New writers are always getting warned away from publishers that charge fees up front. Publishers make money from a percentage of book sales, not by charging authors up front. That’s how legitimate publishers work, anyway.
Authors should also be warned to make sure that a publisher they’re thinking of signing with actually exists.
For some time, there’s been a great deal of controversy over Mystic Press and its owner Tabetha Jones. Writers have come forward exposing Tabetha as a scam artist that signs authors to contracts, charges them fees, then fails to deliver on services and goods. After Mystic Press was reported to the Attorney General, Tabetha closed down Mystic Press and opened up a new publishing company called Phoenix Fire publishing.
Suspicion arose when Tabetha started claiming that authors weren’t getting paid because the accounts were frozen while they got switched over from Mystic to Phoenix. That doesn’t happen in business. When a company closes, all of its accounts, contracts and goods cease to exist. Period. Nothing carries over. Not legally.
A little research revealed what’s really going on.
There never was a publishing company called Mystic Press. It never existed as a legal entity. It wasn’t incorporated. Tabetha never even registered that she was running a “business” with her city, county or state.
Same thing with Phoenix Fire. It is not a legal entity within the publishing world or anywhere else.
Phoenix Fire publishing does not exist.
The whole “company” is nothing more than Tabetha (Saulters) Jones sitting at her kitchen table. She whips together blog pages to make it look like there’s a company. Then, when she suckers some poor soul into signing with her, she charges them fees up front. One fee, she says, is to create an account on Lightningsource. Another is for an account on Amazon’s Createspace. The third up-front fee is another twenty bucks for a buddy of hers to throw together photoshopped images of models from the internet for their cover art.
What authors need to realize is that they can create accounts on both Lightningsource and Createspace themselves for free. And they can download a trial version of Photoshop or some other creative software for free and do just as good a job on their own covers. They can do everything for themselves for free that Tabetha wants them to pay her for.
Authors, if you’re looking at a publishing company, make sure that they aren’t some trumped-up vanity press out to scam you.
Most importantly, make sure the publishing company you’re looking at really exists.