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Advice for writers

The Murky Waters of Online Publishing: Avoiding Scams and Finding Legitimate Platforms

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Identifying Online Scams and Safeguarding Your Publishing Path

Picture this: You’ve poured your heart and soul into your manuscript, crafting characters and weaving plotlines with the finesse of a seasoned wordsmith. With trembling fingers, you finally hit ‘send’ and submit your masterpiece to an online publishing platform. Weeks pass, and anticipation turns to frustration as you realize your work has fallen into prey to online scams. Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common in the world of online publishing.

As authors and writers, we are drawn to the allure of sharing our stories with the world, but the digital landscape can be treacherous. While legitimate platforms exist, the internet is also rife with scams preying on the dreams of aspiring authors. It’s essential to arm ourselves with knowledge and discernment to navigate this terrain successfully.

The Reality of Online Publishing Scams

Before delving into the statistics, let’s understand the various forms these scams can take. From vanity presses demanding exorbitant fees for minimal services to predatory contracts that strip authors of their rights, the tactics employed by unscrupulous publishers are as varied as they are cunning.

According to a report by Writer Beware, an initiative of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), complaints regarding vanity presses and other publishing scams have been on the rise in recent years. In 2022 alone, Writer Beware received over 600 complaints, a stark reminder of the prevalence of such schemes.

Additionally, the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) highlights that many authors fall victim to deceptive marketing tactics promising fame and fortune. These schemes often exploit authors’ aspirations, leading them to invest in services that yield little to no return.

As writers, our craft is our livelihood, and falling victim to these scams can have devastating consequences not only financially but also emotionally. However, amidst the sea of disreputable publishers, there are beacons of hope.

Legitimate Publishing Platforms

Amidst the chaos, legitimate publishing platforms like Atmosphere Press shine brightly, offering authors a beacon of hope in an otherwise murky industry. With transparent processes and author-friendly contracts, these platforms prioritize the success and well-being of their writers.

Atmosphere Press, for instance, prides itself on its author-centric approach, providing personalized support and guidance throughout the publishing journey. From editorial assistance to marketing strategies, they empower authors to bring their stories to life without falling prey to predatory practices.

Here are some companies and offers we know have run scams or “over-promise, under-deliver” programs, and that should 100% be avoided:

Authors Press

Author Solutions

Green Dot Films

Rain Steel

Author Reputation Press

Atticus Publishing

Spotlight Network TV Interview Proposal

Angel S. Smith promoting Barnes & Noble opportunities

Quipper Prints

…and there are always new ones popping up. 

We’re not sure how con artists compile their contact lists, but it is true that once an author has a publication, they are now a public figure and promotional scams will start to come out of the woodwork. Do know that Atmosphere Press will never give out your information.

So, as you embark on your publishing journey, remember to tread carefully, but do not let fear deter you. With perseverance and the right allies by your side, your literary dreams can become a reality. After all, isn’t that what storytelling is all about?

Chandler Kidd

Chandler Kidd, Social Media Manager at Atmosphere Press (submit your manuscript here!), lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her three cats. She is a yogi and an avid horror and dark fantasy reader. During the day, she loves creating social posts for Atmosphere Press and connecting authors online. By night she can be found learning music production, DJing, or at a concert. 

atmosphere press

Atmosphere Press is a selective hybrid publisher founded in 2015 on the principles of Honesty, Transparency, Professionalism, Kindness, and Making Your Book Awesome. Our books have won dozens of awards and sold tens of thousands of copies. If you’re interested in learning more, or seeking publication for your own work, please explore the links below.