This story is pretty amazing. A “publishing consultant” in Atlanta, GA ripped people off by taking their money and offering nothing in return. At the risk of blaming the victim, I am not 100% sympathetic. When you’re shelling out $10,000 to someone with 30 prior fraud complaints, perhaps you didn’t do your homework. Many of the complaints leveled against self-publishing companies often fall into this category. Of course, screw the scammers, and this guy should be arrested.
The Washington Post reports on the story in these terms: A Lesson in Self-Publishing
Self-publishing is fraught with terrors — first, you have to convince yourself you really have something worth saying; then, you have to get it down on the page, or in the computer; next, you have to cough up hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars to get the book designed and printed; and finally, you have to figure out some way to sell all those copies, or give them away, just to clear off the kitchen table so you can sit down and have a bowl of noodles.
Certainly, this is a cautionary tale and people should be careful of scam artists. But to suggest this represents self-publishing in any way seems, I don’t know, desperate to criticize self-publishing again now that it’s become legitimate. In the past, this kind of story wasn’t the anomaly – vanity presses were too expensive and often corrupt. Now that ebook publishing is free, this criticism seems ten years old.