Publishers Weekly Includes Two Vanity Publishers In Its List of Fast-Growing Independent Presses

From Writer Beware:

Once again, Publishers Weekly’s annual overview of fast-growing independent publishers features not only innovative indies, but publishers whose business model is largely built on author fees: Morgan James Publishing and Austin Macauley. Seriously, PW? Why do you  keep doing this?

. . . .

Billing itself as “The Entrepreneurial Publisher”, Morgan James Publishing requires its authors “to commit to purchasing, during the life of the agreement, up to 2,500 copies [of their book] at print cost plus $2.” (Reports Writer Beware has received indicate that writers are asked for a “deposit” of up to $5,000 on contract signing; we’ve also had reports that additional fees may be due for editing and PR.)

To make this sizeable outlay of cash seem more palatable, MJP falsely claims on its “compare” page that “Many major houses require authors to purchase 5,000 copies, or more, of the book upon its release”, and that even with self-publishing, “[the a]uthor is expected to purchase however many copies required to sell to the general public.” (It also–again falsely–suggests that “old school traditional publishers” take possession of authors’ copyrights.)

Despite all of the above, MJP declares that “No Publishing Fee [is] charged, hidden or otherwise.”

. . . .

I’ve written before about Austin Macauley–and I’m not the only one: others have called AM out on its business model as well.

AM bills itself as a “hybrid” publisher*, and does reveal on its website that it offers “contributory” contracts. However, it presents itself as an “innovative independent trade publisher” and states that “we look at every new manuscript with a view to offering a traditional mainstream publishing deal.” This certainly encourages authors to believe that they have a good chance of a traditional offer. But Writer Beware has heard from just four authors who were offered contracts they didn’t have to pay for, while we’ve gotten 60+ reports from authors who received fee-based offers. Obviously this represents just a fraction of those who’ve submitted to AM; still, the proportion of non-fee to fee-based offers certainly suggests that the bulk of AM’s business is fee-based.

Link to the rest at Writer Beware

PG says if there’s a sucker born every minute, there’s a vanity publisher born every ten minutes.

A number of years ago, PG had the naive expectation that the breadth of information for authors on the internet and the ease with which the reputation of almost anyone can be examined online would put vanity publishers out of business.

Alas, while widespread access to the internet has changed a great many things, it has not changed human nature.

6 thoughts on “Publishers Weekly Includes Two Vanity Publishers In Its List of Fast-Growing Independent Presses”

  1. Yeah, saw it on their site. 😉

    One thing all writers have to remember is that in their name ‘Publishers Weekly’ they actually warn you they are their for the publisher – not for the writer – so anything they say should be taken with who they’re for/support firmly in mind.

  2. Your cavalier response of “there’s a sucker born every minute” is disappointing,

    Guess you’re giving new meaning to “passive” voice.
    Maybe not what I want to read.

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