In 2006, two events in my writerly life happened: 1) I got my PhD, which meant my dissertation became listed with UMI, and 2) I self-published through Lulu all of the random short stories and poems that had been kicking around in various folders and hard drives for over twenty years.
Four years later, the publishing spammers found me.
First, in the first week of June, I received an unsolicited email in my work inbox from Lambert Publishing, wanting to publish my dissertation. At first I was all “WOW” but then, seeing the German mailing address, the Bird of Doubt in me emerged:
After Googling “Lambert Publishing” and “scam”, I found out that it wasn’t a hoax per se, but a self-publishing print-on-demand service: kind of like a Lulu for academic writing. Still, if I were serious about getting my dissertation published, I would do the hard work of getting an academic publisher to accept it: the letter of proposal, the months of having an editor get back with either a rejection or a solicitation of the manuscript for review, the months (if not years!) of having the manuscript peer-reviewed, etc. etc.
I initially did that in late 2006 (after doing additional research over the summer of 2006) but, after too many rejection letters and one academic press stringing me along for over a year, I gave up — after all, my teaching position doesn’t require me to be published to keep my job. (Yay, community college!)
Any graduate who desperately needed to have an academic publication record for hiring or promotion should avoid Lambert (and its ilk) like the PLAGUE, as it would be tenure-track suicide to do so.
On a similar vein, I received two unsolicited voicemail messages at home from a business that had no identification on the caller ID, other than the 877 phone number. The barely understandable rep mentioned that her company was interested in my Lulu-published book of short stories and poems.
The Bird of Doubt immediately emerged.
After typing in the phone number in 800notes, I found out that the company was Bookwhirl, an online marketing outfit that preys upon newby self-published folks to give them money to — essentially– spam the Internet, touting the book (with other services that — of course — cost more).
Once upon a very long time, I probably would’ve been more susceptible to these sorts of marketing ploys — as in, when I was a high school student or an undergrad. But a 38-year old English professor who has been teaching essay writing to recalcitrant community college students for a decade? NO.
Since my professional life is education — not publishing creative or academic writing — I’m more likely to have Lulu be my print-on-demand company of choice of anything I publish (just to cover the printing cost), while also having the downloadable versions be available for FREE, while linking from my non-profit personal website, Rowena’s World.
Actually, I’m doing that right now.
So, Lambert and Bookwhirl — bu-BYE.