From Victoria Strauss via SWFA:
Cheryl Lee Nunn of notorious vanity publisher American Book Publishing (one of Writer Beware’s Thumbs Down publishers, also featured in an alert at Writer Beware) attempts to expand her author-fleecing operation with a network of bogus organizations and publishers. Outed on this blog, she cuts her losses and folds the scheme–but, eager to make money on the back end, she holds authors’ rights for ransom, threatening to give their contracts to a “transfer agent” unless they pony up a buyout fee of $695.
Authors with All Classic Books (the only one of the bogus publishers to issue contracts) have just received another email demanding even more money (all errors courtesy of the original).
From: Rebecca Reece Winslow
Date: Fri, Nov 29, 2013 at 1:06 PM
Subject: [Name redacted] Your Author Legal Notice Your Book Contract Transfer Agent Instructions
To: [Name redacted]
Cc: “legal @ allclassicbooks.com”
Per terms of our book contract with you we are in the process of exercising our option to assign your book contract to another book publisher effective December 4, 2013. The transfer agent that is working on our publishing company merge or sale and book contract assignments is The Names Company, a publishing industry business broker specialist.
The Names Company will oversee that all our book contract obligations are performed on. For example books remain in print and production and royalties are paid by required contract dates so that we are in full and complete legal compliance. This to make sure that our book contracts remain legally binding to all parties.
The Names Company will not however be providing a publisher staff to answer your book publishing and book selling questions and other book marketing assistance as we have provided you. They will only be responding about questions related to book contract company assignment or your book rights buyouts.
It is important to be aware that just listing a book title for sale today with ten million other book titles that book sales almost always occur because of an author interview, book review or other author promotional activity. If the author is not professionally promoting their title effectively, then it is highly unlikely the author will earn any royalties during the period either with The Names Company or a subsequent publisher assignment.
Instead we have been recommending and helping our authors doing buyouts upload their book files to Amazon’s book publishing companies Creative Space (printed books) and Kindle Direct Publishing (e-books) for free.
[Redacted: several paragraphs extolling the virtues of "Creative Space" and KDP.]
We have instructed The Names Company to continue our full book rights buyout offer with our permission and and files for authors to use our edited content and book covers.
However, because of the added expense of the transfer agent, beginning on the first of each month the Full Book Rights Buyout will increase $100 per month. Therefore, buyout offers will be raised from $695.00 to December 3, 2013 with us and can use their credit cards until but after December 4, 2013 the buyout will increase to $795 and $895 on January 1, 2014 and so on. Their website is at http://thenamescompany.com/ and e-mail contact address is info @ thenamescompany.com
Only wired funds will be authorized for those authors doing buyouts after December 4, 2013 through The Names Company will be accepted from that point, instructions are below.
Once fund wires are confirmed, The Names Company will provide authors their book content and cover files, letters of full rights return and authorization to use our editing and design. Then they will remove any current sales listings.
Authors then can legally re publish their book titles with another publisher or self publish it.
[Redacted: wire routing information.]
Warning- Beware of anyone giving false legal advice. We are aware that there has been some false information about us rumored by a fantasy fiction volunteer writer giving our authors bad legal advice that would actually cause them expensive legal damages if they followed it. She does not disclose that she is not an attorney while providing legal advice, and that she is not a professional or unbiased journalist. She is simply a writer we rejected for employment and a book publishing contract about a decade ago, seeking to damage us and our authors with a smear campaign and false information.
Rebecca Reece Winslow
Acquisitions Editor, All Classic Books
info @ allclassicbooks.com
Taking this in order:
* I have several copies of All Classic Books’ contract. Nowhere in any of them is there any language giving the publisher an “option to assign your book contract to another book publisher”.
Link to the rest at SWFA and thanks to Kathlena for the tip.
Passive Guy has not reviewed the contract in question and doesn’t question Victoria’s assessment, but he will warn one and all that it is not difficult to hide language that can arguably make a contract assignable.
If your contract is assigned (by a publisher or agent), you’ll almost certainly be dealing with an entirely different group of people who may or may not care much about your book or your royalties. Most authors sign with a publisher or agent in large part because of the person with whom they expect to work. An assignment can change that in a heartbeat.