The rising demand for self-publishing services has resulted in dozens of companies sprouting up to serve thousands of aspiring authors. Most of these firms offer publishing and distribution platforms and, increasingly, premium services like editorial, design and marketing.
A new book consultancy out of Honk Kong is aiming at the top end of the market. Whirlwind Book Consultancy offers distribution, editing, design and other publishing services, including insight into the Asian publishing markets.
Call it vanity publishing in the digital age.
Unlike popular self-publishing services Smashwords, Author Solutions and others, Whirlwind isn’t a self-serve, one-size-fits-all shop. Authors and corporate clients each get customized service.
Though the company is based in Hong Kong, it claims to have global reach with distribution relationships with Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Ingram and other U.S. partners as well as a bevy of Asian partners, like Handheld Culture and BuBo Bookshelf in Hong Kong, Papataka in Indonesia, and I Love Books in Singapore.
The venture is owned and operated by Typhoon Media, a Hong Kong based publisher founded by an American and a Canadian. The company publishes fiction and non-fiction under two imprints, Signal 8 Press and BookCyclone.
A self-publishing arms race has developed between vendors.
Author Solutions was offering authors 100% royalties in perpetuity on books published through the site by July 4. The company is also offering other goodies for authors who use its tools. One is called BookStubs, a program where authors can distribute physical cards with a code for readers to download their e-book to enable in-person e-book sales or giveaways.
A new company called Your Ebook Team just launched and says that it offers authors “360 degree” service, from editorial to distribution. Self-publishing site Lulu.com recently launched an “author advice” tool.
Major publishing companies are also now reaching out to authors to tout their ability to serve them. Random House, for instance, recently put out a video discussing all the value it offers to authors.