Stella Deleuze blogs at http://synopsisandbookfactory.wordpress.com/ and this is a past post, used with her permission.
Don’t be fooled
As a new writer, you may share a dream with many others: to be published.
For many it stays a dream and for others this dream comes true. I’m talking about signing a contract with a reputable publishing house. While most of the big names do not accept unsolicited submissions and only work with agents, many of the smaller, newer and independent ones are open to deal with authors directly.
But beware of those you deal with. There are a lot of so-called vanity publishers out there, trying to lure you in with promises they can’t keep. I’ve met a few authors who fell for them and bitterly regret their decisions. It’s a matter of not having researched properly that made them sign a contract.
Here are a few points to watch out for:
• If a publisher asks for money upfront or in general, run! Money flows to the author, always.
• If they don’t have books or other checkable credentials on their website. Run! Every publisher is proud of their achievements, no reason to hide them.
• If they get back to you in a brief amount of time, asking for a full manuscript, be skeptical. Publishers are busy, especially if they do accept unsolicited manuscripts, they are swamped. It happens from time to time that they get back quickly. To be on the safe side, research them if you haven’t already done so. Check them at Preditors & Editors and Writer Beware
• If they stress explicitly that they are not vanity publishers. Any good publisher doesn’t need to state it.
• If they don’t offer to assign an editor or tell you that your book will be published a month after signing. It usually takes at least six months to be out on the shelves, even if the book is quite polished upon submission. A more realistic figure is a year.
• If they offer to edit your book for a fee, even if they promise to pay you back once the book sells. Run! Every publishing house has editors and it’s their job to do the final touches to make it fit their lines.
• If they offer you a contract that asks for money, is not conclusive, demands the author to buy a certain amount of books, etc. Don’t sign – run!
• If you find information about them on google or other sites, complaints, negative comments, etc. Run!
There is a lot to watch out for. If you stumble across a vanity publisher, help your fellow writers by sending an e-mail to P&E, informing them. They are on a mission to protect you.