Friday, July 11, 2008

Victoria Strauss -- More Small Publisher Storm Warnings: Port Town Publishing and Light Sword Publishing

PORT TOWN PUBLISHING

For some time now, there have been rumors about the alleged bankruptcy of Port Town Publishing, a small publisher located in Wisconsin, run by Jean Louise Hackensmith (who, it turns out, has a 1996 conviction for theft in a business setting, a class C felony--she started Port Town while still on probation for that conviction).

Writer Beware has seen documents that confirm that Jean Louise Hackensmith and her husband, Ronald Lee Hackensmith, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in January of 2008. (Chapter 7 provides for liquidation, with the debtor's non-exempt property sold off to pay creditors.) Creditors included several Port Town authors, a phone company, a printer, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, and a number of collection agencies. The case was closed on April 22, 2008.

This was the second time around for the Hackensmiths: they'd previously filed for bankruptcy in 1995.

Over the years, Writer Beware received a number of complaints about Port Town, including publication delays, poor physical quality, nonpayment of royalties, continued sale of books whose contracts had terminated, and general unprofessional behavior. At one point, if authors wanted distribution through Ingram, they had to pay a $50 processing fee. Later, Port Town required authors to agree to buy 250 of their own books.

Port Town's website has been gone for some time, but its books still show as in print and available on Amazon.

LIGHT SWORD PUBLISHING, a.k.a. LSP DIGITAL

Since its establishment in 2006, we've been getting a similar range of complaints about Light Sword Publishing: delays, nonpayment of royalties, unprofessional behavior. We've also gotten reports that Light Sword's current owner, Linda Daly, and its former co-owner, Bonny Kirby (who is no longer associated with the company), misrepresented the company's expertise and capabilities in order to encourage authors to sign contracts.

We weren't entirely surprised, therefore, to discover that in late 2007, Linda Daly, Bonny Kirby, and Light Sword Publishing were sued by one of their authors for breach of contract, fraud in the inducement, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. (Writer Beware has seen the complaint, as well as numerous other documents involved in the lawsuit).

Although the defendants filed a counterclaim, alleging that it was really the plaintiff who provided misrepresentations and breached contract, the plaintiff was ultimately successful. On April 15, 2008, a default judgment in the amount of $15,342.64 was entered against Bonny Kirby, and on July 8, 2008, a default judgment in the amount of $16,558.63 was entered against Linda Daly and Light Sword Publishing.

Although we've gotten reports that Ms. Daly may be intending to file for bankruptcy within the next month or so, Light Sword Publishing appears to be alive--if not, perhaps, well. It's now calling itself LSP Digital--according to the announcement on its website, "with the industry shifting due to the economy and the amazing technical advancements in the printing industry, LSP Digital was formed so that our authors can compete in todays [sic] competitive market through digital manufacturing, while holding steadfast in our commitment to our readers and authors."

In a way, what's happened with these two publishers is unusual. Though troubled publishers often threaten to file for bankruptcy, they rarely do--a bankruptcy filing costs money and obligates you to your creditors, and it's really much cheaper and easier to claim to be filing, and then disappear. That's what happened with Creative Arts Book Company, a vanity publisher that took money from authors and never published their books. (I still sometimes hear from CAB authors who are convinced that CAB's former owner is illegally producing and selling their books; I've seen some evidence to suggest that this is indeed happening, but no conclusive proof.)

Also, unhappy authors are rarely willing to incur the expense and emotional stress of a lawsuit--which carries with it, of course, the risk of losing. Over the years, Writer Beware has heard from thousands of authors who have had dreadful publisher experiences--but we know of only a handful of lawsuits.

In all other ways, however, the sagas of Port Town and Light Sword are depressingly typical. If you're a regular at the Bewares & Background Check forum at the Absolute Write Water Cooler, or a reader of any of the blogs that keep an eye on the world of electronic and small publishers--such as Dear Author, EREC, or Karen Knows Best--you'll know how common it is for small publishers started by inexperienced people to fall into a predictable pattern of bad behavior--failing to perform, failing to pay, attempting to harass or intimidate authors who speak out or ask uncomfortable questions--and to go out of business within a couple of years (or less) of starting up.

Wouldn't it be easy if we could dismiss publishers like this by calling them "scams?" It would remove all ambiguity, and place them in their own special category apart from all other publishers. Problem is, most of them are not scams (or not entirely). Amateur publishers aren't generally out to deliberately defraud their authors. It's just that they don't have a clue what they're doing, and often get scared and mean when things start heading south.

For the author, of course, this is a meaningless distinction. Whether you're scammed or amateur'd, the bottom line is pretty much the same: few sales, no professional cred, a book tied up in contract, and possibly a lighter bank account (because so many amateur publishers encourage authors to buy their own books).

In other posts, I've suggested ways for writers to guard against being amateur'd--researching thoroughly, avoiding unproven publishers, and just being careful, which includes being aware of problem contract clauses that may make it tougher to get free of the publisher if it gets into trouble. But the best way to protect yourself is simply to avoid amateur publishers from the get-go, and start your querying process at the top rather than the bottom.

Of course, many writers wind up with the amateurs not because they didn't look higher, but in frustration after striking out with reputable agents or larger commercial publishers. But rather than submitting to the Port Towns of the world, I'd suggest you pick a POD service such as Lulu.com. Your contract will be better, your stress level will be lower, you'll be better treated--and your sales and professional credibility will be about the same.

Better POD'd than amateur'd, in my opinion.

140 comments:

Kath Calarco said...

Great information! I'm a victim of a flash-in-the-pan publisher and wish I had done my research first. (And I wasn't multi-rejected - just looking for some fast money to pay for tuition.)

As long as there are desperate writers, there will be publishers ready to eat them alive. Seems like anyone can call themselves a publisher these days. Sort of like slapping a couple of ladders on a station wagon, a few gallons of paint in the back, makes a person an interior decorator. ;)

Anonymous said...

How can you print something of this nature? Where is the proof of what you say about these two publishers? And how can you get the information you say you have seen about the documents involved? I don't see the need to run other people into the ground like this, and then just say I have seen the document, expecting people to believe you.

A. C. Crispin said...

Writer Beware always checks and double checks documentation received. In the case of court documents, they're often public records.

Records of lawsuits and court findings aren't opinion or conjecture, they are fact.

We never state that we've seen court findings or documents until we've seen them, not just heard about them.

-Ann C. Crispin
Chair, Writer Beware
www.writerbeware.com

Anonymous said...

The Tip of the Light Sword
Or Just Shoot Yourself in the Foot, It’s Quicker

I’ve been writing for about twenty years. I’ve written articles and essays, commentaries and reviews. I’ve written for everyone from small town publications to Simon and Schuster and Woman’s Day. My work has been translated into many languages and has appeared in various publications, worldwide. I don’t tell you this with any sense of superiority, just to let you know that what I’m about to recount can happen to anyone. Even me.

Several years ago, I decided to write a novel-length work of historical fiction. I made trips to the East Coast, completing research at various locations from Pennsylvania through the South. With specifics in mind, I meticulously gathered information, reading diaries and journals, old newspapers and battle reports. I wrote character studies, outlines—did all the ‘pre-writing’ preparatory to crafting my tale. With a teen in high school, I borrowed time like never before but found myself two years into this endeavor with little to show for it.

So I buckled down and wrote. I have great beta readers and a couple of critique groups I treasure. I used them to polish the story and eventually began pitching it to agents. But more than five years after beginning this journey, I remained unagented. After eighteen months of submitting and thirteen requests for the manuscript from the four dozen agents I pitched, I was pretty dejected, and still unrepresented, when I was approached in late 2007 via instant message by a woman I’d met in writing rooms online. Her name was Linda L. Daly.

Ms. Daly was CEO of a new independent publishing house, Light Sword Publishing, LLC., founded in 2006. A number of my online acquaintances had signed contracts with her, but I felt her company, at only about a year old, was too new. I was taking a wait and see approach, watching for what might shake out. I’d visited her web site and was unimpressed. The site, although attractive, was full of grammatical errors and misspellings.

But she talked a really, really good game. “Send me your manuscript,” she said. “I’ll read it right away.”

So I did.

Big mistake. Big. Rule #1: If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. This outfit looked like an unprofessional sham. Nevertheless, I was taken in by Ms Daly’s excuses: she was too busy to pay close attention to her web pages as she should; her web designer was good at the mechanics but wasn’t really a writer, and on and on. She was, she assured me, NOT a POD, published traditionally, and would, if my manuscript was accepted, print and distribute a ‘sizable’ first printing. Having suffered her own losses at the hands of the unscrupulous, Ms Daly’s goal had become ‘making authors’ dreams come true’.

While I waited to hear from her regarding my manuscript I visited her web pages again. She had a small ‘staff’. Not bad, I figured. I even knew some of these people. One of her editors was an online friend of mine with impeccable credentials. I contacted a couple of authors I knew who were under contract to her. They sang her praises. She walked on water. Their books, according to them, were receiving excellent distribution and Daly was doing a great job.

A few days later my phone rang. It was Linda Daly. “Ah love the way you write,” she gushed. I didn’t even feel the hook go in. A week later I received a contract, signed it and sent it back. Before the glue was dry on the envelope, questions began popping up at Writer Beware and Absolute Write about Ms. Daly and her ‘publishing company’. There were cautions about waiting on this newbie to prove up. Unhappy authors were crawling woozily out of the Black Vortex of Book Doom to whisper of no distribution, no royalties—of broken dreams and failed ambition.

I was had and I knew it, but having grown up with the understanding that you don’t put your manure-covered feet on the dinner table, I kept my mouth shut and tried to make it work. My wonderful friend, the professional editor, lasted at the ‘company’ just a few weeks. I started asking questions I should have asked to begin with. The ‘company’ consisted of (and still consists of) a loose cadre of ‘volunteers’ who lived all over the country, completing their business online. Many of them were virtual strangers to one another. Personnel turnover was tornadic.

NOTE: To date there are no LSP Digital ‘offices’. Ms Daly conducts all of her business via the internet from her home in Michigan. Her aged mother is featured on her web pages as a member of her ‘staff’.

But back to my story. I learned from online cautions that Ms. Daly is a refugee from PublishAmerica. To my knowledge, she has no writing credentials, otherwise. She has worked in the printing trade, however—an apparently resume’-worthy activity she mentions frequently, which somehow qualifies her as a publisher (which is kind of like someone who has patted a horse considering himself a jockey).

My novel is set in Civil War Virginia, and ends a few years later on the plains. Before the edits were started on it, I received the first cover. It was a disaster. The cover depicted the California Sierras. In the foreground was a clipart man wearing a stocking cap and modern dress, kind of capering—maybe clog dancing—in the snow near a log hut, also clipart. The perspective ratio between the two pieces of ‘art’ was such that the man was too large to fit inside the hut. Not even if he stopped capering and folded himself into an origami mountain man. And took his hat off.

Fortunately at LSP, I DID have input concerning the cover. I rejected it and launched into the first of many battles with Light Sword Publishing. The responses I received from the company were vicious. Light Sword Publishing's coorespondence was full of elementary spelling and grammatical errors--and threats. These people were no writers. Their lack of proficiency, both at writing and at leadership, was astounding.

I was ultimately told to find and submit my own art for my book’s cover, which I did. But I was also told that my letters were no way to talk to ‘my publisher’. My businesslike, professional inquiries were characterized as ‘offensive’. Ms. Daly threatened to drag out ‘clause 34’ and end our business relationship, intimating that I was ‘ungrateful’. She clearly did not want any kind of controversy, nor did she want any questions. It was to be the blond leading the blind.

Surprisingly, Daly was in phone contact with some frquency, but only to discuss her legal woes and her financial difficulties.

After an editing process that included no fact-checking, no continuity-checking and, in general, proved nightmarish,
I finally received the galleys, and more phone calls from Ms. Daly. She recounted her legal woes again, and told me she was going to file bankruptcy. She filled me in on a scheme she had to ‘protect’ her authors from a takeover of the company, which could come about as a result of a lawsuit, suggesting that her former partner, Bonny Kirby, might be able to somehow gain control of the company. She mentioned, too, her legal entanglement with a former author and said more 'formers' were waiting in the wings to file suit.

She felt she could protect her company from a bankruptcy lien by just having all the authors move into a new company called LSP Digital.

She also told me about another plan—we were all to write letters introducing our wonderful publisher (Linda L. Daly) to Oprah, through some media contact Daly professed to have. Oprah would, it was presumed by Ms Daly, become so enamored of Daly and her plan to make authors’ dreams come true that Daly would be an overnight success. Oprah would save the company, praise be! I asked Daly if, Oprah aside, she was going to be able to go forward with the publishing of my work. She assured me that she would, that my book would come out on time and distribution would be no problem.

Distribution. That’s another story. Before I signed this contract, Ms. Daly told me her books were distributed by Baker and Taylor and Ingram, and that they were also listed online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other outlets. She told me that all of her authors’ books appeared in Ingram’s monthly trade magazine, 'Advance'. She further said that LSP not only produced but disbursed authors’ press packages to appropriate outlets nationwide. She said LSP did mass mailings, online and via USPS mail. She said LSP would set up book signings, arrange for placement at book festivals and generally make like a real publisher. My book, she told me, would go out for review to Affaire de Coeur, Historical Novel Review, and other professional reviewers. Needless to say, virtually none of these things was true. My book received practically no distribution. It did not, and would never have appeared in the Ingram Advance. During my association with Light Sword Publishing, my novel was never—not one day—listed as in stock at Barnes and Noble.com. In the 30 days immediately after its release, it was in stock and available at Amazon.com for exactly a day and a half. Only part of the orders placed with Ingram were ever fulfilled.

In furtherance of this entire endeavor, and at Ms. Daly’s urging, I bought new business cards, had professional headshots done, put up web pages at considerable expense, and networked, networked, networked. I schmoozed with independent bookstore owners, museum curators, organization heads, and Barnes and Noble, and set up 13 book signings for the few months following my book’s release. For the most part, it was all wasted effort and money.

I received my press package and, because of the appalling number of run-on sentences, misspellings, and other construction errors, rewrote virtually all of it. I received all of my ‘art’—bookmarks, posters, etc. and had them printed. Then I received my completed book cover and noted that the ISBN on it was different than the ISBN on all my artwork. They had sent me art files with the wrong ISBN number in them! All of my artwork and business-related materials had to be reprinted, at my expense, of course. In recompense for this, Ms Daly sent me a 3-panel brochure she created for me in MSWord, which was also fraught with errors, and which, had I chosen to do so, would have taken me all of 15 minutes to make.

My book was scheduled for release on May 22, 2008. I designed and, also at my own expense, professionally printed and mailed 6 X 9 inch postcards to every bookstore and library in my home state. I sent letters and emails. Preorders for the book at internet outlets and at Ingram were excellent. Daly harangued me, telling me that the editorial changes I ‘demanded’ during editing had caused delays and my book might not come out as scheduled. This was in spite of the fact that the changes were in and finished in ample time.

I finally blew my top and made demands of my own. Miraculously, I received an overnight shipment of books directly from the print company, just in time for my first book signing, two days after the release.

But there were no books at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Ingram. The events coordinator at my local Barnes and Noble called to let me know that she could not order my book anywhere. I began receiving emails and phone calls from people looking for it online and in bookstores. It was nowhere to be found. Daly excuse was she had not received PO numbers from outlets. I put up with that for a day or two, then sent her an email telling her I was going to seek relief in these matters and suddenly, just like clockwork, again, she miraculously got some books shipped to satisfy some orders.

I started asking questions. Tough questions, apparently, because in spite of the fact that I emailed Daly repeatedly, and at multiple addresses, she did not answer them, even going so far as to tell me that she had not received my emails and to please re-send them. Finally, determined to get some straight answers from her, I posted the questions on the Light Sword Publishing Authors' Stable message board on Yahoo. This so absolutely infuriated Daly that, after posting the answers I demanded, she severed my contract.

I did the Snoopy Scamper Dance in the driveway.

The bottom line here is that Light Sword Publishing was never able to provide books in a timely manner to ANY outlet. Daly failed in every regard and certainly did not do the vast majority of the things she promised as a means of enticing me to her. She purported herself and her company to be something they are not.

Light Sword Publishing and Linda Daly took a project on which I worked for nearly 5 years and effectively destroyed it and any income potential I had in its publication.

Yes, Daly was slapped with a huge judgment. She also (straight from her) anticipates filing bankruptcy soon, but it doesn’t appear these things are going to stop her—at least not for now. She has already created LSP Digital and has changed her web pages to reflect that. A handful of the authors originally contracted to Light Sword Publishing have signed contracts with LSP Digital.

Daly has sent out a message (which was forwarded to me) to all of them that she will not send their books to BookSurge (Amazon’s printing services) for printing under her new 'plan' until they purchase the bulk of the remaining stock of their Light Sword Publishing titles. Of course she conveniently made the announcement after she had new contracts in hand.

I urge anyone considering sending material to this outfit to take a step back and learn from my own experience. In spite of the fact that I waited and watched, I was, in the end, still taken in. An author on the hunt for representation is very vulnerable, and the potential for publication is seductive. Daly uses that to her advantage.

All I can say now is, ‘Free at last, Free at last . . . .’

Marian said...

I'm sorry you went through all that, anonymous. What a nightmare. It's ironic that success, with a "publisher" that isn't set up to handle it, is often worse than failure for the author.

There is something worse than being not published.

Bernard Rice said...

The postings here are sobering.

I have today created my own blog, with the simple intention of networking with writers who are finding legitimate opportunities, a small, safe place to network.

I even put a disclaimer on my site to say that I don't own anyone else's postings. Strikes me as absurd to do so, but so there's no mistake.

Lee Goldberg said...

I am rapidly losing patience for people who are scammed by the likes of Lightsword and Airleaf. Neither were very sophisticated scams and anyone with an iota of common sense could have seen through them.

In Lightsword's case, all it took was once glance at their astonishingly amateurish website, horrible covers, and inept email spam, which I have blogged about on several occasions.

http://leegoldberg.typepad.com/a_writers_life/2008/02/lightsword-slop.html
http://leegoldberg.typepad.com/a_writers_life/2007/12/worlds-ugliest.html

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Lee, but pompous, self-inflationary comments such as yours do nothing to help. All they do is feed the innaccurate belief that watchdogs are just bitter, miserable people with ego problems.

It's never a good idea to belittle people who have suffered. All that tactic does is paint you with a brush covered in something better not spoken about here.

I think it's important to focus on the perpetrators, not the victims. They feel bad enough without being kicked by someone looking in instead of out.

Scams are successful because of myriad dynamics. Knowing people who have been taken in by Light Sword, both authors and those who were convinced not only to give of their time, but to fork over money to this LLC, I have some idea of how the company convinced people to join in. Linda Daly actively befriended people in online writers' chatrooms and cultivated those friendships before she ever opened her doors.

Evidence of her skill in that direction shows in that the authors who have chosen to stay with her fledgling company continue to sing her praises. They believe the rest of the publishing world is wrong and Light Sword and it's CEO are just misunderstood and persecuted.

Sadly, now that Daly and LS have been hit with this judgment, these authors will have something to hang their hats on when Daly does finally close her doors. To them, I am sure, the fault for all this will rest with the authors who fought for what's right and not where it belongs: at the feet of Linda Daly and Light Sword Publishing.

Victoria Strauss said...

Anonymous 7/12 said,

I think it's important to focus on the perpetrators, not the victims. They feel bad enough without being kicked by someone looking in instead of out.

I agree, and it's something I try always to be mindful of. It's hard enough for writers to speak out after a bad experience with a publisher or agent. They already know they made a bad decision; they don't need to hear it from me.

However, it has to be said that in many cases, victims do bear some of the responsibility for what has happened to them. For instance, look at what Anonymous 7/11, who posted the long account of his or her experience with Light Sword above, says:

I felt [Daly's] company, at only about a year old, was too new. I was taking a wait and see approach, watching for what might shake out. I’d visited her web site and was unimpressed. The site, although attractive, was full of grammatical errors and misspellings...This outfit looked like an unprofessional sham. Nevertheless, I was taken in by Ms Daly’s excuses.

In other words, Anonymous (who unlike many Light Sword authors, is apparently an experienced writer) saw the warning signs, but allowed him/herself to ignore his or her gut instincts. I've heard something very similar from other Light Sword victims I've spoken or corresponded with--and from many, many of the writers who've contacted me over the years about questionable or amateur publishers.

There are any number of reasons why writers ignore clear warning signals, including the frustration of a long and unfruitful publication search. Other writers, of course, don't take the time to learn about the field they're trying to break into, and don't know what the warning signs are. But whatever the reasons writers fall victim to schemes and scams and amateurs--and with every effort to maintain respect and compassion for those victims--writers need to understand that THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE for educating themselves, for researching their options, and for making informed (as opposed to wishful or ego-driven) decisions.

We don't help them by pretending that this isn't so.

Lee Goldberg said...

I'm sorry, anonymous, but the victims DO share part of the blame in the cases of Airleaf and Lightsword. Too many aspiring writers are blinded by desperation and can't see the obvious warning signs. These were not sophisticated scams.

With Airleaf, the publisher was a well known and well documented fraud. All anyone had to do was spend five minutes Googling "Airleaf," "Bookman Marketing" or "Carl Lau" to discern the truth. Or look in your local bookstore for even one title with the publisher's imprint on the spine. Or call a bookstore to see if they stocked or even heard of the publisher.

But even without doing the bare minimum of research, all you had to do was read their website or mailings to see they were sham. They were making unsubstantiated claims of their abilities and ridiculous promises of success that aspiring authors wanted so badly to believe they never questioned whether any of it was true.

What is even more astonishing and pitiful is that so many people who were swindled by Airleaf didn't
learn their lesson. They have gone running with their manuscripts and credit cards to places like Jones Harvest (which is run by a former Airleaf/Bookman exec!) that are making the same sales pitches that Airleaf did.

Lightsword was an even more obvious sham...their website looked like it was designed and written by a five year old. One glance should have made any reasonably intelligent person question whether the company was professional. And, once again, all you had to do was a little research on Linda Daly and Bonnie Kaye to see what their "publishing experience" was.

This isn't rape we are talking about here, Anonymous...it's bad decision-making by writers so eager to get published, in any way at all, that they simply turn off their brains and hand over their checks.

Yes, the scammers are the ones who are ultimately responsible, but the victims here also have to take some responsibility for their plight, which is clearly the result of desperation, pure laziness (for not researching who they were going into business with ), and a shocking level of self-delusion (for ignoring the stunningly obvious danger signs).

Lee

Lee Goldberg said...

OOPS!! I made a terrible mistake in my previous comment. I wrote "Bonnie Kaye" when I meant "Bonnie KIRBY." I apologize for my stupid error.

I had Airleaf on my mind as I wrote the post and subconsciously I must have been recalling all the terrific work Bonnie KAYE has done to bring that sham publisher to justice.

So, to underscore, BONNIE KIRBY is the one who ran Lightsword with Linda Daly, NOT Bonnie Kaye.

Again, my apologies!!

Anonymous said...

Hello, Again and thanks for all the interesting perspectives regarding Light Sword Publishing.

I'm the original 'Anonymous' and although I deeply appreciate the comments by Anonymous #2, I really didn't expect anything less than to be taken to task for my execrable decision regarding this company. I've been beating me up for months, knowing full well what the outcome of all this would ultimately be. Had I been concerned about less-than-kind comments, I certainly would not have posted here. This, in the end, was my decision, regardless of how or why it happened.

My sole purpose in posting here and elsewhere online is to alert people to the fact that this kind of thing can happen to anyone. Don't for a moment suppose that you are completely invulnerable to being taken in. Dynamics play a profound part in this kind of situation.

As I said in my earlier post regarding the launching of my work into this cesspool:

Big mistake. Big. Rule #1: If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. This outfit looked like an unprofessional sham. Nevertheless, I was taken in by Ms Daly’s excuses: she was too busy to pay close attention to her web pages as she should; her web designer was good at the mechanics but wasn’t really a writer, and on and on. She was, she assured me, NOT a POD, published traditionally, and would, if my manuscript was accepted, print and distribute a ‘sizable’ first printing. Having suffered her own losses at the hands of the unscrupulous, Ms Daly’s goal had become ‘making authors’ dreams come true’.

Ironically, I'd been 'hit on' by scammers in the past (and since)and remained bulletproof; why this particular individual was successful at this time is still beyond my comprehension. I'd love to say it was because of the 'rah, rah, let's everybody climb on board' attitude of those already contracted, but that's simply a co-out in my mind. I think you, Victoria, nailed it when you wrote:

In other words, Anonymous (who unlike many Light Sword authors, is apparently an experienced writer) saw the warning signs, but allowed him/herself to ignore his or her gut instincts. I've heard something very similar from other Light Sword victims I've spoken or corresponded with--and from many, many of the writers who've contacted me over the years about questionable or amateur publishers.

What saddens me now is the fact that there are still people involved with Light Sword Publishing who cannot or will not accept the fact that they made a poor choice. Looking at their statistics at Amazon, it's clear that none of them are selling books to speak of, and they won't.

For some authors, though, just being published is enough. So, there are those who will be forever grateful to Linda Daly and Light Sword Publishing for 'making their dreams come true'. They have swallowed her panacea--verb, noun, and dangling participle.

Well, that isn't enough for me. If I just wanted to be able to say I had a book in print, I could have run on down to Kinko's and saved myself some heartache, or taken advantage of lulu.com for self-publishing on a grander scale.

Considering that Daly now has three of her own novels in print through her own company, it's pretty obvious to me what her initial motivations may have been. When dealing with Bowker(where ISBN numbers come from) one must purchase the numbers in blocks, ten being the minimum, if my research is correct--and they don't come cheap. So, what better way to self-publsih than to set up a small LLC, buy some numbers and publish titles through Lightning Source (Ingram), which was Daly's first printer.

Also, so you know, Light Sword Publishing encourages its authors to buy books straight from them---at 20% off the cover for under 20 copies and 30% off the cover for over 20 copies--plus shipping, of course. And, naturally, authors are not paid royalties on books they buy in-house.

Now, with that in mind, know that Ingram, Amazon, and other distributors bought those same books from Daly for 50-55% off retail. Ingram provides books to bookstores at discount, 42% off retail being the deepest offered. YOU do the math. It's pretty simple to see how Daly hoped to make some money and pay for the publication of her own novels simultaneously.

Unfortunately, because of my willingness to speak out about this situation, I have lost friendships I valued. I still value them. Nonetheless, it would be ethically wrong to know the things I know about Light Sword Publishing and not do my best to see to it that no one else is taken in, even when speaking out is embarrassing.

Just call me Don Quixote---shot foot and all.

PS: This is not the end for my novel, so all is not lost. In spite of Light Sword Publishing, I received a fabulous review from a reviewer at The Midwest Review and a couple of other excellent ones from lesser pundits elsewhere. My work is out now and I am confident it will be picked up by a competent house soon. In the meantime, I'm working on other books and am just damn glad I can put this behind me.

Deb said...

When some of my cyber-buds first mentioned they were considering LSP, I cautioned them to find out lots of information first--about distribution, marketing, and all that.

I was accused (privately, thank heaven) of using my 5 years of small press experience to project a negative attitude. At one point I was accused of jealousy because MY books were not being picked up by this fine and competent publisher.

I told them I didn't intend to submit to LSP unless and until I could walk into my local Borders and see a book on the shelf. You can imagine what kind of feedback this earned me.

I'm not glad to be right--I'm sorry for it.

Mari Sloan said...

I am Light Sword Publishing's third author, and the first author to be "Clause 34'd". I was recruited to LSP by a fine woman and editor who had fallen for Linda Daly's line, "hook, line and sinker", so to speak, and who was not only assisting her by doing editing for a promised future 3%, but had recruited her child to also help Linda Daly begin her proud new company. This woman had read my novel and loved it, and was very excited that she had found me a publisher.

Linda Daly e-mailed me and the first e-mail she sent me was full of typos, but it was late at night and I thought she might be tired. Unlike most writers, I had written my novel to see if I could finish something substanual, and while I had querried a little, I wasn't determined to publish. Still I'd written and rewritten it numerous times, had a bad agent for a year or two, and thought that as long as my friend was my editor, I'd welcome the opportunity to see my baby published.

My friend started the editing process and I talked to her almost every day. She laughed and lamented the number of phone calls and boxes of manuscripts she was getting from Mrs. Daly, usually beginning with Mrs. Daly telling her that she should "rest and protect her health", which was precarious, and ending with "But could you look over a few more of those manuscripts for me and let me know in a couple of days?" When my relationship with Light Sword Publishing ended after a nightmarish 22 day release, my friend's did also, due to mistakes made that Mrs. Daly blamed on my friend's child. I was told that I was not to use anything from Light Sword Publishing should I rerelease the book, including the editing. My friend, who had never been paid a penny for any of her hours of work informed Mrs. Daly that since she had never been, and didn't expect to ever be, paid that her editing was "volunteer work" and that it belonged to the authors whose books she edited. My manuscript was done so poorly I agreed cheerfully not to use anything LSP and when my husband and I republished it later we posted a request for every LSP copy already purchased. As they came in we sent out replacements (our edition) free of charge, and we even paid the return postage.

We had all of the problems with LSP that Anonymous discussed, and keep it in mind that I was only the third book. After being severed from the company, royalty payment time rolled around and Mrs. Daly sent me a royalty check for $11.35, and was shocked when I objected to this.

Since I had already had problems with her before the book had been published, I had instructed my "friends and relatives" to buy the book from Amazon, where it was cheaper, anyway, so I wasn't dependent on her count since most of the sales were not from her website. At one point she was threatening not to publish my book at all, even after taking around 70 pre-orders. I was very nervous about having anyone purchase from the LSP website and soon didn't even list Light Sword Publishing as a source for the book on my website. I even purchased the books I wanted from Amazon, after the book actually came out.

Crime Time Books did purchase books from the LSP website and they did get their books, so I did have books for the Los Angeles Festival of Books, where I sold books in the Sisters In Crime Booth. Barnes and Noble could not get books so my book signing became a "Meet the Author" with no books available for sale. Mrs. Daly had promised me that my books, "of course", would be returnable, hence purchaseable by major bookstores but "that awful Ingrams" kept getting her request for them to be returnable wrong. She insisted that the "error" would be corrected any day and that I was horrible to continue to ask her about it. She accused me of creating "a toxic workplace" (direct quote). Finally I got tired of being berated on the phone and bought an answering machine. This served the dual purpose of limiting contact with her to important matters and leaving a paper trail, hard copies which I still have, today.

Looking at the problems authors after me encountered, I feel lucky. I know that she originally used a small, cheap printer, not Lightning Source, because if she had used Lightning Source and had taken the step that MAKES books acceptable to major booksellers, (making them returnable), she would have HAD NO distribution problems. Lightning Source is more expensive per book but they handle distribution VERY competently. I know that she used Lightning Source later with one author's book, that she did make returnable part of the time, but that book was flying off the shelves in the local Los Angeles area. If she had used Lightning Source with her authors from the first and had taken advantage of its wonderful distribution, given the hard work I have seen from most of the authors, I think she could have been very sucessful.

People start companies for a variety of reasons, and it appears to me that LSP was not begun with a primary goal of making money which would be fairly distributed to its owner, staff and authors, but as a support group for Linda Daly and her own little cult. It's very sad for the small group that truely believes and keeps plugging away with the faith that if they just stroke her ego long enough and keep scheduling book signings and requesting books that at some point they will actually get books, in the quanity they need, instead of excuses. I'm happy to see that our legal system is doing its job and she is being held at least marginally responsible at last.

Mari Sloan

Patricia A. Guthrie said...

Hi all,

I seem to be taking a different viewpoint here. I'm not stupid, nor naive, nor have my head in literary heaven with dreams of glory and milliondoollar booksales. Most of the time that takes time, patience and experience.

I'm not a groupie for anyone. Nobody needs to feel sorry for me about anything.

But, yes, I am an LSP Digital (Light Sword Publishing) author. There I said it. Tie me to a post and whip the tarnation out of me.

I've been writing for ten years. I've done very LITTLE marketing for a publisher. what I got was a rejection four years ago on my now published novel and a year later after reading it again, I realized how unready I'd really been. So I revised and revised and revised.

I was Light Sword's first published author. I swam through the growing pains with with everyone else. The problems that we had were corrected. I ended up with a book I'm proud of--I'M PROUD OF--and book others have read and want more from me. Can't get better than that. Except to make a reputation that will send 1000 people standing in line for a book signing someday.

Linda has treated me fairly. I've gotten my royalties on time. she's taken me (and others) to the Texas Book Festival and to the Motown Festival, has gone with me to a major library literary event "Author Fest" in Schaumberh Illinois (she lives in Michigan) has produced my website, bookmarks, flyers and instructions on how to market my book.

Linda has also opened her time to her authors to host a Marketing Your wares chat. One which anyone could enter and learn about marketing techniques.

I realize Linda's not perfect. Nobody is. She has weak points, but she also has strong points.
Before I started with LSP I knew NOTHING about marketing. I spent my ten years learning the craft of writing--went to workshops, joined RWA, RWC, Sisters of Crime, and lots of other stuff I can't even remember.

what bothers me on this loop is that several people who'd never heard of LSP now have a skewed view of the company. ONly the negative--none of the positive.

Groupies indeed. The only way to become a "groupie" is to work your tail off by writing a great book and marketing the heck out of it.

And yes, my books have come on time and no, I was not coirced in anyway to buy my books. I needed them, I ordered them. Sold most of them.

Let's face it, many authors have started by selling out of the trunks of their cars. I know of authors who have given away many many copies of their books and then had those lost "free" copies generate more sales in the long run.

I'm sure I have more to say, but I can't think of it at the moment.

You know, it's kind of awful to wake up on a beautiful Sunday morning to see your publishing company smeared all over the place. Something inside my gut hurts all over.

I'm not saying those things haven't happened to others. I can't get inside their heads. I can only say, they didn't happen to me or to most of the authors I know at LSP.

Patricia A. Guthrie
Author
In the Arms of the Enemy 2007
Waterlilies Over my Grave Fall 2007

Deb said...

To answer Pat's note about those of us who are posting here -- if you recall, I made known my concerns about LSP on several forums. Various folks expressed a willingness to dig a little deeper & do a little more research. Some merely accused me of "being negative" and dismissed my concerns out of hand.

Regardless of your positive experience with LSP, I don't want to see ANY author shafted by any small press. It gives the rest of the conscientious small presses a black eye. It puts into question the abilities of us who've chosen to go the small press route.

I'll repeat: I'm not happy to have been right to caution authors do do a little more research regarding LSP. I certainly understand the incentive to make a quick decision, because who wants our novels languishing out there in Big Press slush piles forever? Apparently, though, for a few writers, all it takes is an e-mail marked "Publishing Contract" and all their good sense seems to fall by the wayside.

Lee Goldberg said...

Patricia,

Linda Daly is giving lectures on marketing!? Good God. Her website and book descriptions are riddled with grammar and spelling mistakes. Her book covers are horrendous, clearly done by someone on a home computer without any artistic skills whatsoever.

This is the woman you are getting marketing advice from?

WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?

Wouldn't it make more sense to get marketing advice from a publisher who is actually experienced, respected and successful instead of a self-published amateur who apparently hasn't mastered basic English and has a civil judgment against her for defrauding her authors?

Anyone who gets into business with her...or stays in business with her...deserves exactly what they get.

Lee

Anonymous said...

Pat--You may have gone to a couple of events with Linda Daly, but they were not set up by her. Light Sword got into those events entirely through the efforts of one of its authors, now long-gone from the company.

Also, in spite of the fact that the LSP web pages have photos from those events and make it seem as though they were recent, they actually took place a year ago--and no one has been placed in a festival or other venue, since.

You need to ask yourself why that is. Every state has a book festival--some of them have many--and most are scheduled in the summer. Further, bookseller associations, writers' associations, private writing foundations, colleges and universities, and a host of others, hold conferences, symposiums, book fairs and seminars. Why hasn't LSP booked at any of those?

Daly's marketing techniques are elementary. Her writing ability is unbelievably poor. Her people skills are nil, and her follow-through is non-existent. In other words, her company can be summed up by the title of one of her own books: 'Sea of Lies'.

If just having a book in print does it for you, I'm thrilled. But my guess is that when someone finally turns out the light on Light Sword (and that will happen soon), the fallout will sully everyone still associated. You deserve better.

Anonymous said...

I just received this copy of a comment by one of LSP's authors, sent to me by one still contracted but very unhappy:

I suggest a response on the absolute writer water coller.

When you sign author of so and so Title, it gives you more exposure.

I still consider Writer Beware as a good thing. The culprits are the litigating ex LSPers who's lawyers are going to keep the money.


Good God! The suggestion that a person seeking to protect his or her rights and to that end being granted relief in a court of law is somehow to blame for the guilty person's actions, is reprehensible.

Anonymous said...

The verbosity of the bitchers here is impressive.

My name is Alexey Braguine, remember it well.
My novel Kingmaker is published by LSP.

It was nicely edited and one of the anonimous bitchers here described the physical quality of the book as beautiful.

I never had problems with Linda Daly. Orders of my book been always delivered on time.

My book is sold in bookstores and and sales are growing steadily.

To those of you busy writing venomous hate letters, I would suggest use your talents for something positive. You'll never become a best seller by bitching.

Alexey Braguine , author of Kingmaker.

Anonymous said...

Do you honestly think that hate has been the order of the day here? I suggest you reread these posts. Everything I see here has the absolute ring of truth. Just because you don't happen to agree with the posters here is no reason to suggest that they have said these things out of hate. Rather, it would appear they've said these things to inform. As a frequent visitor here, I am glad to have this information.

Please tell us what you expect individuals who have been defrauded should do, sir? Do you expect them to remain silent in the hope that your book will remain in print? Do you expect them to silently absorb the monetary losses and embarassment they have suffered at the hands of this company? Do you expect them to sit silent and watch as other authors sign with this company?

Do you understand what a court judgement is, sir? Do you get that this company and its principals, Linda L. Daly and Bonny Kirby have been found liable in a Michigan court for their malfeascence? Do you believe that if your experience is good in your mind, it therefore must be good for everyone else?

These are facts, Mr. Braguine, not some smoke and mirrors pipe dream manufactured for the enjoyment of others.

Heaven help us if the day comes when veiled threats such as your 'remember it well' comment cause watchdogs and those with pertinent information about what is obviously a fraud to sit silent while others are roped in.

I visit this blog very often and deeply appreciate the information that's posted here. I am sorry that in this case the info is contrary to your own good opinion, but it seems obvious to me that your publishing house is not worth defending.

Victoria Strauss said...

Alexey, I welcome your comments here, as I do Patricia Guthrie's. Pro-Light Sword or anti-Light Sword, this blog is open to everyone.

However, I suggest you take a tip from Patricia, who managed to say what she had to say without resorting to name-calling. (I'd like to ask the same of unhappy Light Sword authors or others responding to any defense of the company.) I really don't want to have to close down the comments section, or switch to moderating comments, as I've had to do when other hot topics devolved into flame wars. Please try to keep things civil so the dialog can continue.

Anonymous said...

Umm, threat? Veiled, unveiled?

Not at all, madam. I like people to remember my name so they'll buy my scribblings.

Alexey Braguine, author of Kingmaker

editor said...

I have to comment on "Anonymous" and her nasty post. I was the editor of this woman's book and after completing two edits, she accepted them without reservation, but only after she tried to show that I didn't know squat about editing. I am a "certified editor" and have worked for publishers for some time AND know what I'm doing. I take exception to this woman and her huge ego. If she was such a wonderful writer to begin with, why was she not accepted by a big house? If she had such doubts about Light Sword Publishing to begin with, why did she sign a contract with them? Could it be because no other house wanted her?

After this author accepted all edits, she decided she wanted to make changes. And changes she made...change after change after change, at no cost to her, but Ms. Daly (owner of Light Sword Publishing) covered these herself. Any problems she encountered, such as was mentioned about ISBN mix ups, were due to a previous staff member, and not Ms. Daly.

Ms. Daly had unbelievable patience with this author and when I questioned why she did not dump her, she told me she wanted nothing more "but to make all my author's dreams come true by publishing their books." Granted, Light Sword has been a new company, and all companies, new or old face problems.

All this nasty name-calling and cutting of Ms. Daly is totally uncalled for. She went above and beyond the call of duty with this woman, same as she has with all her authors, and does not deserve this treatment. If this author were to pull any of this crap with any other publisher, she would have been dropped like a hot potato.

This nastiness has to stop...to me it's a case of sour grapes. Life has enough adversity in it without constanly slinging mud if you can't get your own way.

If this author didn't like the way things were going, she should have pulled out of her contract immediately. I have no sympathy for her and I'm sure the rest of the other authors published with Light Sword have nothing but good things to say about both the company AND Ms. Daly. It's just unfortunate that a few ungrateful and egotistical people can't see the forest for the trees.

Victoria Strauss said...

Now, this is more like the kind of flame-ish stuff I expected when I put my post online. I'm surprised it's taken so long to get to this point

Editor, which certification program did you complete?

Anonymous said...

I can only speak for myself, but I also stood back and watched the progress of LSP before I signed a contract. I appreciate this forum's dedication to warning writers of fraudulent publishing companies. However, Lee, I believe, I do resent your comment as to the ugliness of our books. My book cover is so incredibly beautiful that people at book signings often pay more attention to it than the book and try to buy it(the blown up cover on the easel). I also take offense to some of the allegations that we at LSP are too stupid to have done our homework and that many of us are terrible writers. Read my book before making such statements. For myself, and I speak for no one else, I can say that my royalties were on the mark, even when I, like many writers, was so sure I sold more. This is most likely due to the fact that many potential buyers have good intentions and then forget them. I do it myself. I never, ever had a shortage of books, but I also made sure that I never booked signings without knowing for a certainty that books were available. I learned marketing skills from Linda Daly that sent me off to book signings as a well-groomed professional author. When Daly advised me to contact the MADD organization, I took her advise and received the national endorment, an incredible review and coverage in 80,000 of their magazines. When she advised me to join book clubs, I did and found it to be quite profitable. She taught me to make an impressive portfolio, made book marks, flyers and a lovely 14x17 cover, all at her expense. She insisted that I never be without my books. I have never heard of other publishers doing this for thir writers. I was in ER for a near fatal heart arrhymia(sp)and in the two week stay at the hospital sold a dozen books with orders for more. I learned that from Daly. So in the 18 or so months that I have been with LSP, I have published a book that is selling quite nicely, especially since my health problems hinder me from agressive marketing. I have a wonderful group of fellow writers that contrary to common belief is not diminishing. Is LSP perect? Of course not and neither am I so we fit well. I have the option to leave any time I choose, but I know that I will not, under my own reduced steam, market myself without Daly's persistant nudging. So, for now, I am content to continue with LSP. On that note, although your intentions may be honorable, I hope you realize that by trashing LSP and Linda Daly, you are doing the same to some very fine authors who do not deserve to be attacked in such a fashion. It causes us to lose our own credibility and I personally do not see the purpose for this. I hope you will consider that in future remarks.

Lee Goldberg said...

I was amused by the note from the "certified editor" who, if her comment is any indication, apparently got her certification from the University of Cliches ("dropped like a hot potato," "case of sour grapes," "Not seeing the "the forest for the trees" etc.).

If this "certified editor" has so much "professional" experience, how could she have tolerated the overwhelming abundance of grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors on the Lightstorm website, book summaries, and mailings?

Lee

Lee Goldberg said...

Oops, I meant "Lightsword" of course, not "Lightstorm."

Lee

Lee Goldberg said...

"However, Lee, I believe, I do resent your comment as to the ugliness of our books. My book cover is so incredibly beautiful that people at book signings often pay more attention to it than the book and try to buy it(the blown up cover on the easel)."

You'll have to tell me which book it is, because I just went back to the site and didn't see a single cover that didn't look like the result of a third grader playing with Photoshop.

Check out the covers for SEA OF LIES, WATERLILIES OVER MY GRAVE, DESTINY OF DIVAS, SHADOW WALK, THE CHOSEN ONE, and THE MASTER AND THE FIGHTER and you will see what I mean.

Lee

Lee

Anonymous said...

Good evening all!

It's been a long day here, but I'm never too tired to make comments.

To begine with, Ms Daly bears no 'costs' for creating the PDFs for these tomes. She sits in her house and does them on her home computer--so let's not make the assumption here that this woman is out a dime.

She also bears no expense in the creation of her marketing materials, which, as I have said before, are full of errors and formatting issues. If you have not seen errors in your marketing materials from LSP, then let someone else look. You're missing them.The second set of bookmarks she sent to me were so poorly formatted that the copy company could not produce them. I ended up making my own--in Word--same as she does--took me about 15 minutes and didn't cost me a dime. If Ms Daly worked away from home, or in any way kept a tally of billable hours, I might be able to accept that these items cost her something; but they don't.

Regarding the book that got the great review from MADD--you go girl--you deserve it. But don't hold your breath for books if a big order comes in.

As to editing--let's put it this way--when I received a list of words out of my book manuscript that this editor wanted the definitions of because she had 'never seen them before', I knew I was in trouble. This editor had no understanding of capitalization, no understanding of restructuring after the removal of elements, no understanding of the difference between directions and geographical regions. Yes, I corrected and corrected and corrected. Yes, I demanded changes. But I can assure you that if this 'certified editor' had not done such poor work to begin with, it would not have been necessary for me to go through the material word-for-word. OVER AND OVER AGAIN. To say I was in a state of shock is an understatement. This wasn't a line edit, it was a massacre. In the end, in spite of my sitting up several nights working, there were still formatting errors in the final galley. Daly's answer to that? "No one will notice."

Well, people who don't have a grasp of English grammar and usage, perhaps.

If the expectation that my work will be BETTER after an edit, rather than worse, means that I have an ego about my writing, you're darn tootin' I do.

Regarding the following from 'editor'

This nastiness has to stop...to me it's a case of sour grapes. Life has enough adversity in it without constanly slinging mud if you can't get your own way.


I really don't know what you mean by this. All I can assume is that you are referring to my need for books to be distributed as agreed upon; my need for a publisher who knows a noun from a verb; my need for a company that conducts itself professionally in all things and does not gossip among its contracted authors and with its staff; my need for a company that pays its royalties as agreed upon--well, I suppose I could go on and on.

As far as me siging a contract in spite of my own reservations, please reread my posts, editor. I'm as bumfuzzled about that as anyone else is--and have no one else to blame but myself. But that doesn't mean I am absolved from an ethical responsibility to let others know what a dismal experience all of this has been.

As I've said before, if just getting published is all people need--if they don't care whether their materials are handled properly; if they don't have an understanding of construction, and therefore won't see the errors in their books; if they are so trusting they will blindly accept the royalty statements and payments from a company convicted in Civil Court of wrongdoing in that regard, then Light Sword Publishing--now LSP Digital--is for them.

Don't delay--rush on down and sign up.

The world is your oyster. It's rotten--but by golly, it's yours.

editor said...

Lee,
As for your comment about my cliches...I am not writing my commentary for publication and can write whatever I want, whether they're cliches or hog wash. My editing skills have been utilized in the publishing industry for many years and I was certified through a local college, not that it's anyone's business.

With regard to Light Sword's website, I had no part in it's design or edit for my main job has been to edit manuscripts and do illustrations. If you don't care for the website would you like to offer your services to make it better?

editor said...

As to editing--let's put it this way--when I received a list of words out of my book manuscript that this editor wanted the definitions of because she had 'never seen them before', I knew I was in trouble.

SO, NOW YOU'RE TRYING TO BLAME ME FOR DOING "RESEARCH" WHICH YOU STATED PREVIOUSLY WAS NEVER DONE? YOU FORGET YOUR BOOK WAS SET IN THE 1800S IF I'M CORRECT, AND YOU SNEER BECAUSE I CARED ENOUGH TO QUESTION CERTAIN TERMS YOU USED? WOULD YOU HAVE RATHERED I LET THEM GO AND ALLOW YOUR READERS TO WONDER WHAT THE HECK YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT? TO ME, I WAS DOING MY JOB AND NOW YOU'RE TRYING TO DRAG ME DOWN BECAUSE OF THAT? YOU HAVE SOME NERVE, LADY.

This editor had no understanding of capitalization, no understanding of restructuring after the removal of elements, no understanding of the difference between directions and geographical regions.

YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW WHICH END IS UP...AND AS I SAID BEFORE, IF YOU HAD WRITTEN SUCH A "GLOWING" AND "WELL WRITTEN" BOOK, WHY WEREN'T YOU PUBLISHED BY VIKING, MIRA, SIMON & SCHUSTER OR ANOTHER BIG HOUSE? I THINK YOUR HEAD IS FILLED WITH HOT AIR, IF YOU ASK ME, AND FOR A FIRST TIME AUTHOR, YOU WERE DAMN LUCKY TO FIND SOMEONE TO TAKE YOU ON. YOU WERE ONE OF THOSE HELLISH AUTHORS MOST PUBS WOULDN'T TOLERATE.

Yes, I corrected and corrected and corrected. Yes, I demanded changes. But I can assure you that if this 'certified editor' had not done such poor work to begin with, it would not have been necessary for me to go through the material word-for-word. OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

IF THAT'S THE CASE, "MISS WONDERFUL AUTHOR" WHY DID YOU ACCEPT THE CHANGES AFTER THE SECOND EDIT? WHY DON'T YOU JUST ADMIT THAT YOU READ OVER YOUR MANUSCRIPT AND DECIDED YOU WANTED TO CHANGE THIS OR THAT, AND IT WAS NOT THE EDITOR'S FAULT YOU MADE THESE CHANGES.

To say I was in a state of shock is an understatement. This wasn't a line edit, it was a massacre.

GIVE ME A BREAK...FROM THE VERY BEGINNING YOU'VE BEEN SO FULL OF YOURSELF, YOU COULDN'T HANDLE ANYONE SHOWING YOU EVEN A TINY MISTAKE YOU MADE AND HAD TO GO TO ANY LENGTHS TO PROVE YOU WERE RIGHT; TRYING TO CITE SO WITH DIFFERENT REFERENCE BOOKS, EVEN AFTER YOU WERE TOLD WE GO BY THE "CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE". YOU JUST HAD TO HAVE EVERYTHING DONE YOUR WAY AND HAVE ALL THE POWER.

In the end, in spite of my sitting up several nights working, there were still formatting errors in the final galley. Daly's answer to that? "No one will notice."

FORMATTING ERRORS WERE NOT MY CASE AS AFTER THE EDITS ARE APPROVED, IT GOES TO ANOTHER STAFF MEMBER FOR FORMATTING. IT LOOKS TO ME BECAUSE YOU COULDN'T HAVE YOUR WAY WITH EVERYTHING THAT YOU'RE NOW OUT FOR BLOOD. GIVE IF UP; YOU'RE ONLY MAKING YOURSELF LOOK LIKE A FOOL.

editor said...

To begine with, Ms Daly bears no 'costs' for creating the PDFs for these tomes. She sits in her house and does them on her home computer--so let's not make the assumption here that this woman is out a dime.

She also bears no expense in the creation of her marketing materials, which, as I have said before, are full of errors and formatting issues. If you have not seen errors in your marketing materials from LSP, then let someone else look. You're missing them.The second set of bookmarks she sent to me were so poorly formatted that the copy company could not produce them. I ended up making my own--in Word--same as she does--took me about 15 minutes and didn't cost me a dime. If Ms Daly worked away from home, or in any way kept a tally of billable hours, I might be able to accept that these items cost her something; but they don't.

YOU'RE TOTALLY WRONG ON THIS...MS.DALY DOES BEAR COSTS FOR CREATING PDFs, BOOKMARKS, POSTERS, COVERS,ETC., NOT ONLY IN THE COST OF THE GOODS, BUT IN HER TIME ALSO. I'M SURE THE TIME SPENT DOING ALL THIS WOULD BE WORTH A LOT MORE IF YOU AS AN AUTHOR HAD TO HIRE SOMEONE TO PRODUCE THESE, AND SHOW ME ANY OTHER PUBLISHERS WHO DO THIS FOR THEIR AUTHORS.

Mari said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mari said...

Editor asked, "If you don't care for the website would you like to offer your services to make it better?"

I can't resist this. LSP's staff has changed over and over, each person supposedly "fired" for some mistake or another, but I have only found one person who said she was ever paid. Staffers were promised 3%, or 4% of future earnings, or "thirty cents on the dollar", as Mrs. Daly told my husband once. Yes, she actually said that when she offered to make him her "West Coast Marketing Manager". "Three percent, THIRTY CENTS on the dollar!" He wasn't very anxious to take the position. We had already realized that no one was ever going to be around long enough to get paid.

Would Anonymous want to volunteer his or her services to clean up the numerous errors on the LSP web site? I think I'd pass up the opportunity to be another unpaid LSP Staffer. Why would anyone want to waste their time for free trying to dress up the site for a company that has just made it to the "not recommended" category on Preditors and Editors? The web site might look professional if LSP paid someone to fix it. They should petition for tax exempt status as a charity.

Lee Goldberg said...

The "certified editor" wrote:

"My editing skills have been utilized in the publishing industry for many years and I was certified through a local college, not that it's anyone's business."

I wasn't aware that local colleges "certified" editors. Is that your way of saying that you graduated from a community college? If so, good for you... but I don't see how that translates to "certification" as an editor. Please explain.

In my view, your response here to the author you edited, as well as your attitude towards him and his work, says more about your editorial skills and professionalism, or lack thereof, than any "certification" ever could.

"With regard to Light Sword's website, I had no part in it's design or edit for my main job has been to edit manuscripts and do illustrations."

Good God, you did some of those atrocious covers? Are you a "certified artist" too?

"If you don't care for the website would you like to offer your services to make it better?:

Why would I -- or anybody else -- want to proofread the website of someone who purports to be a marketing expert and a publisher? Shouldn't she know how to do that herself or at least be capable of hiring someone who is? If not, how pitiful is that?


And if she is a marketing expert and publisher, as she purports to be, shouldn't she know how damaging it is to have a website that's unreadable and makes her books look like crap?

What does her lack of standards and her inability to present herself (and her company) say about her skills, her attention to detail, and her experience?

What does the judgment against her for fraud say about her honesty?

It says it all, actually.

Lee

Anonymous said...

In response to the following from anonymous, "She said LSP would set up book signings, arrange for placement at book festivals and generally make like a real publisher. My book, she told me, would go out for review to Affaire de Coeur, Historical Novel Review, and other professional reviewers. Needless to say, virtually none of these things was true. My book received practically no distribution. It did not, and would never have appeared in the Ingram Advance. During my association with Light Sword Publishing, my novel was never—not one day—listed as in stock at Barnes and Noble.com."

I am going to put in my two cents worth here on this subject. I am currently under contract with one of the publishers here...LSP.
I would be the very first person to pull the plug on a contract if my publisher proved to not fulfill its end of the agreement.
THERE IS NOTHING...I REPEAT....NOTHING, IN MY CONTRACT THAT SAYS PUBLISHER WILL ACT ALSO AS MY PUBLIC RELATIONS PERSON. IN FACT, IT IS EMPHASIZED IN THE CONTRACT, THAT I, AS THE AUTHOR, AGREE TO ACTIVELY MARKET MY OWN BOOK.

First of all, Ms. Daly NEVER EVER promised me that LSP would do the PR work for book signings, provide me with business cards, etc. Come on, publishing is NOT like a corporate job where they supply you with all you need.
An author is in business for themselves.
I know exactly what is expected of me, according to my contract. Nothing is ambiguous about it.
I was expected to generate my own list of contacts, book stores, etc....IN MY AREA.
And, come ON...all kinds of companies operate with a virtual office, telecommuting, etc. WHY should a publisher be any different?
GOOD GRIEF! Doesn't anyone have anything better to do than to run with a disgruntled client, and become a viscious mob????
WAKE UP, PEOPLE. NO ONE CAN PLEASE EVERYONE ALL THE TIME.

I am very happy with the job that LSP has done for me thus far.
Were anything to happen with my contract, publisher, etc....it would be MY business, and MINE alone.
As for all this rambling on over these publishers, I would think that I would have more discretion than what I see here.

Just my two cents.

Anonymous said...

Concerning Light Sword Publishing, Ms Strauss wrote, in the post initiating this thread:

We weren't entirely surprised, therefore, to discover that in late 2007, Linda Daly, Bonny Kirby, and Light Sword Publishing were sued by one of their authors for breach of contract, fraud in the inducement, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. (Writer Beware has seen the complaint, as well as numerous other documents involved in the lawsuit).

Just for a moment, let's talk about contracts and inducements. If you take a look at LSP's web pages, you'll find a long list of things the company says it will do for its authors. In addition to that, Ms Daly talks a great game before a contract is signed--at least she did with me. Those things are inducements. Those things did not happen.

As to jumping out of my contract: a contract is a legally-binding document. One does not just 'jump out'. Ms Daly has, over the past few weeks, been telling her 'stable' that anyone wanting out of his/her contract should just ask.Not this kid! I watched and learned as previous LSP authors tried to leave the company and ended up in court--their books and their lives, not to mention their money--tied up for months. I was worried to death about escaping and in the end found a much simpler way of getting out of my contract. I asked, and kept asking Ms Daly, questions about her company that any reputable CEO would be happy to answer. When she refused to answer those questions, I posted them on the 'stable' message board for all to see and where she dissembled as I knew she would--and she severed my contract, also as I knew she would. Believe me, I was absolutely ecstatic. I escaped this experience without having to take this woman to court. There are no sour grapes here. Just joy.

'Editor', your comments speak for themselves. Lee points that out very well.

As to Ms Daly bearing the cost for 'promotional artwork', Balderdash! She sent me electronic files via the internet, not hard copy material. I bore the cost for that. TWICE. She promised a 'mounted poster to be used at book signings', but I never received one. She did send a tabletop easel--gold, spray-painted metal.

Regarding the incorrect ISBN numbers being someone else's responsibility--well, I guess you've never heard the old cliche', 'the buck stops here'. Ms Daly is the CEO of her company. She told me that she is the only person in her company to issue ISBN numbers. She is also supposedly 'copied' by her staff when any coorespondence is sent. So, yes, the responsibility for this error was Ms Daly's. Sorry.

As to book covers: Not all of LSP's book covers are horrible. Alexey Braguine's KINGMAKER cover, and Micki Peluso's AND THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG cover are both beautiful. I own both books.

To anyone still associated with LSP, to my wonderful friends I referenced in previous posts~~I am sorrier than I can say about all this. You folks are VICTIMS, here. I have received dreadful emails from you. One of you has referred to me as 'treacherous' and 'a back-stabber'. You've suggested that I've turned on my friends. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

But understand this: Linda Daly is not now, nor has she ever been, my friend. Although we were friend-LY at the time I signed my contract, I have never looked at is as anything more than a business arrangement. Doing anything other than that when engaged in a contractual association is folly. It easily allows one to be blind to wrongdoing, to be gullible, naive, and accepting.

Patricia A. Guthrie said...

Hi all,

Wow. This is turning into our own private civil war. Or a mob scene out of a grade B western movie.

I'm waiting for someone is yell "Get the rope."

Lee and Bernard, I'm wondering what your interest is in all of this. As far as I know (and I don't know a lot) you have no direct gripes against LSP, do you? No. You don't have to answer that. But, I did go to your website, Lee, and I'm wondering if you don't have a better topic to fill your pages than with LSP bashing. Doesn't make sense.

Sorry you don't like our covers. well, I guess Linda felt the same about my first cover, because it's had a new cover for almost a year now. Bernard, you might take note. I noticed that on your site you still have my old cover. Maybe it was an old blog.

I've noticed the timing to all this to be particularly amazing. (yes an LY adverb. So string me up) You picked the one moment that Linda is on vacation and can't defend herself.

Have a good day.

Cheers

Pat

Anonymous said...

It only takes a few minutes of study to see that LSP's business model is not built for scamming writers.

The complainers here don't realize the damage they are doing to themselves and their reputations.

Agents and publishers often talk about clients from hell. Can you imagine any one of them offering a contract to the disgruntled posters here? Nowadays, all it takes is a quick googling and the door is slammed on their face.

Of course, I expect to be attacked by the pack. But it would be more productive to relax, have a cup of tea, read my book. It will tell you a lot about LSP. Anonimous read it and found it unputdownable.

Cheers everyone!

Alexey Braguine, author of Kingmaker.

Victoria Strauss said...

Alexey said,

The complainers here don't realize the damage they are doing to themselves and their reputations.

This is a threat commonly leveled at writers who speak out about their bad experiences with micropresses/amateur publishers.

Trust me, it ain't so. The world of Light Sword and publishers like it is so far removed from the world of professional publishing that, as far as reputable agents and publishers are concerned, it's barely even visible. What's going to put an agent or editor off isn't that you spoke out about your bad micropress experience, but that you were inexperienced enough or desperate enough to sign up with the micropress to begin with. They are likely to assume you couldn't do any better. When approaching other publishers with a new manuscript, the wise amateur micropress-published author will say nothing about the micropress, and approach as if he or she were a first-time author.

This is not to say that good books can't be published by amateur micropresses. Like PublishAmerica, they're as happy to take on a good book as a not-so-good one. The enormous number of unpublishable books with which society has been lumbered as a result of the proliferation of micropresses--not to mention the POD self-publishing services--is an annoyance and a nuisance, but the real tragedy of all these faux publishing options, in my opinion, is that they can entrap writers whose books deserved better. (Though see my comments about authors' responsibility for their own fate, above.)

I should also say that I am NOT dismissing small presses as a group. There are many excellent small presses, which function entirely professionally and are taken seriously by readers, writers, and publishing professionals. Reputable small presses have always been an honorable alternative to large commercial houses, and there are more of them now than ever. These professional small presses, however, are NOT equivalent to the Light Swords of the world, which are run like pocket dictatorships by people who know absolutely nothing about editing, publishing, or book marketing--never mind running a business--and aren't interested in learning.

Victoria Strauss said...

Anonymous 7/15 said,

THERE IS NOTHING...I REPEAT....NOTHING, IN MY CONTRACT THAT SAYS PUBLISHER WILL ACT ALSO AS MY PUBLIC RELATIONS PERSON. IN FACT, IT IS EMPHASIZED IN THE CONTRACT, THAT I, AS THE AUTHOR, AGREE TO ACTIVELY MARKET MY OWN BOOK...

I know exactly what is expected of me, according to my contract. Nothing is ambiguous about it.
I was expected to generate my own list of contacts, book stores, etc....IN MY AREA.


Not to pick on you specifically, Anonymous--but this is a prime example of the alternate universe in which amateur micropresses operate--a universe in which "marketing" and "self-promotion" means doing the publisher's job as well as your own. Getting books into physical bookstores so that your self-promotion efforts can have something to build on is the publisher's job, not the author's.

If the publisher can't or won't distribute to physical bookstores, as can be the case with perfectly respectable small presses, it still shouldn't guilt authors into thinking that it is their obligation to function as an unpaid sales force.

Anonymous said...

Bravo...Anonymous, Lee, and Mari !

I was the author whose 'books flew off the shelf.'

After hiring an attorney and with a lengthly fight, I was finally ungraciously released with a 'anti-disparagerment and confidentiality clause.'

It is killing me that I can't say more.

Anonymous said...

Victoria,

You may not be aware that LSP books do make it into brick and mortar stores. I had a signing at Borders last Saturday. A large number of my books were prominently displayed near the entrance.

At the International Spy Museum in D.C. they are also on prominent display.

To paraphrase--You can't keep a good book down.

Alexey Braguine, author of Kingmaker.

The Automated Antichrist said...

Alexey Braguine wrote:

"You may not be aware that LSP books do make it into brick and mortar stores. I had a signing at Borders last Saturday. A large number of my books were prominently displayed near the entrance."

"At the International Spy Museum in D.C. they are also on prominent display."

Indeed, and I can say with certainty that they are there IN SPITE of your publisher, not BECAUSE of her. Yes, through YOUR hard work, books are in bookstores. This does not make the cold, hard fact that LSP fought the law and the law won any different.

She fought the law and the law won, she fought the law and the law won. Everybody SING!

Victoria Strauss said...

Alexey, did Light Sword get your books into those stores, or did you? No offense, but I'm guessing that you set up the Borders signing, and the store placed an order as a result of your arrangements.

To put the question another way--how many stores carry your book that you didn't have to persuade to place an order?

Mari said...

Victoria asked the essential question, "how many stores carry your book that you didn't have to persuade to place an order?" That is the heart of the matter.

My experience with LSP is that if your book is not full of grammar, continuity and spelling errors, YOU removed those, not an LSP editor or proofreader. It still will have formatting errors and many large spaces between words in your text and this is associated with lack of experience in setting the manuscript up for printing. LSP is perfectly content to release books full of errors and to protest is seen as a "lack of gratitude" at the honor being paid to you for having been published.

If you are in a major bookstore it is because you either talked the store into taking your nonreturnable books or somehow you begged, cajoled or convinced the powers that be at LSP to make them returnable, NOT something that is usual procedure there.

It is easy to find out whether or not your books are returnable. Go down to the local Barnes & Noble and ask them to look at their listing for your book. It spells it out for you, and them. Major bookstores are EXTREMELY reluctant to take on books that they cannot return to the publisher if they do not sell. Most of them go by a corporate policy that will not ALLOW them to order nonreturnables. This is an almost unsurmontable handicap to any kind of real marketing, EVEN IF you DO work very hard.

My guess is that most of the LSP authors have been afraid to check the status of their books. A few know that they are doomed to selling out of the trunks of their cars and the "family" means more to them than their books. This is okay as long as LSP treats them gently, even if it isn't treating them fairly, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Lord, this whole thing is giving me a headache. Why do you people have to be so ugly? Why do you care? If Light Sword's authors are happy, why do you have to drag them through the poop? If they are unhappy, they can take their next book to another publisher. Ms. Daly hasn't robbed anyone, as far as I can tell. She didn't twist their arm to publish with her company. And when did God retire and leave you in charge? This is just bashing. And if you have nothing better to do then God love ya. I've got a book to write.

The Automated Antichrist said...

A former LSP author wrote:

"I was the author whose 'books flew off the shelf'"

"After hiring an attorney and with a lengthy fight, I was finally ungraciously released with an 'anti-disparagerment and confidentiality clause.'"

"It is killing me that I can't say more."

Not a problem, since I only know what I've seen and haven't signed anything, so as long as I stick to the facts and the facts only, I can say anything I want and I have a big mouth. Don't worry, I won't mention your name or the name of your book.

I KNOW that why you sold around three thousand books in about ninety days is for the following reasons:

Number one, the book was timely and topical, with broad appeal for multiple genres.

Number two, you're a marketing machine that knows how to work a room without being phony or forced. The smile helps a lot. You gotta love those 'money-teeth', eh?

Number three, you got yourself a BINC number and any Borders in North America will stock books and schedule you for a signing whenever you're available.

Usually the publisher gets you your BINC number, but your publisher didn't know how, and I figured THAT out when I noticed that YOU have one and NONE of Linda Daly's three books have one.

If you had a decent publisher behind you, it is my opinion that you'd have sold four times that many books in the same period of time, but now I'm venturing into the realm of opinion, and we're not going there.

Anonymous said...

First of all, LSP books are distributed via Ingram and Baker & Taylor and are returnable. Though my books are in stores due to my initiative, I never had to beg or cajole, I make an appointment with the manager, send all the required info they want. They check to see that the book fits their requirements. They set up a date for the event, order books and voila.

There are lpts of well known and respected small publishers who will do less for the author than LSP. My good friend Camille Minichino (the periodic table murders)was selling her books out of the trunk of a car until she got an agent and went into the big time.

With over 500 new books released daily, do you expect bookstores to stock them all?

Anyway, I have better things to do than hang out here, reading half truths and in some cases outright lies.

Alexey Braguine author of Kingmaker.

The Automated Antichrist said...

"This is just bashing."

Bashing is twisting facts to be hateful and/or hurtful. This isn't 'bashing' in any way. This a declaration of facts and experiences. This about the fact that Linda Daly, Bonny Kirby, and Light Sword Publishing were sued successfully by one of their authors for breach of contract, fraud in the inducement, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

To slightly paraphrase what Ann said previously, Writer Beware always checks and double-checks documentation received. In the case of court documents, they're often public records. Records of lawsuits and court findings aren't opinion or conjecture, they are fact. Writer Beware never states that they've seen court findings or documents until they've seen them, not just heard about them.

In other words, tell it to the Judge that convicted your publisher if you think this is 'bashing'.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused. I thought Ms. Strauss was warning us about a publisher. Why then are all of you disparaging the authors? They may have made a mistake, I don't know, but to call them stupid or dumb is unkind and uncalled for. Has anyone of you not made a mistake in your life?

The Automated Antichrist said...

"I'm confused. I thought Ms. Strauss was warning us about a publisher. Why then are all of you disparaging the authors? They may have made a mistake, I don't know, but to call them stupid or dumb is unkind and uncalled for. Has anyone of you not made a mistake in your life?"

Nobody is disparaging the authors. My wife is a former LSP author. You may have heard of her. She was the second one signed and the first one to figure out how to provoke release from her contract. She was duped and I was duped right along with her. Nobody wants the authors to feel bad about themselves. The objective here is to educate people so that their eyes are open to what is real and what is merely being projected as truth.

The fact of the matter is, through the miracle of POD printing, ANYONE can be a publisher. I'm only about three steps about mentally retarded, and I'm a moderately successful mini-micro self-publishing press with my wife's first book out and mine being reworked for publication as you're reading this. The trick isn't getting the book published, the trick is being in Kansas and selling it in New York or Chicago. Telling authors that this isn't the publisher's job is a scam. If it isn't the publisher's job, publish your own books and eliminate the middleman. After all, aren't you marketing your own wares now, to borrow your publisher's favorite phrase? A smart monkey can be a publisher, if all it involves is getting a book in print.

What's hard to get about this?

Anonymous said...

As a former LSP author, I can tell you that my books are not anywhere that I did not work my butt off to place them. Period.

And Victoria, you took the words right out of my mouth. LSP books that have been successful in any sense of the word have been so IN SPITE of LSP, not because of it.

If the remaining authors are happy with the company, I'm happy for them. But 'editor's' comment about one of the authors 'not getting away with that' at any other publishing house is laughable. The publishing knowledge this company has could be jammed into a nut shell, and there would still be room for the nut.

I suppose I could drag out several of LSP's books and post examples of the kind of editing that was done in them, but I don't really think that's necessary. As someone else said earlier, the posts speak for themselves.

That said, I don't think ANY of the LSP authors are stupid or foolish. I know virtually all of them. They are all bright, earnest people with high hopes. They, like all LSPers, former and current, were taken in. As another poster said previously: they deserve better.

The fact is, these authors are terrified. Terrified that the suits filed by authors who have been defrauded are sweeping their(the remaing authors) publishing company and thus their published books out from underneath them. Truthfully, that's probably going to happen. But Ms Daly has professed to be bankrupt for several months, now. So, clearly, lawsuits that have yet to be collected on are not the catalyst for this. The condition of Light Sword Publishing and now LSP Digital is the result of Ms Daly's business practices, nothing else.

Personally, I cannot understand how anyone can hold tight to a company that is at the least incompetent, at the most, far worse. But, if those remaining DON'T think they are deserving of a better house, that's OK. I wish them well. They are all wonderful people. As far as I'm concerned, this thread is about the company, not the people who contracted with it.

I have noted with interest that this thread did not become personal until current Light Sword authors began posting. Victoria nailed it when she commented about the standard practice of whistle-blowers coming under attack.

Fear changes people. Sometimes the change is not so good.

Victoria Strauss said...

The discussion is getting pretty nasty, and also pretty repetitive, so Ann and I have agreed to switch to comment moderation.

I still think there are worthwhile things to be said. So if you want to talk about your Light Sword experience--pro or con--and can do so civilly, or if you have a general observation to make, I'll gladly post your comment. Personal attacks and insults will not be permitted.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, I just cannot help myself. So much has been said about the editing at LSP and the defense of it has been equally strong, so here are two examples of the stellar skill on display at their web pages. Note the beauty, the flow, the accuracy of these wonderful passages:

Production & Support Manager
A nature lover who firmly believes that God's simplest creations is the basis for which all other things are formed -- such as trees swaying, birds chirping, a majestic snow-capped mountain or a babbling brook. With these thoughts deeply planted in her psychic, (removed) enjoys being a wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

(Geez, I hope that was supposed to be 'psyche', otherwise, my heart bleeds for her poor psychic).

Senior Editor
(Removed) emerged from the womb with crayons in one hand and a book in the other. Growing up an introvert, immersed herself in drawing and reading, (removed) is thrilled to have a creative vocation.

Please note, the above excerpted material (in italics) is copyrighted by Light Sword Publishing, LLC.

C'mon! Are you honestly trying to tell us here that as a 'certified' editor, you would not at least suggest that YOUR OWN bio be grammatically correct?

As Lee said, many posts ago, you deserve whatever you get with this outfit.

Anonymous said...

Alexey Braguine wrote:

Agents and publishers often talk about clients from hell. Can you imagine any one of them offering a contract to the disgruntled posters here? Nowadays, all it takes is a quick googling and the door is slammed on their face.

I have heard Linda Daly say this, almost verbatim regarding the authors who have sued her.

I'm sorry, Mr. Braguine. Don't believe everything you're told. This just ain't so.

Lee Goldberg said...

"Lee and Bernard, I'm wondering what your interest is in all of this. As far as I know (and I don't know a lot) you have no direct gripes against LSP, do you? No. You don't have to answer that. But, I did go to your website, Lee, and I'm wondering if you don't have a better topic to fill your pages than with LSP bashing. Doesn't make sense."

Because I happen to care whether aspiring writers get swindled and their dreams crushed by scammers pretending to be legitimate, experienced, knowledgeable, and traditional publishers.

I am also Board member of the Mystery Writers of America and serve on the membership committee, which reviews applications from publishers who want to be on our Approved Publishers list. In that role, I see a lot of horrendous publishing contracts and an astonishing number of so-called "publishers" who are nothing more than aspiring writers themselves who bought some ISBN numbers and opened an account with a POD company.

It's a mix between true scammers and people who set out to do no harm, but simply have no clue what being an "editor" and a "publisher" really involves.

To me, an inexperienced "publisher" becomes a scammer when they start touting marketing, editorial and publishing experience they don't actually have, when they make promises they know they can't keep, and when they begin charging authors to get into print (another sign is when a court declares them guilty of defrauding authors).

If I can save just one writer from being taken in by these scams and fake publishers, I'm happy.

That said, the aspiring writers themselves feed these scams and fake publishers with their desperation, their gullibility, and their laziness.

The vast majority of writers who have been scammed by PublishAmerica, Authorhouse, Airleaf, Tate, Light Storm and countless other vanity presses and fake publishers could have easily avoided their fate by using common sense, doing a tiny bit of research, and asking some basic questions about the professional qualifications and experience of the people they are getting into business with BEFORE signing a contract.

Lee

Lee Goldberg said...

"The complainers here don't realize the damage they are doing to themselves and their reputations."

Light Storm isn't on the radar of agents or publishers because it's not a publishing company.

It's not complaining about your treatment at a self-published author's POD printing service that will doom you...it's being "published" by one. That's the lesson people should take from this.

Lee

Lee Goldberg said...

Victoria wrote: "Trust me, it ain't so. The world of Light Sword and publishers like it is so far removed from the world of professional publishing that, as far as reputable agents and publishers are concerned, it's barely even visible. What's going to put an agent or editor off isn't that you spoke out about your bad micropress experience, but that you were inexperienced enough or desperate enough to sign up with the micropress to begin with."

This is SO true. That is the cold, hard, inescapable truth that current Light Sword authors should be concerned about...even more so than the ugly covers, abysmal editing, the inexperience of the publisher, and the lack of marketing and distribution.

Lee

Anonymous said...

'Editor'; wrote:

GIVE ME A BREAK...FROM THE VERY BEGINNING YOU'VE BEEN SO FULL OF YOURSELF, YOU COULDN'T HANDLE ANYONE SHOWING YOU EVEN A TINY MISTAKE YOU MADE AND HAD TO GO TO ANY LENGTHS TO PROVE YOU WERE RIGHT; TRYING TO CITE SO WITH DIFFERENT REFERENCE BOOKS, EVEN AFTER YOU WERE TOLD WE GO BY THE "CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE". YOU JUST HAD TO HAVE EVERYTHING DONE YOUR WAY AND HAVE ALL THE POWER.

I just noticed this and have to respond. So that you are fully aware, I never cited anything to you other than the CMS. I have the 13th edition on my desk, and subscribe to their online service. The citations I sent to you were straight out of their works.

I'm really sorry you lacked understanding in specific areas and I really did try to help you learn. That's all the many citations I sent to you was about. I hoped to increase your understanding so editing would be easier for you in the future, and so your editing of my work would be correct. It occurred to me that you resented me sending direct information concerning your editing errors when I received your terse,"It is not necessary for you to send me citations," email during the editing process.

Sorry to expect you to edit per the style book, but there it is.

Anonymous said...

I recently returned from a writers' conference where two well-known, successful literary agents were presenting. Because I edit the newsletter associated with the conference host, I had the opportunity to shadow these women for several hours. Among the topics we discussed was the impact of the micro-press on publishing and on authors, in particular.

In aspect, these two women could not be more different. One, who represents non-fiction, exclusively, is reserved, considered, and physically still as she digests questions and formulates answers. The other agent lights up the room. Just as careful in her considerations, she nonetheless reminded me of a Roman candle. She represents fiction only.

I mention these differences only because these two women, interviewed separately, were identical twins when it came to their comments about micro-publishers--especially those who fail.

Both agents told me about a recent innovation in the publishing world--an ISBN tracking system to which literary professionals can and do subscribe. The system gives sales information for any book with an ISBN number (I'd tell you the name of the system, but my notes are in my office, downstairs).

Although the system is great for publishers interested in what is being sold and how much, it's not so good for authors at small pubbers that offer no distribution, etc., as in the case here.

Publishers want to see good sales figures. They do not take poor publisher performance into consideration in this regard. So, according to these agents, small numbers are just an 'albatross around the neck' of any author who doesn't have decent numbers. According to both women, selling authors with 'under-performing' books in their history has become more and more difficult.

Ms Daly frequently remarks that publication through LSP is a leg up to larger houses. When I posted the information I've imparted here--straight from real publishing professionals in the New York City literary marketplace everyday--she accused me of misusing the LSP Authors' Stable Message Board, posting that I was just 'stirring things up' and 'creating a panic' by imparting such information.

Anonymous said...

I've read most of these comments here.

I have done research into 'big' publishing companies. I hate to burst bubbles here, but some of them DO NOT offer the PR work other than ARC's. There is a difference in being a publisher and a publicist. If you find a publishing house that operates as both, you must be very very lucky to have found them.

Also, if you did research, many newspapers, etc won't even touch you unless you have a following, or have sold thousands of copies..then they MIGHT consider a review.

As for these lawsuits? As a former business owner, I know that most attorneys for companies will advise you to quietly resolve the suits, as it is easier and much less costly to do so.

As to the many complaints referring to delivery...if you own a company, you MUST depend on other companies to supply the materials for whatever prodcut you are selling, or manufacturing. This can become a problem, when for whatever reason, your supplies don't arrive on time, or shipment becomes lost, etc. There are many factors involved.

Company X cannot force company Z to deliver said supplies on time every time.

This would be no different in the publishing industry. Printing can be delayed, paper, etc that the printer uses can be delayed.

There are so many things to consider in these cases.

Also, I have only heard half the story on the lawsuits. Documents, or no, I have not heard from this Ms. Daly, or her side of the story....and....there is ALWAYS two sides.

So, what I see here, is a one-sided blog, and everyone carrying the torch to burn this company alive...and without a trial.

Yes, you will say, "I've seen the documents." Those documents do not tell the entire case. Apparently, those are from the plaintiffs. So what?

Many companies get sued by disgruntled employees, customers, etc....this is NOT unusual, folks.

So, until you hear Ms. Daly's side of the situation...and you have NOT actually been privy to all conversation, correspondence, etc...how can you make an informed judgement? YOU CANNOT.

For those that are not happy with said publisher..move on...you aren't attached to the hip on this, right?

For those who are happy with the publisher...I wish you well in your endeavors.

Another comment here: unless there is blatant fraud in the contract, and there doesn't appear to be....if what a few of you are saying is true...you entered into the contract with the knowledge that you would participate in the marketing of your book. If that was not what you wanted in the first place, why DID you sign?

Just curious.

Anonymous said...

Braguine wrote:

First of all, LSP books are distributed via Ingram and Baker & Taylor and are returnable. Though my books are in stores due to my initiative, I never had to beg or cajole, I make an appointment with the manager, send all the required info they want. They check to see that the book fits their requirements. They set up a date for the event, order books and voila.


Actually, they USED to be distributed by Baker and Taylor and Ingram. In Daly's new model, they will be distributed by Amazon's BookSurge. That makes, I think, 4 different printers for Daly. She has said that she will not be sending books to Ingram any longer. That means that independent bookstores cannot order the title unless they go to Amazon or buy direct from Daly.

Someone asked her if she was going to only print through BookSurge as LSP Digital and she would not answer the question.


Seems to me that the only way an author can have a hope in hell of keeping track of his book sales is to know exactly where and how many of his books are bring printed.

A few weeks ago, she told her authors that Ingram had sent their books back to her, but someone actually in the book business checked stock at Ingram and found that the majority of LSP titles were still in stock there. Ask yourself why Daly would tell that story?

Finally, couple all this up with Daly's profession on her web pages that LSP is a 'time-honored, conventional publishing company'.

Think about it.

Victoria Strauss said...

Anonymous said,

So, what I see here, is a one-sided blog, and everyone carrying the torch to burn this company alive...and without a trial.

Yes, but there was a trial. And in that trial, the judge awarded damages to the plaintiff. So the evidence of malfeasance was clearly compelling enough to persuade a court of law.

I'd also like to point out that both sides have left comments here. As noted above, I've switched to comment moderation, and I'm no longer letting everything through--personal attacks and repetitive rebuttals are excluded. But the floor is still open for both happy and unhappy authors to tell their stories, or to make general comments that further the discussion. And if Ms. Daly would like to weigh in, she's welcome to do so.

editor said...

Lord, this whole thing is giving me a headache. Why do you people have to be so ugly? Why do you care? If Light Sword's authors are happy, why do you have to drag them through the poop? If they are unhappy, they can take their next book to another publisher. Ms. Daly hasn't robbed anyone, as far as I can tell. She didn't twist their arm to publish with her company. And when did God retire and leave you in charge? This is just bashing. And if you have nothing better to do then God love ya. I've got a book to write.

A HUGE AMEN to this!!! Bravo, for speaking up and trying to bash all this nonsense to the trash, where it all belongs.

Who are you people to complain? It seems to me that one disgruntled author who thinks she's a diva has started all this mess. Talk to the other authors of Light Sword who are happily published and have no complaints. I'm sure they far outweigh those who do.

As for Lee who is trying to bash my credentials...you're nothing but a bully. I worked for a publisher for five years, gaining my experience and skills and have graduated from two fine colleges which added to my qualifications. I do NOT work for you (thank God) therefore I do not have to explain anything to you. As long as my employers, yes plural for I edit for more than one publisher, are happy with my work, that's all that counts.

Then, to bash my illustrations in Saul's book... well, all I can say is you're one sad character who I guess doesn't have a life outside of trying to cause trouble. You belong coupled with Light Sword's ex-diva author.

Anonymous said...

I believe Ms. Daly left for a family vacation, where she cannot be reached, the day before the orginal post.

I find the timing remarkable.

The Automated Antichrist said...

"Company X cannot force company Z to deliver said supplies on time every time."

I'm not certain exactly what this is supposed to imply, but I know from experience, as a nobody with no previous publishing experience whatsoever, when I decided to self-publish all it took was a minimum of research to find a good, reliable printer with an established track record to guarantee timely delivery. I've been doing this for about eight months now, and I've never had a problem with an order not being fulfilled.

My experience is very limited and I'm the first one to admit that every day is another struggle up the ladder of an extremely steep learning curve, but from what I've seen, if books are not delivered on time, the publisher is at fault. Reputable printers pride themselves on their ability to deliver the product as quickly as possible.

The hard part is selling the books after they've been printed, not getting them where you want them, and that IS the bottom line. Everything else is just an excuse for non-performance.

The Automated Antichrist said...

"There is a difference in being a publisher and a publicist."

Indeed there is ...

I'd like to give you all a new angle to consider. Let's look at this strictly from the perspective of sales and marketing, since sales and marketing is a universal principle no matter what the product might be. Since the selling of books seems to cloud the minds of impassioned writers, let's make the product to be sold and marketed a dishwasher instead of a book.

I'm the man with the dream, and my dream is to sell my particular dishwasher to every restaurant in North America, but since I have no money or connections, I have to sell my dream to a manufacturer. After years of frustrating rejection, I finally find a manufacturer willing to produce my machine in their factory. Think of this manufacturer as my publisher.

Now we have to get this product to market. Since there are countless established competitors that have been producing dishwashers for years, and advertising is expensive, there's only one way to do this. We need an unsalaried sales staff; people who work on a percentage of the product they move in their regional areas. We need manufacturers reps, distributors, and a dealer network.

Fortunately, the manufacturer that is going to be producing my dishwasher is very large, very reputable, and has been established for many years, because if they weren't, I'd be starting from scratch, and this option would not be readily available to me. Think of this as the way your book is brought to market, since essentially that is what I'm describing.

THAT is what the established large publishers bring to you when you sign with them. It's the established marketing network; it is the unsalaried sales rep calling on the local independents and the major chain bookstores making 'suggestions' as to what would be advantageous to stock and promote.

No, a publisher is not a publicist. A publisher is FAR more. A good publicist garners publicity. A good publisher has an army of salespeople who are pounding pavement for you to sell your product because just like your publisher, your book is worth money in their pocket.

I'm not taking anyone's 'side' in this particular post. All I want you to do is consider what I've just explained.

Deb said...

I wonder whether the "research" web sites might reconsider their dichotomous listings of publishers. I.e., a house is either listed as "not recommended" or no warning of any kind is listed. Example: "a publisher".

Perhaps a rating system would be more apropos. Pubs who have had legitimate, verifiable complaints against them, in a certain narrow range such as: breach of contract, nonpayment of royalties, failure to distribute, etc., might result in a "D" grade, whereas a publisher without complaints would merit an "A".

A system such as this would certainly be more work. However, it would warn authors off from the well-intentioned non-scam pubs who haven't performed as they've promised.

Scams, of course, would merit a big fat razzberry "F."

Thoughts?

Victoria Strauss said...

Deb, I started to compose a response to your comment, and then realized it would be better as a blog post--not just because it's an interesting issue, but because any dialog it sparked would be lost in the present comment string. Watch for it on Friday.

Anonymous said...

After reading the tirades in this thread, I decided to finally would post something here. There are a few questions I feel everyone really needs to look at, and then answer each one for themselves.

How many times have you gone into a bookstore and have seen the countless books that are there, books that have been published by some of the BIGGEST HOUSES in the publishing industry?

How many of these same books have you seen anything being promoted?

Isn't it true that ALMOST SINGLE BOOK you see you have never heard anything about?

WHY IS THAT?

Isn't it because they are not being promoted? And if they are not being promoted, then who is supposed to be doing this? The BIG PUBLISHING HOUSE? THE AUTHOR?

Isn't it true that the BIG PUBLISHING HOUSES do not have the staff to promote every book they publish nor are they willing to invest $$$ in doing so?

Aren't these PUBLISHING HOUSE interested in the BOTTOM LINE more than nothing else, or in other words making $$$?

Then it is save to assume, that the promoting of a book, is left to the author regardless of whether it has been published by a MAJOR PUBLISHER or a SMALL PUBLISHER/MICRO PUBLISHER. Isn't it?

How many new authors know anything about promoting their book?

How many of these authors are sitting back basically waiting for their books to sell themselves?

LARGE PUBLISHERS are therefore careful in selecting books they feel would be able to sell themselves, without any effort on their part to promote these books, as well as any effort to do promoting by their inexperienced authors. Isn't this the truth about the PUBLISHING GAME?

From what I gathered through reading all of there tirades, is that the authors being published by LSP have received some education in marketing their books, which is something I have never seen or heard of being done by any other publisher LARGE or SMALL.

There are thousands upon thousands upon thousands of individuals who have written books (or should I say manuscripts) which have yet to be published. Isn't this true?

Each one of these individuals feel they have the next BEST SELLER, and that their book is PERFECT the way it is, and doesn't need anymore editing, because these manuscripts have been gone over several times by these writers and their friends. And they can’t see why their books have not yet been picked up any publisher. Don't you find this to be true?

Apparently, after reading these tirades, there seems to be individuals who have been published by LSP, who are frustrated in not having their books on the NYTIMES BEST SELLER list. These individuals seem to have INFLATED EGOS and are blinded by the ROSE COLORED GLASSES they are wearing as they look at themselves and the books that have written.

These individuals now apparently want to BLAME SOMEONE for not being the success they have dreamt about being every night. And because they are wearing THEIR ROSE COLORED GLASSES can find anyone else to blame except THEIR PUBLISHER, and it does not matter whether the PUBLISHER IS BIG or SMALL, it is the publisher they want to blame.

The thing is most of these authors tend to keep this to themselves. They know going after a BIG PUBLISHER will ruin chance of getting another one even to look at any additional manuscripts they might have written, because as had been said by ANOTHER BLOGGER(S), would be labeled as A CONSTANT COMPLAINER.

However, what I see going on here is apparently one author becoming frustrated enough that he/she started writing about their frustration of not getting EVERYTHING SHE/HE DREAMT OF HAVING. This individual caused another author with the same frustration do start to do the same thing, write remarks, blogs, etc about their publisher. While these individuals might feel GREAT about getting their frustrations out to THE PUBLIC, and might triumphant in making their publisher suffer; they are the same time causing every author still with the publisher to suffer as well.

As I was growing up, I was taught that if you can’t say anything nice about a person… DON’T SAY IT. I feel that it is about time that these frustrated individuals/authors/or anyone else that feels the same way… SHOULD GROW UP and start acting like adults. Remember every time you point your finger there are four fingers pointing back at you.

KUDOS TO ALL THOSE WHO HAVE SUFFERED FROM THE WRITINGS OF THESE APPARENT FRUSTRATED AUTHORS FOR YOU WILL SURVIVE BECAUSE YOU ARE STRONG.

Victoria Strauss said...

One more thing--I'm getting quite a number of anonymous comments from people disputing one side or the other. You'll stand a better chance of having your comment posted if you include your name. It's easy to say things anonymously, but not so easy to own your remarks by signing them.

You will stand NO chance of having your comment posted if you lace it with references to "inflated egos" and "constant complainers" and "hateful whiners," or if you engage in an ad hominem attack (and yes, the comments I'm receiving do both).

Anonymous said...

Looking at other threads in your fine blog, I came across the TWO THUMBS DOWN bad publishers thread. I really think the list you posted there, which quantifies the factors you use in determining the competence of a house, is illustrative of Light Sword Publishing. I've taken the liberty of copying and pasting the list here.

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.


Any chance Light Sword Publishing will be appearing on your Publisher's Hit Parade soon? From what I've read here and elsewhere, it certainly should.

AnneMarble said...

Anonymous wrote:
With over 500 new books released daily, do you expect bookstores to stock them all?

How do you define a "book"? Often, when someone says that 500 new books are released daily, or whatever, they don't explain what this really means.

Many books are printed each year that will never see the inside of a bookstore, but that's because they weren't meant to be sold at Borders. They range from academic publications to private company publications to law books or medical texts to highly technical lab manuals to publications with exciting names such as Methods in Enzymology. In fact, many weekly and monthly science and technology journals have ISBNs. So does that mean some people are counting them as "books"? If so, that throws everything off.

All this means is that if you publish a book with a legitimate commercial publisher, you have a much better chance of getting published than you think. You're not competing for space with 499 books that were printed that day.

Anonymous said...

I own several of the Light Sword Publishing books, as I know one of the authors and saw several interesting sounding books on the site when i went to order that author's book. I have read and re-read all these comments on this scathing blog. The way I see it, people make mistakes, Light Sword Publishing is still in business, even if the name has changed. If the author's that are there are happy, then they should be left alone. You simply can't please everyone all of the time. As for the people that have commented on the attractiveness, or lack there of of the book covers. Frankly I think Many of the book covers are wonderful, and as a matter of fact, the book cover is the first thing I look at to see if I might be interested in reading it. And the Whippoorwill Sang has one of the most beautiful covers I have ever seen. Shadow Walk the Gathering, well in truth, the cover almost completely depicts the story inside the cover, and Ravenwood Night's Salvation is a good cover too. As for Saul Weber's cover, frankly, If I have read things properly on the Light Sword Publishing website, it is a children's book, and the cover would appeal to a youngster, even if it doesn't appeal to you as an adult, which simply tells me that the covers really are good. I have a hard time understanding why people say such aweful things to one another in a public forum like this. Light Sword Publishing may be here for many years to come, and it may not, but seriously now, why go to all this trouble about posting these terrible things?

Lee Goldberg said...

You also can't include POD books among the "500 book printed daily" (if you buy that statistic). The vanity press/pseudo-press POD titles are merely manuscripts printed in book form and have as much chance of being stocked in book stores as padded bras.

Lee Goldberg said...

Actually, SHADOW WALK THE GATHERING is a perfect example of the ugly, unprofessional and cheap Photoshopped covers that Light Sword produces. But don't take my word for it. See for yourself.

http://www.freewebs.com/writersonaol/image002.jpg

Writers should be warned about doing business with Light Sword -- that's why it's we're discussing it.

Lee

Dedicated Scribe said...

Good morning, Anonymous,

To begin with, this blog is designed as an educational venue for authors at all stages of their careers. To that end, there is often information, as complete as can be found, about predatory or incompetent publishing houses, posted here. It is available for all to read as a service to the literary community. If you were considering publishing houses, this would be one of the first places you should come for this kind of information.

I really do not see that this thread has been bashing the authors still under contract at LSP. Although it's been strongly suggested that authors often seal their own fate in this regard, everything else I read indicates only pity for them.

The covers are not created by the authors at Light Sword. They are created by the 'art department'. So, the authors really cannot be blamed for their unattractiveness.

As far as literary content goes, it's hard to say.

Many authors attempt to enter the marketplace when they simply aren't ready. They've had their families read their work, their friends read their work, or other unpublished authors read their work, for the most part equally 'unready', so they tend to get comments and reactions to their writing that will not be a reflection of the literary community at large, or the reading public, for that matter.

They do not ever take the suggestion that they seek opinions on construction from educational professionals at local schools or colleges. They do not go back to school to improve their writing skills because they refuse to accept they might have deficienceis in that area.

PLEASE, LIGHT SWORD AUTHORS, THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU, THIS IS A GENERAL STATEMENT.

There are also authors who will only seek out commentary they know is going to be positive. It's called 'working in denial'.

Couple that naivete' about one's work with a predatory, incompetent publishing house, and you have the Light Swords of the world.

You have authors blindly sending out poorly-written promotional materials full of grammatical errors. You have news outlets, bookstores, and other professionals laughing not only at the house, but at the author. And believe me, especially if one lives in a small community, those outlets don't forget.

Then the 'not ready' author meets the 'not ready' editor.

AGAIN, EDITOR, THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU, THIS IS A GENERAL STATEMENT.

The 'not ready' editor is unsure of himself, so when an author finds errors in his line or content-edits, he becomes defensive, often lashing out that the author is just a 'prima donna', or 'difficult', when the truth is that the poor 'not ready' editor is just trying to protect his position and his work product, not quite understanding that his incompetence does real harm.

If you ever work with an editor and you find errors in his edits and point them out to him, and his reaction is anything different from, "Hey, thanks, I learned something today," be prepared for things to go from bad to worse.

Finally, the 'not ready' author is too accepting when it comes to business--and writing is a BUSINESS. He has no idea how many copies of his books are in print, or where they have been distributed. An unscrupulous publisher will tell a 'not ready' author that information is none of his business. A decent house is happy to provide it.

When he receives his royalty statement/payment, he rushes off to the bank, even though the voices in his head tell him it's not right. He's just so damn happy to be published he doesn't listen.

Bad idea.

The Automated Antichrist said...

This log has gotten just a little bit off-topic. Let's forget the ugly covers, hurt feelings, if the victim was asking for it, and whether we approve of POD publishing or not. Let's talk about what constitutes a scam publisher. (as if being successfully sued for misrepresentation and fraud isn't enough) In my opinion, the following is most excellent:

Some General Rules for Spotting a Scam Publisher (copied and pasted from the "Warnings" page at Preditors & Editors)

Openly advertises for writers in print or online publications or both.

The publisher claims that it's seeking to publish first-time authors.

Openly claims that it's not a vanity or subsidy publisher.

Claims that it has a new business model that will bring success, but never explains why successful publishers aren't utilizing it.

Claims that the established publishers and published writers are trying to block new writers from being published.

The publisher gives no or very low advances for books it buys. When it claims to have given higher advances, it never reveals the names of the authors who received those higher advances so the publisher's claim can be verified.

The publisher's books are rarely in any bookstores, particularly the large chain stores that carry books from just about all reputable commercial publishers.

The publisher's books have never been seen on a bestseller list published by a reputable source such as the New York Times, especially when said publisher claims to be large.

The publisher's books rarely sell more than 5,000 books to readers in individual purchases and more often fail to reach that number with most of their books in the double-digits or low triple digits in sales.

The publisher refuses to release even approximate sales figures for its own bestsellers.

When confronted with very low or non-existent sales, the publisher refuses to release the book from contract.

Books it claims to have published were actually published by another publisher, now defunct, that used the same business name.

Its contracts contain provisions that prohibit complaints by its authors about its service and product.

Postings in online forums never seem to include anyone who was rejected.

Online forum criticism is frequently immediately responded to by a defender of that publisher.

Acceptances usually take place in less than a month. Even less than a week is not unusual.

Acceptance letters tend to be identical when compared with what other authors received.

Contract provisions are specific as to how termination can be invoked, but the publisher disdains using anything other than some other method of communication.

Communications from the publisher are frequently unsigned by any individual using a department address so that no one can be pinned down as responsible for any comments made to the author.

The publisher never gives a direct answer to any direct questions. Instead, the publisher points to others who are satisfied with policy, procedures, contract, or sales as proof that everything is fine.

The publisher has a no return policy on its products.

The publisher regularly offers special discounts to its authors so they can self-purchase their own books in bulk quantities to resell but fails to offer regular discounts to the buying public.

The publisher threatens to blacklist its authors within the industry should they mention leaving.

The publisher points out to authors that it's a member of its local BBB. (The BBB is for consumers. Authors are considered businesses.)

The publisher doesn't offer its own editing services.

The publisher states the author doesn't have to buy books and sell them, but with their business model it's more profitable for the author to do so.

The publisher places its writers' books on self-publishing sites though the publisher claimed it offered a "traditional" contract.

The publishers claims to be a traditional publisher but your ISBN won't be registered until you've sold some quantity of books.

Anonymous419 said...

Why not ask Bonny Kirby for her side of the story?

Bonny Kirby
Affaire de Coeur
Advertising Coordinator
Phone: 817-373-3496
Fax: 817-373-3296
Cell: 817-691-5877
e-mail bonnykirby@earthlink.net

BuffySquirrel said...

No doubt many lawsuits are settled out of court to avoid publicity, which makes me wonder why this one wasn't--and why, if Ms Daly would like her side of the story to be heard, she didn't even bother (apparently) showing up for the hearing.

Anonymous said...

This is the second and last time I will lower myself to comment on this post. I need to qualify a point brought up by one of the complainers. I, and I speak only for myself, take offense at being told that my books are not in bookstores. I happen to be on the shelves of the huge bookstore in Staten Island,NY and have been since my book was released in September of 2007. This store services a population of 500,000 residents. I am also in B&N in Moblile, Alabama, and Waldens in Las Vegas Nevada. I am certain there are many more, but I got this information from people who bought books there. I resent being lumped into a general category which is my case is certainly not true. My last word on this.

Micki Peluso, journalist, columnist, short story writer, poet, slice of life non-fiction humor- published for 22+ years and author of the well-received memoir, . . .AND THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG -the one with the exquisite cover!

Dedicated Scribe said...

I am sorry, Ms Peluso, but announcing that your book is on the shelves at THREE bookstores that you know of is certainly not illustrative of a publisher who provides any kind of distribution. Rather, it is indictive that your publisher offers NO distribution. All it proves is that your book has managed to find its way into a microscopic number of bookstores thanks to IT, and probably YOU, certainly not your house.

Regarding 'lowering yourself' to comment here: Insulting vitriol of this kind only serves to kill your message. It's never a good idea to insult the people to whom you are speaking.

Tell us, please, if this blog concerned a different house that had been found laible for the issues outlined here; had treated authors in the ways that have been outlined here; had web pages that looked like those discussed here; would it be 'lowering' to comment?

Doubtful.

Karen said...

I have been working toward publishing my novels for 5 years now. It seems that I have had the poor judgement to have paid an agent (yes, she's listed on the Beware list), to have worked with an unethical publishing company (paid for my copyright and books), then topped it off with Light Sword Publishing. I even bought stock in this "up and coming, traditional publisher".
This blog is specifically about what I did and some of what I have learned. I think that most small publishers start out wih good intentions, but fail somewhere along the way...most likely because of the costs associated with book production, if it is done right.
As for me, after having received a gazillion rejection letters from major publishers, I found these small companies. I WANTED to hear the wonderful things they said about my writing. I NEEDED to have some validation that my work was indeed 'publish worthy'. And, I IGNORED the warning signs because I wanted so much to believe what was being said, not to mention getting a contract and dreaming of a successful writing career. Finally, if I tell the truth, I was LAZY and took the path of least resistence
What I have learned is that one hallmark in the legitimate publishing world, is that not only does good work get turned down, but also bad work is rejected because it is based on the judgement about how a book will sell. The bottom line is that a legitimate publisher, large or small, is an independent, objective reviewer and will give an honest opinion; that's called integrity. Their job is to find the most marketable book, not to pat "would-be Stephen Kings" on the head just to make the author feel good about their writing.
I have learned that contrary to the high ideals often touted, "I want to see an author's dreams come true", a work is accepted because it has market potential, which means sales. Publishing companies are in the business to make money as any legitimate business is. If one starts to do research about the cost of producing one book, then it is quickly realized that publishers work under a small maragin for economic error. Larger companies can afford some mistakes, small publishers cannot. Publishing 40 books in a year either means unlimited funds or that a red flag should go up about the company.
The problem is that an author's work is very much tied into an author's ego. It is almost as personal as having one of your children attacked. But in order to have the best work, it is necessary to expose your work to those who will give objective feedback to improve your work(line and content editing). When a book is released, EVERYONE will have an opinion about the book, some good, some bad. So, the author needs to develop a realistic attitude about their work. I believe Lee said it best, to paraphrase: "It doesn't matter whether you family and friends like the book" And acually, if any reviewer lacks publishing clout, reviews don't help sell books.
But, the most important thing is for the writer to develop his/her own intrinsic value system snd to know that they have produced the very best work they can do. Did the author write to please him/herself or to please the market? Everyone has their own reasons, but most do want the financial reward that comes when a book sells, or at least I do.
I have established an LLC, gotten ISBN's and bar codes. Will I be around in a year? I don't know, because there are NO definitive criteria that predict what people will buy. But, I know that I will be doing great if I get one book out there in the right way this year, at least. I have been fortunate and have learned to be patient the hard way. I got the kind of objective editorial advice that will make my book better. Now when he told me to "kill some of my darlings" (places in the book that I thought were very well written), I could have taken offense or LISTENED to someone who has far more editorial education than I have. Subsequently, I have put off the release date, for MY sake and to have the best book I can write. I accepted his comments.
I have had experience in the business world, ran a successful multi-million dollar hospital mental health program, have my Ph.D. in clinical psychology and so therefore am not entirely ignorant. Fortunately, I do have the business experience. However, that does not qualify me to be a publisher unless I do the research, listen to the experts and pay good people to make my books editorially sound. I am learning, and my book will be the first guinea pig, so no one but me will be hurt by my inexperience. Hopefully, my company can move to bigger and better things.
I also feel that this site has been an invaluable tool, just like belonging to PMA, now IBPA. It took courage for the author who stood up against her publisher and the court decision was based on factual information, NOT gossip. Both sides had the chance to present their facts to the court and the judgement went against the publisher, and that's public information. This site does not publish gossip, but checks out facts associated with any publishing company that receives complaints.
I also find it ironic, that those who claim that they know the "truth" hide behind the cloak of anonymity and don't use their names. I am Karen Wuertz and I write under the name of Karen A. Medford. This forum allows all of us to express divergent opinions, that's why we have free speech, but powerful speech does not mean that individuals should be attacked personally and with abusive language.
Karen Wuertz a.k.a. Karen Medford

Lee Goldberg said...

Karen wrote: "As for me, after having received a gazillion rejection letters from major publishers, I found these small companies. I WANTED to hear the wonderful things they said about my writing. I NEEDED to have some validation that my work was indeed 'publish worthy'. And, I IGNORED the warning signs because I wanted so much to believe what was being said, not to mention getting a contract and dreaming of a successful writing career. Finally, if I tell the truth, I was LAZY and took the path of least resistence"

That is so true and I applaud you for sharing your story -- you will help a lot of aspiring writers out there avoid the same mistakes that you made.

But what I don't get is why, after all the mistakes you've made and everything you've learned, you are self-publishing your book.

I mean no offense by this, but has it occurred to you that maybe the book just isn't very good? That maybe you should spend the time, effort and money taking writing courses and honing your craft? And then, when you have a strong manuscript, sending it to a reputable agent or established, traditional publisher?

It seems to me you are making another expensive mistake.

Lee

Karen said...

Lee,
Your comments do not offend me, trust me, I've wondered whether it's my book that's substandard not the publisher's that I've encountered! So, this is my plan:

I am budgeting an amount that I will use to get market samples for a test run, so to speak. I think that the real test will be whether buyers for major retail outlets accept the book or not. I'm not printing but a short run and with the editing that I have received, I think I've got a book that possibly will be successful. As I said in my last post, I don't know of any criteria that can predict sales and I may be entirely wrong about my book's worth. I have learned that there are things that must be done to maximize success and I've learn a lot about what NOT to do.

I have also thought about starting the whole process over again and I may do that. I do have a pretty good query letter now, let's see after how many years???

Or I may just be happy to say that I've written a novel and continue to amaze my friends and family:)
Right now, I'm working on the editing suggestions that will make
a tighter plot. I am attempting to get a book out there that is capable of competing with the "big boys". You might say, it's kind of like going to Las Vegas, I'm using a certain amount of money to play the book success slot game, and win or lose, I will at least have tried.

But I do know one thing, when I see a book in print now, I see it with different eyes. I can pick out a formatting mistake at 20 yards and can tell whether the print is a quality one!
I don't take the publishing end for granted anymore either.
Thanks, Lee for your questions. I'll let you know how it goes.I like it when people ask me questions that make me think. My former boss used to say he surrounded himself with people smarter than he was, just to keep him on his toes. I'm finding there are many, many smarter people out there in the publishing world and I am learning so much,
trying to stay on my toes.
Karen

Lee Goldberg said...

Karen,

After reading your message, I Googled you and, much to my surprise, I saw you already have a site for up for your self-publishing venture.

You haven't even published your first book yet...and you admittedly have no editing or publishing experience yourself...and yet you are ALREADY advertising yourself as a small publishing company that will soon be open to submissions. I'm bewildered.

No offense, but I see the warning signs for you and your future authors already. On your site, you write:

"Whitefield Publishing, L.L.C. was established to develop above average literature for publication. A manuscript, once accepted, will be edited both for content and line editing. [...]. Manuscripts that are submitted should be fully edited and almost ready for print, although we will work with you to develop your manuscript into the best quality for print."

You're attempting to distinguish yourself as a publishing company that will edit manuscripts (though you also want them delivered fully edied). A reputable publishing company wouldn't have to say that... because it's a given, because it's what real publishers DO. That's like opening a hamburgers stand and saying you will cook the burger before serving it.

Ask yourself: what sets what you are doing apart from what Linda Daly did when he founded Light Sword to publish her own novel? Nothing, really. Sure, you are starting out with good intentions, but you have the same lack of publishing and editorial experience. What makes you think you are qualified to edit and publish other people's books?

Linda, I say this with genuine concern for you and your future authors...you might want to rethink this. Or two years from now you might find yourself in the same mess as Light Sword.

Lee

Dedicated Scribe said...

Anonymous wrote

How many times have you gone into a bookstore and have seen the countless books that are there, books that have been published by some of the BIGGEST HOUSES in the publishing industry?

How many of these same books have you seen anything being promoted?

Isn't it true that ALMOST SINGLE BOOK you see you have never heard anything about?

WHY IS THAT?

Isn't it because they are not being promoted? And if they are not being promoted, then who is supposed to be doing this? The BIG PUBLISHING HOUSE? THE AUTHOR?


I think you're talking two different kinds of promotion here.

To begin with, if you have access to literary trade magazines, trade association publications, wholesale house catalogs, and other literary advertising, you'll find myriad 'promotions' done by publishing houses. Publishing houses, while certainly touting their authors' books in mainstream media across the board, spend a great deal of money on advertising where it really counts--with bookstores and bookstore associations such as the Independent Booksellers, direct promotion to large chains, and promotion in association publications such as Romantic Times, etc. They do this in an effort to get an author's books in bookstores where the public will see them and buy them.

While mainstream publishing houses certainly encourage authors to self-promote, they also provide their own assistance to that end. Yes, it's true that the days of a 'book tour for every author' are over, that's not to suggest that houses do no advertising on belhalf of the products they are printing. The suggestion that large houses print books and then say nothing to anyone about them in hopes they will magically appear on bookstore shelves is ridiculous.

Only tiny houses with no cash flow do that, guilting their authors into doing what is, in truth, the PUBLISHER'S job. It seems to me that an author tempted to sign with one of these outfits would be better off self-publishing.

Lee Goldberg said...

My God, am I embarrassed. How many typos, extra words ("a site for up") and errors can one person have in a post?

Let's see, I said "he" when I meant "she," I miss-spelled "edited" in a sentence where I was talking about about editing, and I referred to "Karen" as "Linda."

I don't drink so I must be senile.

My apologies.

Lee

Lee Goldberg said...

Karen,

If you truly want to play "the book success slot game, and win or lose," then do it. Write the query letter. Get an agent. Submit the book to a publisher. That's the way the game is played. Don't try to build your own slot machine.

The best approach isn't to self-publish...and it certainly isn't to start soliciting manuscripts from other aspiring writers when you have neither the experience nor the qualifications to be an editor or publisher.

In my opinion, you're on the verge of making another big mistake...and, worse, possibly taking other aspiring writers with you.

Lee

Karen said...

Good Morning Lee,
I think that your points are well taken. And, I do trust that you are concerned about this venture for all the right reasons. I don't intend to find myself like LS or other failed small publishing houses in a year or two.

There are several differences that I hope will lead to success. And probably the foremost is that I am not afraid or unwilling to hire the professionals that I need. Business experience taught me the importance of having the best staff possible. For example, I am not licensed to practice nursing, but that did not preclude my hiring licensed practitioners for that purpose. It was a necessary fixed cost in my budget.

Right now I have located 2 freelance editors that I can hire per MS to review work. They are both educated (no certificate in publishing..:) but have years of eperience as well. One also worked in the printing business for over 20 years and I do understand that printing is not publishing. I live near Austn, Texas and have access to many experienced people and to published authors (major houses)and I do avail myself to their advice.

I do have some publishing and editing experience though it pertains to scientific and forensic material, part of my background when I was teaching at Baker University and during my work in hospital settings, also a thesis and dissertation.

I also understand that books must be in a wholesale warehouse and 100% returnable in order to get into retail. That is one reason why I will not try to get out a large number of books unless I can do the fulfillment and marketing properly.

I have developed relationships with distribution and printing companies. For example, one distribution company, Greenleaf, in Austin did an evaluation of my manuscript and were interested in publishing the manuscript. As you know, when working a book through that route, extremely high costs are the norm. I decided that spending a lot of money on an untested book was not a good idea for me at this time.

As far as the comment on the website about manuscripts, that they do "need to be edited", the submitted MS needs to be at least to the point that there is a coherent submission as well as the outline of the plot. I realize that part of the business is to work with a writer in order to produce a good book. I am working with a young author now on what I hope will be a market-ready series in 2009. That particular manuscript involves extensive editing. If what I have said about that on my website is in any way misleading, I would be happpy to take suggestions. By the way, I have decided to take no manuscripts until I have gone through the total publishing process on myself. I need to change that on my website to reflect that decision.

One reason why I have chosen to open myself to this blog site is that I trust its integrity and that there will be open feedback.

Finally, self-publishing is not necessarily a dirty word. It does have a long history associated with many writers who do ultimately make their mark in the literary world, Benjamin Franklin for one. I believe that trying to keep one's self-published work a secret and misrepresenting that is the problem.

Again, I appreciate your comments and feedback.
Karen

A. C. Crispin said...

Karen, it sounds like you've made your mind up and will not change it. But I'm going to try just one post.

I've had over 25 years as a writer and editor of professionally published fiction. But I know FOR A FACT that I don't have the knowledge or ability to start up a publishing house and succeed in establishing a successful small press.

Frankly, I doubt very much whether I could make a dime self publishing a book -- and I actually have a minor following in the s.f./fantasy field.

Please think very hard about this. Publish your own book, if that's what you feel you must do, but unless you can sell 2 or 3 thousand copies of it within a year, don't take on anyone else's book. You'd only be doing them a disservice.

-Ann C. Crispin

Anonymous said...

My name is Sharolyn Wells. I was almost taken in by Linda Daly.

I wrote a novel called "Ghost of Killough Castle" many years ago. Everyone who read it (even professional editors) loved it. I got involved with another "professional editor" who butchered my effort and took the heart out of me on my writing, even though I have been writing for over thirty years.

I met Linda in a chat room through another author friend of mine. I liked her and she asked me to submit "Ghost..." to her company. I did so.

Soon after I did, she called me on the phone and told me that "Ghost..." needed a full rewrite. She sent me a copy of her Civil War novel "Rebel Dove" and told me to rewrite "Ghost..." in that way.

I don't normally read historicals but can judge good vs. bad writing. I was able to plow through three pages. In that three pages, I read numerous typos, run-on sentences, and just plain boring writing. I sent the work to my sister, who loves historicals and especially Civil War historicals. She called me the following day and told me to never send her that kind of c*ap again. She was able to get through the first chapter, but said it was the worst writing she'd ever read.

I decided not to submit "Ghost..." to her. I have since rewritten "Ghost..." and it will soon be published by an e-publisher that I have found and trust.

Sharolyn Wells

The Automated Antichrist said...

"I have been working toward publishing my novels for 5 years now. It seems that I have had the poor judgement to have paid an agent (yes, she's listed on the Beware list), to have worked with an unethical publishing company (paid for my copyright and books), then topped it off with Light Sword Publishing. I even bought stock in this "up and coming, traditional publisher"."

...uhhh, you bought STOCK in LSP? To my knowledge, stock involves receiving a share or shares in a company. What exactly did you receive for the money you were swindled out of? Was it a lick and a promise, or didn't you even get blown a kiss? I'm assuming you didn't send cash through the mail. Do you have a copy of the check you 'invested' or is this a claim rather than a verifiable fact?

If this is a verifiable fact, the entire world needs to know, since LSP's only claim to fame right now is that they bring their authors' books to market and never ask for any money.

I have a copy of a letter from Bonny Kirby that attempts to extort money from my wife and demands that the money be paid only via certified check, and Writer Beware has a copy of that letter with the original email stamp on it. If you have anything of that nature, you have an obligation to the writing community to make it public, unless you don't care about the next would-be victim.

Even as you read this, the cult of LSP is lamenting their persecution at the hands of this mob. I'm not kidding. The only thing missing at this point is real Kool-Aid boing passed among them.

Only you can stop the madness.

Karen said...

Hi Ann,
Thank you for your comments. As the result of what Lee had to say, I have taken he statement about taking manuscripts off my site. You are right, about the involvement of other authors. It's one thing for me to try what may be a folly on myself unless it is with an author who wants to try this with me with full understanding of the difficulties and of my neophyte status.

The other author knows very well what is going on with me and will make her choice accordingly. I do not ever want to hurt another writer since I have gone thru that pain more than once.

I also think that, at least for me, I am not ready to try the route of searching again. So, right now, a self-pub makes the most sense to me, despite the odds.

I just really want say again how much your services on this site have meant. I appreciate the time and thought that has gone into the blogs to me. I also have great respect for the way conflicts are handled...the mark of a true professional.

As I said in a prior blog, I'll see what happens with my book and whether it is picked-up by major chains or not. Of course, I'll be in touch with this site one way or another...hopefully listed as a good small publishing company and not on the "not recommended" list.:)
Karen

Mari said...

Self publishing is difficult and a steep learning curve, but unless you master it for yourself, you are an anchor for another author, who will not understand any of the problems. As my husband previously stated, even WITH all of the new areas you master, or pay someone to do for you, publishing and distribution are the easy parts. MARKETING is the real challenge.

It's ME! Ink Press could not be more openly what it is, a vehicle for the immediate publication of my books and my husband's books. We will not take on the responsibility for another author. Beaufort Falls is our "learning" book, and overall I'm pleased with the result, but unless sales pick up drastically I can't say that it's motivation for expansion.

If you're going to be marginally pleased, do it yourself. Before you sign with someone, wait a year or two and then SEE if you find ANY book published by them in a non-local to the author bookstore. Unless your publisher has clout or your book has a national niche and some national organization behind it, marketing IS an uphill battle.

Oh, my husband announced to me in April that we are "successful now". We've just sold more books than we've given away! :-)

Mari Sloan

Karen said...

As for the last blog to me, I thought we were to use our own names. So, I don't know who you are "Automatic Antichrist". Therefore, I will make no comment concerning your asking for proof, other than to say, I have a "stock certificate" and got no kiss goodbye.
I also have closed the door on what happened to me in the past after having shared my story about my experience with LSP. The truth really does set one free.
It is time for me to move on to other things and I don't want to keep revisiting LSP.
Karen

Victoria Strauss said...

Karen, your comments have been admirably open and civil, and I respect both that and your desire to move on. But if Linda Daly was selling stock in Light Sword Publishing, that potentially opens up a whole new can of worms.

Would you contact me privately, please?

The Automated Antichrist said...

"Karen, your comments have been admirably open and civil, and I respect both that and your desire to move on. But if Linda Daly was selling stock in Light Sword Publishing, that potentially opens up a whole new can of worms."

Thank you. This is exactly what I wanted to see happen when I sent my previous post. Karen, I can only urge you as strongly as possible to please contact Victoria privately regarding this matter ASAP.

I apologize for not introducing myself formally, since expecting you or anyone else to recognise me behind a stage-name is presumptuous and I meant no offense whatsoever. I'm Mari Sloan's wacky husband, co-conspirator in the formation of the self-publishing microminiature entity we call It's ME! Ink Press, and a very tired little old man who wants to see justice done where "the cult of LSP" is concerned.

Karen said...

Thank you, Mari Sloan's husband. I think we've all been a little whacky about this whole mess.
I have contacted Victoria to speak with her privately.
I was not aware of the implications that "stock" entailed...see what a sharp learning curve I'm on?
Karen

Lee Goldberg said...

My book MR. MONK GOES TO GERMANY got a "five star" review from Affaire de Coeur, a magazine I had never heard of, so I decided to take a look. It turns out their reviews and articles are tied to whoever happens to be advertising in their pages...I found this among their advertising packages:

"To compliment your ad and review we also offer interviews or articles. If you would like an interview let us know 3 months in advance so it will go in the same issue as your review and ad. We accept articles at any time, we need articles 3 months in advance. All articles must receive approval on subject matter."

And I saw this in their FAQ:

"We will not accept submissions less than three months prior to the date of publication unless it is associated with an ad.

We do not review books after publication unless it is done in association with an ad"

But what does this have to do with Light Sword, you ask?

Well, a woman named Bonny Kirby is the magazine's advertising coordinator.

Is this the same Bonny Kirby who was one of the owners of Light Sword...and was ordered to pay damages to an author for fraud?

IF so, what a sleazy conflict of interest...one that would explain how Linda Daly ended up on the cover not so long ago...and why Light Sword titles get positive reviews in the magazine.

Lee

Lee Goldberg said...

Well, whatever journalistic credibility Affaire de Coeur might have had (assuming they had any at all) has been shot to hell. Bonny Kirby, their advertising director is, indeed, the same Bonny Kirby who co-owned Light Sword

(see http://www.myspace.com/freakishreader)

How could any ethical, legitimate publication review books published by their advertising director?

Is it any wonder that Light Sword books received positive reviews in the magazine...or that Linda Daly got a cover story?

I will be asking my publisher NOT to use the Affaire De Coeur review on my books...I wouldn't want to lend them the slightest shred of credibility. I will also ask them to stop sending them my books for review.

Lee

Anonymous said...

Morning, Lee;

One of the myriad things LSP SAID they would do, and did not, was send galleys and ARCs out for review. One of the places, of course, was Affaire de C'ouer.

But Ms Kirby and Ms Daly had parted the sheets, so my novel was not sent out(anywhere--now THERE'S a big surprise). I shot an email to the Affaire, itself. They confirmed that they, indeed, did not receive advance material from LSP. I emailed Bonny Kirby. I was told the only way I could get a review with Affaire would be in association with my puchase of an ad in their magazine. If memory serves me, I would have had to buy at least a 1/4 page ad to 'qualify' for the review. I passed. I don't pay for reviews, either.

Contacting Ms. Daly, I was informed by her that since my book was so late going to print(all my fault, of course--I had the temerity to demand that the edits be correct--my bad--sorry)it did not go out for review.

Anyway, I started hustling on my own and landed a review with a reviewer from MBR and a couple of other legitimate venues. Paying for reviews, IMHO, would be like Ms America contestants paying for judges. They call that fraud and someone almost always either lands in jail or wanders off into the sunset, bathing suit in hand, talking to herself.

What's really interesting about the Kirby/Daly dance team is that, according to Daly, they have permanantly and rancorously parted company over money supposely paid by an LSP (volunteer? employee?) to the duo for 'stock' in the company. According to Daly, that money never made it into LSP coffers, but the check was cashed by Kirby.

The former volunteer/employee discovered the irregularity when she and her husband asked when they would be seeing a return on 'their investment'. Kirby (who lives in Texas) and Daly (at home in Michigan), fought about this and split up.

Now, I can only speak for myself, but if I owned a company and, during the operation of same, my vice president alledgedly absconded with company funds, you can bet your fuzzy bunny slippers I'd have reported the theft and filed criminal charges against the perpetrator. That didn't happen. To my knowledge, the true victim, the volunteer/employee who forked over the money to begin with, has not filed any charges, either.

So, recapping, it appears we not only have a company that takes its 'stable'(what a denigrating appelation)for a ride (also, no pun intended), they also appear to have pocketed cash (and check or credit card, I'm sure) from unsuspecting 'investors'.

And, although Ms Daly makes the statement on her web pages that Ms Kirby is no longer associated with Light Sword Publishing, Ms Kirby still lists herself as the vice president of the company on her MySpace pages.

Some days, I feel like Alice down the rabbit hole. But for now I'm going to pass on the mushrooms and the KoolAid, thankyouVERYmuch.

Karen said...

"Affaire de Couer" is a magazine that is listed as 'erotica' and is for adults. So, not only is there a problem with conflict of interest, but there is a conflict (mild word) with the judgement of anyone who would put a children's book in that magazine for review.
I am no prude, I don't care what GROWN men and women read.

However, as a clinical psychologist and a mother, I would have thrown 3 kinds of fits had my child been given this magazine. This paraticular magazine featured a book for children and they were passed out as advertisement at the Texas Book Festival in early November of 2007.

Children were exposed to topics and pictures that have no place in a child's hands. This particular magazine crossed a line when it included a child who was interviewed and that interview along with pics of the Dragon (costume)with children were used as an advertizing gimmick.

So, in my opinion, handing these magazines to children was a horrible lack of judgement. Unfortunately, I don't think that act was legally actionable. But to quote Mari Sloan's husband (by the way, what is your first name?:)) "this is just what I was waiting for", because this has been one of the worst deeds in a long list that I have wanted to address. To form your own opinion, check out the magazine in question, which was either a Sept. or Oct. release in 2007. Then ask yourself if you would want your children, grandchildren or any child to receive this magazine. I think there are a few copies floating out there as well.
Karen

Bonny Kirby said...

For all interested, I in fact did leave LSP, but certainly not under the circumstances that Linda Daly claims. It was my money that kept the company afloat for some time and the accusations that Linda made were completely unfounded and untrue. I am taking legal action to completely separate myself from LSP and would recommend anyone associated with that company leave quickly before she makes it worse.

I believed I could not be conned, I was wrong. I believe she is going to declare bankruptcy based on my going after the return of all of the money I sunk into the company. She changed the name to attempt to block me "from taking control", I did not then, nor do I now want control of that sinking ship. I want it gone from my world.

All of this bickering does not help the authors still caught in this mess. I wish them all well and hope against hope they do not lose what I am losing and what others have. Caution should be given and care should be taken, but slamming authors who have at this point, by some miracle not fully damaged by her practices does not help.

Linda can say what she wishes, she always does, but the story is always as Linda as the victim and everybody else is out to get her. The authors know when she is questioned it is always one of three things:

a. She cries so hard she has to throw up
b. She cries so hard she is having chest pains
c. She is having a psychic vision and can't talk about business.

It is NEVER as anonomous stated a situation where she will answer reasonable questions asked of her. This is the base of why I am no longer affiliated as well as many others. Lee and others can and have villified me in many ways, but in doing that they do not have the full story and are making assumptions that are not based on anything related to the truth.

As was clearly stated, lots of people have come and gone in LSP, I only wish I knew then what I know now and I would never have associated with her. I recommend that anyone considering an association reconsider.

Bonny Kirby

The Automated Antichrist said...

"It was my money that kept the company afloat for some time"

Ms Kirby, documentation and verifiable facts are the best medicine for this form of disease. Any copies of checks sent to Linda Daly to help fund her operation, any email correspondence between you and Linda Daly to verify what you claim, anything concrete and tangible that is not an opinion or hearsay, and anything else of that nature should be forwarded to Victoria immediately, and I cannot urge you strongly enough to contact her privately ASAP.

Although I do not consider you without guilt, there is a certain vindication to be found in repentance and confession.

By the way, Karen, you can call me Al. That's my name ...

The Automated Antichrist said...

"All of this bickering does not help the authors still caught in this mess. I wish them all well and hope against hope they do not lose what I am losing and what others have. Caution should be given and care should be taken, but slamming authors who have at this point, by some miracle not fully damaged by her practices does not help."

This is not "bickering" and the suggestion that it is, is offensive. This blog is an expose (pronounce that 'ex-pose-ay') of scam tactics, poor taste, and bad business practices. The authors "still caught in this mess" will have to make the personal decision to extricate themselves on an individual level, and when evidence of this is seen, I have no doubt that they will be able to accomplish that with the full support of everyone reading this. There is no such thing as a successful predator without a victim. Willing victims are not sympathetic to me. Much like the man who kills his parents and begs the court for mercy because he's an orphan, I have no sympathy for lambs who walk willingly to their slaughter and then ask for pity because they are just lambs following their nature.

I hope the lambs read this. I hope some of the lambs figure out that this isn't a schoolyard and this isn't about bullies picking on victims. This is about victims opening their eyes and questioning what's happened and considering that they might possibly be victims.

Until this happens, I have no sympathy for the lambs.

Anonymous said...

a. She cries so hard she has to throw up
b. She cries so hard she is having chest pains
c. She is having a psychic vision and can't talk about business.


You forgot the 'Archangel Michael' and Daly's apparently direct connection to him, Ms Kirby. Good old Mike is always showing up with messages to Daly. He is her business advisor and all-around Mr. Fixit. 'Archangel Michael told me (yadayadayada)' is her mantra.

As far as the next post goes, I'm with you, automated. At this point, anyone who has had even a single telephone conversation with Ms Daly and still cleaves unto her and her 'making authors' dreams come true' psychic-babble BS gets exactly what they deserve. It's a shame that the overpowering need for publication clouds common sense to such a degree.

Victoria Strauss said...

Looks like another flame war may be shaping up here, so I'm switching back to comment moderation.

The Automated Antichrist said...

"You forgot the 'Archangel Michael' and Daly's apparently direct connection to him, Ms Kirby."

I find this twist in the discussion disturbing, since we now are delving into the realm of personal insult rather than relevant fact, and there is no shortage of relevant and verifiable fact.

For over a year Bonny Kirby was Linda Daly's business partner, and no amount of scoffing at Daly's personal peculiarities after the relationship has been severed changes that. The partnership dissolved immediately after lawsuit proceedings were begun. Ms Kirby's actions during that time were deemed criminal in a court of law and there has been a judgement filed against her.

Mocking Linda Daly serves no purpose other than petty distraction, and it's a very bad idea.

This is all I have to say on this particular matter at this time.

Bonny Kirby said...

Consider this my last post on the comment.

A. I cannot due to an ongoing litigation provide financial documentation to a website no matter how good their intentions. Ask Linda Daly to produce the check of that well meaning volunteer that she said I stole from. This I would like to see since she made it up.

B. True, I forgot the Archangel Michael thing, it has been several months and she tended to hit me with the other three.

C. I am no victim. I made a bad business decision, I'm getting out of it, sometimes bad decisions bite you in the rear and you take your medicine. In my case that medicine is a clear loss of money and time.

D. The information spouted by your buddy Lee, whatever is motivation is based on half information, no common sense and the idea that attacking people out of the blue is fun. How is that productive to your site.

E. The authors still caught in this or "lambs" as you facetiously call them are not business smart people, they are everyday people caught by someone who is a good con artist to the point she makes people feel like she really cares about them as a person. Since this kind of thing can happen to anyone, back off of them some. At some point the light will go on and hopefully they will have protected themselves.

As for me, I will follow the court case until she declares bankruptcy to get out of paying me and the many other bills she has run up and I will recover.

While I think it is a good thing that sites like this warn authors off of bad deals like this, there is a point where the discussion does more harm than good.

I do not feel, and don't take the idea that my post yesterday was any kind of "confession". I have done nothing wrong, nothing illegal and will take the heat for a bad business decision, that's it.

Regarding the statement that Affaire de Coeur charges ads for review, nothing could be further from the truth so let me straighten that out for you. When a galley leaves the publisher, it then goes to the office and then has to be routed to the reviewer, whereever they are. They then have the time to review it in order to get it in before the 45 days it takes to get the magazine laid out, set up, printed and released. Any books that show up for review after the 3 month deadline, like the one that is discussed here has to have special treatment all the way through the process. This does in fact require an ad to expedite it. There are only a couple of reviewers that can take a book and get it done that much more quickly, not to mention the problems with layout and setup to get all of that corrected.

Affaire de Coeur does not charge for reviews, however, like any BUSINESS when the process is interrupted and has to grind to a halt to accomodate someone, it requires an ad and not all of those are approved.

This is an example of the half-truths and no common sense of some of the loose cannons that are posting. Should every late book hold up the magazine, it would never get out, much less on time.

It is not a case of a book going out late because they wanted it corrected, so therefore not sent out for review. I believe Linda Daly said that, but I don't believe she was telling the truth. I think she just didn't do it.

As I stated previously, I will not post again. I think that this has gone onto the point where it is counterproductive and is causing more harm than good.

Mari said...

It is my understanding that the successful lawsuit ended with three judgements, one against Light Sword Publishing, one against Linda Daly personally, and one against Bonny Kirby personally. If this is not correct, this is a good opportunity to set the record straight. Bonny is here, ready and willing to clear up some of the inaccurate statements that are naturally being said about her, and I commend her for that. Would she like to comment on any action she is taking to do damage control at this point? She stated that she is taking steps to separate herself from Light Sword Publishing, but isn't it a little late for that? What CAN be done now?

Mari Sloan

The Automated Antichrist said...

I shouldn't attempt to be subtle. Apparently, when I attempt to be subtle, it's SO subtle that no one actually gets it.

When I asked Bonny Kirby to contact Victoria privately if she was scammed by LSP, that was sarcasm. It isn't possible for someone to write letters to authors such as the one Bonny Kirby sent my wife unless that person is wholeheartedly into what they're doing. That isn't a case of being mislead, but rather a case of denying complicity after the fact. (complicity: guilt as an accomplice in a crime or offense)

I am simultaineously amused and appalled by the tactic of showing up, blatantly ridiculing a former associate, asking for an end to all so-called bickering, and the assumption that by doing this, somehow she's not the person who was just successfully sued for deceptive practices, and now we're all going to feel all warm and fuzzy disassociating her from the LSP experience.

I'd be extremely interested in hearing Bonny Kirby's defense of her actions, and some sort of explanation as to exactly how she was supposedly duped to the point where we should not consider her responsible for her actions.

Was the judge wrong about you, Bonny? Was the judge wrong about Linda Daly too? What would you have done differently if you were the judge, Bonny? Talk to us. We're here to listen.

Have a nice day, y'all.

The Automated Antichrist said...

"Looks like another flame war may be shaping up here, so I'm switching back to comment moderation."

Indeed.

I'm not a quick-thinker, so I apologize for not asking this question earlier. Is the person that wrote the post and signed it Bonny Kirby really Bonny Kirby, or is this just someone's idea of being cute and baiting former LSP authors into behaving badly?

I've read a number of things written by Bonny Kirby, some directed to my wife, other things that were none of my business but things I was allowed to see anyway. None of the things I have seen previous to this post resembles what I read here, not to mention that given her present legal predicament, it makes very little sense for her to have said the things she did.

Comments? Opinions? Verification from the real Bonny Kirby that she really wrote this?

Karen said...

Bonny,
How did the children's book and the Dragon end up in Affaire de Coeur? Did Linda make that decision too?
Karen

Anonymous said...

Bonny Kirby wrote: Regarding the statement that Affaire de Coeur charges ads for review, nothing could be further from the truth so let me straighten that out for you. When a galley leaves the publisher, it then goes to the office and then has to be routed to the reviewer, whereever they are. They then have the time to review it in order to get it in before the 45 days it takes to get the magazine laid out, set up, printed and released. Any books that show up for review after the 3 month deadline, like the one that is discussed here has to have special treatment all the way through the process. This does in fact require an ad to expedite it. There are only a couple of reviewers that can take a book and get it done that much more quickly, not to mention the problems with layout and setup to get all of that corrected.

Affaire de Coeur does not charge for reviews, however, like any BUSINESS when the process is interrupted and has to grind to a halt to accomodate someone, it requires an ad and not all of those are approved.


I'm sorry, but this simply doesn't ring true with me. Probably because I dealt with Affaire several weeks back in an attempt to get my own work reviewed. When I contacted the company, I was told, not by one, but by TWO people, that I would have to pay for an ad in order to be reviewed. I was never given the option to be put at the back of the line, so to speak, in order to get a review without paying a fee. If what Ms Kirby says is true, it seems to me that queing-up for a free review would be an option. My work has been reviewed by several reviewers at this point--all reviews having been completed after the book's release. Not one of them suggested I needed to 'pay for an ad' to cover the 'costs' of reviewing after publication. C'mon.

I also have a huge issue with Affaire positively reviewing LSP books, when one considers Ms Kirby's association with the company. It's also interesting that Linda Daly appeared on the cover of the magazine one month, and, in a previous month's issue, an LSP author and her book cover were also featured. When one considers the miniscule number of books produced by this company compared to the numbers of many of the other companies to which Affaire provides reviews, the ratio of free advertising LSP has received at Affaire seems way out of proportion, to me.

In defense of LSP's authors, it should be noted that the vast majority of these people were ensnared by Daly long before warnings were posted, anywhere. It's been made abundantly clear (in writing here and in court)that Daly's predatory practices are fraudulently inducing and very seductive. It should also be noted that even the judges in the case recently concluded bent over backward for Ms Daly, in spite of the fact that she failed to comply to court orders more than once. To use her own verbiage, she 'markets her wares' quite well.

Lee Goldberg said...

Bonny wrote: "Regarding the statement that Affaire de Coeur charges ads for review, nothing could be further from the truth so let me straighten that out for you. When a galley leaves the publisher, it then goes to the office and then has to be routed to the reviewer, whereever they are. They then have the time to review it in order to get it in before the 45 days it takes to get the magazine laid out, set up, printed and released. Any books that show up for review after the 3 month deadline, like the one that is discussed here has to have special treatment all the way through the process. This does in fact require an ad to expedite it."

So, in other words, I was absolutely right. If you want your book reviewed after the three month deadline, you have to pay for it (and I'm sure the review will be a positive one, too). That is reprehensible.

Bonny wrote: "Affaire de Coeur does not charge for reviews, however, like any BUSINESS when the process is interrupted and has to grind to a halt to accomodate someone, it requires an ad and not all of those are approved."

No, Bonny, that's not what professional, business-like publications do. What they do is respect their deadlines. They do NOT stop the presses to review a book submitted late...they just don't review it. They do NEVER require authors or advertisers to pay for editorial content under any circumstances. Because that would be unethical and despicable.

No reputable, professional, and legitimate publication would require someone to buy an advertisement to "expedite" a review.

No reputable, legitimate, and professional publication would permit advertisers to have any influence over editorial content at any time.

No reputable, legitimate, and professional publication would feature articles, reviews and cover stories about books published by the magazine's advertising director because it would be an outrageous conflict of interest.

These are basic ethical standards of conduct that any high school journalism student could tell you about. It's shocking to me that it's news to you and the magazine's editor.

Clearly, Affaire de Coeur is not a reputable, legitimate, and professional publication, which is why I've refused to acknowledge their positive review of my book and won't have anything to do with them.

Lee

Lee Goldberg said...

From the Affaire De Coeur website page that explains their various advertising packages:

"To compliment your ad and review we also offer interviews or articles. If you would like an interview let us know 3 months in advance so it will go in the same issue as your review and ad. We accept articles at any time, we need articles 3 months in advance. All articles must receive approval on subject matter."

"We will not accept submissions less than three months prior to the date of publication unless it is associated with an ad.

We do not review books after publication unless it is done in association with an ad"

Buy an advertisement and the magazine will "compliment" it with articles and reviews? We will review your book after publication, or if you submit it late, IF you buy an ad? There's clearly a connection between buying ads and getting coverage. They say so straight out! So how can Ms. Kirby now argue otherwise? What is even more disturbing is that no one at the magazine understands why this is an enormous ethical breach.

Lee

Dedicated Scribe said...

More sinificant than Affair de Coeur charging for what must surely be favorable reviews (easy enough to ascertain--just review back issues) would be to discover what the nexus is between this 'review magazine' and Light Sword Publishing and whether or not Ms Daly and Ms Kirby entered into their association with the intent of using an already-established pseudo-literary magazine for the placement and advertising of their clients' books. On its face, that appears to be the situation.

It would be of further interest to ascertain whether Ms Kirby has been involved in any other publishing ventures during which that company's books/clients received similar treatment at Affaire de Coeur.

Victoria Strauss said...

To be fair, providing reviews in exchange for advertising is not a policy that's unique to Affair de Coeur. Romantic Times also offers this arrangement to small press-published authors (though apparently not to mainstream-pubbed authors), according to RT publisher Carol Stacy, as quoted last year in the Dear Author blog.

AnneMarble said...

I can't speak for the reviews in Affaire de Coeur -- I haven't seen a copy of the latest incarnation, and the gerbils that power their web server are tired. But from my experience, small press authors are not guaranteed a great review in Romantic Times, even if they buy advertising space. This might be the case in Affaire de Coeur as well. But I can't tell because their web server gerbils have collapsed.

For what it's worth, in the past, Affaire de Coeur was definitely a legitimate publication. OK, it wasn't PW, or even Locus, but romance reviews at that time tended to be positive. Affaire de Coeur had a reputation among some readers for having better and more unbiased reviews, at least in comparison with Romantic Times. (The few times I managed to find a copy, the reviews seemed mostly positive, but they were more detailed, and there were fewer ads and less useless glitz.) However, this version of the magazine is under a new ownership.

Lee Goldberg said...

Victoria,

What Romantic Times is doing is a conflict of interest and a huge ethical lapse...I am shocked. But their conduct is still not nearly as outrageous as giving cover stories and reviews to books published by the magazine's advertising director.

It seems like the two magazines who cover romances need to learn a lot about credibility and ethics.

Here's a snippet from the Society of Professional Journalist's Code of Ethics:

"Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public's right to know.

Journalists should:

—Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
— Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.
— Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.
— Disclose unavoidable conflicts.
— Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.
— Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage.
— Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; avoid bidding for news.

The SPJ Code of Ethics is voluntarily embraced by thousands of writers, editors and other news professionals. The present version of the code was adopted by the 1996 SPJ National Convention, after months of study and debate among the Society's members."

The ethics are also embraced by just about every respected magazine or newspaper you can think of. For example, here are the editorial guidelines for publications produced by the Mystery Writers of America:

"For Articles, columns, interviews and essays:

* - The editor should maintain honesty, integrity, accuracy thoroughness and fairness in reporting and editing of articles, headlines and graphics.

* - There should be a clear distinction between news/feature stories and opinion pieces. It should be made clear that any opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Mystery Writers of America or the local chapter.

* - The reporter or author of editorial content in the newsletter must avoid any conflicts of interest, real or perceived, with regard to the subject of his articles. All potential conflicts should be disclosed (eg: an author interviewing his own publisher or editor).

* - The reporter or author of editorial content in the newsletter should refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment related to the articles they are writing (eg: free travel and registration at a conference in return for the article).

* - Unless a piece is clearly identified as “opinion,” personal views such as religious beliefs or political ideology should be kept separate from the subjects being covered. Articles should not be approached with overt or hidden agendas (eg: someone who hates cozies shouldn’t be writing about the popularity of cozy mysteries).

* - Competing points of view should be balanced and fairly characterized.

* - Persons who are the subject of adverse news stories or features should be allowed a reasonable opportunity to respond to the adverse information before the story is published.

* - Fairness means that all important views on a subject are presented and treated even-handedly.

* - Authors should always cite their sources and never plagiarize.

For Advertising:

* - Editorial impartiality and integrity should never be compromised by the relationship and the chapter should retain editorial control of ALL content. Selection of editorial topics, treatment of issues, interpretation and other editorial decisions must NOT be determined by advertisers.

* - Editors must never permit advertisers to review articles prior to publication.

* - Advertisers and potential advertisers must never receive favorable editorial treatment because of their economic value to the newsletter.

* - Editors must have the right to review, prior to publication, all sponsored content and other advertiser supplied material.

* - The choice of advertisers (conferences, self-publishers, editorial services, etc.) should not bring the MWA into disrepute or imply an endorsement by our organization of any of the goods or services being advertised. This is especially important when it comes to self-publishing firms, agency representation, editorial services, writing contests, and writers conferences.

* - There should be a clear and unequivocal separation between the advertising and editorial content of the newsletter. Editors have an obligation to readers to make clear which content has been paid for, which is sponsored, and which is independent editorial material."

Victoria Strauss said...

I agree that providing reviews in exchange for paid advertising is an ethical lapse--even where a good review is not guaranteed. (This is one way Kirkus rationalizes its Discovery program, where authors can buy reviews for $350.)

One ethical lapse may spawn another. I know of at least one publisher that, according to author reports I've received, pressures its authors into buying group ads in RT because of the reviews.

Lee Goldberg said...

Isn't Kirkus Reviews a separate publication from Kirkus Discoveries?

The Automated Antichrist said...

I understand the reason that exposing Affaire de Coeur for what it is, is necessary. Yes, the magazine, at best, is a blatant breach of ethical behavior and one of the main reasons Linda Daly associated herself with Bonny Kirby right from the outset. Cost-free, biased publicity for herself and her authors was as expedient as additional cash-flow. I’m not certain why this isn’t obvious to anyone looking at the situation objectively.

What dismays me is that Linda Daly, Bonny Kirby, and Light Sword Publishing were sued by one of their authors for breach of contract, fraud in the inducement, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and the official response from Bonny Kirby is “I have done nothing wrong, nothing illegal and will take the heat for a bad business decision, that's it.” Instead of addressing this, the discussion has drifted into a guilt-by-association indictment of Bonny Kirby because of her association with Affaire de Coeur. Affaire de Coeur is actually the least of it, and is probably a good subject for another blogpost.

“I have done nothing wrong, nothing illegal and will take the heat for a bad business decision, that's it.” Consider this statement, and everything expressed and implied in it. I have not been convicted of crimes and held personally liable for damages in excess of fifteen thousand dollars. I have not written venomous, hate-filled letters to LSP authors and others merely in the name of conducting business. I have not misrepresented myself, or either of the companies I am associated with. I’m just an innocent victim, and I’m not responsible for any of the things that it’s been proven that I’ve done.

If nothing wrong was done and nothing illegal was done, why was a judgment against Bonny Kirby granted? Was it because the judge was a ‘bad man’? Was it because of the ‘conspiracy’? Was Linda Daly guilty of thought-control? Is that why Bonny Kirby wasn’t responsible for her actions?

The reply that “I have done nothing wrong, nothing illegal and will take the heat for a bad business decision, that's it” is nothing more than a denial of reality and it is NOT acceptable.

I want to know what Bonny Kirby was thinking when she did what she did and I want to know why she did it if all her crime was consisted of being as duped as the authors were.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Ms Kirby: in spite of the fact that I agree absolutely with the disingenuousness of a book review outfit providing reviews for books published by an employee's publishing house, and the even smellier practice of charging ANYONE for a review of their material, I must make some facts clear.

Upon my own book's release in May(LSP, yes), I contacted Ms Kirby, inquiring about a book review and also inquiring about advertising rates at AdC. Ms Kirby sent me AdC's advertising rate schedules and explained to me that she did not believe that AdC had received the ARC or galleys for my novel from LSP and if that was the case, I would have to pay for a review.

She referred me to another person whose name escapes me. That person confirmed that the only way I could get a review of my novel would be to pay for advertising in the magazine. Although I was very interested in a review, I found the idea of paying for one ridiculous. I also found the cost of advertising with AdC very expensive.

During the course of this interchange, however, I asked Ms Kirby if 'she' could review my novel, not meaning Ms Kirby, herself, but rather, her company.

Kirby contacted me immediately and told me she could not and would not review my material because of the conflict of interest between herself and LSP-produced works. She referred me to another person at AdC. So,in my case, at least, she did make a rudimentary attempt to distance herself from this process.

That said, I find that the predatory nature of charging authors, anxious for review, a fee for 'advertising', offering the sought-after review as a carrot, is nauseating. It's especially nauseating when principals of the company also own(ed) a publishing house catering to the needs of 'new' authors.

Needless to say, I did not avail myself of the opportunities offered by AdC. I found review opportunities elsewhere.

It should also be noted that 'certified editor', who has posted here, is also, or was also, a 'reviewer' at Affaire de Coeur.

Victoria Strauss said...

Isn't Kirkus Reviews a separate publication from Kirkus Discoveries?

Discoveries are published only online, and not in the magazine proper. But it's the same company--see Kirkus's website.

Karen Scott said...

I'm sorry, anonymous, but the victims DO share part of the blame in the cases of Airleaf and Lightsword. Too many aspiring writers are blinded by desperation and can't see the obvious warning signs.

What he said.

Karen Scott said...

what bothers me on this loop is that several people who'd never heard of LSP now have a skewed view of the company. ONly the negative--none of the positive.

Ahh God bless you Patricia. I hope one day you don't regret trusting in this shark of a woman.

I suspect, though, that you will be butt-f**ked at some point by her, because leopards can't actually change their spots.

Anonymous said...

I want to know what Bonny Kirby was thinking when she did what she did

At this point, I really don't think it matters what Ms. Kirby or Ms Daly were thinking. The decision of the court makes plain that, regardless of what they were THINKING, their ACTIONS were fraudulent.

LSP's supporters have suggested here that this thread was purposely posted when it was to prevent Ms Daly from responding as she was on vaction at the time the thread went up. Well, she's been home for many days, now.

Neither she, Ms. Kirby, or their associates who have posted so visciously here, have answered any of the questions put to them. I am especially interested in answers to the questions concerning distribution. Not one of LSP's authors, to date, has responded to questions regarding distribution.

I really would like to know if Light Sword Publishing placed ANY authors' books in bookstores, and, if so, where, and how many. Which titles? I'd like to know how Light Sword authors know, except by taking Linda Daly's word for it, how many books they have sold, and where. I'd like to know if Light Sword authors have any idea what the print runs on their books have been--and where, for that matter, their books have been printed.

One poster here, several posts back, said that LSP books are distributed through Ingram, Baker and Taylor, Amazon, etc. No, they are not. Although Ingram still has a few copies of some of LSP's titles, under Linda Daly's NEW company, LSP Digital, all of LSP Digital books will be POD through Amazon's POD service, and/or Kindle. When asked, Daly refused to make clear whether or not she would also be printing books through other sources. So, there is another question that needs an answer: Where and how will LSP Digital books be printed and distributed?

Ms Daly proclaims loud and long that she is bankrupt, that all of her money is tied up in 'literally thousands of books' she has printed (19 titles). I think it would be illuminating to hear how she intends to go forward if she did not have the resources to answer the lawsuits lodged against her. How does one continue to operate without funds?

Where, if she is bankrupt, will the capital come from for her to run LSP Digital? Has Ms Daly attracted more 3% investors to her company? And speaking of investors, is there even one out there who can report any return on his/her investment? Are Daly's remaining authors paying to keep her afloat?

What about the future? Will LSP Digital be open to submissions anytime soon, ever?

Finally, what qualifies Ms Daly? What kind of education does she have? Does she have business experience? If so, what companies has she operated and are those companies still in business? What publishing experience/education does she have?

These are not tough questions. This is not an attack. This is merely an attempt to get the facts, whatever they may be. These are questions any reputable publisher would be happy to answer.

There is only one person who can clear up these mysteries. That's Linda Daly, herself. If she has any defense regarding the judgements against her, her partner, and her company, I think she needs to post that information here so people can make an informed decision after hearing from all parties involved. In the past, it has been Daly's practice to front off a couple of her authors--getting them to speak for her. That won't do.

Thus far, the silence is deafening.

Anonymous said...

Two questions:

1. It was a default judgment against the publisher-- did the defendant not show?

2. If the judgment was for fraud would that be dischargeable in bankruptcy?

Well four questions:

3. Were the defendant's jointly and severally liable?

4. Was Light Sword Publishing created as a subchapter S corp or some other type of entity?

One statement: I don't do business with anyone who talks to archangels.

DS

Anonymous said...

I recently received excerpts from an interview with Ann Crispin. Most of her remarks are a mirror of Light Sword Publishing. I'm posting her comments here. I've cut anything not pertinent to this discussion.

~~~~Below are Ann's remarks~~~

If two or more writers report the same kind of difficulty with the publisher (late or no royalty checks, slow or no response to author inquiries, etc.), then that means you should move that publisher to the very bottom of your list. If there are multiple complaints that sound similar, cross them off altogether.

2) What are some of the major red flags/warning signs to look for in
detecting a publishing scam?

1. Any mention of the author paying upfront fees of any type (also see above answer).

2. Complaints from authors about slow or nonexistent royalty payments.

4. Author-unfriendly contracts. Writer Beware posts analysis of these contracts from time to time. It's amazing how lousy some marginal publisher contracts can be.


7. Publishers that pay royalties based on net, rather than cover price, of the book.

8. Publishers that pay a "token" advance. (One dollar is fairly common.)

9. Publishers that, in addition to one or more of the above things, also stress (some to the extent of putting language in the contract about this) that the author alone is responsible for marketing his/her own book.


11. Publishers that trumpet that their books are "available" in all bookstores...but you can't find a single copy on their shelves.

Note: If the publisher has been in business for less than a year, I would not advise submitting to it. Writer Beware has seen at least a dozen startup POD publishers and e-publishers go belly up within a year or so. Perhaps this sounds unfair to new publishers, and I apologize. But the statistics on startup publishers failing within a year to 18 months are very high. I am not saying these publishers are "scams," believe me. I'm just cautioning writers to adopt a "wait and see" attitude until the new publisher has gotten on its feet and has become firmly established.


3) What are some of the major red flags/warning signs to look for in
detecting a possibly well-meaning (non-scam) but not very professional or
competent publisher?

What I wrote above applies here, too. In addition:

These publishers don't usually try to get the author to pay money upfront for publication, but they have clueless, author unfriendly contracts, their books aren't carried on the shelves in bookstores, they pay on net, and they stress that the author must do all of his or her own marketing. Many try to present themselves as a "family" instead of a business.

It's a red flag if the press is publishing the owner's books.

A concerned writer said...

Hi Everyone,

This is the second time I have posted here on this site. The first time I defended Light Sword Publishing. This time I would like to share my story.

Linda Daly is a very cunning woman and she is very good at weaving dreams for people. She lives in a fantasy world. The sad part is she actually believes the lies she tells.

I worked for Ms. Daly and it was a nightmare. I worked as an event coordinator. Those of you who believe your books are available and she has done all these wonderful things for you, I am sorry she hasn't. Your books are print on demand and most of them are not available.

I know this because I was responsible for setting up your events and book-signings. I talked to many book stores and they would come back with, "I would love to have the author but their books are unavailable for order." It was disheartening. Then it got to where Ms. Daly would sign a contract with the store to sell the books on consignment. Anyway it was a big mess.

I am also a writer, well I should say a writer in training. During the time that I worked for LSP, I sent a manuscript to Linda and she wanted publish it. I decided against it. I saw way to much petty arguing among the authors and her. I did not want to go through all of that.

I messaged Ms. Strauss to let her know some of the issues and she enlightened where I had gone wrong in my information. A year later and wiser I would advise against sending anything to Light Sword Publishing.

I worked there for 6 months and was never paid a dime for my services. I set up the event at Motown in Michigan. I also set up the book-signing at the new book store in Texas after the festival. Shortly after setting those up Linda decided that I was no longer of value for the company and she let me go.

Please take this warning to heart, do not send your work to Light Sword Publishing. Take the proper steps and send your work to reliable publishing houses. If it is worthy of being published then it will be.

Bright Blessings,

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting your experiences with Ms Daly, Concerned Writer.

What's been toughest through all of this are those friends of mine still with LSP who have talked to me for many hours--on the phone and online--about Ms Daly, her unprofessional behavior, and her dreadful publishing practices; but then, when these things came to light, chose, instead of the facts, to 'hang' with Daly and call me a liar--and worse!

As I've said before, I feel very bad for them. In the end, I hope they come to realize that they have no one to blame but LSP--and, because they remain involved when they know the facts--themselves.

Anonymous said...

Light Sword Digital's troubles seem to be compounding. Apparently, financial action has been taken in Michigan regarding the suit that's been discussed here and LSP accounts have been attached. According to my source 'inside' the company, things at LSP Digital have reached critical mass.

Anonymous said...

Will someone please explain to me the moral integrity of Ms Daly. How does a publisher find herself in deep trouble, both financially and publicly, and yet she closes down LS Publishing LLC and re-opens under LS Digital LLC without a conscience?

The courts do not place judgements on innocent business owners. There has to be enough evidence to substantiate their rulings.

It just amazes me that her 'stable of authors' have signed new contracts under LSD. Has she declared bankruptsy? What happens to her shareholders who bought stock? Did her employees get paid?

Anonymous said...

Well, take heart! Apparently, some of those left at LSP Digital have finally wized-up. Two of them have left the company in the last few days. Why Daly continues with this sham of a house is a mystery to me. Looking at the book stats on Amazon, none of the remaining LSP titles are selling worth beans, if at all. But what do you expect when what little advertising that has been sent out is amateurishly created and full of grammar and spelling errors my 4th grader could pick out?

It's all a shame and especially sad when supposedly professional authors cannot recognize when they've been scammed. Please, Victoria, don't let this topic die! It's been said that Linda Daly has considered turning her attention to becoming a literary agent. If that is true, then it is more important than ever that her activities continue to be monitored and reported on.

Anon Y. Mouse said...

WHAT! Well, of course, what's easier than being a fake publisher? A fake agent!!! We all know that a serious agent's work is never done, but what about one that encourages you to "market your wares?" A piece of cake!

Anonymous said...

I have just learned that Michigan civil authorities have attached the bank accounts of both Light Sword Publishing and Linda Daly, in Michigan. Similar actions are pending against Bonny Kirby in Texas. I have also been informed that the civil attorney for the plaintiff against Daly has returned to court in Michigan in preparation of seizing physical assets from Daly and Light Sword to satisfy the civil judgements in question.

It has also been suggested that Daly's continued defiance of court orders may result in a contempt citation.

Although both Daly and Kirby have alleged that they would/will file appeals in these matters, neither has done so. The time limit for such filings is long passed. At this point, they have no alternative but to cooperate with civil authorities or face further sanctions.

Meanwhile, Daly at LSP Digital has released two more titles, her own 'Sea Of Lies' and a second title by another of her authors. Both titles are being published by Amazon's POD arm, Booksurge.