#Writers beware of these “publishers”. Are they what they seem to be?

If you are not familiar with “Writer Beware” it is the blog sanctioned by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.  This was posted on the blog a few days ago and is worth reading.  There is more at the blog than I have included here.

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

Last October, I started getting inquiries about a publisher called All Classic Books. I hadn’t heard anything about it, though its rather odd website (a sort of online journal format, with content mill-style essays) along with the lack of concrete information about its staff and its apparent lack of publishing history (according to Amazon, just four books published, all of which appear to be public domain titles) did give me serious pause.

So I wasn’t entirely surprised, a couple of weeks ago, to receive my first documented complaint about All Classic Books, from an author who reported a variety of problems through the production process.

What really caught my interest, though, was the heavy pressure placed on the author to spend thousands of dollars to buy hundreds of printed galleys to send out to reviewers. 500 was the “ideal” number suggested–though if the author really couldn’t afford that many, 300 was OK too. Helpfully, All Classic’s “Book Promotion Basics” brochure provides a pack of lies in support of this suggestion:

It’s common practice at traditional publishing companies today that all but their top 1% or “A” list celebrity authors cover their own galley expenses. It’s becoming more rare to find these exceptions, usually now made by a previously negotiated contract with literary agents or in book auctions or bidding wars for the celebrity author. Most authors today understand that sending their galleys are an expected and standard industry business expense and practice. All Classic Books is similar to many of the top New York Publishers in this regard. While we cover all other book publishing, distribution and marketing and promotion expenses, our authors do cover their galley expenses.

All of this rang a bell for me, because it’s also the M.O. of a publisher Writer Beware has been getting complaints about since 2001: American Book Publishing (here’s its other website), the subject of an Alert at the Writer Beware website and one of the dodgy publishers on Writer Beware’s Thumbs Down Publisher List.

Could there be a connection, I wondered? ABP charges a “setup” fee ($880, as of my most recent documentation), and All Classic Books doesn’t. It even pays a tiny advance. But while plenty of vanity publishers require or urge their authors to buy large quantities of their own books, ABP is the only one I’ve ever run across that pressures authors to self-purchase galleys for the purpose (well, the supposed purpose) of obtaining reviews.

So I started to research. And what I found was much more than I expected–not just a connection between ABP and All Classic Books, but between ABP and a whole network of satellite publishers, bogus organizations, shill websites, and imaginary publishing professionals. For those of you who are curious, I’ve included a section below with screenshots and other evidence that led to my conclusions. For those who want the quick version, here it is (the Alert at the Writer Beware website has been expanded to reflect this information).

ABP’s satellite operations and websites include:

There are also some bogus news sites that pimp ABP, including American Book Publishing News Today and Book Publishing News and Views.ABP’s founder, Cheryl Nunn or C. Lee Nunn, is fond of triple-barreled aliases. Names she may be using include:

  • Nathan Fitzgearl, Kathleen Brooks Montgomery, Abigail Woodward Wright (ABP)
  • Elizabeth M. Bennett (Alexis Press)
  • Susannah E. Solomon (Atlantic National Books)
  • Rebecca Reese Winslow, Kelly Kenworthy, Sherry Quinn (All Classic Books)
  • Kory Kessal (Media Book Group)
  • James Jackson Jones (“egalleys”, whatever that means)
  • Madison Armstrong (“book publishing industry executive,” author of a book that doesn’t seem to exist)

There is more at the Writer Beware blog.  Read it here.


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