Are you looking for a Dorrance Publishing review? But you may wonder if it is a scam.
Although it may be a challenge to write a book, the real challenge is to get it approved for publication. Dorrance Publishing wants to simplify things, but some people think they’re trying to take your money.
If you’re an aspiring writer, you’ll understand what I mean when I say that making money working from home is more than just a pipe dream.
As a disclaimer, I’m not affiliated with Dorrance Publishing. It means I’m not paid to write this review. So you can rest assured that you will get an honest and unbiased review from me.
At the end of this review, I’ll also tell you the best alternative to Dorrance Publishing that has enabled me to make a full-time passive income online.
What Is Dorrance Publishing?
In 1920, Gordan Dorrance founded a company called Dorrance Publishing to help those who wanted to publish their own works. The company has been around longer than most other similar companies combined.
Other names they operate under include I-Proclaim Books, Red Lead Press, Rose Dog Books, and Whitmore Publishing Company.
The term “vanity publisher” is often applied to Dorrance. The vanity publishing industry is notorious for its inflated royalties, lackadaisical marketing, and cavalier attitude toward submissions (unless the author pays for them). It is common practice for vanity publishers to claim ownership of the works they publish.
Self-publishing is an alternative to vanity publishing in which the author retains all editorial and publishing rights.
It’s not entirely clear whether Dorrance is vanity publishing or self-publishing. While you as the author retain some ownership of your work, it is unclear whether Dorrance has the right to distribute your book.
I need a little time to think about this, but I will get back to you.
Making a Living as a Writer
You’re probably not writing for the sake of money, but because you enjoy the writing itself. In reality, however, the need for financial stability is the main factor that keeps the vast majority of aspiring writers from realising their dream of becoming a writer.
Dorrance and other publishers make it easy to turn your manuscript into a physical book, but they don’t address the most pressing issue facing most writers: how to make a living.
As I’ll explain below, Dorrance does offer some useful promotional services after your book is finished, but to take advantage of them, you need both a finished manuscript and the means to pay for it.
This is very annoying. You’ve a great love for writing and for the topics you want to write about. Still, you should expect to spend money on accommodations.
If you’re like the rest of us, as a writer you’re probably spending your best hours doing a job you despise just to make ends meet. You could combine them, couldn’t you?
Combine your two passions, writing and making money, to create a win-win situation.
That’s exactly the problem I went through, so I totally get it…
It’s a lot of work to write a book, publish it, and hope it sells well financially. In most cases, people miss the mark completely. In a small percentage of cases, you may strike gold and launch a successful writing career.
But it’s a big gamble. In 2014, when I already had two novels in the works, I realized I could not take the time to write a third. That’s why I studied English literature: to make a living as a writer. I needed to broaden my horizons.
Completing some of the big projects I was staking my future on as a writer was taking a disproportionate amount of time… so I started blogging to keep me sane while I waited.
Even though people still read my novels, I have been able to make a living as a writer much more quickly thanks to my blog. It’s unique, but you should still get paid for your writing skills.
The choice between Dorrance and another school ultimately depends on your personal circumstances and the timing of your application.
Blogging also facilitates communication between writers and offers insight into the increasingly important areas of digital publishing and marketing for today’s successful writers.
And if you want to make a few bucks on the side (hey, we all need a break now and then), filling out quick Internet surveys is easy and fun.
Your opinion is worth money on sites like surveyjunkie.com and inboxdollars.com, for example.
Watching videos, looking at websites, and playing online games are all activities for which you can earn Inbox Dollars.
You should not get too distracted by them when writing, but they can be an entertaining way to take a break from your thoughts. A second way for writers to make a living is to drive for Uber.
I, for one, like to write while driving. For a long time, I worked in the field, so my car became a safe haven. When I lived in Alberta, Canada, a few years ago, I signed up for Uber and started using the service whenever I needed a short break to earn a few dollars.
Even though I have a family, I find that I write more when I can retreat for a while.
That was a bit of a digression, but hey, that’s what writers do.
Is Dorrance Publishing a Scam or Legit?
Should I assume that Dorrance Publishing is a fraud? If you think that might be the case, read on to find out why.
Founded in the years following the end of World War I in 1920… Dorrance Publishing was a covert government initiative that collected and analyzed historical literary works to determine the political and religious leanings of the authors.
Although social media has largely supplanted Dorrance Publishing as a source for spying on Americans, the company still serves to learn about the international goals of certain fringe groups. Could it be a hoax?
It’s meant to sound ridiculous because it is.
As a writer, it’s always exciting to add a little drama to an otherwise factual review, and everyone enjoys a good plot.
Hopefully that’s not a problem for you.
Dorrance Publishing is NOT a scam, honestly. After nearly a century in the publishing industry, I was shocked to hear them called a fraud.
Some customers may have felt taken advantage of by the relentless pursuit of profit. However, I am not sure that this proves that Dorrance Publishing is fraudulent.
However, it is also questionable whether they are actively seeking profit, since we have no idea of their actual overhead costs.
Here’s an author who felt “screwed” by Dorrance Publishing and states his case in detail.
Dorrance’s responded to the complaint below).
“The charge for these services is determined by the number of hours required of the writing coach rather than the number of manuscript pages. We do our best to guess what will best fit each author’s needs. Unfortunately, it appears that Mr. *********’s manuscript required significantly more work than we had anticipated, and the original writing coach hours he had hired could only cover a fraction of his manuscript.”
The lesson here is not that Dorrance Publishing is dishonest, but rather that potential customers should do their homework before contracting with them. We do not have enough information to determine whether or not the customer is at fault for this complaint.
However, it is never wise to ignore written communication in favor of verbal. Send an email and ask for additional information if you need it. Because the amounts involved are large (tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars), be sure to keep detailed records of all correspondence.
Another reason some people wonder if Dorrance is a scam is that they specialize in vanity publishing and self-publishing.
You have no idea what you are getting into because the website does not mention pricing or contract details. There is a sense of secrecy. I do not think this is their intention. Maybe it was overlooked.
Unlike a number of other book publishers, Dorrance does not post a copy of its agreement or author contract on its website. And I think it’s critical that you clarify these legal details “before” you send your work to Dorrance Publishing.
Dorrance employs what some might call antiquated sales practices by simply offering a contact form on their website asking for contact information and a convenient time to contact them.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with that, but these days most people simply seek the answers they are looking for online.
They are hesitant to talk to a publishing services consultant who may also be a salesperson.
Dorrance should have no problem disclosing the initial prices of his package, reviewing copyright specifics, and explaining his approach to assigning international standard book numbers.
As long as they have nothing to hide, of course.
The Independent Publishing Newsmagazine reports that Dorrance claims the right to assign ISBNs to its own works. It is reasonable to assume that Dorrance Publishing has exclusive rights to distribute your book, since they have the ISBN and thus the ability to sell it online and in stores.
If only a few copies of your book are sold, this should not be a problem.
Would you prefer that Dorrance Publishing get the distribution rights to your book if it becomes a bestseller with film and spinoff potential? Even if you created the content, you will have to pay Dorrance for each copy sold if they are involved in the distribution of your book.
Self-publishing means that you, the author, pay to have your book printed. There are no catches.
Dorrance Publishing’s official website says your contract period is only two years. Fair enough… But again, there’s no formal documentation at the beginning outlining the terms of the contract. Or the things they hand over after the contract expires.
They probably would not give up so quickly if they knew they had a bestseller on their hands.
To me, this just has a sneaky feel to it. I’m not implying that Dorrance is intentionally misleading anyone; rather, I think it would be more beneficial to everyone if they simply stated their goals up front.
I don’t want to discourage you from working with Dorrance; I just want to make sure you’re well protected by advising you to take time to review all contracts and keep detailed records of all dealings with Dorrance before you sign anything.
Your diligent work will benefit Dorrance and you in making a fair purchase.
How Does Self-Publishing With Dorrance Work?
The dream of many people is to have their work published (myself included). Who would not want to see their name on a book cover? So. Copyright concerns aside, the first step to working with Dorrance Publishing is to fill out a short online form.
You will then be connected (by phone) with a project coordinator who will look over your book (from first draft to final version).
Before that, however, your book will be reviewed and you will receive an overview of the publishing packages and extras.
Package prices start in the low thousands and go into the twenties.
There are payment plans, but your book will not be shipped until you have made all your payments. To reiterate, you may not use the proceeds from the book sale to pay off your debt to Dorrance Publishing.
Prices can increase rapidly due to factors such as book size, paper size, and binding methods, as well as tertiary services such as marketing and distribution.
You should contact Dorrance because you want to see your work in print, not because you hope to make a profit, as they say up front. Independently published books rarely bring in enough revenue to cover their production costs.
Specifically, they offer the following services.
- Only basic (or mechanical) editing, including spelling, punctuation, and some grammar. They do not address plot elements, continuity errors, character development, motivations, etc.
- They create both print copies and e-book editions.
- Cover design
- Copyright registration
- Assign an LCCN (Library of Congress Control Number) and an ISBN.
- Prepare a press kit that includes a press release, a high-resolution cover photo, and an executive summary.
- Inform booksellers that your book is now available.
- List your book in the bibliography tool for libraries and vendors.
- Create a Google Adwords campaign.
- Submit your offer to Dorrance and Amazon bookstores.
- They process and ship orders from the Dorrance Bookstore as well as third-party vendors such as Amazon, Ingram Lightning, and Baker & Taylor.
- Merchandising in places where you (the author) actively promote yourself.
Publishing Terms and Fees
It’s not easy to quantify an entire bundle, as has already been said.
Dorrance, however, lists some of its fixed costs on its website.
Dorrance Publishing offers 40% royalties for the sale of printed books through its online store. Royalties for Dorrance e-book sales are 80%.
Royalties for print books sold through Amazon are 20%, while royalties for digital books sold through the same platform are 40%.
Dorrance sets the selling price, and the contract is for two years.
It’s worth noting that while it would be helpful if the pricing for the base package were disclosed to give you an indication of where the price starts, the actual cost won’t be known until you provide more information.
How much do you expect to be able to spend?
Dorrance responds as follows…
Please correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like they’re saying they need to see your book before they can give you a price because they need to know the cover type, page count, and number of illustrations.
Of course, it’s logical that they want to know what their cost will be before they give you a price.
However, and please correct me if I’m wrong, I’m confused as to why they need a copy of your novel to make such determinations.
They should be able to give you a general estimate over the phone or via email if you give them details about the length of your manuscript, number of pages, number of illustrations, binding options, and page sizes.
But I may have overlooked something; please forgive me if this is the case.
If you want to write but can’t get a contract with a conventional publisher, you still have the option of self-publishing your work. But. It’s not cheap, and Dorrance admits on his website that it’ll be difficult to break even.
Most complaints about money spent online aren’t about the total price. The usual reason for a complaint is that the author has defaulted on payments and their book is hanging in limbo.
Not Ready to Be Published
Another common complaint comes from writers whose works have been published with typos. If you’re going to spend tens of thousands of dollars to print a book, it had better be error-free.
The claim here is that advertising was part of the original contract, but that Dorrance demanded additional payment after the book was published because the advertising services were not covered.
Get everything you need in writing so that there are no misunderstandings or disputes after the fact.
I feel the need to put my two cents in. Assuming that you are not quite as old as Dorrance Publishing, it is safe to say that it has been around longer than you. Since we lack the original contracts on which to base our allegations, we cannot hold Dorrance accountable for any wrongdoing.
Both of the above complaints could be due to misunderstandings on the part of the authors. Dorrance has responded to both issues by providing its own interpretation of the contract.
That is, these are not evaluations or judgments, but complaints. A misunderstanding of the terms of the contract seems more likely to me than a deliberate attempt to deceive.
Poor Customer Service
Complaints are subjective, just like the others. Customers whose calls were ignored, whose refund requests were ignored, etc.
I just mentioned that Dorrance Publishing has responded to concerns expressed on the Better Business Bureau website. I have no idea if that is what the customer was hoping to hear. But at least they were heard when they complained.
Dorrance Publishing Positive Reviews
As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, companies receive both positive and negative comments all the time. I don’t want everyone to think that every comment is critical and that every customer has something to complain about, because that’s not the case.
And Dorrance has received a lot of praise as well. Some examples can be found on the Better Business Bureau website.
Dorrance Publishing Customer Support
You can reach Dorrance Publishing’s customer service team through the contact form on the website.
The following methods will also put you in touch with Dorrance Publishing’s helpful customer service representatives.
Dorrance Publishing Phone Number: 1-800-695-9599
Dorrance Publishing Fax number- 412-387-1319
What I Like About Dorrance Publishing
- As someone who enjoys writing (and has a couple novels in the works for much too long), I appreciate that Dorrance provides an alternate route of being published for people who haven’t yet been discovered by established publishing houses. Many people want to be published authors, and if money isn’t an issue, companies like Dorrance can help them achieve that goal.
- Dorrance does provide a wide range of services, although at a high expense. They don’t just print your book and hand you the quantity of copies you paid for before saying good-by.
- They have been around for about a century. Despite the complaints and fraud claims, they must be doing something right if they are still there after 100 years.
What I Don’t Like About Dorrance Publishing
- The exorbitant price. In rare cases, authors have received honoraria of $20,000 to $30,000. Twenty years ago, these costs might have made sense. But in today’s age of digital distribution and on-demand printing, they are hard to justify. You could outsource the editing and cover design and publish your book on Kindle for a fraction of the price.
- The total number of complaints filed against Dorrance. Of course, they may not be the source of all these complaints… But where there is smoke, there is often fire. Some of these complaints and unfavorable reviews may have merit. Not all, but perhaps some.
- The secrecy bothers me. I do not understand why they can not disclose their terms online and provide the cost of the basic package so authors know what’s involved.
Dorrance Publishing Reviews: Final Verdict
Frankly, I doubt that Dorrance kept up with the times. It’s likely that within the next decade Dorrance will go the way of record stores and become completely obsolete (maybe less so).
Self-publishing on Kindle and the disruptive technology demonstrated by companies like Uber and AirBnB are almost a guarantee that established publishers will soon be struggling (if they aren’t already).
Finally, let me talk about money again. Dorrance Publishing isn’t a scam, but it would be helpful to know how much money you’ll spend before you submit your work.
Other authors have put the number much higher, in the thousands.
That’s way out of my price range. At least compared to modern digital alternatives. Okay, now I get it. It’s a unique experience to have your name printed on a physical book, and while I think the price is a bit high, that doesn’t mean you won’t like it.
If you want to test the waters with publishing, digital publishing might be an option. It’s easier to financially justify a publisher like Dorrance if you market the book over the Internet and people like it.
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