I Wish It Was "Or What?!": Vanity Publishing has Found Kickstarter.
November 08, 2014 digital publishing , ethics , kickstarter , publishing , scam , scams , self-publishingI'm not sure if this project actually violates Kickstarter's guidelines, but it sure as heck violates my ethical crowdfunding standards:
Yes, that's right. "Backers, submit your story & be in the book". Let's say you're going to give this person (I'll explain why I say "person" in a second) the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they're just offering up open slots to backers - which while still a BAD BAD BAD thing, isn't quite vanity publishi...
Okay, yes. Yes, that's vanity publishing. Straight-up no joking pay-to-play with an implied rights grab for the life of copyright. And they're going to sell the book (see the full project page screengrab) but don't mention paying contributors.
But y'know, sometimes it's not malice, it's ignorance. It looks like they're brand new to Kickstarter, so it could be. I've run into other people who mean well, but don't realize what they're doi...
Three different names. Three. Different. Names.
Yeah, that does not create trust, and sure as heck makes things look a bazillion times more shady.
Is this person even real? What would happen if you tried to contact them?
As I said at the top, I'm not certain if vanity publishing pay-to-play scams are actually against Kickstarter's rules - but it's something you should stay away from.
Writer Beware has an excellent guide on how to better recognize vanity anthologies here: http://www.sfwa.org/other-resources/for-authors/writer-beware/anthologies/
As much as I think technologies like Kickstarter have given publishers a revitalized role, vanity presses and scammers are everywhere.
There is a reason I wrote my crowdfunding ethics policy; it's because of people like this. Compare the rules and guidelines of other crowdfunded projects against that policy, and if something doesn't match up, start asking hard questions.
You can see a screengrab of the full project page as it existed the morning of 8 November 2014 at http://imgur.com/a/asG9h#a6dU1pU
For what it's worth, we're in the last day or so of the pro-rate paying ethically run (with free range authors1) Kickstarter for Not Our Kind. If you want to support authors and publishers trying to do it the right way, swing by the project at http://bit.ly/kicknotourkind and support us either financially or spreading the word online.
1 Don't ask about the editor...