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Shades of Edit Ink

As a fairly new member of Writer Beware, I'm still getting up to speed on all the publishing/agenting scams. Like many of you, I'm familiar with the Writers Literary Agency & Marketing Company/The Literary Agency Group (run by Robert Fletcher and tons of sockpuppets) and Publish America (run by Larry, Wilhelm and Miranda). I'm also familiar with some of the smaller questionable operations like Tate Publishing or the Robins Agency.

I read a lot about people who start publishing companies or literary agencies who really do mean well, but they're just in over their heads from word one.

(Waves to the self-googlers who'll run across this blog)

But, this one, I was caught off-guard about until I read it on Absolute Write and then read Victoria's commentary on the Writer Beware blog.

There's something insidious about a commercial publisher working out a kickback scheme with a self-publisher to send them their rejected authors. "Sorry, you're not quite good enough for us, but you're probably good enough for this publisher." That's bad enough, but then for Chronicle Books to get a percentage of every sale these authors make from the POD publisher Blurb?

Can you say, conflict of interest? Sure, I knew you could.

I have already read some comments where people say that since this is out in the open, it's really different from the Edit Ink scam or because Chronicle Books is a legitimate commercial publisher, they'll hold themselves to a higher standard and only recommend books that should be published to Blurb.

Think about it.

If the books were good enough to be published, shouldn't Chronicle Books want to publish them?
If the books were good enough, but not in a genre Chronicle Books prints, shouldn't they be recommended to another commercial publisher rather than a vanity press?
If the books aren't good enough for Chronicle to publish them, why should the author spend money printing something that, in all probability, sell less than 1000 copies? (The average vanity press POD book sells in the low three figures.)
If the books aren't good enough for Chronicle to publish, why are they getting a kickback from a vanity press?
If the books are almost good enough to publish, will they send the authors to Blurb (to get the kickback) rather than giving them honest feedback (the path of least resistance)?

If a program brings up all these questions, and more I'm certain, it's probably not a good idea.

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