Are You a Published Author? Now You Can Tell the World!

Hey, Published Authors: Feeling artistically discouraged? Critically devalued? Culturally marginalized? Alternatively, are you just so full of self-admiration and self-confidence that you could absolutely pop?

A Customized Author Plaque from ZLS Publishing (“The Authorpreneurial Publisher”) might be just the thing.

That’s right, writers. You can get your book cover laminated onto a wooden plaque, along with “engraving options” such as “Bestselling Author – 5,000+ Books Sold + your name,” or “Author Extrordinnaire [sic] -100+ Books Sold + your name.” (Talk about faint praise!) The plaques come in a range of colors (white, black, blue, etc.) and a variety of sizes, from dainty to hefty.

Just imagine the many uses to which you could put your plaque! If you can’t, ZLS suggests:

1) To be used and shown during your book signings.
2) Picture of your plaque to be placed on your website.
3) To give as Holiday gifts to authors or family members you know.
4) To be used and shown during your speaking engagements.
5) Use as part of your overall book marketing package.

And the cost? A mere $125 for the dainty size, and a somewhat heftier $325 for the hefty size, plus a few dollars extra for engraving.

(ZLS also sells Customized Author Shopping Tote Bags, Customized Author Pencils, and Customized Book Signing Author Balloons. And if the demise of has you missing those offers to put your poem on a plaque, ZLS can help.)

So if the vanity shelf in your office with all your titles ranged upon it isn’t quite enough to sustain your self-confidence, or if your self-promotional arsenal is lacking that certain je ne sais quoi, or if you just want to say it loud, you’re a Published Author and you’re proud…you can now go plaque yourself.


  1. It's a shame how this conversation went in a direction all it's own. The way I see it, it was meant to poke fun at some of the request that authors make. I personally think it was a great post. It brought attention to ZLS and we all got to laugh at things such as the price and the silliness of these authors. I mean, we see it all the time, authors asking for strange things and doing strange things all in the name of publishing. You can walk around the BEA to see some of this. Personally, I'm not mad at them (the writers or ZLS) The book publishing industry is a rough business and in order to do well, you must be able to think outside of the box. If Hallmark can do it, why can't ZLS. Thank you Victoria for posting this great and funny post! Thank you for ZLS for having this great service! I think I might go and purchase me one, just for the heck of it. LOL!
    Again-Thank you Victoria for continuing to do the wonderful job that you do. Thank you ZLS's for choosing to be different. Now, can we all just get along!

  2. Malika said,

    So, I, like Vanessa am a little confused here, how are they a Vanity Self Publisher.

    I just re-read my post, and all the comments. Apart from ZLS and its three defenders, exactly one person has made reference to vanity publishing.

    So I guess I'm a little confused here, as to why you appear to be so determined to make an issue out of a non-issue. It sort of smacks of defensiveness.

  3. Purrhaps I am rather more cautious than the average cat?
    As a cat I would much prefurr to trust a human who was prepared to pay me in tins of tuna and work through the human who opens those tins of tuna for me – the human you humans call an agent.
    I will also leave it up to someone else to announce it to the world if someone likes my carefully arranged cat hairs enough to pay for them.

  4. Catdownunder,
    Who I am is my name-Malika Joseph anything else is of no real importance. What is important is my opinion. I have no personal relationship with ZLS, nor have I done any business with them but I have an opinion just like you do and so I'm going to voice it. I don't have to reveal anything else besides myself if I choose not to and I don't owe anyone any explanation why.
    It's okay for individuals like you to gang up on or voice your opinion on a publisher but when someone disagrees with you then you want to try to attact them. I don't see how it is nothing more than catty behavior.
    The fact is that I am a fan of this blog and have been visiting it for awhile. I've read the blogs and have gotten many tips from here and most I will agree with, this one I don't happen to. I took a look at the website of ZLS and it says that they do both Traditional and Self-Publishing. I'm not making that up, it's on their website. When I scroll through their Portfolio page, I see a list of authors and schools they are dealing with under their Traditional Website portfolio page. I scroll to their Self-Publishing page and I get an under construction page. I scroll to their Self-Publishing services and I see that it says there is no fee to the author and in fact they are giving the author things. So, I, like Vanessa am a little confused here, how are they a Vanity Self Publisher. Also, their products are sold in a store. Maybe my view of business is screwed but having a store with products is not just providing a service but a product line behind them. It's in their store where it's optional to purchase, just as it's optional to go to Walmart.
    Again, I'm entitled to my opinion. You don't have to like it but I would appreciate it if you don't start trying to disrespect me because you can't know more about me or just because you don't agree with me. You may not have meant it in any harm but that's the way I took it and that isn't beneficial to either one of us.

  5. I went and looked at ZLS out of curiosity. I think my reading comprehension is pretty good for a cat. My whiskers started to twitch irritably before the end of the first line. My tail flicked at the words on the right hand side of the page. By the end of the page my fur was on end. Funny thing that, on returning here, I cannot click my claw onto a little blue bit that says "Vanessa", "Michael Schantose" or "Malika Joseph". I wonder who they are?

  6. Victoria,
    You find it interesting that people will jump to my defense, okay, well I find it just as interesting that people will jump on your bandwagon.
    I did read your post and your post seemed to be making an accusation that my company was a vanity press, which it is not. The responses given by some individuals seemed to have also read it that way.
    It's cool, I take no issue with you or your blog. Although, I will defend my company as I need to. My first line of business is the customer. We provide them with what they ask for to the best of our ability. What we do may not work for some, but for those who utilize us it works for them. Like I stated earlier, we got the request and honored it. Due to the fact that we chose to follow the first rule of customer service we get attacked for it. It's cool though, it's what happens when you do business. We aren't everything for all people but then again no business is.
    Have a great day!

  7. Hmmmm. A sudden influx of ZLS-positive comments just after ZLS itself makes an appearance…could it be a coincidence? Somehow, I don't think so.

    ZLS, Vanessa, Michael, and Malika, you might want to actually read my post before reacting to what you think I said.

  8. Maybe I'm having a slow moment but I don't see how you guys and ladies view this company as a vanity publisher. It just sounds like haters talking. I took a good look at their website and I don't see it. I mean, I actually went through every page including the blog and I don't see what you see. Oh well, I guess this is the price this company pays for putting their customers first.
    Good luck ZLS

  9. Oh, well then, if it's a BIG plaque I'm all for it. It's only mean little plaques I don't like.

    Oh, and vanity presses which make writers pay to be published and then pretend that they're not vanity presses at all. I don't like those either.

  10. But it's a BIG plaque so that's ok!! And obviously, it's not vanity to pay for your own plaque saying how great you are….

  11. LOL! Maybe Stroppy Author these writers want as Einstein has a "bragging corner." Who are we to say that they couldn't and shouldn't have one. I don't see anything vanity about it. It's in a store for goodness sakes! Seriously!I don't see anything on their website that compares them to AuthorHouse, Publish America or the other Vanities here. We are picking on a publisher who SELLS stuff in their STORE! It's not a service, it's in a store! Wow, are we really that bored and don't have anyone else to pick on. Wow! I've been a follower of this blog for awhile, but I think it's starting to lose its touch. Wow!

  12. Yes, I'd have to agree with both Vanessa as well as StroppyAuthor that I personally wouldn't do it, but we can't get mad at them for doing it. It seems to be a service that writers are asking for and unless we've seen what the plaques look like, picking at ZLS may not be fair. Taking a look at the store, I see that it looks like they are offering other things such as customized stuff for authors that they can use for things like bookfairs. Listen, I feel like this, it's creative, it's different, if it's a strategy that helps get the author known or they just want to have something else to be proud of, I'm all for it. Based on the definition that I've seen on this blog about Vanity Presses I wouldn't call it that based on the definition. Different than what you and I would do-Yes but that's the world of books!

  13. Thank you ZLS for your explanation. While, I'm not sure if it would be something that I would want to do, I'm sure there are others who would.
    You can't be all things to all people and you will take the heat for doing things a bit different. I agree with Stroppy Author about wanting to blast that you've sold 100 books, but I see it on the message boards all the time with writers posting just this. Those are for writers who want to boast to their friends and family that they sold a book.
    Good luck in your company and I wish you nothing but the publishing best. I will definitely be paying attention to your company.

  14. Good grief!
    Einstein had an area of his office which he called his 'boasting corner' in which he stored all his awards, including his Nobel prize. He was not keen on that kind of stuff, and dumped it all together so that people didn't have to look at it unless they went out of their way to do so. A much better plan.

    Why on Earth would you boast that your book had sold only 100 copies?!?!

  15. The idea came from a series of suggestions requested by local authors who saw that businesses we were working with were getting their newspaper or newsletter articles laminated into a plaque and wanted us to do the same for them. We decided to honor their request and also thought it would be a good idea to offer it to everyone. The plaque is a pretty big size which is where the price comes from. We listen to our customers. That is the first rule of customer service and so we honor that. For those who have made the request for these plaques and got them they were satisfied with them. Call us whatever you want, jump to whatever conclusion you want, but we will always listen to our customer first. They approached us and we honored their request.
    ZLS Publishing

  16. First of all, we are not a vanity press so if you're going to call us out do it right. You don't have to like what we do or our business model but it works for us. By the way, we have an award for you: Attention seeker of the blogging world! and it'll cost you nothing. Lol! Thank you for the attention, we very much appreciate it!

  17. Good grief. So I can pay $125 for a plaque, take a photo of it, photoshop the photo, upload the photo onto my website…

    Or I can just use the cover art.

    Hmm. Difficult decision, that one.

  18. This is worthy of the Fail Blog.

    We create tee shirts, an author buddy and I, with your cover on it or whatever (spelled correctly) and they're a heck of a lot cheaper.

  19. That is the funniest dang thing I've read since rolling out of bed this morning. Personally, I'd rather have my royalty statement pinned to my bulletin board where it says "10,000 copies sold."

  20. Those would make funny gifts, but only if I take a friend's book cover, glue it to some plywood, and paint polyurethane over the whole thing myself. That would really add the personal touch!


    How about just lighting it on FIRE afterwards for a 4th of July picnic pranks? :0)

  21. Man. I've got 10,000 books sold. And I'm a "bestselling author"?

    This is the first faint inkling I've ever had of it.

  22. Oh, if only these weren't so expensive, I would totally buy these as gag gifts for all my "Author Extrordinnaire" friends.

  23. LOL!!! What a hoot! A nice detail to insert into a scene–says everything about a character (winks)

  24. I spent a couple of minutes perusing their Website Extrordinnaire, thinking "Hmm, these people seriously need the services of a web design firm." Then it hit me. They offer web design services. And every bit as nice as the plaques, no doubt.

  25. It never ceases to amaze me how vanity presses offer all sorts of junk that I could easily buy somewhere else for a fraction of the price.

  26. Just starting my day (7:00am) and got distracted by the web (as ever). So glad I did!

    That site and this post put a smile on my face to start the day. 🙂

  27. Good grief! How tacky, exploitative, shamelessly self-interested… and worst of all, poorly spelled!!

    I'd eat my shoes before buying such a plack (sic).

  28. Where do you find these?

    This is so freakin' hilarious. Maybe I should be a few to give as mandatory necessities to all new government employees.

  29. Wow. That takes narcissism to a whole new level.

    Okay, I admit I say that because narcissism is one of my favorite words.

    I'm with those before me; it would make a great gag gift, but not for that price.

    There will be plenty who will dish out the cash, but it only proves the old saying: A fool and his money are soon parted.

  30. What! Everyone commenting is laughing and saying it's a JOKE?

    Oh. *puts back the $325 worth of pennies in purse*

  31. You know that Modge Podge is a wonderful thing for this sort of project.

    I ran it by an owner of a local trophy shop that I know and he said he could go 1/2 price on that and still make a tidy profit.

    Kath O David

  32. Maybe my 87yr old father could start a new business? He has enough timber in the shed – and I think he could do it for less than this! Do you think they would welcome the competition? 🙂

  33. If I win the lottery I'll selfpublish and buy hundreds of these things to airdrop over the next convention of publishers/authors/agents/literati.


  34. I buy similar plaques for all sorts of random things at my work (retirement, so-and-so of the year, etc.) and the prices these guys are charging are outrageous. If you really, really want something silly like that, you should call around to your local trophy shops.

  35. Those would make funny gifts, but only if I take a friend's book cover, glue it to some plywood, and paint polyurethane over the whole thing myself. That would really add the personal touch!

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