Filigree’s Rule (infuriating content advisory)

Filigree's Rule

…and vice versa, and I’m not standing in their way.

That means I hope the two groups find and prey upon each other: the predatory and the clueless alike. Maybe they’ll go down in flames and clear the field for more responsible people. If you are a predatory and/or clueless publisher, I’m going to ignore you until I see you doing something obviously illegal. If you are an obviously and willfully clueless author, I’m not going to hold your hand, mentor you, or engage with you. You’re on your own.

Yeah, that’s callous. How I got here in five years, from wide-eyed, innocent, and happy industry cheerleader, is a story that probably can’t ever be told in public. But I know of what I speak.

I no longer really care about what happens to the chronically credulous who either can’t or won’t do their research in the proper order. You just can’t save some people from themselves. But I do hate to see smart, literate, humane and philosophical writers being taken in by bad publishers. So I’m still collecting and posting updates related to worst-practices publishing.

Here are the collected posts about Filigree’s Rule. There will be more, I’m sure.

If you get nothing else out of this blog series, please go here for A. G. Carpenter’s epic Twitter rant about why NOT to fall for vanity publishers.

My first post here, laying the groundwork and giving updates.

My actual, evolving criteria for invoking Filigree’s Rule against a publisher, author, agent, editor, or anyone else connected with publishing (art or writing). Warning: not politically correct or kind. A lot of friends are on this list, as well as adversaries.

A side post about writers’ magazines and their dark, dank underbellies.

Another side post, about authors’ typical excuses of their iffy publishers. Run away when you see these excuses, they are like big red flags.

Yet another side post, about the self-help, inspirational, and ‘misery memoir’ markets, which apear to be rife with vanity publishers trying to exploit uninformed authors.

A case study about a now-failed digital-only press, Musa Publishing.

Another case study about Australia’s JoJo Publishing, a vanity press trying (as of October 2015) to avoid paying its authors by hiding in bankruptcy.

A really heartbreaking case study about Ellora’s Cave, a pioneer in the digital publishing erotic romance field.

An unintentionally hilarious journey through one man’s inept but steadfast attempt to catfish Everybody into thinking he’s some kind of genius marketer/publisher: the off-site home of the ParaDon Books warning blog. It’s long but worthwhile. It’s the Nigerian Prince Scam of publishing. If any of you feel like falling for the ParaDon scheme(s), please…just send me your money now. (AFAIK, there are now at least two arrest warrants out for this guy.)

For the academics among you, here’s a link to a post about predatory or clueless academic and scientific journals…as big a problem in their fields as vanity-published and badly self-published fiction.

Here’s a post about the infamous Tate Publishing, once billed as a Christian publisher of impeccable morals. Yeah, right.

To follow on Tate’s spectacular implosion, here’s an article about the ‘new’ Multilevel Marketing schemes and why they disproportionately target rural and suburban women (often through religiously coded langauge)…with similar tactics as vanity publishers.

Here are two posts about writer Lani Sarem’s and GeekNation’s ill-fated attempt to game the NYT hardback book ranks. Gaming the NYT is practically a sport among some publishers. What makes this attempt stand out is the terrible writing in the book itself.


As of 9/28/2017, I’m joining the ranks of affiliate marketers and adding some (small and hopefully discreet) paid links to online services and retailers I like.

Such as the hilarious online movie commentary stream RiffTrax LLC (Remember Mystery Science Theater 3000? Theeeyyyyre Baaaack!)

Why? Because scammy publishers sprout up like weeds after rain. I just heard of two more this week! There’s a cost to the research and cataloging I do on this blog. If you click on any of the links above and purchase something on the other side, the few cents I get back help offset my domain fees.


6 thoughts on “Filigree’s Rule (infuriating content advisory)”

  1. I shall pass your wisdom along to my authors. If they are smart little cookies, the newbies will take your experience to heart, and the oldies will remember why they don’t do some of these things. And if not? Filigree’s Rule. <3

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