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Austin Macauley Publishers, Ltd. (formerly Austin & Macauley)

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Clairels

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Just for the record it's illegal for companies or individuals to dupe members of the public with false promises especially if that company or individuals are also charging a large amount of money for very little in return, and in many cases a jail-able offence, correct me if I'm wrong but aren't Austin Macauley doing this, even though they will claim otherwise, and give the impression they are a genuine, legitimate company.

Wouldn't it be nice if all vanity pubs using deceptive tactics were shut down and their owners thrown in jail? Unfortunately, a quick perusal around these message boards will quickly show that rarely, if ever, happens.
 

Selkiegirl

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After months of waiting for a verdict on my manuscript, I finally got a reply from Austin & Macauley Publishers. They offered me a contract at an extortionate price. Nobody in their right mind would accept a contract on the terms they proposed. It would save a lot of time if there was a legal requirement for vanity publishers to divulge their over-inflated rates on their websites or at the very least on their first communication. That way we wouldn't all waste a lot of time!! If one knows how to do simple arithmetic it is to check if it's a bad deal. One should not have to pay anything to get published.

Nail hit firmly on the head with the comment about divulging their over-inflated rates, well done. However the reason vanity publishers don't divulge this type of information is because they want to give authors the impression that they are a reputable publishers to lure the author in, then when the author has fallen for false flattery and praise, hook, line and sinker given by said vanity publisher, the vanity publisher drops the bombshell, of how much it will cost to publish their book. Of course if they require the author to make a contribution, why not offer £1, well that is a contribution, or better still hand over some monopoly money with a 'get out of jail for free,' card.
 
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UPDATE:

Yesterday I checked my emails, and on July 19th I received an email from Austin Macauley, praising my manuscript, along with a 14-page contract with terms and conditions, relating to the publication on my book, should I sign the contract, today I received a hard copy of the contract in the post. I skipped though the details just to see their list of fees the writer (me) is expected to pay, should I go ahead, and they are: £1900 for paperback, and eBook publications. £2900 for hardback, paperback and eBook publications. £4400 for audio, hardback, paperback and eBook publications. Needless to say I will not be going ahead with this. Furthermore I have emailed a synopsis and three chapters of my book, along with a covering letter to two more legitimate literary agents, listed in the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook, and would rather take my chance with them.
 
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eowyn123

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July 2016 I also go an email from Austin Macauley telling me they wanted my entire manuscript. It gave me an euphoria as if I had won the jackpot. When they sent me a contract with me having to choose between £1700 and another fee, I got depressed as if a judge had given me a 20-year sentence without me having committed any crime at all. So I sent them a sort of legal email asking them to assure me they were not going to use my text. They sent me a long email back, assuring me of that and said something peculiar, is that their legal department notified other competitors writing negative things on them, namely that they are a vantage press pretending not to be one. So now, I published my books with the Internet and wonder how my water molecule will become visible in the ocean of reads. How to convince an agent or a reader to read your stuff? JK Rowling had an incredible luck that she made all that money before people found out the number of ideas she took from Anthony Horowitz's "Groosham Grange". Getting an idea seems to be, sadly, less alimentary than fructifying an idea, in literature and in science.

UPDATE:

Yesterday I checked my emails, and on July 19th I received an email from Austin Macauley, praising my manuscript, along with a 14-page contract with terms and conditions, relating to the publication on my book, should I sign the contract, today I received a hard copy of the contract in the post. I skipped though the details just to see their list of fees the writer (me) is expected to pay, should I go ahead, and they are: £1900 for paperback, and eBook publications. £2900 for hardback, paperback and eBook publications. £4400 for audio, hardback, paperback and eBook publications. Needless to say I will not be going ahead with this. Furthermore I have emailed a synopsis and three chapters of my book, along with a covering letter to two more legitimate literary agents, listed in the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook, and would rather take my chance with them.
 

mrsmig

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July 2016 I also go an email from Austin Macauley telling me they wanted my entire manuscript. It gave me an euphoria as if I had won the jackpot. When they sent me a contract with me having to choose between £1700 and another fee, I got depressed as if a judge had given me a 20-year sentence without me having committed any crime at all. So I sent them a sort of legal email asking them to assure me they were not going to use my text. They sent me a long email back, assuring me of that and said something peculiar, is that their legal department notified other competitors writing negative things on them, namely that they are a vantage press pretending not to be one. So now, I published my books with the Internet and wonder how my water molecule will become visible in the ocean of reads. How to convince an agent or a reader to read your stuff? JK Rowling had an incredible luck that she made all that money before people found out the number of ideas she took from Anthony Horowitz's "Groosham Grange". Getting an idea seems to be, sadly, less alimentary than fructifying an idea, in literature and in science.

Regarding the sentence I bolded above: Rule #1 at Absolute Write is "Respect Your Fellow Writer." Insinuating that Rowling plagiarized another author's work is disrespectful.

Congratulations on dodging the vanity press (not "vantage press," btw) bullet, and on publishing your books. When you say you "I published my books with the Internet," I assume you mean you self-published them via Amazon or you posted them on a website. Every writer who self-publishes their work faces the same problem: how to find a readership and make their voice heard over the clamor of other authors. The most successful find that readership before publishing, by establishing an online presence and engaging with potential readers. If you're looking for an agent for your already-published books, I'm afraid that ship has already sailed. By self-publishing, you've used your first publication rights, and few agents will be interested.
 
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Selkiegirl

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A couple of weeks ago I went into Waterstones bookshop taking a list of Authors and their book titles published with Austin Macauley, to see whether or not they accepted books from them, and when I approached the young woman on the checkout and read out the titles and authors, she was very helpful, by telling me that next year they are taking in the said titles and books published by AM. As a rule bookshops don't accept books from Vanity Publishers, do they? Well all I can assume is that AM are deceiving bookshops by hiding the fact they are Vanity Publishers.
 

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A couple of weeks ago I went into Waterstones bookshop taking a list of Authors and their book titles published with Austin Macauley, to see whether or not they accepted books from them, and when I approached the young woman on the checkout and read out the titles and authors, she was very helpful, by telling me that next year they are taking in the said titles and books published by AM. As a rule bookshops don't accept books from Vanity Publishers, do they? Well all I can assume is that AM are deceiving bookshops by hiding the fact they are Vanity Publishers.

It's not that bookshops won't accept books from vanity publishers: they won't usually shelve books which are POD, or which are from a publisher which doesn't have full distribution, or which doesn't accept returns. If A&M prints via offset (which I don't think it does), has distribution (again, I don't think it does) and accepts returns (again, I doubt it will) then bookshops would be happy to stock them. Of course, they'd have to get a sales team to start selling their books into bookshops and yet again, I don't think the publisher will do that.

I suspect the bookseller you spoke to was being kind when she said her bookshop might start ordering those books next year. And that it's not likely to happen.
 

ctripp

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I suspect the same thing as old hack, the sales staff being pleasant, since you asked. If you want to have another go, I'd ask to speak to the manager, they will likely give you a more realistic answer. You'll occasionally see a self pub/vanity press book in stores. It's always that the Author was local and came in and asked the store to put a copy on their shelf. Some of them will oblige to be kind and because that Author is also a customer, the customer is always right.
 

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Thank your comments Old Hack and Ctripp, unlike yourselves who seem to be clued up on publishing, I'm new it all, nevertheless I'm learning, and all I can say is thank God I found out what AM were like before receiving the contract they posted and emailed me, in that instance I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones who used common sense and did research. Ref: Your previous posts Old Hack, an employee at AM was threatening you with legal action just because you more or less pointed out that, that company's practices were wrong by the way they fleeced money from writers. It's obvious what happened, you rumbled them for they shysters they are, and they clearly didn't like it. That person's threat of legal action was nothing short of 'bully boy' tactics. I emailed Victoria Strauss telling them about AM wanting a large fee from me if I agreed to go ahead with the publication of my book, and she replied saying AM threatened to sue a writer because after he complained that they made false promises after he had regrettably paid them a substantial amount of money. Vanity publishers are nothing more than thieves who give writers false hope.
 
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Old Hack

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I've spoken with a friend who manages a few branches of Waterstones. She told me that she had no knowledge of any plans for Waterstones to start stocking books published by A&M, and said it would be very difficult if they wanted to because A&M has no distribution.
 

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Old Hack- Ref: Your reply yesterday about your friend who is a manager of Waterstones, and that they have no plans to stock books published by AM, there's going to be plenty of disappointed writers, who AM have led them to believe Waterstones, along with other bookshops will stock books published by them.
 

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Old Hack- Ref: Your reply yesterday about your friend who is a manager of Waterstones, and that they have no plans to stock books published by AM, there's going to be plenty of disappointed writers, who AM have led them to believe Waterstones, along with other bookshops will stock books published by them.
 

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Old Hack- Ref: Your reply yesterday about your friend who is a manager of Waterstones, and that they have no plans to stock books published by AM, there's going to be plenty of disappointed writers, who AM have led them to believe Waterstones, along with other bookshops will stock books published by them.

A&M authors who have approached their local branches of Waterstones with a view to getting their books on the shelves there might well have been successful, and so it's not dishonest to say the books are going to be stocked in the shops.

However, this is not the same as the books being on the shelves nationwide. For that, the publisher needs a proper contract with a book distributor and sales team, which I don't think they have; the publisher needs to give good discounts to the booksellers; and the publisher needs to make its books returnable, which I don't think A&M does. It also really needs to produce its books by offset printing rather than POD which I don't think A&M does, as POD books are usually too expensive to discount as needed, they aren't usually returnable, and they don't withstand shelfwear in the same way that offset books do.
 

Richard White

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You have to be careful about weasel-wording when it comes to a number of vanity presses and their ilk.

"Your book will be available nationwide" - if people special order it or order it from their on-line stores.
"We'll be at (BEA, London Book Fair, Frankfurt Book Fair, etc.) - sure, they may be. Doesn't mean your books will be there or that they'll have a table there.
"We give the highest royalties in the business." - 80% net of 100 sales is not quite the same as 8% cover of 15000 sales. Do the math and see what works best for you given realistic numbers. Don't be fooled by gaudy percentages, especially if the publisher it talking "net". Find out how they derive net to begin with

The biggest take-away is don't get in a hurry to get published. Do your homework and you'll start recognizing weasel-wording soon enough.
 

ctripp

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there's going to be plenty of disappointed writers


Unfortunately there are going to be plenty of disappointed writers in any case:(

If anyone still thinks this publisher is interested in selling the books they print to anyone but the Author, they just need look at the art used in their children's book selection. No, this is NOT what a commercial publisher would use!!! Either the Authors have Illustrated the books themselves (and are not Illustrators) or their child has or a friend:(
I saw 3 out of dozens and dozens of children's books there that I would consider professionally Illustrated and not a surprise, most times the Author WAS already an Illustrator.
No Publisher hoping to sell would use poor quality art on a novel cover, let alone a "PICTURE book" where the art represents at least half of the books value, appeal and marketing potential.
http://www.austinmacauley.com/genre/childrens
 

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Old Hack - I have bookmarked 'The Author Exploitation Business' web page by David Gaughran, and that gives a very informative insight into other publishing in general, and it would seem apparent, that Penguin, has bought the world's biggest vanity press, Author Solutions. Yet Penguin publishers are listed in the 'Writers' And Artists' Yearbook, I am confused, since I thought only legitimate publishers and literary agents were only allowed to be listed in there. All I can assume is Penguin still publish traditionally, but advise writers to use their partner publisher Author Solutions. What are your thoughts on that?
Ctripp -Ref: Your comments about Austin Macauley's book covers, I have to agree they're not very good quality, and I'm no artist. My husband, who used to be an illustrator and sculptor, and was very well paid for his skill, by companies who demanded a very high standard, of work, and people who were hard to impress, would certainly say so, and it's not as though he would be judging them purely on his own level of work.
 
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Old Hack

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Old Hack - I have bookmarked 'The Author Exploitation Business' web page by David Gaughran, and that gives a very informative insight into other publishing in general, and it would seem apparent, that Penguin, has bought the world's biggest vanity press, Author Solutions. Yet Penguin publishers are listed in the 'Writers' And Artists' Yearbook, I am confused, since I thought only legitimate publishers and literary agents were only allowed to be listed in there. All I can assume is Penguin still publish traditionally, but advise writers to use their partner publisher Author Solutions. What are your thoughts on that?

Gaughran seems to have a huge chip on his shoulder when it comes to trade publishing and I wouldn't go near most of what he's written on the subject. But he's often spot-on in his analyses of vanity publishing, and Random Penguin's involvement in it. They do still publish books for trade publishing, but as any business would, they also promote their other businesses--in this case, vanity publishing.

Don't assume people in the WAAYB are legitimate or trustworthy. No one in those directories is checked out in any way: if they want to be included, they are. You still have to check them out yourself, it's just a listing, that's all.
 

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Gaughran seems to have a huge chip on his shoulder when it comes to trade publishing and I wouldn't go near most of what he's written on the subject. But he's often spot-on in his analyses of vanity publishing, and Random Penguin's involvement in it. They do still publish books for trade publishing, but as any business would, they also promote their other businesses--in this case, vanity publishing.

Don't assume people in the WAAYB are legitimate or trustworthy. No one in those directories is checked out in any way: if they want to be included, they are. You still have to check them out yourself, it's just a listing, that's all.

Just a quick note that PRH actually sold Author Solutions in January: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/...or-solutions-sold-to-private-equity-firm.html
 

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There's also the small detail that 'twasn't Penguin who owned AS, but parent Pearson. Don't blame the kid for having to wear what Momma bought 'im.
 

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There's also the small detail that 'twasn't Penguin who owned AS, but parent Pearson. Don't blame the kid for having to wear what Momma bought 'im.

I should have remembered that. About Pearson. I am losing my edge. Also, my boys have always looked charming in the home-knitted jumpers I dressed them in. Heh.
 

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Don't assume people in the WAAYB are legitimate or trustworthy. No one in those directories is checked out in any way: if they want to be included, they are. You still have to check them out yourself, it's just a listing, that's all.[/QUOTE]

That throws a different light onto the agents/publishers listed in 'The Writers' And Artists' Yearbook.' The only thing writers can do when submitting their work to an agent or publisher is to use good old fashioned common sense when sorting the 'wheat' from the 'chaff,' meaning: legitimate publishers from vanity publishers. After all common sense is king.
 

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Don't assume people in the WAAYB are legitimate or trustworthy. No one in those directories is checked out in any way: if they want to be included, they are. You still have to check them out yourself, it's just a listing, that's all.

That throws a different light onto the agents/publishers listed in 'The Writers' And Artists' Yearbook.' The only thing writers can do when submitting their work to an agent or publisher is to use good old fashioned common sense when sorting the 'wheat' from the 'chaff,' meaning: legitimate publishers from vanity publishers. After all common sense is king.[/QUOTE]
 

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You should always do your research. After all, a very good publisher or agent still may not be the right one for you or your book.
 

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That throws a different light onto the agents/publishers listed in 'The Writers' And Artists' Yearbook.' The only thing writers can do when submitting their work to an agent or publisher is to use good old fashioned common sense when sorting the 'wheat' from the 'chaff,' meaning: legitimate publishers from vanity publishers. After all common sense is king.

When I worked at publishers I sometimes had to fill in the forms those directories send out. They send them out to any publishers etc they can find, in an effort to make their directories more comprehensive. They don't vet the people or companies at all (there might be one or two which do, but I can't remember the name) and the information in them is gathered several months prior to publication, so they're out of date before they go to print.

Use them only as a starting point.
 

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Also, can anyone actually find a good word to say about vanity publishers, what exactly do they do other than scam hopeful writers out of thousands of pounds for very little in return? When I sent my first three chapters to AM, plus synopsis, along with a covering letter, their response was very quick, saying they wanted to see the rest of my manuscript, needless to say, I was ecstatic and emailed it to them, but when I calmed down and found out what they were like I was disappointed, fortunately, I didn't part with any cash, I couldn't afford even the basic package of £1900 they offered me. Even if I could, I still rather hang onto my money.