Writers have it hard enough without having to worry about being taken advantage of by publishers. But scammers are everywhere, and a new author can be unsure of who to trust. How do you know the scammers from the real honest publishing companies?
You can often find the bad companies on the Better Business Bureau website, but it only covers the United States and Canada. It also covers some in Mexico. However, it does not list any companies that are in China, Japan, or any other country.
Because it is so difficult to know the best publishing companies, we reviewed them and found the ones you should definitely not use. We have learned that you should look for certain red flags. Read on for the results of what we found.
Arvo Basim Yayin Publishing
Operating under the name Pagoda and Mavilfil, Arvo has been “buying” manuscripts from writers but never paying them. Their contracts are unprofessional and clearly show their lack of English language and grammar. When the authors contact the company, they are given excuses such as financial hardships and family emergencies.
Author Solutions is one of the worst companies out there. They have been sued and lost twice. According to several writers, Author Solutions is more like a telemarketer than a publishing company, and the authors are the ones being hounded.
They are known for selling books back to the authors, charging for publishing, editing, and marketing that they did not even do. What’s worse is that they go by many other names, including:
- Abbott Press
- Alliant Press
- Archway Publishing
- Balboa Press
- Gabal Global Editions
- Get Published! LLC
- LifeRich Publishing
- Partridge Africa
- Trafford Publishing
- WestBow Press
First, you need to know that this company is not related to the proven professional publishing company, BookBlast. That is part of the scam. They get you to believe that they are the well-known company, BookBlast, and once you give them your book and sign a contract, you get nothing in return.
This company is not even good enough to use the word publisher when describing them. They are in so much legal trouble; they have had to go undercover just like Author Solutions did. They have several other names, including:
Dog Ear Publishing
If you look on the Better Business Bureau site, you will see the list of complaints against this company. They have been accused of failing to make royalty payments on time, if at all, and not responding to consumer inquiries and requests. Not only that, but they did not respond to the BBB either.
Often, when a company has several different names, there is something funny going on. Why else would they be hiding behind other names? Genius Media has several complaints verified on BBB, so you know they are not the best choice for you. Not only that, but they also have several other names such as:
- Kairos Phoenix Company
- Wid Bastian
- Widtsoe T. Bastian Company
IdeoPage Press Solutions
Another publisher on the BBB complaint list, IdeoPage Press Solutions, has charged many authors money to publish and guaranteed that they would be sold worldwide. Yet they have no results, no proof of books ever being marketed or sold ever. The company stopped answering calls.
When the BBB tried to contact them, they were told that they went bankrupt after a death in the family. The company is also known as The Writer Central, and although they say they are in New York, the company is operating from the Philippines.
Next Century Publishing
This is not even a publishing company, but they have had 10 complaints against them for pretending to be one. Just check the list on the BBB website. They are also known as New Century Publishing and GetPublishingHelp.com
This “publishing company” is a scammer that sends out emails and makes phone calls to everyone who writes anything to get them to send them their work. What they do is take your work and never do anything with it except maybe sell it to someone else.
They have scammed many graduate students who wanted their dissertations or other papers published. They even got caught plagiarizing from Wikipedia and selling books with their information. OmniScriptum is also known by many other names such as:
- Editions Universitaires Européennes
- Just Fiction Edition
- LAP Lambert Academic Publishing
- Verlag Dr. Müller (VDM)
Also known as Indie Writer Support and ReadersBooks.info, according to the BBB website, Paradon Books has serious legal issues with which they are contending. They advertised a company with a lot of promises to many writers, but the BBB found that there was no business license for the company at the address they list or anywhere else.
Although they have websites, they often shut down or change names after getting enough complaints at the one they are temporarily using. Hundreds of authors have been scammed by the company only to have them disappear when the authors tried to contact them.
Pegasus Elliot Mackenzie Publishers
Pegasus charges excessive fees for their services. Also, they are known for not being good with clients and may not fulfill their promises. Their marketing practices are questionable as well, using high-pressure sales and spam. They have even been accused of unethical conduct.
The founder of ProofProfessor, Matt Rance, has been allegedly offering to edit author’s books, and when they refuse, he is hostile and persistent. He then goes on to leave horrible reviews anywhere the author’s books are marketed. He has been described as aggressive and even creepy when he sent mail to the authors’ home addresses.
With an NR from the BBB, Raider Publishing has made a name for themselves, but it is not a good one. They have had thousands of complaints, many of them on Scambook, and there is even a Facebook page for those who were victims of Raider.
Strategic Book Publishing
According to Reader Beware, the Strategic Book Publishing company founder, Robert M. Fletcher, has thousands of complaints against him. In fact, he was ordered to pay restitution to a writer in a lawsuit brought by the Florida Attorney General.
According to public records from this case, Fletcher was ordered to pay the writer $125,000 as well as to follow all of the following conditions:
- Create and maintain a transparent royalty payment and reporting system
- Disclose relationships with other entities when making referrals
- Hire an independent compliance monitor to monitor their company for 12 months
- Pay $10,000 in court and attorney fees
- Permanently dissolve his fake companies and any other false names
- Use his real name when communicating with clients
However, even after agreeing to all these conditions, Fletcher has not paid the author restitution money and has retained several other companies that he runs under false names. Publish on Demand Global, and The Literary Agency Group are just two of those companies.
The way publishers are supposed to work is that they acquire your book’s rights and pay you in advance. Then they cover the fees for marketing and editing. When the book is published, you get a royalty payment on every copy sold. They make a percentage of that for helping you publish.
However, Vanity Presses makes money off you, not off the sales of your book. They could care less if your book is good or bad because their money comes from you. They get you to pay for editing and marketing, then offer to pay you when your book sells. But it likely never will because they do not edit or market it as they should.