Solicitation Alerts: JustFiction! Edition and DIP Publishing House

When Writer Beware was founded in 1998, it was vanishingly rare for publishers (or agents) to contact aspiring writers to express interest in their work–so rare, in fact, that any sort of unsolicited publisher or agent contact was almost certain to be a scam or a pay-to-play arrangement. For instance, Dorrance Publishing Company–a venerable vanity publisher–regularly solicited writers using copyright registration information (a practice it still follows).

The march of technology has changed things to some degree. With blogs and online writing venues and social media, it’s no longer so unlikely that a reputable editor or agent might get a glimpse of an aspiring writer’s work and contact them directly. However, while you can no longer automatically dismiss such a contact, it’s still not the norm–and there are still plenty of not-necessarily-desirable enterprises that rely on spam-style solicitation to maintain their businesses. Direct contact from a publisher or agent should always be treated with caution, until research can determine whether the company or individual is reputable.

Two cases in point have come across my desk over the past few weeks.

JustFiction! Edition

A couple of weeks ago I started getting a rash of questions from writers who’d received out-of-the-blue emails from a company called JustFiction! Edition, offering to publish their books.

Dear [writer’s name redacted],

I am writing on behalf of a brand new international publishing house, JustFiction! Edition. In the course of a web-research I came across a reference of your manuscript [ms. name redacted] and it has caught my attention.

We are a publisher recognized worldwide, whose aim it is to help talented but international yet unknown authors to publish their manuscripts supported by our experience of publishing and to make their writing available to a wider audience.

JustFiction! Edition would be especially interested in publishing your manuscript as an e-book and in the form of a printed book and all this at no cost to you, of course.

If you are interested in a co-operation I would be glad to send you an e-mail with further information in an attachment.

I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

Evelyn Davis
Acquisition Editor

Just Fiction! Edition is a trademark of:
LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing GmbH & Co. KG
Dudweiler Landstr. 99
66123 Saarbrücken, Germany

In this case, you don’t have to look far for the tipoff: it’s right in the sig line. LAP Lambert Academic Publishing also does business as VDM Verlag Dr. Mueller, a.k.a. VDM Publishing and a number of others. I blogged about these companies a couple of years ago. They are author mills that acquire enormous numbers of books without editorial oversight, make them available via POD, and distribute them on the Internet with no meaningful marketing or promotional support.

There are no publishing fees, but the VDM contracts I saw had nonstandard terms (including a life-of-copyright rights grant with no provision for rights reversion) and an unfavorable payment policy (with royalties paid just once a year and vouchers in lieu of payments if royalties average 10 euros or less per month); and the books’ cover prices are head-spinningly high. All the VDM-related companies are notorious for their prolific cold-call solicitations.

Till now, the VDM-related companies have concentrated on students and academics. With JustFiction! Edition, they seem to be branching out into general fiction and nonfiction (and also jumping on the epublishing bandwagon). There’s no reason to suppose, however, that JustFiction! Edition’s acquisition, marketing, or payment policies will be significantly different from its parent company’s (according to its FAQ, JustFiction! Edition pays just 10% of the publisher’s net for both print and ebook–not a terrific print royalty, but a truly awful ebook royalty).

If you’re looking for traditional publishing, this definitely isn’t it–and if you want to self-publish, you can likely get a better deal elsewhere.

UPDATE 9/6/18: JustFiction! is still soliciting. Writer Beware!

DIP Publishing House

I’ve also been hearing from from writers and writers’ forum moderators who report unsolicited spam-style messages from DIP Publishing House:

Greetings to you,

My name is Sophia and I represent DIP Publishing House. I would like to discuss a potential publishing opportunity with you. This opportunity is not for Self-Publishing, although our company currently offers those services.

We are in search of a select group of Authors for a newly approved project called P.O.W.E.R… DIP Publishing has recently introduced a new and innovated way to publish called “Partnership-Publishing.” This traditional style of publishing was designed to give Authors with “potential” the opportunity to publish traditionally and receive the full backing of a publisher.

Authors selected are to complete a list of PBRs (Pre-Block Requirements) and shall be published over the next 3 to 6 months. Marketing and promotions will be handled under a budget set specifically for this program. For more information, feel free to respond to my email here or email my boss Argus at:

I hope to hear back from you soon!

DIP Publishing House
Administrative Assistant

To make a long story short, writers who respond receive a “Partnership Guide” laying out a complicated and bizarre “partnership-publishing” procedure, a.k.a. the P.O.W.E.R. project (“Partnering – Organizing – Writing – Expanding – Resourcing”):

Partners are published in blocks of (5) to (20) Authors. Each block is assigned a budget for use of marketing, promotions, registrations, and other related expenses approved under the P.O.W.E.R. project. Blocks are run by Block Coordinators (Agents) whose primary objective is to develop Authors and obtain books sales. Coordinators work closely with Sales and Marketing to establish the most relevant approach to the market in order to obtain optimal results.

At the conclusion of quarter (1) – (6 months following publishing) Authors are reevaluated according to book sales and current momentum of project(s). Authors deemed as high-potential shall receive their own budget for the following quarter, independent of block budget. On the other hand, Authors not considered high-potential by the end of quarter (1) shall once again share a promotional budget with block.

Despite the Partnership Guide’s assurance that “the P.O.W.E.R. program falls within the Traditional Publishing category,” authors must commit to providing nearly $200 in funding, either from others’ pockets or their own (with reimbursement possible for authors who achieve “exceptional sales”–whatever that means–within the first publishing quarter):

In support of assigned Block and project requirements, Authors must identify (10) supporters and complete (10) exchanges (Authors may also satisfy Pre-Block exchanges on their own). Exchange funds are used in conjunction with overall block budget to offset miscellaneous setup fees and reduce risks ($19.99 *USD per exchange – this cost does not represent the actual book price).

I’ve also seen DIP’s contract, which, among other things, pays royalties on net profit (the publisher’s net less printing costs), includes an editing clause enabling the publisher to edit at will without the author’s consent, and employs vague and confusing grant-of-rights language.

DIP is owned by businessman Argus Milton, whose resume does not appear to include any prior professional publishing or book authoring experience (apart from the titles he has published wth DIP, Mr. Milton has self-published one book through AuthorHouse). DIP has published a small number of books through its self-publishing programs, but self-publishing and publishing are two very different things, and expertise in the former doesn’t necessarily qualify you to undertake the latter.

I have no reason to doubt that DIP’s P.O.W.E.R. program is entirely well-intentioned–but its owner’s lack of relevant experience, the company’s strange and complicated publishing plan, the ill-advised solicitation policy, the contractual issues, and the financial commitment required of authors all combine to make this one a “beware.”


  1. Me too. I've had two emails from Christina Bacal of Just Fiction Edition in the last week. The giveaway to me was that she called my book 'Scruffy and Silk Paperback' which obviously isn't the correct title.
    Thanks for your article. It's great to have somewhere reliable to look up such things.

  2. I received an email from JustFiction Edition today (6/1/21), so apparently, they're still up to their old tricks. They referenced a 2018 anthology that included one of my stories as the basis for deciding to contact me.

    The person who signed the email identifies herself as Cristina Bacal, with an email of

    For obvious reasons, I will not be responding to her email.

  3. I got one of those solicitation emails from JustFiction! and already smelled a rat. Googling them led me here and I'm glad it did! Thanks for your great work.

  4. Thanks for this…. just had the letter…thought it must be what it turns out to be! Heh, heh. ..loves a trier, they say. BHD

  5. Hi! I'm from Buenos Aires, Argentina. I've just received an e-mail from JustFiction Edition but in Spanish. Its writing it's worse than the English version I read here… and of course it sounds totally false.

  6. Still on the go! I received a dodgy email today from JustFiction- I edit a literary magazine and we are a small publisher – so why on earth would they send me this communication!!

  7. Having told JFE a couple of months ago that I do not wish to proceed with them, and having published Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying via Kindle Direct Publishing, imagine my surprise to receive an SMS message form JFE this morning encouraging me to complete publishing the book with them.

    I've emailed them and asked them to stop contacting me

    I am still struggling to work out what their business model is. Royalties on low selling books are paid as vouchers against other book purchases from their catalogue, and their prices are stratospheric. While an unsolicited approach from them is flattering at first, how do they make money? I know from my Amazon sales figures to date I can make no physical royalty money from their offering, and very few folk will buy my work at their prices, leading to small profits, if any. I wonder what I'm missing!

  8. Thank you. I received emails from JustFiction this week and this article led me to check some other sources as well. It is sad they are still in business with such predatory practices from 2011 to 2019.

  9. Thank you for this post! I just received a similar email from Justfiction-edition! I didn'send or agree on anything but I asked to meet them in person/skype first…lol!

  10. Maara

    Reply to Unknown from 2/18/2019 – yes, how about following your own advice and contacting people who published with JustFiction! to get their feedback?
    A member of my family published with them, and has no complaints. They have the most liberal publishing agreement i have ever seen.

  11. I just received my first ever email from Just Fiction and bells and horns were blaring. Danger Will Robinson as quoted from Lost in Space.

    I'm published on Kindle Books and Smashwords. They never contacted me until I first initiated the enquiry.
    A writer's beware. Due your homework first before even contacting any publishers. It's not hard to contact the writer's who they have published and get their feedback. Keep you mind and imagination open. Put it to pen and share it worldwide. There are many free sites for you to fine tune your skills. Then when one of your story's has a great following, publish it on a reputable site. Au revoir

  12. I think Victoria Strauss has the correct analysis here. The fact that it is an offer to do something you might like is really no different from any other spam style email. JFE appears to offer a legitimate service, though one I criticise for the reasons above. They do seem to target those people who write. It may be that somehow your real world identity was linked to your nom de plume in some manner you are not aware of.

    I was approached in my nom de plume. I write LGBT fiction as a hobby, and have a web site on which I both publish it and other authors whose work steps over a certain quality bar. IT os pure vanity stuff. No money changes hands. Many of the authors there have been in receipt of an approach from JFE. No-one has told me whether the approach has been real identity or nom de [;ume,. though.

  13. Anonymous 2/15,

    I don't know the answer to your question, but publishers that do a lot of cold-call solicitation, like JFE, often buy "leads" from companies that sell packages of thousands of email addresses and associated information. Or they may generate leads themselves by scouring the internet. Unfortunately if you get one solicitation like this, you may well get others, so be on your guard.

  14. Hi, I am an author/writer here at Philippines.

    JANUARY 30, 2019 I received an e-mail

    Dear [Author],

    I am Ion Artin from JustFiction Edition.

    We are an international publishing company, specialized in publishing novels, fiction and short stories of all genres.

    In this context, would you be interested to publish one of your fiction writings?

    Our worldwide distribution network as well as the free publication services are great tools for sharing your creative works.

    What do you think? Would you agree to receive more information?

    I am looking forward to your reply.

    Sincere regards,
    Ion Artin
    Acquisition Editor

    Then the next week, I received an email again,

    February 06, 2019

    Dear [Author's Name],

    One week ago I sent you an email regarding the publication of your fiction works in book format. May I ask if you took your time to analyze our offer?

    An eventual collaboration implies:

    ~ free of charge publication
    ~ worldwide distribution of your book through a wide network of international bookstores as Amazon, Morebooks, Hachette
    ~ 12% royalty commission
    ~ dedicated assistance throughout the entire publication process
    ~ copyright retention and possibility to republish the work
    ~ free e-copy of the book

    For more details about our publishing house, feel free to access our website and Facebook page.

    Thank you!

    Sincere regards,
    Ion Artin
    Acquisition Editor

    I am so damn confused, because my email was not may pen name I used. How did Ion knows my pen name as an Author?? I had one published book.

  15. After I abandoned JFE, and well after (a whole week!) I had published Queer Me! via Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing the soliciting 'editor' from JFE was badgering me "You have not completed your project". I explained politely that I had chosen to discontinue with JFE because she never answered any questions I asked, but simply tried to badger me to press the "go" button.

    Today on Amazon I sold my first paperback. Kindle edition were easy, but I never expected the paperback to sell even a single copy.

    I have a friend who has published with JFE. He has not even sold five copies, primarily became his eminently readable book carries an astronomical price.

    I think the answer with self publishing is that it is horses for courses. JFE has a more attractive library of cover pictures than KDP, and the cover is, in part, what sells. KDP has a better pricing and distribution model in my view. The key is to conduct research before pressing the button.

  16. I should add to my prior comment that the JFE "editor" has been unwilling to assist with any of the technical questions I had, and appeared solely to be interested in pushing me towards JFE quite hard.

    Having published now on KDP I have also had a few queries. These are either answered already, or I have been given the confidence that they will be answered. They have even set a deadline to answer a somewhat intractable issue.

    I had already made my decision, to drop JFE. but they keep reinforcing that decision.

    What I do not understand is quite how JFE makes money. The cover price means the book is almost unsaleable. Thsi means that it is the author who buys at the 'discounted' price (higher often than KDP). So these many small sales are enough to keep them going? What am I missing here?

  17. Just Fiction Edition! was the spur I needed to create production ready copy, to bring my thought process to fruition. Google brought me here. I check out people I may do business with

    I re-read the contract with JFE. Unless I achieve royalties in excess of €50 pcm I will get vouchers for other books! I know their printed quality to be decent, that is fine, but their cover prices are astounding. Their eBook publishing link fails to work, at least at present.

    All this has moved me to consider Kindle Direct Publishing.

    My project is of relatively low likely sales volume, is probably pure vanity publishing. KDP seems fine for that.

    I am not saying avoid JFE. if it is right for your needs then use it. What I am saying is to consider your needs carefully before jumping in

  18. I just received a solicitation from Ion Artin but I looked at the site and he isn't there as part of the listed staff; it appears to be genuinely from JF!E however. Here is the text:

    Dear Mrs. Holly Blackstone,

    I am Ion Artin from JustFiction Edition.

    We are an international publishing company, specialized in publishing novels, fiction and short stories of all genres.

    In this context, would you be interested to publish one of your fiction writings?

    Our worldwide distribution network as well as the free publication services are great tools for sharing your creative works.

    What do you think? Would you agree to receive more information?

    I am looking forward to your reply.

    The signal to noise ratio in self-publishing is unfortunately very low. =( I'm a little tempted to engage however, to see if they've changed any of their early shenanigans.

  19. Hi, I've just received the exact same e-mail from 'Daniel Frankland' who wants to publish my blog posts and has a very real profile on LinkedIn. In my naivety, I got excited for about five minutes then remembered those past scams. What a shame!


  20. And they're still at it!

    Received today:

    Dear [Name] or may I use [Name of blog],

    I am Daniel Frankland of the editorial team of JustFiction Publishing, a publishing house specializing in publishing novels, fiction, poetry and short stories of all genres from new, aspiring and experienced authors.

    I am contacting you with the view of a potential collaboration, where you will be able to publish and print your work in the form of a book and benefit from:

    -free of charge publication
    -worldwide sales of your book(s)
    -simple and quick publishing process with swift responses to your questions
    -eco-friendly, print-on-demand technology

    We operate in a relaxed yet professional and efficient way and would be delighted if you want to work with us! If you could indicate your interest with a response it would be greatly appreciated!

    Would you like to receive a detailed brochure about our services?

    I am looking forward to hearing from you!
    Sincere regards,
    Daniel Frankland
    Acquisition Editor

  21. Thanks for this blog! It's been really helpful. DIP publishing house just contacted me about a week ago, and I've been emailing this "Ron" back and forth. These are our emails:
    1) me:
    Would you mind answering some questions so that I can make sure that you're a legitimate person and not an automated machine created to scam people?

    1) What is your favorite color?
    2) What was your mother's first name?
    3) What car do you drive?
    4) If a tree falls in a forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? (There is actually an answer to this, so you can look it up if you want.)
    5) What nationalities are commonly stereotyped?
    6) Why should I believe that you are a legitimate person?
    *I'm adding another question:*
    7) Why should I trust you?

    Thank you, and if you reply within a week/2 weeks, I shall give you a try.

    2) Ron:
    Hi ____, 
    I can assure you that we are not a scam. As for the questions you asked I would rather not answer them as they are personal and not within my zone of comfort to answer. If you have a phone number we will call you. 
    Thank you and I hope I have not offended you. Hope to hear back from you soon. 
    3) Me:

    Thanks for the reply. This is definitely good news. And not answering those questions is quite alright. I just wanted to make sure that I wouldn't be scammed by a fake organization. I'd rather have no answer than all answers. No offense taken. 

    I think I would prefer continuing communication over over email. It's more efficient for me and I would be able to guarantee a reply. 

    So what is this proposal you're talking about? I'm interested in what this will be. 

    4) Ron:

    Hi _____- Thank you for your message.   
    As far as publishing goes, DIP is interested in a variety of non-fiction, fiction, this includes short stories and some poetry.  We are currently recruiting for a larger than usual summer and fall schedules, due to a larger than usual budget. And please note that DIP's 2013 goal is to aggressively expand its Reader and Author bases, by investing more resources into attracting new Authors and Readers. 
    Submissions for summer releases must be in by June 31st, and for the fall, by August 28th.
    Chosen Authors will be welcomed aboard, and immediately begin pre-promotional activities (strategy development) and production (book cover, editing, formatting, registration, Author profile, etc.) – followed by publishing and post-promotional activities. 
    To submit your work please send your manuscript and brief synopsis of your book to the editor (Jason Fisher) at:
    I hope this answers your questions, however, feel free to ask any additional questions that may pop into your head!

    5) me:

    So this includes short stories? Not just novel-length works? Also, this sounds like a competition, kind of like the Scholastioc competition every year. Is this an accurate description or is it something else?

    6) Ron:
    Yes, we also publish short-stories as well. And no, this is not a Scholastic competition. 
    So obviously I was thinking this guy was pretty legit – he talked like a normal person would. Although, some of those questions i asked him were not personal at all (which i again regrettably overlooked). He first contacted me via FictionPress, even though I have no prominent stories at all, but my ignorance got the best of me. I'm thinking of cutting this communication off, but what do others think?

  22. I was just contacted by DIP the other day. They wanted me to send in a manuscript. The way it was written, it sounded legit, but when I checked out their website, I thought that it was really odd that half of their author links didn't work. I emailed them back, asking for more information and they have yet to contact me again. Through some googling, I found this site and I'm grateful I didn't fall for the scam. I contacted the site they they used to contact me and had them banned. Revenge is sweet. >:D

  23. Published 2 books on sinology with Yam and Lap publishing. I'm happy as there is no publishing house in Russia which will publish my books, because i ve graduated 2 years ago and almost unknown in scientific world as sinologist. This books fill my empty resume and i am perfectly happy with it.

  24. I've just received a mail from Just Fiction! Edition.
    Although I have asked for details, the very next thing I did was to come to 'Writer Beware' and I'm so glad I did

  25. Look, I'm no fool. I'm actually a former journalist/editor…but now I'm retired with a substantial income. I've never been ambitious, but I do like having readers. I had a website at one time with all my fiction (20 novels, numerous short stories, etc)…and loved the feedback. I finally lost interest in having a website but would like my fiction out there. However, I don't want to pay anything for my past work to be published; ISBNs are NOT free. And the entire self-publishing industry is like a maze to master.

    As an experiment, I submitted one of my novel manuscripts to JustFiction, and of course it was accepted. As I said, not interested in sales/income, just readers.

    I see no harm in using their service IF you are not interested in money from sales and really don't want to pay upfront for costs.

  26. I'm sorry to say I was taken in by Dip. They contacted me after i posted a section of my book on page to fame. They had an editor read my manuscript and then sent me a letter. It sort of explained P.OW.E.R. but led me to believe that they really liked my manuscript. I even spoke to Argus. Now I'm at a loss. I don't know whether I was scammed or just educated in the world of publishing. Another website said they were a new startup company. What do i believe? Michelle Santos

  27. To add to this old discussion, Lambert Academic Publishing has created a new… er, firm? branch? in Russia. The name is YAM (Young Authors' Masterpieces) Publishing and they are now busy approaching Russian writers through spamming and this site:

    The email they send is identical, word by word, to the one from JustFiction! quoted in this post, only this time it's in Russian.

  28. I might be doubling up here – forgive me…

    I have been burnt by such hacks, but can't name them for legal reasons. You all have done a great job and covered it nicely 😉

    I would simply like to add this; don't get mad – get even. These bogas companies are nothing more than glorified plagiarists who try and con you out of your rights. I pulled out of such a dodgy contract with one of the named companies. If they ever claim they own anything of mine (or publish anything of mine, circulate or try to sell my work)- then they have stolen it under false pretenses.

    No contract is legally binding unless there has been a fair exchange of money! You can't 'sell' your rights to your work if they don't pay for them. All my work is protected by copyright and digital fingerprints, labeling them MY work.

    If you sell those rights, then you have every right to be compensated fairly for the sale. It's just like selling a house that you built and own. You wouldn't let the new buyer walk in without: a) Contacts being signed – and the cooling off period has passed b) Money paid in full for the sale at the time the contract cooling off period has ended.

    Contracts without a cooling off period are ILLEGAL and any company trying to enforce such contracts are dodgy. Plagiarism is a crime and so is poaching, so why are such 'publishing companies' still allowed to operate?

    This is a great blog to both name and shame such poachers. I applaud you for shining the light on a very dark corner of the literary industry.

  29. Thank you so much for this! I Just recently got a message from JF!E end I wasn't too sure what to make of it. It's rather disappointing that this is more of a sham than anything else, but now, at least, I know that unsolicited contact from most any agent will be fishy as risky business.

    Thanks again!

  30. I too got the exact e-mail from this Sophia from DIP today on WeBook! This s why I Googled it and found this blog . . . thank you!

  31. thanks for clarifying the DIP thing. The mail really is a poor attempt at promoting self-publishing by flattering authors with the possibility of real publishing 🙂

  32. Thank you for the post. I just received this email this morning for a piece I have been promoting online. I have a sample chapter on sites such as Wattpad, Scribd and Inkpop, which is probably where they find most of their "authors."

    The email threw up a handful of red flags, the first being the fact that most publishers won't offer a contract for work they haven't read, especially by way of email. That and they got my name wrong 😉

    Still, I was curious, but after a simple Google search, my suspicions were confirmed. Silly publishing scams.

  33. Thank you so much for posting this. I got this same email from the same person – today. I thought perhaps they liked my book series because the hero was German and the book dealt with modern day war crimes. Guess not.

  34. JustFiction! Edition told me where they found my writing after I asked them. They are a genuine company, with good intentions, and a good opportunity if you just want the novelty of being published versus wanting money. 🙂

  35. As Rogue Mutt said, this complicated language about exchanges and such seems to add a pyramid scheme element to the normal dubious up-front fee of a sketchy publisher.

  36. Thank goodness for this blog! I got an e-mail from JustFiction, and throughout its entire email I was pondering, hmm, how did they find my story? Because I'm pretty sure a sincere, non-scam request for my MS would tell me where they found it. And Writers Beware proves just further that this company should not be trusted. Thank you so much!

  37. I got one of these this morning. Since I've never been terribly popular with what I've posted online, it sorta threw up red flags–also the fact that the manuscript in question isn't even finished, online OR on my hard drive, wasn't exactly sounding like a great deal.

    After a little digging–I have a lot of email accounts, and they're all loaded onto my iPod–I finally figured out which one they sent it to. The one they sent the message to wasn't even my email address associated with my writing accounts! It was one listed a few websites away for an unrelated-to-me-only LJ account. 😛 Clearly, these people didn't particularly care about privacy.

    Anyway, thanks for this! I have no plans for publishing anything, anyway, but it's nice to know about the company that "wants my manuscript."

  38. Thanks for your help. I got a DIP Pub. email on my AUTHONOMY site, as many aspiring authors are, and fortunately checked your site for information on it. It definately appears to be a form of pyramid book-self publising site.
    Keep warning people of these scams.

  39. I was solicited by Sophia on I was told by another writer friend to tell you because you keep track? It was from DIP Publishing…

    I was a little excited but also wary…and thanks to your site…which I will now be following….I was forewarned…

    But one has to think there must be something to this business if they are still making money and such?

    Maybe not…
    But here is another report for you.

  40. I wonder how many authors here got published as the result of unsolicited contact from a publisher or agent? I did, although this was just a few years ago. Actually, I've had two such contacts – one was from an upstart that I declined, a second from a Penguin imprint. In both cases, it was a result of existing writing on the Internet.

  41. JLM, they don't google because they don't want to believe there's anything wrong with this great offer.

    I've met people– I'm sure we all have– who are pretty uneducable about this stuff. They don't want to hear that it might be a scam and that they should check Writer Beware and that nothing in publishing happens this way.

    They like saying "my publisher" and "my agent" (who sometimes has the same address as their publisher) at writers' group meetings. And apparently their life's savings is a small price to pay for that.

    If I try to warn them, they think I'm jealous 'cause I want to be the only published writer in the group. If an unpublished writer warns them, they think that person is jealous because she hasn't gotten a fabulous offer from a publisher.

    So we do what we can.

  42. I feel bad for writers who get taken in by this kind of scam.

    Publishing is changing so much, I would think new authors would explore all the new self-publishing opportunities to reach the market before going along with something like this.
    With CreateSpace and Lulu, Smashwords, Kindle and pubit! an author can easily publish something for no cost and keep all their rights.

  43. Thank you so much for posting this. I just got one of those letters from Just Fiction and it was shady to me and if I hadn't have seen this first I would've probably been still in the dark. Besides, they wouldn't answer my question about the royalty fee and pricing anyway. They just avoided the questions and said send in your manuscript as soon as you can.

  44. I think you all are too hard on these companies. Why, when I see how well- written these solicitation are, I can't understand how no one would signed up in either of them. In fact, I'm sent my manuscript in right now, if not sooner. (PS. Keep up the great work Victoria!)

  45. Lehcarjit, it sounds like some kind of multi-level marketing plan.

    If it isn't some kind of multi-level marketing plan, they are doing a crappy job of representing what it actually is.

  46. I don't get the P.O.W.E.R. Plan.

    What exactly does it mean that 'Authors must identify (10) supporters and complete (10) exchanges (Authors may also satisfy Pre-Block exchanges on their own)'?

  47. Robin Weeks, those are pretty standard English errors for someone whose first language is German.

    Which does raise the question, what value is this publishing venture going to add for people who are native speakers of English writing in English? "None" would be my guess, but I would have guessed that anyway based on my knowledge of Verlag Dr. Mueller.

  48. I feel sorry for people taken in by these sorts of things, but always wonder why they don't check out the companies before they respond. (Thankfully, someone realized enough to send these pitches to Writers Beware, though.)

    This is why you have to Google anyone who approaches you via your blog, and it's so easy, there's no reason not to. I had 4 or 5 agents and an editor approach me that way a while back, and not one of them sounded anything like those messages.

    Real ones are short, to the point, and more in the vein of "Send me this when it's ready and put "requested" in the subject line."

    Honest interest doesn't need the fancy language or details (which is the first indication of a lie / scam. Human behavior tends to overcompensate for falsehood by trying to bury it in "solid" details).

    And the real ones are very clear about who they are and where they're from, usually with contact information attached as a footer (and often an agency footer, at that) beneath their communications. It's a simple matter to find them on-line and check their reputations.

  49. The first red flag for me was the language of the email:

    "In the course of a web-research I came across a reference of your manuscript…."

    You mean a reference TO my manuscript?

    "We are a publisher recognized worldwide, whose aim it is to help talented but international yet unknown authors…."

    Maybe "internationally unknown" authors?

    I'm not sure how a publishing house can help me if their solicitation email is full of the kinds of errors I'm trying to avoid in my writing.

    Just sayin.

  50. Yeah, right 🙂

    It might also be of interest to you that Lambert Academic Publishing is currently very active in Russia approaching unknown Russian writers — apparently, also using copyright information. Well, whatever turns them on 🙂

  51. The FAQ on the Just Fiction website is hilarious.

    "Why can’t I reach you by phone?

    Being available by phone is actually one of the largest expense factors in a company."

    Um, okay.

Leave a Reply

JULY 26, 2011

The Cruelest Hoax: Impersonating a Literary Agent

AUGUST 5, 2011

Contest Alert: WriteOnCon