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lynnmosher

Beware Of These Publishing Sites

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With the rate at which these outfits proliferate and mutate their titles, it's next to impossible to keep up with all the names. It's very helpful that Victoria Strauss's site lists the warning signs to watch out for.

 

Editing to add: Is there a way to make your thread sticky? I feel that there are a lot of clueless authors out there who need to know that the publishing waters are infested with sharks.

Edited by EBraten

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As to the huge number of customer complaints at ASI: It's impossible for any writer who does even an an ounce of online research, not to know about this. If the writers flock to this company anyway, it can only be out of willful blindness or unwarranted hope. They need to own their choices.

As to the two class-action lawsuits: The company won both times. The judge only had to read the contract and ask the plaintiffs whether the company did what the contract promised. The answer was yes. Aggressive marketing is not a cause of action, anywhere.


For many of the plaintiffs, their beef is that their book didn't sell. But a lack of sales, does not necessarily mean a lack of effort (assuming the author paid for that service at all).
Take a look at the home page of the ASI websites: It's all about selling services to writers, not selling books to consumers.

Much of the info on Writer Beware site, while it contains a germ of truth, mostly trains writers to be victims and to blame others for the outcome of their own voluntary choices. It's not truly useful for training a novice writer how to build a career in the biz.

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I have serious doubts about a business that has any of the following issues;

Poor English/grammar/spelling.

Make vague statements or talks in circles (in any type of communication).

Won't state costs in any way in the website/flyer.

Skirts questions and turns them around to sales.

Makes elaborate blue sky promises.

Aggressively pushes for phone number to facilitate aggressive sales.

 

@Steven Hutson is correct in that people need to research and think about what they're doing. 

 

Have a level headed friend with no attachment help research and decide.

 

If it sounds to good, to be true or otherwise, it probably is. 

 

Have, (and this is probably the hardest), realistic expectations.

 

Then ask your writing friends about your decision before putting out your hard saved money.

 

So many weasels/ferrets, so little patience. 

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31 minutes ago, zx1ninja said:

I have serious doubts about a business that has any of the following issues;


Which means that a smart person will ask a lot of questions and exercise good judgment.
 

32 minutes ago, zx1ninja said:

Makes elaborate blue sky promises.


What blue-sky promises does ASI make?

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42 minutes ago, Steven Hutson said:

What blue-sky promises does ASI make?

Since I don't know who or what that is, I don't know. I wasn't being specific in my post.

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17 minutes ago, zx1ninja said:

Since I don't know who or what that is,


ASI is the company in the article. 

(That's what we were talking about, right?)

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48 minutes ago, Steven Hutson said:

(That's what we were talking about, right?)

I thought we were talking about scammers and this happened to be the name of the company this time.  

 

6 hours ago, lynnmosher said:

The listed sites are scammers, so be sure to read and take heed of the lists

 

 

 

Either way, the main point is to do your research and educate yourself, no matter how you plan to be published.  Sadly there will always be someone ready to trick or take advantage of anyone they can.  Hence the need to educate yourself.  

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6 hours ago, Alley said:

Either way, the main point is to do your research and educate yourself, no matter how you plan to be published. 


Of course. But I want to know what those blue-sky promises were, and who made them

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11 hours ago, Steven Hutson said:

As to the huge number of customer complaints at ASI: It's impossible for any writer who does even an an ounce of online research, not to know about this.

First of all, you blame any writers who do not do the online research for being sucked in by these companies. You presume that writers who have done "even an ounce of online research" will all find the bad stuff. It boils down to a newbie writer who wants desperately to be published is not a victim, but an idiot who deserves to be fleeced.

 

Sorry. I don't agree. The fleecers are still crooks, whether or not their victims are uninformed or trusting of strangers.

 

 

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13 hours ago, Steven Hutson said:

As to the huge number of customer complaints at ASI: It's impossible for any writer who does even an an ounce of online research, not to know about this. If the writers flock to this company anyway, it can only be out of willful blindness or unwarranted hope. They need to own their choices.

 

 

Yes, Steven, they...we all...need to own our choices. Seems to me, though, you give no wiggle room to those who are unschooled and naive, mainly because they are isolated and have not joined any writers' groups or forums to learn, as they probably do not even know they exist. They don't know what they don't know. And naive because they are trusting, not knowing the money-grabbing Jack-in-the-boxers are out there just waiting to pounce on them as the next sitting duck.   

 

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2 hours ago, carolinamtne said:

You presume that writers who have done "even an ounce of online research" will all find the bad stuff.


Well, yes. Type "Author House" into any search engine, and you'll find thousands of complaints and warnings. Kinda hard to miss. This is business.

But a lot of the complaints aren't about anything the company did wrong. The writers had huge expectations of things the company never promised.

Deserved to be fleeced? Nah. But they easily could have avoided it.
.

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58 minutes ago, lynnmosher said:

those who are unschooled and naive,


Fixable, in advance.

 

58 minutes ago, lynnmosher said:

isolated and have not joined any writers' groups or forum


If these people have the means to upload their ms to a website (a computer and browser), they also have the means to do a bit of research.

I made those mistakes (and more) early in my career. I accepted responsibility for my own voluntary choices, and moved on.

If you've chosen to self-pub your book, then by definition the publisher is you. Not the vendor.
.
.

Edited by Steven Hutson

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4 hours ago, Steven Hutson said:

If these people have the means to upload their ms to a website (a computer and browser), they also have the means to do a bit of research.

 

Yes, agreed they have the means. However, some may be too trusting and not know to research publishers, thinking them all to be honest. As I said, they don't know what they don't know. That means, they don't know to research the publishers. All people, all writers, cannot be lumped into one group and under one opinion.

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2 hours ago, suspensewriter said:

Thanks for posting this, Lynn.  It really helps.

 

You're welcome, SW. :D

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16 minutes ago, lynnmosher said:

As I said, they don't know what they don't know. That means, they don't know to research the publishers.


Of course. Which is why I don't (generally) fault the vendors.
The website explains the process, and the the contract explains the terms.

If I wanted to open a restaurant, I would consult the experts first and hire experienced people.
If I wanted to sell cars, I would consult the experts and hire experienced people.
Likewise for a medical practice, or a furniture store, or a zoo.
Why should publishing be any different? I don't get it.

Publishing is self-employment. I think most people over age 16 know intuitively, that they shouldn't go into business without first seeking out the education and help they need. 

Of course they don't know what they don't know. But surely they DO know THAT they don't know.

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42 minutes ago, lynnmosher said:

Yes, agreed they have the means.


My sister won't spend $5 on a restaurant meal, before consulting Yelp for reviews. I think most computer-literate consumers do this kind of thing, even for small purchases.

 

Edited by Steven Hutson

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