If a company charges you for publishing your book, it's not a publisher, it's a printer. Maybe a printer that offers (or forces you to take) additional services, but still a printer. The big difference is that the ones who call themselves publishers promise and charge a lot more.
Green Shore Publishing has packages priced between £300 and £1500. On their site they feature testimonials consisting of three 30-second videos from authors identified only as Clive, Jack and Richard. No last names. Hey, a lot of modern authors go only by their first names like...Madonna...Cher...and Clive, Jack, and Richard.
I highly recommend a quick viewing of the testimonials for their amusement value. "Jack" recites his testimonial in front of a white sheet he's hung on the wall but sadly he forgets to tell us the name of his book. Here is a picture of Jack from that video:
"Clive" (pictured below as he appears on the Green Shore site) sounds like he's narrated a lot of corporate videos over the years. He appears to be sitting in front of a very writerly bookshelf. If you look closely you'll see that it was actually done with green screen. Clive says he's been working with Green Shore for a year and they've even set up some book signings for him. Guess what? He also forgets to tell us the name of his book! Authors can be so absent-minded!
"Richard" tells us how proud he is to have seen his book on the shelves at Waterstones. I'd love to see whether I can spot it there as well, but unfortunately he, too, neglects to mention his surname or the title of his book. Here's a still from Richard's testimonial:
Did you know that on Fiverr.com you can pay people $5 to video
a testimonial for anything you want? You write the ad, they say it.
People like this:
Well, let's look at the real books Green Shore has published. On the site it says,
"Below we’ve included some of the high quality covers from
several of our recent releases."
Here's one of those high-quality covers:
Helpful hint: when designing a high-quality cover, make sure
people can read the title and author's name when they look at
Their website says, "Book sales are very competitive here in the
UK and Ireland, but our books keep succeeding...Below we’ve
listed some of our retail partners and media contacts within
the country. Your book will also be sold internationally, but
if you’re looking to be successful in the UK and Ireland,
you’ve come to the right place."
The retailers' logos include W. H. Smith, Waterstone's
(must be an old copy of the logo, they dropped the apostrophe
in January 2012), and Amazon.co.uk.
Does it surprise you to hear that the two supposed Green
Shore books the titles of which are decipherable are not
listed on any of those sites?
In fact, when I Googled the name of one of these "successes",
The West Devon Mysteries, only two results appeared...one
led back to the Green Shore site, one to a warning about
Green Shore. You'd think the author might have a web site
or a Facebook page for the book, wouldn't you? At least if
the author existed.
What about the Green Shore's London headquarters at
86-90 Paul Street, London, UK EC2A 4NE?
Their home page says "Here at our headquarters in London,
we have established ourselves as the best option for
success in the European book publishing market."
No wonder they need headquarters that cover four
street numbers! I pictured traditional decor but offices
buzzing with editorial activity. Perhaps something like this:
I Googled the address and here's what came up:
Just £20.00 +VAT with same day UK Mail Forwarding. Click
“BUY” to fill in Your Company Name, 86-90 Paul Street,
London EC2A 4NE.
The clever detective work of Victoria Strauss, who writes the
"Writer Beware" blog, revealed that the man running Green
Shore is Adam Salviani, owner of vanity publisher Raider
Publishing International, which has a whole Facebook page
devoted just to complaints about it, as well as a rare "F"
rating from the Better Business Bureau.
It would be funny but you just know that some poor writer
is at this moment writing a cheque made out to Green
Shore. If you belong to a writers' group or have other
ways of reaching writers, please spread the word.
(Jurgen Wolff is the author of "Your Writing Coach,"
and "Your Creative Masterclass," both published by
the highly reputable Nicholas Brealey Publishing and
available from Amazon or your other favourite book