The Write Choices – Watch out for flying pigs

I have never hidden the fact that I want to be known as an author – I didn’t write my books for no one to read! But despite some expensive attempts at marketing, with reputable companies like Kirkus, I have not had much success establishing my books or my name as a household word. I won’t say that I’ll be famous when pigs fly, but it certainly feels like that at times.

So, when I received a telephone call from a man named Jade Freeman who said he worked for Stephenson and Queen, an associate of Thomas Nelson (literary agent), my ears perked up. My book had been identified by his team of literary agents as one destined to be picked up by a traditional publisher because of the high critical praise it had garnered.

OMG! I want that!

According to Mr. Jade, Stephenson and Queen would place 1000 copies of my book, Embracing the Elephant, with well-known and respected bookstores all over the country (even the world) AND pitch my book to traditional publishers for my future success.

My reaction? OMG, I could be famous! What do I have to do?

According to Mr. Jade, all I had to do was remove references to my current publisher (OnTrack Publishing – which is my company) from the book (because traditional publishers won’t pick up a book from another publisher). Then I would buy 1000 books at a reduced price of $5.95 per unit that Stephenson & Queen could negotiate with Ingram/Lightning Source (the same printer I use now, on a Print-On-Demand basis). All 1000 were to be delivered to Stephenson and Queen to work their magic.

OMG, a $5950 investment to have my books everywhere AND be pitched to a traditional publisher! I really could be famous!

Except my hackles were on overdrive.

I read through the written proposal Mr. Jade sent me. His writing skills were horrible, which always raises my suspicions. What reputable U.S. literary agent like Thomas Nelson would work with people who can’t write? Although, I’d once received a blow-off letter from a very famous literary agent that was poorly worded and of dubious quality – a form letter that had been copied, askew, a million times, my name handwritten in. Still, I didn’t want to miss my shot on a technicality.

The hairs on my neck were tingling.

There were a couple of phrases in the proposal I wanted clarified, especially the one about ownership of copyrights. So, like any good writer, I edited.

It was near the end of the proposal when a potential issue became clear: I, as the author, would receive no money until all 1000 books were sold. Since Stephenson & Queen gave no guarantee that they would sell all of the books, the probability of me seeing any money from the sales was nil. There was, of course, also no guarantee of a publisher either.

Although now highly suspicious, I nonetheless sent the red-lined proposal back to Mr. Jade, including a Comment that I was not going to accept the “payment” terms proposed. He had promised to call me the day after. In my return email, I told him my changes would be what I wanted to discuss at that time.

Then I googled both Jade Freeman and Stephenson & Queen. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

I then called the offices of Thomas Nelson – they’d never heard of Stephenson and Queen or Jade Freeman.

And that day-after phone call never materialized.

OMG, I’ve been slimed!

At this time, all that means is that my prospects of being famous are still in the “when pigs fly” category. But, I still have $5950 I would otherwise have lost! That is some solace for my lack of fame.

Image by Digital Photo and Design from Pixabay

About Lori Hart Beninger

Lori Hart Beninger is a native California writer with three critically acclaimed historical novels (Embracing the Elephant, A Veil of Fog and Flames, and A Peculiar Peace) that follow two 19th century young adults as they struggle with survival and acceptance in the pivotal era of the California Gold Rush up to the American Civil War. Please visit for synopses, availability, reviews, and more.
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1 Response to The Write Choices – Watch out for flying pigs

  1. Aha, them darn vanity publishers. I know you write this in jest, but I just thought I’d drop a comment for your future readers—especially those who might fall into the trap—telling them that money should NOT flow from the writer to the publisher. Thanks for sharing, Lori!

    Liked by 1 person

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