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Blog > Understanding Publishing – Posted on Aug 21, 2019

Author Scams and Publishing Companies to Avoid

Becoming a published author is a fantasy shared by almost all writers. And as with almost any widely-shared ambition, there are also folks out there looking to make a quick buck by exploiting those dreams — whether they involve securing a book deal or going the indie publishing route.

The publishing world has its fair share of scammers and disreputable companies. At Reedsy, we regularly hear from authors who, despite being well-informed and educated people, have fallen prey to these scammers. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at common writers scams and show you how to identify the publishing companies to avoid on your journey to publication.

Are you suspicious of a certain company? Take this short quiz, which will help you sniff out a predatory business. 

Vanity Presses

“Oh, my! There’s a publisher who wants to release my book!”

Not all publishers are created equal. For every Random House, there is some guy in a random house, convincing authors that they hold the key to publishing success. But before you sign on the dotted line, stop for a second and ask yourself and look at what they’re offering.

Most reputable publishers share the same business model: the publisher acquires the rights to publish and distribute the book by paying the author an advance. The publisher will then cover the costs of editorial, design, and marketing. Once the book is published, the author will receive a royalty of every copy sold (after the author’s total royalties have covered the advance).

Notice how, at no point in this process, the author hands any money to the publisher? Vanity presses, on the other hand, will not only not offer an advance, but they will also play on the vanity of authors in order to make them bear some (or all) of the costs of publishing.

What to expect from vanity presses

Here’s the ugly truth: Vanity presses don’t rely on book sales to pay the bills. Their end customer is the author who’s willing to pay for services like editing and design.  Think of them as the equivalent of Bialystock & Bloom from Mel Brooks’ The Producers — they can make as much money from a flop as they can from a hit.

Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel in The Producers (image: MGM)

As a result of the vanity publisher's business model:

  • Their editorial standards tend to be lower. They will happily work on titles they believe won’t sell.
  • Editorial and design work will likely be outsourced to one of the lowest bidders.
  • Their book marketing efforts tend to range from meager to non-existent.

Vanity presses will often infer that they can sell your book to major chains. Usually, this means that they'll list your book with a wholesaler, like Ingram — which means that booksellers can order it. That’s not the same as it being actively sold into stores.

Self-publishing companies to avoid often do the following:

  • 'Upsell’ the author where possible. Initially quiet about about marketing/publicity/creating an author website, a vanity publisher will then try to charge authors extra fees for these services.
  • Entice the author into entering paid contests. A vanity publisher will try to get authors to pay for contests, claiming they've been "selected" to enter.
  • Withhold royalties until they ‘break even.’ Their side of the production costs can be any number they pick, as they can name any price they want for "admin costs."
  • Require the author to buy a certain number of copies. Unreliable publishers may say that you need to have at least 50 or 100 copies to sell at book signings. But because they choose the cost-per-copy, they can add a convenient "admin cost" to the price.
  • Include a minimum sales guarantee in their contract. Sometimes the author pays a smaller fee upfront, but if a book doesn’t hit a sales target within a specified period, a clause kicks in that requires them to either make up the difference or pay back the production costs.
IC90ororbXI Video Thumb

Infographic: Traditional Publishers vs. Vanity Presses

To help you visualize what you'd be getting into with a vanity press, let's see how they stack up next to publishers adhering to the traditional model.

Self publishing companies to avoid | Comparison infographic

This is not to say that traditional publishers are perfect. But with the traditional business model, publishers are incentivized to release quality books and foster long, healthy relationships with authors.

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Important note: There are many companies out there calling themselves "assisted self-publishing companies". They operate in a similar model as the one we described above for vanity publishers (i.e. you pay for all the production and marketing services). However, some of them are actually reputable and known for providing quality services at reasonable fees and offering solid advice and handholding through the process. We recommend you do extensive research when you encounter such an organization and watch for any signs that could indicate a vanity publisher in disguise.

Wondering which path is the best fit for your skills, ambitions, and book? Take this 1-minute quiz to find out whether you're better-suited for self-publishing or traditional publishing.

 

Hybrid Publishers

"So it's either I pay for everything upfront and I keep all royalties, or I try to get a publisher who'll give me an advance but then take almost all my rights?" Well, no, not anymore. The publishing landscape is ever-evolving and there is now a third kind of 'publisher': hybrid publishers.

The idea is simple: authors participate in the costs of production, but in exchange, get a greater split of the royalties. Most hybrid publishers will advertise a 50% split on both costs and royalties. For a first time author, this might seem like a great idea — so long as the company has the intention of creating quality books.

The problem is: many vanity publishers have decided to surf on the "hybrid" wave and disguise themselves as such. They'll take on any submissions they get, ask you for a bunch of money upfront for editing and design (all the while assuring you it's only really 50% of the costs), and make a profit off of that. Which means they don't really care afterward how the book sells.

How to identify a reputable hybrid publisher

Every time you encounter a hybrid publisher, you should be asking the following questions:

  • How much do they charge authors in general for their 50% share of the editing and design costs? Compare this to market rates and make sure they're not fooling you.
  • Do they have a track record of producing well-reviewed, successful books? Buy a few of the books that the company has published and gauge not only their editorial standards but the quality of their print items.
  • Will they actually distribute your book? Many vanity presses will make your title available to booksellers, but do they have sales reps that will actively try to get them into stores?
  • Are there any hidden costs lying in wait? Talk to authors who were published by the company in the past and ask them for their experience.

To learn more about what constitutes a reputable hybrid publisher, check out these criteria set out by the Independent Book Publishers Association.

The potential danger with hybrid publishers

At Reedsy, we've always believed in the idea of hybrid publishers. It seems logical, and fair, to have a business model at the intersection of self-publishing and traditional publishing. However, in practice, we've seen too many authors get burned by hybrid publishers who looked reputable at first glance.

Here's the main problem with this business model: publishing is a hit-based business, and you don't have a hit every year, let alone every month. So let's imagine that a reputable hybrid publisher goes through a rough spell, and is suddenly getting short on cash. What is the first thing they'll be tempted to do? Raise their fixed income, i.e. the income they receive from authors participating in the production costs. The impact on cash flow will be immediate and certain, and it's a much easier thing to do than to try to sell more books. Many authors won't question whether what they're paying upfront is 50%, 80%, or 120% of the actual production costs — they'll just be happy they're getting a 'publishing deal'.


This article continues after the following piece of light self-promotion... 😊 

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Agent Scams

Just a quick note: reputable agents work on commission. If you’re dealing with an agent that requires querying authors to pay a ‘reading fee’ or suggests that you pay for editorial services (provided by them, or an affiliated company), then your spidey-sense should be tingling pretty hard.

Research your agents before you query them: see which authors are on their list and if former clients have something to say. If an agent contacts you unsolicited, don’t let flattery get the best of you — find out what they really want. Or, even better, check if they’re a member of the Association of Author Representatives (AAR), a professional organization that maintains some of the industry’s highest ethical standards.

Self-Publishing Companies to Avoid

Self-publishing, by definition, means that you’re doing it yourself. But there are companies out there who can give you a hand… or reach into your pocket if you don’t have your wits about you. Here are a few things to look out for:

Companies who will “publish you with Amazon”

The great thing about publishing with major retailers is that it’s almost always free! And unless you’re 100% technophobic, you shouldn’t have much of a problem uploading your book to Amazon or Kobo or Apple Books within a few quick minutes.

There is often value in working with a professional to optimize your blurb and your metadata or perfecting your author bio, but getting your book listed on Amazon is not something you need to pay for.

Services that will get your book an ISBN

Getting an International Standard Book Number (or ISBN) is not like joining the Illuminati: you don’t need some special introduction. Any author can buy one for $125 through Bowker in the USA or Nielson in the UK: agencies that issue ISBNs and cannot profit from their sale.

To be honest, most online retailers use their own identification codes these days. If you decide not to get an ISBN, you’ll probably be fine. But if you simply must have one, don’t pay more than you need to.

How to copyright a book - Header

Did you know that if you don’t register the copyright of your book, literally anybody could claim it as their work and profit from it?

Now, that’s entirely false, but you’d be surprised how many people believe it. Authors own the copyright to their works before and after they publish them. In the US, registering that copyright simply provides a few statutory rights when it comes to claiming damages — and it should only cost you $35 to apply for it online (as of March 2018). For more details on how to register your copyright, you can check out this comprehensive guide.

Publicity and PR Companies

Marketing a book is something that most authors struggle with. (For a primer on the topic, check out this guide.) So it’s no surprise that there are people who will offer to solve your publicity and PR problems for a low, low fee. Some of these companies might be able to place guest posts and reviews on blogs that nobody visits (and only exist to host content for swindled authors). Other companies won’t even be that subtle: they’ll just take the money and run.

When you’re searching for a marketer or a book publicist, make sure you can see their online profile and verify their previous experience.

However, it’s not just authors with a book to publish who are targeted by scammers. Some people have found a way to get money out of writers at the very start of their writing careers.

The Filipino Publishing Scam Network

In the past few years, dozens of companies have been sprouting up and aggressively targeting authors who have previously self-published or worked with small presses. A solid chunk of these companies are based out of the Philippines, using fake addresses in the US to give the impression of legitimacy. A lot of their focus is on selling marketing service ("Is your book not selling? We can make ads or create trailers that will skyrocket your sales!") at a ridiculous price.

Their M.O. is always the same:

  • They will contact you unsolicited;
  • Their websites will be a little bit crummy and utilize stock photos and/or paid actors;
  • They will have a list of their authors and the books they've published — but those books will look like garbage and have no reviews on Amazon because they've been uploaded to dupe prospective clients.

Victoria Strauss at Writer Beware has been keeping tabs on the names of these companies so check out her post if you do get solicited by phone or email.

Writing Contests and Awards

Writing contests are a great way to reach an audience, solidify your writing credentials, and even make a little money in the form of prizes. There are, however, competitions that are little more than money-spinning enterprises. And you can usually sniff them out by the fact that their prizes are not really prizes.

Some contests will publish winning entries in a magazine or an anthology — which is great. But sometimes, ‘winning’ authors will be obliged to pay an ‘editing fee’ for that privilege — which is not great.

Do you feel like a winner now?

There are also some competitions in which the prize might be a trophy. The catch here is that the author will be expected to pay for the cost of the physical prize. This isn’t necessarily bad — unless you mind paying $80 for a slab of acrylic that dozens more have also ‘won’ that month.

In short, read the fine print. To find contests that have been vetted, you can look through this directory of the best writing competitions.

What’s the best way for an author to stay safe?

Research is the answer. With the internet, you can find out if 99% of companies or services are reputable within a few minutes. Here are some specifics to help you spot which publishing companies to avoid:

Google it. A quick search will at least show you the company’s website and examples of the previous work. If you’re unable to find anything, or if something smells fishy, then you might want to stay away.

Check with fellow authors. Author forums are a great place to find critique partners, tips on cover designers, and to vent about anything and everything. They’re also where you want to go if you have any questions about a service. Head to a forum that’s large enough and at least one author will have encountered the company in question.

Be wary of unsolicited offers. If a company or service contacts you out of the blue by email or phone, the chances are that they bought your number. Reputable companies with a track record and positive word-of-mouth don’t tend to cold-call.

Ask questions. As we’ve mentioned, some reputable companies will require authors to pay money up-front for services. But before you commit to anything, make sure you know exactly what you’ll be getting for your money, what isn’t included, and what their provable track record looks like.

Yes, there are a lot of predators working in the publishing field, but they’re nothing to lose sleep over. So long as you’re careful and approach opportunities with a critical eye, you will find no problem navigating around the sharks in this business.


And of course, if you have any questions about reputable companies or publishing scams, drop us a note in the comments below or drop us a line at service@reedsy.com. 

323 responses

Bryan Fagan says:

06/03/2018 – 14:16

Excellent information. This is something every writer needs. All of us have to keep our eyes wide open. There will always be snakes in the grass. We need to watch our step. Thank you for this. It will be bookmarked and studied.

↪️ Reedsy replied:

06/03/2018 – 14:18

I'm glad you liked it, Bryan :)

↪️ Ruth Richardson replied:

20/10/2019 – 08:24

I enjoyed all the info. I agree with B. Fagan the info is very enlightening and informative. I have not published yet. My manuscripts are ready for print. I have experienced cold calls. And, in a couple of incidences I told the company I will not be harassed or intimidated to publish when I felt the manuscript was not completed to my liking,

↪️ JOSEPH LINDO replied:

26/02/2020 – 03:09

Thanks for such invaluable information. A year ago I tried extensively to get with a traditional publisher but to no avail, since I was doing my first book. I guess you are aware how difficuly it is even to access traditional publishers. This may be the main reason vanity pressr publishers thrive. What is the best way to reach and get accepted by a traditional publisher? Thanks

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

03/03/2020 – 14:52

If you're writing fiction, the straightest line is always through an agent: https://blog.reedsy.com/find-literary-agents/ Some bigger publishers won't consider any writer who doesn't go through an agent.

iGO eBooks ® says:

06/03/2018 – 16:35

https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3545c85ed81996924e0e68383a9d488f86723352d6e727c4166f4174bdbb80b9.jpg

PrinceAshitaka says:

06/03/2018 – 18:26

good post reedsy

james stokes says:

08/03/2018 – 19:36

What is your opinion of Book Baby's services? My intention is to have my LLC as the publisher and not a hire hand to assist with design and formatting.

↪️ Reedsy replied:

09/03/2018 – 09:55

From what I gather, Book Baby is pretty good. They tend to cater to 'hands-off' self-publishing authors, so you may find that there are more affordable options you can find with a quick Google search (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, Reedsy). Then there are a bunch of things that you should be able to do yourself — on the marketing side at least. What type of book are you publishing? If it's graphically complex, then you may want to consider hiring a formatter — otherwise you can, if you want, use a free tool to format the book yourself. Let me know if you have any questions :) — Martin

↪️ Penny Haavig replied:

25/08/2019 – 22:01

I used Book Baby for my first book. They are a wonderful company to work with. Try to get editing done before submission.

james stokes says:

14/04/2018 – 11:21

Is Book Baby reputable?

↪️ Reedsy replied:

15/04/2018 – 16:27

See answer below :) BookBaby is reputable, but there are probably more cost/value-efficient alternatives out there. If you're looking to distribute your book, we have a good post comparing the different ebook distributors out there: https://blog.reedsy.com/ebook-distribution/

↪️ Cheryl replied:

19/03/2020 – 18:17

IMO BookBaby is reputable. They're more of a "self publishing services provider" than a publisher, meaning they help you do everything you need to get your book into the market, but make no guarantees of sales (nor do they keep any of your royalties or claim any rights to your book). They do editing, print formatting, cover design, and eBook conversion but you can also provide your own finished files, and their technicians will check the files over for any technical issues before printing, converting or distributing. They'll handle distribution to a pretty sizable retail network and put all the data in one place so you don't have to bounce around between KDP, Nook Press, Apple Books, etc. And I've found their customer service team to be pretty knowledgeable whenever I had to call or e-mail.

Alicia Delgaudio says:

15/05/2018 – 03:33

Is Author Academy Elite, with Kary Oberbrunner, reputable? I would very much like to work with them.

↪️ Reedsy replied:

15/05/2018 – 09:43

I haven't been able to find anything that would indicate they are a scam. From the research I've done, it's one of the many courses started by semi-successful authors who're looking to monetize their knowledge of publishing. I believe that with a bit of research and motivation, you could learn everything he's teaching on your own. That said, if you prefer the handholding that goes with this type of program, then it might be a good option for you. I don't know the price of his program, though. I read somewhere it is valued at $5,000, which seems totally excessive.

↪️ Kary Oberbrunner replied:

22/07/2018 – 02:14

Thanks for weighing in Reedsy. If you or others would like the real facts feel free to listen to our author clients. Thanks in advance. https://authoracademyelite.com/ourauthors

↪️ JIll Sinclair replied:

13/01/2020 – 23:15

Are you willing to give this guy $5,000? You can self-publish through Amazon and it won't cost you a dime. Don't fall for his nonsense.

↪️ R.L. Scott replied:

12/08/2019 – 23:24

You said that the Author Academy Elite (AAE) is "one of the many courses" available. Please list some of the other or similar courses available and the price, or at at least the website(s). Thank you!

Priscilla King says:

18/05/2018 – 20:19

HURRAH! Obnoxious pop-up moved to inoffensive sidebar. I love it!...But then the comment space slid up out from under my fingers and a pop-up jiggled at me. Different people react to pop-ups and jiggling in different ways. Some people have seizures when something on a screen jiggles. One supporting member of my web site gets vertigo, and sometimes nausea. I'm lucky, I guess...I have astigmatism, so when something on a site jiggles I just see a blur, like the blur of a computer or TV screen shown live on another computer or TV screen. But I still find the blur very annoying. Please. Kill ALL pop-ups. Encourage others to kill their pop-ups too. Use the hashtag #ReadersRevolt to share that you're banishing pop-ups from your sites and encouraging others to do likewise.

Daniel says:

06/06/2018 – 13:09

I have bought a self publishing package with Balboa press. Are they reputable? I don't know why but I don't like their sales team.

↪️ Reedsy replied:

06/06/2018 – 13:21

Balboa Press was set up in 2013 by Hay House, as its "self-publishing arm". Unfortunately, like many other big traditional publishing houses, they chose to partner up with Author Solutions, which has been operating that imprint ever since. To put it in mild terms, I would warn any author to stay away from any Author Solutions operated company. You can read more about why here (the comments are particularly illuminating): http://www.victoriastrauss.com/2013/08/30/more-warnings-spectacular-productions-balboa-pressauthor-solutions/

↪️ Tracey McGlenchy replied:

11/03/2019 – 08:40

i have been getting harassing calls from their sales people, and despite me saying they are doing a sales a pitch they continually deny it. I have now told them to back off and I will not go with them. Anyone who calls that often despite telling them to stop clearly is trying to sell sell sell!

↪️ Seb replied:

19/05/2019 – 08:04

Cencel your credit card immediately

↪️ Barbara Swanson replied:

28/08/2019 – 20:08

I DID go with Balboa and it was a horrific mistake. All they care about is upselling you as much as possible. I had terrible response times, incorrect information and a general lack of any consideration outside of when they were trying to sell me yet another marketing program. DO NOT USE.

Jill Bauer says:

20/06/2018 – 05:47

Have you heard anything about Aelurus Publishing? I am trying to research them and cannot find any reviews. They posted a fun-looking writing contest, but I don't know if they are legit

↪️ Reedsy replied:

22/06/2018 – 09:26

Looks like they are a member of the IPG and partner member of ALLi, which vouches for them. From that I'd say they're definitely legit, but as always make sure that you reach contracts very carefully (if you get to that stage) and consult with an experienced IP lawyer.

↪️ Jill Bauer replied:

22/06/2018 – 15:57

Thanks!

↪️ Roy Schwartz replied:

06/09/2018 – 16:41

Aelurus is my publisher. My first MG novel just came out on Tuesday through them. I'm very happy with them. They're a "boutique" house (everything outside the Big Five is, really) and I enjoyed a lot of support and personal attention from the EIC and the Publisher. They do offer a self-publishing track, where they provide all the usual publishing services for a fee instead of buying the book, but they're a legit publisher.

Mukund Gnanadesikan says:

27/06/2018 – 20:25

What is your opinion of inkitt.com as a publishing option? Their pitch of "we can get you on the NY Times top 100 bestseller list" sounds a bit too good to be true.

↪️ Reedsy replied:

28/06/2018 – 09:05

We know Inkitt pretty well. I personally tend to think that they can be a really good option for authors and the digital marketing they do on behalf of their authors is pretty on point. However, the main problem is that they are (or at least used to be) quite aggressive in their marketing to attract authors (direct tweets and emails to random authors), and hyperbolic in their marketing language (as you point out above). You can read more about the cons of Inkitt's marketing here: https://accrispin.blogspot.com/2016/04/spam-spam-spam-spam-inkitt-and-grand.html But honestly, I wouldn't dismiss them as a publishing option because of that. They do do good job for their authors, and if you know nothing about book marketing they could be the right option for you.

Harmony Bentosino says:

20/08/2018 – 22:23

I was called by July Summers at Author's Press who want to market my self published book & send me to 2 book fairs where my book will be displayed , & I will have author interviews etc. All this for a charge of $800 plus my travel expenses. Is this legit or a scam? Their website sounds good, but I can't find any independent reviews. HELP!

↪️ Reedsy replied:

21/08/2018 – 09:27

As we mentioned in the post: ***Be wary of unsolicited offers.*** If someone calls you to offer to "market your book," in 99% of the cases it means they're either dodgy or are outright trying to scam you. There are countless scams out there offering "book fair display" services. The thing is, book fairs are not for authors. They are industry events where booksellers, publishers, agents and libraries negotiate on rights and distribution. Having your book displayed in a random stand there is not going to sell a single copy, because readers don't go to book fairs. If you're going to spend $800 on anything, invest them in a proper marketing course, or on a reputable freelance marketing professional: https://reedsy.com/marketing/book-marketer

↪️ Harmony Bentosino replied:

21/08/2018 – 13:12

Thank you for saving me my money & my sanity!

↪️ Jackie Fancher replied:

22/08/2019 – 14:25

Good to know. I got a call from Authors Press last night. Someone read Thunder in Her Heart and wanted to display it, blah blah. I did a reverse search on the phone number and it's legit as is the website. BBB has no opinion of them yet. Only in business a year. I won't give them money. If they want to buy my book, they can look it up on any number of places and order it themselves. If they want me to send them a case, I will want money up front...so thanks for sharing this. I will call back, if for no other reason than to let them know they can remove my name from their calling list...but...they can purchase my books anytime they want! They don't need my permission to do that. And they don't need money from me to do that.

Nataliya Medvedovskaya says:

15/09/2018 – 23:48

Thank you so much for this information, it's so helpful! Earlier today I approached Ugly Duckling Presse about publishing my father's bilingual poetry book. They said they will start open readings period in December which means they're selective and it's good, right? They are non-profit organization, and a lot of donors and foundations are listed on their website including National Endowement for the Arts and New York State Council on the Arts. He didn't mention any costs that might be involved as well as nothing says about it on their website. Even though I have a ready InDesign file of the book, he mentioned that they would usually make a design on their own. They're located in Brooklyn and they distribute books in different countries. My question is: do they sound legit to you and if so, which other similar publishing companies would you recommend that have open reading periods earlier than in December 2018 since the author of the book doesn't want to wait for so long? If they could also consider working with the ready InDesign file, that would be a plus. I'd really appreciate your advice! Thank you!

↪️ Reedsy replied:

17/09/2018 – 08:32

Ugly Ducking Presse are definitely a legitimate non-profit publisher. I wouldn't be able to recommend similar publishers to you as we don't keep a list on Reedsy, however I'd suggest you take a look at Poets & Writers and Authors Publish as resources.

↪️ Nataliya Medvedovskaya replied:

18/09/2018 – 06:37

Great, Poets & Writers has a huge list of different small press, and i'm thinking which one to choose. Some of them have open reading period just for a limited period of time when some others are available to read your poetry for all year-round. Some of them don't accept unsolicitied materials, some of them do. What kind of small press is legit at this point? Thank you

Johnny Remick says:

16/09/2018 – 13:47

Does anybody know or has anyone heard of "Author's House" (@Authors_tweets) I got an e-mail from them promising reviews for my book with three various packages from $100, $200 and $400 (30 reviews) to go on goodreads, Amazon and YouTube. . . I went to their tweet account and not alot of activity. There is an "authorhouse" which is totally dif. Are they scammers? https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/745f905065faff4281ca4b5da6262bf6bd5b21369f166868d38656d08de68adb.jpg

↪️ Reedsy replied:

17/09/2018 – 18:37

Companies who send unsolicited emails about their services (especially review services) and who don't have a website are most probably scams, yes. That said, I'd be grateful if you could forward that email to us: service[at]reedsy[dot]com so we can take a look.

↪️ Nataliya Medvedovskaya replied:

18/09/2018 – 06:50

Johny, I recently was a victim of author house's rip-off. I initially bought a package with them a while ago. Just a few days ago I got a phone call from their marketing advisor who offered me to pay $5000(!) to get featured in New York Times. I didn't even submit my materials to them yet but they said that the book was "chosen" to be featured. He pushed me for one hour to make a huge deposit payment at the same day. He said that tomorrow will be late. Thanks God I didn't pay anything.They are big scammers. Don't go with them! My personal experience.

↪️ Reedsy replied:

18/09/2018 – 09:56

Author House is a renowned scam, yes, but Johnny above was referencing a different company, Author's House, which both chose its name pretty poorly and also seems like another scam (focused on reviews). Thank you for sharing your experience about Author House, though, it corroborates the experience of many other writers we've heard of.

↪️ RS replied:

24/02/2019 – 01:14

I was lulled in by AuthorHouse and fell victim to their scams. Please all stay away from this company! I have lodged a complaint with the BBB of central Indiana and attempted to dispute some of the charges via VISA. I lost a considerable amount of money and prior to severing my association with them realized just under $40.00 in royalties. The company retains a A+ Better Business Bureau rating. How that remains possible is astounding and frustrating to me!

↪️ JAMES A LAURICELLA replied:

08/05/2019 – 22:47

I published my book with Author House. It was expensive and a huge mistake. They have people that are just sales people and not professional. After the book was published they kept calling me to spend more money on advertising at book fairs which I know is a total scam. Stay away from these people , there are better ones out there.

↪️ Danielle replied:

17/06/2019 – 17:32

I went through them and they were AWFUL! Stay miles away from this company. They took all of my profit from my book and I made next to nothing while they walked away with the lion's share. Additionally, they bloat the cost of your book and make it so expensive that it can't possibly align with industry standards. Good luck to you!

↪️ Debbie replied:

20/01/2020 – 23:04

AuthorHouse is extremely unethical...stay far far away. Sadly, I learned the hard way, but I learned😊

agggrey says:

04/10/2018 – 14:20

i was given a cotract with trilogy publication house a subsidiary of tbn and am required to pay 5000usd. is this a genuine offer

↪️ Reedsy replied:

04/10/2018 – 14:56

Nope. Shady as hell. See the "Vanity Presses" part of our article (the first one).

↪️ agggrey replied:

08/10/2018 – 08:00

thank you for saving me. i was about to deposit 5000usd but i stopped

↪️ Andrew replied:

05/01/2020 – 08:17

How are they shady specifically?

Genesis Brooks says:

23/10/2018 – 14:43

I am trying to find out if Self Publishing School would be a good fit for me? I have already talked to a representative and of course they want $5,000 and I told the man that I don't have that kind of money to spend right now. He even tried to give me a good deal by lowering the price to $3,000. When I told him that I didn't have that either, he wanted to get off the phone. The weird thing is that I have researched Self Publishing School online and I haven't seen any bad reviews. That puts me on the fence about this company. What do you think?

↪️ Reedsy replied:

23/10/2018 – 14:48

Chandler Bolt's Self-Publishing School is one of the many "self-publishing courses" out there that basically teach you how to self-publish a book. It's not a scam, but it certainly is an *expensive* course… If you want to go the course route, I'd rather recommend Mark Dawson's "Self-Publishing 101" course (it only opens once a year, but you can get on the waitlist). It's much more reasonably priced and I can personally vouch for Mark… That said, you don't really need a course to self-publish. There is ample material everywhere (including on this blog) about every step of the way. If you're ready to put in the time and effort to research it then you don't need to pay $5k for someone to teach you… Save that money for editing, design and marketing.

↪️ Genesis Brooks replied:

23/10/2018 – 14:50

Thanks Reedy for this information. I am glad that you emailed me back. I am definitely interested in finding out about Mark Dawson. I am going to research this information. Also, thanks for saving me from spending more than needed. I am glad I found this website.

Mike Nelson says:

08/11/2018 – 01:14

I have a self-published book that's been up on Amazon for about 6 months. Reviews have been splendid, sales tepid. This week I was contacted by Atlantic Publishing Group and had a discussion with them. They sent me a contract to review, marketing promises etc., but to be honest the royalty structure seems absolutely predatory, 10%, and agreements to buy 100 copies, etc, upfront costs. The whole thing. Still I would like to sell some books. Anyone know these people?

↪️ Reedsy replied:

08/11/2018 – 09:55

Sounds like a vanity press to me. If they're soliciting you directly, asking for upfront payments (on top of taking a massive chunk of your royalties), and insisting that you print 100 copies with them... then they don't exactly pass the smell test. If you want to do further research, look up the books listed on their website and see where they rank in their Amazon categories — I suspect most of them will not even be in the top 5,000 in their specific niches.

Nataliya Medvedovskaya says:

22/11/2018 – 05:42

"Poets & Writers" has a huge list of different small press, and i'm thinking which one to choose. Some of them have open reading period just for a limited period of time when some others are available to read your poetry for all year-round. Some of them don't accept unsolicitied materials, some of them do. What kind of small press is legit at this point? Thank you

↪️ Reedsy replied:

22/11/2018 – 09:04

The small presses listed on Poets & Writers should generally be legit — though I always recommend doing a double check by googling them and making sure they don't appear on Writer Beware's "Thumbs Down Publishers List" or on David Gaughran's blog. As a rule of thumb, a small press can be considered legit if: - they don't ask you for *any* money upfront (especially not reading fees, publishing contribution fees) - they don't ask you to buy copies of your own manuscript at launch (watch for a clause like that in the contract) - they don't solicit you in the first place - they offer an advance

↪️ Nataliya Medvedovskaya replied:

24/11/2018 – 02:30

Thank you!

Mary Hughes says:

22/12/2018 – 00:15

Does anyone have any experience with Entrada Publishing. I entered one of their ongoing contests for a free Book Review, and ..... I won! The review, entirely favourable, was complete in 3 weeks. NO one has asked for money or made any kind of sales pitch. Just curious as to what their standing is, in the self-publishing community. Mary

↪️ Reedsy replied:

24/12/2018 – 08:29

Hi Mary, we weren't familiar with them until now. They look like a self-publishing services company, with relatively low prices (especially for cover design) but a number of oddities: - they don't offer any developmental (or structural) editing and copy-editing, only proofreading; - they have a paid "beta reading" service, when beta readers are generally free; - a lot of their "marketing" services, though not crazy expensive, seem quite useless. Other than that, they don't raise any red flags. Congratulations on winning one of their contests and receiving a (positive) free review from them!

commenter says:

09/01/2019 – 23:01

Is anyone familiar with Covenant Publishing? They only take 5% per sale and although they ask for a fee over a period of time, mathematically it seems a better deal than Amazon taking 30%. Curious to hear any feedback- thanks much

↪️ Reedsy replied:

10/01/2019 – 11:13

I'd be wary of any publisher who asks for a fee irrespective of sales. Also, I'm almost 100% certain that the 5% cut would be on top of anything the retailer takes, so you'd likely get less than if you were to distribute it on Amazon yourself.

↪️ commenter replied:

11/01/2019 – 17:49

great to hear that. thanks much-

↪️ Katherine replied:

16/01/2019 – 07:04

What did they say? My dads thinking of publishing with covenant

↪️ commenter replied:

11/01/2019 – 18:33

one more thing! the cost is for me working with them and their team that would do the proofing, editing, layout, cover and marketing. Me the final say on any changes. Then a web page, short video and distribution to all the different book companies. Still a scam? It seems like it would cost me the same or more to do it all individually!- thanks much

↪️ Reedsy replied:

16/01/2019 – 10:03

The tendency with package deals (where you pay a fixed price for all the things you listed) is that the author has no idea who is doing all of that work. Many of those companies will outsource the work to low-priced freelancers or get their interns to do it. If you do it yourself, it might cost the same — or a little more — but you'll know who's working on the book. A look at their 'recent books' section will pretty much tell you what you need to know. Do their cover designs look like they were made by professionals? When you search for their titles on Amazon, do you see a lot of (or any) ratings and reviews? When you look inside the books, does it looks well-formatted? Are the books priced competitively By the looks of it, they are a classic vanity press One last thing: when a company like that says they'll do your marketing, it tends to mean very little. They probably won't: run digital ads, get your book promoted on BookBub, or market it to a captive mailing list. The video and web page will genuinely do very little to sell copies of your book without those other piece in place (and are both something you could probably do in an afternoon, if you apply yourself). And for distribution, if you want to do it without fuss, you can use a distribution service like Draft2Digital — which charges nothing upfront, but will take 10% of retail price.

↪️ kidnolo replied:

13/01/2019 – 19:11

Sent in my children's book, WOW--TO A CHILD CHRIST RETURNED--to Covenant for review. Was so disappointed the review was nothing more than "it's been approved for publishing." That is NOT a review.

kidnolo says:

13/01/2019 – 19:09

Contacted Covenant Books to have my book reviewed free as they claimed. Sent in my children's book, WOW--TO A CHILD CHRIST RETURNED--for review. Was so disappointed the review was nothing more than "it's been approved for publishing." That is NOT a review.

Nikki Ty-Tomkins says:

05/02/2019 – 10:26

I had an excellent experience with CreateSpace, Amazon’s publishing service. I wanted to self-publish a memoir to give to friends and sell in my shop. Realizing my topic ... my delightfully eccentric mother ... was a limited interest in terms of the commercial market, I just wanted a beautifully produced book. It cost me exactly $2.75 ... the charge for ONE proof copy. The result was a beautifully printed and formatted book, complete with illustrations and innovative layouts. How was this possible? Well I spent 6 months learning everything from scratch. From fonts to page layouts, cover design and ISBN number. If you’re willing to work, this is an astounding resource. My “Bird Songs” is available on Amazon. Yes I only made a few hundred dollars, but I gained the knowledge and confidence to now be actively scoping out agents and publishers for my next book. My advice ... learn the ropes and then dive in!

Therese says:

13/02/2019 – 16:31

I wish my friend had read this. He wanted to write a memoir, but he needed help. He decided to go the ghostwriter route with an author working with a relatively new and unproven publisher They contracted with him to ghostwrite the book for 10,000.00 up front in full. Apparently, he asked if he could break it into two equal payments, but they told him his manuscript would not be worked on until all the money was received. The author has talked up a book he wrote on his site. His claims don't seem to pan out. After a year and two extensions, my friend was tired of excuses and wanted the manuscript. When he got it he was shocked. It was a mess. There was no editing as was promised and it didn't seem like the story was about him. After a little over a year, he was told it was ready. He signed an Author Ownership release to get the manuscript. When he complained, they didn't want to give him his money back. He is in the midst of going back and forth with them about the money. There is no specific language regarding refunds, but they have sent him a flurry of emails promising to work on the manuscript or to pay him back in installments. Needless to say, it's a messy situation, but one writers can learn from

asjari says:

27/02/2019 – 02:23

has anyone heard anything about easton-books? http://easton-books.com/store

↪️ Reedsy replied:

27/02/2019 – 11:05

Never heard of them. Their submission page seems to indicate that authors pay no fees if the book is selected for publication, which is a good sign. That said, it all depends what their publishing process is like (do they involve professional editors to review your book, pay a cover designer, etc.), what their contracts look like, and how strong a sales team they have to actually get your book into book stores.

Leanne says:

05/03/2019 – 23:42

I just want to put it out there. Avoid Prodigy Gold books at any cost. They are a company who is questionable in its ethics. Two books were supposed to be published. I signed a contract, still no work has been done and I cannot republish as he owns the rights. What is one to do?

↪️ Reedsy replied:

06/03/2019 – 11:12

Sorry to hear that, Leanne :( In cases like this, the best way forward is to issue a rights reversion letter: https://www.authorsalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/20160920-Interactive-RR-Letter-Guide.pdf And if you still don't hear back, hire an IP attorney to try to get the rights back.

↪️ Leanne replied:

06/03/2019 – 20:56

just out of curiosity . How much would that cost ! To make matters worse , I was referred by the Editor in Chief of Prodigy Gold Books as an Evil Witch because I demanded to know what was going on . His sidekick Laura Freestone is just as bad .Vety unprofessional to say the least

↪️ Prodigy Gold Books replied:

08/05/2019 – 12:28

Leanne, it's unfortunate that you had a bad experience with our company. You have been informed by our publisher that you were free to publish your book when we initially decided to rescind our offer. To be clear, your book was assigned an ISBN, had a book cover designed, was available for pre-order, social media promotion, and developmental editing (which you didn't like, which caused the problem); hence, it is false to question our ethics, and to claim we did no work. We expect our authors to be kind and respectful, but as demonstrated above by you calling Laura (a woman that has zero to do with the parting) a sidekick is plain disrespectful. It's that attitude that we decided to part ways with you. As you put it, the "demands" not "inquiry" or "question" is why we parted ways with you. We wish you the best with your book.

↪️ Leanne replied:

08/05/2019 – 12:28

So what am I to receive for my 800USD. I have not received anything and that is unacceptable . For your information , I have never seen the partially completed book or received a refund . You assured me of a refund . A sidekick is nothing disrespectful and no one has a problem with me ,here .You had 12 months to decide to publish my work but came at the 11th hour requesting that I rewrite my entire book . You should have rejected if straight away . Please sort it out and refund me accordingly as you promised . Do the right thing .

GJandfamily says:

10/03/2019 – 16:07

Do you have any input on Mango Publishing?

NT Poe says:

08/05/2019 – 12:28

I’ve seen several vanity publishers that were either rip offs or scammers who went out of business. However, to suggest that most vanity publishers aren’t adding value to clients is nonsense. I’ve used vanity publishers before and loved it. Why? Because THEY handle editing, THEY handle typesetting, THEY handle developmental editing, THEY handle cover design, and THEY handle distribution and online listings. Do you pay a little more sometimes for the convenience of your file preparation being consolidated to one place? Of course! That’s called business. For example, if you’re planning a wedding, you could do it yourself and buy silverwear from this company, buy plates from that wholesaler, order food from that restaurant, and freelance some waiters to help you out and pull together all the moving parts OR you could hire a wedding planning/catering agency that does it all and alleviates the headache. Dollar for dollar you pay more but that’s the price of ease and convenience. Plus, 99% of the time, folks that pioneer their book on amazon or Ingram themselves have a crappy product, front matter that is not industry standard, low res files, weird spacing, and janky metadata. Why? Because they’ve NEVER done it before. What’s your alternative? Every author or speaker who needs to get their message out should use traditional publishing with random house who takes over your book rights and pays out a meager 8.25% of every sale? Let’s talk about traditional publishers and their insanely small royalties (while offering very little and requiring the author to do most of the marketing still) Or should amateur authors hire out sub-optimal designers on fiverr and hope they get something that looks professional? I appreciate you looking out for writers but this is biased nonsense. Without a doubt, do your research and avoid rip off vanity houses. But dear God think a little... tons of people will pay more for one-stop-shops. It’s called business. Not a scam.

↪️ Reedsy replied:

08/05/2019 – 12:28

In our opinion, Vanity Publishers are a bad choice in 99% of the cases *if you want your book to sell*. It may sound great that they'll do "everything for you", but in reality what that means is that you lose editorial control over your book: they decide who'll do the editing, they'll do the cover, and they decide all the metadata when distributing the book. And not only do they make you pay for that, but many also then take royalties on the sales afterwards, and rope you into year-long publishing contracts in which some go as far as grabbing your subsidiary rights as well. If you just want to put a book out there and don't care much about selling it, or eventually making a living out of writing — and if you have a big budget — then sure, a vanity publisher can be a good option. That's actually why they're called "vanity publishers" in the first place :) But if you actually want to make a living out of writing, or have any chance of getting decent sales on the book, you'll want to keep control over the people you hire (making sure they're good and avoiding the huge hidden fees of vanity publishers), keep control over your distribution, and keep control over your metadata. And sure, you'll have to learn all these things, but no one said that becoming a full-time author would be easy! Now, there are "assisted self-publishing companies" out there — very different from vanity publishers — who're great: they do take care of everything, but they let *you* self-publish the book. They don't call themselves a "publisher", they clearly identify as "assisted self-publishing", or "author services" companies, and they don't try to upsell you a bunch of marketing services afterwards (nor do they take any royalties on the book). If that's the kind of company you're referring to, then I agree with you, but they're not called "vanity publishers".

Alan Wilson says:

08/05/2019 – 12:28

Thank you very much for the article. Do you have any updated information about TBN and their Trilogy publishing arm? I do have a very real 65,000 word manuscript that I thought TBN was good to publish, but I do not have $5,000. I do not know where to go with this since it seems there are so many scams. Would you have a place I could call/write about legitimate literary agents? Please advise.

↪️ Reedsy replied:

08/05/2019 – 12:29

Any place that asks you for $5,000 to publish your book is going to be a scam. If you're going to spend $5k, hire a really good editor, a really good proofreader, a top cover designer, and publish the book yourself. In terms of where and how to find literary agents, check this out: https://blog.reedsy.com/find-literary-agents/

Miranda Artz says:

08/05/2019 – 12:28

This is very helpful, though I don't understand all of it. Does anyone know where I could find a reputable (preferably Christian) publisher that has a lot of experience in comic books/graphic novels? I've looked everywhere but can't find one with the proper experience. I'm not a against a secular publisher but my series is a Christian one.

Treesje Powers says:

08/05/2019 – 12:28

Does anyone have any insight on 13th and Joan? My writing partner and I came across them but they were requesting between $1500-$4000 dollars in installments to publish. The lower amount was a “publishing only” arrangement with editing and printing and “listing on amazon”. The higher deal was more “author development” with branding input and focus group reviews and such. On BBB they didn’t have a rating though...

↪️ Reedsy replied:

08/05/2019 – 12:29

I haven't heard of them but they seem like an outright scam. It's free to publish and sell on Amazon both for the ebook and the print book — you should never pay a third-party company for that. More about it here: https://blog.reedsy.com/how-to-self-publish-a-book-on-amazon/

Joseph Silva says:

08/05/2019 – 12:28

This information really helped me. What does anyone know about Newman Springs Publishing or Dorrance Publishing? Also what about Xlibris? I googled BBB and Xlibris and saw an A+ rating but only one star and I didn't see Xlibris anywhere, but the name Authors House. Newman springs and Dorrance have both accepted my manuscript. But, one wants $3400 and the other almost $5000

↪️ Agathi Mitsinikos replied:

08/05/2019 – 12:28

I used x-libris cost me a few thousand and didnt sell much. The book came out great but it was made only in paperback and I couldn't set my own price and I don't have 100% royalty. So many self publishing companies email and call me often to republish with them but some are started this year and they do have 100% royalty and good stuff or so they say but with so many scam companies I avoid them all and don't talk or email them back. One was Gold Touch press and recently Lettra press. They say they invited me to Jacob javitts and help me sell. I am not enough published with them. Plus all of them want thousands for dollars to republish and I haven't even made out on what I spend with x-libris

↪️ Reedsy replied:

08/05/2019 – 12:29

These are all vanity publishers, with a really bad reputation. I'd advise you to run away.

Rosemary and Simon Nutsford says:

08/05/2019 – 12:28

Does anyone know anything about Capstone Media Services? We have spent a considerable amount of money for the printing (paperback US $5 - $7 per book) and distribution through Ingram of our book over the past couple of years with not a lot of return. We were never given an advance and were told it may take 2 or 3 years to get a return on our money.

↪️ Reedsy replied:

08/05/2019 – 12:28

We've heard a lot of very bad things about Capstone Media Services. They seem to be a copycat of Author Solutions (the most famous scam company in the publishing industry) based out of the Philippines. More info in this Twitter thread between David Gaughran and Victoria Strauss: https://twitter.com/davidgaughran/status/1031495833135591426?lang=en

Agathi Mitsinikos says:

08/05/2019 – 12:28

Do you know anything about Gold Touch Press in NYC?

↪️ Reedsy replied:

08/05/2019 – 12:28

No, but after a brief look at their website they seem like one of the numerous Author Solutions copycats that have sprouted in the Philippines in recent years. The copy on the website is riddled with typos and uses the same language as most vanity press scams: "Gold Touch Press provides premium publishing services at a good value. We remove all the hassles that delay the project and direct your manuscript at the hand of highly experienced team."

↪️ Agathi Mitsinikos replied:

08/05/2019 – 12:29

Ok thank you. I am definitely thinking the same. Know any good inexpensive and real self-publishing websites that also help with marketing for me to republish with? My book is selfpublished with x-libris but it's not 100% royalty.

↪️ Julie Ann Chenevert replied:

15/05/2019 – 23:34

Their company is legit since they were able to publish my book: https://www.amazon.com/Long-Journey-Home-Julie-Chenevert/dp/1733701354/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?keywords=goldtouch+press&qid=1557963118&s=books&sr=1-1-fkmrnull.

Coraline Grace says:

08/05/2019 – 12:28

So what is Author Academy? My book has been chosen as a finalist for book of the year. But so have a lot others. Is this a real site or exactly what?

↪️ Reedsy replied:

08/05/2019 – 12:29

There is a comment below about Author Academy, which I'd encourage you to read. Starting an "award" is a common marketing tactic to attract authors. There isn't a lot of info available on their website as to pricing, so I can't give a definite opinion. Do keep in mind that if you have to pay to receive the award, or enter the final round, or anything like that, your money is probably best invested somewhere else.

Jan Shima says:

13/05/2019 – 03:21

Do you have any info on Folio Avenue Publishing Services LLC 2031 Union St. #6 San Fransisco CA 94123 ? They cold-called me numerous times about marketing my book SAVING ME, and want $2500 up front. I didn't agreed to anything and had several red flags in our phone conversations.

↪️ Ricardo Fayet replied:

14/05/2019 – 15:52

This seems like an outright scam. There are new companies offering these kind of "marketing packages" popping up every day. Don't fall for it.

↪️ Kent Jamesss1 replied:

18/07/2019 – 19:39

You can check a leaked website from these people https://folioavenuepublishing.wordpress.com/

↪️ Prince replied:

05/08/2019 – 06:32

I know these people working for Folio Avenue. The address is in CA yet they are actually operating from the Philippines. Unqualified staff. Legit scam.

Sandi Wyszynski says:

13/05/2019 – 18:36

Hello, Anyone ever heard of The Mulberry BooksPublishing House? I had received an email and phone call about my book (which was priced too high by the publisher and is not selling!) and I googled them, but cannot find a thing on the internet. The persons name is Derrick McIlroy.. Any thoughts would help. I believe this may be a scam artist. Thanks- sandiw947@gmail.com

↪️ Ricardo Fayet replied:

14/05/2019 – 15:51

I can't find anything about them either, which is generally a bad sign (a reputable publisher, even small, would have a website). In 90% of the cases, when you receive an unsolicited email or phone call, it's not going to be from a reputable publishing company.

sjbauer says:

15/05/2019 – 14:55

I just realized that I had been taken by cindyhill@bookthoughtspublishing. She played a convincing part in pretending to manage marketing for my book with ALA and ACLR events in 2019. She even provided a contract and provided for a payment plan in which she took my money. She promised to keep me apprised of the markeing status and provide proof of my book listing in these events, but then she never followed up. I found out later that my book was never presented at the events as she claimed, and I had been taken for a fool. As I tried to trace her down, the websites and youtube sites for bookthoughtspublishing were abandoned and then taken down. As I imagine she is reworking her scam under another name, I would avoid any publishing company with "thoughts" in their name, just to be safe.

Matt says:

15/05/2019 – 18:47

I just got a solicitation from New Reader Magazine... is this a scam company?

↪️ Cy Happy replied:

29/06/2019 – 22:22

I was also contacted by the New Reader Magazine & after many emails, they sent me their contract. Aside from grammar & sentencing mistakes, I found their contract totally one sided. I also check their LLC with the state of New York & found out such entity does not exist. On top of all of this, they asked for unconscionable amount to partner with me. I decided NOT to go with them because I could not partner with an entity that does not exist. Be very careful with them.

↪️ Ricardo Fayet replied:

07/08/2019 – 10:35

Yes, New Reader Magazine can be considered a scam, and we're getting a lot of notifications from authors asking us about them, meaning they're actively trying to sell their overpriced services. Here's what Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware has to say about them: "it is ridiculously overpriced ($5,500 for an array of junk marketing services, such as an email marketing campaign), and provides none of the information you'd expect from a reputable PR service--such as staff biographies or examples of successful promotional campaigns--to enable you to judge its competence and success. My advice is to steer clear."

↪️ Dean Bailey replied:

16/08/2019 – 22:19

Thank you for the warnings re: NRM! By the way, their solicitation for services is up to $7500.00 US, as of this comment-writing. I too was immediately suspicious of the numerous butcherings of English sentence structure within their email, especially for a company that supposedly has reputable marketing inroads within the publishing industry? It just didn't add up, and something seemed fishy to me, in spite of links to their website and current magazine issue. When I declined their "partnership" services and contract, I was offered a "half now, half later" payment option, all the while facing a time-crunch decision window in order to make their deadline for my book to appear be in their next magazine issue. Thanks for this additional info. I'm glad I investigated first.

↪️ Daphne replied:

22/08/2019 – 23:54

Hi. New Reader Media (owner of New Reader Magazine) contacted me today wanting to place books in my mom’s bookstore. They said they pay her to place the books plus she gets part of the royalties. I was considering talking to them about it, but if it is an scam for authors, I want no part of it. Have any of you worked with them from this side of the aisle? If so, what was your experience? I am an author myself and will not help anyone who scams authors.

↪️ Bernadette replied:

06/11/2019 – 23:32

Stay away from them. New Reader is a scam. I know, I got sucked in by them. Do not give them any money. They are not in the United States

Joan Landino says:

21/05/2019 – 20:10

Have you heard anything positive or negative about Westwood Book Publishers in LA? They contacted me via email.

Link says:

23/05/2019 – 05:10

I think I got duped by a vanity press. To be fair, they pulled one on my agent too. The publisher kept stalling my historical fiction with “accuracy checks”, never mind that I has already done extensive research on it. We since pulled the book because our single contact (who seems to be the only person there) was starting to comb my voice out and replace it with hers. She is demanding payment for her time, though she was the one dragging her feet. I think it’ll mean reverting to my original MS, which is fine, but what if I added something on my own during that process? Do I remove bits I wrote during this process?

Connie says:

25/05/2019 – 00:06

I don't know what the discussion is, but I'm interested in URLINK print and media. They have contacted me to republish a novel we had previously published with Tate. Tate went belly up. Who knows about URLINK? I am an experienced author with another good publishing company but they are not interested in this genre.

↪️ Kathey Darnell-Keen replied:

14/06/2019 – 22:26

I would like to know as well. They approached me about my book I published with Tate. I just saw a list of scammers and they were on it.

↪️ Sherry T Cason replied:

20/06/2019 – 18:44

Where did you find the list of scammers?

Merril Haeusler says:

30/05/2019 – 15:56

Hi there and thankyou for the advice. I am a debut novelist trying to get my head around all this. Do you have a view on UNITED PC Publishing company, a subsidiary of NOVA? I’d be grateful for a comment.

puneet says:

02/06/2019 – 10:47

what is your view about "Author's Ink" . This is an Indian publishing house .

Miranda Duncan says:

05/06/2019 – 02:32

Someone contacted my sisters and me about his appreciation for 1950s science fiction, and wanted to know if we would let him be the literary agent for my father's novels. The books have already been published and are now out of print. They weren't best sellers, definitely dated so they may be "period pieces." My father, David Duncan (not to be confused with Dave Duncan from Canada) wrote 13 novels, mysteries and science fiction books, as well as a couple of science fiction screen plays and lots of screen plays for television. What do you think? Should we contact the person saying he wants to re-publish my father's work? Thanks, Miranda Duncan

Emily says:

06/06/2019 – 14:46

Have you heard anything about Authors4Authors Publishing?

Tania Heise says:

07/06/2019 – 20:47

Just got accepted to Page Publishing? Are they legit, or am I being scammed? Thank you!

↪️ Cy Happy replied:

29/06/2019 – 22:35

I recently published my first book with Page Publishing. I must admit at the time I practically knew nothing about publishing. I did some research & drove a hard bargain. That is what you need to do with them because they strictly adhere to the contract. They met every clause in my contract & I am satisfied with their work. One issue though, they are not into promoting or marketing your book. They do a trailer and press release & radio interview the effectiveness of which I am yet to experience. They also direct you to participate in book shows for a fee. But you will have to do the marketing yourself which can be quite time consuming and expensive. Good luck.

Denise T. says:

09/06/2019 – 01:55

Hi I am searching for a publisher/illustrator for a children's book. Is the company covenant house a reputable publishing company. This is my first time working towards publishing a children's book.

↪️ Oh my replied:

19/06/2019 – 19:11

Convenant publishing company is an hybrid company. You have to sign a contract with them and you will have to pay whatever the contract ask for if you sign. I didn't sign the contract. I feel if your book get accepted by a publisher, the company should pay you or get paid by royalties.

Tamara Belko says:

10/06/2019 – 15:41

Any information on Eliezer Tristan Publishing?

↪️ Sheri replied:

23/06/2019 – 13:55

I pulled out of my contract with them as they weren’t transparent about incurring costs. They became very dodgy and manipulative inferring I was ignorant about how independent presses work. I kept reiterating it wasn’t about there necessarily being shared costs, but rather that they were never upfront with me about sharing costs and none of that was delineated in the contract. FYI- I self published two books. I baled. Would not recommend.

↪️ Jennifer Lee Roberts replied:

03/07/2019 – 21:23

I'm in a vicious battle with them myself right now. I have received my book back though thank God but still out the 500 dollars!!! I'm taking the case to the attorney general.

↪️ Jennifer replied:

03/07/2019 – 17:05

Please RUN from this company!! They promote to the mentally ill, I'm sure as easy prey. I signed a contract and paid them 475 Nov 27,2018 a of July 1,2019 my book still had not been published despite the contract starting it would be published in no longer than 3 months. The continuously lost requested info from me including blurb, bio, and even book. I had to resend all of the info multiple times! Where I had finally had enough and requested to be refunded at first they were apologetic, then blamed me, by the end of the seven hour debate back and forth through email they were threatening me and terminated my contract while still never reimbursing me. They are fraudulent and they revise to even address the fact they were in breech of contract ever though it was pointed out in ever single email I sent to them. I am talking my case to the attorney general because they do not have a physical address listed anywhere on line or on their sites and they are not listed with bbb you can not file a complaint. It has been the worst experience I've ever had and now I am determined to let every author I ever come in contract with about the business practices of this company. A soon add the lawsuit is over I will be creating a page dedicated to warning writers with proud of all of my claims including all of three emails to and from as well as the contract. I also plan to pay to advertise this page for as long as it takes to get the word out. Anyone reading this who would like copies of any of this please feel free to contact me.

↪️ Sheri replied:

27/07/2019 – 15:26

Sorry to hear about your unfortunate experience. As I indicated in a prior message here, they tried to gaslight me and implicate me as 'problematic' and uninformed about the world of publishing. Thankfully I bolted before handing over funds. My radar was on high alert. Classic virtue signaling. They use fighting stigma activism to conceal narcissistic maneuvering. I hope you get your money back and they cease preying on writers who are sincere about bringing the plight of mental illness to readers.

↪️ Sandra replied:

18/08/2019 – 01:45

eliezer tristan publishing is a scam. They seek out the mentally ill/unstable on social medias with false promises of helping people get their stories out there and published for the world to see. You are nothing more than an easy few hundred dollars to them, hence the a formed mentioned lack of communication others have mentioned. The CEO is incompetent, as is the rest of her appointed staff. Their goal is to make money. Getting involved with ETP is easily one of the biggest mistakes I've made and i'm consulting a lawyer about taking charges against them. PLEASE DO NOT ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE PREYED ON BY ETP

David says:

11/06/2019 – 02:20

Hi, do you have any experience with Advantage Books? They are a Christian publishing house, and have accepted my Christian manuscript. Thank you for any advice!

↪️ Reverend Dr. Linda De Coff replied:

14/06/2019 – 16:21

Yes, Does anyone have any info on Go To Publish, a marketing company out of London and Atlanta, Georgia, Gotopublish.com I have been approached re: their services for marketing of one of my books. Thanks for any helpful feedback.

Bernadette says:

18/06/2019 – 04:04

Paper raven books???

Sherry T Cason says:

18/06/2019 – 19:18

Have you heard anything about Dream Books Distribution. They say they can send my story on to the Hollywood Data Base to possibly become a screenplay. There is a fee.

↪️ Cy Happy replied:

29/06/2019 – 22:51

I was also contacted by the Dream Books Distribution. They want to partner with me to prepare screen play & register with Hollywood Data Base for a fee. I could not find much info about HDB, but the fee is rather steep for just registration. However, if they do everything they say they will do, the fee is not that bad. I have not signed with them yet because I found some clauses with their contract which require changes. But remember, there is not much money, if any at all, to be made in the book publishing if you are a new author unless you are a celebrity or famous person in which case you go to traditional publishing. Based on my experience, the money, if any, is in the screen play. If you decide to go with them, make sure everything including services to be rendered and respective fees are in the contract. Let me know how you do.

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

01/07/2019 – 08:59

This doesn't sound like a legitimate operation to me. For one, their website misspells "Hollywood" more than a few times. Plus from my understanding of the entertainment business, producers aren't commonly trawling a database looking for spec scripts. I'd be very careful before I sign with any organization like this.

↪️ Sherry T Cason replied:

09/07/2019 – 21:46

Thank you for the info on screen plays. That is my hope but there are so many scammers and by wanting that money up front, well, something about that guy has pretty much ended these hopes. He couldn't even get through my email to send me the contracts. I told him to use the U.S. mail. He has not, so far.

↪️ Lee Barckmann replied:

22/11/2019 – 18:12

Hi Cy. I too have been solicited from Dreambooks Distributing. Did you go forward with them? Any feedback?

Tara says:

20/06/2019 – 02:57

Hello! I'm a novice author, and used a "fully supported self-publishing firm" to publish my first book in 2016. I was sorely misled and after forking over close to $4000 sold very few books under their "guidance" (which supposedly included a decent amount of marketing.) Now Book Avenue Pub has contacted me, seeming very interested in highlighting my book at upcoming international book fairs in order to "guarantee" an acquisition by a major publishing firm. Supposedly they already have large publishing firms very interested in my book. Any guidance you can offer would be so very helpful!

edwin sanders says:

20/06/2019 – 18:57

dreambooks distributing contacted me directly , they want $3000.00 to promote my book which was published by archway, do you know this company, are they legit? .

↪️ Lee Barckmann replied:

22/11/2019 – 18:10

Hi Edwin. Have you received anymore info from dreambooks distributing? I just received a solicit from them. Any feedback appreciated (Lee)

George Cassar says:

21/06/2019 – 01:02

I am just wondering if Parchment Global publishing is a reputable company as they are interested in my book. Thanks George

Sheila says:

21/06/2019 – 01:50

Have been contacted by Parchment Global Publishing with the initial call coming out of the blue. Can't find anything about them and would like to know if they are scammers. I think they are a hybrid, but not sure. They want me to pay them--need some information ASAP. Does anybody know anything about them?

Ramil says:

24/06/2019 – 15:57

hi guys..how about rightpublications ...https://rightpublication.com i dont know if they're scam or not..

Pamela Adler says:

01/07/2019 – 14:25

Great info. I have received an offer from Belle Isle publishing, the co-op branch of Brandylane Publishing. The contract has most of the criteria suggested for a hybrid publisher, with a 50/50 split of the costs spread out over time as the process moves forward. However I am troubled that I have not found any reviews for Brandylane/Belle Isle anywhere! They are located in Richmond, Virginia. Can you help?

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

02/07/2019 – 11:33

You're right to be skeptical. They look like a vanity press to me. They mention on their website (which looks pretty poor) that their co-operative publishing deal involves them covering 75% of the cost, while the author pays for the remainder. However, they don't specify what those costs are — which means that it can be any number that they decide. You don't know how much their services actually cost. For example, they might only pay their editor $600 and then mark up the "editing costs" to $3,000 — so you could pay more than 100% of the actual costs without knowing it. Here's a good litmus test — look up the books they've published on Amazon. I suspect you'll find that a lot of them have few-to-no reviews.

Jennifer says:

03/07/2019 – 16:50

Eliezer Tristan Publishing

↪️ Jennifer replied:

03/07/2019 – 16:52

This company is fraudulent, does not honor their contacts and when asked about a refund for their breech of their signed contract the terminate the contract, of course without reimbursing you.

Mark W. Stevnes says:

06/07/2019 – 18:40

I'm a new author and so far have attempted to have my books published via the traditional route, submitting my work to various agents, only to receive one form letter rejection after another. I'm entertaining the idea of having my work published through Plowshares Media which operates out of La Jolla, CA., and am interested in any information you might have on their credibility.

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

09/07/2019 – 09:10

Having a quick look at their website, it's hard to tell what their business model is. They seem to have published only a single book a year in the past few years, all of which have, frankly, terrible covers and very few user reviews on Amazon. If they are a scam, then they aren't a particularly prolific one — but I would still suggest you avoid them. With a bit of elbow grease and a willingness to learn about self-publishing, you could probably do a better job putting the book out yourself with the help of a few freelance editors and designers.

Pam Formeller says:

08/07/2019 – 14:46

Do you know anything about Mulberry Books Publishing House? They have approached me regarding the republishing of my current book.

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

09/07/2019 – 09:01

It's tough to know which company you're talking about, as there seem to be a lot of publishing companies with "Mulberry" in their name. I would be very cautious of any company that contacts you unsolicited — there are plenty of bad-faith presses out there who are looking to snatch up author's old books and hold on to them. If you want to confirm your suspicions, just look up the books they've published on Amazon or any online retailer. Their sales ranking, # of reviews, and cover art quality will give you a pretty good idea of their standing.

Tiffany says:

09/07/2019 – 17:17

I am currently working on a book, and I was found a publisher she seems nice but her contract is 3 years at a time... it stats that she can republish etc. my work at anytime and that I barely have a say so with the book cover I do not like it. I also googled her company and I did not find it. However she do have other authors that she have published under her and they seem happy. What should I do?

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

11/07/2019 – 09:12

That doesn't sound like a great deal at all. If she claims to be a publisher, but her company doesn't have a website, then that's a huge red flag.

Leon Higgs says:

10/07/2019 – 23:58

I am looking for critical information on Goldtouch Press. They have approached me about marketing my book but I am feeling uneasy. What could you tell me about them?

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

11/07/2019 – 09:07

With only a quick look, they seem like a company that's to be avoided. In general, they break a few of our golden rules: 1) they contacted YOU, which is never a good sign; 2) they have no testimonials from other authors of proof of their track record; 3) their prestigious address in Midtown Manhattan is a virtual office. Also, it's important to note that we don't know of any company that can provide you with an effective "marketing package". The truth is that you, the author, will always need to take an active role in marketing your own book. My guess is that their services will involve little more than making you a book trailer, maybe setting up some Facebook ads and perhaps getting you a "guest blog" on some site you've never heard of.

Sherrie Pemberton says:

13/07/2019 – 04:02

What about Kary Oberbrunner's Author Elite Academy? It is expensive but promises to give royalty's to the author.

Adah Kennon says:

15/07/2019 – 00:41

I self published my first book (Create Space/Amazon) and am thinking about contracting with New Book Authors to get it into stores like Barnes & Noble. Do you know if this is a reputable company? Thanks.

Jen says:

15/07/2019 – 21:06

Any thoughts on Covenant Books?

↪️ Nikki replied:

25/07/2019 – 18:52

I am interested to see what you find out.

Chanel Moore says:

16/07/2019 – 15:48

Thank you. Great information.

Yvette Haghi says:

16/07/2019 – 19:41

Hi wanted to know what you think of new book authors. Thanks

PJ Reeder says:

19/07/2019 – 20:01

THANK YOU! You just saved me from making a horrible decision. I almost signed a contract with one of your WATCHDOG publishers.

Rodger Woodworth says:

22/07/2019 – 14:54

Do you have any thoughts or reviews of New Harbor Press?

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

25/07/2019 – 10:07

Can't see any reviews, but it looks like they're the "hybrid" wing of CrossLink Publishing. To their credit, they seem pretty transparent about their costs. Their publishing 'packages' are not as ridiculously expensive as a lot of hybrid or vanity presses. The thing to bear in mind is that you need to pay upfront for their services AND also a cut of the royalties... As always, do your homework and research the books they've published on Amazon. See if there are any reviews and check out the quality of the covers they design — that tends to be a dead giveaway.

↪️ Rodger Woodworth replied:

29/07/2019 – 21:24

Thank you for your response and advice.

Debra K Kornfield says:

22/07/2019 – 20:58

I was called today by Amanda Gray of Gold Touch Press. Anyone have experience with them?

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

25/07/2019 – 09:58

We've had a run of comments about Gold Touch cold-calling authors in the past month. It sounds like someone has a sales quota to meet...

Allan says:

23/07/2019 – 21:32

I had my book published a year ago by Crossbow. I would like to redo it..change size, do further editing, eliimatnaing a chapter, having a different format so I can have a less expensive selling price. I received an email from Gold Touch Press offering services to republish my book. Does this sound legitimate?

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

25/07/2019 – 09:52

We've had a few people in the comments here ask about Gold Touch. If they contact you directly, they're almost certainly a vanity press. I would personally avoid them.

BC Bloomer says:

24/07/2019 – 00:26

I am a new author and recently published my first book, The Devil Picked The Girls But They Watched The Angel, published Author House 2017. Upfront things when smooth but after publishing just fizzled out with little or no contact or royalties so now I am more careful about signing on with another company. Your information has been helpful in me moving forward. Thank you.

Travis says:

24/07/2019 – 13:24

Any advice about working with Dudley Court Press, advertised as a hybrid publisher?

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

25/07/2019 – 09:44

A quick look at their website seems fairly promising. I can't see what they're charging, but I suspect they're not cheap. The books they profile on their site actually have Amazon reviews, which is better than what most vanity/hybrid presses have. However, we don't know if these are representative of all the books the publish. As always, approach with caution.

Lois says:

25/07/2019 – 06:08

I want to publish an inspirational/spiritual book. Is Covenant Books of South Carolina reputable? Or is the company more of a vanity press?

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

25/07/2019 – 09:38

Others have asked about them in the comments as well. By the looks of it, they would seem to be a vanity press.

↪️ Lois replied:

30/07/2019 – 06:00

Thank you, Martin! I was able to find the previous inquiries into this company once you called them to my attention and will find another route.

Rosemary Holland says:

25/07/2019 – 18:35

Is Bookwhip a reputable company?

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

30/07/2019 – 12:12

Looks like a scam to me. They have the whiff of a lot of Author Solutions clones that have recently started to pop up. If you search for any of their books on Amazon, I doubt you'll find many (if any) that have reviews or sales.

Sylvia says:

28/07/2019 – 05:12

Is Parchment Global Publishing a vetted and reliable company please?

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

30/07/2019 – 12:07

Just had a quick look at their site, and it doesn't look great. They offer bundled packages with a lot of stuff you could get elsewhere for free — plus they don't really offer anything editorially — apart from "Content Evaluation". On one hand, that is refreshing: they don't claim to offer a complete editing package at a fixed price. On the other hand, you'll still have to ensure that your manuscript is properly edited before you send it to the printers.

Jane says:

29/07/2019 – 19:14

What do you know about HayHouse publishers and Balboa Press? Are they reputable companies and is it worth submitting a book proposal to Hay House’s free writers workshop book publishing contract if given the chance?

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

30/07/2019 – 11:57

Balboa Press is Hay House's vanity imprint. They created it in partnership with Author Solutions, who are some of the most egregious players in vanity publishing. Hay House seems to offer some writers resources, but they include some online courses that are seriously overpriced.

Rudy Subieta says:

30/07/2019 – 19:54

Do you have information on Greenleaf? I have reviewed their website and looks good. They are a hybrid publisher, but i cannot find their cost structure

Ann Beavers says:

31/07/2019 – 16:45

This is a great article. Thank you! I am trying to fully research my options before selecting a route for publishing my children's book. Has anyone had experience publishing a children's book with Outskirts Press?

Pamela Joy Anderson says:

31/07/2019 – 17:49

Has anyone heard of Sydney Dewitt of House of Literary in Palmville, California? My first thought was, house of literary what? I received a call today saying that he's a literary agent, and my book was "recommended" to him for review. When I googled his numbers, 1-888-970-0833 and 562-318-0999, both numbers came up as possible scams, but I can't find any other info about him or the company he represents. I am sceptical because I've received so many of these calls. Would appreciate any information you have on him. I've tried Writer Beware and Alliance of Independent Authors, but neither had any information on him. Thanks.

David McKenas says:

31/07/2019 – 18:37

How would you classify Savio Republic publishing through Post Hill Press?

Jerry L says:

02/08/2019 – 21:02

Wish this 1st time author had known all this before being r***d by a vanity publisher who over-price my book's retail by 3x!!!

Bon says:

08/08/2019 – 17:10

Hi. Good info. I have been contacted by many so called promoters but do not follow up with them. Yesterday I got a call from FolioAvenue, a small company offering a literary agent who will work to have my book accepted by a larger more influential publisher than my current Balboa. Also promote it to large book stores and more... I looked them up BBB and google complaints and haven’t seen anything negative and a a little positive. Anyone ha e experience or knowledge about FolioAvenue.

Stacie says:

09/08/2019 – 18:12

I have been contacted by several companies lately regarding my book I published in 2010-when I was scammed. Be aware of Trafford Publishing. Has anyone heard of Parchment Global Publishing-they want me to pay to have a radio interview with Al Cole of CBS Radio?

Cheryl says:

10/08/2019 – 02:36

Does anyone have any information on Mascot Books

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

12/08/2019 – 08:59

I believe we've mentioned Mascot in reply to another question in the comments here. Scroll down and check it out :)

↪️ Erin replied:

27/08/2019 – 16:38

I don't see the thread on Mascot. Was that deleted?

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

28/08/2019 – 08:55

Ah, I might have been mistaken there. Having had a quick look at Mascot, they seem like a fairly okay hybrid publisher. They seem to meet most of the IBPA's criteria for hybrid publishers: https://www.ibpa-online.org/page/hybridpublisher However, it's tough to know what to think without seeing their agreement. Check out the section in this post about hybrids for some tips on what to look out for.

Brooke says:

10/08/2019 – 04:24

Loved it I wish I would have read this all earlier! I think I was a victim. How's Covenant Books And what about Shadow Mountain

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

12/08/2019 – 09:09

Covenant Books we've mentioned a few times here (be careful) but Shadow Mountain looks pretty legit.

Nattile says:

10/08/2019 – 04:28

Do you know anything about Aladdin publishing?

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

12/08/2019 – 08:57

If you mean the Aladdin books that's an imprint of Simon & Schuster (http://simonandschusterpublishing.com/aladdin/) then it's legit. If it's another one that I haven't been able to find with a quick Google search, then you should be vary wary.

↪️ Nattile replied:

12/08/2019 – 14:30

Ok thanks that's really helpful!

david henderson says:

11/08/2019 – 13:42

Thanks again for the article guys.

Tony cardwell says:

12/08/2019 – 06:26

Is author house a reputable company

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

12/08/2019 – 08:52

Nope.

Michelle says:

15/08/2019 – 01:48

I'm really worried about my situation with what looks like a vanity press. I'm trying to possibly find a way out without loosing my money. I thought they were reputable but now I'm not very sure:(

Ann K says:

15/08/2019 – 14:01

What's your opinion on WebNovel? I was just contacted by someone claiming to be an editor from them wanting to offer me a contract on one of my works on another site.

Kimberly Frazier says:

16/08/2019 – 01:21

Great insight! I’m working with “Professional Ghostwriters” I’m starting to question if this company is a scam. Does anyone have any informations before I move forward.

Patrick Rizio says:

19/08/2019 – 17:24

can you tell me if new reader magazine is legit?

Veronica Macdonald says:

19/08/2019 – 17:24

After getting scammed out of $4000 by Beth at Author Connections, who just sent me a packet of "how to market myself" rather than do the legwork herself, (which I was led to believe she would do), I am now very leery. I just received a call from Go To Publish.com, who, for $2000, want to promote my book by doing all of the online marketing themselves and this includes setting up a website for me. Before you recommend that I could do this myself, please know I a fairly computer illiterate and it will probably not get done. So, I am asking for your help. Is Go To Publish.com reputable?

edwinsrook says:

19/08/2019 – 19:16

Thanks for this useful information. What do you know about 'Books Agency Plus? This company cold called and offered to market my fictional book via pre-recorded radio interviews, podcasts, Twitter and Facebook "fan pages".

Candice Jones says:

19/08/2019 – 21:04

What do you know about Rushmore Press? My husband is excited about being contacted by them, they say he only has to pay 30% which is about $2500, and they will cover the other 70%.

jennifer barton says:

19/08/2019 – 21:37

Hi could you let me know about Lighthouse publishing buford usa, I sent my manuscript and i have had nothing but problems. Do you know who the cheif executive is? thanks

Clare Oppenheimer says:

20/08/2019 – 01:53

Hi. What is your opinion of Boulevard Books ? Independent publishing Company President of Company is Avi Gvili. Website BoulevardBooks.org If anyone has had experience using this publisher

Ian A. says:

20/08/2019 – 21:21

Hello! I was searching on a list of publishers accepting submissions, and found The New Press. That publisher is based in NY. Is it a vanity publisher, or traditional? The website is here: https://thenewpress.com/

Joan Gilligan says:

21/08/2019 – 12:22

What about Author Elite Academy and Kingdom Builders

Harvey Stanbrough says:

21/08/2019 – 12:50

You wrote "But with the traditional business model, publishers are incentivized to release quality books and foster long, healthy relationships with authors." Wrong. For one thing, traditional publishers take ALL RIGHTS for the life of your copyright in exchange for whatever they offer the author. For another, once they own that intellectual property (IP) it becomes a valuable asset on their spreadsheet. The IP valuation (how much could the IP POTENTIALLY earn during the life of the author plus 70 years?) can be in the millions of dollars, enhancing the value of the tradpub company by that much. Simply by virtue of them owning that IP. They don't even have to publish the book. Think, folks.

Harvey Stanbrough says:

21/08/2019 – 12:56

I should have said, though I was disappointed in the infographic (you failed to list indie publishing in the comparison and omitted some valuable information re tradpubs), overall I found the article useful enough to reference on my own blog. Thank you for that.

A. Carter says:

21/08/2019 – 19:02

Do you know if Trilogy Publishing Company, a subsidiary of Trinity Broadcasting Network, a Vanity Publishing or a Traditional Publishing Company?

Michael says:

21/08/2019 – 19:57

Hi. I recently submitted to Beacon Publishing Group ( I actually confused them with Beacon Press). They replied within a week and were interested, so I'm immediately skeptical. Do you know anything about them? Also, do I have to worry that they'll steal my manuscript?

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

23/08/2019 – 09:21

With vanity presses, the big risk isn't them stealing your manuscript. It's your money you need to be worried about. I've checked their website and it seems to pass the initial smell test. If they ask you to pay for anything/co-finance the book, then you should start looking deeper, but they seem like they could be legit. Put in the time and run a bunch of their books through Amazon. See if they have reviews and whether they seem legit as well.

Susan Cormack says:

22/08/2019 – 11:45

I have Book avenue publishing helping with material for book, do you know of them and Nivra press their mother company. Thanks

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

23/08/2019 – 09:14

It looks like Writer Beware has identified in their post as one to avoid (see the section above about The Filipino Publishing Scam Network). A quick look at their website should've sent up some red flags: their homepage image is a picture of Neil Gaiman at a book signing. I can 100% guarantee that they do not work with Neil Gaiman.

Tesa says:

22/08/2019 – 14:42

Thank you for your sage advice. Reading all of these comments and responses has been informative -- very helpful! My novel "Reflection of Memories" has been doing well . .. and ever since it hit 30+ reviews on Amazon, my phone has been ringing.... with a "let us help you market you book better" sales pitch. Most of the time, I say, "Thanks but no thanks." However, recently, RUSHMORE PRESS has bombarded me with phone calls from a number that is 800 (Service) which is an instant "red flag" for me. I have always believed . . . "If it sounds too good to be true . . . it usually is." I see Rushmore Press on the "Writers Beware" list -- do you have additional comments about this company? I appreciate your time and help.

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

23/08/2019 – 09:08

Sorry to hear that — we've got not much to add beyond "avoid at all costs" and see if you can block their number.

Jill says:

22/08/2019 – 18:18

I've been sent a contract by Morgan James and they are wanting me to purchase 2,500 copies at print cost + $2.00 per unit. And "The Author agrees to place a non-refundable deposit, which represents the "plus $2.00 per unit" equal to $5,000 upon the execution of this agreement". So, looks to me that they are asking for a WHOLE lot more than even their original ask. They had told me that ALL publishing houses require authors to purchase copies of their own books. What I'm finding out is that a true publishing house will never ask for money. Your thoughts?

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

23/08/2019 – 09:07

Correct — if you're with a real, traditional publisher, they don't force you to buy your own book. What they're doing here is getting you to pay them $5,000 in cash, plus purchase 2,500 copies at "cost" — which will likely be marked up, regardless of what they're saying. In short, if a publisher makes more money directly from an author than readers, they're definitely a vanity press.

CW Porter says:

24/08/2019 – 01:56

Hi, I've been presented with a deal to re-publish my first book; and then to publish my 2nd book (manuscript completed). Both are non-fiction. My publicist is with Gold Touch Press. I have seen 3 complaints, but don't know if that is enough to be concerned about. Can you offer any information about the company?Are there any legitimate vanity publishers. My first effort was with Westbow Press. They took the money and ran. My thanks for any direction you may offer. CW

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

27/08/2019 – 08:53

I believe that Gold Touch was mentioned in the Writer Beware post we linked to in this post. So, I'd be very careful.

Edward R Holzman says:

24/08/2019 – 23:01

Thank You. I have a 2 month old published "young readers" novel. Distributed by Ingram, published by Covenant Books. It is available on line at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Walmart - Hard Cover, soft and all digital formats. I have retained all rights to Non-English speaking editions. I have received an "invitation" from EC Publishing to represent the book at the Frankfort Book Fair in Oct. Do you have any info or insights into EC? Again, thank you for your attention.

Penny Haavig says:

25/08/2019 – 21:58

Whats your opinion of Trilogy Publishing. I was asked to submit 2 chapters of ms to an acquisitions agent. I wonder if this is a traditional publisher.

JAN WEEL says:

02/09/2019 – 16:06

Can you recommend Mulberry Books Publishing House? Thanks!

Laurie Grant says:

04/09/2019 – 03:00

Does anyone have any experience with Covenant Books?

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

17/09/2019 – 09:02

Scroll through the comments here - their name has popped up more than a few times, I believe.

John Wait says:

04/09/2019 – 21:55

Does anyone have any experience or comments on blkdg publishing out of London?

Jennifer Zarifeh Major says:

05/09/2019 – 23:45

Has anyone heard of SOOP? Something or Other Publishing? Thanks!

Elie says:

06/09/2019 – 18:14

I just got an offer to publish my book from Black Rose Writing. There’s no fee for publishing and they don’t require me to buy any books. It looks like they do some level of editing. How do I know if they’re legit? Thanks.

Kay Kinsley Adams says:

07/09/2019 – 15:19

What about Rushmore Press? I already self published with Balboa Press. Now get lots of calls to republish, etc.

Nadia says:

08/09/2019 – 23:16

Thanks for this. I have stupidly deposited USD $1600 in one of those self publishing on line courses (I won't name) only to find out it is not what I signed up for. I thought I was paying for everything up to publishing stage. It turns out it's all 'coaching' and I do all the work. So what is the difference with me just using google to research. So annoying. I am now trying to get my money back and hopefully not too late.

Arthur Wiederhold says:

10/09/2019 – 01:48

recently concluded a 6 month contract with YOP. They did everything they said they would and I did get some sales and ended up with a really well-done site. Victoria Martin was a treasure to speak with (British). I vetted YOP before I jumped in and found nothing but Victoria said they were a fairly new company with only a handful of clients. The Filipinos I dealt with are based in Florida and I also was told this from day one. So YOP was totally upfront and no one there promised to make me rich or hard sold me anything. So thank you, YOP, for giving it a good shot!

Susan says:

10/09/2019 – 19:49

Christian Faith Publishing. Anyone had experience with this Company?

↪️ Sherry replied:

03/10/2019 – 15:53

Yes, they have done everything they said they would do, except put my book in bookstores. I am all over the web. You can even get it in England and Australia, but when you walk into a brick and mortar bookstore, you have to ask them to order it for you. Getting it on the shelves is up to you.

mary says:

11/09/2019 – 06:41

Do NOT have any dealings with Capstone media Services. They are con merchants of the worst kind. Everything you read above about scammers is true with this group.

Mary Nichols says:

13/09/2019 – 13:58

During #pitchmad at Twitter, I was contacted by Uproar Books, which is a fairly new hybrid publisher. They appear to cover all services; however, I'm uncertain of their legitimacy. Do you know anything about this company?

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

17/09/2019 – 08:57

I've had a look at their site, and they look fairly legit as hybrid publishers go. They seem to not make authors pay anything upfront and seem to offer a small advance. However... take notice that they give authors 50% of proceeds, defined as "all revenue received by Uproar Books MINUS production and shipping costs." (emphasis mine). Watch out for what they define as production costs — as that could eat into your proceeds. As always, read the fine print!

Lily Iona MacKenzie says:

13/09/2019 – 18:50

I just received an email from Indie Author Project stating that "Last summer, we launched a pilot project with OverDrive where we took 50 curated indie titles from our program and put them into an indie author collection that libraries could opt into for free. After viewing the results, we are happy to announce that the pilot was a resounding success! Because of this, we have decided to launch a full program with OverDrive and other library eBook platforms to sell all of the current SELF-e Select collections and other curated titles under our Indie Author Project (IAP) brand. Because your book has been selected by curators in our network (including Library Journal), you are now eligible for our IAP Select commercial collections and to receive royalties." Then they ask the receiver to click on a link that supposedly will "provide us PayPal information to receive royalty payments." I don't plan to click on the link because I never do that if I'm not certain of where it will take me. Do you have any info on this company?

Martha Somnitz says:

20/09/2019 – 16:07

I'm writing a biography for a local family and community leader. Not really looking to 'sell' books, they just want to see their story and family history in print, good quality, of course. Would only print 100-150 books (hard cover), with the option of ordering more, if needed. What publishing company would be advised for this? I've seen a company, 48 hours books? One can purchase as many or fewer services as needed. Any advice?

Frederick Keihn says:

21/09/2019 – 18:46

Has anybody had dealings with Mulberry publishers?

Fluff says:

23/09/2019 – 07:12

What about halo publishing International? I know someone who just recently had a book published in with them. Horrible. No editing was done..at all. It was really hard to read. To the point it made my head hurt. I'm not a pro when it comes to stuff like this. But the run-ons misspelled words...it was basically every page. 5k plus for this book..and it only has a nice cover. Storyline is good..but it's just hard to read and follow. They also charged him $15 to put it on Amazon.

Marriah Dziekonski says:

23/09/2019 – 22:54

Is writers republic reputable? Also, is Submittable reputable? I stumbled into Submittable and have been scammed (I think) out of a $30 submission fee. And then outreached by writers republic shortly after. I haven't found them on one of the links you provided, but will keep digging for more info.

Juju says:

25/09/2019 – 16:47

What about dorrance publishing and page publishing? Are they reputable?

↪️ brian walkowiak replied:

30/10/2019 – 12:07

I used them to publish my novel the Judas Goat. Took a year and I did the cover art myself. The size of the book was odd and the editing weak. Never received a cent in loyalties even though I knew people who bought the book. You are the customer and they don't care if you sell one copy. never again.

Sherry says:

26/09/2019 – 19:34

Mulberry Books is offering to lower the price of my book and give me 80% of the royalties. They did not list a price, but want me to respond by replying to their email or phoning them. I am already published with a registered copyright. Is Mulberry Books a reputable company?

↪️ Deb replied:

20/01/2020 – 23:14

Any insight with this company?

Murpheus Jaxon says:

01/10/2019 – 02:49

Do you have any information on AAXEL Author Services or ebookpbook ? They seemed trustworthy but after reading the blog I'm now a bit reluctant.

Cynthia Williams says:

04/10/2019 – 02:06

I saw an ad on Facebook for the Christian T.V. station Tbn looking for Christian Authors. I left them my email. A day or so later a Lady sent me an email. She asked me to give her submissions of some of my writing I copied and pasted them into a email to her. I even asked her if this was a scam and she gave me the name and phone number of another Lady .I then told her because she did that I was impressed and trusted her. Anyhow she said my submissions will be reviewed and she would get in touch with me in about a week. Am I being scammed? What would be a red flag or have I already had one? Ty so much!

Sherry says:

04/10/2019 – 20:04

Has anyone heard of Renley Rudolf? Says he interviews authors on his radio show.

Melissa says:

04/10/2019 – 21:28

What you think about Newman Spring Publishing...they do everything ...$3400 over a 10 month payment plan...if they choose your book for publishing...

Gary Orleck says:

05/10/2019 – 23:46

How would you rate Page Publishing and Novum Publishing ??

Shawnee says:

10/10/2019 – 09:59

Have you heard anything about FriesenPress, Trilogy Publishing or Authorhouse?

Ann Todd says:

11/10/2019 – 23:34

What is your opinion of Austin Macauley Publishers ?

Katherine Wormley says:

17/10/2019 – 18:22

Is TBNs Trilogy Christian Publishing legit?

Loretta says:

18/10/2019 – 01:58

I've been contacted by Pen It! Publications. Anyone have any information?

Cheryl Beffre says:

18/10/2019 – 20:55

My 15 year old daughter wrote a book and writers Republic wants to publish it. I'm just wondering if there is any information on this company. If it is truly legit. Before We pay for their services.

Lucky Stevens says:

19/10/2019 – 07:39

What are your thoughts on Mill City Press? I have published with them before but they were bought out recently and I am unsure about them now, as I have heard some negative things. ALLI does not seem to like them.

Kathy Hostetler says:

23/10/2019 – 01:47

Please tell what you know about Covenant Books. Are they reputable?

Lisa says:

23/10/2019 – 14:03

I was contacted by a Renley Rudolph with Parchment Global. He states a book scout found my book and they would like to put me on CBS News Radio with Al Cole. I am responsible for paying the “air time” It seems fishy to me. I am wondering if you have any info on this. Mr Rudolph has a Filipino accent and it seems his number is a cell phone number. I was contacted by email. My gut says it’s not Legit.

PATRICK H WAGEMAN says:

25/10/2019 – 16:14

What do you know about Global Summit Publishing?

Ronald S Teachworth says:

30/10/2019 – 00:40

Anyone familiar with Rushmore Press?

Nathan Arther Hammel says:

30/10/2019 – 23:15

There is Self Publishing companies that are Author Funded and then there is "vanity presses" those two things are entirely different. You have a really good article here, but I feel you bleed these two kinds of companies together. and this is just not true.

Tara says:

31/10/2019 – 15:32

What is your review of self publishing school?

ralph wedgeworth says:

31/10/2019 – 17:50

I didn't happen to see anything about iUniverse. Has that been rated? Thanks

Keith Wise says:

02/11/2019 – 13:25

GREAT information. As a first-time author, I am naive to the ways of the publishing world. Do you have any thoughts on Covenant Books?

Donna M. Rink says:

10/11/2019 – 21:09

Is Parchment Global Publishing legit? They invited me to be on a radio interview for my book. They said investors are paying for my interview with AL Cole and I have to pay for the air time. Please let me know if you've heard of these type of interviews and their formalities. Thank you!

Julia Burger says:

11/11/2019 – 18:47

Is Dream books Distribution in Hollywood a scam?

Nolia REMBERT says:

11/11/2019 – 23:51

McNaughtonBooks, are they someone good to publish with

STEVE says:

12/11/2019 – 21:48

IS RUSHMORE PRESS A SCAM?

Viranda Slappy says:

20/11/2019 – 17:37

Who is Powerhouse Press Book? I want to know have anyone heard about this company. Is it a scam?

Karla Jayne says:

21/11/2019 – 07:09

I just got a rather impressive looking publishing contract (the first I've ever seen) from Austin Macauley and they want me to pay them a mimimum of 2500 pounds... and then pay 25 percent of royalites... I don't know what's fair but this doesn't seem to be it.

Amy Tyndale says:

24/11/2019 – 14:34

Hi, I just found your article, thank you for the info. Do you know anything about Covenant Books?

Becky Brown says:

26/11/2019 – 20:33

I’ve been notified by Pubkits.com. They say they will put my book in a London book fair. That is free but they want 1400 for advertising

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

28/11/2019 – 09:53

Sounds like a scam to me...

Kathy Jo says:

27/11/2019 – 02:35

I have been contacted by Authors Press wanting me to attend a book fair in Arizona and they want to put my novel on the shelf at their bookstore. Anyone know anything about this company ?

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

28/11/2019 – 09:54

We're hearing a lot of 'book fair' offers — but if you've been contacted out of the blue, then chances are they're looking to make money off of you.

Richard Wall says:

12/12/2019 – 07:35

Hi there, I submitted my novel to Breaking Rules Publishers, based in Florida. The website looks clear and legit, but I wondered if anyone here has had any experience with them or knowledge about them? Thanks :-)

Angela Jackson says:

16/12/2019 – 19:25

Can you tell me anything about Adelaide Books? They will publish my book, and want me to sign a 3 year contract, but they want me to buy 45 books at 30 % discount, which raises my flag. If it is a reputable company, no problem. It LOOKS good, but how am I to know?

↪️ Richard Wise replied:

07/03/2020 – 16:00

Adelaide is long on promises and short on delivery. They make most of their money from their authors.

Ammar Al Akel says:

18/12/2019 – 11:06

HI all, I was approached by Octa publishing company, to publish on Amazon my daughter poetry book? they went down on the prices to 600 US$ but I am not sure if they are a legitimate company or they are just behind my money. any feed back.

Don Womble says:

19/12/2019 – 17:46

Has anyone had experience with Author Publishing house or Empire Publishing?

Sandy Nicholson says:

31/12/2019 – 07:34

Have you heard any reviews for freeauthorinfo. I sent my information for them to send information on finding publishers. Are they legit?

Bones says:

09/01/2020 – 02:54

What is your opinion on Trilogy/TBN. Thanks

Jerlz says:

11/01/2020 – 02:28

is Austin Macauley Publishers a good publishing company ?

Joan says:

11/01/2020 – 05:52

Very interested in working with Author Academy Elite and would appreciate insights/opinions/comments.

Nadine Monahan says:

15/01/2020 – 16:16

What is your opinion of Atlantic Publishing? They offered me a book deal but i have to pay some publishing/editing costs and get 10% of the profits.

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

29/01/2020 – 16:18

That sounds like an awful deal. Did they offer 10% of the sale price or profits? Either way, it's not an amazing royalty for an author who's footing the cost of production.

Rid says:

17/01/2020 – 11:19

I recently submitted my manuscript to a publisher I now think might be a scam. I have not signed a contract, and I have paid nothing. Should I be afraid that they may try to publish, sell, or otherwise abuse my manuscript?

Debbie says:

20/01/2020 – 23:06

The Mulberry Books has approached me. Anyone have insight or experience? Thank you in advance for your response.

Paul Arvidson says:

27/01/2020 – 17:11

How do we all feel about SOOP ?

Jon Gibson says:

28/01/2020 – 17:31

I was thinking about Bublish but wasn't sure if i should. Is this a safe choice to invest my first book in?

Cheryl Carpinello says:

28/01/2020 – 17:51

What do you know about Pearson Media Group?

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

29/01/2020 – 15:42

They look like they submit short films to festivals. If they claim to be publishers, they may be benefitting from having a similar name to Pearson, which is a major publishing group. Approach with caution!

Eve Brown says:

30/01/2020 – 14:33

do you have any information about Author University LLC? it's not a publishing company but they offer marketing for your book..

Jolene Pickett says:

31/01/2020 – 20:45

Has anyone dealt wth TrilogyTBN?

Pam Jackson says:

03/02/2020 – 18:17

Is Rushmore legit. Just got an email from them

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

13/02/2020 – 15:21

If they contacted you unsolicited, then chances are that they are a vanity press.

Pam Jackson says:

03/02/2020 – 18:19

Is Rushmore press legit. Just got an email from them

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

13/02/2020 – 15:21

If a publisher contacts you unsolicited, then chances are they are not.

sarah says:

05/02/2020 – 10:39

Does anyone here know if Okada Books is a scam. A friend of mine published his first book on their site. In order to purchase the E-book you have to pay through their website and they don't take Paypal. I went to their website and they seem legit. However, I'm leery of putting my credit card info into their site, even if it does have the https in their URL.

Marta Magellan says:

11/02/2020 – 18:07

I'm wondering about White Bird Publishing, which I believe is actually a hybrid publisher but claims to be a traditional one. I Googled the name but got no red flag reviews.

Marta Magellan says:

11/02/2020 – 18:08

I am wondering about White Bird Publishing--it seems to be a hybrid publisher but not claiming to be.

John P Pachak says:

12/02/2020 – 16:43

What kind of companies are Author House and Christian Faith Publishing? Are they reputable?

Coy Fuller says:

14/02/2020 – 22:45

What can you tell me about Outskirts Press

Lisa says:

20/02/2020 – 00:29

I was contacted by a consultant from happy media consulting. They are offering a spot on Publisher's weekly. Not sure of it is legit. I was also co reacted by EC Publishing, LLC I. Reference to a spot at the LA book expo. Any info on them would be helpful as well.

Kate says:

22/02/2020 – 04:30

Has anyone published a children’s book with Storybook Genius Publishing? They claim to be a hybrid, and they certainly don’t publish anyone and everyone, but I have my doubts. I’ve contacted a few authors who have used them but would like more input.

Maddy says:

29/02/2020 – 03:17

Atlantic publishing/ Dorrance publishing... either of these legitimate?

Enid Richemont says:

01/03/2020 – 15:38

I am London-based, and a long time published/agented, but slightly lacking in techie expertise. Wanting to put two currently out of print books out again as ebooks + paperbacks, a colleague recommended BLKDogpublishing which does the whole thing for free and has a respectable-looking list (her fantasy novel is on it.) Their website is well-presented and written, but when one of their 'editors' contacted me to express interest, her English was extremely dodgy. When I pointed out one of her errors, she tried to pass it off by saying: 'that typo was deliberate, put there to test you, and you've passed the test,' followed by more errors! They pay 50% royalties, with accounting every quarter. Does anyone know them? There has to be a catch somewhere, but where? If it hadn't been for the semi-literate 'editor', I'd have gone ahead.

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

03/03/2020 – 14:47

If their editors contact YOU, then that's a red flag. Genuine traditional publishers have no shortage of authors and agents flooding their unboxes. 50% royalties may sound good — but is that something they offered you because your book has already been published, and they won't edit it? This is pure speculation, but it could be that all they do is spend 30 minutes redesigning your cover, another 30 minutes uploading it to Kindle and then collect 50% of your money for the next few years.

Steve says:

03/03/2020 – 02:50

Is Covenant Books legit?

Mark Smith says:

03/03/2020 – 08:12

Hi, I wanted to know if you can tell me if power publishers is a real thing or scam.

curtis frink, says:

05/03/2020 – 02:42

is author press legitimate

Jacqueline Hearns says:

06/03/2020 – 23:15

He got angry when I told him I’m not giving him $3,000 to do anything and sent this email: Your Representative, ****** ******, called me to prospect business. After listening to him and telling him numerous times I was not interested in putting money into my book, I told him I was not interested, do not contact me, and to place me on the do not call list. He then proceeded to tell me that I didn’t have any goals for my book. And if that wasn’t enough, he decided to send me an email and call me names. Not only do I not appreciate his attitude or his blatant disrespect for anyone’s time, but I will be certain to report this to the better business bureau and the national do not call list with the government. This was unnecessary. I hope this is not how your company conducts business. Thank you. Please see letter below: Dear Jacqueline, This is ****** ****** from Booktimes. Well Jacqueline you don’t have to shout at me, because your nothing. You’re not a well-known author, that kind of attitude? well now I know why your still nothing. Actually you don’t have any goal for your book. Thank you for shouting at me. Have a great day. Sincerely, ****** ****** Senior Manager

Ana says:

08/03/2020 – 16:39

Is Madison seidler editor services a scam? Chelsea kuhel?

Cindy Baier says:

10/03/2020 – 21:24

I'm trying to do my due diligence on publishing companies but I'm having a hard time deciphering between a traditional publisher and vanity press. Have you heard of Covenant Publishing?

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

11/03/2020 – 10:49

Yes. They're a very well known vanity press — and not one we'd suggest you pursue.

Melvin Jackson says:

12/03/2020 – 12:44

I have two manuscripts that I want to get published. How do I find the right publisher?

Ahmed ElNahas says:

13/03/2020 – 10:48

What do you know about Bookvine press?

Barbara says:

16/03/2020 – 19:34

Is Trilogy publishing Reparable? Or are they a scam?

Barb Wheeler says:

19/03/2020 – 17:34

Any thoughts on Covenant books

Abby Rose says:

24/03/2020 – 00:23

Is Writers Republic reputable/legitimate?

Ben J says:

27/03/2020 – 19:32

What’s your opinion of Rushmore Press? I got cold-called/emailed by them offering a hybrid publishing deal.

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