Writer Central

Hi. I recently received an E-mail from  The Writer Central with an offer to repackage my book. Does anyone have any information about these people? Are they legit? I am not finding a lot about them in a google search. Their website is very minimalistic. Thanks in advance for any information  :)
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  • I took a look at the site and it practically screams “scam.” I wouldn’t go near them on a bet.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • I would not say the site is minimalistic, except that you have to ring them to get any prices.

    I am also not sure it can be called a scam.

    Why the email said they will "repackage my book" I have no idea, because they seem to be a marketing company, not a publisher of any type.

    Possibly not a scam, but a waste of money.

  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    edited September 2018
    I dunno...

    They seem to make all sorts of promises...or at least imply promises. Even what little descriptions they do provide for their different services end with an ellipsis so you have to call them to get more information:

    Whether you are neophyte or a well-established author, you can get a professional and unbiased reviews [sic] from a well-known critiques [sic] of books. These organizations have made...

    Have you ever think [sic] that your book could be adapted into a movie? If yes, let TWC turn that into reality by presenting it to different traditional publishers, movie produ...

    Conquer the airwaves and let your voice be heard! Some traditional publishers would love to hear author's voice on how they speak and talk. With the radio interview, we c...

    "hear author's voice on how they speak and talk."? What?
    For an outfit that supposed to be a professional writers' service, they certainly seem to play fast and loose with the English language. See "[sic]" above...

    In need of an agency to endorse your book to traditional publishers?

    "Endorse" your book?

    Let's Get You a Contract!
    This is the very core of the services. Getting you a contract from a traditional publisher is the main goal of the company.

    I am pretty sure what their main goal is!

    There is not one single word on the entire site that sounds remotely professional.

    I am tempted to call their number to see what happens...




    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Here is an interesting tidbit. Writer Central gives its address as 299 Park Ave., NY, NY. A list of the building's tenants doesn't mention them.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Often when something is a scam and you 'google' the name, it comes up with 1000s of hits about how people have been scammed. None came up when I searched for that site. If they are not telling porkies about trading for 10 years, then it's hard to be a scam for 10 years. What they are is a puzzle then. It is easy to take money for such services, but I bet their small print says they do not promise results ( using 1000s of legalise words.) I also bet that if you ring them they have incredibly persuasive salespeople on the line.

    As to the address, it could be a POB. There's a large HK manufacturer of car audio. They have a 'direct' site as well as being on ebay for years as a business, ('Click to see shop') but displaying their HK address. They have a UK warehouse in Leeds for EU deliveries. Oddly, the .uk address is registered to someone's name in a posh new private townhouse in London. Nowadays it's hard to know who is who and where.

    Anyway, I would not touch The Writer Central with a barge pole. This is interesting >>   https://www.whois.com/whois/thewritercentral.com

    New site, new name?

  • Here are the links to a couple of literary agencies I have had dealings with in the past, just so visitors to this thread can see what legitimate agents look like.
    http://sgglit.com/
    http://www.spectrumliteraryagency.com/

    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Those two seem to be 'pure' agency, whereas TWC claims to be a full marketing company. No doubt a very expensive service. I wonder if this is them also, (and the actual extent of their 'marketing.')  https://www.facebook.com/WriterCentral   I don't think it is them though.
  • Those two seem to be 'pure' agency, whereas TWC claims to be a full marketing company. No doubt a very expensive service. I wonder if this is them also, (and the actual extent of their 'marketing.')  https://www.facebook.com/WriterCentral   I don't think it is them though.
    True...but most of the services they offer are also available through a legitimate agent or, once your book is published, by the publisher themselves. For instance, an agent will try to find you a publisher and will try to raise interest (if appropriate) in Hollywood (something a publisher may also try to do, in conjunction with the agent). The publisher will undertake the task of getting your book in front of reviewers, arrange for radio/TV interviews, a presence at book fairs and get your book into book stores. 

    If an author is pursuing traditional publishing, which Writer Central seems to be focused on (getting a book presented to traditional publishers is what they claim is the "core" of their business), the author does not need a paid service like this. Agents and publishers will do everything that WC claims to do and do it at no cost to the author.

    A self-published author does need to pay out of pocket for many of these things...but nowhere does Writer Central suggest that they are interested in the self-published author. They repeat over and over again that they are interested in traditional publishing. In fact, the opening page of their website says (in the usual broken English):
    In need of an organization to present your title to major publishers? Look
    no further! With over 10 years of experience in the literary industry, TWC provides home for authors  and aspiring writers who want to be discovered. It takes a certain kind of relentlessness coupled with a rifle approach to get the attention of major publishers. 
    Let us help you create a book proposal!
    I checked out the three customer endorsements they provided...

    I cannot find Christoff Wayne's Light of the Horizon on Amazon or anywhere else. (I do love when he says of Writer Central that "Their graphic artists are artistically inclined." Well, gosh!)

    Jasmine Aziz' Beauty in Life cannot be found either.

    The third book, Murder, by Michael Bowlder, is still looking for a publisher. But they have apparently charged him for a cover design...

    And these three are the best references they can provide after ten years in the business? For comparisons' sake, take a look at the list of books and authors handled by the two agencies I mentioned.

    (The Facebook page is linked to this site http://writercentral.co.uk/ which appears to have, as you suggested, no connection with the outfit we are talking about.)
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Some quick points for Newbs:

    1. The two agencies Ron listed both give names of writers and books that they have helped to publish. Some are familiar, even legendary.
    2. Their websites are professional, using correctly phrased and correctly spelled English. Note the times that "(sic)" occurs in Ron's citations from WriterCentral. Those indicate errors in the text he is citing.
    3. Note that the agencies Ron listed have their histories on the front page. Neither was founded yesterday.

    Not that there is anything wrong with new agents, non-native speakers of English, or anything along those lines -- new agents have to start somewhere, after all -- but those factors should be red flags that cause you to further investigate. No book titles -- would I be the first book published? Not English for Speaking is correct? Perhaps this agency would do better publishing my book in a different language. No history? Have they ever sold a story on behalf of a client?

    4. The final red flag, as Ron will be quick to point out, is that they will eventually ask for money. Agents get their money when they sell your book. You agree to a percentage of royalties when you sign with the agent; the agent then has an incentive to sell your book and to get a good price for it. TheWriterCentral, sooner or later, would be asking for up-front money.

    And that's the big red STOP sign.
  • Here are the links to a couple of literary agencies I have had dealings with in the past, just so visitors to this thread can see what legitimate agents look like.
    http://sgglit.com/
    http://www.spectrumliteraryagency.com/

    Out of curiosity, do you know any good agents on the West Coast? Nothing against the big apple, but it would be good to be able to confer with one's agent after a ride on the Coast Starlight...
  • Anyone wanting to find a legitimate literary agency could do no better than to consult the latest edition of the Writer's Market guide to literary agents. This is updated every year. It is available in both print form (and the latest edition should be in most public libraries) and online. The information is reliable and accurate. The WritersMarket.com site lists more than 500 literary agents (most of them members of the professional Association of Authors’ Representatives) and the listings include names of member agents, contact information, preferred modes of contact, recent sales, terms, etc. 
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Skoob_ym said:
    Here are the links to a couple of literary agencies I have had dealings with in the past, just so visitors to this thread can see what legitimate agents look like.
    http://sgglit.com/
    http://www.spectrumliteraryagency.com/

    Out of curiosity, do you know any good agents on the West Coast? Nothing against the big apple, but it would be good to be able to confer with one's agent after a ride on the Coast Starlight...
    Not personally...but Writer’s Market lists a large number!
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • True...but most of the services they offer are also available through a legitimate agent or, once your book is published, by the publisher themselves.

    Indeed, and for no fee. Although an agent will eventually of course take a commission, and a publisher will extract a profit. But never up front. Usually a publisher may offer an up-front advance.

     For instance, an agent will try to find you a publisher and will try to raise interest (if appropriate) in Hollywood (something a publisher may also try to do, in conjunction with the agent). The publisher will undertake the task of getting your book in front of reviewers, arrange for radio/TV interviews, a presence at book fairs and get your book into book stores. 

    Aye, and at their expense, hence why they are so fussy about what they will take on.

    If an author is pursuing traditional publishing, which Writer Central seems to be focused on (getting a book presented to traditional publishers is what they claim is the "core" of their business), the author does not need a paid service like this. Agents and publishers will do everything that WC claims to do and do it at no cost to the author.

    Yup.

    A self-published author does need to pay out of pocket for many of these things...but nowhere does Writer Central suggest that they are interested in the self-published author.

    Let's hope that's because they don't differentiate, which of course they will not if one has the dosh to give them.

     They repeat over and over again that they are interested in traditional publishing. In fact, the opening page of their website says (in the usual broken English):

    Rather a peculiar claim then, really, because if they can find a trad publisher to take a book on, then what further use would any one have for the rest of TWC's services?

  • I checked out the three customer endorsements they provided...

    I cannot find Christoff Wayne's Light of the Horizon on Amazon or anywhere else.

    I have also just looked, and it does not come up in any search, anywhere.

     (I do love when he says of Writer Central that "Their graphic artists are artistically inclined." Well, gosh!)

    That's almost funny.

    Jasmine Aziz' Beauty in Life cannot be found either.

    Ermm, same person do you think?!  https://jasmineaziz.wordpress.com/2015/02/12/crotchless-panties-the-hole-story/ no mention od any book though.

    The third book, Murder, by Michael Bowlder, is still looking for a publisher. But they have apparently charged him for a cover design...

    And these three are the best references they can provide after ten years in the business? For comparisons' sake, take a look at the list of books and authors handled by the two agencies I mentioned.

    It's suspect that they claim to have been in business 10 years, and yet their website is relatively new. It smacks of one of those things that rips people off, then changes names, and websites. It could explain why they are not reported all over the internet as a scam.

    (The Facebook page is linked to this site http://writercentral.co.uk/ which appears to have, as you suggested, no connection with the outfit we are talking about.)

    No, I don't think it is either, but TWC could be playing on the fact that there are many writers' places with similar names. All such like names will be found via a search.

  • Not that there is anything wrong with new agents

    Quite so, but TWC is claiming to be 10 years old.

  • Not that there is anything wrong with new agents

    Quite so, but TWC is claiming to be 10 years old.

    Indeed! And yet with virtually no significant track record to boast of.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • As to genuine ones. A prolific writer I know uses a UK based, what one would call, Vanity Publisher. (That I have never actually heard of.) They genuinely do the full 'bells and whistles,' you just pay for whatever you want them to do. (Even Ghost Writing!) His books, via them, apparently using POD, are retailing on Amazon for around the Cost price here at Lulu. They are not listed as being published via CreateSpace. The publisher is named as the VP company. So how do they achieve that? I will have to ask him one day!
  • Post a link and we’ll take a look.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • They seem to be perfectly upfront about what they do. Their books are apparently traditionally printed, which may be what enables them to keep the unit cost low.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Possibly they give the option to have them mass printed, or POD.
  • Thank you all for your insights. They are greatly appreciated. TWC called this evening; I picked it up as I never know when an unknown number may be a new client!  I cut them off and asked for information via e-mail. Based on what I hear here I will not be dealing with them. Thank you again 
  • It is unusual they contacted you by any methods. How did they get your phone number though?


  • Possibly they give the option to have them mass printed, or POD.
    This is from their website:

    Buying copies of your book
    When ordering copies of your book, please note that there may be a marked difference in quality between books supplied by ourselves and print-on-demand copies ordered from internet retailers, as a result of their formula approach to printing, economic factors and fast turnround. To avoid disappointment, we strongly advise our authors either to order a supply of books from Memoirs for resale, or to advise purchasers to order books from this website.

    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • When ordering copies of your book, please note that there may be a marked difference in quality between books supplied by ourselves and print-on-demand copies ordered from internet retailers, as a result of their formula approach to printing, economic factors and fast turnround. To avoid disappointment, we strongly advise our authors either to order a supply of books from Memoirs for resale, or to advise purchasers to order books from this website.

    Which has the poorer quality I wonder? It's been said that 'Lulu' books ordered off Amazon are not as good as ones ordered direct from Lulu. Both are POD as far as I know. Lulu state books are printed as close as possible to the order address. Are they all of the same print quality? Does that also include 'Lulu' books ordered from Amazon anywhere in the world? We will never really know unless we order one of our own books from every findable retail site.

    As to the 'none POD' pricing of my friend's books, I will have to ask him if he orders mass non-POD books to retail, or it's all POD. I don't think or actually buys his own books to retail himself. no matter what method of printing is used. I also doubt that Memoirs own their own presses, it's actually just a small shop.

  • A publisher doesn’t have to own their own presses. In fact, few if any do.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • They do if they wish to avoid paying third parties a profit. Taking it to the extremes, Rupert Murdoch, as just one example, even owned the forests and logging mills and the factories that made the paper for his own newspaper presses. It's the megalomaniac's guide to never having to pay any 3rd party a profit  :)
  • Well, whatever you may think, publishers use dedicated book printing and binding companies. That’s the cheapest and most efficient course. Newspapers are an entirely different animal from book publishing.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • I guess initially it's the way to do business unless you happen to be a billionaire megalomaniac who hates middlemen. Amazon own their own POD machines do they not? by way of CreateSpace. In a way, just as there are few major publishers of books. Merge with or buy up the competition.

    Oh well, it's none of our business.

  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    edited September 2018
    We were, I assumed, talking about traditional publishers, not POD.

    There are more than 6000 incorporated traditional publishers in the US. But you said “major.” In that case there are ten that earn nearly 90% of the market. And they do not own their own presses.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
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