A Partridge in a Penguin Tree

India is a vast book market, and print is still king. So it only makes sense that Penguin (whose parent company, Pearson, acquired self-publishing giant Author Solutions Inc. last year) has just announced the expansion of ASI into India via its new “imprint,” Partridge.

According to the official Penguin press release,

Through this imprint, Indian authors now have access to the widest range of professional publishing and marketing services that meet the best publishing industry standards, but are appropriately priced for the Indian market.

The press release emphasizes–not once, but twice–that “Penguin Books India will be watching key Partridge titles with hopes of picking up authors for the Penguin list.” This claim is prominent also on the Partridge website:

Penguin is watching Partridge India

Penguin Books India has established itself as the country’s largest English language book publisher over the past twenty-five years. Its authors are regarded as India’s literary royalty, having won Nobel Prizes, Magsaysay Awards, Jnanpith Awards, Sahitya Akademi Awards, and Commonwealth Writers Prizes, to name a few. Now Penguin will also be watching Partridge India titles that have sales velocity and authors who have a platform for possible acquisition.

Who could resist such a juicy carrot? Whether it is a real or phantom carrot remains to be seen.

Partridge offers a familiar ASI-style range of fetchingly-named publishing packages, starting with the “Coral” (Rs 12,450, around $240) and running all the way up to the “Diamond” (Rs 149,950, around $2,775). Prices are in the low range for ASI services (compare with AuthorHouse, which runs from $749 to $4,249, or Trafford, which runs from $599 to $10,999).

There’s also a small (by the standards of the American ASI brands) suite of “marketing” services, some of which are cheaper than the same services offered elsewhere in the ASI universe. Compare Partridge’s standard book video, at Rs 86,500 ($1,600) to the $2,699 charged by for this service by ASI’s American brands. (Perhaps production costs in India are lower?) A press release blast is also cheaper–Rs 16,200 ($299) for Partridge’s Essential Press Release, compared with $429 for the American version.

Other marketing services, however, will cost Indian authors more. For example, Partridge’s website creation service will set an Indian author back Rs 25,400 ($470), whereas American ASI brands charge $379. A DIY audiobook from Partridge costs Rs 37,800 ($699), not so very much more than the American version of this service at $649–but that’s only if the book is 300 pages or less. For 300-600 pages, an Indian author must hand over Rs 48,600, or $899.

And check out the markup on the Kirkus Indie Review. You can buy one of these yourself, directly from Kirkus, for $425 (or $575, if you want it faster). But if Partridge facilitates your Kirkus Indie Review, prepare to surrender Rs 86,500 ($1,600).

Indian authors should also be aware that unless they obtain a foreign tax number, Partridge must withhold 30% of their royalty earnings. Partridge’s FAQ also provides US copyright information only, possibly encouraging Indian authors to incorrectly believe they must register copyright in the US in order to have legal standing to sue for infringement elsewhere.

138 Comments

  1. Hi I was contacted by Princess Mar from partridge. I traced the telephone number to Indiana USA. I had contacted Partride because I was under the impression that it was another penguin company. My work is a study of different people and their problem solving strategies. I would not want it messed up by self publishing.
    Thank you all for sharing your thoughts and experiences.
    What if I locally manage to physically get my book printed by a local printer and hire someone part time to market it ? Would this be a viable solution ? Would this be practical ?

  2. Puneet Kumar–

    For self-publishing, I usually suggest that authors begin by looking at the free or low-cost services: CreateSpace, Lulu, or Ingram Spark (for POD/ebook) and Smashwords, Bookbaby, Draft2Digital or the direct-to-device epublishing platforms such as Amazon's KDP program and Barnes & Noble's Nook Press (for ebook only). For more information, advice, and warnings, see Writer Beware's Self-Publishing page: http://www.writerbeware.com.

  3. I got a call from partridge.I have already published my book in a local language and the third edition is underway.I did not spend a penny for it and have received my loyalty.However i thought my English works can b published..Its a blessing that I stumbled on this blog.I have already come to a decision.

  4. I'm trying to publish through Partridge Africa. Have paid a ton of money and have asked for updates on the book three times now but no response. Based on what I am reading I am in shock !

  5. Hello,

    I've just had a traumatising experience with Partridge . I contacted them online for their free guide on self publishing and also gave them my phone number for a call from the company to get further details on this. Bad idea !!!!!! The first time they called me was fine (and btw, the call was from a New Zealand number). We discussed a bit about the process and how this works and that was it. I then said that 'so the next step would be for me to get in touch with them once my book is complete'. That's when things turned nasty. The person stated that the next step is fo me to speak to their 'most experienced' representative whose schedule is always jam packed but he was available 'right now' to speak to me. I found this odd and stated that I would rather have this discussion another time. So the person instead stated that he will book an appointment for me to speak with this 'most experienced' representative, whose schedule for the next day was very tight but he managed to book a slot for me for 1 pm. I said fine and hung up. The next day I missed the scheduled call, but later that day I kept receiving calls from that number, which I found suspicious so I did not answer. And the following day I had three missed calls from a UK number. I picked up on the fourth call and realised it was the person with whom my 'telephone appointment' had initially been fixed. The person immediately started off with a series of accusations stating that I had missed his calls even though the appointment was fixed, proceeding on to raising his voice and asking why I had booked the appointment if I had to miss the calls. I then stated that I would like to cancel any such appointment and would like my details removed from their circulation as I am no longer interested in this company and then hung up. Few seconds later the same UK number was calling again ! I did not answer.

    This experience was very rattling and it felt like being hounded by a pack of hungry wolves !!! There is definitely something wrong here and I would just steer clear from these people .. and also never give my number out ever again !!!!

  6. Anonymous,

    Partridge's parent company, Author Solutions (which owns a number of other self-publishing imprints) is well-known for its incredibly aggressive hard-sell solicitation. I'm afraid that once they get you on their list, you'll likely keep receiving calls. Just don't answer, and eventually they will move on.

    Much of their phone sales staff is based in the Philippines, by the way, so there's a good chance that neither the New Zealand nor the UK numbers were genuine.

  7. I made a mistake, very similar to Victoria, of providing my phone number. The calls were relentless, and the lady at the end of the line did not even seem to have the capacity to understand when I mentioned that her calls were coming at inappropriate or inconvenient times.I have decided not to have anything to do with Partridge

  8. I am so confused with what publisher to chose for self publishing. I have had calls from patridge, star books, notion and olympia publishers. I really need some experienced suggestion for what to choose. They are all asking for lots of money except star books. I am 17 years old and really cant rely on any publishers. Please help.

  9. Hello Everyone,

    Thanks everyone! I had almost finalized Patridge Publishing,when I stumbled upon this blog.There were pretty smooth talkers and lure you to an extent that you got to believe them.I am certain that its not very safe for an new witers from India like me to invest somewhere across the seas.i get an idea that i should check something within India which will save me bucks and from uncertainties.

    i have authored a 36 page -full color children book illustration and wanted to circulate this within my family and family but the idea to market this was quite juicy.But now i know things I didn't.

    Thank you once again.

  10. I am a South African based Author who also came across Patridge publishers (or should I say self-publishers). Since I have spoken to them they have planted the idea of my book being published and distributed in America and 180 other English countries, a very attractive prospect I must say ( Now ive started seeing myself as a famous Author). I am a first time Author and I am not sure yet about the intricacies of publishing or self-publishing. I have spent the last two years of my life working on a single book, trying to understand what the purpose of life is. I am finally done writing and I am excited about the prospect of publishing but I would like to go about it the right way. What has interested me even more as part of their services was the idea that a Hollywood production studio will be contracted to produce a movie trailer for the book before its launched, a very attractive idea I have been thinking about from the beginning of my journey of this book.

    So these are my questions…
    1. We have ascertained that they are not face of fly by night so to speak. But what is their success rate in the market?
    2. Does partridge really keep its promises as far as the services they purport to provide? I mean it easy to say I will provide you a movie trailer but “the process of delivering the product as well as the final product could be below par.
    3. They are so eager for you to pay upfront before they even check your work. It sounds like they are more eager for the money than the book publication itself
    A concerned Author from South Africa

  11. Bloved1,

    Please read over my original post and the comments on this page–that should give you a better picture of what Partridge is and does.

    As a self-publishing service, the quality of your work is irrelevant to Partridge–they are a paid service provider, and you are their customer. The bulk of Partridge's income comes not from book sales to the public, but from publishing packages and marketing services.

    The distribution offered by Partridge is exactly the same as that offered by any sizeable self-publishing service. It's online distribution only, via Amazon and others; Partridge books do not reach physical bookshops (if that's important to you). As for services, you will probably get what you pay for, but be aware that Partridge's publishing packages are more expensive than those of many other, similar services; and its marketing services (such as the book trailer) are overpriced and of dubious worth.

    For more information on self-publishing, including its challenges and benefits, and links to helpful resources, please see the Self-Publishing page of Writer Beware. I'd also strongly advise you to put your publishing plans on hold for a little while, and spend some time reading up on the publishing industry. In an industry that's full of sharks, knowledge is your greatest ally and your best defense.

  12. hey guys,
    i am only adding another wheel to the rail, i too received a call from partridge publisher, 2 days before, all the way from phillipines!! WHOAAA, hell i dont have anybody known there.
    the phone call lasted for about one and a half hour . it was a guy named "JERIC ROMANO", god knows how they manage these long lasting international calls !! i asked him a lot of questions but to get it confirmed , i searched it on web, and found this blog, which is not less than a magic wand, it cleared all my doubts and from so many peoples worst experience, it helped me to decide not to pay him now.
    THUMBS UP 2 U ALL PALS!!!!

    one question : i am only a beginner, and i need a proper, worth reliable publisher in INDIA, if anybody could suggest, would be damn appreciable
    !

  13. Thank you for response.You have Atleast confirmed that they are a legitimate company trying to offer a legitimate service.That is important for me at the stage.

    Thank you.

  14. Received a call, they will publish my book without looking at the manuscript! Book has many figures in various shades of gray. They will not look at the sample pages until the contract is signed, but assure that the pages will print correctly (industry professionals insist on looking at the sample pages).
    I live in India, but they want a money wire transfer to the US. Does not make sense if the company is supposed to be Indian.
    Nobody will pay more than USD3-5 for the book. They will not tell how much the book would cost for the buyer. But it would be around USD8 for author copies. You inflate the price, the book will not sell.
    Perhaps Createspace or Instagram would be better options. No setup fees?
    My book is already typeset in a print-ready PDF.

  15. I published with Patridge and they asked me for hefty fees for marketing and such, apart from the hefty fee for publishing my work.And gave me tips to sell my book, that everyone knows.
    You can self-publish if you want to see your book in print. That is all, period.
    You can publish your book free with Lulu, for the satisfaction of seeing your book in print. Your book is a business for the likes of Patridge, they are interested in making profits FROMyou and not making profits FOR you.

  16. Haha I almost fell into the trap signing with Partridge Singapore. After finding so many negative feedback about AS and Partridge I sent back an e-mail ti them to abruptly cancel everything with vague reasons- would love to see their reaction that!
    Everyone keeps saying there are cheaper offers than Partridge- where are they? Can someone help me?

  17. Anonymous 6/03, check out CreateSpace and Lulu–both of which offer a basic free service, along with packages that are more reasonably priced than Author Solutions imprints–and also Lightning Spark.

  18. Hi. It's 2016, did u got ur 70% royalty? I just got a call from Partridge, I was so happy that I'm going to publish my book finally. But after reading all the comments here, my dreams are like pooff..gone. so tell me, can I trust this Quill Ink Publishing?

  19. A Partridge Publishing Consultant had been aggressively pursuing me too.He wanted me to give him my credit card no.
    So please beware of this.He was not bothered about my manuscript.
    My manuscript is registered on the Film Writers Association Site where it is automatically copyrited.
    One way is to put up your writing on http://www.writing.com
    There if you are a paid member you are exposed to publishers.

  20. Nita V. Kapadia,

    In most countries, by law, you have copyright from the moment you write down the words, and no further action (such as registration) is needed. The USA is the one country where you must previously have registered your copyright in order to be able to take legal action–but registering doesn't give you any greater protection than you already have.

    When you say your ms. is registered on the Film Writers Association website, do you mean the WGA? That kind of "registration" isn't a substitute for legal copyright registration through the US Copyright Office–which, again, confers certain legal rights but doesn't give you additional copyright protection, and isn't needed in any case until your book is actually published.

    For more on copyright, see the Writer Beware website.

  21. Victoria, really appreciate your practical and precise tips which are so very helpful. Please could you recommend a more effective way to publish?

  22. Anonymous 7/03,

    For authors who are looking to self-publish, I usually suggest that they start by investigating the free or low-cost services with good reputations in the self-pub community: Createspace, IngramSpark, and Lulu if they want to do print as well as ebooks, and Smashwords, Draft2Digital, and the direct-to-ereading-device services (Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing, Barnes & Noble's Nook Press, and Kobo's Kobo Writing Life) if they want to do an ebook only.

    I generally advise authors to avoid the Author Solutions self-publishing services (Partridge, iUnverse, Xlibris, Trafford, AuthorHouse, BookTango, and the self-pub services Author Solutions runs for major publishers, including Thomas Nelson's WestBow Press and Hay House's Balboa Press), since I've received many complaints about quality, price, and high-pressure sales tactics.

    Some self-publishing services claim to specialize in particular genres (such as self-help) or markets (such as the Christian market). This really isn't meaningful Self-pub services do no targeted marketing (unless you buy it a la carte), and they all use the same distribution channels.

    For information to help you comparison shop, a rundown on the benefits and challenges of self-publishing, and links to helpful resources, see the Self-Publishing page of Writer Beware: http://www.writerbeware.com/

    If you're interested in tips on traditional publishing, please email me: beware [at] sfwa.org .

  23. I am an author, and suffering from partridge. I was shocked when I saw partridge ad on my facebook page. I immediately posted the link to blog in comments, and also shared on fb.

    Thank you

  24. Wish I had seen or read this extremely useful blog about Partridge before engaging them.
    So many common complaints which corroborate my own experience.

    In particular, Partridge's mark-up on the Kirkus review. We were hard-sold the International Book Fair package (always with a very tight once-in-a-lifetime discount window) and when we questioned the real value add over the underlying Combined Book Exhibit package got a ridiculous email from a Partridge rep scaremongering us to believe that CBE has stealth charges over and above the USD 1k cost of the international book fair package – apparently a Partridge Author client ended up paying USD7.8k more.

    Has anyone had a similar experience and have you availed of Partridge's International Book Fair package – was their added cost "wrapper" worth the significant additional cost?

  25. Hi everyone!

    I came across this thread at the right time. I was about to pay my first instalment to Partridge tomorrow, for the total package of Rs.80,000. What felt funny was that the publishing consultant wanted me to give out my credit card details (including CVV number) over phone to their finance team, and that's when I started to do a bit more research.
    I would be keen to get in touch with anyone who has used the services of Partridge India recently and understand this in a bit more detail.
    I have also been looking at another self-publishing company in India, White Falcon Publishing. Does that ring a bell with anyone here?

    Many thanks, Victoria!

  26. Thank goodness I came across this thread.

    I saw an ad from Partridge Singapore about a free self-publishing guide and I got curious so I signed up for the guide. Luckily, this is not synonymous with me registering with the company online. Few days later, I got a call from them asking about my work and some of my details. I haven't started anything yet so there was not much to tell. The consultant then said that he'd send me an e-mail regarding some learning centre online and he'd call me back this coming Wednesday. It was then I started digging further and found a few threads like this.

    I'm not in hot water, yet, am I?

    -Worried-

  27. Same here. I received a call from them and she talked to me for about 25 minutes talking about the package I need to buy and the loyalty I am going to receive. She never mentions about my manuscript or anything concerned that matter. What she telling me is that there is no deadline for my work again and again. After she finished introduction, she directly links my call to their financial department asking me to pay for the package. She asked me to pay for 699 Singapore dollar which 273 is my first instalment. This is quite a huge amount for me as I am still a student with no money income or whatsoever. When I asked her about paying online, they are reluctant to reply to me.

    After a while, I feel thing has become too sketchy and ask her to call again next week. By this time, she mentioned to me there is a promotion discount which is 20% for the last 3 slot. SHE NEVER MENTIONS THIS TO ME BEFORE! I really hate people doing that to me.

    I am really thankful for this blog that I can understand more on partridge Singapore.

  28. Ohh no…already given them my credit card number to have 30 days access to Author Learning Centre.

  29. Thanks to another author who self-published her book, I am now publishing my book. The manuscript has gone to the printer, and I am paying less than Rs.25,000 for the whole process – Cover design, converting some process flow-charts into diagrams, page setting, ebook conversion, and finally, printing of 200 copies. The ebook is already out on Amazon, and hoping to get the print versions in the next 10 days or so.
    Was lucky to get connected with some really great people in India. Trust me people, you don't need Partridge, or White Falcon or any such. If you are willing to work with a few people and do some research on your own, you don't need to break the bank to publish.
    Wish you all the best in your publishing endeavours

  30. Hello Seshadri,

    My mother's horrendous experience of publishing a Malayalam novel through Notion Press has prompted me to write here so that they do not take any more gullible budding writers for a ride.

    For starters, Notion is run by a bunch of 'unprofessionals' who are experts in misinforming, misrepresenting, lying & fooling authors. This is true across hierarchies & does not matter whether you speak to the MD, line managers or support executives. My mother, a senior citizen, made the mistake of printing her Malayalam novel 'Santhiyelekki' via this wonderful printing company despite being told they had no base or pedigree in the language. Her experience with local publishers in Kerala wasn't easy mainly due to the distribution challenges & seeing Notion's façade of smooth talk, her naivety made her fall for them, something she was to regret forever. From haphazard printing, poor print quality, elementary typing & grammar mistakes to lack of response, she got everything she did not bargain for. The icing on the cake was when she was told that the Silver Package for ~Rs. 25,000 + taxes would entail her to get only 5 author copies & for every subsequent copy, she would have to pay 50% of the book's price (Rs. 425). Even though this was never told to her in the beginning (in fact, their modus operandi was never transparently spelt out by Notion, possibly deliberately), she took this on the chin & stayed hopeful that Notion's much hyped online promotion capabilities would give her book circulation. When even this proved to be a non-starter, she lined up with a few distributors in Kerala on her own & decided to pay Notion whatever they asked so that she could distribute the books herself. To her horror, this turned out to be a nightmare with Notion's staff promptly taking the payment & then spinning stories of how dispatch is delayed due to the courier company's mistake, consignment being returned to them due to no mobile number being provided, etc., all the while when even the books had not been printed at their end! Even as I type, the horror continues for her, leaving her completely exasperated by the devil-may-care attitude of these imbeciles. For my mom, it was never about earning money as an author, but about getting creative satisfaction. Notion & their entire team have successfully ensured that she gets neither money nor peace. To sum up, if you are an author wanting to publish your book, stay as far away as possible from Notion Press.

    Suffice to state that firms like Notion are a disgrace, ruin the name of the Indian publishing industry & need to be boycotted by budding writers.

  31. I just wanted to inquire about the traditional publishing process in general. Is it appropriate for publishing houses (offering traditional publishing services) to ask for an upfront security fees (refundable) and make the author pre-order a definite number of copies before it releases?

    I don't have knowledge about the process and was looking for someone who can enlighten me on it.

    Thanks.

  32. This is an update to my earlier comment above dated 25-Apr-2017 on my mother's publishing experience with Notion Press, Chennai.

    Mr. Bhargava Adepalley, one of the co-founders of Notion, connected with me a few weeks back apologizing for the huge inconvenience & distress caused to my mother. He admitted wholeheartedly that this was their first experience in Malayalam & the start was tough due to an inexperienced team in charge. He explained to me the specific steps they have taken to redress the internal lacuna pointed out by me & have also put in place a competent new team for handling Malayalam publications with a dedicated account manager.

    The interaction with Bhargava was very reassuring & his sincere intent was obvious & appreciable. Since everybody deserves a second chance, we have decided to publish my mother's next Malayalam novel 'Jwalamukhi' through Notion Press. With a committed professional like Bhargava at the helm of affairs, I am confident of a much smoother experience the second time around.

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