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Would Be Print Authors Scammed by Vanity Press

San Diego publisher, Ed Johnson, promised non published authors that he could make their dreams of being in print, a reality. For $5,700.00 an author could send their book to be printed through Johnson’s press. The books, however, never materialized. Emails went unanswered and phone calls unreturned. The website is no longer operation.

Johnson says that the firm has just gone out of business due to the challenges that effect any small business. Unfortunately, about 40-50 aspiring authors who had paid thousands of dollars were left with nothing to show for it. Johnson operated at least two publishing ventures, the first was one Simon & Northrup in 1998. It’s corporate offices were at 3333 Midway Drive in California. Simon & Northrup went belly-up when the California Secretary of State suspended its articles of incorporation in 2004. This didn’t deter Johnson. He began a new publishing venture in 2005 called Martell Publishing housed at the same Midway Drive address.

There’s more to this horrific story including how an office manager was forced in editing position and that there are no recorded published books from Martell Publishing and only 27 from Simon & Northrup. It’s clear that e published authors aren’t the only eyes to fall prey to a slick talker.

Via Union-Tribune.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Erastes
    Sep 10, 2007 @ 11:40:28

    Unreal. With all the support groups, warning sites, global assistance for wannabe publishees why is this scam still working? Are people that desperate? Dont they know that for a fraction of that cost they can self publish and sell just as few copies?

  2. veinglory
    Sep 10, 2007 @ 18:09:04

    Most of these guys could have avoided it by asking what other book this guy had successfully published. I mean, how else do you know he *can*?

  3. Sybil
    Sep 11, 2007 @ 11:41:08

    I just don’t understand how this happens. How do you send someone that kind of money without looking into really, really well?

  4. Ann Aguirre
    Sep 11, 2007 @ 12:17:48

    Sadly, a lot of people can be persuaded by a slick looking website. They don’t know what to look for.

    I think the Simpsons referenced that in one their episodes; Homer said something to effect of, “You saw it on the Internet? Then it must be true!” He also said that about a restaurant placemat.

  5. Keishon
    Sep 13, 2007 @ 13:56:54

    I feel no sympathy for people who get scammed like this because it makes no sense whatever to send money to somebody in order to be published. Are they that desperate? Just utterly ridiculous.

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