Wednesday, April 21, 2010

10 Signs You Are Working for a Scam Publisher

1. On your first day, you find that your supervisor doesn't know what serial commas are and thinks that MLA style is what "all the publishers use."

2. On your second day, "god damn it" and "f@cking Christ" sound less like profanities and more like what you shout down the office stairs as a matter of convenience.

3. Your third day reveals that you are the only person in the office who actually reads the manuscripts.

4. Your fourth day involves a bitch-fest against Writer Beware.

5. Day 5 requires that you, Brand New Intern Who Could Easily Have Known Nothing About the Publishing Industry, must call up big-name agents and ask them to send you manuscripts. One agent asks if you are a traditional publisher, which makes Head Boss Lady become a Cursing Tornado who vows never to have professional relations with said agent again.

6. Day 6 is really boring. There is nothing to do.

7. On Day 7, a brilliant manuscript by a Stanford writing professor is rejected. The writing style, which bends the rules but is consistent and contributes meaningfully to the story, is said to be "wrong." You cry.

8. Day 8 brings phone calls from authors asking about their "royalties." Apparently, "because of the economy, we are sending out January's checks in July. All the publishers are doing that."

9. On Day 9, Head Boss Lady tells Second in Command Lady to pretend not to know which of the Head Boss Lady's "businesses" she will be working for in the near future. Thus, she can't really answer any of [insert dupe's name here]'s questions. Instead, she should "dangle the carrot" in front of him by asking how he would like to receive payment.

10. On Day 10, you finally see a copy of the standard contract. Not sure how "pay $5,000-$6,000 to be published, buy a bunch of your own books, and don't forget to promote yourself" sounds anything like "this is a traditional contract with an advance and royalties that are actually paid."

On your last day, an author who has already paid to be published gets spooked and buys his copyright back. The office is an explosion.

It's months later, you've received your school credit, and you walk out without remorse.


  1. Just read your blog for the first time today. Great information thanks for passing it on.

  2. Your article on the scam publisher is a hoot! Too bad it's the truth.