Here’s why you should always research your publisher.

Authors, it’s not just important, it’s imperative that you research your publisher before you sign on the dotted line. If you don’t, you could fall into the clutches of a scam publisher. They’re out there, poised to take advantage of your eagerness to publish, and to exploit your work to their own financial gain.

Like this one did:

Erotica publisher, author charged for manipulating book sales
Erotica publisher Jana Karetko is facing charges after altering her clients’ book sales reports and pocketing the stolen royalties. In some instances, she even inflated or exaggerated book sales to make the authors believe the novels were doing well or becoming bestsellers. Among the many thefts, she’s also accused of falsifying her income on a tax return and not filing returns for two consecutive years.

That sounds so familiar, doesn’t it?

She was arrested and charged Monday with five counts of money laundering, four counts of felony theft, nine counts of computer crime and three counts of tax evasion.

It’s been more than a year since I typed the words ‘Tabetha Jones’ in a blog post. I got sick of her taking up space in my head. I got sick of her headgames, her miserable, crooked treatment of authors. I got sick of HER.

But when I saw that article, it made me think.

I originally blogged about Tabetha because she scammed my kid, among many other authors. To date, my daughter is the only author I know of that Tabetha repaid. There are maybe dozens of others that were scammed through a multitude of bogus companies she owned (but never properly formed) like Mystic Press, Phoenix Fire Publishing, Sweete Sinz, et al, that were lied to, cheated, and have never been repaid. For their sake, I continued blogging about her and her shady dealings, to vindicate them and warn new would-be victims.

I last blogged about Tabetha, saying that as far as I knew, she wasn’t actively trying to publish anybody’s work but her own-but if I heard anything new, I’d report it.

Well, I can’t prove that she’s at it again (if she ever left off), but I have heard whispers about a whole flurry of new names, new bogus companies, new aliases, etc.

I’ve also heard rumors about her claiming that she and her “powers” are to blame for my house burning down last year, “karma” from her angels and guardians. Saying that’s why I don’t blog about her anymore, because I’ve finally been “put in my place” and that I’m too scared of her to dare.

Rubbish.

As if she had the power to do anything but wipe her own ass.

An outlet shorted and lit up the sofa. End of story.

But it’s important to mention because if this is the sort of thing she’s telling people to frighten them into submission, it needs to be dragged kicking and screaming into the light of day and exposed.

That’s the sort of thing she became infamous for, intimidating her victims, either with exaggerated tales of her imaginary powers, or threats from the men in her life (real or imagined. Like the fake and ill-fated Bo). Getting authors so afraid of her wrath that they wouldn’t dare question the ineptitude of her services or discrepancies in their (lack of) royalties. They just shy away, battered and bruised, some too traumatized to try to publish again.

That’s why, when the first brave souls stepped forward with horror stories, bloggers like Emily Suess, Janrae Frank, Erotic Romance and I spoke up. To warn new authors from falling victim.

I also urged her victims to report her to the authorities. The FBI. The IRS. Her local Attorney General. The District Attorney. That’s how the Colorado crook was caught. A victim turned her in to her local DA. Et voila. Come July 7th, she’ll stand in front of a judge to answer for it.

And now, seeing this article, I wish more of the victims I advocated for would have turned Tabetha in. All evidence indicates that she did exactly the same thing this woman from Colorado did. And if she’d been found guilty earlier on, it would have saved countless others from being victimized. Including any that might be in her clutches now.

If so inclined, I could chase her down and find out what, if any, new schemes she’s using to sucker new victims. But, truth be told, I don’t want to give her that much of my energy. She doesn’t deserve that much of my time. I’ve got a life to live, loved ones to dote on, and my own projects to finish.

There’s another reason I put that woman’s name on my tongue. One of Tabetha’s favorite tactics has historically been to sucker new authors victims in by saying “That was in the past!” “I’ve learned from my mistakes!” “Everybody deserves a second chance!”

No. She hasn’t and they don’t. After so many chances, so many victims left in her destructive wake, enough is enough. If you’ve heard these platitudes from your would-be publisher, run. Seriously. Run.

If you’re an author that’s been unfortunate enough to deal with Tabetha Willis/Saulters/Hoover/Jones/Simpson/whatever, I strongly urge you disentangle yourself from her and protect your work.

Always, ALWAYS research your publisher before you sign any contract. Make sure the company exists. Make sure it’s legit. Check watchdog sites like Writer Beware, Absolute Write water cooler. Google your publisher’s name to see if they show up on warning blogs like this one. If, like Jones (et al), they show up on multiple sites and blogs warning you about dealing with them, it’s probably a good idea to listen.

Ask the hard questions. If you don’t get the right answers, don’t let yourself be snowed. This is your work, your career, your name on the line. Don’t be shy or polite about protecting it.

Now, if it’s okay, I need to go shower to get that foul wretch’s stink off me. And meditate to get her out of my head. Distract myself with something pleasant. Like a cute and fluffy kitten named Brutus.

Ah, that’s better.

Take care, folks.