Categories: Non-US

Austin Macauley: some questions

From The Writers’ Workshop:

If the Writers’ Workshop has a defining philosophy, then it’s this: We are always on the side of the book. We are always on the side of the writer.

With books, we want them to be as good as they can be. Well-conceived, well-written, well-edited. Our standards are relentlessly high. We press our clients to be as good as they can possibly be. We make pests of ourselves at times, and we know it – but see above. We are always on the side of the book.

We are, however, equally committed to writers. Trad or self-pub. New or bestselling. Genre or literary. We honestly don’t care. But if you have the guts and determination to pick up a pen and write a book, we’re on your side, always, everywhere, forever.

And we’re happy to make pests of ourselves. If we think that agents are insufficiently transparent, insufficiently welcoming to new writers, we’ll say so. (And we got shouted at by the Association of Authors Agents for our bluntness.) If we think that Amazon risks turning its search results into the world’s biggest pile of spam, we’ll say so. (And took care that people at Amazon heard us saying so.) If we think the trad industry is failing a proportion of its authors with its ebook pricing, then we’ll say so. (And we’ve had some fairly sharp messages from the industry as a result.) If we notice that authors are grumbling about publishers, we will put together the largest survey of trad authors ever conducted and publish the results as visibly as we know how to do.

. . . .

There is, in fact, only one corner of the industry that we look upon with total loathing and disgust – and that is the whole repellent area of the vanity publisher. These people take huge sums of money for a service that is basically fraudulent. Whether some narrow legal test of fraud is or is not triggered is not quite my point here. What I have in mind is that the legitimate hopes and aspirations of writers uninformed or naive about the industry are being preyed upon by people who know, damn well, that those hopes and aspirations are highly unlikely to be met, even remotely.

The trouble is, these scammers – that’s what they are – take pains to disguise themselves as legitimate publishers. And don’t get me wrong: they operate wholly within the law. It’s just the service they offer is repulsive, deceitful and wrong.

. . . .

So. Austin Macauley.

Are they legit? Or are they scammers?

I don’t know. I honestly have no idea. But I’ve heard some concerns raised about the firm and I think the fairest thing to do is ask the question.

If it turns out that the firm is an honourable one, seeking to do the very best for its authors, then fair play to them. I will take this post down and offer the WW as a platform for the firm to market itself. I will make it absolutely clear that we have no bad word to say about them, in  public or in private.

And if they’re scammers – well, then, I hope they perish. I hope they perish soon. And I hope that those responsible for the company are deeply injured, financially and reputationally, by that collapse.

Link to the rest at The Writers’ Workshop and thanks to D for the tip.

PG :