I got a little hot earlier today when I read an article about publisher ‘scams.’ Here is my response and I am curious as to what your take on this is.
I think the term ‘scam’ is often over used in situations like this. Z Publishing has stated well intentioned goals and they’re right. In today’s publishing landscape, if you want to be found, it is best to be included in an anthology with other similar authors.
So I was all fired up to defend them as I run an independent publishing company and that is our intentions when we organize an anthology. However in further researching them, I think their approach to doing the anthologies is off. Having works featured regionally rather than by genre doesn’t sound like it is all that beneficial. At the same time, they’re asking for non-exclusive rights for publishing so it is not like they are stealing an authors work or preventing them from publishing elsewhere.
As to the argument that they are just in this for the money. The anthologies that I’ve published are lucky to break even on the money I personally put into them. This isn’t something that many do in a way to make money. When anthologies are put together like this, it is often due to a passion and desire to help other writers.
I come from an independent film background. You learn quickly in the indie world that if you want to make it, it is by working with others and building that community. You work on another persons film so that in the future they’ll work on yours. That’s not to say, if I put your story in one of my anthologies, that I’ll expect you to put my story in yours. No, what I am saying is that we build up a community of helping one another rather tearing other people down.
And as for the publishers that publish and ‘prey’ off the young…
Yes, the first time I was ever published was in one of these anthologies. I was young and didn’t know any better. So, am I upset that it was a ‘scam’ and that anyone could have been featured? No. I was young at the time, but at a time when I needed it, getting that first publication gave me the confidence to go on for bigger and better things. It kept me writing. It was worth it.
Be careful of what you call a scam, because you can do more harm than good. As long as it doesn’t cost to submit, and they don’t blatantly steal your work by putting they’re name on it, then leave it alone.
Here is a link to the original article.