleasant exchanges by email.
That being said it is awfully difficult to figure out what picture to use on the back cover when the publisher won’t even show or tell you the color combination their are going to use. If you later see your first 10 books in a box at your house and don’t like the back cover, Xulon charges its author’s $75 to correct it. If you want to change your picture on the back cover and text summarizing your book thereon the cost is $150.
Such practices don’t make for a great publisher, nor a pleasant experience for an author. Therefore before dealing with any publisher, be sure to ask crucial questions about the above mentioned.
Writing a book is one thing, publishing it can be a daunting task.
Though Xulon Press is not great, they certainly are good and a viable option if you’re willing to pay a bit more. The staff rarely spoke with or dealt with me over the phone, mostly through email only. If you can endure that during the creative process, than perhaps Xulon would work well for a first-time author.
My passion is writing and speaking internationally. Sometimes I consider a prospective author for serving his or her publicity needs, providing they pay well for my valuable time. Otherwise you’ll just have to kiss some frogs and figure things out the hard way over some years because I don’t give free advice, nor let people “pick my brain” without compensating me for my intellectual property.
I’m still hunting for more a special publisher myself for my 200 page Christian alternative to Oprah & Eckhart Tolle’s “New Earth”. I’ve used a total of four publishers thus far to publish the 14 books I’ve written. All have their pros and cons. Publishing is meaningless however without adequate publicity, that’s my passion without which a book will go undiscovered.
The business of publishing is a painful process and certainly not for the faint in heart.
Paul F. Davis is a highly sought after worldwide professional speaker, purpose coach, and change master transforming organizations and empowering individuals to live their dreams.
Paul is the author of several books including United States of Arrogance; Poems that Propel the Planet; Breakthrough for a Broken Heart; Adultery: 101 Reasons Not to Cheat; Are You Ready for True Love; Stop Lusting & Start Living; Waves of God; Supernatural Fire; God vs. Religion; and many more!
Paul’s compassion for people & passion to travel has taken him to over 50 countries of the world where he has had a tremendous impact. Paul’s organization Dream-Maker Inc. builds dreams, transcends limitations, & endeavors to reconcile nations.
Contact Paul to speak at your event or for book consulting: