Releasing a book is a proven way to boost your authority, so it’s no wonder entrepreneurs are scrambling to write and publish a book. But how should you go about creating it? One popular route is hybrid publishing, the type of service offered by Advantage Forbes Books.
If you’re considering publishing with Advantage's Forbes Books, read on. This review will cover everything you need to know, including the services they provide, how much they will cost you, what other people are saying, and alternative options you should consider.
Let’s explore whether Forbes Books is the right option to launch your career as an authorpreneur.
This review of Forbes Books will cover:
What is Forbes Books?
Forbes Books is a done-for-you book publishing service company by Advantage that works with entrepreneurs and business people to produce books and market them.
Advantage is based in Charleston, South Carolina and has been operating from that location since 2005. The company's founder is Adam Witty who still serves as CEO.
Advantage originally started helping aspiring authors get their books into the world back in 2005. Witty started by using his network of local graphic designers and ghostwriters from the Charleston area to produce books for clients.
Thanks to the company’s success, Forbes chose to partner with them back in 2016 as a way of entering the book publishing space to diversify from their already successful Forbes Magazine. Advantage later teamed up with American City Business Journals in 2019.
There's no doubt that Forbes Books has some major names associated with it and a long track record of getting books out into the world. But that doesn't necessarily mean they are right for you or provide the precise combination of services you need.
To help determine that, let’s take a closer look at exactly what’s on offer at Forbes Books.
Forbes Books packages & pricing
So, what services are provided by Forbes, how much do they cost, and are they a wise investment?
Before we delve deep into the services on offer, allow us to sound a note of caution. Forbes Books is an example of a publishing company that doesn’t publicly state how much it will cost to work with them.
For us, this is often a red flag. Why? It requires you to enter into their sales process by consulting with them before you get any information on pricing. It's a lot harder to make a calm and calculated decision if a sales rep has already built a rapport with you.
However, just like in our other reviews of publishing companies, we’ve searched high and low to bring you information on pricing. We’ll reveal that shortly, but spoiler alert – it isn’t cheap!
The process of working with Forbes Books
Before we break down the various service tiers on offer, we want to give you a quick big-picture view of the process of working with Advantage Forbes Books, as it applies to all of their packages.
Here are the steps to work with Forbes Books:
- Initial consultation. Checking if your background qualifies you for one of the three imprints, discussing your goals for writing a book, and exploring your initial idea.
- Further consultation. Drill down on your specific publishing objectives and how a book would tie in with your existing business model.
- In-person day. A visit to Advantage Forbes HQ in Charleston to meet in person.
- Your team. A chance to meet with your team. Your book publishing team consists of an account manager, ghostwriter, graphic designer, and web designer.
- Ghostwriter interviews. Interviews with your ghostwriter to produce the material for your book.
- Book design. Work directly with a book cover designer to create an attractive book cover based on your specifications.
- Book marketing. Book marketing activities as well as personal branding options such as website creation.
Now that you know how the process works, let’s look at the specific options on offer and how much they cost.
Forbes Books ghostwriting services
The core purpose of Advantage Forbes is to help busy business people get a book out into the world without having to take the time to write it. This is done by working with a ghostwriter.
Advantages Forbes provides two levels of ghostwriting to choose from:
- Talk about your book. The lowest level of ghostwriting described as “writing your book with you.” Consists of 10 hours of interviews with a ghostwriter who will ask you questions to shape the contents of each chapter. They will then refine your spoken answers into written prose and a full manuscript.
- Full-service ghostwriting. The top tier described as “writing your book for you.” This consists of double the interview time, totaling 20 hours. The ghostwriter will also carry out further work in addition to the interviews, such as gathering supporting material and conducting research.
Depending on your existing business profile, and the budget you have to invest, the book produced by the Advantage Forbes ghostwriting process will be released on one of three imprints.
Forbes Books imprints
The three imprints at Forbes Books are Advantage, Business Journal Books, and Forbes Books. Let's learn a little more about each.
The lowest level imprint for the Advantage process is intended for managers, executives, and entrepreneurs looking to use a book to grow their business. This package doesn’t include any marketing services, although they can be added on an a la carte basis.
So what will you get if you choose this imprint?
- Talk Your Book ghostwriting process described above.
- Distribution to 25,000 retail outlets.
- No marketing services included.
The price of releasing a book through the Advantage imprint is around $25,000, according to an article from Entrepreneur.
The fact that you’re looking at close to $1000 an hour just to get a book produced is indicative of the very high cost of this service. Keep in mind you don’t get any marketing for that price, nor the skill set needed to produce future books.
Business Journals Books
So what about if you’re already an established business figure in your city or region and are looking to expand your authority and sphere of influence?
The Business Journals Books imprint is intended for people like you, and it includes the following:
- Full-service ghostwriting process described above to produce your book.
- Coverage in 1 of the 43 local business journals that have a total print readership of over a million people weekly.
- Distribution to 25,000 retail outlets.
- A 12-month marketing program (read on for more details on this).
According to the Entrepreneur article linked above, this option is going to cost you $40,000 to $50,000 for the full-service ghostwriting service tier.
This breaks down to over $2000 an hour seeing as you will get 20 hours with your ghostwriter. It’s unclear if the marketing system is included in this price or not, but as it costs a significant sum on its own, as you will soon see, it probably isn’t.
If you’re reading this review as a businessperson looking to release a book, I’m willing to bet the Forbes name caught your eye.
However, to be published on the Forbes Books imprint itself, you need to have serious business success under your belt, not to mention a hefty sum ready to invest.
So what does this top-tier imprint consist of?
- Full-service ghostwriting process to produce your book.
- Distribution to airport bookstores as well as the 25,000 retail outlets offered by the other imprints.
- A 12-month marketing package – Forbes Authority Marketing System
Forbes is upfront when they say this imprint is intended for people looking to gain global authority. Its cost certainly reflects this!
Forbes Books costs between $125,000 – $250,000.
This is one of the highest price points I’ve ever come across for a publishing service. There’s no denying the cachet that the Forbes brand brings. However, think long and hard about whether $250,000 is needed to experience success as a business author. You may find self-publishing to be a far better route to take.
Forbes Books Authority Marketing services
Aside from the ghostwriting and book production offered by Advantage Forbes Books, their other main service is Authority Marketing. This is a system that leverages your book to boost your personal brand in several ways.
According to one interview with Advantage CEO Adam Witty, the price point for their marketing system is $25,000 – $30,000.
So how does this system help authors, and what does it consist of? There are three main components:
- Personal brand website. A sleek-looking website is created for you along with some SEO, email list facilities, and an online audit of your existing online reputation.
- Print coverage. Coverage of your book in either the Business Journals or Forbes ecosystem, depending upon the imprint you have chosen.
- PR and media. Conventional media campaigns split between print, talk radio, and TV. You get a guaranteed level of coverage as part of this.
In our opinion, this does not represent value for money whatsoever.
We’re not denying that an author website should form a valuable part of your personal brand, or that print coverage can boost your profile.
However, two problems stand out here…
First, if you're a big enough name to be featured on Forbes, you probably wouldn't have too much trouble securing media appearances on your own. There are also specialist PR agencies out there that can offer the same level of guaranteed results at a lower price point.
Second, you’re relying on a company to handle everything, and their system is limited to 12 months. Would it not be better to invest in a program that teaches you how to build ongoing publicity for yourself and your book far into the future?
Should I use Forbes Books?
We make no secret of the fact that we believe learning to self-publish is the best option out there for authors.
The drawbacks of traditional publishing are many, and hybrid publishing, such as that offered by Advantage Forbes, can sometimes end up being the worst of both worlds. You pay money upfront for far less freedom and control than you would have as a self-publisher.
However, we’re not denying that as far as such programs go, this is a quality option, albeit an expensive one.
Therefore, if you’re an already established name in the business world, and you have a large amount of money to invest, you may wish to consider partnering with Advantage Forbes.
Please take the time to consider whether self-publishing might be a better bet. You can still use a ghostwriter and have a lot of the process carried out for you.
You will almost certainly pay a lot less and will have a more valuable skillset in the long run, leading to a potentially far greater ROI. Just something to think about.
Now that we’ve covered what type of services are offered by Advantage Forbes, you likely have a better idea of if this company is actually for you or not.
To help you decide, let’s weigh the pros and cons.
The pros of Forbes Books:
- Prestige. If you’ve read reviews of other publishing companies, you’ll know that a lot of them are far from prestigious. It’s refreshing to see such a reputable name as Forbes involved.
- Quality. From what we’ve seen of the books produced by Advantage Forbes, they are indeed high-quality. Then again, they very much should be for the high price point.
- Reputation. There are a lot of happy clients who have used the services on offer here.
- Time-tested. Advantage has been publishing books since 2005, so you can have confidence they have found a process that works.
The cons of Forbes Books:
- Expensive. This is an expensive option, and in our opinion, doesn't represent the best value for money out there.
- Limited. You are very much limited to the ghostwriters and book cover designers provided by Advantage Forbes – you don’t have the freedom to cast a wider net.
- Elitist. Unless you're already a big name in the business world, forget about Advantage Forbes. They won't accept you. And if you are, do you need their help?
Other advantage Forbes Books reviews
We know what it’s like to research a publishing company. It can be time-consuming and frustrating, with browsers full of open tabs!
To save you the hassle, we’ve looked at what other people are saying about Advantage Forbes.
Given their elite, top-tier services, there aren’t a lot of reviews out there!
On Google, the company holds a 5-star rating, albeit from a low number of reviewers.
Advantage Forbes also has good feedback on Facebook, with a higher number of reviewers than on Google.
A couple of specific reviews can be seen below.
While these are positive reviews, there are a couple of things to note. First, these are both from a couple of years ago. Second, there's no indication of the results either of these people got from working with Advantage Forbes. That’s not to discredit their reviews, but it is something to keep in mind.
Alternatives to Forbes Books
We openly advocate self-publishing as the best option out there. It’s inclusive, profitable, and we’ve seen the results it produces time and time again, for everyone from first-time fiction authors to busy entrepreneurs.
We’re openly affiliated with Self-Publishing School's author education programs, which you might be interested in if you want to go the self-publishing route.
- Become a Bestseller. For only $7,000 this program guarantees you a bestselling book. You could still hire a ghostwriter for the same number of hours as Advantage Forbes and invest far less. You also gain the skillset to release unlimited bestselling books, rather than just a single book.
- Book Marketing for Authors. This Self-Publishing course provides you with one-on-one coaching, an exclusive mastermind community, and done-for-you marketing and PR for just $10,000.
Please stop and consider whether investing in both of these programs for a total of $17,000 isn’t a better choice than opting for Advantage Forbes. In our honest opinion, you gain additional benefits, such as a supportive community and attentive coaching, at a fraction of the cost.
Our final rating of Forbes Books
As far as publishing companies go, this is one of the better ones out there. There’s no denying the prestige of the Forbes brand.
However, we firmly believe you can experience a greater return on a far lower investment elsewhere. Crunch the numbers yourself, and we’re confident you’ll reach the same conclusion.
Here are some other publishing company reviews so you can compare against them:
- Self-Publishing School Review
- Reedsy Review
- BookBaby Review
- Author Incubator Review
- Scribe Media Review
- Skyhorse Publishing Review
- Self-Publishing Formula Review
- Lulu Publishing Review
- Smashwords VS Draft2Digital Review
- Elm Hill Publishing Review
- Xlibris Review
- Entrepreneur Press Review
- Zondervan Publishing Review
If you'd like to write your book as swiftly and effortlessly as possible without spending tens of thousands on Forbes Books, reach out to the team at selfpublishing.com for a free strategy call today. We can help you to successfully write, edit, market, and self-publish your story in record time.