Potential predatory scholarly open‑access publishers

From Beall’s List of Potential Predatory Publishers:

Instructions: first, find the journal’s publisher – it is usually written at the bottom of the journal’s webpage or in the “About” section. Then simply enter the publisher’s name or its URL in the search box above. If the journal does not have a publisher use the Standalone Journals list.
All journals published by a predatory publisher are potentially predatory unless stated otherwise.

Link to the rest at Beall’s List of Potential Predatory Publishers

In the sidebar, you will find links to other sites, including the following:

​List of journals falsely claiming to be indexed by DOAJ

DOAJ: Journals added and removed

Nonrecommended medical periodicals

Retraction Watch

Flaky Academic Journals Blog

PG notes that vanity publishers don’t just prey on would-be commercial authors. They also fool academics into paying for publication of their works in legitimate-sounding professional publications that won’t do much for the academic’s “publish or perish” requirements.

UK Author Unions Launch Investigation Into ‘Partner Publishing’

From Publishing Perspectives:

The Society of Authors and Writers’ Guild of Great Britain–the United Kingdom’s two authors’ unions–have announced today (March 3) an investigation into “the financial and contractual impact on authors of publishers that charge for publication.”

With the support of the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS), the effort is intended, according to the groups’ media messaging, “to research the allegedly exploitative practices of some publishers that charge authors to publish their work.”

The establishment of an investigation, the unions write, “follows a sharp rise in complaints from authors about these companies received by both unions.”

This is something to be watched not only by authors but also by trade publishers, whose industry can be colored by perceptions of bad actors and author mistreatment: the public has never been adept at discerning the distinctions in how a writer’s work might get to market. Writers not represented by literary agents nor on contract to trade houses can be particularly vulnerable to scams, operating as amateur entrants in a crowded field of vendors’ pitches.

At issue here are offers called by many names and operating in markets beyond the UK. ‘Partner publishing,’ ‘hybrid publishing,’ ‘contribution publishing,’ and ‘subsidy publishing’ are all cases in which an author is published only by paying into the process. As the unions are pointing out, these companies “have much in common with what used to be called ‘vanity’ publishers.”

Standing somewhere between full self-publishing and full trade publishing, these publishers normally assume some of the cost in exchange for some of the rights and/or revenues from a book’s life on the market.

Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives

“There’s a sucker born every minute,” a saying attributed to P.T. Barnum, Mark Twain, con man Joseph (“Paper Collar Joe”) Bessimer and a variety of others, certainly applies to vanity publishing, whatever it may call itself at this or any other time.

The OP describes in general what vanity publishing is. If you need more information, see ALLI, Writer Beware, Writers & Artists, the International Association of Professional Writers and Editors, and many other authors organizations.

PG expects most regular visitors to TPV don’t need this sort of advice, but urges them to pass their knowledge on to whomever they think may need it.

Regardless of whatever other shortcomings they may have, legitimate traditional publisher do not ask an author to pay them any money to publish the author’s book.

Vanity publishers often have fancy-sounding names – “Author House”, “Dorrance Publishing”, etc., etc.

One quick way to help identify a vanity publisher is to go to Amazon’s books section and search for the publisher’s name. PG just searched for “Dorrance Publishing” and the first book that appeared in his search results had a Best Sellers Rank of #4,213,968 in the Kindle Store.

This sales rank means that the author’s mother bought a copy and maybe one or two of the author’s drinking buddies bought copies before they sobered up.

Another way to help identify a vanity publisher is to visit a local bookstore (wear your mask) and ask the owner or manager about the publisher.

If the response is, “Who?” then it’s a vanity publisher. After receiving this response, ask the manager to recommend a good book and buy it to show your gratitude for her/his assistance in helping you avoid a stupid and expensive mistake.

Vanity Press Storm Warning: Waldorf Publishing

From Writer Beware:

A couple of years ago I featured Waldorf Publishing in a post about a manuscript contest it was running, which was replete with red flags–not least of which is that Waldorf is a vanity publisher. At the time, it was charging a menu of fees, from which authors could pick and choose:

In 2019, Waldorf switched to a book purchase requirement: authors were required to buy 50 or 100 books, “to ensure us that Authors are participating in marketing and actively promoting their book”. Possibly it won’t surprise you to learn that there is nothing on Waldorf’s website or in its publicity materials to suggest that fees are involved.

. . . .

Recently the company has re-branded as Waldorf Publishing, Marketing and Public Relations–the marketing and PR being provided by Barbara Terry Public Relations Group, which promises MAXIMUM IMPACT without providing any examples to illustrate the claim (and no indication as to whether these new services entail extra cost for Waldorf authors). Ms. Terry has also started several spinoff businesses: Waldorf Bookstands LLC, which “provides books on spinner display stands to businesses all around the United States” and has no web presence other than a single mention on an investment website; Shaggy Pup, a distribution company focusing on “libraries and school curriculum” that also seems to be on pause (its Facebook page hasn’t been updated since January 2020, and clicking on its webpage URL produces a 403 Forbidden notice); and Waldorf Book Fairs, whose website is currently blank.

Other business ventures undertaken by Ms. Terry include Dream Coast Films, a production company she established in 2013 that doesn’t appear to have ever gotten off the ground, and Master Media Class, a short-lived media training course she co-founded in 2020 with two Waldorf authors.

Over the past couple of years, complaints trickling in from Waldorf authors and contractors suggest a company under stress: unfulfilled marketing promises (such as paying for Kirkus Indie reviews that were never delivered), books paid for and not received, under-reported sales, and unpaid royalties. You can see additional complaints in the comments thread on my original Waldorf post (Ms. Terry threatened at least two of the complainants with legal action) and in other places online.

. . . .

As for the services writers are being asked to buy, they are at best dubious, and at worst undeliverable. The shoddy quality of much of Waldorf’s design and formatting work is not a huge recommendation for the reformatting offer–plus, there’s no guarantee it would result in a file that was usable by another publisher or publishing platform, all of which have their own requirements and protocols. 

Link to the rest at Writer Beware

PG expects that the regular visitors to TPV are knowledgeable and intelligent enough to avoid vanity publishers, but visitors may know people who aren’t as knowledgeable.

Setting aside the question of whether self-publishing on Amazon or elsewhere is a better idea for many authors, a real publisher won’t ask an author to pay for anything, including buying X number of books.

A real publisher pays the author, not the other way around. A real literary agent receives a percentage of the money a publisher pays an author and promptly forwards the rest to the author (if the author has failed to obtain a publishing contract including a “split checks” provision in the publishing contract, whereby the publisher pays the author 85% of the royalties owed and the publisher pays the agent 15% of the royalties owed as the agent’s commission. In PG’s undivided opinion, split checks is always the better way to go.).

Vanity publishers are always and everywhere a bad path for any author to take. If anyone who is not extremely wealthy has had a different outcome from a vanity publisher, PG is happy to hear about it via the Contact PG button at the top of TPV. (Since digital buttons don’t gather dust, one has no idea how often they’re used. However, PG can attest that no one has ever told him via any form of communication that they had a good experience with a vanity press. Since people who use vanity presses don’t tend to read any contract the press may provide them, there is generally nothing PG can threaten to help them get their money, or any significant portion of their money, back.

Since vanity publishers never identify themselves as such, one way to check an unknown publisher is to search for the publisher’s name on Amazon’s books section. If you find any books listed, check on the sales rank of those books. It will be a very, very large number, reflecting sales to the author’s mother.

If physical bookstores ever reopen, you can ask the manager whether he/she has ever purchased any books from the vanity press. If the manager says something like, “Who?” you’ll also have valuable information.

10 Published Authors Share Their Best Writing Advice

From Woman Writers, Women’s Books

‘You got this’

The writer’s life can be creatively fulfilling and packed with possibility — and it can also be arduous, frustrating, and downright lonely. Sometimes you just need another writer friend (or ten!) who gets it, has been there, and can give you that little bit of encouragement or great piece of advice that inspires you to keep going.

We’ve got you covered! We asked ten of our published authors to share the best writing advice they ever received, and to tell us what inspired them to persevere and keep creating. Think of it as your own personal support circle when you need a creative pick-me-up! Here’s what they had to say:

‘You got this’

“From those who published books before me: ‘Put butt in chair.’ (Plus a variation on that theme: ‘Sit. Stay.’) From my storytelling instructor: ‘Don’t worry about your memoir: it’s YOUR story. Write it down.’ From my writing coach and all-round cheerleader: ‘You got this.’ So, to every fellow writer out there: Keep on keepin’ on. We NEED your art.”

— Margaret Davis Ghielmetti, author of Brave(ish): A Memoir of a Recovering Perfectionist

. . . .

Consider a mindful approach

“‘A writer writes.’ I don’t remember when or where I first received this advice, but it fuels my daily writing practice. Whether I lock in for a stellar word count or labor to squeeze out a few measly sentences, I’m comforted by progress and validated by discipline. No matter how slow or frustrating the process may feel, I’m living my dream—in the moment, every day.

This mindful approach to writing helps me enjoy all the stages of publication, from inception to promotion. What a special joy it is to be celebrating award nominations for The Ninja Daughter, preparing for the virtual launch of The Ninja’s Blade, and writing the next Lily Wong adventure!

— Tori Eldridge, author of The Ninja Daughter and The Ninja’s Blade

Link to the rest at Woman Writers, Women’s Books

PG noted the headline of the OP mentioning “Published Authors” and, sure enough, he didn’t find an indie author in the bunch. He didn’t check every book featured in the OP, but ones he looked up on Amazon had unimpressive Bestsellers Rank numbers.

Indie authors are “published authors.”

The only difference between indie authors and “traditionally-published authors” is that indie authors hire the people that they think will do the best job of editing and formatting their books and designing their covers.

Indie authors are the boss, not the minimum-wage help.

Traditionally-published authors are either a low-cost/low-risk contractor or a sucker, depending upon what sort of traditional publisher they’re dealing with.

Some very successful indie authors have paid PG to help them get out of the traditional publishing contracts that are keeping them poor so they can make better money as indies. (No, PG does not disclose the identities of any of his clients as a hard-and-fast policy. He doesn’t ask any of his clients for permission to disclose their names, either.)

To be fair to the author the OP, she did disclose that she is a book publicist at the end of the article, but didn’t say how many of the books she mentioned in the OP were books she’d been hired to publicize.

Several of the books mentioned in the OP were published by She Writes Press, a “hybrid” publisher that offers the “She Writes Press Publishing Package” for $7,900.

The author of the OP didn’t mention whether her services were part of the She Writes Press Publishing Package” or not.

But there PG goes again, being all cynical and not believing in fairy godmothers in the book business.

10 New Publishing Scams to Watch Out for in 2020

From Anne R. Allen’s Blog:

I read a quote recently from an indie author who said he felt sorry for new writers who fall for scammy vanity publishers — because they obviously have no writer friends to clue them in.

It is true that networking with other authors is the best way to stay safe from scammers in this business. You can usually get by with a little help from your friends.

Unfortunately, the latest batch of scams are calculated to turn friends’ faces and familiar names into weapons to use against you.

Here are some of the nasty ways they’re trying to con you.

1) Riding the Coattails of Publishing Influencers

If you Google “Anne R. Allen,” about halfway down the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) — before a link to this blog — is an ad for a notorious vanity publisher. They’ve obviously used my name as a keyword for their ads.

Flattering, maybe, but also hella creepy.

And recently I saw a link to a “best websites for indie authors” list, and went to check it out. The first few links were to well known publishing blogs like Writer Unboxed, Nathan Bransford, and Jane Friedman. But sandwiched in between the real influencers were links to vanity presses. In other words, the “Best Websites” list was simply a con to steer newbies to scammy vanity presses. Most of the vanity sites on the list are owned or spawned by Author Solutions.

This clever ploy was designed to make the scammers look legit. Plus putting trusted names in there got real influencers to share the list — and put the vanity press names in front of their sizable readerships.

Always check out a publisher with Writer Beware, and ask your writer friends what they’ve heard about it.

. . . .

5) Goodreads Print Book Giveaways

I think it’s time to label these a scam. They were once a good way to get reviews, but way too many book re-sellers are gaming Goodreads giveaways to get free inventory.

After paying the Goodreads fee, plus postage, authors not only don’t get reviews, but they see their signed books for sale online.

One bookseller in the Midwest apparently stocks much of her store with Goodreads giveaway books.

I’m not going to use any names, because this bookseller is not only a crook but a sadistic bully. (Scammers are often sociopaths: you can’t have much empathy if you feed on peoples’ dreams for a living.)

Whenever an author complains — no matter how politely — about seeing review copies for sale with no review, this scammy bookseller will then give the author a one-star, four-word insulting review, and post it on all retailers across the Web. This sweetheart also threatens to ruin the authors’ careers by reporting them as scammers to Amazon.

Unfortunately the crook has many clones. And nobody at Goodreads cares.

Of course there are still good, honest people who ask for Goodreads giveaway books and write lovely, thoughtful reviews. But they are becoming scarce.

Goodreads simply has no policing and nobody to complain to when scammers use the site to commit fraud. The chances of getting a review from a Goodreads giveaway are slim, and that narrow chance is not worth gambling your career and well-being.

To give out review copies, try Booksprout, Hidden Gems, NetGalley or BookFunnel.

Goodreads doesn’t have enough moderation, and it has devolved into a site that’s toxic for authors and reviewers alike.

. . . .

9) Rights Grabs from “Free” Contests

This isn’t really new, but I’ve heard of several contests recently that, in the fine print, say they have the right to use any piece that’s sent to them. That is, not just the winners, but any story you submit becomes their property.

Yeah. You didn’t really enter a contest. You just gave away your work for free to an outfit that will probably publish it uncredited or sell it to a college essay mill.

So it helps to read that fine print.

Unfortunately, sometimes there’s not even any fine print. Writer Beware has reported one contest that posted NO rules or rights policies. Later, the site posted all the stories that had been sent in as entries—with no compensation or even notice to the authors.

And sometimes even very big name publications can include rights grabs. Here’s another warning from Writer Beware: Rights Grabs by the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award.

So be very wary of free contests, even when they’re sponsored by well-known organizations. If there’s something iffy in the fine print, or no fine print, stay away.

Link to the rest at Anne R. Allen’s Blog