Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Watch For Those Sharks!

I have so many things I want to share with you all about the Pennwriters' Conference I attended this past weekend. There were so many generous and talented workshop presenters who shared their knowledge with us.

There is always something more to learn about writing and I will share some of that but I tended to attend the sessions geared toward promotion. One interesting hour I chugged coffee through was titled, Options in Today's Publishing. Dixianne Hallaj, acquisitions editor for S&H Publishing,Inc. talked about the many different paths to publication and the pros and cons of each.

Most novel writers have heard the goods and bads of big traditional publishers versus the same for small presses. Dixianne didn't mention anything I didn't know about those avenues and I won't go into them here since I've written about them before. Instead, I'd like to share some information that I did learn a little more about.

I never ever considered paying a 'fee-based publisher' to get my book on the market. These type of businesses make their money on fees they charge the authors and not on sales of books. As you can imagine, that means they charge authors desperate to see their books published, extraordinary amounts of money to do things such as edit, design covers, set up distribution, format and then publish a book. And then these sleazy companies do those things quite poorly and the writer makes no money and probably ends up in debt.

And here is the kicker, most of those differently named companies are really one big scam business called Author Solutions. If you google, Find a Publisher, almost all the links will be to Author Solutions or one of their branches. Even better, Author Solutions, is part of Penguin Group. At times, Author Solutions mislead writers into thinking if their book sells well, it will be picked up by the parent group.

Many watchdogs such as Writer Beware, warn authors away from these parasites but people still get stung every day. And Author Solutions operates world-wide, bilking people everywhere regardless of nationality, gender, race or religion. They're equal opportunity crooks.

Forbes originally reported a lawsuit against Penguin Group and Author Solutions. Writer Beware has this update on the lawsuit. It's frustrating that it takes the courts so long to act against these scammers and that companies like Penguin reap the rewards of preying on inexperienced writers.

Dixianne's last words of wisdom was to remind us as writers that this business isn't a get rich quick scheme. Statistics show that 54% of traditionally published authors and 80% of Self-published authors make less than $1000 per year. Very sobering.

And I'm still catching up on my rest after this past weekend. I could use a nap though not as much as a cat.
The average cat naps for 16-18 hours per day.

Do you know any writers who fell victim to a scam? Have you heard any horror stories about Author Solutions or one of its partners? Can you nap as much as a cat?


34 comments:

  1. Interesting most are tied to one company.
    As much as I like sleep, I couldn't sleep that long.

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    1. They try to hide behind different names but they're all the same.

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  2. It is a shame that predators stalk our weaknesses. I am a young senior citizen and my phone rings with scams for seniors. People that plan to work that hard to cheat should be capable of making just as much working legitimately.

    Oh well, we all live and learn. It never hurts to share the cons to warn others.

    Thanks.

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    1. I keep hoping people will get savvy enough that no one falls for them anymore.

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  3. I do know people who used Author Solutions (or its ilk). It was a painful and expensive education.

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    1. I think a lot of people learned those expensive lessons.

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  4. Many of them, like Publish America, change their name often since they have such a bad reputation.

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    1. They do like to change their names like those book pirate sites do.

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  5. It's such a shame that there are companies out there ready and willing to take advantage of people's dreams.

    I enjoy a good nap but that's way too long for me.

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    1. I think only human babies can nap for that long.

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  6. Yeah, I'm not as nap crazy as a cat. Oh there are a few I'm seen that are scams. Main thing, if they ask for money before doing anything for you, run far far away.

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    1. I should have said that. Keep your money and run away.

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  7. BN has an arm in their company affiliated with author solution as well. It's sad to know many people get taken in by this. The numbers on salary are sobering. Writing is t a race as they say. Thanks for the reminder Susan

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    1. I didn't know B&N were in on it too. Shame on them.

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  8. I can't imagine napping as many hours as a cat :) That was interesting about the publishers like these. I guess desperate people will do whatever they think they can to get published, but sad they resort to that. I'm sure a lot that do eventually realize the bad mistake they did.

    betty

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    1. It is a shame that people are blinded by their desperation.

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  9. When I was younger, I feel victim to two poetry publishers. They picked my poems and wanted to publish them in a book. I paid for the books but never got them. Even after mailing the companies several times about the issue. I was so mad.

    I don't nap as much as my kitties, but some day I do need to lay down for a little bit.

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  10. When I was younger, I feel victim to two poetry publishers. They picked my poems and wanted to publish them in a book. I paid for the books but never got them. Even after mailing the companies several times about the issue. I was so mad.

    I don't nap as much as my kitties, but some day I do need to lay down for a little bit.

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    1. That's too bad. I should have interviewed you for the post.

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  11. And people say writers shouldn't quit their day jobs... sigh.

    I've heard of those scams, and they're awful. I hate to think of the poor people who've fallen prey to them.

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  12. Androids Cyborgs and Terninators don't sleep which is how I feel sometimes when I'm writing. The worst part involves getting up the next day for the day job.

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  13. Just seeing the words "fee based publisher" makes me cringe. Writer Beware should be the first link in everyone's bookmark links. And I totally would nap as much as a cat if I could...

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  14. I'm thankful that no one I know has fallen prey to one of these scamps. I love naps - sometimes I wish I were a cat myself.

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  15. A friend of mine in France got caught by a fee based company. They didn't do much for her at all. Later she found another publisher and her books was much more successful.

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  16. I don't know anyone who has fallen victim to this but glad you heard about it.

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  17. I so wish I could log 16-18 hours of sleep daily...

    Glad to hear the conference was so rewarding.

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  18. Yes I know someone who lost thousands upon thousands to a scammer like you've mentioned. Thankfully she's been picked up by a legitimate small press now, so happy ending for her. Thanks for sharing. I didn't know about the Penguin Group connection. Boy oh boy, you have to be careful these days. All that to make about $1,000 per annum. Hmmmmm...

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  19. Glad you had a good time. I think there were lots of very successful writers, and publishers before before people decided they could do everything themselves, you make it sound like all the big well know businesses are crooked and I don't think that's the case. Like everything you have to pay attention; but having a real publisher can make things happen that you may not be able to do yourself, or on a larger scale. I think the situation varies.

    Sandy at Bridge and Beyond

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  20. I don't nap as much as my cat, but all this rainy weather we've had lately makes me want to try. I need sunshine to wake up.

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  21. Making my way around on the A to Z Road trip! Stopping by to say hello and I hope to see you again next year, if not sooner!

    Mary
    www.JingleJangleJungle.net

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  22. I have heard of the Author Solutions scam. I'm so glad I joined CPRW who has given us so much great information. And I got to meet lots of cool authors. Like you!! Feeling blessed!

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  23. Glad to hear the conference was so rewarding. quotes about success

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