Last week I received good news from Grinning Skull Press. They sent the edit copy of my story "Cruel to be Kind" for me to review, which I did. Evidently the anthology it's in, "Cranial Leakage: Tales From the Grinning Skull, Volume 2" will be out very soon, probably within a few weeks. As usual I'll include further information as I get it, such as a look at the book cover, author list, and of course the release date.
On a less positive note, last week I also received an odd email. It went as follows:
"Dear Paul Stansfield,
I just saw your book, "Creature Stew." I would love to post about it and list it on my website. (Here they listed their address.)
One more thing, if you are running a promotion for "Creature Stew," then you can use our service called "Book of the Day" to promote "Creature Stew" to more than 700,000 readers across the globe. Check it out here (another link to their site.)
Thank you and all the best."
This was from some outfit with the curious name of Book Blow. I did check the original link, and saw they offered a service where they would supposedly use their Facebook page, a Twitter blast, and a special Book of the Day Facebook page to promote my book, all for $29.99.
I was a victim of an agent scam many years ago. From this bitter experience I learned to be a lot more suspicious, and do more homework about writing services, publishers, magazines, etc. Anyway, just googling "Book Blow" brought up quite a few posts from writers who received the same email (I think, aside from their names and book titles, it was word-for-word, even) in the past year or two. These folks smelled a rat, given the grammatical errors on the website, the lack of information for the link "For Readers," and even the lack of a "Book of the Day" Facebook page. One writer investigated even further. He paid the fee, and took readers through the process. You can read about it at http://raymondclarkeauthor.wordpress.com Long story short, it had every appearance of a scam, and he didn't see any sales from it.
So to my fellow writers out there, if you receive this email, be forewarned that it doesn't seem legitimate.
On that note, thought I'd pass along some sites which give helpful information, both about potential scams, and general writing tips. Writer Beware, which can be found at: accrispin.blogspot.com is one such site (Ms. Crispin is a successful sci-fi/fantasy author) . Also, fantasy writer Piers Anthony's site at: www.hipiers.com/publishing.htm/#publishers has some useful news too. (He doesn't seem to update it as regularly as some of the other sites, but still, some good stuff here.) Similarly, Predators & Editors at: pred-ed.com has lists and ratings of publishers. (Some are outdated, but once again, some useful things to check.) Finally, I find the Absolute Write forums to be beneficial as well. Before I submit to a publisher I type in its name along with Absolute Write in Google, and see what comes up. Sometimes the publishers in question respond to the writers' posts, and it turns into comically vicious fights, which can be morbidly entertaining. Obviously, all these sites have their detractors, who claim unfair biases against the publishers, agents, etc. I'll leave readers to decide which sides seem to be more correct.
Hope this helps. Good luck!