Moos is yelling at me for taking credit for her decision, but it’s the truth. Without me, she would be in a serious pickle right now. (I still don’t understand that phrase, by the way, but Moos says it makes more sense than “in a vine.”)
Anyway, a few days ago, a publishing house contacted Moos through her website about submitting her writing to their new anthology series. Just like all new writers, she got super excited. A publishing house! Contacting her!
I did NOT get super excited, Ivy, and you know it!
Uh huh. You just don’t want to look like an amateur. Every writer gets excited. They can’t help it.
So this publishing house wanted her to submit her writing to them, but my pixie senses instantly started twitching. Legit publishers never make first contact. They get more than enough submissions without needing to reach out to writers themselves. So I told Moos to do some research before replying to them.
She whined and dragged her feet (I did not!), but eventually she started the arduous process of internet digging. Their website looked legit enough. Authors weren’t required to pay them to publish their writing (the primary hallmark of vanity publishers), and they appeared to have an impressive backlist. While Moos was convinced and ready to go ahead with it …
Seriously? How naive do you think I am?
Hush. Ivy’s talking.
Scammers never look like scammers. They’re wolves in sheep’s clothing. (Again, I don’t get you mortals’ idioms. At all.) So I told her to do even more digging. You’ll learn the truth about publishers not through what they say of themselves, but what their authors say about them. And that’s when we stumbled upon a Writer Beware post.
The blog is all about spotting scams and loopholes and informing the writing community of them so they can “beware,” and they listed this publishing house as another vanity press scam. The above post explains it more thoroughly than I feel like doing right now, but they were using automated email solicitation targeting naive writers, like Moos (again, I’m not that naive!), and convincing them to submit and publish their writing for no payment. But here’s the catch: the authors were then required to do all the marketing, publicity, and even required to buy their own print copy of the anthology (which are all printed mostly for free via CreateSpace).
Basically, these writers end up doing just as much work as they would self-publishing, but don’t get any of the profits. But hey, they say exposure is the new currency for writers! Not that exposure can buy you so much as a donut.
Anyway, if you’re a writer and you’re ready to start publishing, I hope this story will remind you of the importance of doing thorough research. Check out blogs like Writer Beware and podcasts like Ditch Diggers. They’re designed to help writers learn how to avoid bad contracts and spot scams. Even the ones hidden in the fine print. Moos might want to get glasses for those.
Okay, that’s enough of that! I knew very well the likelihood that it was a scam. Ivy is not nearly as savvy as she’d like everyone to believe.
Don’t you have writing to do?
If you have questions, I suppose you can put them in the comments. I may answer if I feel like it. I am a very busy alter-ego, after all.
So, thanks to me, we’re all vine now. Ivy out.