Notes: Name left out to protect the innocent.
“Remember that person I told you about who put her book up on Amazon?”
It took a moment for me to figure out who my friend was talking about. We had discussed the self-published book a few nights ago. “Yeah. What’s up?”
“She signed with a publisher. Want to see who?”
Curious, I said yes. My friend directed me to a Facebook page. Alarm bells began ringing in my head the moment I saw the page. A quick Google search did nothing to silence the alarm. The more I searched the louder those alarm bells rang. What set me off?
The name in question returned a publication of a unrelated business. The publisher in question turned up in a Google search on the second page, and that was a reference to the Facebook page I was shown. I wasn’t able to locate it at all on DuckDuckGo and Bing. The Facebook page doesn’t list a website or any contact information, other than a graphic listing a Gmail email address for submissions. A quick search of the Absolute Write Water Cooler didn’t turn up any information. Normally a lack of listing at Absolute Write is a reassuring thing. This time it did the absolute opposite. There was no information I could find anywhere except for the one Facebook page. The whole situation screamed scam to me. I can’t say for certain that it is, but all my instincts say yes.
Sadly, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen something that sets me on guard. Another friend of mine won a contest and signed a contract to have her book published as part of the prize. Over the course of two years, I saw several of the contracts provisions broken, and scratched my head when she described the reasons why her book was delayed. My friend was lucky and got her rights back, but not without a fight.
What’s the take away from these situations? Do you research before submitting and definitely before signing anything. Could these situations be avoided? Maybe. It’s easier to say it when it’s not an offer to have your book published. I would like to think that I would be savvy and do my research ahead of time. But I have to admit that I might have signed the contract without even blinking.