Inverarity (inverarity) wrote,

Beware of vanity press scams

Deleted in comments to another post:

Subject: The Lord of the Rings
Tolkien's masterpiece turned out to be the most read work of literature in the 20th century in English. It's a unique accomplishment which really cannot be put into any category. That's what great literature is.

Please visit my blog at www (dot) a n g e l a f o u r n i e r (dot) and leave a comment. Thanks!

The above blog (remove spaces and such that I added in the quote) appears to be a platform to pimp a book (which I won't link to but it's linked on every post in his blog): something called "Angela 1" which appears to be the sort of preachy moralistic YA book that would gather dust on the shelves of Christian bookstores if it was even good enough to be published by small Christian presses.

This book, however, is vanity published by Strategic Publishing Group, which is affiliated with the AEG Publishing Group.

AEG is similar to several other enterprises such as Publish America, which pretend to be legitimate publishers and "accept" submissions from prospective authors. They go to great lengths pretending that they are not vanity presses and that they can actually put your book in bookstores, that you will be paid in royalties just like a real author, etc. The reality is that their entire business model depends on getting the author to buy copies of his or her own books from them (because nobody else is going to).

See Writer Beware or the SFWA's ALERTS FOR WRITERS for more. Or Google "Strategic Publishing Group" or "PublishAmerica" + "scam."

These companies (and many similar ones) operate under a number of different names. And you'll find all their books available on Amazon. So this is one downside to the new ease with which would-be authors can bypass traditional gatekeepers, as I have mentioned before: not all publishers are created equal. Some are just fronts for vanity presses.

Note that vanity presses are not automatically fraudulent or disreputable. One that is up-front about its business model is just offering a legitimate service. But those like Strategic Publishing Group and Publish America are notorious for tricking naive would-be authors into believing they are being published by a "real" publisher and that their books will appear on the shelves at Borders, etc. In reality, the chances of a regular bookstore carrying anything from one of these "publishers" are approximately zero, and no one else in the publishing industry will consider a book published by them to be a publishing credit; if you query an agent and say you've been previously published by PublishAmerica or AEG, you will almost certainly be laughed at (and rejected).

ETA: Originally I was quite a bit more inflammatory and made specific references to the author, because I fucking hate spammers like you wouldn't believe, and his post struck me as pure spam. After thinking about it and rereading his blog and cooling off a bit, I suppose it is possible that he really did think he was making a legitimate contribution to the discussion, though I think it was still mostly just linkspamming. So I've toned down my response somewhat. But the general comments about vanity presses remain.
Tags: publishing, self publishing, soapbox, spam, writing

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