Over the years we’ve have several posts regarding companies that some call vanity presses or vanity publishers. About three years ago we had an entire series of posts about these companies, called #PublishingFoul. Five years ago there were two major players in this arena: PublishAmerica and Author Solutions with a few other smaller companies using the same business model.
The two biggies operated under a myriad of different names with foreign subsidiaries and multiple imprint names. Keeping track of them was tough. But a rule of thumb that is attributed to author James D. Macdonald that “money should always flow toward the author” was all a wannabe-published author needed to know to avoid becoming the victim of those who would prey on the less informed. But the only thing constant in the world is change, and over the last several years a lot has changed, both in this portion of the publishing industry and in how authors can protect themselves. Continue reading “You’re So Vain: Vanity Presses Versus Self-Publishing”
by Jacqueline Hopkins
Back in 2010, I was living in Alaska, and editing my niece’s book. Shana Gentry told me she had a publisher and they were waiting for her to finish it. I asked her who it was. Proudly, she said, “Why it’s Publish America, of course.” I had never heard of them. Back when I’d tried to get my novel published, I’d gone the traditional route – and Publish America wasn’t one of them. After all the rejections I received, I got discouraged and quit writing, shelving over a dozen books I had started.
In any case, I asked Shana about PA and she said she’d found them online and had already signed a contract with them. When she first contacted them, their response and interest in her book was immediate and very over the top, telling her she had a bestseller and that they would make her a famous author. PA was very prompt in their responses; however, their contract spoke of many charges to come out of her pocket. In fact, she wouldn’t see a profit from sales until they recouped their costs. Only then would get any royalties. Shana also told me she was to pay them around $200 for startup fees and contact placement in the company, and for a front cover and back panel of the book. They also told her an editor would call her and keep in touch with her as she wrote, and that she didn’t need to seek the copyrights as they handled that as well. She told me she had her doubts right away and stopped correspondence with them after about two weeks of back and forth emails and harassing phones calls, pushing her to send the manuscript. Continue reading “How we almost got hooked…line and sinker… by Publish America”
Way back in 2009, I managed to finish the novel that had taken me more than twenty years to write. I was proud, I was elated, and I was clueless as to how to get it published. So I paid for a membership with Writers’ Digest and looked on their website for possible publishers. That’s where I found Black Rose Writing. I sent them a query letter and a brief synopsis of my weighty military thriller. Then I crossed my fingers.
A few days later I received a reply stating they would love to publish my book. Holy cow! I was over the moon! My first query letter and I’d landed a publisher. How did I get so lucky? I’d read about numerous authors sending out thousands of query letters only to be rejected by every publisher under the sun. Was my book that good? Or did I have cause to be worried? Continue reading “Black Rose Writing — A Less-Than-Ideal First Experience”
Scammers have been targeting creative types for a long time – maybe even since the first time somebody drew a pictograph on a rock. For the past few decades at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s website, Writer Beware has been fighting the good fight against scammers on behalf of authors. Author Victoria Strauss, who co-founded Writer Beware, has agreed to climb into the hot seat for this month’s LynneQuisition. Continue reading “LynneQuisition: Victoria Strauss”