Under the catagory of WTH…

Submitted for your recommendation – the latest info on Blu Phi’er Publishing.

Seems that the owner sent out a mass mailing to all the authors detailing their royalties, if any, and how much they OWE the company. Courtesy of The Rusty Nail.

I don’t even KNOW where to begin to discuss about how totally wrong this is. First, and this is just from a gut reaction, how the heck do you feel about having your royalties shared with everyone else on that list? Sure, it’s nice to know how the other authors in your company are doing, but… that’s just wrong. On so many levels that it’s mindboggling.

Next, the amount owed. Now I’m assuming that the authors won’t actually be BILLED for this but it’s still… wrong. As I’ve said many times before – you may not get into writing to get rich, but you sure don’t get into it to go into debt!

However, as this post on Absolute Write points out, this is all perfectly legal due to the contract that the authors signed. Yep, all laid out there in black and white and they signed off on it – so technically they don’t have a legal leg to stand on.

Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware clarifies right here exactly how wrong it is. But, again, if the authors signed off on it…

I guess the moral of the story is to READ the contract before you SIGN off on it and make sure to get every little point clarified. I know that all too well although I’m luckier than these poor stiffs. Not to mention the impoliteness of having your personal finances tossed through the internet in a mass mailing. Tres gauche.

As Uncle Jim has said many times – it’s better to NOT be published than to be published BADLY. Think this sort of illustrates that.

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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.