And while we’re on the subject of scams…
If you’ve ever signed a contract with Mystic Press, Phoenix Fire Publishing or Dark Storm Publications, be on the lookout for the dreaded separation fee clause.
A certain scam publisher is seriously strapped for cash these days, and most of her friends and family are tapped. Sob stories about utilities getting shut off only go so far.
The biggest moneymaker in her whole scheme is that separation clause. You know the one. It says that for early termination, there shall be a $125 fee. It doesn’t stipulate whether termination has to be made by you or by her. It only says that if the contract terminates before the year (or whatever) is over, she’s going to try to make you pay.
Her contract says that she can terminate your contract for any reason. Poor sales, excessive returns, or “or any other reasons as decided by the Publisher.” That’s right. She can ax your contract any time she wants, for any reason she can think up. Then she can turn around and try to collect that separation fee from you. What’s it up to now? $125.00? That’s a lot of money.
Don’t let her fool you, authors. She doesn’t care about your dreams. All she cares about is your money. She won’t get much by skimming (or outright stealing) your royalties. With no editing, formatting, marketing or promotion, those books don’t have a single chance of success. Neither do you as an author.
Her best chance of getting money out of you is to set you up to breach your contract and hit you up for that $125 fee. After she screams breach, she’ll wave your contract in your face, threaten you with a lawyer (that doesn’t exist), hold your work hostage and harass you until you cave in and pay, just to be rid of her.
She might even threaten to have your wages garnished.
And she might not limit herself to authors she’s currently got signed. She might dip back into the pool of past authors, just like she does with those mysterious “third party” sales of your books that you don’t see a dime from. I wouldn’t put it past her to pick on former authors, hitting you guys up for money, citing some “forgotten” or “overlooked” kink in the contract that allows her to come after you for money, even years after you’ve left her. Maybe for as much as $50 bucks.
Mystic Press, Phoenix Fire, Dark Storm authors, don’t fall for it. Your contract was never legal and binding, even if you signed it. You can sign it a hundred times and no judge would uphold it in a court of law. Not only is it illegal on its merits, but it’s also unconscionable. It’s worthless. You can wipe your ass with it and tell her to take a hike.
So if she tries to hit you up for a separation fee, tell her to stuff it up her ass sideways. She’s not entitled to a single dime from you. Like any scam artist or beggar on the street, she only gets your money if you hand it over willingly. Don’t.
If she threatens to garnish your wages, sic her lawyer on you or take you to court, call her bluff. Make her sue you. DARE her to sue you. She won’t. She can’t. She doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on, and she knows it. The last thing that con artist wants is to see the inside of a courtroom.
Think about it. In all the years she’s spent threatening to sue people, how many has she actually served? That’s right. NONE.
She’s just trying to bully you into giving her money. That’s your money. You worked hard for it. Don’t hand it over to some con artist.
Let her get money to go slumming at the strip club somewhere else.