When it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

I knew this would happen, it was only a matter of time before the big guys swallowed their pride to finally admit what a gold mine self-publishing really is. And that it’s not going away. So they’ll all eventually find a way to use their brand power to try and pull in self-published authors.

Think about it, when has capitalizing on making peoples’ dreams come true been bad for business? Never. Whether you agree with it or not, it’s a solid money making plan. Hay House did it, riding on Louise Hay’s brand…

So Simon & Schuster has paired with Penguin-owned Author Solutions Inc. to offer its own self-publishing service. They’re calling it Archway Publishing, a name once belonging to a S&S line of young adult paperbacks that included Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys in its hay day.

Like similar self-publishing companies Archway will offer premium-priced packages that range anywhere from a couple thousand dollars to well over $20K. Of course they’ve added a few signature bells and whistles, including an optional “concierge” service.

But what’s the real draw? The name of course. Simon & Schuster, a globally recognized company, has now opened its doors to all aspiring authors. Or that’s what they want you to think. Archway has dangled the prospect that they will “alert Simon & Schuster to Archway Publishing titles that perform well in the market.” And CEO Carolyn Reidy drove the idea home in a press release by talking about creating “a more direct connection to those self-published authors ready to make the leap to traditional publishing.”

What author couldn’t get behind that plan? S&S is banking on not many.

But when it comes down to it, and what’s most important, is this a legit opportunity for authors to make it big?

It’s a solid opportunity, but it’s not a sure thing. I’m sorry.

It’s true that S&S, via Archway, has developed programs that will provide authentic services to help authors not only get published, but establish a platform, and I have no doubt they’ll be damn good at it.

However the catch is again in the name. Self-publishing via Archway in no way makes you a Simon and Schuster author, despite the alluring connection. Self-publishing via Archway will not guarantee you eyes at the New York Times. The list of things it can’t guarantee you goes on…

But self-publishing via Archway WILL get you published. And that’s been the first step for every successful writer in history.