I was very excited. I sent the novel to them, brimming with optimism.
I knew it might result in a rejection, or worse–a terrible contract.
But I hoped for the best.
Last Wednesday, I received a response.
To my great joy, they offered me a contract!
Sadly, my initial elation didn’t last long. Right after informing me that they wanted to publish my novel, the email devolved into a rant about how difficult and risky the publishing industry is.
But they were happy to offer me a contribution-based contract. Say what?
Does that mean what I think it means?
Yep. This “publisher” wanted the princely sum of 2600 pounds for the honour of publishing my book. They wanted me to pay THEM.
They made it all sound very logical. You believe in your work, don’t you? Well, so do we. So, if you have the courage to invest in yourself, we will support you with marketing, editing, cover design….
Oh yeah–did we mention we can make any changes to your story that we want, without your approval? This includes removing anything we find remotely offensive. You’re cool with that, right?
Um, in a word–NO.
At first I was crushed. After all, I’d been duped–duped into believing a vanity publisher was the real thing. (Well, it’s actually worse than a vanity publisher, because vanities won’t mess with your work. They’ll print it as-is for a fee.)
But after allowing myself a day to wallow, I started to get angry.
Writers can be a desperate bunch. Most of us have been dreaming of seeing our name in print since we were toddlers.
Some of us want to be published more than anything else in the world, and that makes us a target for sleazy charlatans like this “publisher.” If I didn’t have to clean it up, I would spit on the floor every time I referred to them as such, even in quotes.
I think most of the writers who read this are an experienced bunch, but just in case:
MONEY FLOWS TO THE WRITER. PERIOD. NO EXCEPTIONS.
If a publisher or agent asks you for money, it’s a scam. Don’t be tempted, no matter how well they try to sell it to you. You do not have to pay to get published, and if you really want to invest in your own work, self-publish.
At least you’ll get to keep your royalties.