Yes, I realize that the title of this post is less than poetic, but it aptly describes my feelings on the subject.
I've been trying to shop around different publishing companies and methods so I can be ready for when I finish my book (which will hopefully be in only a couple more months). I found a publishing group called Strategic Book Publishing who, after receiving an electronic submission of general information about my book, asked that I submit what I had for their review. They claim to be a traditional publisher (meaning they front all the money for publishing costs and you get a percentage of the sales), which I was ecstatic about because it's the ideal way to get published.
Yesterday I recieved an email from them stating that they liked what they saw and wanted to offer me a Joint Publishing contract, which meant that I would front a portion of the money and they would pay for the rest. They sent a very legal looking 12 page contract and everything! I was SOOO excited that I was getting an offer to publish my book. However, while there may very well be legit publishers out there that offer that type of contract (I'm not sure), this company is not one of them.
Thank God for my cynical husband who believes that everyone is out there to scam me. He did a lot more digging than I did and found that they (for lack of a more eloquent phrase...) pretty much suck the big one. There are warnings all over the internet to authors to not get involved with them. Brian was very sweet not to say, "I told you so"..........more than 3 or 4 times.
So then Brian mentions that he has read on some publisher sites that they don't even accept unagented work and maybe I should try to get a literary agent. Months ago I had toyed with this idea as well. Gena Showalter is one of my favorite Paranormal Romance authors and her agency is The Knight Agency in New York. I've got their website in my favorites and I've gotten a lot of information and reference materials from it. However, submitting my work to a prestigious agency like that is quite intimidating and I certainly wouldn't do it until my book is finished and the absolute best that I can make it. But Brian did a quick search and pulled up a couple of others, including one called WL Writers Agency. Their site had all of this information on it and they stressed over and over how they love working with unpublished authors and believe in working with them long term to make them the best that they can be, blah, blah, blah.
So what do I do? I got all giddy and foolish again and immediately submitted another electronic submission of information about my book in hopes that they would write back and ask to see it. Then as I was looking through the rest of their site I saw this press release about some publishing group "acquiring" them along with Strategic Book Publishing. So now I'm totally confused and I do a quick search on their name and sure enough, they're in cahoots with the scammy publisher I've already been duped by.
So, children, what have we learned from this experience? That not everybody out there is out for our best interests. [gasp from reading audience] I know. It's a shocker. It seems my small town optimism hasn't waned a bit after all of these years. Again, I'm very grateful for my street-smart husband who always thinks the worst of people. :) We truly are polar opposites, but sometimes it brings a nice balance.
From this point forward I'm going to triple check businesses before believing their "we're the greatest" spiel. I truly hope that I can find either a publisher or an agent who is what they claim to be and willing to stand behind my work. I know they're out there. I just have to look hard enough. And Google their names first.