Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day from Writer Beware!

Well, here it is, the Valentine's "gift" we've been promising our faithful readers for what seems like a long time now: the companion piece to our "thumbs down" list of agents--Writer Beware's "Two Thumbs Down" publishers list!

Keep in mind that this list is far from all-inclusive. And remember, when in doubt, you can write to Writer Beware and ASK us if a publisher or agent is okay BEFORE you sign on that dotted line. The service is free. The email address is beware@sfwa.org

So...read and enjoy, while you nibble your Godiva truffles. Oh--and if you want to disseminate the list, please link to this post rather than copying and pasting.

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Writer Beware’s "Two Thumbs Down" Publishers List

Below, in alphabetical order, is a list of the currently active publishers about which Writer Beware has received the largest number of complaints over the years, or which, based on documentation we've collected, we consider to pose the most significant hazards for writers. All have two or more of the following abusive practices:

1. Fee-charging--whether for the actual printing/production of the book, or for some other item related to the publishing process, such as editing or publicity. Some publishers require authors to buy bulk quantities of their own books. Fees range from a few hundred dollars to more than $25,000. A nominal "advance" in the face of other fee-charging practices does nothing to legitimize them.

2. Author-unfriendly contracts--including rights grabs, taking copyright, restrictive option clauses, sub-standard royalty provisions (including reverse-accounted royalties), inadequate reversion clauses, draconian "defamation clauses," and a host of other inappropriate and abusive contract terms.

3. Deliberately misleading advertising--including directly soliciting authors, misrepresenting services to authors in an effort to masquerade as commercial publishers, hiding the fact that they are vanity operations, and making false claims about distribution and bookstore presence.

4. Conflicts of interest--some of these publishers are the vanity "arm" of (or otherwise under common control with) a fee-charging literary agency, which directs clients to the publisher under the guise of having made a "sale"--often without revealing the financial and personnel links between the two businesses.

5. Lack of editorial gatekeeping--as befits vanity operations, many of these publishers have few, if any, standards for the books they acquire. Some don't even bother to read the books they accept for publication.

6. Poor or inadequate editing. Some of these publishers don’t even pretend to provide editing. Others do little more than run the text through a spell and grammar checking program, or employ unqualified, inexperienced staff.

7. Repeated breach of contractual obligations--such as nonpayment of royalties, refusal to provide royalty statements, incorrect accounting, publication delays, ARCs not sent for review as promised, failure to ship books or fulfill orders, failure to make author changes in proofs, and failure to respond properly to author queries and communications. Some of these publishers have been the focus of successful litigation and other legal actions by authors.

Writer Beware gives two big "thumbs down" to:
  • American Book Publishing (Salt Lake City, UT)
  • Archebooks Publishing (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Helm Publishing (Rockford, IL)
  • Hilliard and Harris (Boonsboro, MD)
  • Oak Tree Press (Taylorville, IL)
  • Park East Press (Dallas TX) (formerly Durban House, formerly Oakley Press)
  • PublishAmerica (Frederick, MD)
  • Royal Fireworks Press/Silk Label Books (Unionville, NY)
  • SterlingHouse Publisher (Pittsburgh, PA--imprints include, among others, Pemberton Mysteries, 8th Crow Books, Cambrian House Books, Blue Imp Books, Caroline House Books, Dove House Books, and PAJA Books)
  • SBPRA/Strategic Book Publishing/Eloquent Books (Boca Raton, FL--formerly known as The Literary Agency Group and AEG Publishing Group)
  • Tate Publishing (Mustang, OK)
  • Whitmore Publishing Company (Pittsburgh, PA)
[Edited 12/31/11 to reflect closures and name changes]

    352 comments:

    «Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 352 of 352
    Anonymous said...

    i was considering tate so i have been reading alot of these blogs lately and have a couple of things i've noticed:
    -their 4% sent contracts seems to be a fairly liberal 4%, theres always a ton of people on these blogs sent contracts
    -Tate monitors the blogs very closely, seems perhaps time would be better spent editing, which seems to be non-existant by most reports
    -Tate always has satisfied authors reply with passion and often, beginning to think kick backs or discounts are involved, but mostly likely Tate is posing as authors
    -I would like to say "hi" to the member of the Tate editing department that will reply to my post by saying "who is to say what is proper in the American language anymore" sorry if I worded that better than you usually do

    Linda Randall said...

    http://theideagirlsays.wordpress.com/2009/11/27/the-nanowrimo-song-music-video-the-calamity-girl-the-promotion-squidoo-site/

    thanks for the heads up, I was going to sign up with whitmore publishing to send me info...

    Dale said...

    What are the practices of Whitmore Publishing that got it on your list of bad publishers?

    ShayM said...

    I feel blessed that I came across this blog BEFORE I made a huge publishing mistake. With that said, I'd like you to please respond to the following questions, if you can.

    Has anyone any thoughts about SweetiesBooks?

    Any suggestions on publishers that I can approach directly without the need for a Literary Agent?

    Can anyone suggest/recommend a Literary Agent who is accepting manuscripts for children's picture books?

    Not interested in vanity publishers.

    Thanks,

    Shay
    LadyExecutive66@Hotmail.Com

    Avatarmaniac said...

    Dudes, I can tell you I was already suspicious from the start. I first read in their webpage that only 4 percent of the submitted manuscripts are accepted. Well guess what, I sent the introduction chapter (thank god it's only that chapter for securities sake) to them, they reviewed it and I got this email back.

    "Thank you so much for your submission to Tate Publishing!

    I have looked over the portion that you sent to us and it looks good so far, but in order to finish our review, we will need to see more text from you! Please submit the complete text, or as much as you have complete as an attachment to me at melissa@tatepublishing.com .

    When you send your text, please make sure you include a mailing address (no PO Box please) as to expedite the process if your manuscript is accepted for publication. This will really help us out! I'm sure by now you have read all of your information, but if not, you may want to skim back through that to familiarize yourself. You are just one more step closer to possibly becoming published!!

    We look forward to seeing more!!"

    Excuse me but "please send the completed manuscript or WHATEVER YOU HAVE" doesn't sound very ethical, in fact it's a bit demanding. I know this sort of thing is always on a case by case basis, but still it never hurts to be cautious.

    From my point of view, and what I've read on the site, which points out that they deleat unsolicited/unaccepted manuscripts and that only 4% is accepted. That phrase seems more like a direct translation to something like this.

    "Please send us your work so we can rip you off" and why? Just being overcautious maybe But I know that even though the content of my story may indeed be worth it, I haven't had hardly any experiance in Original fiction. There's no way that a novice writer like me (I mean god, I'm not even finished yet and they want 'more') would be 'skilled' enough to come within that so called 4% margin.
    Also, doesn't the "one step closer to POSSIBLY get published" sound a bit fishy to you, especially after requesting my entire manuscript? Well it does me, and I'm not lying about my writing abilities either, though I have improved somewhat. You can find solid proof of my skills by searching www.fanfiction.net for author NaruZeldaMaster and Fictionpress.com for avatarmaniac. (Fiction press is where I posted the work in question btw) I dunno for sure, but I do know one thing, eyes open and ears sharp. Leaping before you look sounds good, but not always the best way to go etc.

    Sorry for the shamless self plug btw, but seeing as the work I submitted is the work being referenced in said email, is that so bad?

    Teh Notebook Ghurl said...

    What do you have to say about Dorrance Publishing, AuthorHouse, and Be Published? Are they any good?

    What's Self-Publishing vs. Getting an agent?

    Victoria Strauss said...

    Dorrance is an extremely expensive vanity publisher. For why vanity publishing is never a good idea, see the Vanity Publishers page of Writer Beware.

    AuthorHouse is a print-on-demand self-publishing service, a cheaper form of vanity publishing. There are a lot of similar services, and if you're considering this mode of publishing you should do some comparison shopping--and be aware of the potential pitfalls. For more info, as well as some discussion of what kinds of books are appropriate for self-publishing, see the Print on Demand Self-Publishing page of Writer Beware.

    Be Published appears to be an online bookstore for self-published authors. Given that most self-publishing services list their books with major Internet retailers such as Amazon, I don't really see that such a service is necessary--especially since they require you to send physical copies of your books, which could be quite expensive if you don't live in Australia, where Be Published is based.

    Before you go any farther, however, I suggest that you spend some time learning about the publishing process. Not only will this help protect you against schemes and scams, it will answer most of the questions you have right now.

    Avoid the Internet for now (there's a huge amount of misinformation out there, and unless you know how to filter it, it's hard to tell good advice from bad). Go to a bookstore and spend some time in the section where the books on writing are shelved. Also have a look at my blog post, Learning the Ropes, which gives more detailed advice and suggests many other resources.

    Melissa said...

    I'm currently looking for a freelance manuscript reader or editor position. Unfortunately, I'm not lucky enough to live in NY, so my options are limited. I stumbled across an ad for American Book Publishing for a Book Content/Developmental Editor. I now see this publisher on the beware list. Can any one tell me if this position is worth applying for?

    Thanks!
    Melissa
    Nashville, TN

    Sophie said...

    Lol, I was just on Whitmore Publishing and I was thinking: these guys can't write themselves, how are they supposed to help me?

    The website just LOOKS like a scam.

    ricky said...

    Superb Work

    Anonymous said...

    PUBLISH AMERICA is not a scam. I have my book they created absolutely free after only 4 months. You just have to edit it yourself in the production process. They are not the most professional, but they clearly state everything of front which is honest and true. Get your facts straight

    Anonymous said...

    Victoria, thanks for the update. I recently recieved an e-mail from Oak Tree Press in Illinois professing an interest in my Ms. However, they only wanted to publish it in the Kindle format saying that they were not looking for new paper books. I was feeling cautious, anyway but now will not deal with them.

    shakia7 said...

    I've been writing for a long time. I have completed several manuscripts but I haven't sent any out yet. I'm a little worried about being screwed over so I've decided to not send anything out until I investigate all of my options. Do you know of any reputable publishing companies? I'll keep looking on my own but I'm kind of getting impatient.

    Anonymous said...

    Hi,

    I'm a playwright looking for information on two play publishers: Brooklyn Publishers in TX and Eldridge Publishing Co. in FL. Pros / Cons? Satisfied / unhappy author stories? Anything would be helpful -- THANKS!

    josephine bridgers said...

    I email Tate Publishing Co February 17, 2010, stating after searching the internet I glanced through a page called writer beware, I was shocked to see Tate Publishing Company on the list. I informed them that the $4,000.00 they charge for publishing fee after reading some complaints was not for me and I want to decline with pursuing doing business with them.
    Here is a quote from the email they sent me.
    " It is kind of you to call but I cannot conrol internet lies anymore than the bad stuff I read on the web about you." Never mind, I didn't send Tate Publishing Company my social security no.
    It seems all the claws came out.

    Anonymous said...

    UK Publisher: Pegasus Elliot Mackenzie Publishers Ltd, Cambridge, England. Has anyone ever been published by them, and did they charge any kind of fees/charges?

    Victoria Strauss said...

    Anonymous 2/12, I'm afraid I don't know anything about either Brooklyn Publishers or Eldridge Publishing Co. Sorry!

    Victoria Strauss said...

    Anonymous 2/23, Pegasus Elliot Mackenzie is a vanity publisher. It charges thousands of pounds to publish your book. If you want to pay to publish (which is not a suitable starting point for many authors), there are many much cheaper options.

    Anonymous said...

    If any of you are interested in self publishing, and can market your own book you can do it at LULU.com.. Also your book will be included in google search, and at Amazon. No charge, rights yours since you are listed as publisher.

    Anonymous said...

    Here's another one to add to the list of Worst Publishers: Atlantic Publishing, Inc., of Ocala, Fla. This is a classic book mill. They pay writers next to nothing, give them zero royalties and work them half to death. There have been a number of complaints about them on various writer sites.

    Anonymous said...

    My sister's brother inlaw went with Publich America. Once it was finished and avalible for purchase, he nearly cried as Publish America never did any editing and his book is full of errors and he says it will never sell. It was printed just as they had received it. I told my sistwer what I had read about Publish America on Writer beware. Obviously he didn't listen.

    Anonymous said...

    Anyone had any dealings with Trafford publishing?

    Jesse C. Nelson said...

    I have been writing fiction since the 80's (early middle school and high school). This is my passion, and I have amassed many manuscripts. I will continue to write regardless. It's what I do.

    While I am a published nonfiction writer (about a dozen newspapers and magazines over the years), the process of seeking a literary agent or publishing company is not only daunting, but emotionally draining.

    Sadly, over the years I have had dealings with three entities listed on this site, from the Ntl. Poetry Anthology in high school, to the Arthur Fleming Literary Agency directly after graduation, to i.Universe back in '99 or so.

    My impression was and is of quite a few sharks in these literary waters.

    Anyway, people sometimes forget what it was like before the internet expanded as it has. Big thumbs up for this site and others like it. Much of what is contained here was left unreported before the internet became what it is today. It's nice to have someone on the side of writers, or a tool such as this to use.

    I'm about to brave the waters of seeking a literary agent once more, and can do so feeling well-armed.

    As for the Tate Publishing comments (quite interesting to read), it's quite simple. If the fee is only mentioned once in the small print, so to speak, it's called "bait and switch." And yes, this is a form of scamming, perhaps not illegal, but certainly misleading.

    KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK HERE! (thanks)...

    Angela said...

    Commendable activity. Thank you.

    Angela....in Australia

    ELY said...

    Can anyone tell me if they have had any dealings with Sheil & Denver publishing?

    niyo. said...

    you guys won't believe that five minutes before reading this blog, i added the whitmore company's page to my favourite's list! THANK GOD!U SAVED ME. i m a budding writer n this blog is absoulutely gonna help.u guys are doing great job! :D

    Uko said...

    I am glad that someone has mentioned the crookedness of Seaburn Publishers. This company should be shut down and I wish some of us could carry out a class action suit against them. Recently they tried to mount pressure on me to take back the rights to my father's book (I am representing my late father in this regard) and buy the remainder of the books which they had in stock at over 12,000 dollars. They even threatened to report me to the credit bureaus if I refuse to buy the copies. I was not trying to take back the rights to the book and, according to their contract, I do not yet have the right to do so even if I want to. In the three years that they published the book, I have not received a single report on sales made or a penny in royalties. Beware of this so-called publisher. They need to be avoided like the plague.

    Anonymous said...

    I amm a first-time author and thinking of sending a query letter to Oberon Press, a Canadian company. Does anybody know if they are or are not a trustworthy press? Thanks. -A.

    liza said...

    please beware of Kinglake Publishing, Harry Taylor- they wish to publish my story but require a £873 authorial (whatever that is) payment before anything starts...

    teacherwriter said...

    Several years ago when I was green and hungry, I had a novel published by PublishAmerica. And then the floodgates opened with all the negative disclosure. I now can look back and shake my head, wishing it all away, but that's a foolish waste of time. Instead, I work my derriere off, writing and submitting, hoping that one day I will land an agent and eventually an offer from a reputable publisher. More than anything, though, the greatest obstacle seems to be my "lifetime sentence", being persecuted by those in the business for having such a blackspot in my writing background.

    So, I guess my question is, how is it that those such as myself who have been published by the likes of PA must be continually punished? I've even read on one publisher's website that if you have ever been self-published or published by POD, don't even bother to submit any of your work. Now, does that seem fair? I think not.

    Victoria Strauss said...

    I've even read on one publisher's website that if you have ever been self-published or published by POD, don't even bother to submit any of your work.

    That's a really extreme statement, and I don't think it's always, or even often, accurate. A self- or vanity-published book may be stigmatized, so unless it's sold a lot of copies you probably shouldn't try to submit that book--but you yourself won't necessarily be stigmatized with a new manuscript, just because you paid to publish a previous manuscript.

    There's a really, really easy way to escape the self-publishing "stigma," anyway: just don't mention the book. That would be my recommendation for any author with a PA-published book. Pretend you've never published before, and market your new manuscript as your debut effort.

    Brenda said...

    It's too bad I didn't find these lists last year. I published my first novel through PublishAmerica and contracted my second to Writers Literary Agency. I know by experience that these are definitely companies to stay away from.

    Anonymous said...

    Tate is a crook, pure and simple.

    What reputable publisher would charge you $4,000?

    That is not a reputable publisher; that is a vanity press.

    You will ruin your reputation if you go this way.

    Ritu said...

    I was looking for a publisher. I found Whitmore. I jumped at the opportunity, but then thought to check online about the company, before jumping into anything. Thank GOD I did.

    Anonymous said...

    Anonymous. Amazing Stuff here.Thankyou all. Somebody observed that Tate spend a good deal of time monitoring these Blogs. In my experience this is true but rarely do they have the guts to identify themselves. If budding authors such as myself take the time to read blogs such as this - with attention - it will soon become apparent that several publishers weigh in to the discussion through 'ringins': most pernicious of these are Tate who almost always hide behind the Christian faith. Doesn't seem very Christian to me. Anybody who spends so much time in attempting to neutralize or justify their misdeeds are a cause for genuine concern.Mr Tate, if not in your own name - then in God's name develop at least a vestige of shame or integrity. To aid in my own credibility,I have not had any dealings with Tate or the authors of this site. Thankyou for the fabulous information.

    Matt Bille said...

    A lot of people are tempted to use PA and other companies of its type because they want to "get their foot in the door," "get their first book out there, "develop a track record," or similar totally underdtandable motivations. But ask yourself this: if the book won't be in bookstores, won't be reviewed, won't be marketed, and won't be accepted by any traditional publisher as a credit, in what way have I achieved any of these things?

    Knowledge said...

    I suppose there will always be people who are prepared to pay to be "published" and there will be "publishers" ready to satisfy this vanity. However, really serious publishers pay authors and charge nothing for services because they are confident that they will create a sellable product which they will market effectively, recoup their costs, and derive profits for themselves and their author.

    ETN OObanga said...

    Your website is very informative, and right when I needed it. I have been working on my project for quite some time now, and I was going to attempt to self publish, thanks for helping me to have my Eyes Wide Shut, Look out for Strategic Publishing just like you said the "Letter Form" how phony look what they sent me, who in the Heck is Tania a "secret Russian spy" is she Real? I doubt it.
    Sincerely,

    Liz, Tania, Linda, Mark - Acquisitions Team

    If you would like to speak with someone, please call Tania at 800-961-3437.

    For a current listing and an example of our hundreds of books published
    please visit www.StrategicBookClub.com.

    Kathie Truitt said...

    My name is Kathie and I am a proud Tate author. I've already made my investment back and my novel isn't even released until August 3rd. So far I have sold the movie rights for a made-for-TV movie to be shown in 2011, and it will also be the subject of a Discovery Channel documentary in 2011. I am already booked in several Borders and Barnes and Noble stores in several different states. I am booked to do a TV interview in my area (CBS affiliate in Washington DC) and have recorded another talk show in the DC market. Everything is moving so fast my head is spinning. Whoever things Tate is a 'rip-off' has no clue what they are talking about. Oh, and did I mention that Tate negotiated the movie contracts not one but twice at no extra charge. Attorney fees are also covered in that investment which I believe I've mentioned that I've made back and am not making a profit. And since I retain the book rights I keep every single dime I make off the movie. As long as Tate will have me I will never leave them. I love my editor and publicist, which Tate provides (part of that investment that everyone thinks is so wrong.) I don't care about 'dreams'. I don't look at my book and get a 'warm, fuzzy, feeling' because my dream of being a writer has been realized. I see it as a way to make a living, and I AM making a living as an author, thanks to Tate.

    Victoria Strauss said...

    Kathie, congratulations on your success. I hope you'll come back in six months or so, and tell us whether you're still happy with Tate.

    Anonymous said...

    I have had 2 books published by PublishAmerica, and it has been a 'mixed bag' experience. The first book was produced well, but the second book had over 40 "publisher errors." My experience with the formatter was pure hell. She even refused to allow me to sign off on the final copy before printing. She also refused to make the corrections of "publisher errors" that I identified. They ruined my book. Can I take them to court?

    Kathie Truitt said...

    Victoria,

    I will gladly come back in 6 months if I have time - I am gearing up for a 3 city tour in the Midwest (5 major bookstores in 3 days), then back to DC/Virginia are for tour, then to several southern states, and even Seattle - and that's just in August and September. Traci, my publicist which Tate provides as promised already has started booking me straight through to December.

    Victoria, where are you located if I may ask? I would love to meet you at Tate publishing some time and let them give you the tour. I've never visited their facilities and we could tour it together and maybe you might change your mind.

    Victoria Strauss said...

    Kathie, best of luck to you, and please let Dr. Tate know that our position on the tour hasn't changed since the last time he made that offer (it would be a conflict of interest for us).

    Anonymous said...

    Call me Anonymous J - This blog is fantastic!! But as a first time author, I am completely overwhelmed on where to take my chances of publishing. My plan to research the industry has only furthered my fears of falling into a scam.
    I plan to continue reading the advice given upon this site, but really would appreciate guidance. I have read comments on this very blog that a first time author should not ever be required to pay any up front fees, then I read other individuals who disagreed. I understand that at the end, the decision is ultimately mine. But as a first time author, which road is the best to travel: Self-publishing or traditional? They each have pros and cons to consider. If someone could offer a little guidance, I would be immensley grateful.

    Anonymous said...

    I'm adding Llumina Press in Florida to your list of 2010 Beware of the incompetent gals!
    The staff is young and unaware of the real world.
    They badger and bully and accuse the author of problems that were really made by Llumina. Next comes the pitch for more money to make it all better!
    Beware Llumina Press!

    Anonymous said...

    Thank you because I was about to go with Tate Publishing. I am so glad my cousin showed me your website. Thanks for the advice and forewarning on these publishers.

    Anonymous said...

    From JR
    Hi first of all I'm glad i found your site,, I noticed that all i see is people writing about bad and scam publishers, who not to go with, what I don't understand is why no one has giving us help on who is a best option to go with even if it your opinion. Help us find that good publisher. I know we need to search, bust if this is to help us then please someone tell me who OK out there. if you can not publish it on your blog then please email me at nightrider1085@aol.com so i could get a head start on things. thank you

    Victoria Strauss said...

    Hi, JR,

    Writer Beware doesn't recommend specific publishers, because one size doesn't fit all. Just as every writer has his or her own particular subject, genre, style, and tone, every publisher has its own particular specialties and focuses. The best publisher for one writer may be the worst publisher for another.

    It really is best, therefore, for the writer him/herself to choose whom to approach. Some advice on researching reputable publishers, along with a longer explanation of our policy on recommendation and links to helpful online resources, can be found in my recent blog post: http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2010/05/why-writer-beware-doesnt-provide.html

    Anonymous said...

    Well, I'm a new author my first time at writing I'm very talented. I been through I lot in my life and I was always told I should write a book about my life. So thats what I'm doing I'm almost finish and I think It would be a good seller! I contacted Whitmore Publishing they are waiting on me to finish. Do anyone have anything positive to suggest for my future as a writer!!!

    Anonymous said...

    It seems funny to pay $4000 to "publish". Anyone with a computer and a printer can publish. If all the people ready to give Tate $4000 pooled their resources, they could start their own publishing company.

    Or they could get agents to shop their books around...

    Anonymous said...

    What about lulu.com? Are they a valid option?

    MLGoodell said...

    I wish I had seen this before I contacted PublishAmerica.

    Chukwurah H Mamah said...

    I am grateful to writers beware that tries to expose the con publishers and agents. I published my first two books on christian spirituality for 4400pounds in Athena press Twickenham unknown to me the company is among vanity publishers. Ever since 2006 that the sales of the books commenced, I have gotten no sales report neither have I being paid any royalties. I contacted Pitmans solicitors who tried to mediate in the case but Athena press defiled the process and am left with an option to go to court. I am presently handicapped financially to pursue my case in the British court. So Writer beware what would I do?

    jasouders said...

    Thanks for this list, Victoria. I was just followed by 8th crow books and I wanted to know more about them, it seemed odd for a publisher to contact me out of the blue, especially when they'd probably go through my agent first...anyway, now I know why it was weird. So thanks!

    kerrie_r_humble said...

    I wrote a book and I'm 15. I sent some information about my book to Dorrance Publishing and recieved a call back. I'm not really sure what the next step is or what to expect when I call back. Are there things I should look out for? What questions should I ask?

    Victoria Strauss said...

    For anyone who is wondering about 8th Crow Books (per jasouders' comment above), it's an imprint of SterlingHouse Publisher, which is on our Thumbs Down List and requires writers to buy hundreds of copies of their own books.

    Victoria Strauss said...

    Kerrie, Dorrance is a very expensive vanity publisher. It charges thousands of dollars to print a few hundred copies of your book. If you want to pay to publish (which, depending on your goals, may not be an appropriate choice), there are much cheaper options. See Writer Beware's Print on Demand Publishing Services page for more info.

    Dorrance isn't on our Thumbs Down List because (unlike, say, SterlingHouse) it doesn't try to hide the fact that it's a vanity publisher. However, Writer Beware never recommends publishing with a vanity publisher.

    Feel free to contact me via email if you have any questions--beware @ sfwa.org. In the meantime, see my post on Learning The Ropes, which provides some advice on how to learn more about the publishing world and the steps to take to get a book published.

    khaula said...

    wow,thanks a lot i almost made a big mistake!!! with AEG,and strategic book publishers and WLA.

    Anonymous said...

    i have been contacted by authorhouse who charges over 600 dollars to publish with them why arent they on the list?

    Anonymous said...

    DNICE. Are you out there!.
    I published with Dorrance back in
    91, and I'm still waiting...? Copies were sold, they even sent me the lists...yet I never received a brass farhting...Strange is'nt it...after all these years... nothing has changed..and all for the sum of £4,400.

    Anonymous said...

    I was realy expecting to see Canonbridge LLC on this list. Non paymebnt of royalties, no sales reports, unanswered emails, even changing the email address and makingit awkward to find the correct new one. It was painful but I pulled my novel from theirm before it could get any worse.

    Mary Raithel said...

    Hello. This is the 2nd time I'm re-typing this, due to "Google" acnt difficulties.
    I would like to know if anyone has info on epublishing companies I copied from a book at the library. I'm 1/2 thru the list & they all say "closed for submissions" or their page comes up blank. My question is can I email their submissions editor and ask when they'll be open again? Can I send submission anyway, via U.S. Mail? One company, Awe-struck, asked for a story w/disabled main character, which mine is. Another asked for stories by women w/women's issues--which mine is. Should I write to those companies and tell them this? And, any advice on finding an agent from anyone would be appreciated. I was terribly disappointed to learn of the lack of success for writers who self-publish. IS there anyway to get a real, live person to look at your work and be in your corner when you're unknown and don't have money?
    U can respond to me personally if you can
    Mary Raithel
    johnraithel@sbcglobal.net

    Anonymous said...

    This is my 3rd try.
    Pls. let me know where the "submitted" comment goes and how I can receive feedback answers.
    I'm now going to choose anonymous since nothing else has worked

    Victoria Strauss said...

    Mary, if a publisher says "closed for submissions," it means it. Sending a submission anyway is a waste of your time. You can write to ask when they'll be open again, but don't be surprised if you don't get a response.

    There may be better resources for finding epublishers than a library book--have a look at the Electronic Publishing page of Writer Beware, which links to a lot of helpful resources.

    You only need an agent if you want to submit to traditional print publishers (most epublishers, which don't pay advances, don't typically work with agents)--and only if you want to submit to the larger publishing houses. For info on agents and advice on researching and approaching them, see the Literary Agents page of Writer Beware.

    Anonymous said...

    Has anyone had any dealings with Elixirist Publishing? They appear to be a fairly new company. I researched the internet for any negatives and have found none. Any feedback would be appreciated.

    Anonymous said...

    I was offered a contract by Tate Publishing about 11 days ago. The first contact that was made to me was by a phone call and after the "Congratulations" I was told about the fee. Still curious I looked over the contract that was sent to me and everything looked really good on paper. When I got to the part of the "set-up" fee it stated that I had 10 days to accept the offer.

    I contacted the rep. and asked a few more questions which he completely answered. I looked to the contract again with an advisor and noticed that the contract stated that there was a limit of 115,000 words. When I asked if this was negotiable I was told I could go as high as 120,000 words. Whe I asked the reasoning for this limit I was told that the additional pages that would be needed in order to print the full manuscript would cause the book to have pages falling out, a weakening of the binder, etc.
    He then suggested that I could break my book up into two books and the second book would only be a $2,000 fee.
    Now call me crazy if you want but I have a very extensive library of my own because I am an avid reader. I have several paperback books that are anywhere from 500 to 700+ pages. I have read all of them more than one time and have NEVER had a single page come loose.
    I sent an email to Tate to let them know that I would be declining the offer and stated the two determining facts being the fee and the limited words. The response I recieved was a very defensive position on my reasons for declining and was told that my file would be closed.
    I found that Tate was not the right company for me and it may be suitable for others but if I have worked hard on my book I certainly do not want to be told that some of the content was going to have to be deleted that would take away from the book or its characters unless I am willing to pay $6,000.
    Just my personal opinion.

    Anonymous said...

    Is there a list of "Thumbs Up" publisher?

    Otherlyn

    Victoria Strauss said...

    Otherlyn,

    A bad publisher is bad for every writer, but a good publisher is good for only some writers. Publishers specialize--a terrific nonfiction publisher, for instance, would be the worst possible choice for a fantasy writer. It's really best, therefore, that writers identify the good guys for themselves.

    For more on why Writer Beware doesn't provide publisher recommendations, plus some resources and advice to help you research publishers that might be a good choice for you, see this blog post.

    Anonymous said...

    Still hoping to see if anyone has had any dealings with Elixirist Publishing? Since last inquiry on WB they replied to my query, made some recommendations and want me to resubmit. Just wonder if I am dealing with a vanity or POD. They appear to be a fairly new company. I researched the internet for any negatives and have found none. Any feedback would be appreciated.

    Victoria Strauss said...

    Anonymous, for inquiries about specific publishers, please contact Writer Beware directly. Our contact email is at the top of the blog sidebar.

    AngieV said...

    G'day ... er ... I mean Hi Victoria,

    Even from Australia I find your warning messages useful. I wonder however why the 'Happy Valentines Day' as that language makes me think the post is old/past news?

    Cheers and thank you.

    Carol said...

    What a useful site! I would like to share my own experiences, as a writer and editor for many years. Most of my publications have been with traditional publishers, such as Greenwood Press, so I know what to expect. However, I have used iUniverse for three small books that either were written for friends and family, or were not of interest to traditional publishers (alas!), but seemed important to me. The first two cost very little. The third, published recently, cost me about $500 in all. Editing was minimal, but the company was honest about their charges, and I am satisfied with the final product. I continue to receive royalties on all three books. There is no way to verify how many copies have been sold, unfortunately. On the other hand, the statements appear reasonable.

    Anonymous said...

    I would like to add a name to your Publisher's Beware list. Red Rose Publishing has hit the trifecta when it comes to bad business practices. There are many blogs and other lists all over the web that detail this publishing company's unprofessionalism and criminal behavior.

    Just some of the examples are: not releasing rights back to authors when the owner has sent certified letters of termination like is described in her contract, posing as law enforcement/federal agents or retired members of the police or federal criminal services, bulling, extortion, misappropriation of funds, and the list goes on and on.

    There are many that have asked for their rights to be reverted back, but Wendi Felter, owner of Red Rose Publishing, has told authors that she has the choice to comply with the termination letters or to ignore them as she pleases.

    She has also ignored lawsuits and judements against her. Her NDA clause in her contracts are only for the authors, but she tells them that she has the right to broadcast any and all information about her authors anywhere she pleases.

    She lies constantly about her social network and what she will do for her authors. She has refused to pay editors and cover artists after they leave her company even though she owes them royalties on books they have worked on. She refuses to pay some authors royalties, because she doesn't feel like paying them at that time.

    She also has been known to cuss out and abuse her author pool as a hole through many erratic posts on blogs and other mediums.

    Victoria Strauss said...

    Writer Beware has gotten a number of complaints about Red Rose, and I'm aware of the problems with this publisher from my readings online (for instance, there was a major discussion at the Dear Author blog). But to date, I haven't gotten enough complaints or enough documentation to allow me to add this publisher to the Thumbs Down list.

    As always, we encourage writers to contact us with their reports, advisories, and complaints, and to provide documentation where possible: beware [at] sfwa.org. All info shared with Writer Beware is held in confidence.

    Michael Vain said...

    Sounds like 'Jim' is not only a tool of those cretins looking to rip off new authors, but is also a moron. Scare tactics like those he employs in his post, i.e. threatening 'litigation' are the same underhanded, evil tactics that are being used on Wikileaks. The bad guys are always afraid of transparency, and those that rail against such transparency show their true colors.
    Keep up the great work on this site!

    Anonymous said...

    Wildside Press does no editing, and therefore produces a sub-rate book. When challenged, the editor, John Betancourt, resorts to talking down to the author using words like "you are a pest" and "you are costing me money by sending me emails I have to read" and "I refuse to typeset that thing again [the contracted book]." It may feel good to get picked up by the publisher who owns Weird Tales and Fantasy Magazine, but don't be fooled. Betancourt is a lazy buffoon. Don't bother sending your work to him. You will be sorry, as am I. I had five book contracts with him. He canceled all of them because I challenged his business ethic.

    Anonymous said...

    I'm surprised there hasn't been more complaints about Spinetinglers Publishing based in N.Ireland. A girl won money in their short story anthology competition last year and she still hasn't been paid by them, she complained to Writers Beware. Another man lost a lot of money when he was told his book would be released on February, 2010, but had his manuscript returned when he got fed up with them after they gave him four release dates in that year. He must have lost thousands of dollars from February until December last year when he finally got his manuscript back in December, 2010 in lost royalties. What a farce of a publisher!!

    Jorge Macapugay said...

    Victoria: thanks for taking time to answer emails! So what about Whitmore, one blogger here said there is a confusion from the "older" or "other" one, and said they do not charge a fee at all.(?) Which is which? Which is correct? Thanks again!

    JM

    Victoria Strauss said...

    Jorge, Whitmore was once, apparently, an independent publisher, but then it was acquired by Dorrance (one of the old-style expensive vanity publishers that has since adopted the POD self-publishing model). Whitmore doesn't charge any fees, but the "publishing" it provides is roughly equivalent to what you'd get from iUniverse or CreateSpace--POD-based, with very limited or no editing, marketing, and distribution.

    Anonymous said...

    I submitted a manuscript to Tate Publishing of couple of months ago, and loved it, so they accepted it. I received a contract, everything seemed good, but it stated that I had to pay a $4000 onetime fee for the publicity agent which charges a fee of $4000 dollars... Is this a scam? Please Help...

    Jorge Macapugay said...

    Thanks Victoria.

    Victoria Strauss said...

    Anonymous 11:23, if you look through the comments thread of this post you'll find a number about Tate. If Tate were truly a "mainline" publisher, as it claims to be, it would not charge its authors a penny--reputable publishers don't require authors to pay in order to be published.

    Formerly, Tate described its fees as being for production; now it's calling them publicity fees. Different terminology; same deal. Given Tate's limited distribution and marketing efforts (despite the fees), Writer Beware believes that most Tate authors never recoup their "investments."

    Anonymous said...

    Does Tate publishing accept every Author?

    Jorge Macapugay said...

    Victoria: again pardon my naivete on these matters, its all new to me. As per our emails, if it is quite "do-able" to self-publish why all the services from individual professionals & firms to render such to convert manuscripts into the various platforms as Kindle, Mobi, Nook, Sony, etc? When I registered @ Kindle-and I was probably wrong then-I was under the impression that the conversion to the required formats and document form as PDF, HTML, text, etc were part of the services they provided. Again, perhaps I was completely off. Then there is the problem of the PDFs coming out "jargled-up like some Picasso-like piece." Some blogs have said they have overcome that. Also if Kindle's iDRM has been "cracked" or hacked, what about the other platforms? Do you agree with the statements I've read in some other blogs that noveau writers "should not worry about iDRMs being cracked since their immediate problem is not 'infringement' but 'obscurity?'" Thats kinda quasi-cruel and condescending for budding writers I would think. In light of these, would it do any good at all to have your docs copyrighted as many suggest, since it only costs $35 gathering from the info I've gotten? Sorry for the long-windedness.

    james fobear said...

    I am one of the people who is considering one day possibly putting some of my thoughts in print; howevre, I have heard many stories of the rat-race of agents and publishers and to be frank - it scares the hell out of me! How can writers who spend so much of their dear time devoted to the craft afford to be screwed at the end. I am so glad that there are people out there doing what it takes to keep the bums honest - even if only a little. I am going to pass this site on to anybody I know who is even remotely thinking of publishing any time soon.

    Thank You for your efforts,

    Jim

    Anonymous said...

    hello,
    i am very interested to know about the editing one can expect from a self pub comapny namely iuniverse.

    i have now read three books and the latest was today where the editing is so poor and it would have been embarassing had it been my book. what is one to expect from spending $3,000 on having a book self published only to find errors on every second page, no exageration!

    a reply would be apprecaited,

    cheers

    Victoria Strauss said...

    Anonymous, you don't get editing from a self-pub service unless you pay for it as part of the package you buy, or buy it as an add-on service. It's definitely a good idea to have an editor if you're self-publishing, not just to correct mechanical errors but to give you feedback--but you may be able to find a qualified editor for less than you'd have to pay through the self-pub service. See the Independent Editors page of Writer Beware for more, and contact me at beware [at] sfwa.org if you have more questions.

    C. M. Albrecht said...

    I see Tate Publishing on the no-no list. However, I do see fairly regular commercials for Tate produced books on TV. I know that has to cost a few thousand. Who pays for that, the hopeful author?

    Reagan Rothe said...

    I am not hear to counter anything that has been said about Black Rose Writing, only update everyone and inform them that our so-called "vanity" press has attended and will be attending:

    -NY Book Expo
    -ALA Show
    -Texas Book Festival with seven authors from the U.S. attending to sign and promote
    -Old-Fashioned Christmas with more authors attending from the U.S. to sign and promote

    We also just donated to Reading is Fundamental, already sent out over 1,000 review copies this year, and have scheduled many book signings and promotional events for our authors.

    All aspects of a "vanity" press. I am very sorry that some of our critics, who have never been published or associated with us, have all this FREE time to continue trying to attack a company who deals with their authors on a personal level, and believes they all deserve their books to be read.

    Never will please everyone. Best of luck writers!

    Anonymous said...

    What can be said about Author House Publishing?I'm publishing from abreoad and am a little weary to pay $2500 for the package suggested by them.
    Thanks in advance!
    Sona

    Anonymous said...

    Who can give me some insight on Author House Publishing?Thank you.

    Star said...

    Glad I looked on here! I've just been offered a publishing deal with Strategicbookclub.com but I smelled a rat when they asked for $995 upfront to cover half their costs!
    Are there any publishing houses you DO recommend for us unsuspecting, vulnerable writers?

    Victoria Strauss said...

    Star, I'm glad you found this blog before shelling out $995.

    Writer Beware doesn't recommend specific publishers, because one size doesn't fit all. Just as every writer has his or her own particular subject, genre, style, and tone, every publisher has its own particular specialties and focuses. The best publisher for one writer may be the worst publisher for another.

    It really is best, therefore, for the writer him/herself to choose whom to approach. Some advice on researching reputable publishers, along with a longer explanation of our policy on recommendation and links to helpful online resources, can be found in my recent blog post: http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2010/05/why-writer-beware-doesnt-provide.html

    Anonymous said...

    My parents are thinking of signing with Tate. They consider it an honor to have someone want to publish their book. What advice would you give them about this publisher?

    C. M. Albrecht said...

    I know it's extremely to find a publisher for a book. It can take years.
    But Tate has a very bad reputation. P&E and Writer Beware both warn against them.
    I haven't contacted them personally but I understand they expect you, the author to cough up somde $4000 to promote the book. That's a big investment and there's a very good possibility that the $4000 will never be recouped.
    The publisher should invest the promotional money. The publisher should be able and willing to pay for promotional materials.
    Many small publishers, of course, don't have big bucks either, but I don't know of others that expect the author to invest that kind of money. In fact, if they invest any money at all in the project, then they're dealing with an ugh "vanity publisher". These have a uniformly bad reputation in the publishing business.
    Sorry to be so negative.
    C. M. Albrecht
    www.cmalbrecht.com

    Victoria Strauss said...

    Anonymous, Writer Beware's assessment of Tate hasn't changed.

    Tate still charges fees, though it recently changed how it describes them: rather than paying for book production, writers now are asked to pay for a publicist. The amount, $3,995, remains the same.

    Tate also recently removed from its website any acknowledgment that it charges fees (previously, "author investments" were mentioned, though in small print and buried deep enough in the website that authors might miss it), substituting the following statement: "Tate Publishing does not charge a fee for publishing and absorbs all the cost of production and distribution of a book. However, there are requirements regarding professional marketing and publicist representation the author is required to provide. We do expect any author who signs with us to have full-time professional book marketing and publicist representation."

    Authors might easily miss this, or misinterpret it to mean they don't have to pay anything to Tate. But the bottom line at Tate remains the same as ever: authors must hand over $3,995 in order to be published.

    Eetheart said...

    Great list! :)

    You should definitely put JustFiction! and every publisher affliated with JustFiction! on the list.

    I almost fell for their trap. . . ALMOST, I tell you, I was about to send my manuscript, but when the mail was sent, I had forgotten to embed my manuscript.. whew, before resending, I read some of the baddies, and JustFiction! was among them.

    Thanks again, for helping out us first-time authors..

    Robert Eetheart
    A Candle's End, on Authonomy

    Kell Brigan said...

    A belated thanks. Not only does this help writers, it also helps readers trying to sort out the self-published junk from the real books.

    silversnitcher said...

    Asepn Mountain press is not paying royalties and is selling out of contract books among other things.

    Maria said...

    I published with Tate and got a good editing job and a beautiful book. However,I could have done as much myself as an artist and a well trained English major. My complaint is this: I was doubtful in the beginning about the money 'contribution' which is really just a fee. The other thing that bothered me was their sales tactic through their religious beliefs.
    I was verbally assured on a telephone conference that I would easily sell without a doubt, 5000 books within a short period of time and receive my deposit back. Being a novice, I believed them. because I believed in my book.
    On the date of release I received a full page email listing purchasing packages with book marks, posters, tshirts etc. This was a red flag but what was I to do at that point. I needed books.
    The contract promised national distribution in all major booksellers and cited B&N, Borders Waldens. When I asked what the first print run was, I was told the book would be available upon order only. When I confronted them, the first reaction of marketing was to tell me maybe my book wasn't worthy of sales. I didn't back down but only got one book signing through them. I was told to hold signings in ice cream parlors, cookie shops and street fairs and I would make more money by selling them myself and that I could reorder any time.
    Almost a year later, I approached them with a 23,000 word nonfiction I wanted to ebook and was told they only sell the $3900 package. When I told them forget it because they didn't help me with marketing and distributing CATS OF VELVET, Dr. Tate contacted me and told me he already had 50K invested which I know is not true.
    I could go on but declined any further business with them. My book is nice, it is on Amazon etc. but anybody can do that.
    I have since found The Trashy Novel ebook publishers in LA and they are great. They charge only a bare minimum for the cost of production and are very nice to work with.
    What a learning experience and this was truly baptiam by fire.
    Maria Mitchell

    What they failed to state in the contract under the misleading

    Albrecht said...

    Since reading this letter I kept thinking about it.
    It sounds harsh to say it, but in my considered opinion, if any publisher or agent asks for any amount of money, even a few dollars, he/she looks on you as what those in the con business call a "mark". On the off chance that this person is fairly legit, it must mean that he/she is trying to start up a business without any shoestrings.
    In either case, they can't do anything for you.

    J. Steve Miller said...

    I've been traditionally published (Tyndale House, etc.) and have self published as well. I've had very good experiences in both arenas, so that thankfully I don't have any horror stories to tell.

    Several have asked in these comments, "Who do you recommend for self publishing?" I agree with Victoria that, since each author is unique and each book is unique, that it's impossible to give a definitive recommendation that fits everyone.

    But I highly recommend narrowing down your choices in this way. Start by studying two of the most respected Print on Demand companies - Lightning Source (used by many of the top traditional publishers) and CreateSpace (subsidiary of Amazon, geared to authors rather than publishers).

    Unlike many companies, both of them are very upfront about their pricing and what they offer. In almost every case, after studying many other self publishing companies, I find that other companies are paying significantly smaller royalties, charge way more for author copies (or shipping), require books to sell at much too high a retail price, and report sales much less often.

    Many of the companies use shady, misleading language on their sites, such as "we pay authors 100% of their royalties." (Hey, royalties are by definition the author's portion!)

    I don't work for CS or Lightning Source. I've just had good experiences publishing through CS and the self-publishing listservs I follow tend to recommend both companies. Start with them and you'll be able to better evaluate other companies.

    My wife and I have published five books so far using CreateSpace and have been very satisfied with their quality, customer service, distribution and our royalties.

    Here are our books, if you want to check their quality and reviews:

    http://wisdomcreekpress.com

    My book, Sell More Books! Book Marketing and Publishing for Low Profile and Debut Authors, discusses these issues (both traditional and nontraditional options) in much more depth.

    Bryan said...

    Hi, thanks for posting the worst agencies/ "publishers?" Now, I know this is later in time, but I would like to avoid any missteps, so: WHat can you tell me about: Stay Thirsty Media? Which is only called a publisher by pred-ed.com? And its affiliate imprint: Schiller & Wells, Ltd.? Pred-ed.com calls the latter a vanity publisher...needless to say, I would like to make entirely sure before continuing any ventures with them if they aren't wise...

    Victoria Strauss said...

    Bryan, I've gotten fee reports for both Schiller & Wells and Stay Thirsty Media--so I'd characterize them both as vanity publishers.

    Penelope Crowe said...

    Are you familiar at all with Inknbeans? I have seen them often on the indie site that I belong to and I am just wondering.
    Penelope

    concerned mom said...

    Can anyone comment on Strategic Book

    C. M. Albrecht said...

    I feel that there is enough info out there, places like this one, for any hopeful author to educate him/herself.
    If an aware person has four thousand bucks or whatever to invest and wants to go that way, then I gues that's no worse than buying four thousand dollars worth of Mega Bucks tickets.
    My personal feeling has always been — and I mentioned this to several publishers who had "inaugurated programs of author participation" to help get more talented authors published — I love to write, I need to write, but I wouldn't consider myself an "author" unless and until some publisher had enough faith in my work to publish it at their expense. That was the validation I needed, but of course everyone's different.
    If I had four thousand bucks to spend and just wanted to be published, I'd form my own little company with a catchy name and publish my book myself. All this makes me think of my callow youth and Cloverine Salve. We used to get something like ten cans which we sold almost exclusively to family and friends at twenty-five cents a pop in order to get a "prize".
    At least you folks tell ít like is is. Come to think of it, if someone wants to send me $4000 I'll set up a publishing company and publish their book...right after I get back from two weeks in Paris.

    C. M. Albrecht said...

    After my last post, I had a wonderful idea: If you have $4000 and want to be published, here's the news: I'm going to think up a neat name for a publishing company and start it up.
    Okay everybody, just send $4000 to my PayPal account and I promise to poublish your book. I may even get a chance to read it...just as soon as I get back from my vacation in Paris.

    C. M. Albrecht said...

    Computers and I get along like the Israelis and the Palestinins. I didn't think my longer post with my wisecracks about sendint me $4000 went through so I redid it in short form. But please don't think I meant for any one writer to send $8000. $4000 will get me to Paris for two weeks and I can still publish your book. They say Paris is all alight during the holiday season, and I know the wine is pretty (At least the kind I drink.)

    Anonymous said...

    I was wondering what you know about Fantasy Island Book Publishing? I've got several freinds on my facebook page that are with them, but they're talking about needing to pay for proof copies, each writer is listed as another one's editor, and there's lots of warning bells ringing. They're also listed on P&E and the owner is nasty when people leave the company. When one of them signed up with them, she said he's taking a 50/50 split with on the book sales, IF they make certain goals. But it seems they're doing it by making the books free and agressively pushing it for that day, fulfilling the contract need and then letting the writer's book drop back into the doldrums.
    Would that be a thumbs down publisher?

    Anonymous said...

    Also - I've just posted, Re:fantasy Island Publishing.
    I don't want to get my freind into trouble, and though I know it's not identifable, but if you could just confirm or deny if the criteria I outlined are bad and not publish the comment itself, I'd really appreciate it. If the company is just going through a run of bad luck right now RE: preditors and editors, I don't want to add to thier problems.

    Anonymous said...

    iUniverse used to be a good print-on demand publisher, although any type of self-publishing is the kiss of death to a book nowadays, when reviewers won't even LOOK at your book. There has been too much real junk done with POD publishers. Anyway, iUniverse sold to another company, and it's very hard to get concerns addressed. The sales people sound like they speak another language and are not the friendly, helpful personal "coach" type person who used to be in place to take care of your book.

    Sara E. James said...

    I realize this is an old article, but I am curious if you have thoughts about Lulu.com. I have heard professionals say good things about it, but I just finished reading a truly awful book published by them. It was laughable. Grammatical errors, the author actually made up words (and this was not one of those fantasy novels with an invented language), and said things that just plain made no sense, like "My eyes growled at him." Say what? This made me think that Lulu must do no editing and is probably just a vanity publisher.

    Marcia Frost said...

    Mansion Grove House Publishing should definitely be on this list. I published a book with them under contract in 2008. They never paid my final advance installment and have given me no reporting or royalties. They have ignored my inquiries and letters from my lawyer. I have found out that they have done the same worth at least three other authors.

    To make matters worse, most copies were printed overseas, with smudged and faded pages. I had to give up my author copies to bookstores who couldn't get a response from Mansion Grove House.

    Publisher Uday Kumar has no respect of the law and I hope word gets around enough that eritrea stop going there. It also would be nice to get the IRS to look into some of these illegal activities!

    Victoria Strauss said...

    Sara E. James--this is an old post, but I keep it updated (see the "Edited" note at the bottom).

    Lulu is a self-publishing service--not a publisher. Anyone can use it; there's no editorial filtering. The praise you've encountered is for its service--not the quality of its content.

    Victoria Strauss said...

    Marcia Frost--please contact me at beware [at] sfwa.org with more details of your experience with Mansion Grove. And please pass my contact information on to any other authors you know of who've had problems with this publisher--sounds like something Writer Beware should know about. Thanks.

    Karen Ross said...

    How about the list of "good guys" I tried to read the entire thread but I can't see any good list anywhere. It would be great for you to provide a list of positive along with the negative. Thank you!

    Victoria Strauss said...

    Karen--

    A bad publisher is bad for everyone. But a good publisher is only good for some people--since publishers specialize, and have different focuses and cultures. The best publisher for a fantasy writer, for instance, might be totally inappropriate for a romance or mystery or general fiction writer--and vice versa.

    That's why Writer Beware doesn't provide "thumbs up" lists. We think it's better to give writers the tools they need to safely do the research on their own.

    Have a look at Writer Beware's Small Presses page, which offers tips on researching publishers, advice on warning signs, and links to helpful online resources. And if you run across a publisher you aren't sure about, you can always write to us: beware [at] sfwa.org.

    Anonymous said...

    Please make sure not to confuse Sterling Publishing (NYC) for Sterling House (Pittsburgh).

    Anonymous said...

    Anyone familiar with TAG PUBLISHING? What's the story with them?

    Anonymous said...

    I have just been offered a FREE contract from TATE with no costs to me..anyone else?? The contract did not appear to have any red-flags, but I have nor signed and returned it yet.

    Anonymous said...

    I have just recieived an offer from Raider international publishing and was considering them because their reach seemed to out-do other subsidy publishers, they have deals with a few good book store plus they have their own book store in NY and can apparently guarantee shelf space in quite a few major book selling outlets. There website is quite impressive and their packages are very thorough in what they offer which includes marketing at a high level. I haven't signed yet because I came across this site first and although they are not on the list I now want to know more about them before making the final decision. Does anyone have any good or bad experiences in dealing with raider? I would appreciate some feedback before going ahead

    Victoria Strauss said...

    Anonymous re: Tate--

    I'd be interested in seeing the contract, if you wouldn't mind sharing it with me. Contact me at beware [at] sfwa.org.

    Even if Tate will publish for free, its distribution and marketing are not the equivalent of what you'd get from a non-fee-charging publisher.

    Victoria Strauss said...

    Anonymous re: Raider--

    Just in the past couple of weeks, I've gotten a number of complaints from Raider authors about non-communication and long delays. Some paid Raider months ago and have yet to see their books. There are similar complaints online: do a websearch on "Raider Publishing."

    Anonymous said...

    Has anyone heard any negative regarding Divertir Publishing? I wish I would have know about this blog before I signed a contract with PA! They promise so much but never fullfill!

    Anonymous said...

    so about Whitmore....

    how much royalties do they pay (and just to clarify, royalties is them paying you, right?)?
    I submitted something to them--an epic poem entitled "Nobunaga"-- some weeks ago, and await a response. I'm just a teenaged guy trying to leave a mark on the liturature world, and I don't want to be a victim of fraud.

    P.S. what was your Civil War Book?

    timotrio said...

    Hello, I am new to your blog and applaud your work!
    How do you recommend to writer's with manuscripts to submit to?
    Thanks!
    Tim

    Tommy Mann said...

    I have used both PublishAmerica and Tate. PA is a scam, but Tate has been wonderful. I know several commenters have suggested that Tate is either posing as authors or paying authors to defend them, but neither are true of me. My book Asleep in Heaven's Nursery was published through Tate, and that can be verified by going to www.tommymannministries.com

    Anonymous said...

    I published my novel with ABPG back in 2004 (though I signed the contract in 2001). The contract I signed was likely less restrictive than the next-generation variants. I had the pleasure of speaking directly with C. Lee Nunn on the phone.
    A case can be made that I used ABPG as much as they used me. Under the terms of the contract I signed, they could not coerce me to buy 500 copies of my book. I did not have any problem with what was at the time a $450 start-up fee. After all, we pay fees to banks, universities, and even our landlords (e.g., amenities fee). ABPG took my manuscript and turned it into a high-end product I can be proud of. My novel looked as good as any other in a bookstore. I’m not distressed the book is not distributed to bookstores; readers are just as content in the era of e-procurement to purchase it from Amazon.
    I was denied royalties (i.e., penalty for not purchasing copies of my book), but I did not publish my first novel with the goal of profit in mind. I was willing to make sacrifices in exchange for the experience of authorship, and I enjoyed them to the full (including some great sex). I spoke at libraries & universities. I designed a web site through which my ideas enjoyed intercourse with the world. I had the power to direct people to where they could buy my book. And in the end, I would come to own my book again 10 years later with a chance to correct all the mistakes I made as a fledgling author (and all the mistakes made by ABPG). I’m eager to tie the release of this re-mastered work with a new novel I had been working on the past 2-3 years.
    I never considered ABPG a vanity press. I have seen vanity presses. Authors pay upwards of $10,000 for what amounts to a box of books (printed on poor quality paper) with no means of selling them. The ABPG experience was nothing of the kind. It's a good business model for first time authors and for people who otherwise would frankly never find a publisher regardless of the intrinsic value of their work.
    I suspect in the end ABPG put a warning ON ME. My book was five times the size of the average novel and even though it has been described by those who read the mostly scripted dialogue as one of the more tense / thrilling novels and a work of major social import, I suspect there were not many people out there willing to pay $40 to read a 900-page novel. ABPG can also be faulted for not steering me in the right direction. My assigned editor was enhanced the clarity and impact of my prose, but she would not have been a reliable source of suggestions on content.
    Now I was recently informed that the rights to my book reverted back to me now that the book is out of print. I am eager to implement my plan to re-master the book by reducing it to 15% of its size for submission to a publisher with established relationships to a community of reviewers. This was one area in which ABPG was lacking. I was responsible for reaching out to reviewers, and I would have to pay out of pocket for a copy of the book I shipped them. Less than 10% of the ABPG contact information for reviewers was current.
    I don't regret my experience. I had perhaps one of the greatest stories to tell, a PhD that qualifies me to tell it, and something unique to teach people. What I didn't have is what someone needs to land a publisher. It's easier for an undrafted free agent to make a final NFL roster than it is for an unagented author, even with the greatest manuscript in hand, to land a publisher. In addition to being talented, you have to be some combination of lucky and connected. I was neither. Finding an acquisitions editor from a reputable label willing to even review my first chapter seemed out of reach. While you're laboring for 1-10 years to find a readable incarnation of your vision or story, the publishers are offering ghostwriters to seduce celebrities into publishing. I realized a ghostwritten biography of Spencer Pratt was more likely than seeing my name in print.

    Eetheart said...

    Mmm I have a question about a publisher. They're called "Spore Press" (website: http://sporepress.com/ )

    I have heard both bad and good things about them, but what's the real deal with them? (not that I have anything to do with them - another writer I know of has been contacted by SP)

    Victoria Strauss said...

    Eetheart--Writer Beware doesn't have any information on Spore Press, either positive or negative. However, I see some warning signs at their website.

    - None of their staff seem to have had any previous professional writing or publishing experience.

    - They appear to have published just 2 books to date. With newer small publishers, it's a very good idea to wait until the publisher has been putting out books for at least a year, and has demonstrated some staying power.

    I don't suspect any scammery or malfeasance here--Spore just looks very new and not very expert.

    Anonymous said...

    Your friends at Tate Publishing are back in the news. Be sure to listen to the audio for the full effect.

    http://newsok.com/oklahoma-ceo-prays-with-insults-then-fires-employees/article/3680483

    http://journalrecord.com/2012/05/31/trouble-at-tate-publishing-company-fires-25-as-outsourcing-rumors-fly-general-news/

    http://soundcloud.com/dave-rhea/tate-publishing-meeting

    Anonymous said...

    I am considering publishing very soon and have been approved by Tate Pub. Co., but I don't want to invest around $4,000.00 and be left feeling like some of these people here on this blog. Should I have my book edited & copied myself after securing an ISBN no. and then push to sell out of my own trunk?...Or, should I use a company to do it? Please provide feedback and a list of 'trustworthy' professionals that you suggest I work with at this point.

    Thanks

    Victoria Strauss said...

    Anonymous 6/08--

    Writer Beware doesn't recommend specific publishers, agents, etc. One size doesn't fit all; the best agent/publisher/self-pub service for one author might be the worst for another. You know your own work best; it's best if you do the research yourself. We try to give authors the tools so to that.

    Whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher is one of the first decisions an author has to make, and if you're unsure how to choose, I suspect that you may need to step back a little and do some more research on the publication process. This is vital not just to your success as an author (since it will help you make a truly informed decision) but to your protection, as it'll keep you out of the hands of scammers and amateurs and shady operations. It will also give you a sense of where to focus your research, so you can identify agents and publishers that are right for you, or decide whether self-publishing might be a better option. And it will answer most of the questions you have now.

    Hold off on the publication search for a little while, and do some reading--and not on the Internet, where misinformation abounds. Go to a bookstore and spend some time in the section where the books on writing are shelved. Both the "Dummies" and "Idiots" lines have good basic introductions to the publishing process, and there are many others. Also have a look at my blog post, "Learning the Ropes", which gives more detailed advice and suggests many other resources. Please don't skip this step--it's tedious at the outset but will save you an enormous amount of time and grief in the long run.

    Anonymous said...

    Victoria-

    Thanks for the information.

    I will do exactly what you suggested.

    Mary Ann said...

    Keep up the good work. You are the first one I turn to when I have to check out an agent or publisher.
    Mary Ann

    Anonymous said...

    I'm so grateful this site exists. I applied for an entry-level editing job at Tate to attempt to break into the publishing field. Needless to say, the sheer number of bad things there are to say about the company (not least of all the recent firings, volatile CEO, etc.) have made think that having it on my resume would be more of a hindrance than a help in my career. Will keep looking...

    Thanks again :)

    Iola said...

    Had you noticed that Tate's $3,995 marketing fee doesn't include conversion to Kindle? I can't find any Tate Kindle books. I can find Tate books on Amazon, and epubs of Tate books, but no Kindle books.

    Ebooks now make up 30% of the religious market (and I bet that more of those sales are through Amazon than all other sites combined).

    samir kumar dutta said...

    Dear DNICE,
    i've a personal experience with dorrance publishing, and you would be glad to know that they had charged me $10000 for publishing my book. i would certainly not recommend it.
    By madison

    Charles Ramada said...

    I’m having troublesome experience with Infinity Publishing, they never lived up to any of their promises, and messed up my book to boot. When I received the final proof, it looked just fine, exciting and I was encouraged. But when I ordered the book (30 of them as I had planned a book signing)they looked nothing like the proof. I took the proof and one of the sale books to a professional print shop, after examining both, they concluded that the sold book was clearly printed with the setting on color while the interior is in B&W, thus the print looked light to dark brownish, and the all most important photo inserts were so dark and smudged almost like the brownish antiqued photos and almost unrecognizable (40 pages). Irate as I was, I kept my calm and requested re-prints and corrections for what they did. Although they recognized their big error at first, time lingered and no action was taken, I called them many times and they kept brushing me off and looping me around their office phone system (gosh I hate that), then they got around not answering my number somehow, so I would have to resort to calling from a payphone , then when some one answers, they again start the merry-go-round and how they had referred the matter to their VP and so on, its been few months and I have yet to hear from anyone, frustrated is an understatement. what can I do? I have even threatened a legal action, and even opted to forget the whole thing had they refunded my money so I may go somewhere else, to no avail.

    Fred L Tate said...

    I went with Tate Publishing for my novel, "The Warren". The novel is currently bring offered for sale in 36 nations. If anyone reading this doubts that, simply Google search: 9781617773450 and count.
    It is true that I am doing a great deal of self promoting the novel myself; however if any new and unknown writer believes that they are simply going to achieve success without any personal hard work to promote their own novel , they are fooling themselves.
    I am very happy with Tate Publishing; and no, I am not related to the owners of Tate Publishing, we simply share the same last name.
    Fred L. Tate
    Author, The Warren

    Paul Cook said...

    EVERGREEN PRESS is a very bad one. Worse yet, they make these promises as a "Christian" Publisher.

    They broke all THREE contracts I signed with them and lied left and right. So many errors and enormous amounts of ignorance. And of course, they suddenly would never answer the phone. If I got someone on the line, they would lie about calling me back.

    He Reigns! said...

    Noble Romance Publishing is one of the worst. Dishonest, will not answer emails from their authors, the original owner, Jill Noble, just quit and left it in the hands of someone else who will not answer or release authors from their contracts.

    Anonymous said...

    I am currently going with Tate for my book. I was unaware of any of the bad press that they are getting, and up to this point, I have not experienced any of the comments that has been described in this blog. I was not charged $4,000, though I paid a lesser amount of money up front. So far the process has gone smoothly, and my book is in illustration right now. I look forward to my book coming out in June of this year, and hopefully with no hitches. By the way, I had 2 legal experts look over my contract before signing, including one man who deals with contracts on a daily basis, and they felt that the contract was fair, and legitimate and my rights were protected. I guess time will tell, but so far so good. I will post again in the future, after my book is finnished, and on the shelves, for follow-up, whether positive or negative, but so far I give two thumbs up for Tate!

    Quartofknees said...

    Hello all,

    Thank you for this great post. Mt question is regarding the company All Classic Books. I was offered a contract, there is no mention of fees, but I am suspicious. I was testing the waters with a first draft and they offered me contract. Of course, i would like to believe they loved the idea so much they wanted even before it was polished, but I honestly what are the chances of that.

    They want most of the rights and offer a nominal advance ($100).

    I have a lawyer friend suggesting I walk away, but he has no knowledge of the industry. I am really hoping someone knows something about this company, or better an author who has signed with them.

    Any advice or reccommendations wre really appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Quartofknees

    Victoria Strauss said...

    Quartofknees--

    I've gotten several questions about All Classic Books, but no complaints or other information. I'll be glad to take a look at the contract for you and give you non-legal (I'm not a lawyer) feedback...contact me via email: beware [at] sfwa.org.

    Brooke Duncan said...

    I really wish I would have known this list... I just recived a voice mail from Tate Publishing stating they wanted to sign a contract with me then asked for a 3990 publicity retainer? Im so disappointed and confused, their website didnt state anything like that. I thought the publishers were sopposed to pay YOU for YOUR book? What happened to THAT??

    Anonymous said...

    What do you know about Alpha
    Wolf publishing?

    Anonymous said...

    Can we add "In Search Of The Universal truth Publisher/Michael Kiser?"
    Breach of contracts and threatening emails.

    Sandra Rains said...

    Okay,
    I wrote my EX publisher Michael Kiser of In Search Of The Universal truth Publisher and asked him "How much to get my rights to my books back?"
    His response was to update and change the 1st letter from August 10th, cancelling my books...to a new letter (that says *This letter overrides the last letter*, the same way he does with his contracts every 2 minutes)...and then he answered that I have to buy 900 copies- 300 each- at $8.95 plus $350 per set of 300 books for S&H, to get 3 ISBN's back. Okay, my question is, he is POD. He is on social security and makes $1000 a month. He pays his motel bill and then pays for publishing (not editing of course). How did he print up 900 books? WHY would he print up 900 books when he cancelled the contracts?
    When I replied that I couldn't read his new letter because it needed edited...he replied: "The price is right there in Black and white and Red for each of the dam titles pay the price or forfeit the books and you can take your dam editing to hell the letter does not need to be edited.

    Pay the price by the date starting on october 3 or forfeit the books.

    ARCODHAN said...

    Partridge India has approached me to publish with them. Would you recommend I do?

    Victoria Strauss said...

    ARCODHAN,

    Please see my blog post about Patridge India--and make sure also to read the comments.

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