Writer's Block Photo Credit Kylie2Good
Last week I received an email from a publishing company that they would be hosting a manuscript contest at one of my favorite Atlanta bookstores. But when I read the email and did a little fact checking I became pissed off(sorry, but that is the most appropriate word for how I felt.) Let me show you why?
or Listen here..
An excerpt from the email...
Okay. So what's the problem, Dee?Want to get your book published?2009 Author Manuscript Contest
will be at Borders Bookstore in _____, GASaturday, March 7th1-3pm
Bring your manuscript to submit and receive 30% off the submission feefor contest submission rules!
Let me count the ways:
1. This contest has a hidden agenda that doesn't involve publishing.
This sort of contest reminds me of the Zoo Press debacle back in 2004., excecpt at least Zoo Press was once reputable press with industry following. But in this case what we have is a vanity press disguised as a small press using a contest to fund the company, not the contest.
See. If this company was using the entry fees to fund the contest, meaning: contest advertisements, the publishing contract, publishing and distribution, etc, then there would be more mention of who runs this company, who are the contest judges, more acknowledgment about this contest through the bookstore that booked it, local papers within the area, and at least, at least a few reputable Atlanta news blogs. But zilch. I've found nada except a poorly constructed email campaign(that was sent to me without my agreement to opt-into their email service.) This lack of marketing, improper social media etiquette tells me that the company isn't fully solvent and this contest goal is to make them a little money.
2. The publishing company will deliver a winner...Them
This "boutique" publishing company is a vanity press. They prey on the vanity of authors, who want to see their name on a book more than taking the time to build some compelling and fit for the marketplace. Therefore, they will publish any writing for a fee. So the gauge to determine what is publishable washes out, because this company has no gauge. It publishes whoever pays their set fee. Period.
Now this contest doesn't tell us how many books will be published in the initial print run or how many pages this book is maxxed to be or how the book will be bound. I have seen these books (and I have met the brains behind this company. lol. and I can't believe they were crazy enough to add me to their mailing list. lol) and the print run could possibly 500, the books are lean under 240 pages, its Japanese bound, trade paperback, poorly constructed cover board. So I'm pretty sure i know where this book has been printed from. So my general guestimation about $2500 to print. add editing and the publisher's fee. about $5000 to the author.
So this contest fee is about $25 books (fifteen more bucks if you add another submission.) In Atlanta, during this economy I guestimate maybe 100 entries as a very weak guestimate. I can't tell you the number of people I meet weekly who want to publish their own book. Most writing contest get about 500 entries. Are you smelling my coffee yet?
It's very sour.
What you have here, basically, this company is taking enough entry fees to publish a book through a local press. The cost for that is pretty basic, too. Here's a pub calculator from Author's Lawyer
3. The company is predatory.
You cannot my fathom my disgust for predatory companies that prey off authors, musicians, actors, artists, and parents. It is a thing I need to pray about because my anger becomes a rage, a hulkish rage.
Artists create,and some wish to share their creations with their community. However, in this world and this time, there are people who don't respect the beauty in creation. Instead they see an artist wish to present their art to the world and their wonder about if their work matters to this world and stomp on it with the artist blood, sweat and dollars.
But it's only $25, Dee?
It's so much more than pocket change. You have to consider many of these victims(and I can't necessarily call them victims either) have been:
- either rejected by a national publishing company
- a newbie writer
- a writer, whose works isn't fit for this current marketplace and refuses to accept that truth
- someone who trust this company as a reputable because they haven't engaged themselves in the writing community
So this is this weekend's chatterbox question: Is your Publisher a scam? Do you know? Do you know how to know? want to ask me a question?
Let me remind you every Wednesday at noon est. you can join me for a 30 minute chat about book publishing and promotion at Media Candy. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/mediacandy