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hopeful
01-23-2007, 11:34 PM
Dear [hopeful]:

An entry has been prepared about you for inclusion in a forthcoming edition of Contemporary Authors (CA), a reference series that provides information on approximately 112,000 writers in a wide range of media, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, journalism, drama, and screenwriting. Established in 1962, CA is published by Thomson Gale, a leading provider in meeting the world’s information and education needs. There is absolutely no charge or obligation of any kind for listings in CA, nor is this e-mail a solicitation. For more information regarding the series, please visit www.gale.com (http://www.gale.com/).

As a courtesy, we forward to the author his/her sketch prior to publication. We invite you to take this opportunity to review the enclosed preliminary copy for accuracy. If any facts are incorrect, please let us know. Likewise, if any important information is missing, please alert us to that fact. (Please let us know immediately if the attached sketch cannot be read and we will resend it in text format.)

I am with Schlager Group, an independent contractor for the Gale Group, which publishes Contemporary Authors. We have overseen the writing and editing of your entry.

The sketches include a personal section, a career section, a list of works, and a sidelights section. The “Sidelights” section may include information on reviews of your work. At the end of this section, you can speak directly to our readers about such matters as your background, career, and life as a writer. For more information about this section, please see the bottom of this email.

The information you provide will be published online as well as in print, and will be considered part of the Contemporary Authors database and distribution channels. Any comments about the Contemporary Authors series provided by authors may be used in promoting Gale Group products and databases.

Please notify me of any necessary changes by emailing me at andrea@schlagergroup.com. Even if no changes are necessary, please let me know that as well. If possible, please send your responses by January 26, 2006. You may also fax or phone the information to me at (214) 347-9469. Alternatively, Schlager Group's mailing address is: Schlager Group Inc., 2501 Oak Lawn Ave., Ste. 245, Dallas, TX 75219.

While we are unfortunately unable to provide a complimentary copy of the volume your entry appears in, we do provide a forty percent author discount should you wish to purchase one. To place an order, please email galeord@thomson.com, call 1-800-877-GALE, or mail a written request to: Contemporary Authors, Gale Group, 27500 Drake Rd., Farmington Hills, MI 48331-3535, USA.

Thank you for your time and effort in helping us make your sketch as complete and accurate as possible.


Cordially,
Andrea Betts Menendez

Assistant Editor, Schlager Group
On behalf of Gale Group

Please feel free to answer any or all of the following questions in prose form for use in the “Sidelights section of your CA sketch, though you are certainly not limited to these questions only.

---What first got you interested in writing?---Who or what particularly influences your work?---Describe your writing process.

---What is the most surprising thing you have learned as a writer?---Which of your books is your favorite and why?

---What kind of effect do you hope your books will have

giftedrhonda
01-23-2007, 11:37 PM
I haven't, but I can assure you Thomson Gale is quite legitimate. I work for Thomson West, the legal branch of the Thomson publishing company...it's a GINORMOUS company.

Congrats to you - this sounds cool!!

hopeful
01-23-2007, 11:41 PM
Okay -- a few more details: attached to this email that I received was a listing that did indeed contain my name, date of birth, place of birth, my parents' names, my religion?!? (odd, no?), my race (also odd, no?), and all of this was followed by various and sundry information about jobs I've held and some of my publications.

Some of it was current and accurate and some of it was not. Also included were my home address and my email address, both of which I consider private. It was unnerving, I have to say, kind of like someone had pulled bits and pieces of old and new resumes and had sort of cut and pasted them together to create this strange, only half-accurate, little bio-blurb.

I wrote back asking if they could consider pulling my entry altogether, because the whole thing honestly creeped me out a bit, but who knows if they will honor my request. I somehow doubt they will.

What do you guys think?

Thanks!

-hopeful

giftedrhonda
01-23-2007, 11:44 PM
If you don't want something published in there, I'd leave that info out...or if you're totally uncomfortable with it, just pull your entry. I think they would honor your request - as I said, they're a huge publishing company and very well-respected. There's no reason for them to keep you in there if you don't want to be...

Rhonda

hopeful
01-23-2007, 11:46 PM
You are very kind, GiftedRhonda. I understand the publisher is legit., and in a way it was kind of them to ask me to make corrections on the entry. But what I found odd was that they did not seek my permission to include such an entry in the first place. I'm a pretty private person, quite careful about what kind of info I release and to whom, so it felt like a bit of an invasion. I probably should have been more honored, but I couldn't shake that feeling that someone had just barged in on me while I was getting dressed or something.

Maybe I'm just being nuts.

-hopeful

hopeful
01-23-2007, 11:47 PM
Thanks, giftedrhonda! From your description, it sounds like they will honor my request. I'll let you know if/when I hear back from them.

-hopeful

giftedrhonda
01-23-2007, 11:51 PM
No problem! Hey, you gotta do what's right for you, you know? :D

CaoPaux
01-23-2007, 11:54 PM
Well, it's not a scam... http://www.gale.com/servlet/BrowseSeriesServlet?region=9&imprint=000&cf=ps&titleCode=CA&dc=null&dewey=null&edition=.

Personally, I'd limit the info I'd allow them to publish.


Sketches published in Contemporary Authors and Contemporary Authors New Revision Series will also be made available on The Gale Group’s online service, Contemporary Authors Online. Contemporary Authors Online is available only by subscription. However, occasionally Gale licenses portions of its database to third parties. By submitting your on-line questionnaire, you are consenting to all print and electronic uses of your information that Gale pursues.

http://www.gale-edit.com/cas/

hopeful
01-24-2007, 12:02 AM
Thanks, CaoPaux!

-hopeful

James D. Macdonald
01-24-2007, 01:07 AM
Gale Research -- the original Shovel Ware!

I've yet to see anything from them that didn't have substantial errors of fact in it. Nevertheless, many libraries have reference books from them.

victoriastrauss
01-24-2007, 02:17 AM
Not a scam.

I got the same email, and am letting the entry go in as is. The biographical and other information was correct--which it ought to have been, since it came directly from my website and several interviews I've done.

- Victoria

Namatu
01-24-2007, 02:57 AM
Thomson Gale is legitimate and CA is one of their more popular and longest-running titles. New editions are issued every year and students often refer to it for research on authors and their works. I remember using it when I was in high school, which was... awhile ago. Schlager Group is an editorial house often under contract by the company.


Okay -- a few more details: attached to this email that I received was a listing that did indeed contain my name, date of birth, place of birth, my parents' names, my religion?!? (odd, no?), my race (also odd, no?), and all of this was followed by various and sundry information about jobs I've held and some of my publications.
This information is part of a tagged template that Gale uses in order to classify data. Considering your entry is a biographical one, it's not odd. All their bios contain this type of classification. I'm surprised they sent you the whole tagged entry though. That's just an invitation for confusion.


Some of it was current and accurate and some of it was not. Also included were my home address and my email address, both of which I consider private. It was unnerving, I have to say, kind of like someone had pulled bits and pieces of old and new resumes and had sort of cut and pasted them together to create this strange, only half-accurate, little bio-blurb.

I wrote back asking if they could consider pulling my entry altogether, because the whole thing honestly creeped me out a bit, but who knows if they will honor my request. I somehow doubt they will.
If you ask them to remove your entry, they should. You could also contact Thomson Gale directly and repeat your request. Their number is 1-800-887-4253. (Hit zero to avoid the automated system and say you want to speak with the managing editor of Contemporary Authors.) If your home address is listed in the phone book (or turns up in a Google search), that's probably how they got it.


What do you guys think?
Personally, I'd keep the entry in. It's cool and gives you exposure. :) Libraries always buy CA. I would, however, correct the errors, which could have originated with the original author of the entry or through other information that's out there on you.



I've yet to see anything from them that didn't have substantial errors of fact in it.
Ha, you should see how the material starts out! (Yes, former employee here. :hi:) Quality control is always difficult the way reference publishing works nowadays, but I always try to exercise vigorous fact checking. Things slip through, but corrections can be made in reprints or new editions, and if a correction comes from outside, they are made at the next opportunity. The many ways in which reference publishing is messed up, however, is for a separate thread discussion!

hopeful
01-24-2007, 03:21 AM
Thanks, Namatu! This place is always so helpful!

-hopeful

hopeful
01-24-2007, 08:44 PM
Just to let you all know, I've been in communication with them, and they were very nice and VERY understanding. Everything I wanted to keep private, they agreed to keep private, so I have opted to keep my listing in the book.

-hopeful

giftedrhonda
01-24-2007, 08:56 PM
yay! i'm so glad it worked out...

K1P1
01-24-2007, 10:43 PM
Yes - definitely legit. The info about the research center where I work is included in one of their directories, and I receive a notice once a year to make sure it's up to date.

CaoPaux
01-29-2010, 09:22 AM
In July 2007, parent company Thomson Learning changed name to Cengage Learning. http://www.gale.cengage.com/

Emily Winslow
02-02-2011, 03:03 PM
I'm grateful for this thread. At first I assumed that my contact from this company was a "who's who" type scam. How lovely to discover it is legit.

Many thanks, Absolute Write!

Stacia Kane
03-01-2011, 06:13 AM
I've just received an email from a gentleman who works at the Schlager Group, "an independent contractor for Gale Group," which publishes the "Contemporary Authors" reference books.

http://www.schlagergroup.com/index.php


http://www.gale.cengage.com/


The search results for the "Contemporary Authors" books on the Gale website:

http://www.gale.cengage.com/servlet/SearchResultServlet?searchText=contemporary+author s&imprint=000&region=9&searchType=As&searchBy=subTitle&search_dropdown=0


The email tells me I'm to be included in the next edition, has a few questions I can choose to answer or not, and comes with a fairly long and detailed biography (which is what they plan to publish) for me to look over. I'm assured I don't have to pay anything or buy a copy or anything of that nature, and I don't have to approve the copy or respond at all, but they'd appreciate it if I did.


We don't have a thread on them here (ETA: I SWEAR I did a search!! I must have blanked on the "Schlager" part and thought I was just looking for "The Gale Group," sorry), so I figured I'd go ahead and start one. Obviously they're legit companies, but I am curious if anyone else has any experience with these reference books, or anything like that?

James D. Macdonald
03-01-2011, 06:19 AM
Gale Group is the bunch for whom the term "shovelware" was coined.

Yes, they produce a ton of reference works that show up in libraries all over the place. But it's hard to make it through the table of contents of one without finding howling errors of fact.

Famously (in some circles) these are the guys who conflated Robert Charles Wilson with Robert Anton Wilson. They're pretty much the hard-copy pro version of Wikipedia.

Medievalist
03-01-2011, 07:21 AM
I worked for them, like many other grad students, in the past.

I would not do so again unless I were very very hungry. It took two years for one check to arrive. They are less than scrupulous in some of their practices regarding originality and payment.

IceCreamEmpress
03-01-2011, 07:28 AM
The quality of their products varies widely. I know distinguished scholars who have published impeccably researched bibliographies with them, and like Unca Jim I have also found howling errors in other of their reference works. And like pretty much every humanities grad student in the US, I have also worked for them myself and seen how that sausage is made. (It is made by underpaid graduate students who have caffeinated themselves long beyond caring about accuracy.)

The "Contemporary Authors" books mostly float on orders from libraries, but a while back they decided to market them to the authors themselves a la "Who's Who." It doesn't hurt to fill out your entry--it's not a scam, nor does it mark you as an arrant newb to be listed there--but I wouldn't buy one on a bet.

ccbridges
03-01-2011, 08:09 PM
They're pretty much the hard-copy pro version of Wikipedia.

That's probably news to our local English faculty member who brings his students to use these specific books every semester.

IceCreamEmpress
03-01-2011, 10:08 PM
That's probably news to our local English faculty member who brings his students to use these specific books every semester.

I am surprised there is an English professor anywhere in the US who didn't work on these books themselves! They are pretty approximate productions, but they are easy to use, which is why libraries like them. In any case, like every flawed resource, there are benefits to be derived from them as long as people are vigilant about doing further fact-checking.

Christine N.
03-01-2011, 11:54 PM
Well, Cengage puts out some of the most reputable reference books in the world (says the girl who took the library studies Reference class last semester).

That series you are talking about, Contemporary Authors, is highly used and widely referenced, in both print and through subscription databases. They also have other series like, Renaissance Authors, Young Adult Authors, and such.

They're very much like a single-subject encyclopedia. I don't think they NEED your permission to include you, if they feel you fit the criteria of the series, just as they don't need to include you if Encardia suddenly decides they want to write an encyclopedia article about you, or if Wikipedia does, for that matter. If they consider you a public figure they can publish such an informational article.

However, they do want to be factual and are asking you to look over the article to make sure they have things correct. If there's something you don't want included, make a polite notation.

Completely legit, and actually, I find it kind of cool, since I've used that series in my studies.

Leonidas
03-02-2011, 03:30 AM
Christine N. makes a good point here, namely that Cengage has many departments and imprints. The Contemporary Authors department is separate from the others, which include a number of imprints that represent once independent publishers that Cengage bought out over the years. Some of these imprints (like Lucent Books, originally in San Diego), each of which has its own staff of editors, are better and more reliable than others. Uncle Jim is right to say that some of the books put out by these imprints have factual errors in them. But often the quality of these books depends on both the particular editors in question and the particular authors they sign on to work with them. Occasionally they hire reliable historians like myself, in which case those books can be counted on to be factually reliable. Still, there is plenty of variation in Cengage's overall output. A few times they hired me to rewrite and correct other authors' manuscripts and in each case I was horrified at the errors and sloppy writing. It's books like those that are likely some of the ones that Uncle Jim has seen over the years.

Christine N.
03-02-2011, 03:45 AM
Yes, all you have to do is turn to the front page of any edition of any series to see who's contributed to it.

Doctors usually make up the contributors to the medial series (duh), so those are less likely to have factual errors, while literature people make up the editorial staff of the Contemporary Authors series.

You won't usually find the same group even responsible for every issue of every series. I do like the YA Authors series.

Matthew Warner
05-08-2014, 12:21 AM
My publisher just forwarded to me an email nearly identical in content to the first one on this thread. It asks me to vet their proposed entry in the Contemporary Authors (CA) series and asks if I'd like to answer some interview questions in a sidebar.

The attached entry is a well written, well sourced, 4-page profile about me and my books, and it includes lots of quotes from reviews and interviews. I wonder if one these AI content writers is responsible, because I can't believe I'm famous enough for someone to write something like this--one of 112,000 such profiles.

The email says there's no charge for inclusion, but if I want to buy a copy of my own profile I can get the book for a 40% discount.

I'm not sure what to think of this. Is it a come on? I'd be happy to paste in the entire email and attachment.

CaoPaux
03-18-2016, 09:56 PM
Updating URL: http://www.cengage.com/search/showresults.do?N=197

ETA: a better link, if not new: https://www.cengage.com/cengage-sites