Are Traditional Publishers Getting Kick-Backs, Err… Commissions, from Some POD Publishers?

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In last week’s Q&A, I briefly mentioned how some so-called “literary agents” claim to have landed book contracts for their authors. But, on further study, you may discover these are actually contracts with fee-based companies…and some of those companies may be owned by the agents themselves!

There appears to be another disturbing trend emerging – that of some traditional publishers rejecting manuscripts…but forwarding them, without permission, to fee-based companies. We must assume they’re getting kick-backs, I mean commissions, for doing so. Why else would they risk their reputation by doing something so horrible? An even worse scenario might be that these “traditional” publishers are the POD publishers themselves, posing as traditional publishers. That thought makes me sick to my stomach.

Below is one report we received.

Email from “JT”:

A few months ago, I sent out my children’s book manuscript to 35 different publishers that were listed in the 2009 Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market book. One of those companies sent me a letter, using my SASE, explaining that they were no longer accepting for ’09. As a courtesy, they sent my manuscript to their “sister company.” I thought that was great. I made a note of their letter on my list of submissions.

Three weeks later, I received an e-mail from a POD publisher stating that they’d have an acquisitions editor contact me. Being the suspicious type, I went to the Preditors and Editors website and found several pages of complaints against them, including plagiarism.

At this point I was getting a little panicky. I was racking my brain, trying to figure out how (the fee-based publisher) had gotten their hands on my manuscript. Then I remembered. I sent an e-mail to (the first publisher) asking why they sent my story to a POD publisher.

Their reply was this: “(That company) is just an alternate route for authors to get their stories out.”

Remember, in their letter to me (which I have), they called it their “sister” company!

LESSON: Check out every publishing house before you submit to it, even if it is listed in a market book that you trust.


Thank you, JT, for helping us get the word out!