Aziza Publishing (http://azizapublishing.com/), founded in 2010, recently garnered what has to be some very embarrassing publicity. One of their authors asked a reviewer to sign an utterly bizarre contract between said reviewer and the author/publisher, the jaw-dropping details of which can be read here:
Was this contract produced by Aziza or by the author herself? We don't know yet, but either way it it reeks of amateurism.
Aziza's website doesn't give the biographical details of anyone involved in the publishing process but the founder is named elsewhere as Rochelle Levy. Here are a few excerpts from an interview with Rochelle: http://www.ontherisemagazine.com/201...iza-publishing
The only published book by Rochelle I could find was a collection of poetry entitled Poetic Intimacy, released through CreateSpace in 2010. I also found references to "her second full length fiction novel titled “Dark Rising”, which apparently hasn't been published yet.What or who inspired you to start your own publishing company?
RL: I write ALL the time. I write notes in my phone, short stories on random pieces of paper, etc… Friends, family members and people who follow my blog and twitter (@miss_soliliquy) kept telling me I should write a book or would ask for help writing and tips on publishing so… Aziza Publishing was born.
Poetry? Gigantic red flag! Hodge-podge of other genres? Another red flag. Cookie-cutter novels? I've heard that one before. Aziza is beginning to sound more like a pay-to-play or at least a clueless start-up than a commercial press.What kind of submissions do you accept from budding authors?
RL: We accept poetry and all types of fiction...We are currently looking for more thrillers, mystery, romance, paranormal and suspense novels. I want things to be outside of the box and not a cookie cutter novel. I like to take chances and beat people to the curve.
How many times have we heard the "one big happy family/going the extra mile" line? And I find the prospect of a publisher wanting to make sure "things are going right in all aspects of your life" creepy rather than reassuring.What makes Aziza different from all the other publishers?
RL: I think what sets Aziza Publishing apart from other companies is that we aim to develop a personal working relationship with our authors and staff. We genuinely care about your career and personal well-being. We take the time to make sure things are going right in all aspects of your life when you are a part of the “Aziza Family”. We go the extra mile when others won’t.
I'm all in favour of taking everything with a grain of salt, which is why I wouldn't risk putting my work in the hands of someone whose previous experience in publishing seems to consist of CreateSpace.What is your advice to people who are trying to break into the literary industry?
RL: My advice is to take everything with a grain of salt. Always learn from each experience and never give up because perseverance pays off in the end. Have faith in yourself and your abilities. Be the best you that you can possibly be and THEN try to be better than that. If you can do that every day, then there’s no way you can fail. Also, write every day no matter what. Even if it’s something silly, write it.
Now, back to Aziza Publishing LLC's own website. Two things struck me immediately:
1) You can't buy books directly from the publisher; and
2) Publishing is just one of the services offered by Aziza. Take your pick from:
Writing Coaching - prices begin at $350 for 12 sessions;
Blog and Site Management - Partial Blog Management $500, Complete Blog Management $875;
Creative Arts Workshops - $350 for a two-hour workshop with a maximum number of 30 participants;
Editing: prices range from $125 to $525 depending on the length of your ms.
Bearing in mind the fact that there is no money in poetry, do these services subsidize the publication of Aziza's books? Nowhere on the site does it specify that they are a vanity/subsidy/self-publisher. Yet take a look at these words from Rochelle Levy (the bolding throughout is mine):
(I had no idea that most major publishing houses rarely have opening for manuscript submissions. It makes you wonder where on earth all these new books come from!) I get the distinct impression that authors turned down for publication might be in with a chance if they pay for Aziza's coaching and editing.Boston better make way for a new power house in publishing and literature. Aziza Publishing, a new small publishing house, was launched earlier this year and as quiet as it was kept, has been making major moves in the industry. With five titles slated to be released before January 2011, Aziza Publishing aims to blast it's authors into the realm of literacy greatness.
While most major publishing houses rarely have openings for manuscript submissions, AzizaPublishing never turns authors away. They take the time to carefully review each and every manuscript and although some may not be chosen for publication, they work with all authors in fine tuning their craft. If you have a passion for words on paper, Aziza Publishing is where you want to be.
Here's an unintentionally revealing statement by one of Aziza's authors. Count the misconceptions and beginner's mistakes (again, the bolding is mine):
A self-publisher with no upfront fees? They must be making their money further down the line.Witin the first ten months of 2010, I combed the search engines for publishers who would take a chance on a budding author like me. It has been a wearing journey for me. Most of the publishers wanted up front fees, while the other publishers wanted established writers. I've emailed publishers, literary agents, authors and editors, from dusk till dawn. I dreamed about being a traditionally published author with my own fan base and independence. But when the bleakness seemed too much, I nearly slammed the door on my passion for writing. I literally cried and immersed myself in depression. I thought my raining days were infinite. Securing employment was a long shot from easy and I had a dent in my bank account.
I felt like the walls were sandwiching me. The only alternatives I had, was to pray and keep going. I spent the next six months finding a publisher until I met my Publisher via one of my Facebook friend's profile. She talked about inducting fiction writers and poets into her publishing company. I messaged her and the rest was history. Unlike most publishers, she didn't require any upfront fees and she likes to give writers a chance.My book has been pushed back to 3/15/11, because the publisher is perfecting the contents of my book. She told me she's unwilling to dispense a poorly edited book. I concede that I was impatient about the release at first, but now I understand why.
My publisher is Rochelle Levy and she's the Founder and President of Aziza Publishing. The vision of Aziza Publishing is to bring forth new talented writers and introduce their unique craft to the masses. Aziza Publishing is receptive to sub genres, poetry, and fiction. It can be baffling to find a publisher who's willing to commit to your work. Welp, now that Aziza is a brand new publishing entity, authors can send samples of their work upon the company's request. The company was started in Boston, MA and its' fan base is a ascending rapidly by the numbers. With all the buzz that is swarming Aziza, it is becoming one of the most exalted self publishers in the industry. Aziza offers incredible editorial service along with praiseworthy novels and poetry. For inquires and information, you can reach Rochelle email@example.com.You may become the newest addition to Aziza's family.
For the benefit of novice writers:
DON'T use search engines to find publishers - the internet is crawling with vanity presses and amateurs playing at being publishers. Go to your local bookstore, find books similar to yours and make a note of who published them.
DON'T give in to despair if you haven't found an agent or publisher within ten months. Ten months is nothing.
DON'T be fooled into thinking that new writers don't stand a chance of being published, or that writers have to pay to be published.
Real publishers are inundated with submissions - they don't need to go touting for business on Facebook.
Finally, ask yourself why so many small presses are founded by people who couldn't get their own work commercially published.
HannahBanana is Hannah D Spivey, author of Ebony the Beloved. A 'Sneak Peak (sic)' of Ebony can be read here: http://azizapublishing.com/Ebony/Ebo...eak%20Peak.pdf. The book was actually published in July 2011 and has problems with editing and formatting; by no means has it been 'perfected'. The same could be said of at least two other Aziza books.
If Hannah got what she wanted from Aziza I'm delighted for her, but what she's describing here is an object lesson in how NOT to find a reputable publisher. And a company responsible for either dreaming up that surreal author/publisher/reviewer contract, or misleading one of their authors into thinking that such a contract is standard practice, cannot be reputable.