Before self-publishing through Kindle Direct Publishing, Smashwords, Createspace, Lightning Source and more became a possibility, there was one type of publishing that was surrounded by stigma: “vanity publishing” or “subsidy publishing.” A vanity press was a company that an author would pay to edit, format, and print a book, oftentimes with the author signing over the rights to that book for an extended period, or allowing the vanity press to assign the book with one of their own ISBNs (thus reaping the royalties). Not only was an author paying to have the book made, but they weren’t getting the benefits that make self-publishing such a desirable option: the retaining of their copyright, and the ability to monitor, control, and receive their royalties!

Nowadays self-publishing authors and hybrid authors (those who self-publish some books and have traditionally published others) have a plethora of options when it comes to hiring freelancers for their editing, cover and formatting needs, or working with up front companies that handle design and distribution while the author retains all of their rights and receives royalties. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean publishing scams aren’t still taking place, in fact, they seem to have multiplied with the explosion of modern day self-publishing and hybrid publishing options. Midnight Publishing is a writing, editing, and marketing company based in Arizona (but available to clients worldwide!) that has made it our mission to assist clients in putting out the best book possible. Our staff of award-winning editors and writers has a lot of experience in this industry, and we hate to see any of our clients or author friends be targeted by these scams that promise marketing assistance, traditional book deals, or other false promises that can cost someone thousands of dollars with no reward.

Thus, we want to direct you to a prominent website and resource that highlights potential scams in the industry and has been doing so since 1998:

The Writer Beware Blog and Website

This site, co-founded and maintained by award-winning author Victoria Strauss, is sponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and has a wide array of information on all forms of scams, ranging from vanity/subsidy publishers and literary agencies to red-flagged clauses and contractual agreements authors should steer clear of.

And above all, remember this rule of thumb when it comes to the publishing industry: Literary agents and publishers do not solicit authors randomly.

Agents must first be queried by you, and publishers will 99.9 percent of the time not look at an unrepresented manuscript (if you don’t have an agent who’s sent it to them, they will never read it.) If you are contacted by someone claiming to be an agent or publisher and requesting funds to facilitate a marketing campaign or book deal, it is a scam. Do not fall for it.

Midnight Publishing is an editing, writing, and marketing company based in Phoenix, Arizona that provides our services worldwide. Whether you’re a first-time author, entrepreneur, or a seasoned writer with several published books, our editors and writers can help to polish your manuscript for publication (and help steer you in the direction of reputable formatters, cover designers, and distribution companies when it’s ready). Contact us today for a free sample edit and to discuss your project!