Happy Valentine’s Day from Writer Beware!

For the most up-to-date version of this list, visit the Writer Beware website. We’ve left this post in place, despite its age, because of the very long comments thread.

Well, here it is, the Valentine’s “gift” we’ve been promising our faithful readers for what seems like a long time now: the companion piece to our “thumbs down” list of agents–Writer Beware’s “Two Thumbs Down” publishers list!

Keep in mind that this list is far from all-inclusive. And remember, when in doubt, you can write to Writer Beware and ASK us if a publisher or agent is okay BEFORE you sign on that dotted line. The service is free. The email address is beware@sfwa.org

So…read and enjoy, while you nibble your Godiva truffles. Oh–and if you want to disseminate the list, please link to this post rather than copying and pasting.


Writer Beware’s “Two Thumbs Down” Publishers List

Below, in alphabetical order, is a list of the currently active publishers about which Writer Beware has received the largest number of complaints over the years, or which, based on documentation we’ve collected, we consider to pose the most significant hazards for writers. All have two or more of the following abusive practices:

1. Fee-charging–whether for the actual printing/production of the book, or for some other item related to the publishing process, such as editing or publicity. Some publishers require authors to buy bulk quantities of their own books. Fees range from a few hundred dollars to more than $25,000. A nominal “advance” in the face of other fee-charging practices does nothing to legitimize them.

2. Author-unfriendly contracts–including rights grabs, taking copyright, restrictive option clauses, sub-standard royalty provisions (including reverse-accounted royalties), inadequate reversion clauses, draconian “defamation clauses,” and a host of other inappropriate and abusive contract terms.

3. Deliberately misleading advertising--including directly soliciting authors, misrepresenting services to authors in an effort to masquerade as commercial publishers, hiding the fact that they are vanity operations, and making false claims about distribution and bookstore presence.

4. Conflicts of interest–some of these publishers are the vanity “arm” of (or otherwise under common control with) a fee-charging literary agency, which directs clients to the publisher under the guise of having made a “sale”–often without revealing the financial and personnel links between the two businesses.

5. Lack of editorial gatekeeping–as befits vanity operations, many of these publishers have few, if any, standards for the books they acquire. Some don’t even bother to read the books they accept for publication.

6. Poor or inadequate editing. Some of these publishers don’t even pretend to provide editing. Others do little more than run the text through a spell and grammar checking program, or employ unqualified, inexperienced staff.

7. Repeated breach of contractual obligations–such as nonpayment of royalties, refusal to provide royalty statements, incorrect accounting, publication delays, ARCs not sent for review as promised, failure to ship books or fulfill orders, failure to make author changes in proofs, and failure to respond properly to author queries and communications. Some of these publishers have been the focus of successful litigation and other legal actions by authors.

Writer Beware gives two big “thumbs down” to:

  • American Book Publishing (Salt Lake City, UT)
  • Archebooks Publishing (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Helm Publishing (Rockford, IL)
  • Hilliard and Harris (Boonsboro, MD)
  • Oak Tree Press (Taylorville, IL)
  • Park East Press (Dallas TX) (formerly Durban House, formerly Oakley Press)
  • PublishAmerica (Frederick, MD)
  • Royal Fireworks Press/Silk Label Books (Unionville, NY)
  • SterlingHouse Publisher (Pittsburgh, PA–imprints include, among others, Pemberton Mysteries, 8th Crow Books, Cambrian House Books, Blue Imp Books, Caroline House Books, Dove House Books, and PAJA Books)
  • SBPRA/Strategic Book Publishing/Eloquent Books (Boca Raton, FL–formerly known as The Literary Agency Group and AEG Publishing Group)
  • Tate Publishing (Mustang, OK)
  • Whitmore Publishing Company (Pittsburgh, PA)

[Edited 12/31/11 to reflect closures and name changes]


    1. I can't afford to send 4G's to send to Tate unless I hit the megabucks.Then again,if they are doing terrible job editing peoples work,Then you're throwing your 4G's in a wild hog's you know what!

    2. Anonymous, Raider International isn't a publisher, but a print-on-demand self-publishing service (it provides publishing services for a fee). For more on those kinds of services, including the potential pitfalls they pose for writers, see the Print on Demand Self-Publishing Services page of Writer Beware.

    3. Hello,
      I've seen how helpful this blog has been to a lot of people and I was wondering if you could answer my question.
      Is Raider's publishing international a good publishing house?

    4. I had my attorney review my contract for my manuscript that i received from Strategic Book publishing/Elequent books Joint venture program. He said that it sounds halfway like a scam if and the only thing they will do is put your book together and i maintain the rights. There is a dark cloud. If i was to send them $895 which I'm not will my book gross that or more,they say that I will get 50% in royalties. I don't think so. What's going on with Whitmore Publishing.why are they on the thumbs down list. They want to see my manuscript. Who are the legit publishing companies. Could anyone tell me.

      David Rogers

    5. Hi,
      I think there is a lot of good stuff here which is very helpful to those of us who are venturing into the field of publishing for the first time. I have written quite a good number of plays but has been unable to find a publisher. I am looking for one who would publish my religious play. Is there anyone with the name of a company to propose?

      I have learnt quite a lot from this website particularly on the differences between a printer and a publisher. Is there anyone who knows a publisher who does not charge authors fees upfront?
      I will appreciate any resonse. Thanks

    6. I'm not finding anyone who has had any dealings with Turner Publishing Company located out of Paducah, Kentucky. Can anyone give me the heads up on this publishing company?


    7. I have had tremendous success with http://www.lulu.com. For the do-it-yourself people out there who don't want to pay, it's great. I am a younger author and Lulu has worked to my favor both times I've used it for my science fiction series.

    8. I'm sorry to hear that iUniverse has been taken over or bought by Author House and that their fees have increased. I had a book published by them in 2005, it came out fine with a very good cover (on Amazon, etc-Make Little Weeping-but since then I've combined it with the sequel and am looking for a publisher and/or agent. It's not SF or Fantasy, rather a psychological suspense-but your comments and advice are fascinating. I've also published a short story anthology in Lulu, which is also okay. At least there you don't have to pay, and you do the editing, send the cover and so on yourself.
      It seems as though everyone is writing a book. No wonder it's so hard to find an agent or publisher. Probably it would be easier to go the small press route-any suggestions as to who is accepting submissions?
      I've done copyediting for other authors, and still missed a few things in my first novel. The problem with vanity press books is that they don't do editing-and charge more than the regular market. Who wants to buy a book for $15, by an unknown author, when they can buy Tom Clancy for $7.95?

    9. I signed a contract ONLY BECAUSE they advertise that it would cost nothing to publish my book, I was so thrilled about getting my story
      out to finally help someone after keeping it in for so many years, because of the shame and embarrassment of it all, until I did some research,
      THEY are the most hated publisher in the world, the ONLY people that have anything good to say about them ..IS THEM ONLY.. they are unscrupulous,takes advantage of the poor and the handicapped, they only do your book so they can bleed BLEED THE AUTHOR dry, they only sell books TO THE AUTHORS, and if authors don't buy them THEY DON'T SELL AT ALL. THEY print they don't publish, They lock you into a 7 YEAR contract,TO take FULL ADVANTAGE of a poor person and EVERYONE else who has ever dealt with them, PLEASE THERE HAS GOT TO BE SOMETHING that someone can do. WE have blinders on when we see the word FREE, but that does not give anyone THE RIGHT to take advantage of you or YOUR WORK. That is MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY story
      I wrote it to help or save someone's life and all THAT PUBLISHER wants to do is MAKE MONEY FROM ME FOR MY OWN autobiography, which means I AM THE ONLY one that will be buying MY OWN autobiography. NO bookstores will take their books because of their reputations. It is not about the money, although it would help, its about taking my LIFE STORY and taking advantage of it by TRYING to SELL IT BACK TO ME. Please PLEASE SOMEONE OUT THERE HELP ME. IS THERE ANYONE OUT THERE to help PLEASE. I am handicapped and poor, I cannot afford a lawyer. CAN U HELP ME PLEASE? The book is NOT YET published, they told me it was in the TEXT/EDITING department now,
      which I have read, they dont have EITHER. How can I get out and get my manuscript back. I GOT ALL OF THIS INFORMATION FROM THE RESEARCH
      THAT I DID ON THE INTERNET, WHICH I should have done before, BUT I know there is someone out there THAT IS NOT AFRAID and will not LET STUPIDITY allow a publisher to take advantage of the weak.
      I signed contract on 7/7/2009.

    10. I am painfully aware that this is W-A-Y down on the comments list. Even so, and no 'hit' on Ms Strauss, there are a few simple ways you can protect yourself from these rip-off artists.

      1st, Please,call your State Attorney General's office and see if they have any fraud complaints listed against your prospective agent or publisher. If the do, jump on the bandwagon. It's the only way we have to put these crooks out of business. if they don't, at least you have eliminated a big possible landmine.

      2nd, Check with the various websites like this one. Some of these con's skirt the law just enough to stay 1 step away from either a complaint, or, if it's serious enough, a grand jury. There is a lot of wisdom in that old saying 'where there's smoke, there's fire'. Just 'cause the advice is old doesn't mean it's worthless. Any smoke, run and don't look back.

    11. BEWARE OF BOOKPROS IN TEXAS. They publish under Bridgeway, Ovation, & Synergy books. DO NOT USE THEM THEY'RE A GIGANTIC RIP OFF! YOU'LL BE VERY SORRY IF YOU USE THEM. TRUST someone who is VERY sorry that they did…

    12. Hi! I'd like to know if you have any information about Imajinnbooks. I tried Googling them but -unlike PA – I could find nothing bad about them and I am considering submitting a query for my first book.
      By the way, this site is great, thank you for all the pertinent info!

    13. Anonymous said…
      Add these to your list of so-called publishers:

      Dark Hart Press
      Brilliant Book Press
      Goldfish Press
      Drollerie Press
      Morrigan Books

      Because of the easy access to print-on-demand technology, there are undoubtedly many more pseudo-professional publishers out there. Self-publishing is now not the only bad choice a writer can make. It is nearly as bad to be published by an unprofessional print-on-demand "publisher."

      Things to watch for as serious red flags are verbose emails, unsolicited phone calls, oddly orchestrated contracts, lack of editing skills, any talk of charges to you as the writer (for mock-up illustrations, etc.), inability to read or understand a ms., inability to discern types of writing (ex: calling a stage play a "script"), and using colloquial words in correspondence (damn, screw up, etc.)

      Real publishers are professionals from hat to heels, no exceptions.

      I don't know about all these publishers, but Drollerie Press is a solid publisher. I've even seen their books in stores. if you strike out with agents, or the big publishing houses (random, penguin…etc) and decide to go with a legit micro-press, you'd be lucky to land a spot with Drollerie.

    14. Tara
      Thank you so much for your comment on Tate. I appreciate it. I will also pass and continue looking. If you find a good publisher please post the name and I will do the same. Best of luck in your search.
      -Almost a Tater-

    15. I received an offer from Tate Publishing at the beginning of the month…two and a half months after I submitted my work to them. Initially, I knew about the author investment, and this was reinforced in the initial email I received from the company. I would hear about my work in six to eight weeks. Approximately ten weeks later, I emailed Tate, inquiring as to the status of my manuscript. Two days later I was informed by Trinity Tate that my work was in the final stage of review, and that I would hear back from her in a few days. You can imagine how excited I was to hear this, but was still concerned that I had to contact them first long after their window in order to find out. Again, I waited. Ten days later, I again contacted her. Three days later, with no other response, I received a contract in the mail.

      Reading through the contract, there were a few items that raised my eyebrows. A friend who has been a published author for over 15 years contacted the Authors Guild, and the head of the legal department urged me to run the other way. A few of the things that were immediately noted:

      1. No reputable publishing house will charge an author an up-front fee to publish. According to the Author's Guild, the publisher should be advancing you, rather than you giving them a $4000 investment that will most likely not be returned, as most first time authors never sell 5000 copies.

      2. The author of a work should be receiving at least 50% of the proceeds from subsidiary rights, far more than the 15% Tate offers.

      3. While Tate's 15% royalties on net profits looks good on paper, the fact is, it is not the big payment that they make it appear to be. If they were paying off of list prices, it would be a much more attractive offer.

      Yes, Tate is personable, which in and of itself can be quite the draw. Most first-time authors (myself included) do not realize just how much they can make, and have the right to make, so the offer Tate supplies looks wonderful.

      I contacted Trinity and told her I was unable to accept their offer at this time, and requested that they destroy all copies of my book that they may have had. (This is something they say they do if you are rejected, as well.) I also cited the items I listed above. I received no response.

      I am still searching for a reputable publisher, but feel a bit wiser for the wear.

    16. As a bookseller, I can only comment on the availability of books from small and vanity press publishers. PublishAmerica is one of the worst; they have outrageously high minimum purchase requirements, very short discounts and, as of the last time I checked, are non-returnable. Lulu is nearly impossible to get in touch with, so I don't know what their terms are. iUniverse and Xlibris, on the other hand, are available through Ingram or Baker and Taylor, although they are quite expensive and take time to arrive. I special order a lot of books for customers and I keep a weather eye out for publishers which have very poor track records for distribution. I generally refuse to order anything from PublishAmerica or Lulu, since the books, are very expensive, poor quality and take forever, if they come in at all. Since my store does take books on consignment, self publishing is often a better alternative to any of these compapanies.

    17. I just got my legal contract from Tate today and am depating signing. What I don't understand about what you mention about Tate is that I am totally aware of the $4000 and was aware of that clearly before I even submitted my book to be read. Is there any proof they are not worthy or are people getting burned because they did not abide to their own end of the contract.

    18. Stuart, a publisher that forces authors to cover its publishing costs (whether by levying upfront charges, or making authors buy their own books, or both) either can't support itself by doing what a publisher ought to do (sell books to the public), or else is mainly interested in turning its authors into customers. Either way, bad news for authors, who can look forward to tiny sales beyond the books they buy themselves.

      Ask yourself why this publisher conceals its fees. Would you have submitted to it at all if you knew you'd have to pay? Probably not. The publisher knows this. It also knows that if it hides its fee initially, and reveals it only after it has offered you the validation of publication, you'll be more likely to hand over the cash.

      Would you contact me at beware@sfwa.org? I'd love to have documentation of Black Leaf's fees. All information and documentation shared with Writer Beware is held in confidence.

    19. Hi.
      I've just had a novel of mine accepted by Black Leaf publishing. They wrote back with high praise and a list of typos in my manuscript (usual, silly stuff, the sort of things everyone misses)with suggestions that I should change them. I was over the moon, obviously. They have a good web-site, they have around 12 authors and these books are also available on amazon UK and Amazon.com as well as Barnes and Noble. However, what made me stop was their request for a once only payment of 299 pounds. This was a contribution towards publishing, they said, as they are small and need to cover some of their costs. So…what do I do? It's not a huge amount of money, they have said they will accept it in monthly payments…has anyone had any dealings with them, or any thoughts? Thanks,

    20. Anyone is free to post a comment here, pro or con. We welcome comments from publishers, authors, editors, and anyone else who can speak from personal experience.

    21. Wouldn't it be a positive service to readers to have publishers on your list respond to your concerns? It's obvious from the comments that one writer has an unfavorable experience with a publisher while the next has a positive experience. Perhaps hearing from the berated publishers themselves will be beneficial.

    22. Your "beware" list is supposedly based on an evaluation of a publisher. Do you have a place for positive comments about publishers you trash?

    23. I think that Tate Publishing should be added to the recommened publishers list. I have recently releases my third book with them, and they seem to get better every time. My experience with Tate has been great from day one!

      A dream
      is just a dream if it's not pursued…. RRIII

    24. Now, on the bright side, here are a few publishers worth their weight in gold:

      Wildside Press
      Cosmos Books
      Dead Letter Press
      Rebel Satori Press
      Rogue Blades Entertainment
      Sam's Dot Publishing

    25. Add these to your list of so-called publishers:

      Dark Hart Press
      Brilliant Book Press
      Goldfish Press
      Drollerie Press
      Morrigan Books

      Because of the easy access to print-on-demand technology, there are undoubtedly many more pseudo-professional publishers out there. Self-publishing is now not the only bad choice a writer can make. It is nearly as bad to be published by an unprofessional print-on-demand "publisher."

      Things to watch for as serious red flags are verbose emails, unsolicited phone calls, oddly orchestrated contracts, lack of editing skills, any talk of charges to you as the writer (for mock-up illustrations, etc.), inability to read or understand a ms., inability to discern types of writing (ex: calling a stage play a "script"), and using colloquial words in correspondence (damn, screw up, etc.)

      Real publishers are professionals from hat to heels, no exceptions.

    26. I am not a writer – I am a reader. I have over 3500 books in my library. Only one of those was not published by a "real" publisher. I struggled through the first chapter and about half of the second. Then I randomly read several passages through out the rest of the book. I think it may have been a good story – but the author was given to describing everything in minute detail, most of which was not relevant to the story. This resulted in the story being swamped by all these words. One page, I decided, should have been written as two sentences. It was so frustrating. I will never buy another book by this author, and would advise him to change his name if he can get a book published by a real publisher.

      As a result, I don't even consider buying self-published books anymore.

    27. Has anyone had any dealings with PM Moon Publishers? I was just offered a contract with them. I have to have 10 book signings, sell 25 books at each one, host a luncheon for each and do all my own promoting for these things. If I don't sell all 25 books then I have to buy the rest.

      The first thing they tell you is to buy an e-book on how to promote yourself written by one of their authors. I am told they will get me TV air time, radio time and some press releases, but I do the rest.

      I know they are a fairly new publishing house. Nowhere on their site do they say vanity press or whatever. Their catalogue consists of what you see on their site is whom they have published . . . and that's all of 4 authors to date I think.

      Any thoughts on this. I say false advertising . . . and wish to remain anonymous

    28. So it is a poor writer indeed who cannot see “what is right before their eyes” on Tate’s website regarding their fees?

      What is right before one’s eyes on the Tate website is a small line at the bottom which encourages you to e-mail them to “learn more about royalties, author investments” and their services. Nowhere is there a dollar figure, and “author investments” is too vague a phrase. It’s a handy euphemism designed to disguise the fact that they’re going to ask you for four thousand bucks. I would never deal with someone who is not upfront from the get-go about what is going on. So they send you a letter after you’re hooked, and inform you of the four thou — oh, very good for them.

      That’s when you should run. FAST!

      I have one book that has been in print for over 12 years, and another about to be published, and I never paid one red cent for the honor. The publisher pays me. And that is the way the legitimate publishing business works. Period.

    29. I can’t believe RoseDog Books was not on the list. Working with Rose Dog Books has been the worst experience with ANY company I have EVER had in my 69 years on this planet. RoseDog Books provided no receipts for ANY orders, advertising, sales etc.. NO TRANSPARENCY! Please don’t ever give this scam company any of your money.

      -Taxi Jean-

    30. I am in total shock that whitmore Publishing is on the list, they reject almost everyone! WOW!!!!

    31. To: Anonymous,

      “Shut I just signed contract with
      PublishAmerica,two weeks ago.Now they send me questionarie,please help is there any way to get out of contract?”

      I made the same mistake a few years ago when I wasn’t familiar with the publishing industry. I was able to get the rights back to my work fairly quickly after publication, but I had to be persistent about it. First PA stopped returning my emails and were short with me on the phone…Finally I sent an email stating that if they didn’t contact me my next contact would be from my Maryland attorney (I live in CA, bluffed that one)…No word, but two weeks later I got a last royalty check and a letter saying I was released from all contract obligations…So I can only speak for myself, but I broke free from PA contract within a couple months of it being released. Good luck.

    32. I have a publishing question: I am a writer who is considering starting my own small press. I want to solicit short stories from other writers to be published in an eBook or even a printed anthology along with one of my own stories and sell it through Amazon or other retailers. I would incur most of the costs as well as editing, marketing, etc.

      I am also considering asking for a submission fee ($5 or less) from each potential writer to help cover some of the initial costs of publishing the book. I would then pay each of the accepted writers a fee upfront and royalties later.

      What are your thoughts on this?

      Also, what would be the difference between my idea vs. a writing contest charging a submission fee? Or is there a difference?

      Thanks in advance for your advice.


    33. Anonymous, you may not be able to get out of the contract, but Publish America only holds the rights to your book for seven years, unless you forget to write them at least three months before that time is up to refuse their services at the end of the seven years, then they will keep the rights for another seven years.

      So mark your calender and don’t forget to write them to get back the rights to your book. I also just signed a contract with them, being uneducated about publishers who take our money. But I’m learning. And now, so are you.. Good luck.

    34. Thank you so much for an answer,
      see it wouldn’t bother me much,
      I have so many ideas,I can be fine
      but problem is I and my daughter write that book,so far they been ok.
      My name is Daniel.

    35. If you signed the contract, Anonymous, I’m afraid you’re stuck. You can try asking politely to be released–probably won’t help, but worth a try.

    36. Shut I just signed contract with
      PublishAmerica,two weeks ago.Now they send me questionarie,please help is there any way to get out ofcontract?

    37. Mark Relsoh: first all, it is a big deal when a ‘publisher’ makes such a mistake – only because so few publishers actually do. Real publishers are extremely vigilant about putting out a good project. That is why real publishing takes so long – the refining process to make it perfect in all ways.

      Second, no writer should ever be a publisher’s customer. EVER. You’re not paying them for anything. It is the READERS who are the publisher’s customers. If you are a writer and a publisher’s customer, there’s something wrong. I would suggest research into vanity publishing, and then maybe you’ll see why Victoria and others are so critical of the $4000 fee amongst other things. Real publishers pay you, never the other way around. I would rather be the one getting the $4000 than paying it.

    38. I wish I had known about PA before I signed my contract. They absolutely do no editing. As a matter of fact, the proof they sent me had paragraphs running together, quotation marks, commas and periods missing. I almost went after them to get them to change the proof because they only wanted five pages, single column of changes. There was much more than that. I even used an 8 font to send them a double column of mistakes.

      Finally, I just told them to print it any way they wanted to. I told them that if the book was printed the way they proofed it, it would never sell and they would really look like amateurs to the rest of the publishing industry.

      Eventually, they sent me a new proof that looked much better, but still had mistakes. There just isn’t anything I can do about it. I do have a clause that allows me to notify them three months before the seven years is up and refuse their services. At the end of seven years I get my book back.

      In case you are interested, the title of my book is ‘A Hero is Born’. They didn’t do a half bad job on the cover design.

      I know where to come to from now on to research. Thanks for the job you do.
      David Cope

    39. I followed the links here through Writer Beware newsletter. I read every word of the query project and it was like a light came on in my clueless head. Taking cues from all of the project queries, I think I have come up with a query that may make it through…A BIG THANK YOU!!!!!! I look forward to reading this blog on a regular basis.

    40. I smell litigation in the air.

      Maligning an important part of the publishing industry is a subjective opinion. Maligning individual business entities or people amounts to slander and can be cause for a civil suit that can have far reaching implications both for the company/person maligned and the individual or individuals involved in the defamation.
      I see more of these lawsuits in the making based on unsupported statements of hearsay and conspiratorial defamation of a segment of this industry. It would be wise for those who purport to be “authorities” on publishing to put away their blacklists and pursue other fiction writing endeavors.

      The previous poster makes a valid point about the poor reading skills of those self proclaimed writers who cannot in fact read and comprehend what is right before their eyes.

      Such spite, pettiness and negative commentary only breeds its own kind. It does not enhance literature but only the self serving interests of a few who can and do manipulate others into purchasing materials that these self proclaimed experts produce to protect the naive. The lynch mob mentality and energy expended in the pursuit of defaming other people only serves to show the mean spirited and low standards of those involved.

      The veil of anomnity (and lack of responsibility) has been withdrawn by recent precedent setting court cases wherein those who liable and defame others without bearing the burden of proof will have to pay damages to the offended party. Furthermore, those who collaborate, conspire and defend the unconscionable acts of those who defame innocent parties will also be enjoined in damages to those offended.

      One such recent suit has the defendant paying expensive money damages for his irresponsible statements, allegations and imprudent actions on the Internet. This individual sought donations for a legal defense which may or may not be an actionable offense if said donations did not explicitly go toward the expenses of prosecuting a trial.

      On closing, those who defame others in a public forum may be responsible for damages if they do not prove their statements. Hearsay is not a defense for spewing hurtful gossip or disseminating untruths, nor will it ameliorate the damages done to individuals or businesses damaged by such actions. Writer Beware!

    41. Oh, and another common complaint made against Tate Publishing is that the author’s up front fee of $4,000 isn’t mentioned at their website, or is hidden, is really hitting below the belt. I liked how one blogger wrote how many businesses don’t provide all the necessary details right away. Most of those complaining about not seeing the $4,000 fee, or about not even being informed of there being a fee, obviously did not do a good job of reading the information posted at the website. Again, their negative comments are a reflection of their spiteful agenda and/or their poor reading skill.

    42. I’m not a published author, yet. I visited this blog site, as I’m thinking of going with Tate Publishing. One thing I’ve noticed here, as well as at other similar blog sites, is that the ones making negative comments about publishers seem to have a spiteful agenda, rather than wanting to be fair and honest. For example, Victoria Strauss lost all credibility with her post of 8/25/2008? 11:25 in which she wrote, “Rhonda, I’m more concerned by the fact that they screwed up your book to begin with than impressed by the fact that they fixed things once you got angry. If a company is charging you $4,000 to provide a service, it should be able to get it right from the start, without intervention from you.” Victoria should have been happy to learn that Tate did the right thing. Anyone who works for themself, as I do, or has had to deal with others having to get jobs done knows very well that mistakes are made. Tate probably did not even do the printing. We don’t know all the specifics regarding the story. The main point, though, was that Tate took immediate action to make corrections and please his customer. To ignore that and state that because a fee was paid no mistakes should have been made is ludicrous! I have absolutely no respect now for this Writer Beware venue.

    43. Just wanted to say thanks for a useful post in your very useful blog!

      I’m a young editor and was between jobs last summer when I came across openings at American Book Publishing — one for editors, one for copyeditors. Not knowing anything more than what they put on their website, I sent in my resume and was surprised by the enthusiasm of their responses.

      Naturally, I like to think that I have solid experience and talent and all that, but when they started to sell me on working for them as a full editor — without so much as a phone interview — it was hard not to be suspicious.

      After a little research, I came up with your list and the Writer Beware description of the company and decided this was not an organization I wanted to be part of.

      So thanks for putting information like this out there so we can all try to make responsible decisions. 🙂

    44. Hi. About Whitmore —

      My experience with them: they didn’t charge a penny; had me sign a five year contract; produced an extraordinarily well designed book of durable construction; sent out eighty books (probably just flyers to reviewers; put a huge price on it; and put it in their little online bookstore and Amazon.

      Maybe they were extra careful with me because the book was endorsed by Norman Mailer and I’d already sold one book to a commercial publisher.

      I toured most of the Civil War clubs and re-enactments, giving speeches in my silly Confederate uniform. I cringe when I think of it, but I did sell a few hundred books.

      Oh, the book was reviewed by three national publications and a local newspaper. I also presented a half-hour radio program.

      When I asked for my rights back three years later, Whitmore gave them back.

      Mr. Mailer has expired now and no one seems interested in bringing the Civil War book out again. With my permission, Whitmore is still carrying it in its catalog, and will until I can find a bigger publisher. Ha!

      So that’s my story with Whitmore. I guess Mailer felt sorry for me when he endorsed the book — it didn’t do me any good, anyway.

      At any rate, I would put Whitmore in league above PublishAmerica — but way beneath a commercial press like Putnam. They sent me royalties regularly.

      I don’t think Whitmore deserves to be black-balled here, as it did produce a well made book and got it reviewed in national magazines.

    45. Hi, I am new here. Noticed Strategic is on the list, but definitely not as many comments about them as there are the others. Can someone tell me what their experience has been with them that is so bad? Thanks, I’d appreciate any feedback.

    46. Anonymous, this alert at the Writer Beware website should tell you more about American Book Publishing.

      As you know if you’ve received a contract, ABP charges a “setup” fee. A publisher that wants you to pay upfront is vanity publisher. Follow the links at the Writer Beware website to find out why vanity publishing is never a good idea.

    47. I’d love to hear anyone’s input on American Book Publishing. They have offered me a contract, and I would be grateful for any first-hand experiences with them. I see they’re on the thumbs-down list, but I don’t see any commentary as to why. I do think their contract is highly restrictive and beneficial to them, but I don’t mind that if they’re really going to do quality work and really market my book.
      What do you all think?

    48. I am weighing in very late as I just stumbled on this blog post. As a literary publicist who has worked with new authors, I must emphatically agree with Victoria’s advice to avoid several of these publishers. Most mentioned have been on my bad list for years and many times I will refuse to represent a book when printed through one of those outlets. These publishers cripple an author’s career before it even starts and I get tired of getting blamed when I can’t get results because of publishers’ blunders.

      Long story short, just trust Victoria when she says to keep looking. You never know, you might stumble across a publisher that will pay YOU for your work.

      BTW, I am not a lackey or affiliated with writer beware in any form or fashion. I do however have experience in the industry and am really tired of watching authors with potential get cheated because they didn’t do their homework.

    49. This is a very informative post. I didn’t realize publishing companies could do things like that and then charge you for doing them. I haven’t published a book yet, but I will look for a good publisher now, if I can find one.

    50. RJ,

      Tate Publishing remains on the “Two Thumbs Down” list. The link you gave is to WB’s literary agency list. Tate Publishing is not a literary agency and would not therefore appear on that list.


    51. This site, Writer Beware –is an excellent site. Everyone should post a link to this site on their own blogs. Spread the word about publishers that are not upfront with their printing fees and about printers who are marketing themselves as publishers.

      Key here is this:

      Printers ask for money -that is for printing.

      Publishers, mainstream and small real publishers do not ask the writer for money but instead GIVE the writer a fee or advances if the writer’s book is good enough for that. If the writer’s book is not acceptable, the writer loses no money, not a penny from a real publisher.

    52. Good reference source for writers is here http://www.refdesk.com

      also, I recommend lulu.com

      I posted that anonymous comment because I could not remember my password for my blog . But hopefully this message will go through. Thanks.

    53. Thanks for your website, It is very informational.

      Here is a company that asks for no up-front money (unless that has changed since). Try this company called lulu.com or at http://www.lulu.com.

      I am not affiliated with the company but have seen what they do and have actually seen a “book” that was published by them. Small book, soft cover–good printing. Good quality. And the person paid no upfront money, just paid for the book itself to be delivered. Person bought about 10 books,that is all. And happy with the result.

      That is just for your information. Would like YOUR comment on lulu.com whatever you feel good or bad. Honest comments. THANKS.

    54. Hey John-

      I don’t know any well known people to refer you to.. I will say, sometimes your local newspaper will have someone willing to read it or a local radio station. My first book, I chose to have all friends and family, the second, other professional contacts, and the third, a pastor, a radio host, and, some local shop owners. They have all been people that seemed right for the time… The right people will be there for you to have endorse.. WHO may need to read the book -NOW- that is in your life?

      Many blessings-


    55. Hey John!

      Congratulations on your contract! The answer is YES to your questions. Although they offered to get endorsements for me, I got my own. Keep in mind, they do everything that they say they will, and more, but as Authors, we have to play are part just the same. Start contacting your local bookstores (ask for the public relations person) about book signings. Tell them the books are 100% returnable. If you don’t get the right person the first time, try again.. May your journey unravel in grace.. Enjoy this exciting time!!


    56. I forgot one additional question: Do you know any well known Christian writers or pastors, who are willing to read a book such as mine and endorse the book if they think it has merit? If so, please give me the contact information, and, if you know them, would you like to read my book and recommend it to these people if you like the book?

      Thanks and God bless,


    57. I have a contract with Tate, and the editing process is beginning.

      My book is “The Truth: God’s Inspired Word,” which proves that the Bible is God’s true and inspired Word.

      I would appreciate feedback from RRIII and Rhonda Spellman, and anyone else, on the two following questions:
      1. Please advise in detail the exact marketing work that Tate has done for your books–did they get your books into bookstores, did they get it listed in catalogues and Christian web sites, did they find endorsements for the book, did they get you any tv or radio appearances, or book fairs, etc??
      2. Please advise me ways I can market my book, and about any web sites where I can get my book listed, and where I can get my book reviewed.

      So far, Tate has been very helpful and answers all my emails and phone calls.

      Thanks and God bless,


    58. Hey Martin-

      I am sorry to hear about your situation. I am sure it is frusturating to you. It sounds like you are doing everything that you can do.
      Good luck with it.. I hope that they take care of the situation, for you, soon.

      Many blessings-

    59. Perhaps you have a suggestion that might help with a problem with iUniverse.

      I’ve been with them approximately two years. During the money phase, when they were happily taking my money, service was good. About a year ago, I paid their fee to change my royalty percentage from 10% to 20%, which was confirmed by email. They pay quarterly and continued to pay me only 10%. After three quarters, I decided to move my two novels to CreateSpace, an Amazon affiliate.

      Their agreement provides for contract termination with a thirty day written notice, which I sent. Over ninety days later, they are still cataloging and selling my books. They have ignored all my emails during this time, including a letter from my lawyer demanding they cease and desist.

      This problem is interfering with my efforts to sell books through CreateSpace. Amazon evidently assumes iUniverse is the legitimate publisher and gives them priority in an Amazon search.

      What is most surprising is that iUniverse will not respond to my pleas or even acknowledge my emails. I can’t believe they will toy with a copyright like this.

      Any suggestion would be appreciated at martinbrant@msn.com.

    60. I recently submitted an MS to StrategicBookPublishing who claim to be “traditional publishers”. They sent me a review which took my perfectly correct syntax, grammar and punctuation and turned it into a horrendous mess. These ‘corrections’ were done to convince me that my book was in serious need of editing. (It was obvious to me that some lowly functionary had lifted a pepper-pot filled with commas and semi-colons and sprinkled them liberally all over the place…allowing them to fall where they may. What an experience!! That was my cue to exitstage left at the best speed I could muster.)

    61. I’m looking for Children Literary.com they ripped me off and I was told that there was this problem and that problem until I got tried,not knowing that was what they wanted me to do!After I paid for editing service that I really didn’t need!


    62. I was wondering if their is a way for me to get a bit more information on Whitmore publishing, for they were in mind as far as signing and I’m obviously open to all facts.

    63. Thanks for the response Rhonda,
      I nearly went with Tate more than a year ago, that is untill I read on this site that the author is suppose to be paid by the publisher not the other way around. Then I read some negative things about them on this blog. I have just recently found another publisher who is Jones Harvest publishing in Elkhart, IN. Brien Jones. They will do everything for $1,750 and guarantee their work. Also says they never charge for any changes needed, no matter how many.

    64. RE: Tate Publishing

      For Victoria, yes the 1st book was an “experience” – Tate had recently moved into the childrens book publishing and the print quality didn’t work out. I’ve seen much worse by other publishers (who REFUSED to do ANYTHING about it…)

      Ryan not only reprinted my entire order, but he did it with lightening speed and with quality that FAR surpasses the quality out there. We all made mistakes – Ryan and Tate publishing chose to learn from theirs.

      After my letter to Mr. Tate I should be glad that he gave me a 2nd chance.

      Also – after we (Tate and I) sell 5000 books (over any length of time) I will receive my $4000 BACK – sound impossible? I don’t think so. I sold 3000 of my first book all by myself – in 2 years.

      For BionicBullrider – have you looked at your investment? You say “$2,867 + editing” – probably another $2,000… and I’ll bet they don’t give any back – ever. I’d give Tate a call – check them out.


    65. Hey Rhonda-

      Thanks for the feedback. I respect your input. However, for me, I do see it as a foot in the door. I am confident that my work will continue to find it’s way out there, as it does. I personally don’t see it as money down the drain, I see it as money well spent, considering the people my books have touched so far. All in all, I just appreciate the opportunity to share, and for me TATE was the best fit in order for me to do so.
      Furthermore, with there being no fee on my third book, it was worth the initial investment considering all that I, as well as others, have gained from the experience.

      Enjoy the day!


    66. I am close to going with Mill City Press. Has anyone had any experience with them, Good or Bad? Their complete package costs $2,867. Editing would be extra. The thing I like about them is from what they say is I only pay what it costs them for each printed book. Which is $3.60 where as most all other self publishers charge over $6 per book you order. I would apprececiate any info anyone has on Mill City Press. Thanks, BLB

    67. Rhonda, I’m more concerned by the fact that they screwed up your book to begin with than impressed by the fact that they fixed things once you got angry. If a company is charging you $4,000 to provide a service, it should be able to get it right from the start, without intervention from you.

      rriii, I appreciate your candor. However, never making back your initial investment is a common outcome of vanity publishing, and one of many reasons why experts don’t recommend it for most authors. And I’m sorry to be blunt, but vanity publishing is rarely a foot in the door. Most often, it’s money down the drain.

    68. RE: Tate Publishing

      You may have read my post on 4/29/2008. Things were not happening "right" and I was mad!

      Before I signed with Tate Publishing I was well aware that my investment was $4,000. They make no secret of this.

      This was not my 1st book and I was prepared to do my part. I had paid $3,700 JUST for the editing, cover design and layout for my 1st book. ADD to that the illustrations and the $4,000 with Tate was a DEAL!

      My book with Tate turned out to be a mess – honestly… a bad print job. I knew it and they knew it also… once I gave the boss a chance to see it. I only wish I would have sent the book to Ryan Tate before spouting off about my displeasure – behind their backs!

      So – here's the REAL STORY: I sent Ryan Tate a copy of the badly printed soft cover book with my complaints and demands – I feel bad that my letter wasn't very nice.

      He called me immediately to apologize and offered to correct the situation right away. He told me that he wanted me to be "doing back flips."

      "Lip service," right…? Isn't that what you're thinking? I hate to admit it but I was really afraid to believe him after so much bad press (on this site).

      Well, that very day I talked with others on the Tate team and we reordered my book in hard-cover – remade completely FREE to me. The new books were rushed out to me faster than I thought possible.

      The new hard cover books are FANTASTIC and better than I had even hoped for. They are selling well and the marketing team is behind me all of the way!

      My thoughts to ANYONE out there who honestly (seriously) thinks they can get the professional job that Tate Publishing is doing for you for less than $4000:

      Look around and compare apples to apples – editing, layout, proofs, design, marketing, illustrations: add them all up and IF you can find a package for less than $4000 – let me know!

      *I've been in this business for many years and I'm pretty picky. I didn't want to be associated with smut books and I didn't want any surprises either. I've seen both and more – I would suggest that you look a little deeper than people's emotions on this site (including mine).

      Look at the Tate Publishing site: http://www.TatePublishing.com. They didn't win all of those awards for no reason. Give them a chance. I'm sure glad I did. I'm especially glad I gave them a second chance!

      By-the-way, I am the Membership Chair for Colorado Independent Publishers Association, http://www.CipaBooks.com – and affiliated with dozens of printers & publishers – to date I haven't heard ONE SINGLE printer or publisher say ONE SINGLE thing negative about Tate Publishing (and I've ASKED!). Even their competitors can't find a problem…

      Give them a call 888-361-9473- tell them Rhonda Spellman sent you.

    69. Hey Victoria-
      No, I don’t mind at all. I have not made back all of my money. I am more than half way on the first book and about 20% on the second. I can say, however, there was no need for an author investment on my third book, which I am very thankful for.
      My books have been inspired back to back. I think my numbers will greatly increase with the release of the third book. I plan to devote more time to marketing on my end. I have been writing one after another, so I know I haven’t done all that I can do, on my end of things, as far as marketing is concerned. TATE has done everything they said they would do, and more.
      I know the author investment is in question. I questioned it myself. Honestly, I see it as an opportunity, either way. I don’t expect my first few books to get me to where I am motivated to get, but I needed my foot in the door somehow. TATE has given me, and continues to give me that opportunity.

      Enjoy your day!

    70. rriii,

      Since you’ve posted here several times in defense of Tate, I hope you don’t mind if I ask a question–have you made back the money you’ve invested so far in your first two books?

    71. Hey Stephanie-
      I saw your post on TATE. I just wanted to take the time to let you know that I personally have had great experiences with them. I published my first in 2002 and I am scheduled to begin production on my third, in September. I respect the feelings idea that they are just out for people money, but this has not been my experience with them at all. I see it as an opportunity to continue pursuing my passion to reach people in a positive way through my writing. Although I choose not to discuss the specifics of my contracts with them, I can say first hand, they have shown me that they are not after money. They have a vision and, I believe, they are doing the best they can do to follow that vision.

      May your journey be blessed and the doors continue to open so that you may live your truth…


      blessings- RRIII

    72. Hi All

      WOW…I am at a loss of words to describe how informative this blog is…lol. It took me almost an hour and a half to read all of the blogs entries and boy what an eye opener. I have also queered PA and received their wonderful acceptance letter. All the time I read it, I was wondering when the “other” shoe was going to drop, as several years ago I mistakenly “published” a couple poems with poetry.com. Boy was I disappointed when I found out that they were just after my money. Well anyway, as far as the “other shoe dropping it did…I got on line and cross referenced them (PA) in the Yahoo search engine and found exactly what I figured I would find, that they were not and are not a repeatable publishing company. Well now I have another question for you all. Do you know anything about wlchildrensagency.com? Because I have received a rather lengthy email from them requesting I submit my new children’s book but I can’t find anything on them. Awaiting your response
      Wichita, Kansas

    73. I was “offered” a contract with Tate. I knew something was wrong because it was all too easy – she flattered me with lines like, “if anyone was ever born to be a poet, it was you”, etc.

      I thankfully have a family member with more than 10 years in the industry, working at Zoland, Da Capo Press (a part of the Perseus Books Group), Justin Charles and Company, Intercultural Press and Nicholas Brealey Publishing. She is now a librarian.

      She told me that Tate is NOT well respected in the industry – that they are indeed a vanity press, which I felt like I knew all along, but didn’t want to believe (it feels good to get an offer, right?).

      Her advice was: join a local writers group, start submitting pieces to lit mags, take a Lifelong Learning class, and find a reputable agent (who doesn’t charge reading fees, by the way). Also, visit PublishersMarketPlace.com.

      Basically, to get published the “old fashioned” way, you have to do the “old fashioned” work.

      So if you’re wondering about Tate, wonder no longer. And stop waiting for prince charming.

    74. Barb,

      Writer Beware doesn’t consider vanity publishers a good choice for writers (for a full discussion of why, see our Vanity Publishing page). However, companies like Dorrance and RoseDog are straightforward about their fees, deliver the services paid for (even if they are overpriced), and don’t pretend to be anything they’re not. We’d never suggest a writer choose them, but we don’t feel they belong on our Thumbs Down list.

    75. I want to add two more publishers to this list: Dorrance Publishing Co., located in Pittsburgh PA, and its new POD, RoseDog Pubishing. About 17 years ago, I submitted a short novella to Dorrance. I knew by then that they were a subsidy publisher which means they will publish your book for a fee, although they don’t publish pornography or libelous material. However, when I received their contract, I was to pay $6900 for the first 1,000 books. It was a very short book, only 56 pages! Well, I paid them anyway, but the book only sold 300 copies, which meant that I would have to either stock the remaining 700 copies and try to sell them myself or Dorrance would shread them all. I let them do the latter. Just two years ago, I submitted another, much longer, and better novel. It was some 600 pages, and lo and behold, they wanted $22,000 for it on my contract! I did not sign, but I agreed to let their new POD, RoseDog Books publish it for a much smaller fee of $1400. However, I would have to pay more if I wanted any editing. I paid the $1400, but my book is full of errors and is not selling. I wonder if publishing a book really costs as much as these vanity-subsidy companies say it does.

    76. Beware Publish America.They published my book in 2004 and since then I have recieved about $7.00 in royalties.I haven’t even recieved a statement in three years.I have spoke to several lawyers,the BBB and even the States Attorney in Maryland.None of them could do anything about these crooks.Be careful.

    77. Hey John-
      Congratulations one your book! Although they do give themselves one year, in the contract, neither one of my books took that long to be in production, and available to the public.
      I have been more than pleased with the quality of TATE’s finished product and they have done all that they claim to do, as far as marketing is concerned. My marketing representative is always willing to help me in any way that he can.
      Oh yeah.. They have always been very good about returning phone calls, as well as emails.
      GOOD LUCK with the book!

    78. My book, “The Truth: God’s Inspired Word” has been accepted by Tate. I have some questions–the contract gives them up to 1 year to publish and distribute the book–this seems to me to be too long and wouldn’t 6 months be more reasonable–my book is relatively short and was sent to them as a fully completed word document–Is one year an accepted industry standard or should I try to get them to agree to 6 months?

      Also–can anyone tell me how well do they bind the softcover books, is the print quality good (doesn’t smudge, etc.), do they accurately edit the books, and do they really do all they claim to do in order to market the book?

      Do they promplty return phone calls?



    79. One more thing.. To the person above, considering a contract with tate. I have been very pleased with them, in all aspects of my experience. I highly recommend them!

      Listen to your inner wisdom, you’ll know what’s right for you..


    80. Hello to all. I am new to the site. I noticed a conern with the fee charged by Tate Publishing. I personally have published two books with Tate (YOU and WHAT REALLY MATTERS) and my third book begins production in September. Although my fee structure has changed with Tate as things have unraveled, they have always been upfront with me in regards to any fees that I was charged in the past. I can understand how some may be confused about a fee, or what it may be, but I can say, through personal experience, that if you ever have any questions about Tate Publishing, they are more than eager to answer them.


    81. I think the criticism of Tate’s vague mention of an author “investment” on their website is somewhat legitmate. I have recently been offered a contract with Tate, and missed that mention on their site.

      However, to be fair, they were totally up front about it in their initial e-mail to me after my submission. They also responded to my submission within the stated time frame they promised.

      But I’m not surprised that they don’t list the specific amount of the fee. Many “legitimate” companies state they have fees for certain services, but don’t mention the exact amount of those fees on their website. There are a variety of valid reasons for not listing the fees.

      I am leaning towards accepting Tate’s offer. At least then, I’ll be able to report back as to their actual performance, rather than providing mere speculation.

      Thanks for the information, though.

    82. More bias and unsubstantiated innuendo. No doubt Ms. Strauss has cronies that she recommends. If one has to resort to bad mouthing competition, then you should begin wondering about them.

    83. That’s great. Congratulations. I wish I could find a pulisher like that, they turned me down.

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