Case study: JoJo Publishing (Australia)

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Oh, looky, yet another vanity publisher cuts and runs toward bankruptcy, rather than 1) changing its ways or 2) paying its authors.

Australia’s JoJo Publishing was recently profiled in a television program detailing the company’s duplicitous practices. Here’s an article about their attempts at strategic liquidation. And here is the thread about them (read the whole thing,really.)

So why am I listing it under Filigree’s Rule?

If you pay your publisher, no matter how the fees are levied or disguised, you are being vanity-published.

Your publisher will deny this to their last collective breath, while claiming any number of creative synonyms for how they work.

Not all vanity publishers are evil. A few verge closer to honest print/publishing services providers. But if you are being vanity-published, not only are you probably being financially ripped off and badly marketed, what happened to JoJo’s authors can happen to you: cheated of sales royalties, left to pay massive and unnecessary expenses, and possibly facing the loss of rights to your own book.

Being published badly is far worse than not being published at all. Most vanity publishers will publish you badly, because they have no financial incentive to do a good job and market your work. You’ve already paid them.

Research publishers before you approach them, and certainly before you decide to sign contracts with them.

Triberr and retweeting (bad ranty language)

I’m on both services, even though I’m inactive on Triberr and I barely use Twitter. (When I’m near a computer I’m generally writing or doing art, not activities I can easily do with social media windows distracting me.)

I don’t use Triberr because when I started it was buggy as hell and hard to use, and being on the receiving end meant too many obligatory social duties among ‘tribes’.

I have recently noticed A Thing, where authors still think they are hot shit when they set up Triberr to retweet some version of ‘Buy My Book!’ every 30 minutes or so.

No, please. Tweet when you have something real to share, and retweet other people’s posts if the content rocks your world. If you must tweet self-promo, please try to limit it to a few well-tagged messages per day.

Because the fastest way to make sure readers like me do not retweet your content, much less buy your books, is to make certain you’ve already alienated us with all your constant needy tweeting.

Learn from beer commercials and figure out how to make your content fun and/or worthwhile before you start mass-spamming it.

Happiness is…

…submitting an erotic romance short story to a new publisher, on a lark, and having it contracted as an expanded 12,000-word novella three days later. And having the characters suddenly wake up and start *talking* to me about actual plot elements beyond the bedroom.

…realizing that a ten-year-old painting has the perfect theme to fit an upcoming art show AND online entry in the show is free! And it’s in a lovely neighboring city, so delivering it would be a great excuse for a road trip. And if I time everything right, also a perfect excuse to visit a great little spec-fic convention in that same city.

…knowing that somewhere out there, an editor is reading the fantasy novel that has been kicking my ass for almost twenty years.

…having absolutely incredible friends.

…surviving to 50.

Tour of the Universe, day 25


It’s not too late! Stop by Bitten By Romance to visit with Edward Hoornaert on our last stop for the Tour of the (science fiction romance) Universe.

Why should you do this?

Because romance has come a long way from the really awkward, laughable days of the 1980s ‘New Romance’, when science fiction and fantasy themes were attempted by authors who’d never read SFF. (Lame tropes, reinventing wheels, nonexistent logic, no sense of wonder, rapey alphas and doormat heroines, the list of sins is so loooooong, and some of the perps are still being published to this day.)

Thankfully, there’s room in the genre now for actual scientists using actual science, military fic-fans and infosec strategists, experts and armchair travelers all carefully extrapolating some weird and wonderful places in which to set the oldest stories of all.

Also: because we’re giving away prizes, gang.

Books, swag, discounts, bundles of support and behind-the-scenes material, gift cards, I’m sure I’ve forgotten something. If you have a boring Tuesday ahead of you, scroll back through our blog posts. Like, follow, comment, whatever that particular poster says do to be entered into their particular giveaway. We’ll do all the rest, and have the results out hopefully by the middle of October 2015.

And thanks for joining us on the Tour.

Tour of the Universe, day 23

K.C. Klein’s Amazon bio says it better than I can:

‘KC Klein is the author of Dark Future, a sexy futuristic time-travel. She became serious about writing three years ago and was as surprised as anyone when her stories took a turn toward dark and snarky…’

Follow the button above to see what KC writes about her Dark Future novels!


Tour of the Universe, day 22

Well, my turn has finally rolled around in Bitten By Romance’s Tour of the Universe. I actually had to go check my notes for what I wrote about…oh, yeah, heh heh. The Sonta. I hope you enjoy the article.
If you want to know more, follow the Author’s Notes on the left side of this blog. Post comments (on any of our Tour entries!) at the Bitten By Romance site to win a chance at your digital format choice of my debut novel Moro’s Price. (If you liked Dune, Firefly, Babylon 5, and Killjoys on TV and cable, you might dig this book.) You might also get a chance to win this glass bead and blue cord necklace.

Crane -- Blue Millefiori necklace

Taking the plunge


After all my talk about researching publishers, there’s one detail I’ve forgotten to add to my ‘Filigree’s Rule’ cautions: at some point, we have to pick a publisher, get together a submission, and hit ‘send’ or drop a box in the post. Otherwise, we’re hobby writers, which is not a bad thing. But it generally doesn’t pay.

I’m disobeying my own rules by sending a short story to an anthology call from a publisher so new they don’t have any books out yet, and they don’t even launch for two months.


I can afford to drop this particular story into publisher limbo, if need be.

The publisher* in question, while new, has principals with excellent and applicable publishing experience, a fairly solid grasp of the fundamentals, and enough capital to open strongly. Every great publisher has started out on the same rung. We’ll see if this one falls or flies.

  • I’ll share the name later, when they open.

Tour of the Universe, day 20

See the button above? Follow it to connect with Shelley Munro at Bitten By Romance’s fabulous Tour of the Universe. Shelley joins a bunch of other crazy people showing off their science fiction romance settings.

(Because sometimes contemporary just doesn’t do it, and you can actually have too much of fantasy dragons, elves, vampires, etc. In science fiction romance, the setting can be as much a character as the heroes and heroines.)

Since it’s the third week of the Tour, I’ll remind you again: read, comment, and follow secondary links to get great deals on books, swag, and chances at prizes.

Tour of the Universe, day 18

Welcome back! If you follow the button above, you’ll land at the Bitten By Romance site and the third week of our Tour of the (science fiction romance) Universe. Veronica Scott is today’s guest. Stop by to read more about the deceptive beauty of a jungle planet…and enter a giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card!

Tour of the Universe, day 17


Shona Husk gives us the guest post this Saturday at Bitten By Romance’s Tour of the Universe.

Follow the button above to stop by, read, comment, and learn. You might win prizes later. You’ll certainly come away with new ideas about science fiction romance.

As before, we are skipping Sunday. We’ll be back on Monday with the last week of the tour.

Offensensitivity, part whatever (adult language)

Taking a break from the Tour for a quick rant, brought to you by too damn many news items.

Offensensitivity‘ is the punchline of a brilliant Bloom County cartoon from back in 1982.

It could also be the chilling tagline for a recent host of social actions, from both right and left sides of the Culture War aisle across the world. Here’s an essay that frames my opinion in more detail and much better than I can frame it myself.

Here’s another from 1644 and that old hack John Milton, who for some rather base and personal reasons wrote one of the most soaring anti-censorship tracts ever read in English: his Areopagitica. I was fifteen when I read ‘I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue…’ and understood how that applied to real life. I couldn’t understand why so many other people couldn’t. Still can’t.

Life is messy. Life is offensive. Living within a social fabric requires individuals and groups to make compromises and allowances within the boundaries of social requirements. Social norms bend, grow, and evolve just as organisms do, in response to environments and stresses.

Gay people getting married somehow challenges our faith and our path to heaven? Grow the fuck up, get over it, and take a good hard look at your own fragile faith, if it can be torn so easily.

Someone else is better than you, at something that is important to you? Grow the fuck up. Learn from them and improve yourself, or accept that you might not be at their level. Don’t tear them down or try to steal their show.

A book affronts you so much you want to make sure other people can’t read it in school? Stop reading the goddamn book. Stop thinking you’re the Supreme High Dictator telling everybody else what to do, based on your personal triggers. Or better yet, grow the fuck up, READ THE BOOK and see where it challenges or strengthens your worldview. You can learn important things even from books you decide to hate. Write a clear, honest review making your point, not a whiny complaint to the Dean’s office.

Someone makes a joke about your concept of God, or the Divine, or some earthly manifestation thereof? Grow the fuck up and ignore it. God probably does – and if he/she/it doesn’t, well, that’s a rather immature and spiteful deity to be gambling eternity with, eh?

We need, as a species, to grow the fuck up. If we don’t, that might as well be our epitaph.



Tour of the Universe, day 16

Over on the Bitten By Romance site today, we are featuring A.R. DeClerk for the next stop in our celebration of science fiction romance, its unusual settings, and rich backstories. If you’re bored by contemporary romance, cardboard billionaires, and predictable places, try a little science fiction sizzle!

Oh, and we will be drawing prizes from our comment pool on each entry.

Tour of the Universe, day 14

S.E. Smith takes over the Bitten By Romance site today, for a new entry in our science fiction romance Tour of the Universe! Day 14 means we’re getting near the midpoint of the tour. That also means you still have plenty of chances to visit the site, comment on previous entries, read new ones, and be entered into a number of giveaways.

Including this glass and fiber necklace by yours truly:

Crane -- Blue Millefiori necklace

Tour of the Universe, day 11

If it’s Saturday, that means Jody Wallace has taken over Bitten By Romance! Stop by to see what she’s contributing to the Tour of the Universe. Read. Comment. We won’t bite (much).

Housekeeping note: as we did last week, we’ll take a break on Sunday. But entry #12 will be up bright and early Monday morning. If you love science fiction romance as much as we do, keep an eye on Bitten By Romance’s Tour site for the next two weeks. We’re not even halfway done yet!