Oh, hi, Internet! You're still here! I'm sorry, Internet. I've been kind of ignoring you the past week or so. Well, at least this part of you. I'm sorry. Want a hug? A handjob? Okay. Whatever you want, slugger!
Anyway. If you've been following along with my shit on Facebook, you'll know that a couple of weeks ago I submitted my completed novel, The Boar War, to a publisher. This was the first time I had submitted since last summer (I think I might have sent out a couple in the fall, too, but I don't clearly remember), and you can imagine my level of excitement when I got an email back from the publisher saying that they liked what they saw in my query and wanted to see the whole thing.
It was somewhere between "SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" and "I just shit a solid gold brick!"
I thought nothing of it. I pieced together my manuscript into one document and sent it to the acquisitions department. I was excited. I was thrilled. This was finally it! I was going to shuffle off the "unpublished" adjective from the "author" part of my self-proclaimed title.
The next day, I got a confirmation that my manuscript was received, and then after that I got an email asking me some "further" questions, like how much was I willing to promote this book (until my fucking legs fall off, are you fucking kidding me?) and my publishing/writing history. I filled it out. I thought nothing more of it.
And I waited.
And I waited.
And I waited some more.
I got some more emails from them, telling me to be patient, they'd make a decision, no need to call, they've got it covered. So, I was a little bit...suspicious. Not too suspicious, mind, but enough that I was beginning to have some apprehensions. But, fuck, this was as far as I'd ever gotten trying to publish this thing! Why not ride it out to the endgame? Besides, I had checked out their website, everyone was glowingly ebullient in their praise for this publisher. So, I kept waiting.
Unfortunately, I kept dreaming. I was thinking about how fucking nice it would be to walk into a bookstore, go to the shelf, and see my book sitting on it. I could go to the library and check myself out, if I so desired.
And I so desired.
Then...I got another email from the publisher. They were offering me a publishing contract...through email...no phone call, nothing. Hmmm...that's only a small red flag. Anyway, they were telling me that they liked my manuscript! They'd love to publish it! My dream--my impossible dream that I've had since I was my daughter's age--was about to come true!
...with the "caveat" of a $1000 check made out to the publisher.
Caveat is a Latin term, from the verb cavere, which means "beware, avoid." Literally translated, caveat means "let he/she be aware of". You've probably heard the term in the phrase caveat emptor, which means "let the buyer beware."
In this case, it was caveat scriptor, let the writer beware!
The whole deal, as it was explained to me, was that I pay them $1000 dollars, we split any money that is made on the sale of the book 50/50, so after selling 250 books, I would probably recoup my losses. If I sold 1000 books in one year's time, I got an automatic $1000 bonus check, and I would have a lifetime publishing contract where I wouldn't have to pay them any more money, and any manuscript I finished would get published and sold through them.
And so I sat and thought it over for a while.
Between my awesome blog followers and my friends on Facebook, I could probably sell 100 books right there. That's almost halfway to my 250 total to recoup my losses.
My friend Joe then suggested I look into the company a little deeper, so a quick search for "Strategic Book Publishing" told me to slam the door in the face of these people, and do not answer the door when they ring the bell again. In short, Strategic Book Publishing was a scam, and enough so that the Attorney General of Florida has brought a lawsuit for fraud against the CEO of the company. Several people discussed how they had sent their $1000 dollars to the company, had friends order the book, and then the book never showed up in their e-readers or in the mail through Amazon (or another retailer) and how the author never got paid for the sale of the book.
So, in short, it was a scam, one that I did not get involved in monetarily. Unfortunately, I did get caught up by dreaming that I could finally publish my book.
I guess it's true, that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Or, there's this alternative:
Pronounced: "Cah-way may-ray-tree-came kwhy dee-keet soo-oos pree-moose es."
So, to all my writer friends out there, I remind you, caveat scriptor and scriptorum semper legis! ("always read the fine print!"). Not to say that, if someone should offer to publish you, it's a scam. I'm just saying, do a better job than I did and make sure that you don't get caught up in a deal that smells of fish and old eggs.
And stay far, far away from Strategic Book Publishing.
 "I sigh".