Autharium the British Smashwords? Nope

authariumHard to keep up with the chaos of all things Indie author/publishing industry these days. Now Autharium has a hat in the ring, dog in the fight, you pick the cliche. At first glance, I thought they were a UK version of Smashwords.

What makes them different aside from being in London? Hard to tell initially because they allow authors to upload ebooks (prefer Word Doc) and then distribute to major retailers while also selling from their own site. They pay 85% royalties for sales directly at their own site and a reduced rate from sales at retailers. They let you keep the rights, give you an ISBN, have a community of readers, formatters, cover designers… I asked how this is different from Smashwords? A representative’s reply :

Autharium is a publisher who curates and publishes books from only the very best authors. I suppose it’s also question of if you wish to self-publish or have your work published by a publisher. Autharium authors maintain creative direction over their work and do receive the lion’s share of royalties as we are a pure digital publisher and have global reach through our retail partners such as Apple, Amazon, Kobo, Waterstones etc. One cool aspect that you might like is that you can preview and edit your book within Autharium before it is submitted for publishing. We also have lots of contact with fellow publishers on the print side so if your book really takes off we can help secure you a print deal, of course it would be totally up to you if you wanted us to get involved with this too.

In their Terms and Conditions this line jumps out:  your Work has not previously been published in any Digital Form anywhere in the world. That’s a problem for me and many others, as we already have ebooks elsewhere and don’t want exclusivity with one distributor but wish to remain free to publish anywhere.

There are other terms which don’t excite me, terms which sound like signing your rights away, although they do include a clause that you can cancel the contract within 90 days of a written request to get out.

Vive la difference. Autharium is an exclusive publisher and only accepts new ebooks (still feels like self-publishing to me). They claim to take only the very best authors, so it sounds like an approval process with a capable panel of judges (really? that’s hard to believe). It also has European roots and therefore European partners, which I admit is pretty cool. Their growing list of retail partners include:

Apple iBookstore
Books On Board
Barnes and Noble
Independent Booksellers

You may notice several retailers listed that won’t appear at Smashwords.

So if you have a new book coming out, would you want to upload there? Does this option make more sense for US authors or UK authors or indies living elsewhere, or does it not matter one iota? Would you really feel like a traditionally published author if they accepted your book?

For now I’ll stick with my plan but would love to know if anyone intends to use their services or has had good experience there.

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