Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss View Post
Austin & Maclauley is a vanity publisher. I've gotten reports of fees in the £3,000 range.

Like many vanity publishers, Austin & Macauley claims to offer "traditional" publishing, and lures authors in with this promise. Once authors have submitted, they get a letter from "Chief Editor Annette Longman" saying that A&C thinks their work "has merit" and "deserves to be published." However, due to "the difficulty in placing the books of new or untried authors, as well as the general increased competition in publishing today, we feel that it may be necessary to ask for a contribution from you." There then follows some stuff about how such arrangements are "likely to be more common in future," and then Annette lowers the boom:

Let me stress: the situation is that, at the moment, we are only asking you to agree in principle [to make a contribution]. I can, however, assure you of one important point. If you were to agree in principle, the amount asked of you would be reasonable; it would be a contribution to initial costs only; it would not match the investment we ourselves would be putting into teh publishing, promoting, and marketing of your work.

The final paragraph of this letter sinks the hook, implying that the contribution may not be required after all: "...on the other hand, [the Publishing Board] may well agree to take responsibility for the entire financial risk."

These are standard vanity publisher sales tactics, designed to make authors believe that a) the publisher isn't solely a vanity publisher, and b) if they pay, the publisher will contribute either its own money or services of substantial value. However, it's quite likely that neither is true. While some vanity publishers do have non-vanity programs, in many if not most cases the claim to provide "tradtional" publishing is a sales ploy designed to make authors feel more confident that the publisher is reputable ('cause any publisher that does non-vanity publishing is reputable, right?). Ditto for the joint venture claim--it's far more likely that the author's "contribution" has been carefully calculated to cover not just publication costs, but the publisher's overhead and profit.

Apart from anything else, A&M's website is deceptive in that there's no indication that any of its authors will have to pay. However, as Old Hack noted, to anyone with any real publishing experience, it screams "vanity publisher."

- Victoria
This maybe needs re quoting since Austin & Macauley offering contracts to "new authors" is coming up first as a google ad on any google search related to publishing.