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[Promotion] Aztec Moon Books

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

Drachen Jager

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They just followed me on Twitter. I didn't find a thread here so I thought I'd open one.

Anyone know anything about them? They have a 'contest' open where they'd like you to blindly mail them full manuscripts. Sounds pretty sketchy, especially since they don't say what happens once you mail them the manuscript (there's no prize on the 'contest' page, just how to enter the contest).
 

Drachen Jager

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Forgot to add a link: http://www.aztecmoonbooks.com/

It says in the FAQ: "The percentage of royalties depends on many factors including manuscript length, genre, whether it is paperback or hardback and the popularity of the writer. We generally offer 35% to 50% royalty to you on the income we receive from your books."

Then lower down: "We have a contract that is industry standard issued. The standard agreement is for the Publisher to pay the Author 50% of the net amount received by the Publisher, regardless of the format."

There are a ton of grammatical errors on the site as well (as you can see).

Looking at their blog, it appears the page went up in late August 2014. I'm guessing that's also when they opened for business. Both of the two blog posts are basically asking writers to provide free content for them to use on their blog.
 
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Drachen Jager

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I combed through the website and couldn't find any names attached to it anywhere, so I did a whois search. The registering company went through an anonymizing service "Perfect Privacy".

Anybody who tries that hard to hide their identity is up to no good.

Unless anybody knows differently, I'd advise to stay the hell away from them.
 

Dreity

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They just followed me too, and I imagine a lot of other AW'ers as well. Seriously doubting they're legit just based on their Twitter profile alone, but I'm also suspicious of anyone who tells me they'll "make my dreams come true". :tongue
 

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They state on several pages that their website is under construction, so maybe that explains some of the errors (it's all temporary stuff written in a hurry just to get some content on the site).

What does concern me is that they appear to promote books that aren't their own, although they do this for free. That seems weird to me.

They also have a page labeled "Authors We Love" with a long list of names. Are these all authors who've been published by them? That seems very unlikely since they don't appear to have been around that long. Plus, their "Shop Books" page has nothing on it (but this could be another page under construction).
 

Drachen Jager

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They state on several pages that their website is under construction, so maybe that explains some of the errors (it's all temporary stuff written in a hurry just to get some content on the site).

I've been writing long enough to know the difference between a first draft from someone who knows the rules and makes mistakes, and a person who doesn't really know the rules.

Also, since I wrote the original post, the entire website got revamped. Much of the content changed, the look is entirely different (it was brown and orange with few graphics), and the FAQ is gone. Obviously someone's busily working on it, though we may never know who, given the great lengths they've gone to to hide themselves. And that is the greatest problem here. Who are they and why are they hiding their identity like this?

It reminds me of this case: http://johndopp.com/plagiarism-sam-taylor-mullens-busted/

I suspect the person behind the website has some similar scam in mind, though I suppose only time will tell.
 

Lauram6123

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Okay, so according to their website, their snail mail address is 5130 S Fort Apache Rd # 215-376, Las Vegas, NV 89148.
Google reveals that address is a small strip mall containing a Panera, a blank store and a Panda Express. Obviously, I'm bored, so I called Panera and asked if Aztec Moon Books was right next to them and they said no. Currently, a Smashburger is in that location. So....
 

Osulagh

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Okay, so according to their website, their snail mail address is 5130 S Fort Apache Rd # 215-376, Las Vegas, NV 89148.
Google reveals that address is a small strip mall containing a Panera, a blank store and a Panda Express. Obviously, I'm bored, so I called Panera and asked if Aztec Moon Books was right next to them and they said no. Currently, a Smashburger is in that location. So....

Should I do some local reporting? It's like a five minute trip from me.

There's no housing anywhere for like a mile around there as well.

And, oh look, Craigslist ads:
http://siouxfalls.craigslist.org/wrg/4630948426.html
https://denver.craigslist.org/wrg/4645154718.html

Odd, NOT IN THE VEGAS CG.

Guess I've got some door banging to do tomorrow.
 

JulieB

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Sadly, there are reasons to take a domain registration private. I used to get lots of scam snail mail and phone calls before I took mine private. That's not to say that this outfit doesn't deserve scrutiny, but these days private domain registration is not a red flag by itself.

The address they're giving out appears to be a UPS Store.

The usual caveat applies here. Wait to see what they put out and see what kind of track record they establish before considering to submit.
 

Drachen Jager

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Sadly, there are reasons to take a domain registration private.

Not so much if you're registering as a company though, unless you have something to hide. After a quick check, Ellora's Cave is registered to Ellora's Cave Publishing Inc., Quirk Books is registered to Book Soup Publishing (and even has the owner's name in the whois info), Diversion Press is registered under the owner's name (I'm not printing the names, not sure if it's a liability issue, but there's no point in invading their privacy, besides you can all look them up on whois if you want to).

If you've got nothing to hide and it's a legit company, there really isn't a good reason to keep that sort of thing secret.
 
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DreamWeaver

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Should I do some local reporting? It's like a five minute trip from me.
I'd be interested to hear what you find. My money's on a UPS mail drop. ETA: Not that there's anything wrong with that unless a business posts a fake picture of their imposing building, which these folks did not. But a private investigation firm I was checking out for an unrelated purpose, did--how's that for ironic?
 
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JulieB

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If you've got nothing to hide and it's a legit company, there really isn't a good reason to keep that sort of thing secret.

I'm not defending this company. Yet...

I don't have a problem with private registration as long as the web site is forthcoming about who owns the company. Also, a legitimate business will have registered with the county and/or state in which they do business, and those records are generally open. I already get plenty of calls for merchant services and security services and people wanting me to sponsor events based on those records. Why add to the misery?

I also have P.O. Box. Not that I'm hiding. I live on a busy street and have had items swiped from my mailbox and front porch. People send me checks. I want them to be secure. Based on the junk snail mail that lands in my home mailbox, people have no problem finding my registered business address.

The big red flags for this company is that there are no names on the web site nor anything that tells me what kind of experience they have in the publishing industry. There's nothing on that site that tells me about the quality of books they publish. Nothing that tells me how they get their books into the hands of readers except for vague words about a service that "is currently free."

If they want to succeed in the publishing business, they're going to have to work on those red flags. I'm not waving the scam flag. They may be honest, yet not have a good idea about how this business works. That's still a good reason to not send them a manuscript.
 

Osulagh

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Yep, it's a UPS P.O. box. Leads right to a UPS store. While I don't have the biggest problem with this and can accept this with certain cases, it adds a bit more to the suspicion.

So here's my points:
- No face, no name.
- Advertising through Craigslist--outside of Las Vegas.
- Accepts all fiction--always weirds me out because it's better to publish into a niche, and genres need more specialized editors.
- No books up on the site, just "What we love". So nothing published or coming soon.

I'd pass. Seems sketch, real flaky.
 

Drachen Jager

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@Osulagh

Don't forget, all fiction and all lengths. I'm not aware of any serious publisher that does this without breaking their operation into multiple, specialized branches.

Plus, they want entire manuscripts dropped on them, no query first, no first few chapters, the whole thing up front. That on its own is suspicious.

- They have zero track record.

- The website is badly written with both grammatical errors and inconsistencies as to their policy (which makes me suspicious these policies were just made up on the spot).

- Their "contest" is identical in process to their submission policy (though they did actually update it to name the "prize").

There's just too much weird crap going on with these guys. If, and that's a huge if, they're legitimately interested in publishing books, the best case scenario is they lack professionalism and competence, and that alone should be enough to keep any serious writer far away.
 

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Can't say whether it's an actual scam operation or just some clueless people. I don't have a problem with them having a dropbox at a local post store. I do the same, for the reasons other people have listed.

I have a real issue with their lack of selection in their catalog. Too many genres, from a publisher that hasn't proven itself or its staff in any genre. Even more, with the 'books we love' section, as it seems to imply the organizers have some connection with those books and authors. To uninformed readers this could verge on affinity fraud, unintended or not.
 

Kay

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I found it weird that they listed some big name authors under their "shop books" tab, with the title "Amazon Store- All these books are great!!! You cannot make a bad choice."

I found it downright tacky that they used toddlers as models when asking authors to send them their books, when they don't specialize in little kiddy books.
 

Lady Chipmunk

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Yeah, they also followed me on Twitter. I fully expect that to change when they do not get a follow back. That seems to happen a lot.

Their bio there is a hashtag soup of writing related things, and that alone came across as to me as either scammy or at least unprofessional. Sounds like that's just the tip of the iceberg.

I guess time will tell one way or another.
 

Drachen Jager

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Wow, these guys have balls.

Just checked and they have the third iteration of their website that I've seen. The front page is plastered with dozens of books (none published by them as far as I can tell). They still claim to be a publisher, but advertise a service where they'll put your book on their front page for only $49 a year. I can guarantee that's not how the books up there currently got there (for one, I think the author of Curious George is dead, and many of the others are more than a few years old).
 

HistorySleuth

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So a display site as well as publisher? They have a book store, and it looks like they are an amazon affiliate. It's all amazon links. Some of the books go to commercial published books, others just say Amazon Digital Services, so self-published. Nothing for them when I search Amazon by publisher. Weird mix.
 

JulieB

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Just looked over their current submissions page. That doesn't give me confidence in their editorial services. Nor would I enter a contest without knowing who is behind it, the judges, or the prizes offered. I would also want to see a set of terms and conditions. This could be a sincere attempt to acquire some decent manuscripts, or ... who knows?

I'd like to give them the benefit of a doubt as newbies in the business, but I won't trust my work to them - or any other new publisher - until I've seen evidence that they have experience in the business, can produce good books, get them into the hands of readers, and pay their writers a fair royalty on time.
 

veinglory

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I don't think any publisher that intends to do well with their own books would be advertising books for other people on their index page of all places. It is basically a conflict of interest in terms their commitment to their own authors and their own standards to just endorse anyone who pays them.
 

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