First, David Gaughran–author, industry watchdog, and self-publishing champion–recently blogged about an arm of Perseus Books, Argo Navis, that is “helping” traditionally published authors self-publish their next book(s) by providing services–sometimes poorly–that are easily replicable at a fraction of the cost using freelancers or just your own know-how.
If you have a trad publishing deal now or will in the future, you’ll want to read his article, as Argo is engaged/hired/endorsed by a host of well-known and respected agents, which makes it seem more legit than perhaps it should be. Read the post!
Second, Bowker–the distributor of ISBNs–is sliding sideways into the ebook business by offering to make iTunes and Android apps out of your books for the low, low fee of $200, $50 annual maintenance, and just 50% royalties. All you have to do is compete not only with every other ebook out there, but now all of the apps, as well. Your book vs. Angry Birds? Sure…
I’ll be blogging more on this–and what appears to be other tech companies trying to piggy-back or even outright steal the idea–soon.
Third, I was just invited to take part in a writer’s contest for the low, low entry price of $50. The judges are no one I’ve heard of, first place gets consideration by a no-name small press for publication, and sub-prizes include free copies of the ebook that the contest organizer wrote.
While it’s not technically a scam (I’m sure the winners actually get the “prizes” listed…), this is a tired old scheme whereby your $50 goes into the pockets of the organizers while the press you provide–by telling all of your contacts that you’ve won a contest!–serves to fuel the sales of the organizer’s book and broaden next year’s contestant pool.
While there are legitimate contests out there, be careful about which ones you write a check to. A good watch-dog article with tips and lists of legit contests is provided by Writer Beware at http://www.sfwa.org/for-authors/writer-beware/contests/ and by Preditors and Editors at http://pred-ed.com/pubctst.htm.