View Full Version : Stupid article in the Charlotte Observer

07-30-2004, 11:19 PM
www.charlotte.com/mld/cha...259505.htm (http://www.charlotte.com/mld/charlotte/business/9259505.htm)

The linked article in my local paper has plummented me into the pits of despair. It presents a vanity press as a great service to writers and claims that major publishers keep track of self-published authors to offer contracts to those who sell best.

The cost of publication for a 100 page book can be as high as 2,000 dollars for 100 copies. (Do the math to see what the writer would have to sell copies for to break even.)

The entire thing makes me ill.

On a personal level, this same newspaper's books section declined to give me a line of ink when I was nominated for a first novel Stoker. They would not even list the publication of my second novel in a round-up of works by locals, although they frequently list vanity press publications, because it was a "genre" book.

07-31-2004, 03:21 AM
...and there's the old myth about John Grisham being self-published.

Interesting that the article includes comment by the owner of Milligan Books, a "self-publishing" company that charges authors as much as $10,000, and offers a slew of a la carte "marketing" services with prices ranging from around $50 for a list of bookstores to $2,500 to secure a "national TV interview". Sheesh. What a deal.

- Victoria

07-31-2004, 07:39 AM
Who owns the paper?

And is there a competing newspaper which might run an article by a knowledgeable freelancer (who just might turn out to be you) on the problems with vanity presses? I'm sure you could garner many quotes from this board (after asking permission of the posters to quote, of course) and some of them are well-respected experts...

Just a thought.

07-31-2004, 08:20 AM
it is a knight-ridder paper with no competition

and i could be punished if i wrote a contary piece

07-31-2004, 10:09 AM
Punished how? Do you work for the paper? Do they own the town or the police force?

Just asking. I'm definitely notdisbelieving you -- I'm curious about how a piece exposing vanity publishing scams could cause its author to be "punished."

07-31-2004, 08:34 PM
first of all the paper, like most knight ridder papers has a small small free lance budget, they are not interested in purchasing free lance material.

second, even though i have previously failed to get even a mention when books come out, etc. taking a stance against something the paper obviously believes in could make certain that will never ever change

07-31-2004, 10:54 PM
a letter to the editor under a false name -- maybe not everyone agrees with the stance taken by the paper and they would print your letter.


Savannah Blue
08-01-2004, 08:32 PM
Hi all! This is my first post here.

dgkgoldberg, have you considered sending a letter to the editor of The Sun-News in South Carolina? True, they are owned by the same company, but I've found them to be more open in what letters they accept for publication.

Savannah Blue

aka eraser
08-01-2004, 10:02 PM
a letter to the editor under a false name -- maybe not everyone agrees with the stance taken by the paper and they would print your letter.

Shawn, every newspaper I've associated with refuses to print letters from anyone unless their identity can be verified with address, phone number etc. They will often remove the name from publication though if the writer asks for anonymity.

08-03-2004, 06:00 PM
From the article:

"It's a tough market for anyone, but definitely for blacks," Carter said of publishing. "Whites often have access to a lot more resources than blacks do, with computers, the Internet, with the literary agents. We get a lot of blacks who have brought in handwritten manuscripts. ... They feel a little more comfortable with us."


I am just...


Good God, I hope a lot of black writers write in to that paper to let them know what a ridiculous statement that was. The whole article made me feel like my emoticon.

I'm trying to understand his point and I just can't wrap my brain around it. Is he saying white people have these resources because they have more money? And if so, how do these "poor" black people have the money to afford his overpriced services?

Or is he saying black people aren't allowed to use the Internet? Or that they can't type? Or that literary agents would turn down a great manuscript because a black person wrote it?

I am just...


I gotta go lie down.

08-03-2004, 09:50 PM

Betty W01
08-04-2004, 09:01 AM
Well, apparently time travel became available during the 50's, because this guy sounds like he escaped from there/then.

I'm with you, Jenna - :jaw


In this day and age. Wonder if he realizes how many customers of all colors such a racist statement will cost him. I know I'd handwrite my book, photocopy it, staple it together, and hand it out on street corners before I'd let him touch it, even if he offered to pay me, instead of charging me. <sigh> It's people like him that give the human race a bad name.


08-04-2004, 09:41 AM
"Well, apparently time travel became available during the 50's, because this guy sounds like he escaped from there/then."

Can we send him back?

James D. Macdonald
07-28-2005, 03:34 AM
Newspapers are forever printing stupid articles about book publishing. That's because book publishing is arcane, the way it works seemingly makes no sense, and "local man writes book" articles don't like to come to the conclusion "local man got scammed."

07-28-2005, 01:32 PM
I had to rub my eyes there at the comments on black writers. It's still there he really said it. So basically he's touting for poor black people who dont have computers to bring their m/s to him so that he can sign them up for a deal which will cost them a fortune?

Maybe he can offer them finance as well, at huge interest rates or he has a mate who can?

08-03-2005, 06:26 AM
I'm sorry I missed that story (I've been on vacation and the link no longer works, so I can't see what was printed). The Charlotte Observer is my local paper and I've had freelance articles published there. I've worked for several newspapers and found that they don't "punish" readers for expressing differing opinions and usually welcome lively and thought-provoking responses in letters to the editor. Writing under a fake name is not warranted, IMO. Was the article written by someone at the paper or by a wire service? It doesn't sound like something an Observer reporter would have written.

I'm disappointed to learn the paper's book section wouldn't give you any space, dgkgoldberg, when your book received an award. I'd like to know what their reasoning was. Keep pressing them (nicely) and good luck!