I learned about Bowker Manuscript Submissions today from an URL tweeted by @selfpubreview. I didn’t pay much attention because I was busy with other things and the site didn’t look complete.
Hours later, my curiosity kicked in.
Via Google, I found out Bowker has been pimping it via email.
Also via Google I came across access to the Author’s FAQ which isn’t available from the main link (yet?).
How much does this cost?
The cost for placing a manuscript in the BowkerManuscriptSubmissions.com database is $99 for six months.
Meanwhile, Bowker is offering publishers three membership tiers — two of which are absolutely free!
But here is the biggest slap in the face to writers who trust this scheme will do them any good whatsoever:
How will I know how many times my proposal is viewed by publishers?
Though we do not track the number of hits on your proposal, we can assure you that many of our member publishers report that they review the database on a regular basis.
So wait — I’m supposed to take your word that anyone has viewed a submission?
Do you really think writers are that stupid?
I publish here at WordPress. For free.
I can get readership stats for every single post I’ve put here.
And Bowker can’t do that for someone they’re charging near-$100? For just six months of alleged visibility?
Here’s a screensnap of the actual text from the page. So revisionism cannot change the record:
And here are the tiers of membership for publishers, note the red:
And now look at the blue, for this is the reason for not charging publishers:
They intend to cut out independent agents who have unsolicited manuscripts!
Oh, some agents will argue what “unsolicited” means, but to do that would be to be blind to what Bowker intends here.
It wants to be to manuscripts what Amazon has become to eBooks.
And what sort of guarantee does Bowker provide if a writer is ripped-off? None! It advises:
So, no binding recourse — arbitration, mediation — such as that with, say, the Writer’s Guild. Just register it in D.C. and you’re on your own if your manuscript suspiciously turns up elsewhere under another name with a bunch of revisions.
And what’s left unsaid: What does a writer really need once a publisher wants a manuscript? Professional help to negotiate a contract — such as that provided by the very same agents Bowker is here trying to exterminate!
Wow, what a circular system of corruption!
Did the people who thought this up come from Wall Street and banks?
My advice to every writer remains: Stay the hell away from print publishing. They know they’re sunk. They’ll grab as many writers as they can in order to bleed them dry through infinite “in print” contracts. You will never, ever be free of their clutches. Not ever.