There’s mischief afoot in the world of publishing.
Sharks in the water who misrepresent
themselves in the hope that flattery will melt the
resistance and inflate the naiveté in the
potential author – And it usually works.
By Shaun Costello
I was contacted by a woman named Kathleen Collins, who claimed to own a publishing Company known as VECCHIA PUBLISHING. She became aware of my manuscript through advertising I had done on Facebook. She blatantly misrepresented herself and her intentions. She told me that if I was thinking of self-publishing, that I would be making a mistake. I’d never get a dime out of Amazon. She wanted to read some of my material. She told me that VECCHIA PUBLISHING had a division called CENTURION ASSOCIATES MARKETING AND PUBLICITY that handled promotion for her authors and that they were the best. But along the way, she became careless with her language, and buzz words like “Charges” and “Fee Schedule” began to appear. When I challenged her, she became argumentatively defensive, and attempted, in an inept way, to explain to me how the publishing business works.
Well, dear reader, you be the judge. I have reconstructed here, the Facebook and email conversation between myself and Ms. Collins. Is she a charlatan? Judge for yourselves. Is there a Vecchia Publishing? Probably, although it does not exist as represented by Ms. Collins. Is there a Centurion Associates Marketing and Publicity? I would guess not. When Googled, nothing whatsoever appeared. My guess is that Kathleen Collins is owner, or part owner of a company called Vecchia Publishing, which she probably operates out of her apartment, and scams potential authors she finds through Facebook. And most of the time, she gets away with it.
I am posting this as a public service notice to authors out there whose work has been rejected by Literary Agents and Publishers, and who might be ripe for scams like this one, offered by Kathleen Collins on behalf of something called Vecchia Publishing. Authors beware.
It started with a friend request on Facebook. My book project RISKY BEHAVIOR has a Facebook page. I am selective regarding Facebook friends.
Hi Kathleen. I got a friend request from you. Thanks for your interest. Please tell me why you want to be friends on Facebook. Please don’t think me arrogant, it’s just that I try to limit my friends list to actual friends, family or kindred spirits with like interests.
I completely, totally understand. Thank you for replying. I ran across your name and your book… awesome.. I do own a publishing company and have authors with similar novels..just wondering how your project was going…
608.790.2374..text before you call so I know who you are, if you want..otherwise I don’t have time to/can’t answer… gee that sounds bad…but you know where I’m coming from..
I sent her some of the text by email.
cool! Got them both! I will read tonight…and btw…a lot of authors text me in the middle of the night when they have a good idea…so feel free! lol I call them my 1 a.m. authors!
I spoke with her by phone last night. She told me she worked for a small publisher called Vecchia and that she wanted to read samples of my manuscript. She emailed me this morning with great enthusiasm. The emails continued until the tell-tale words “Charge” and “Fee Schedule” appeared. I phoned her immediately. She denied that she was a self publishing company and gave me a convoluted speech about how the publishing industry works. I have been around publishing for decades with friends who are Literary Agents and Editors at major publishers. I know the drill.
Hi! That’s it! I haven’t even finished reading…it’s about your sex addiction that will have people empathizing with you…and allowing themselves to read the book (which we know they secretly want to do, too!). This gives them the excuse to do so!..ok hang on! maybe it’ll be me texting you at 1 A.M.!
I got chapter 3 also. I LOVE your enthusiasm!!!!! Just so you know, I deleted your posts on the Vecchia Publishing page for now…timing is everything! *smile* The individualized marketing campaign roll out is always carefully prepared…
I did send your work to our acquisitions editor last night and she and I will be discussing it further today. In the meantime, if you could go to VecchiaPublishing.com and fill out the author questionnaire and send it to me, that’d be great!
What is your schedule like during the days and evenings so I can call you in the next day or two?
Good Morning, Shaun,
Thank-you for your quick reply…that’s always a good sign and something I pay close attention to as a publisher! As I said earlier, I will be reviewing your work today with our acquisition editor. Let me know when I can reach you later today/tonight or tomorrow for about 30 minutes to an hour…there is no charge for this; as I said, I prefer to discuss authors’ works personally.
After you and I discuss your work, I will send you our sister company, Centurion Associates Marketing & Publicity’s fee schedule. After answering any questions you may have regarding that, we will put together your contract with Vecchia Publishing.
Looking forward to speaking with you…and I loved chapter 11!
This sounded fishy enough to require clarification.
No CHARGE for this? FEE schedule? Is there something I’m missing here?
I called and it became obvious. I insisted on numbers and she reluctantly sent me this:
Centurion Associates Marketing & Publicity
~A Division of Vecchia Publishing~
Our slogan at Centurion Associates Marketing & Publicity (CAMP) is, “We do things a better way.” From the very beginning, you will see that we are like no other. We like to have our query submissions live!* We feel this is a better way of getting to know you, the author. On top of that beginning process, you will also be excited to learn that we do not charge for this initial consultation. In addition, our acquisition team reviews a portion of your work at no charge. Below are our services that will bring your work to fruition.
BRANDING: $200. All department heads meet and work out an individualized
“Road Map” after your work has been approved by the
EDITING: $35/hr. Includes spelling, grammar, punctuation, and syntax. 2-3
read-throughs for a 300-page book, $1,000-$3,000.
BOOK COVER DESIGN & TITLE: $350 and up. The book cover design and title is
determined by our marketing
department working for the
best interest of the author.
EMAILS/PHONE CALLS: $50/month flat fee. Unlimited. Use us!
ISBN, BAR CODE, QR CODE: $50/each
PERSONALIZED MARKETING & PR CAMPAIGN: $40/hr., $20/hr. for research
SOCIAL MEDIA: $200. Includes author web site and hosting fees for 2 years.
$40/hour for marketing updates, SEO, meta data, and
ARC & PROFESSIONAL REVIEWS: $30/hr. Vital to the success of your book.
Reviews from fellow authors and leaders
in the reviewing industry. Copies are
sent out with great attention to
FORMATTING: $40/hr. This is typing your book into the actual form for the books
to be printed.
PROOFREADING: $30/hr. This is the last step before printing to check for
continuity of pages including chapter titles, numbered
PRINTING: Estimates can be made available. Number of pages, illustrations, paper
quality are some of the considerations.
EBOOK CONVERSION: $99
AUDIO BOOK: TBD
LEGAL FEES: $50 flat fee.
STORAGE: $10-$20/month depending upon run of books.
GHOST WRITING: TBD
* We expect exclusivity for the first 30 days.
Weekly or monthly payment plans are available. Upfront fees for Branding and One month of email/phone call consultations paid at time of agreement.
Please call Kathleen at 608.790.2374 if you have any questions!
I then sent her this email:
Oh Kathleen, Kathleen, Kathleen……Shame on you for this nonsense, and shame on me for not asking more questions. YOU are a company, like so many others, that charges potential authors to get their manuscript into print. If there is a need for what you do, and there obviously is, then more power to you. But you grossly misrepresented yourself to me as a publisher. You are not. I have been around the publishing business for many decades. I know the drill. You have lied about your intentions. Even during our recent phone conversation, you attempted to define a publisher’s responsibilities and obligations to an author. It was all utter and complete bullshit. In doing what you have done, you have pissed me off. I finally figured out your borderline criminal intentions, but others may not until it is too late. There is no law against what your company does. But there IS a line between honesty and dishonesty which you crossed in the most deceptive way imaginable. You are a charlatan, Kathleen. And you have made an enemy. I will make an effort to make sure that what transpired between us becomes public knowledge. Never mess with a guy who. has a Blog with over a hundred thousand followers. It’s a very bad idea.
I just got this threat by email. I will of course, regardless of this petty threat, post this story on this Blog to alert authors to this nonsense.
I will be following your blog(s) and will be turning over any remarks concerning me and/or my company to my attorney in NYC. Mind you, my attorney is not from BUM-FUCK Minnesota but is a white shoe company in Manhattan.
If you use my name or my company’s name in a disparaging way on your blog or elsewhere, you will be contacted.
Our business dealings are over. You may be king in the porn world, but in the literary world you are nobody. Your book reads like a diary…not worthy of the Vecchia name.
My company I have done nothing wrong…legally or morally…
Do not contact me or my company in any manner effective immediately.
How quickly Kathleen Collins transitioned from flattering sycophant to a threatening, self-righteous and indignant hero of the literary world; ever-ready to put an end to evil doers like my ignoble self. It’s quite flattering to hear that a publisher is interested in your manuscript. You’ve put in so much time and so much sweat, and the rejections have piled up to the ceiling. And flattery easily melts away what’s left of your common sense. But listen, dear reader – if it sounds too good to be true……well, you know the rest.
Immediately after sending the threatening email, Kathleen Collins removed her Facebook page. Either that, or blocked me from seeing it. You can run, but you can’t hide, Kathleen. Not in the age of Blogs.
© 2014 Shaun Costello
DONATE ANY AMOUNT THROUGH PAYPAL
This entry was posted on October 27, 2014 by shauncostello. It was filed under Fiction and non-fiction from Shaun Costello and was tagged with Authors Beware, Book Scams, Centurion Associates Marketing & Publicity, Facebook Scams, Kathleen Collins, Literary Scams, Phony publishing deals, Phony publishing offers, Publishing Charlatans, Scams, Self Publishing scams, Vecchia Publishing, What to avoid in publishing.