A reader asked whether I know anything about a publisher called Emma Stern Publishing, which is open for submissions by writers. I’d never heard of them, but you can learn a lot by looking at a company’s website and doing some Google searches.
WHO RUNS EMMA STERN PUBLISHING?
The “about” page of the site says Emma Stern Publishing is ”an established trade publishing company that delivers excellence.” All of their titles were published within the past week and their website was set up three months ago.
The heads of the company are named as Nigel Pearson and Martin Safra.
I couldn’t find anything about either of them via a Google search.
There is a Martin Safra on Facebook. He uses an avatar for his profile picture. The fact that he updated his profile 3 years ago but has only 15 friends suggests he’s not a very active Facebooker. Of course this could be an entirely different Martin Safra.
WHERE IS EMMA STERN PUBLISHING LOCATED?
The website lists the address as 107 Fleet Street, London. 107-111 is owned by Regus, a company that offers virtual offices and temporary meeting rooms. 146 companies use the 107-111 Fleet Street address.
WHAT NOVELS HAS EMMA STERN PUBLISHED?
There are a handful of public-domain titles, but of more interest to aspiring authors will be what kind of original novels Emma Stern has published.
Their most prolific author is Jack Rubin. The protagonist of his crime novels is named…Jack Rubin.
Rubin’s “Chekhov’s Gun” is listed as being published January 18, 2016. It’s a 154-page paperback, and costs $11.99. Here’s the opening, from Amazon’s “Search Inside” function:
“I was only a messenger.
Delivering messages for Ives.
I had to meet this guy in Canning Town. I discovered that he was attending a party.
I parked my motor car in Woodford Green and took the Underground train to the East End. I found a taxi and the driver knew the street.
‘This is a black area,’ the driver said. [Note: single quotes as in the book]
It was too. [Missing comma as in book]”
“Dead Heat,” “White Meat,” and “Deep Blood” are all by Jack Rubin, all published on January 18, 2016. All can be bought on the Emma Stern site, but are listed as out of print or unavailable on Amazon.
Two authors named Jack Rubin showed up in a Google search. One writes about horse racing, the other about Micrographics. No trace of the writer of hard-boiled fiction.
The other fiction author is Charles D. Deakin, with “A Bad Business,” published on January 18, 2016 and listed as “unavailable” on Amazon.
There is a doctor named Charles D. Deakin who writes books, but they’re medical texts (the Emma Stern bio of Deakins says he’s in insurance, so obviously that’s not the same person). I couldn't find any trace of a thriller writer of that name.
WHAT NON-FICTION BOOKS HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED BY EMMA STERN?
Many of the non-fiction Emma Stern titles are no longer than a pamphlet, although they’re priced like paperbacks. They all show the same publication date (January 18 was a busy day at Emma Stern Publishing).
“The Making of Soap,” by Berenice Blackburn, sells on the Emma Stern site for £5.99 (about $7.50). It’s 42 pages long. Shown as unavailable on Amazon.
“Control Your Blood Pressure,” by Dr. Mary-Beth Jordan, is 28 pages long and costs £4.99 (about $7.50) The one review on Amazon.co.uk says, “If the author is really an American working as a blood specialist in Britain, I can’t find any trace of her on Google.” Amazon says it is unavailable.
“The Circulatory System” is credited to Gordon Calloway. Price: £4.99 (about $7.50). Length: 24 pages. Here’s part of his short bio on the publisher’s website: “Doc' Calloway works in a minor public school. Minor in terms of status but not in its teaching. Gordon Calloway went to the school immediately after university, roe [sic] to be Head of Science, and has made biology his specialism…” Wouldn’t a doctor normally indicate where he went to medical school, and his degrees?
Then there’s “A Guide to Gothic Horror,” by Tom Anderson, yours for £4.99 for 38 pages. This one wasn’t published on January 18. It was published on January 25 (yesterday, as I write this).
The bio says Tom Anderson is an authority on the literature of the 18th Century. A Google search didn’t turn up any Tom Andersons of that description.
Then there’s the lengthier (72 pages) “Life Skills and School Improvement,” by Robert Shaw-Byrnes. That’s a rather distinctive name, let’s see what a Google search turns up.
His page on the Emma Stern site says: “Later in 1916 [sic] Robert\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s [sic] complete and detailed book about School Improvement will be produced and marketed by Emma Stern Publishing.”
There’s a testimonial from Bryan Betteridge, but no listing for an author of that name on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk and no book by him on the Emma Stern Publishing site (at least not yet).
The prolific Jack Rubin writes, “I was a happy man when the publisher gave me a contra t for the first novel. And over the moon to be offered another for the next three, at that time unwritten.” It’s interesting that the publisher apparently waited until all four were done before publishing any of them (since they all have the Jan. 18, 2016 publication date).
EMMA STERN’S SHY WRITERS: NO PHOTOS, NO WEBSITES, NO SOCIAL MEDIA
What a shy bunch this group must be—most authors I know have a website, a blog and/or a Facebook page and Twitter account to promote their writing. There are no such links.
There are no photos of any of the authors. Some are represented by generic silhouettes of a head (the same one for several authors).
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Let’s sum up:
All the books were published in the same week (as of this post, within the past week).
All but one are shown as out of print or unavailable on Amazon.
The principals of the company give no indication of their publishing experience and they don’t show up in a Google search or on Facebook.
None of the authors show up in Google searches.
None of the authors have their photos on the site.
None of the authors have links to social media or their own blogs or websites.
If any of the above is incorrect, I will be more than happy to publish a correction.
In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts or any experiences with Emma Stern Publishing in the comments below.