All Classic Books: The Scam Continues

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

If you’ve read my two previous posts about All Classic Books, you already know this story. If you haven’t, here’s the gist.

Cheryl Lee Nunn of notorious vanity publisher American Book Publishing (one of Writer Beware’s Thumbs Down publishers, also featured in an alert at Writer Beware) attempts to expand her author-fleecing operation with a network of bogus organizations and publishers. Outed on this blog, she cuts her losses and folds the scheme–but, eager to make money on the back end, she holds authors’ rights for ransom, threatening to give their contracts to a “transfer agent” unless they pony up a buyout fee of $695.

Authors with All Classic Books (the only one of the bogus publishers to issue contracts) have just received another email demanding even more money (all errors courtesy of the original). 

From: Rebecca Reece Winslow
Date: Fri, Nov 29, 2013 at 1:06 PM
Subject: [Name redacted] Your Author Legal Notice Your Book Contract Transfer Agent Instructions
To: [Name redacted]
Cc: “legal @ allclassicbooks.com”

Per terms of our book contract with you we are in the process of exercising our option to assign your book contract to another book publisher effective December 4, 2013. The transfer agent that is working on our publishing company merge or sale and book contract assignments is The Names Company, a publishing industry business broker specialist.

The Names Company will oversee that all our book contract obligations are performed on. For example books remain in print and production and royalties are paid by required contract dates so that we are in full and complete legal compliance. This to make sure that our book contracts remain legally binding to all parties.

The Names Company will not however be providing a publisher staff to answer your book publishing and book selling questions and other book marketing assistance as we have provided you. They will only be responding about questions related to book contract company assignment or your book rights buyouts.

It is important to be aware that just listing a book title for sale today with ten million other book titles that book sales almost always occur because of an author interview, book review or other author promotional activity. If the author is not professionally promoting their title effectively, then it is highly unlikely the author will earn any royalties during the period either with The Names Company or a subsequent publisher assignment.

Instead we have been recommending and helping our authors doing buyouts upload their book files to Amazon’s book publishing companies Creative Space (printed books) and Kindle Direct Publishing (e-books) for free.

[Redacted: several paragraphs extolling the virtues of “Creative Space” and KDP.]

We have instructed The Names Company to continue our full book rights buyout offer with our permission and and files for authors to use our edited content and book covers.

However, because of the added expense of the transfer agent, beginning on the first of each month the Full Book Rights Buyout will increase $100 per month. Therefore, buyout offers will be raised from $695.00 to December 3, 2013 with us and can use their credit cards until but after December 4, 2013 the buyout will increase to $795 and $895 on January 1, 2014 and so on. Their website is at http://thenamescompany.com/ and e-mail contact address is info @ thenamescompany.com

Only wired funds will be authorized for those authors doing buyouts after December 4, 2013 through The Names Company will be accepted from that point, instructions are below.

Once fund wires are confirmed, The Names Company will provide authors their book content and cover files, letters of full rights return and authorization to use our editing and design. Then they will remove any current sales listings.

Authors then can legally re publish their book titles with another publisher or self publish it.

[Redacted: wire routing information.]

Warning- Beware of anyone giving false legal advice. We are aware that there has been some false information about us rumored by a fantasy fiction volunteer writer giving our authors bad legal advice that would actually cause them expensive legal damages if they followed it. She does not disclose that she is not an attorney while providing legal advice, and that she is not a professional or unbiased journalist. She is simply a writer we rejected for employment and a book publishing contract about a decade ago, seeking to damage us and our authors with a smear campaign and false information.

Rebecca Reece Winslow
Acquisitions Editor, All Classic Books
info @ allclassicbooks.com

Taking this in order:

* I have several copies of All Classic Books’ contract. Nowhere in any of them is there any language giving the publisher an “option to assign your book contract to another book publisher”. Not that that’s even relevant, because…

* The Names Company isn’t a publisher. It also doesn’t exist. Have a look at its website. Is it me, or does it seem a little odd that there’s zero information on the company or its staff? Or that the only properties shown “for sale” are Nunn’s bogus companies? Or that Googling “The Names Company” brings up nothing? Or that, just a few weeks ago, its website looked like this?

Not quite what you’d expect from a “a publishing industry business broker specialist” (if there were such a thing, which there isn’t). The Names Company, in other words, is fake–a Nunn fiction in aid of her scheme to extract cash from her authors.

* As of November 5, when I wrote my last post about All Classic Books, it had published only a handful of public domain titles. But when I checked today, I found that it has begun pushing out original titles, all with pub dates of November 20 and later (five days beyond its announced November 15 closing date). It looks as if Nunn is punishing writers who don’t fall for her buyout demand by exercising the rights she holds, even though the publisher that contracted them is supposedly defunct.

If your book is or becomes one of these, don’t send money to Nunn. Instead, use that cash to seek legal advice on how to get the books taken down and your rights returned to you. (There’s a Legal Resources page on the Writer Beware website that may help.) Draw your lawyer’s attention to Paragraph 21 of your contract,which provides for automatic termination and return of rights “in the event of the Publisher’s insolvency, bankruptcy, or assignment of assets for the benefit of creditors.” Cite the first email you received from “Rebecca Reese Winslow,” which clearly states that All Classic is closing down because it’s losing money–i.e., insolvent.

* If you haven’t guessed, the “fantasy fiction volunteer writer” mentioned in the final paragraph is me. Nunn has been telling that lie about me being a disgruntled would-be employee for years, ever since she trumped it up for a lawsuit she threatened Ann and me with in 2003 (we called her bluff and the suit was never filed). If I needed any further proof that “Rebecca Reese Winslow” is Cheryl Lee Nunn, that would do it.

2 Responses

    1. WriterBeware Post author

      Hi, Diane,

      I hadn’t encountered this website before. Its main purpose is to sell Mr. Grove’s ebook and submission letter service. As far as I can tell, he has just one publishing credit–a how-to book. It’s from a major publisher, and is a solid credit. However, I seriously question how he can hold himself out as an expert on the basis of having sold just one book. Also, fiction and nonfiction are very different markets–even if you’re expert in selling nonfiction, that wouldn’t necessarily qualify you to give advice to novelists. I also looked at a few of the articles on the website, and while they’re not wildly inaccurate, they bespeak his own very limited experience of publishing.

      My advice would be to save your money. There’s plenty of good, free advice online on crafting query letters. Many literary agents provide query advice on their blogs and/or websites. If you want a peer critique approach, I recommend the Absolute Write Water Cooler, a free-to-join writers’ forum that includes a subforum for query letter critiques: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/index.php