ASPIRING AUTHORS: BE AWARE OF AMERICAN BOOK PUBLISHING!
While I welcome any and all emails and any further questions that you may have, I politely ask that you read this summary first before asking your questions. I realize we're all very busy and this is a VERY long story though - so I will summarize this long complicated story. If after reading this summary you still have questions I’ll try to help. Just contact me.I realize to many – this warning I’m about to chronicle here will end up leaving some readers scratching their heads saying, “DUH! Everyone KNOWS about those types of scam publishers or agents…” So this warning isn’t for the seasoned savvy published author.
I checked this “new” publishing company out with the Better Business Bureau. Not ONE complaint! When I recently tried to make one myself, I was told I took too long between the time I was swindled out of my money, until I made the complaint. I took too long because it wasn’t until recently that I realized – I wouldn’t be sued for making the complaint! I blogged this story on MySpace – so I’m going to get dinged by Hubpages again for a repeat – but so be it. This needs to be said – spread the news – please pass this on to ANYONE you know who is looking for a publisher in particular if they found this GREAT publisher who wants to publish their manuscript for a "deposit." And always check with Predators and Editors or “The Writer’s Market” NOT “The Christian Writer’s Market” (the author admitted on a Christian newsletter I belong to she is just one person and can’t check all of her listings. I’m not making that up) – before signing ANY contract.
To my knowledge - they accept anyone who contacts them - this alone should be proof enough that this company is nothing but a scam and a fraud. I know of no exceptions to the legitimate publishing houses having to turn down far, far more manuscripts and queries than they accept. It would seem American Book Publishing has never seen a book they didn't love.
American Book Publishing is still scamming people today. I’ve tried EVERYTHING to get this woman into jail. I’ve called the Salt Lake City Attorney General, our Michigan Attorney General, the F.B.I., local Salt Lake City law enforcement. I’ve implored a local Salt Lake City “do gooder” T.V. personality who actually promised to look into my allegations but I’m up against it. The MOMENT you go local – you tend to run into members of the Mormon Church. As this T.V. personality was. Nunn is a Mormon. They just let it drop. Michigan won't touch it, and the locals won't either. Still Nunn scams unsuspecting authors as I write this.
Name an organization – I’ve tried to have this woman stopped, but have been unsuccessful. She even made up a blurb she has on her website with my “recommendation” to publish with her. It’s maddening. I never wrote it! I have asked her to take it down - she said I had to stop "slandering" her and her company. I refused to stop warning others. This is my only recourse.
For those who take the time to visit this blog and to find out about the scam of American Book Publishing (ABP) and the scam artist who runs it -- C. Lee Nunn, a.k.a. "Nathan Fitzgerel" I thank you for taking the time to visit my Hub. Here is my story, one of many authors who was scammed out of a great deal of money.
So - in the interest of helping those who are very pressed for time, yet want to know the essentials of the ABP scam here is a trimmed down (believe it or not) summary of what happened to me -----
Cheryl Nunn was a certified financial planner in California. She lost her license. http://www.cfp.net/learn/disciplineactions.asp Then she apparently decided she wanted to start her own publishing firm under the name C. Lee Nunn. She at first attempted to "borrow" off the name of the Forbes Publishing until the real Forbes Company filed a lawsuit and made her stop. http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/decisions/html/2000/d2000-1069.html
Eventually she ended up with the name American Book Publishing (ABP) and that's when I came on the scene - getting attention as a new book author (I had been published in newspapers as a reporter, editorial writer, feature columnist and in periodicals. I also had a work published as a compilation in a book at the time, but this was my first attempt at trying to publish a full length book). After my initial query, I heard from C. Lee Nunn herself asking me for a "deposit" of $750.00 that would be returned to me the moment I sold 500 books. I hesitated and began to research ABP because as green an author as I was, that deposit sounded strange. Plus, she had gotten back to me sooo soon after accepting my manuscript for "consideration."
I not only went to the Better Business Bureau's web site, I called them. I Plugged "American Book Publishing" into every search engine I could find and at that time – this was don't forget when Nunn's ABP literally was first conceived back in and around fall of 2000 – I found nothing negative. One woman wrote to me that I wrote to asking about a publisher who would ask for a deposit – and she did warn me. But hers was the lone voice. I was contacted by "authors" who said they had a lovely experience with ABP (probably Nunn herself writing the letters or members of her family – who knows?) If only I had plugged HER NAME into a search engine! When I checked on the authors, I saw their books WERE being sold on Amazon (having no idea at the time ANYONE can sell ANYTHING on Amazon).
I still hesitated though – Oh that I had listened to that one woman AND MY GUT – and expressed my concern in an email to Nunn. She told me to take the plunge. She had even dropped the "deposit" down to $500.00 (now THAT should have been my very first clue right there, eh?) and that her business was new so to give them a try. It was difficult starting out in the publishing business, she wanted me to "take a chance" on her business and they would take a chance on me as a new author. I am sorry to tell you, I went for it. I actually felt like I should help her out because we'd then both gain from the experience!
I was sent many professional looking documents. My contract was good – I had a lawyer look at it and he said it was OK but he expressed that it seemed too general. As long as it seemed legitimate, I was happy with it though and my friend-lawyer said it seemed legitimate.
My contract stated that my book would be published three years from the date of my signing the contract. Three years to the date my editor (who by the way had become a friend and had confessed she wasn't paid - employees of ABP got paid off the SOLD books ONLY of the authors they worked with) bumped me up to the next step which was the "copyediting" department. This copyeditor insisted that I write an addendum to my book to define what "cult" meant (My book chronicles my experience in the religious cult The Way International). I spent May, June, July, and through August of 2003 on this addendum and presented it under the new deadline I was given. And when I say I spent those months writing the addendum, I mean, I treated that like a 9-5 job. Unlike the story I told of my involvement in the cult that definitely required some research – I wrote this addendum as if I was tackling my master's thesis. I worked so hard on it almost seven days a week that entire time.
I came in under the new deadline and then waited. September, October, November, December and January passed and I heard nothing. Finally after much whining from me and almost impossible attempts to reach ANYONE at ABP – the "head" editor promised to see to my book personally. The final product was polished and edited, reedited and ready to go February of 2004. I was told May would be the "launch" date.
In May I spent $3,000.00 – as encouraged by ABP – on copies of my own book (over priced copies I might add but what the heck did I know?) convinced that I could sell every single copy as I already had been given many advance orders and had worked and worked and gave lectures and talks to pre-promote the sale of my book and had established what I felt to be a large number of contacts in the area of PA that I lived in. Not to mention as an Army wife - I had sort of a world-wide network of friends I believed would support me in buying the book as well.
I was informed by ABP that pre-orders were being taken directly – and about 100 or so people did just that while I waited for my $3,000.00 worth of books to arrive at my home.
Suddenly, I received complaints that while friends and relatives ordered the book direct from the publisher – ABP – and their credit card was definitely charged, they didn't receive a copy of my book even though it had been weeks.
Repeated calls and emails went unanswered at ABP.
We had to move from Pennsylvania to Lansing, Michigan and on June 15th 2004 I was in a panic because the advance orders I had taken personally and promised to deliver to those who ordered weren't going to be fulfilled. My $3,000 order STILL hadn't arrived. BUT June 16th, they did. I stood there while the UPS guy took his gurney and made two trips to my door worth of boxes. I opened one box right in front of him with my husband standing by – and pulled out the first copy which I promptly gave to the UPS guy. I was giddy until I REALLY looked at the cover.
Splashed across the cover of the book it said, "Advance copy not meant for resale." This despite the FACT I sent at least three or four emails explaining I was buying these books at "cost" to sell at retail so that I could take those profits and use it for my intense publicity campaign I'd forge once we moved to Michigan. AND APB sent me an “advance” copy with a letter explaining any books I ordered myself would be exactly like the book I received. Instead, to my shock, I had boxes and boxes of my own books I quite literally could not sell. $3,000 worth of books no less!
I still however, could get no information from anyone at ABP, no answers what-so-ever – regarding the unfulfilled book orders friends and family made. But since I had gotten my personal order, I just sent or gave those stiffed, the books that finally arrived. That meant I was taking the loss on those orders of course.
Finally – upon arrival in Michigan, amid a flurry of unpacking and all it takes to move half-way across the country into a new home – it was in mid-July (as I recall), I received a response to my numerous requests for help regarding the unfulfilled orders.
ABP had moved – so sorry – now, how could they help?
A publisher with supposedly many authors, editors etc. who work for them, moves and they tell NO ONE?
I got through to Nunn – finally - she answers in an email CHEWING ME OUT because I was impatitent to receive answers. People ordered the books from ABP, their cards were charged, but they didn't receive a book and I get chewed out for trying to find out why?!
Nunn and I corresponded a few back and forths when she finally spilled the "why" of the unfulfilled book orders. My addendum "slandered" a wonderful and "respected" church (The Mormon Church) and they were in the process of deleting that entire portion of the book and then it would be "ready for publication."
Long story short – I insisted the addendum stay – Nunn – who just so happens to be a Mormon – said it could not – despite the fact she broke the contract by doing ANY edit without my prior approval – she told me – delete it and change my mind about the Mormon Church (I included it in my list of cults and documented meticulously why) or never see publication of my book.
We had at least forty or fifty probably more email back and forths – with me actually giving in and agreeing (finally) to delete that addendum because I would not break the contract. But at that point – because Nunn now knew I was an "anti" (what Mormons call anyone who says negative things about their church especially those who call the LDS Church what it is – a cult), she was digging in her heels. We both knew at this point that the professional relationship had really broken down, but I was still willing to try anyway – at going on. She was not however and told me for $1,000.00 because of "all their trouble" (yeah right – SHE DOESN'T PAY ANYONE WHO WORKS FOR HER what trouble did it cost her??) she would let me out of my contract and oh by the way, I'd never get the rights to my book.
If I DIDN'T agree – she not only intimated that she'd sue – but if I tried to promote the book and say anything publicly against the Mormon Church – she'd seek legal action as well and she warned, I should know the Mormon Church "frowns greatly upon any disparaging remarks" made against them by “vigorously defending” their church against “defamation” by any means possible to include, “legal”. Duh – that's exactly why I included them in the addendum warning people about dangerous religious cults!
It was at that point I got a lawyer. ANOTHER approximate $2,000.00 later, I received a newly signed contract that severed my relationship with ABP, had my rights to the book returned to me, and forced her to fulfill immediately any book orders she had not completed (she had already begun to fulfill the orders that hadn't been mailed out the moment my lawyer sent her the first letter demanding she do so - among other things).
Her correspondence back and forth with my lawyer was filled and I mean PACKED with lies. For example, when my lawyer asked for a portion of the $3,000.00 worth of books I could not sell commercially, she lied and said I KNEW that what they put on the cover would be there when I ordered them.
OH SURE - my ego is SO HUGE that I just wanted boxes and boxes of my own books that I could KEEP sitting in boxes in my BASEMENT so I could just KNOW they were there. Never able to SELL them. Yeah - that makes a whole pile of sense.
Lies like these were very difficult not to respond to. But I resisted because I had a very competent lawyer in Jeff Chip.
Jeff wanted me to sue her BADLY – as he felt I could get serious damages as a result of exposing her scheme – but my husband and I decided not to pursue that route.
The most important thing I did get from hiring a lawyer was that although Nunn insisted we include in the new agreement that I would not be able to say anything against ABP, I was able to get around that morally and legally. Up to this point while I received any and all copies of correspondence between Nunn and my lawyer, I was not to communicate with her at all ever. Once, by mistake in hitting reply I sent what was meant for my lawyer to Nunn which caused a stir – but my attorney was able to get things back on track and I was much more careful when I hit the reply button. I had ENORMOUS difficulty though with the gag order. SO – my attorney worded the "gag order" in such a particular way; Nunn didn't notice that it wasn't a gag order at all. As long as I tell the absolute truth about my experience – I am protected by the constitution of our great nation. I just can not say any UN true things about ABP. Which I have faithfully adhered to. I would swear to anything I’ve written here or anywhere about ABP and Nunn in any court of law – gladly.
Nunn didn't catch the wording – and she signed. So – here I am – telling the absolute truth about C. Lee Nunn and American Book Publishing. STAY AWAY FROM THE CON ARTIST C. LEE NUNN a.k.a. Nathan somebody-or-other and NEVER give them your manuscript and NEVER EVER sign any contract with her or "them."
Most unfortunate authors who have been scammed by them have signed a newer contract (that wasn't around when I initially signed) that prevents them from even discussing ABP publicly. What is essentially – a gag order. I am not hindered by such constraints and am here to warn you BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID OF THE SCAM OF AMERICAN BOOK PUBLISHING.
And I would like to conclude this by saying that due to this incredibly stressful and heartbreaking ordeal - if it had not been for my faith in Jesus Christ, I would have probably lost my mind.
My book is still not published, I still have a basement full of books I can not sell and we're out thousands of dollars. Thank the Lord it didn’t put us at any terrible hard-ship. and yet I write for Him - for the Lord -- still to this day with a full heart (currently writing a the second book in a futuristic novel series I am nearing the conclusion of ). I know all things - even this heartbreaking disappointment - works ultimately for the greater good of God’s glory. I am comforted by that.
If what I have written here can help ONE person avoid the heartbreak I went through – then honestly – it will all have been worth it!
Update January 29, 2010
If someone has ever been turned down by American Book Publishing - please send a private email to firstname.lastname@example.org
I will not reveal your name - I just wish to keep a tally. So far that I know of - the number is ZERO.
UPDATE---This seems to be a photo for Cheryl Nunn - now she's going by her real name for some reason - still using various aliases for American Book Publishing though and still capable of duping people out of thousands. I recently received a private email from a soldier IN IRAQ - who was into her for over $5,000. This woman is despicable! Thanks for comments from readers of this Hub - this appears to be the woman herself!
Update again 2/4/12 -- It would appear that the link previously provided is broken. The woman has probably once again gone into hiding. But sadly, she is still duping many people out of their hard earned money.