POD SECRETS REVEALED: “Free Publishing Guides” Are Used To Harvest Your Email Address, Phone Number, And More!

POD SECRETS REVEALED: “Free Publishing Guides” Are Used To Harvest Your Email Address, Phone Number, And More!

When I see the words “free publishing guide,” I think somebody is going to send me a free ebook that is an actual, factual, non-biased guide about the publishing industry, and/or the publishing process. I don’t think, “Wow, I’m just going to get a big, boring advertisement in exchange for all my contact information!”

At BookLocker, we don’t force authors to give us their contact info. There is no need to download anything because it’s all right there, on the website. I hate spam, telemarketing calls, and junk mail as much as the next gal so we don’t collect email addresses and phone numbers. We don’t hound potential authors with emails and phone calls. We don’t have a list of potential that authors that we email en masse (and we never have!). I can’t think of a faster way to INFURIATE a potential customer than to trade a boring marketing brochure for their personal contact information, and then to use that information to hound them for their business.

An author recently went to various Print on Demand firms’ websites (listed below) to order their “free publishing guides.” Here’s what happened:


The download? A 9-page advertisement for AuthorHouse.

She was asked to check a box, which would allow them to send her “periodical updates.” She did not check the box.
Yet, AuthorHouse immediately emailed her anyway! In my opinion, if somebody does not request marketing emails, yet the firm sends one anyway, that is unethical and spammish behavior.

Two and a half hours later, AuthorHouse emailed her again!

Read complaints about AuthorHouse’s marketing tactics HERE.


The download? An 8-page advertisement for iUniverse.

Despite the author NOT clicking on the box allowing them to send her “periodic email updates”, the next page said, “An iUniverse publishing consultant will be in touch with you within the next 48 business hours to answer your questions, discuss your goals and options, and walk you through the publishing process.”

But, wait, iUniverse! She didn’t click the box!!

Not surprisingly, iUniverse immediately emailed her.

Read complaints about iUniverse’s marketing tactics HERE.


The download? A 48-page advertisement for Xlibris. (Yes, you read that right. 48 pages!)

They, too, had a box that allowed authors to opt-out of emails by them and their affiliates.

The author didn’t on click the box. Yet, Xlibris immediately emailed her once, and then emailed her again five minutes later!

Read complaints about Xlibris’ marketing tactics HERE.


The download? A 68-page advertisement for Trafford. (Yes, you read that right, too!)

The page said, “By clicking the button below you consent to one of our imprints and its affiliates contacting you by telephone and/or email regarding their services and you agree that your calls may be monitored and/or recorded by one of our imprints and its affiliates for quality assurance,” blah blah blah.

She did NOT click the box, yet Trafford immediately emailed her anyway.

Three hours later, Trafford emailed her again!

UPDATE: On 2/9/16, Trafford emailed her yet AGAIN!!

UPDATE: On 2/18/16, Trafford emailed her yet AGAIN!!

Read complaints about Trafford’s marketing tactics HERE.


The download? We have no idea because the author never received it by email.

Their site makes it look like you can just click to download the guide without giving any information. But, when you click on the link, they tell you that you must fill out the form, giving them your name, address, phone number, email address, etc.

It also says, “I’d like to receive Infinity Publishing’s FREE monthly newsletter and blog updates.”

She did not click and Infinity did NOT send her an email! How refreshing!! (Or, perhaps spam filters ate it.) However, Infinity now has her contact information.

Infinity Publishing has an “F” rating at the Better Business Bureau.


The download? An 8-page advertisement for Lulu.

The page has a box that says, “I consent to receive emails from Lulu Press, Inc., including discounts, account status, promotions, and other notifications.”

The author did not click but Lulu went ahead and sent her a marketing email the very next day anyway.

You can read complaints about Lulu HERE and HERE.

If you’re simply looking for information from a publishing service, and don’t want to get spam, phone calls, and junk mail, don’t provide your email, phone number or address, or anything to any firm that is trading a “free publishing guide” (fancy words for a larger-than-normal advertisement!) for your personal contact information. Surf around on the firm’s website instead. In my opinion, reputable firms don’t trade a copy of their advertising brochure for your personal contact info.


Complaints about AuthorHouse, Complaints about Xlibris, Complaints about iUniverse, Complaints about Trafford, etc., etc.
Have You Paid Authorhouse, Xlibris, iUniverse, Trafford, Etc. More Than $10K For Marketing Services? This Law Firm Wants To Hear From You.
More Lulu Complaints – Thinking Of Using Lulu To Publish Your Book? You Might Want To Read These Authorsí Complaints First!

Got questions about Print On Demand and Self-publishing? Ask Angela Hoy.

About The Author


Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the author of 19 books, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).

Angela has lived and traveled across the U.S. with her kids in an RV, settled in a river-side home in Bradenton, FL, and lived on a 52 ft Irwin sailboat. Angela now resides on a mountaintop in Northwest Georgia, where she plans to spend the rest of her days bird watching, gardening, hiking, and taking in all of the amazing sunrises.

WritersWeekly.com - the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday.

BookLocker.com - According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is: "As close to perfection as you're going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I've ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can't go wrong here. Plus, they're selective and won't publish any manuscript just because it's accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors' books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know."

Abuzz Press offers FAST and FREE book publication, but only accepts a small percentage of submissions, and only works with U.S. authors.

PubPreppers.com - "We Prep, You Publish!" Print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish. Offers formatting and design services only, and then provides simple instructions for authors on where to sign up to have the print and ebook editions printed/listed/sold. Cut out the middle man. Keep 100% of what bookstores pay for your book!

Angela's POD Secrets Revealed Series can be found HERE.

Have a POD Book with another publisher? See if BookLocker can give you a better deal. (BookLocker offers "disgruntled author discounts" to those who want to move from other POD services.)

See BookLocker's publishing packages HERE.

ANGELA ON TWITTER https://twitter.com/AngelaHoy

BOOKLOCKER ON FACEBOOK - Provides links to free excerpts!



Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!

Read More Of Angela's Articles HERE


4 Responses to "POD SECRETS REVEALED: “Free Publishing Guides” Are Used To Harvest Your Email Address, Phone Number, And More!"

  1. dawncolclasure  February 5, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    I agree with you! I am always wary of those things. If they ask for your email address, then whatever they are providing is NOT free!

  2. Jack Macfarlane  February 5, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Good idea, Barbara. I’m working on creating a junk-magnet alter ego myself because the email traffic and unsolicited calls are completely out of hand. I encountered what Angela mentioned above with many sticky publishers before I found BookLocker. Now that I think about it, no one from BookLocker ever called me, not once, and every single communication with them was initiated by me. I even had to find and deliberately sign up for WritersWeekly in order to get it going–not even that was unsolicited! BookLocker’s hands-off business model is pretty smart if you think about it because overly aggressive marketing not only alienates authors like us, but is very, very expensive as well.

  3. Angela Hoy  February 5, 2016 at 11:39 am

    Many of them require authors to fill out all of the boxes. Of course, smart authors give fake phone numbers, addresses, etc. 😉

  4. Barbara Haiss Martin  February 5, 2016 at 5:43 am

    Angela, that’s what junk email addresses are for. I sign up for all sorts of newsletters, free info, etc. frequently and I list my junk email address. If what they send me is no good or not what I was looking for I unsubscribe right away. Every once in a while, I find a gem — a jewel of a newsletter that is worth keeping and cherishing. When that happens I unsubscribe the newsletter from my junk email address and I re-subscribe with my primary email address, which, by the way, is what I did two weeks after I originally subscribed to WritersWeekly.com many, many years ago. Of course, if you give them more than just your name and email address, you may have another problem, unless you have a junk phone number, which I do.