The excellent Writer Beware site has issued a warning about Blue Deco Publishing and provided useful information about Christian Faith Publishing.
Blue Deco authors have complained about missing royalties, broken marketing promises, and the lack of a response from the publisher, Colleen Nye.
Apparently Blue Deco approaches authors via Twitter and offers free publishing but charges for marketing, cover design, and other services. Seven of the sixteen Blue Deco authors have gone so far as to create an online petition to demand payment and return of the rights to their work. Attorneys for the Authors Guild have been able to get their demands satisfied.
If you're approached by Blue Deco, you will want to take this history into account.
CHRISTIAN FAITH PUBLISHING
Christian Faith Publishing charges authors "a minimal investment" that has turned out to be, in some cases, from $3500 to $5000 up front, or $495 up front and ten monthly payments of $295.
That doesn't include marketing, which can run $3400 for a package consisting of a "high definition video trailer," press release, and a page on the publisher's site. If you know anything about marketing, you know how little value those are likely to bring.
WAIT! They promise that this money "will be recovered by the author from book sale proceeds before we are entitled to any royalty compensation whatsoever!"
I like that exclamation mark, as though this is scarcely believable. Well, it is, since the average authors of this type are unlikely to ever recoup their investment.
Who is running this outfit? Chris Rutherford, formerly of Tate Publishing.
You'll find a very interesting blog post about Tate Publishing on this blog, with lots of comments from authors who made the mistake of signing with them. Tate went bust a while back and several of its executives were charged with embezzlement, among other things.
I'm not suggesting that Rutherford or Christian Faith Publishing are dishonest, they do seem to deliver what they promise; however, whether what you get is worth what you pay should be carefully considered--as with any publisher that charges for their services.
One thing you can do is check out the publisher's books on Amazon, see their rankings and how many reviews they have. Of course every book is different but if a publisher is promising to get your book attention via expensive marketing campaigns, that should be reflected to some extent in sales.
Mainstream publishers don't charge you anything--they pay you. Of course it's harder than ever to get a deal with a mainstream publisher and there's nothing wrong with self-publishing. But if you go the "assisted publishing" route be extra careful to check what you are actually getting.