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Stop: Vanity Publishing aka Subsidy Publishers

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Stop-Vanity-Publisher
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99% of All Manuscripts Will Be Accepted
Within half an hour I was asked today about two different “Self-Publishing” companies who had the authors’ manuscripts accepted. Both writers had tried to find a trade publisher and after receiving numerous rejections, they were glad to get an “offer” – as long as the authors are willing to pay totally inflated prices for printing, editing and cover art. It took me only one minute, using the word “complaint” along with the companies name to find long lists of complaints on author websites, blog posts and “Writer Beware” on Google.
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Vanity publishers are often working under several names, change addresses and their websites. Some trade publishers, up to at least one of the “Big Five”, affiliated recently with subsidy publishers and also directs authors, who’s manuscript they had previously rejected, to these companies. The main goal of these vanity publishers is to have their printing company busy, so they are not really into executing the work of a traditional publisher. A background check reveals in almost all cases that they are either printers or affiliated with a printing company. Even one of the best Canadian book printing companies went into vanity publishing a year ago.
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You often might have seen these small ads in literary magazines or on the internet: “If your book deserves publication, send your manuscript now to …”. And authors do not have to wait long for a response to their submission.  A real publisher doesn’t need to advertise!  They are overwhelmed with queries from authors.

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Money Upfront
Authors are certainly surprised when they encounter a “publisher” who wants money up-front. It should be the other way around shouldn’t it? After the author, having signed a hefty check, eventually learns that paying for publication is no guarantee that a single copy of his book will appear in any book shop, not even the local ones.
Many vanity publishers will charge somewhere between $8,000 to $20,000 (or even more) to publish a book depending upon its length. Why would an author pay $20,000 when he or she can have the same book printed for $2,000?
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Contract Full of (Empty) Promises
Nevertheless, the contract will be full of promises, it will state what exactly will be paid to the author for subsequent reprinting, subsidiary, for audio and e-books, mass-market paperback rights, for TV & Radio rights, merchandising and commercial rights and even film and foreign rights – to make the author believing that his “publisher” actively solicits his manuscript in Hollywood.
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Free Copies
Vanity contracts include usually a certain amount of “free” copies for the author; sometimes even as much as 10 books and if he/ she require more, they have to be paid.  Which means, that the author is paying for them twice…  I also have never met an author who goes into the print shop to watch his or her books manufactured or to see them stored in the warehouse. In most cases, only a certain number of copies (I suspect not even this will happen) in an edition will actually be bound; the rest will remain in the warehouse as flat printed sheets until required, which is probably never.
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Reviewers are Wary of Vanity Presses
Vanity / subsidy publishers are not concerned with editing, promotion, sales or distribution – unless the author pays additionally. For most vanity books, neither exists, and should review copies really being sent out: Reviewers are wary of vanity presses because they know that little attention is paid to the editing of the book. Unless the vanity house has a proven distribution and sales organization, authors will have to sell their printed book themselves and usually it will sell fewer than 200 copies.
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As seen in a Vanity publisher contract:
“In the event of bankruptcy or liquidation of the publisher for any cause whatever, the author shall have the right to buy back the publications at fair market value to be determined by agreement or arbitration.” (That means, die author has to pay a second time for all his unsold books). “If the author does not purchase remaining copies of the book, the representative of the publisher shall have the right to sell same at the best obtainable price without payment of royalty to the author.”
Unbelievable! Unethical! Criminal!
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Beware of These Signs:

  • Don’t trust flattering letters concerning your manuscript.
  • Be suspicious of vague promises of quality production. You will not get it in writing…
  • Be wary of promises to sell television and film rights, serial books and other money-making options.
  • Read, read and read once more the contract.
  • Don’t pay a dime, get a copy of the contract and show it to a lawyer that is specialized in contract / copyright law.
  • Watch out for contract clauses, that allow the publisher to renegotiate his initial pitch, and also where the “Publisher shall have the right to license the rights set forth”.

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Bound to the Vanity Publisher for Life!
Beside their over-the-top printing prices, Vanity publishers might cheat you in a contract that expires only 50 years after your death and with worldwide rights, even universe rights – a contract that a friend of mine signed in Renfrew, Ontario, Canada (and paid dearly) stated:

“The author hereby grants the publisher, during the full term of copyright, the sole and exclusive right to manufacture, print, publish and sell and to otherwise use, as set out further in this agreement, including, but not limited to, acting as agent and/or exercising any or all subsidiary rights, throughout the universe the work.” And: “The copyright remains with the author, until fifty (50) years after the death of the author. All covenants and grants of the author shall bind the author’s successors or assigns.”
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Vanity Publishers / Subsidy Publishers are not actively promoting books. Their business is not publishing, but printing and selling authors all kind of over-priced services. Despite so many warnings all over the Internet, there are still writers who fall into the trap of vanity / subsidy / self-publishing. And as soon as one vanity publisher stops his “business”, another fills the gap.

Please read also a comparison of Publishers – Vanity Publishers – and REAL Self-Publishing here:
http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/comparison-of-trade-publishing-vanity-author-publishing/

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to advertise your new book, specials, your KDP Select Free Days or the new Kindle Countdown Deals.

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The Author Exploitation Business

ebooksinternational:

Penguin and Author Solutions
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We wrote in dozens of blog posts about the difference between publishers, self-publishing service companies and Vanity Publishing, recently in an article

A Must-Read for every author is David Gaughran’s article about Author Solutions, where he explains:
“Traditional publishing doesn’t talk about Penguin’s 116m purchase and ownership of Author Solutions. No-one wants to talk about how a supposedly legitimate publisher now owns the most successful author scamming organization on the planet, that has cheated 150,000 writers out of their savings.”

Unfortunately Author Solutions / Penguin also own  XLibris, Balboa, Trafford, iUniverse… ,collaborates with Lulu, and spams the internet with FindYourPublisher.com
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The good news: Three authors filed a class action complaint against Author Solutions Inc. and Penguin Group USA in US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Allegations include breach of contract, unjust enrichment, various violations of the California Business and Professional Code, and violation of New York General Business Law and request release of publishing rights for the class, and payment by the plaintiffs of restitution, court costs, and compensatory damages in excess of $5 million.
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Read David Gaughran’s extensive article and re-blog it, to warn as many writers as possible, so that they do not fall into their traps.

Originally posted on David Gaughran:

penguin (1)Writing is a glamorous occupation – at least from the outside. Popular depictions of our profession tend to leave out all the other stuff that comes with the territory: carpal tunnel syndrome, liver failure, penury, and madness.

Okay, okay, I jest. I love being a writer. Sharing stories with the world and getting paid for it is bloody brilliant. It’s a dream job, and like any profession with a horde of neophytes seeking to break in, there are plenty of sharks waiting to chew them to bits.

Publishing is a screwed up business. The often labyrinthine path to success makes it much easier for those with nefarious intentions to scam the unsuspecting. But it doesn’t help that so many organizations who claim to help writers, to respect them, to assist them along the path to publication are actually screwing them over.

Before the digital revolution made self-publishing viable on a…

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99% of All Manuscripts Will Be Accepted …

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Stop Vanity Publishing

Stop Vanity Publishing

and will be printed – but only by Vanity Publishers (aka Subsidy Publishers) – as long as the author is willing to pay their totally inflated prices.

The main goal of these vanity publishers is to have their printing company busy, so they are not really into executing the work of a traditional publisher.

A background check reveals in almost all cases that they are either printers or affiliated with a printing company.  I learned that even one of the best Canadian book printing companies went into vanity publishing a year ago.

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You often might have seen these small ads in literary magazines or on the internet:  “If your book deserves publication, send your manuscript now to …”.  And authors do not have to wait long for a response to their submission.
.
Money upfront
Authors are certainly surprised when they encounter a publisher who wants money up-front. It should be the other way around shouldn’t it?  After the author, having signed a hefty check, eventually learns that paying for publication is no guarantee that a single copy of his book will appear in any book shop, not even the local ones.

Many vanity publishers will charge somewhere between $8,000 to $20,000 (or even more) to publish a book depending upon its length. Why would an author pay $20,000 when he or she can have the same book printed for $1,500?
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Contract full of (empty) promises
Nevertheless, the contract will be full of promises:  What exactly will be paid to the author for subsequent reprinting, subsidiary, for audio and e-books, mass-market paperback rights, TV & Radio rights, merchandising and commercial rights and even film and foreign rights – to make the author believing that his “publisher” actively solicits his manuscript in Hollywood.

Vanity contracts include usually a certain amount of “free” copies for the author; sometimes even as much as 10 books and if he/ she require more, they have to be paid. In reality, the author is paying for them twice…
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The stock of unsold books remains the property of the publisher
so if there is a chance to remainder them later, he cashes the proceeds. In most cases, only a certain number of copies (I suspect not even this will happen) in an edition will actually be bound; the rest will remain in the warehouse as flat printed sheets until required, which is probably never. However the author has paid in advance for complete books!!!  And I have never met an author who goes into the print shop / binder to watch his or her books manufactured or to see them stored in the warehouse.

Vanity / subsidy publishers are not concerned with editing, promotion, sales or distribution – unless the author pays additionally. For most vanity books, neither exists, and should review copies really being sent out: Reviewers are wary of vanity presses because they know that little attention is paid to the editing of the book. Unless the vanity house has a proven distribution and sales organization, the author is going to have to sell it himself and usually the book sells fewer than 200 copies.
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As seen in a Vanity publisher contract:
In the event of bankruptcy or liquidation of the publisher for any cause whatever, the author shall have the right to buy back the publications at fair market value to be determined by agreement or arbitration.” (That means, die author has to pay a second time for all his unsold books).  “If the author does not purchase remaining copies of the book, the representative of the publisher shall have the right to sell same at the best obtainable price without payment of royalty to the author.”
Unbelievable! Unethical! Criminal!
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Beware of these signs:

  • Don’t trust flattering letters concerning your manuscript.
  • Be suspicious of vague promises of quality production. You will not get it in writing…
  • Be wary of promises to sell television and film rights, serial books and other money-making options.
  • Read, read and read once more the contract.
  • Don’t pay a dime, get a copy of the contract and show it to a lawyer that is specialized in contract / copyright law.
  • Watch out for contract clauses, that allow the publisher to renegotiate his initial pitch, and also where the “Publisher shall have the right to license the rights set forth”.

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Beside their over-the-top printing prices, Vanity publishers might cheat you in a contract that expires only 50 years after your death and with worldwide rights, even universe rights – a contract that a friend of mine signed in Ontario, Canada (and paid dearly).

“The author hereby grants the publisher, during the full term of copyright, the sole and exclusive right to manufacture, print, publish and sell and to otherwise use, as set out further in this agreement, including, but not limited to, acting as agent and/or exercising any or all subsidiary rights, throughout the universe the work.” And: “The copyright remains with the author, until fifty (50) years after the death of the author. All covenants and grants of the author shall bind the author’s successors or assigns.
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Vanity Publishers / Subsidy Publishers are not actively promoting books.  Their business is not publishing, but printing and selling authors all kind of over-priced services.  Despite all these warnings, there are still writers who fall into the trap of vanity / subsidy publishing. And as soon as one vanity publisher goes out of business, another fills the gap.  

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If you would like to get help in all things publishing, have your book heavily promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites: We offer all this and more for only a “token” of $1 / day for 3 months. Learn more about this individual book marketing help: http://www.111Publishing.com/seminar

Please feel free to check out all previous posts of this blog (there are more than 760 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Chime.in, Facebook, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.

Thanks a lot for following:

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http://bit.ly/VmtVAS 111Publishing @ Google+

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Don’t be fooled by POD Services

 

POD Service companies are by no means publishers! Even if they call this themselves – many others don’t get it too. The expression “publisher” is unfortunately not protected. However, all of them cash in on your publishing success:
You have to pay for e-book formatting or printing, for cover & interior book design, for editing and for the ISBN number of your book – beware of this especially, as the one who ordered the ISBN number, is the publisher!  If your book sells, which you hope and what you work for with your marketing efforts, they get royalties. In the best case (for you) only 5-10% of the list price, in most cases way more.

You ask why? Well, they do some paperwork for you – which you could as well learn to do yourself. It is not a big deal to find an e-book format-er or a digital printer/binder, a cover designer and editor. This way you would hold total control about your book. Think about it.

This is a snippet from Mark Levin’s book “The Fine Print of Self-Publishing”. He is a lawyer and compiled data from POD Service companies. He also had a very close look at their “publishing” contracts. See also my blog: “Comparison of Vanity Presses” from December 29, 2011.

BookLocker: $517 (Deduct $200 if submitting your own cover)
Rated “
Outstanding” by Mark Levine, attorney and author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing.
No hidden fees or upselling. Books are usually on the market within a month. No extra charge to include graphics, tables, footnotes, etc. 35% royalties based on list price for public sales; 15% royalties based on list price on wholesale/bookstore orders. Authors own all rights to their production files. Added Bonus: Returning authors are only charged $149 setup fees on their second and subsequent books.

CreateSpace: $1022.00 (Deduct $299 if submitting your own cover)
Rated “
Just OK” by Mark Levine, attorney and author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing.
Add $500 to price above if you want more than one color and image featured on your cover. Limit of 10 interior images; charges $15 per image and $25 per chart/table/graph thereafter. Does NOT publish hardcover books (all others here do). IMPORTANT: BookSurge was rolled into CreateSpace in November, 2009 but they kept employees, equipment, etc.

Lulu: $1131.00 (Deduct $450 if submitting your own cover)
Rated “
Pretty Good” by Mark Levine, attorney and author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing.
Lulu now charges directly for many services they previously farmed out to other companies. Lulu appears to be having customer service problems and authors are upset about their high shipping costs.

Trafford: $1324.00
Rated “
Publisher to Avoid” by Mark Levine, attorney and author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing.
Warning: Has a variety of “extra” charges like $2 per page if your manuscript is submitted with incorrect headers/footers, page breaks, line and paragraph formatting, etc. Charges $5 extra per image. Expedite service available for the $2199 “Elite” package.

iUniverse: $999.00 (includes 5 “free” copies)
Rated “Publisher to Avoid” by Mark Levine, attorney and author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing.
Warning: Has a variety of “extra” charges like $2.00 per page! if your manuscript is submitted with incorrect headers/footers, page breaks, line and paragraph formatting, more than 25 photos/graphics, more than 2 images on your cover, tables, etc. They own your files after creation and you have to pay $150-$750 to get them if you leave their service! No expedite service. Turnaround is 3-4 months.

AuthorHouse: $1517.00
Rated “
Publisher to Avoid” by Mark Levine, attorney and author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing.
Charges extra for photos/graphics ($5 per image after first 10 – included in cost above). Expedite fee ($500) is for publication in 30 days instead of 6 months (included above). Claims ownership of files you pay them to create…meaning you can’t use the edited/formatted files if you want to move your book later.

Xlibris: $1972.00 – (includes 5 “free” copies)
Rated “
Publisher to Avoid” by Mark Levine, attorney and author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing.
Charges expedite fee of $349 (included above) for publication in 2 months instead of 4-6 months. Charges $10 per image (included above); $20 per table. Limit of 1 cover image.

***Prices above based on least expensive package offered by each publisher on similar offers targeting U.S. authors. Fees include interior formatting (based on a 200-page book), original cover design with up to 5 images, print proof, ebook creation, up to 25 interior photos/graphics, an ISBN, barcode, a listing on the publisher’s website and distribution by Ingram, all within 6 weeks.

NOTE: Some companies claim ownership of files the author has paid them to create. Study each publisher and contract carefully before making your choice. See article: “Why POD Contracts Could Be Bad For Authors” from March 3, 2012

NOTE: All publishers offer distribution through Ingram (book distributor), as well as inclusion of their titles in the major online (amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, etc.) and physical bookstore systems – also POD books will be ordered by bookstores only if customers special-order them.

NOTE: AuthorHouse is owned by Author Solutions, a holding company that also owns Xlibris, iUniverse and Trafford. 

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Comparison of Vanity Presses

Fine Print of Self-publishing

The owner of Bookpublisherscompared.com, Mark Levine, did a great job in finding out all these perks and fees and published it online and more detailed in an e-book. 

The only thing I am not agreeing with him, is calling those vanity companies, “publishers” – which they are definitely not!!! These companies don’t pay any advances – instead the author has to pay for everything from editing, to cover-image to book layout to formatting or printing if it is a paper book. And on top of that the author has to split the royalties with this vanity company (often a print shop).  If the writer wants to have copies of his own book (that he had paid for production in the first place) he has to buy! them from this vanity printing company…

OK, here it goes:

http://www.createspace.com

FORMAT OF BOOKS: Paperback (authors interested in creating ebooks are forwarded to the Kindle section of Amazon.com)

GENRES ACCEPTED: CreateSpace, an Amazon.com company (now combined with BookSurge, another previously distinct Amazon.com brand), operates much the same as Lulu.com and is more of a content manager and printer than a publisher. Therefore, it does not discern genres or quality of writing; it only asks that you not use the site to print books that are disturbing
PUBLISHING FEES: CreateSpace offers a variety of services, available for review at https://www.createspace.com/pub/services.home.do. There are do-it-yourself publishing packages where it is free to upload your book (https://www.createspace.com/Products/Book/Index.jsp#content2), but you need to create your own cover and interior and submit them correctly to CreateSpace. CreateSpace only recommends its do-it-yourself packages for people with design experience….. read more:

http://www.bookpublisherscompared.com

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Posted by on December 29, 2011 in Publishing, Self-Publishing

 

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Easy to Lose Money – a Lot

Vanity publishing.

 

Don't fall into the vanity publishing trap

Don't fall into the vanity publishing trap

The hook for the unwary author is a small ad in the literary pages. ‘If your book deserves publication, write now to …publisher seeks manuscripts for UK, Canada and USA …’ Those authors who take the bait do not have to wait long for a glowing response to their submission. No matter how illiterate, misconceived or downright boring the manuscript, the vanity merchant will offer praise and encouragement. Since the vanity publisher can make a profit without donating a penny of the company’s money to the book, he has no incentive to really publishing. His main goal is to have his print shop busy. 
Authors show surprise when they encounter a publisher who wants money up front. Publishers are supposed to pay authors, aren’t they? There is nothing wrong in this. The trouble comes if the author, having signed a hefty check, is led to expect that his book will be treated in the same way as all the other books coming onto the market. To pay for publication is no guarantee that a single copy will appear on the shelves of even the local bookshop.  Authors feel they have been conned, persuaded to part with money for services not rendered.

Reality is kept at bay until after the signing of the contract. This usually binds the author to pay 30 per cent of the fee upfront, 30 per cent on receipt of proofs, and the remainder upon publication. The rest of the contract will positively glow with promise: what will be paid to the author for subsequent reprinting, subsidiary, audio and e-books, film and foreign rights. 

Other fairly standard clauses in a vanity contract include a quota of ‘free’ copies to the author; if he requires more, he has to pay for them. In reality, he is paying for them twice! The stock of unsold books usually remains the property of the publisher, so if there is a chance to remainder them later, he takes the proceeds. Unless otherwise directed, only a certain number of copies in an edition will actually be bound; the rest will remain as flat printed sheets until required, which is probably never. A vanity publisher will undertake to distribute a certain number of review copies, but this task is pretty academic; although the regional press might run notices if there is some local interest in the book.

Distribution and marketing operation: For most vanity books, neither exists. Most vanity books are therefore sold through the vanity house’s mail-order operation, with most of the work – family, friends, and common interest groups – done by the author. In practice, unless the vanity house has an efficient and proven distribution and sales set-up, the author might as well take all the copies, because if they are going to be sold he is going to have to do it himself.

Despite the evidence, there are still writers who fall into the trap of vanity publishing – often with open eyes. That is why as soon as one vanity publisher goes out of business, another soon fills the gap. Here are a few tips on what to look out for:

  • Do not take a flattering report on your manuscript at face value. The publisher may simply be motivated by a desire to do business at your expense.
  • Be suspicious of vague promises of quality production. Subsidized books are often dingy books.
  • Regard with suspicion promises to sell television and film rights, serialization and other money-making options. The chances of getting your money back from subsidiary rights are remote.
  • Watch out for cop-out clauses in the contract which enable the publisher to renegotiate his initial pitch.
  • Don’ t bring a check book to the meeting, get a copy of the contract and show it to a lawyer that is specialized in contract / copyright law.

 

 

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Victims of Vanity Publishers

                                                                                                                                               
I just read another rather shocking contract from one  of these self-called “publishers” and it makes me really mad to realize how they screw writers, using the fact that it is very hard to penetrate the book market – at least it was in the past.  

Now with e-books and such distributors as Amazon, Google, Apple and many more it became easier for writers to self-publish. But as for paper books they are prone to fall into the trap of one of these scam artists.

Reading the ads of “publishers” very carefully, you will find out that in 99 percent of all cases they are VANITY PUBLISHERS or self-publishing firms, who lure in innocent authors with visions of best-sellerdom and who over-charge for their services.  Real publishing houses do not have to advertise, they are overwhelmed with pitches and manuscripts.

Real publishers sell to readers – vanity publishers try to sell to writers!

As soon as you, the author, is asked to pay ANYTHING, this company is NOT a publisher! Rather a savvy (and scrupulous) agent for printers, freelance editors and cover designers.

The expression “publisher” should be legally protected and it should be forbidden by law to call themselves publishers!

 Here are some voices of screwed and angry authors that I read in the past in chat rooms:

DO NOT USE …. UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!  It is a mistake I will be paying for, for a long time. It took them 12 months to form my manuscript into a book. In that time they merged with ….. and after that time it was impossible to get anything done unless I kicked and screamed my way up to the Vice-President!  I foolishly signed the 10% royalty agreement because I thought they would incentivize the bookstores to buy my book, but they haven’t done any marketing of my book to this point. Only trying to sell their current authors more services… I paid for the Premier Plus option which was at the time the highest and most expensive service they offered and they have not fulfilled much of what they said they would do. I also think they are now screwing me on the sales of my books as well. I can’t get a royalty report from them and they say they have to wait until (months after the close of the quarter) to get their reports.”

“I am their client too and very much disappointed with the way my book is handled, unless it is the matter of grabbing money, it is difficult to get a response.”

“I SHOULD HAVE SEEN THIS WEBSITE MUCH BEFORE .I HAVE READ ALL THE COMMENTS THERE IS NOT A SINGLE INDIVIDUAL HAPPY. I PAID OVER $6000, THEY COULD NOT SELL A SINGLE BOOK ALL THE TIME I AM BUYING MY OWN BOOK…”

“The flag ship of the vanity/POD industry is sinking herself. HMS …. is going down the toilet.”

“I wish I had seen this site (and many others popping up out there) before paying … to destroy my four years of hard work.”

“Stay away from those people, do not invest a penny in …. Save yourself time, money and frustration! Buyer beware! Author beware! Writer beware!

 

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