If it seems too good to be true…

… you know the rest.

Seems that there’s a "publisher" in the UK that’s racing towards becoming known as the Next Great Publishing Scam. YouWriteOn, a writing website, has decided to lunge forth with the offer to publish the first 5,000 manuscripts sent in to them. Wait, you say – what’s the scam there? Why wouldn’t any decent author rush to get a free printing of their beloved tome?

Well, let’s see… first, it’s outrageously overpriced. YWO is buying the ISBN’s cheap and selling them at a profit to the author – not exactly the biggest scam out there in the publishing world, but they’re doing it at a price that’s more than Lulu.com – and that’s just greedy. Next, you use up your first rights when you go with some sort of shady outfit like this that’ll basically just print what you send them and then run off copies using the POD technology that’s screwed up more than a few authors. Remember, POD sounds great when you look at it quickly but then reality checks in when you have to explain to a bookstore that since each copy is printed off upon demand, there’s no print run for them to count on. So don’t hold your breath for your printer/publisher to be able to send out review copies or be able to fulfill a large demand for books.

There’s a few blogs on this that go into much more detail – Old Hack’s, here and of course the magnificent Writer Beware blog here. Needless to say it’s a great way to waste something you’ve put a lot of work into for something that’s not going to be taken seriously by anyone other than, say… your postman.

Unfortunately there’s a plethora of scammers out there who rely on the natural enthusiasm of new authors to get published – this one’s even sadder because they’ve actually managed to get government grants to keep running – which only points out to ME that the UK needs to have more restrictions on this sort of silliness. I can’t say that I’m surprised; I’ve seen stupidity like that in Canada where they hand out grants for the silliest of things and hope for the best.

The AW thread on YouWriteOn is here as well – it’s a bit long but you can trace the ongoing scrutiny and the website owner’s ducking and dodging giving a straight answer – which, again, should send up warning flags. If they don’t give a straight answer, run away.

Again, as in everything – if it seems too good to be true then it’s probably not. Which is sad, but it’s not worth tossing a good story away for the fast rush of being approved immediately for "publication".

’nuff said.

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14 thoughts on “If it seems too good to be true…

  1. YWO is not for me!
    Thanks for linking to my blog! I blog at How Publishing Really Works, and I’m referred to above as Old Hack, my Absolute Write user name.
    I really don’t like this latest “publishing” offer from YWO, and I don’t think I’m alone.
    If anyone would like to use my blog post about it on their blog you’re welcome to: just so long as you acknowledge that it’s mine, and link back to my blog.

  2. YWO is not for me!
    Thanks for linking to my blog! I blog at How Publishing Really Works, and I’m referred to above as Old Hack, my Absolute Write user name.
    I really don’t like this latest “publishing” offer from YWO, and I don’t think I’m alone.
    If anyone would like to use my blog post about it on their blog you’re welcome to: just so long as you acknowledge that it’s mine, and link back to my blog.

  3. Well actually it isn’t the POD technology that is screwed up… it is people wanting to act like publishers that can’t be bothered to keep an inventory of at least 100 copies, so you can handle larger orders.

    • true – that’s what screws a lot of authors when their “publisher” claims that they’re better off using POD intead of running an actual print order. The publisher doesn’t take any risk because if they don’t print the book until it’s ordered it’s usually already paid for.
      and, as I’ve found out through personal experience, some bookstores won’t even touch POD books – even if they’re “returnable”.
      😛

      • The bookstore doesn’t want returnable.. they want pulpable. Which is returnable in their mind, but not what many publishers that just use POD activate on their accounts. (Of course sometimes it is the bookstore’s database that isn’t recording it the way the publishers want. Bookstores do silly things, like not allowing the store to reorder books as some authors recently found. A handful of author blogs posted things like that last month…. these from major publishers.)

  4. Well actually it isn’t the POD technology that is screwed up… it is people wanting to act like publishers that can’t be bothered to keep an inventory of at least 100 copies, so you can handle larger orders.

    • true – that’s what screws a lot of authors when their “publisher” claims that they’re better off using POD intead of running an actual print order. The publisher doesn’t take any risk because if they don’t print the book until it’s ordered it’s usually already paid for.
      and, as I’ve found out through personal experience, some bookstores won’t even touch POD books – even if they’re “returnable”.
      😛

      • The bookstore doesn’t want returnable.. they want pulpable. Which is returnable in their mind, but not what many publishers that just use POD activate on their accounts. (Of course sometimes it is the bookstore’s database that isn’t recording it the way the publishers want. Bookstores do silly things, like not allowing the store to reorder books as some authors recently found. A handful of author blogs posted things like that last month…. these from major publishers.)

    • if you’re in the UK… probably a lot.
      PublishAmerica is the usual scam of choice for NaNoWriMo in the US, sorry to say – they misrepresent themselves and grab authors out of the gate.
      gotta be so careful out there…
      😦

    • if you’re in the UK… probably a lot.
      PublishAmerica is the usual scam of choice for NaNoWriMo in the US, sorry to say – they misrepresent themselves and grab authors out of the gate.
      gotta be so careful out there…
      😦

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