Author Beware: When In Doubt, Check It Out

Several fellow authors and I were approached via messages on various writing sites by a company called DIP Publishing. While something like this appears flattering to the untrained eye, the reality is that publishers rarely – if ever – approach writers or send unsolicited messages. As authors, we know how the process of finding a legitimate publisher (or agent) actually works.

A few red flags rose after I’d read the DIP Publishing note in my message box on Authonomy.Upon doing a bit of online research, DIP appeared to be nothing more than a vanity publisher. No matter how legitimate a site may look, any publisher or agent that mentions the word “partnership” is a clear sign an author is going to shell out an amount of money – which vanity publishers are known to do, no matter how fancy they may word their contracts.

The same goes for agents. It’s no question many writers dream of being published and earning substantial royalties. With this in mind, there’s going to be at least one person who will attempt to siphon our cash with a “deal.” One story I’d read was about an agent who not only wanted to charge a yearly “fee,” but also wanted a percentage of their authors’ earnings.

While known literary agents do earn a commission from their clients (the same applies to talent agents, who usually take between 15 and 30 percent), agents and publishers, be they the Big Six or smaller independent presses around the world, never charge for their services. They focus on making the author money – when the author earns, the publisher/agent earns.

If you are approached by a potential agent or publisher and any doubt exists, it’s a good idea to do thorough research on them before agreeing to anything. If someone is legitimate, they’ll have no problem answering your questions and providing additional information.

Sites such as AbsoluteWrite and Preditors and Editors offer information on everything from publishers, agents, and other literary-related listings. They will usually show companies to avoid as well as those recommended. AbsoluteWrite also has a forum where writers can ask questions on various topics. Sites such as the aforementioned aim to help writers avoid parting with their cash and aggravations associated with not-so-legitimate “book contracts.”

While we may experience initial excitement over the idea of being approached by someone who appears to be in the publishing business offering us all but the moon, it goes back to the old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.”

Any unsolicited offers received from “agents” or “publishers” should always be checked out before agreeing to any terms. There may be a few angels who mean well, but like anything else, there’s a lot of devils waiting to rip you off. Remember, your best bet is to follow your head instead of your emotions.

Speak Without Interruption and Night Reading join forces to promote Kindle e-books

Thanks to Bob Grant and Tim Roux for this information.



Speak Without Interruption  and Night Reading  are two international writers’ communities determined to give a platform to writers whose ideas might never otherwise get heard.

Speak Without Interruption specializes in enabling writers from across the world to freely publish articles to a global readership on any subject whatsoever, without vetting or censorship.

Night Reading promotes mutual support among independent authors and publishes 5-10 of their books a month via its publishing arm, Night Publishing, ‘bringing the mass of excellent writers to the mass of enthusiastic readers. Speak Without Interruption has around 1,000 visitors a day. Night Reading has 660 author members and 75 signed authors.

Bob Grant of Speak Without Interruption and Tim Roux of Night Reading have been friends for some time and greatly admiring of each others’ initiatives to give a voice to independent writers. Night Publishing has published the works of several contributors to SpeakWithoutInterruption and they have adopted several Night Readers as contributors to its international online magazine.

They have now decided to work together to promote books written by over 1,000 authors in their combined writers’ communities. Every three days they will recommend a high quality bargain 99c Kindle e-book to their combined audiences who will hopefully enjoy what they read as much as the authors will enjoy the extra exposure of their work.

This initiative is already popular with the authors and promotional slots are currently being booked three months ahead. Equally, on the first day of the promotion of the scheme’s second book – Ragnar the Murderer by Lily Byrne – it jumped 20,000 places in the Kindle rankings both in the US and in the UK.

Buy Today! Speak at Night book promotion page:

Speak Without Interruption:

Night Reading:



It’s The Book Shelf’s Second Anniversary!

July 29, 2009, The Book Shelf debuted on Blogger with daily reviews of Authonomy manuscripts I’d found impressive.

Since then, book and author news, weekly book features, interviews, updates on my own projects, and Free Press book features are just a few things that have been added over the last two years. With the Book Shelf at its new home, those features will continue, along with some new things to come in the future.

However, that doesn’t mean suggestions aren’t welcome. If you are a writer who would like to be interviewed, post a guest blog, or have your book/work reviewed, either leave a comment, send an email to or follow me on Twitter @lacarrington1. I’m always looking for new ideas!


Book Review: ‘Decisions’ by Jessica L. Degarmo

Decisions Book Cover

For a blend of good romance and difficult dilemmas, Decisions by Jessica L. Degarmo (Silver Publishing, 2011) comes highly recommended.

When Senator Schooner Tremaine arranges a business transaction to marry off his daughter Emma to the rude, cold, and dominating Gray Taylor, Emma runs away and finds herself in Duck, North Carolina. Needing a plan to be prevented from marrying Gray in the event she is found by her father, Reese McConnell comes into her life, and Emma plans to convince him to marry her.

Decisions holds readers’ attention right from the beginning, the way romances should be written. A beautiful and daunting heroine with a sticky situation on her hands trying to escape the villian(s), before a charming and attractive possible hero arrives. This book is written with true style and tells a great story, leaving the reader guessing right up until the final chapter. Whom Emma ends up with…I can’t tell you here. You have to read this fine work for yourselves.

Welcome to the New Home!

Between recent issues with Blogger and wanting to put everything in one neat place on WordPress,  now that The Book Shelf is approaching its second anniversary, it was time to relocate to a new home!

Don’t worry, though. The Book Shelf content will remain the same, with book/author news, reviews, and other special features from across the US and around the globe. If you were subscriber on the Blogger location, you’re also welcome to follow the Book Shelf here.

Hope you enjoy the new look as much as I am!