Lindsey Sablowski

Warnings for writers –JustFiction Edition

The other day I was speaking with Mariella, and we both realized there’s a lot of our writing friends who are currently trying to query their books.  The problem being numerous companies have no plans whatsoever to actually publish your book.
Having been in this situation before, I’m going to give you a heads up on the companies that are a definite no.  This is the companies you’ll want to stop and look at before you consider placing your manuscript in the hands of.
I’ve decided to this kind of post for those of you like me who are querying your book and don’t want to become a victim of a scandal.  I’m going to start with a company several writers have been contacted by.

JustFiction! Edition

First thoughts: So we go onto their website and seems harmless.  There’s a woman on the homepage holding a book, and they discuss that they welcome all genres.  Couldn’t hurt, right?

History (in “JustFiction Edition–The Publishing Company): Anyone else slightly disturbed by the fact that they have the same exact page for their history as the homepage?  They mention nothing about when their company started, their founder, books they’re published… Nothing of the ordinary.

Guidelines (in “How to Become An Author”): “JFE is constantly looking for novels…”  Constantly?  This makes it sound as if they have been in business for a long amount of time.  However, if you dig a little deeper you’ll find they were branched off from Lambert Academic Publishing, which only ever published nonfictional pieces of work –mostly thesis related material.  (Source:

The publishing house issues novels in e-book form mainly from our young and talented authors. We welcome all genres – doesn’t matter whether it is a love story, a vampire tale or historical novel, thriller or science fiction. What is important, that it is a completed manuscript and you are the author.

Here we can notice numerous concerns that may immediately make you think, “Something isn’t right here.”  They claim to “mainly” issue novels from their “young and talented” authors, but anywhere on the site is there a list of these others?
Secondly, all they seem to be asking is that you a) wrote an entire book and b) consider yourself to be an author.  Your previous experience doesn’t matter, your genre doesn’t matter, an agent isn’t necessary…heck, you don’t even need to send in a query letter!  Right there RED FLAG

But let’s continue on to see if this really is all too good to be true or maybe isn’t a scandal after all.
Books (in “Catalog”): Well since I’ve last been on this site, they actually have added a part relating to books they’re published.  Even so, there’s nothing impressive here.
Burns Like the SunThis book titled Burns Like the Sun looks nothing like what you were expecting, does it?  Notice the “JustFiction Edition!” logo at the top of the cover and the poorly organized back cover containing the author bio and summary.  The picture on the front seems…. a bit random?  What does it possibly have to do with the book?
I’m not exaggerating here when I say this page is also another RED FLAG. Literally every book in the two pages have no legitimate cover.  Notice how also one of the books are titled That Blackfella Bloodsucka Dance!  Shouldn’t we be weary about the fact that they would accept a book titled as such?

Contact: Well that’s interesting…there’s no phone number.  All we can do is fill out a form and they’ll email us back.

Red Flags:

  • Unusual, seemingly unprofessional covers
  • No reported history
  • No agents, top selling authors, founders, editors
  • No mentioning of how they’ll publish your book, distribute, and sell it
  • Money is in Euros (correct me if I’m wrong).  No mentioning of currency change if living in, for example, the United States.
  • Guidelines are vague –no specifics, no mentioning of what they won’t accept
  • No mailing address, phone number
  • Well they have a website.  It’s more believable than what most appear to be.
  • There are apparently authors they have published.  However, notice they mention nothing about sales…
You’ve probably heard of JustFiction Edition because they contacted you through email.  Writers reported receiving emails and unexpected facebook messages from the assistant editor of JFE, claiming they wanted to take a look at your manuscript.  They probably said something along the lines of “I recently discovered your manuscript (Title Here)….)
Hmm…They contacted you?
Writers, never trust a publishing company who comes to you.  Even though JFE is a small and new company, if they were good at what they do they wouldn’t have to come to you.  Publishers wait for you to come to them, and then they review your work.
Unfortunately I am one of the many who fell for JustFiction’s claims.  I sent in my manuscript.  Several days later they said they would like to publish it.  I was instantly concerned when they referred to my book as “The Magicians series” when it is titled Cursed with Power and when their contract appeared as simple as their website.
The truth: JustFiction isn’t here to publish your book.  They might be looking for “any” kind of fictional novel, but authors who have been published by them reported a) not being paid royalties or b) being paid extremely low percentages of royalties.
Further more, JFE has contacted members of Inkpop –a writing site run by HarperCollins (for those of you who don’t know)–with the same messages.
A legitimate publisher is not going to find your book by “googling”, nor will they send out repetitive messages without reading your manuscript.
The JFE contract does not offer to help you in publishing your book.  You have to chose a cover for a website of poorly, generic covers, you have to upload your book to their website after creating a website.  If you become a “member” you have to enter in all of your bank information immediately.
Lots of red flags with this company.  Hopefully this will help those of you who are querying.  JustFiction! is indeed a scandal.  If you would like more information, feel free to ask.
If you found this extremely helpful I can continue posting about who to beware of in the publishing industry.
Lindsey R. Sablowski


13 thoughts on “Warnings for writers –JustFiction Edition

  1. I'm sorry you had to go through this, Lindsey, but at the same time I'm extremely grateful for this warning. I exchanged a few emails with them and might have gone for it–the only thing that stopped me was how my book itself was not edited. They don't provide help editing. So I just stopped replying.Guys–be careful!

  2. I was extremely devastated, but I'm glad I can share what I've learned with others. I wouldn't want any of you guys ending up unhappy because somebody like this takes advantage of your work.Definitely watch out!

  3. Wow! I've heard about this site on Inkpop because they were contacting Inkies on Inkpop which made me really wary of them. They haven't contacted me, but if they do, I'm saying no thanks! But thank you for this extremely helpful post!

  4. Thanks for this. When I got contacted I kinda just ignored them. I remember reading about this on Inkpop. What about the DIP publishing? They are another group I ignored. I think that is another that should be featured. The most recent company that messaged me I consulted Becki (inkpop) on and she said to go for it.

  5. JFE is a perfectly reliable and upfront way for emerging authors to get a novel into print at no expense, and as such, they represent the deathknell to the big corps like Harper Collins – and their sycophants such as Inkpop (And FYI, JFE pay royalties of 10% too, they just don't risk money on contributing to marketing expenses). For all you blogging nobodies on their payroll to pick on a new author's choices like cover design or book title just points out how shallow you are! Or else, you're just plain jealous! WHY NOT ACTUALLY READ THESE BOOKS? PS, Although I am a very happy customer/author of theirs, I am not in the employ of JFE, I just am well aware of the current state of the publishing industry. In a few very short years elitist companies like Harper Collins will have been hounded out of the industry by the new wave of Print On Demand publishers – or else they will have begrudgingly joined the ranks of these innovative folk. Take note. Take heed!

  6. Anonymous: while we respect your opinion, please be polite and refrain from bashing our blog members. We don't believe in arguing with people via the Ad Hominem fallacy. Also, if you would have read the post more thoroughly, you would have noticed that we are not jealous. In fact, several of us have been offered a publishing contract with JFE. The only difference is that we did some intense research and decided to go our separate ways.Also, I would say that I am also well aware of the current state of the publishing business and have done quite a bit of extensive research within it. I politely disagree. Harper Collins and other companies are not elitist, and neither are Print of Demand publishers going to take over the future. Traditional publishing will always stand. It just so happens that POD will open up new ways for writers to get their writing out there if all other ways fail (or the writers would rather not go through the long and sometimes frustrating journey to get published traditionally).Thank you.

  7. Having been around for a while, I thought play along until I got the pitch. Well, sure enough, I got an email that wanted my: SSN, Bank name, account number and routing number. Email address and password. Some red flags, no?These people must be in league with the mafia

  8. Thanks for posting this, even if this bright yellow background hurts my eyes. I got an email a while back and ignored it. Then today they sent a second email wondering if I got the first email. If only legitimate publishers and agents were that desperate.

  9. Does anyone know if JFE asks for a "reimbursable" fee (which needless to say never gets reimbursed because sales are so low)?Also, JF!E does no proofreading. This is painfully obvious from the jackets of many of their books. The same goes for the notorious LAP Lambert, one of whose recent books bears the unforgettable title "Lease Financing; Hindrarnces to Adoption By Business Enterprisses".

  10. Thanks for this information. I googled them and searched for them on Predators and Editors after I received an email from them. Like you suggested, I found it odd that a "publisher" would seek me out. I looked at the site and was not impressed with the covers, and their pricing format threw me as well. I had already determined it sounded scammy, and then I found this blog. So, thanks again.

  11. I just got an email from them {Hanna Meyer, Acquisition Editor} and decided to do some research on them. This was the first link on Google. They said they contacted me because "an active member of" {direct quote and I haven't actually been on that site in quite a while}.As much as I would love to get published I'm not going to be THAT desperate.Thanks for putting up this info about them.Matthew Stohler

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