Oi Writers, This Is Not A ‘Real’ Publishing Deal

Want A Traditional Publishing Deal?

If you want a publishing deal, you’re not alone. Loads of Bang2writers get in touch with me, asking about how they can get that elusive publishing deal with one of the ‘Big 5’. In the UK, these are usually considered to be …

Obviously, different countries will have different big publishers at the top. Traditional publishing deals can also be struck with smaller independent publishers that are not the ‘Big 5’. In addition, more authors than ever before are self publishing.

Myself, I’m what’s known as a ‘hybrid author’. I’ve self published, published with smaller traditional publishers (sometimes called ‘indie publishers’) AND the Big 5 now. Digital publishing (including blogging) has changed the landscape in the industry. More on hybrid authors, HERE.

All About Vanity Publishers

Every few months or so a Bang2writer gets in contact with me, saying they’ve ‘signed a publishing deal’. They will tell me they need some advice on getting an agent because of this deal.

This has happened so frequently now, my first question is always …

‘… Who is the deal WITH?’

My heart too often sinks, because the Bang2writers will say it’s with a Vanity Publisher. These are the facts …

  • Vanity publishers charge YOU to publish.
  • In contrast, legitimate traditional publishing contracts **pay you**.

Now, vanity publishing (and obviously self publishing) is fine if you go into the process with your eyes open and/or have a specific reason for doing so.

What’s more, if you are great at marketing and sell A LOT of units or set the literary world on fire somehow, then you may interest an agent further down the line. Here is a list of uber-famous bestselling books that were picked up in traditional deals later.

However, DON’T be hoodwinked by vanity publishers who pretend to be traditional publishers, which I am seeing more and more. Some are even saying utter BS like …

‘If you go with one of the Big 5, you have to guarantee them 10,000 sales to be considered.’

NOPE — no author can do this and no traditional publisher would ever ask this. Be on the look-out!

But Don’t Just Take My Word For It

Juliet Pickering is a literary agent at Blake Friedmann, London. She took part in B2W’s recent ‘Submissions Pet Peeves’ post and she also sent this tweet back in the summer …

Now, I Googled the phrase Juliet mentioned in her tweet and found it was these guys …

Sure enough, a VANITY PUBLISHER!

Austin Macauley are one of the most prolific vanity publishers around. You may have seen their advertisements online, they seem to be everywhere.

Bang2writers have told me too Austin Macauley have slid into their DMs unsolicited to offer ‘publishing deals’ too.  Said deals are then revealed to have price tags of many thousands of pounds.

I’m also not a fan of how Austin Macauley promotes the idea of scarcity, ‘literary agents and publishers are closing their doors even to authors with a proven track record’. These are carefully chosen words to make writers worry about getting a deal at all, plus it’s not even true as Juliet says.

To Reiterate

Look, I accept some people may actually want to vanity publish. A classic example would be writing Grandad’s war stories and publishing them as a keepsake for the family. As long as writers realise what they are getting into, then fine.

However I have discovered Bang2writers have NOT always realised the above. This may be due their own inexperience, or the fact Austin Macauley seems to present itself as a traditional publisher, or (more likely) a combination of both.

Do Your Due Diligence

Whatever the case, writers need to do their due diligence. By this, I mean ‘buyer beware’. In other words, before you ever sign anything, CHECK IT OUT! Sometimes the simple act of Googling will tell you all you need to know.

You can find out more about doing your due diligence on companies, services and even specific individuals, HERE.

If you are specifically interested in publishers and who to avoid, make sure you follow and read WRITER BEWARE from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Check out their ‘Thumbs Down’ Publishers List to start with, HERE.

Good Luck!

Want More Submissions Secrets?

B2W’s next eCourse, The Submissions Secrets Bootcamp, runs twice a year. If you’re interested, then join bang2write.teachable.com and make sure you keep your notifications turned ON to be notified when the course launches next!

Bang2writer Demy Watts says, ‘This course really is gold!! Lucy covers literally everything, no stone left unturned.’

Whether you have written a screenplay or novel, SUBMISSIONS SECRETS is for you if you …

  • Are looking for an agent
  • Want to make powerful contacts
  • Are seeking an option or producer
  • Want to learn how to query
  • Are seeking a publishing deal
  • Want to present yourself and your work professionally
  • Don’t know where to start!!!
  • Want to capitalise on your successes so far

The course takes place LIVE on Zoom so will be accessible from anywhere (it will be recorded too for anyone who can’t/ doesn’t want to attend the trainings live). There’s also a treasure trove of B2W resources including eGuides, templates, checklists and a stack of great bonuses too.

CLICK HERE to join B2W on Teachable or on any of the pics in this article. Take Submissions Secrets and identify your  goals, create a submissions strategy and get your writing in front of the people who matter in 2021, plus NEVER fall foul of others’ submissions pet peeves ever again!

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