Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware
I’ve gotten a lot of questions about Raider Publishing International over the years. Founded by a former (and disgruntled) PublishAmerica author, it’s basically a self-publishing service with some added bells and whistles.
Despite what started out as pretty reasonable package prices (by the standards of similar services), and an initially positive review from Mick Rooney at the Independent Publishing Magazine, Raider hasn’t been a company I’d recommend, due in part to its origins in inexperience, but also to an unusually restrictive contract for this sort of service.
Raider’s prices have risen over the past couple of years. Currently ranging between $899 and $4,499, with a menu of costly add-ons, they’re now on a par with many of the Author Solutions brands. Could these increases have been made necessary by the company’s efforts to expand–including establishing a brick-and-mortar bookstore to carry Raider titles? Perhaps. But with expansion, sometimes, comes trouble.
Over the past few months, I’ve begun receiving a steady trickle of complaints about Raider, where before I only received questions. I’m not the only one; as a result of the negative feedback he’s gotten from Raider authors, Mick Rooney has revised his once-positive review of Raider to “not recommended.” Other complaints can be found online–at Ripoff Report, for instance, and Scam Informer (I always take websites like this with a grain of salt, but in this case the complaints are quite consistent, and the problems reported reflect the reports I’ve been getting).
Author complaints include publication delays of up to 18 months (according to Raider’s FAQ, books are published six to eight months after contract signing, unless you pay for a fast-track option; several of the authors I’ve heard from are still waiting for publication and fear their money is lost); quality issues (poor editing, poor design, finished books full of errors); trouble getting royalty statements and/or payments; communications problems (being shuffled from email address to email address within the company, or not being able to get any response at all; several authors say that as soon as they sent in their fees, communication ceased); and broken promises (repeatedly missed publication dates, author copies never received, promised marketing services not provided, substantial delays despite payment of the fast-track fee).
Raider currently has an A rating with the Better Business Bureau–which says more about the BBB’s lack of usefulness for assessing publishers than it does about Raider’s reputation. The BBB gives an A rating by default and doesn’t change it as long as a company is willing to respond to complaints. The BBB does show six closed complaints for Raider–and it’s interesting to note that they show the same sudden complaint surge that I’m seeing. Five of the six were closed in the past 12 months.
Possibly in an attempt to escape the negative press that’s starting to accumulate, Raider has just launched Purehaven Press, which offers very similar services to Raider, both in details and in cost. As Mick Rooney says,
Sometimes it makes sense for a publisher – or subsidy publisher – to start another imprint. The company may be considering a completely new business strategy, or new line of services. But when that new imprint looks to be a mirror of what has gone before, you wonder…
And when the “parent company” is having major troubles, the odds of the baby company being trouble-free are pretty slim. Writer beware.