Not long ago, the author community lost a precious resource when the Preditors & Editors website went dormant last year. For those of you not familiar with P&E, it was a site that listed and graded publishers as well as publishing services. They helped countless authors such as myself make important decisions and avoid scams.
They are currently looking for a new caretaker who will have the monumental responsibility of updating the website as well as all the information on it. For those of you actually thinking about taking on the challenge, be warned P&E comes with the burden of constant threat of lawsuits as well as harassment from the mentally disturbed. It’s no surprise that no one is rushing to pick up the torch but I know eventually someone will because it’s too important to let die.
Instead of going on about how lousey this is, I’m going to give you alternative resources that will help you avoid scammers as well as help educate you about this business.
Finding Out About Scams & Unethical Practices
Predators & Editors did not exist in a vacuum, there are two sites that I am aware of that are dedicate solely to educating authors about the sharks in the publishing waters.
However don’t stop here, there are several other ways to discover if your publisher is on the up and up.
Investigating The Quality Of Your Publisher
The golden rule for any author looking to secure the services of a publisher is to go to Google and type in the company name with the words; “scam”, “complaints”, or “reviews” and if nothing pops up, that’s a good sign however, you still have more investigating to do.
You would think the one place to look is the Better Business Bureau because it’s considered a trustworthy organization that rates businesses. However, the vanity publisher Author Solutions, has an A+ rating even though there have been numerous complaints over the years as well as a class action lawsuit in 2013. So a good rating with the BBB doesn’t carry much weight these days especially, after various media outlets reported that businesses were paying for good ratings. Just a warning, if you’re going to use the BBB as a source of information, make sure it’s not your only source.
Other Sites That Grade Businesses:
As with most review sites things can be manipulated but if you’re seeing the same complaints over and over again by different people then you may want to take heed.
- Google Reviews (First make sure that you’re logged into your Google+ account and just go to Google Maps and enter the name of the company you’re investigating. You should see an address as well as a rating.
Find The Office Water Cooler
You shouldn’t just stop at what customers are saying, if things are really bad at a company like they were at Tate Publishing and Author Solutions, then their employees are talking. Fortunately for us, there are sites that allow employees to rate the companies they work at. This can be a Godsend for those who are on the lookout for things like upselling, shoddy production or terrible customer service.
Sites That Let Employees Rate Their Employers
- CareerBliss (Be sure to use the drop down and choose “reviews” before searching the company’s name.)
If you’re not into doing all the leg work then you might want to join a professional organization that will do it for you. Many places like ALLi (The Alliance for Independent Authors) and IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) offer recommendations for services such as editors, formatters, as well as designers.
The Author Water Cooler
Want to know about someone’s personal experiences with a service or publisher from an actual author? Then look no further than the following sites:
These are just some of the places that indie authors should check out if they want to investigate a publisher or service. Next time, I’ll be discussing resources for authors who want to educate themselves about indie publishing as well as publishing matters in general so stay tuned.