PG has been receiving inquiries from prospective clients about publishing contracts from various organizations with which PG is not familiar.
He won’t name names because he has only seen a couple of the contracts and not done any checking on any (except to confirm that a notorious vanity press is still in operation).
Like (he expects) many of the visitors to TPV, PG has also seen an uptick in spammy email offers.
PG needs to do a content analysis to learn a bit more, but he wonders if there’s a style guide somewhere that is used by many for whom English is a (distant) second language for the purpose of creating fraudulent-sounding emails.
However, short of a more in-depth review, here are a few style elements that show up in PG’s inbox on a regular basis:
- The author claims to be a ministry-level official in the government of an African nation
- The Minister is telling me that I have qualified to receive a lot of money from some government fund
- Sometimes the money is sitting in an Unclaimed Property fund
- The general style of the email is quite obsequious and archaically formal, “My Dear Kind Sir or Madam”, etc.
PG doesn’t believe that even the most credulous among us deserves to be defrauded of money he/she has rightfully obtained. However, he wonders if someone who is victimized by this sort of approach might not be in need of a court-appointed conservator to manage the individual’s financial affairs to protect the individual from being financially victimized.
Postscript regarding Vanity Presses and Other Occupants of Publishing’s Swamps:
- Don’t pay money to a “publisher” or “press” to publish your book
- Always do a series of online searches based on the name of any organization or person who solicits you for money to assist you in publishing your book.
- You might structure some of your searches as follows: “Shady Publisher” fraud, “Shady Publisher” crook, “Shady Publisher” cheat, etc., etc., etc.
- Look for a website for the Publisher. Don’t necessarily believe what it says, but see if it looks like one for a major publisher. See if the site lists any alternate names, imprints, etc. the Publisher uses and do all the searches described in this list on those alternates.
- Do a lot of searches about the Publisher, not just a few.
- If the Publisher has a physical location listed on its website, Google “Better Business Bureau” and the city named in the physical location. Once you find the local Better Business Bureau (it may be in a larger city near the city where the Publisher is located) use its website to search for the name of the Publisher.
- Go to several websites where authors gather to talk shop and ask whether anyone has heard about the Publisher
- Go to Writer Beware© and look for any mentions of the Publisher. Make sure you don’t miss the Thumbs Down Publishers List and look around there.
- Go to Amazon’s Books section and search for the Publisher’s name. If you don’t find it, consider its absence to be a giant red flag with spotlights shining on it. If you do find the Publisher’s name, look at the Sales Rank of the books it has published.