Bloggers Beware: VSP Publishing

My fellow bloggers,

I would like to say a word on VSP PUBLISHING.

A little more than a year ago, I joined the book tour on The Seduction Expert, whose publisher is VSP Publishing, organized by Book Unleashed. In good faith, I helped promote the book.

Recently, I received an email from Book Unleashed, nicely asking me to take down the previous post that I did on the book, because the publisher wanted to release a new edition of the book. Which I did. I appreciate the email and would gladly remove any post I had done, whether on my blog or those cross-posted to Twitter.

At that time, though, I didn’t remember to delete the cross-tweet that I did.

So today, I received a DMCA notice from Twitter issued by the publisher, that they had removed the concerned tweets. Okay, fine. However, get this–the publisher reported, and I quote, “Description of infringement: This user do not have the right to use our picture without our permission.

What!

There are no words. Truly. I have been rendered speechless.

I am angry and upset. I had done nothing wrong! Who complains to Twitter or Facebook without first emailing a blogger, when they (the publisher and author) are the ones who wanted us to promote their book on our social media platforms in the first place? And what kind of author or publisher reported such false and patently untrue statement when the material came from them, and when they contracted a book tour, they’re implicitly giving permission for bloggers to use the materials, which includes the book cover??

Here is a pic of the email that Twitter sent me, which includes the above untrue statement. Oh, and they also targeted other blogs, and my link is toward the bottom, so there are 2 pics. Click on the pic to enlarge:

 

And this part encircled below just disgusts me:

Not authorized?? Let me tell you, VSP Publishing, when you contract a tour organizer for a book tour and you give them all your book materials, like the book cover, summary, buy link etc, you are giving them permission (read: authorization) to use said materials to promote your book! What you said above is a total lie, and Twitter should sue you for misrepresentation.

Here are my thoughts:

1.) I appreciate what Book Unleashed did. They were professional about the entire matter. All authors and publishers should try writing the blogger a nice email first before sending her threatening letters of takedown and involving FB and Twitter. Oh, and giving her ample time to take down said posts and tweets. We’re not robots. We’re humans and blogging is but one part of our lives. We need time to comb through everything, especially if it’s been more than a year since the post concerned was posted.

2.) I will never ever promote a book by VSP Publishing again. Once bitten, twice shy and all that. Plus, I don’t want to work with anyone so unprofessional as what they’d done to me and other bloggers.

At the bottom of the email I received from Twitter (before the portion detailing the DMCA filed by VSP Publishing), it says: “Please note that repeat violations of this policy may result in suspension of your account. In order to avoid this, do not post additional material in violation of our Copyright Policy and immediately remove any material from your account for which you are not authorized to post.”

Now, why would I promote this publisher’s book again and invite trouble for the future?

RECOMMENDATION:

So my fellow bloggers, promote VSP Publishing’s books at your own risk! You have been warned.

***NOTE: The opinions and emotions on this post are my own. Please do not disturb other people if you have complaints about this post.

46 thoughts on “Bloggers Beware: VSP Publishing

  1. Ugh, they are just horrible! I was in the hospital for a week and then ended sick with strep throat on top of it and they threatened to report my blog to google and take legal action because I hadn’t responded to their first email. I did take the post down and informed them and Hannah of the removal but NO they continued to harass me. So, I wrote to them informing them that first and foremost I had medical documentation stating my whereabouts at the time of their first email and also that they must BY LAW give a 30-day notice of any “supposed” copyright violations. Which they did not, their first email to me came on August 10 and their legal threat came on August 17. That is definitely not a 30-day notice. Then get this, just yesterday they wrote saying I could leave my post up. Oh, heck, NO I don’t trust them, I have removed their post from ALL of my accounts and have informed them that if they continue to harass me that they will be hearing from my lawyer. They are just horrible!

    So sorry you went through this, if I were you, I’d write into Twitter and explain everything. This company just can’t go shutting people’s accounts down, especially when not one of us has been in copyright violation. They definitely shot themselves in the foot for NO blogger or author for that matter is going to work with them. I know I won’t ever be affiliated with them in any capacity. Thanks for sharing your story, I’m going to share this all across social media to help others beware of this crooked company!

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    • Hi Janet, thanks for your comment and apologies for posting it just now. I’m not sure why it went to spam. Your voice deserves to be heard.

      In any case, I’m also sorry for what you’d gone through. I’ll check into Twitter, but my account wasn’t shut down. Just the concerned tweet was withheld, but I went ahead to remove it anyway, since I don’t want any more troubles on that front.

      Like

  2. Several tour companies and numerous bloggers have been dealing with VSP’s arrogance and drama. They pay for a tour or other promotion then change details about the book and now they are hitting everyone that promoted the first version of the book with copyright infringement notices which is complete crap. They PAID for the promotions, now they want to hurt the very people that helped them promote the book. Wow. Just Wow.

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    • Yes, exactly that! I think that’s why everyone is so pissed. We know copyright is a big deal in publishing, and accusing everyone of copyright infringement means the bloggers and tour companies are stealing from the author/publisher, which is not right. We did NOT steal anything.

      Like

  3. Dear Blogger,

    We accuse reception of your indignation.

    It seems necessary today to express ourselves concerning the different removal requests our company sent.

    The Seduction Expert by La Baronne has never been officially published. We presented it as a sample in order to measure the readers’ enthusiasm, which was not up to our expectations.

    We decided not to publish it, and we requested another author, Saya Lopez Ortega, to write the fictional version. It will be, officially, published.

    We have kept the book cover because it is beautiful, and we changed the author name on it.

    The contract that engages us with our author, Saya Lopez Ortega, mentions the respect of her work and her copyright. We are legally required to remove from the web all the confusion resulting from the work of La Baronne author, which, again, has never been officially published.

    Today, anyone attributing the writing of the book « The Seduction Expert » to La Baronne, is legally in breach, including our company. This is the reason why we contacted you for the removal of the links posted.

    We did it, kindly, without animosity. But we had received no answer, or few.

    After a few weeks without results, we were required to invoke the official reason for this request, namely an infringement of the copyright of Saya Lopez Ortega author.

    The situation is very special and subtle. But, it was never created in order to offend you.

    We are not indifferent to the wonderful work you made for these blogs tours, and, we do understand the frustration and the inconvenience we caused.

    It wasn’t intentional and our team sincerely apologizes.

    We hopes to have clarified some points, do not hesitate for further more information.

    Of course our team remains at your disposal.

    Yours sincerely,

    VSP Publishing Team

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    • Thank you for your comment. However, I do have to clarify that I never received an email directly from you. If the reason is because you can’t find my email address, you could’ve commented on my blog post and I would’ve received your request. You could’ve sent me a tweet using my handle asking me to remove the tweet, and I would have seen it and remove the blog post and tweet. There was no need to go to Twitter and file a complaint, because in the first place, I did nothing wrong.

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    • Just because you changed the contract, doesn’t mean the people that did you a favour should drop in their track, write a 500 word reply and delete everything the second they get your email. From what I have heard from all the bloggers, the time between the initial email and the legal threatening and complaints to Twitter was just a week. Give people time. The people you contacted are human. People get sick, aren’t answering work mail, are on holiday or simply don’t have time, but your contract brought them in legal jeopardy without them even knowing about it happening until it’s done and they are already in the wrong.

      The fact that they are currently legally in the wrong is because YOU changed a contract without informing anyone involved in the old version prior to doing so. Plus, if everything connected to the old version is copyright infringement and confusing, why keep the cover? It will make it more confusing really and people who saw the initial reviews will just assume it’s the final version of the old version.

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      • As a blogger, I have to stand up for my fellow bloggers. We do this all for free. The service you paid for just pays the host, not the bloggers. A little more respect for the hard work and humanity of the people doing you a favour goes a long way. Communicate with them better in cases like these and be a little more patient. We aren’t robots and we blog and review from our own good will.

        Liked by 2 people

    • I’m sorry, but this letter has me laughing so hard. Was it generated by a bot? Was it written by a Victorian zombie who just emerged from a cave after a hundred year exile? Did they put a bunch of fancy sounding words in a hat and then pull them out in random order?

      “We accuse reception of your indignation”????

      “The situation is very special and subtle”

      “But we had received no answer, or few.”

      Um…. I’m thinking that people in the business of publishing books should be a little bit more acquainted with how words work. 🙂

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  4. Ashia, yes to all of the above!
    In June I received a DMCA notice from Google for the removal of my blog post. On August 22nd I received another DMCA notice from Twitter for the same. On August 21st, not 24 hours before my tweet was removed, I found the an email from VSP Publishing in my SPAM folder requesting that I remove my tweet and that “We (VSP Publishing) do not want to submit copyright complaint to Twitter, it may affect your account.”
    Gee thanks. I responded stating the fact that they had in fact already reported me for this post, and to please remove my blog from any future promotions. Their response was that; “This is not about you. Today, in 2019, no one has the right to use the picture of The Seduction Expert by La Baronne. Nothing related to you, personally. ”
    Disregarding their confusion about the current year, when you are reporting something of mine, something that you asked of me, it is personal. As to VSP’s statement above; “The Seduction Expert by La Baronne has never been officially published..” There were buy links for the book. There was a giveaway for an actual copy of this book that a winner received. I’m confused as to how that is not a published title? This entire issue is absolute rubbish and I will definitely not work with anything that VSP Publishing is related to again.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m in the same boat as you are. I hosted a book tour for them – worst decision ever. They have threatened me, all the bloggers who participated, they got Twitter to send me a notice for my posts on Twitter about the tour, even after I’d removed the posts from my websites. For one of my bloggers, they went so far as to have their entire account from weebly.com BANNED. Their e’ntire account. All their posts, just gone. God, if I’d only known.

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    • That’s so terrible! My heart goes out to them. I know how hard it is to build up a blog, and all that time invested.

      I hope that doesn’t happen to me in WordPress

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  6. They send us the email asking us to remove it, without any further explanation other than they change the cover and author’s name. But that was it. I also forgot to delete it. then I got and email a few days later where they threaten us to sue us. I was like seriously? I do this for fun, I do not get pay for it, I posted their book on my own time and blog for free to help them spread the word of this book and they do this?
    I deleted it and I sent an email explaining that I forgot to do it, and everything is fine now.

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    • It’s sad that somewhere along the lines, they obviously made a mistake on their part as publishers to have to pull a book, and now the bloggers that they asked to help promote it are being punished. They are going to far… Like you said, we don’t get paid to do this. We do it for the love of reading.

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      • I am signing up to host book tours, and in their comment section I am making very clear that we will not host any author published by VSP Publishing.
        And we ( my friend and I) might have to come up with some disclaimer on my blog to protect us against something like this. I guess this is a lesson.

        Liked by 1 person

      • A disclaimer is a good idea, Mariela! I think we all need to put something like that. I hope you don’t mind if I borrow it. 🙂

        Like

  7. We had a similar situation. VSP Publishing emailed me, and the grammar was so poor in it and on their website, I honestly thought it was a scam and just ignored it. It wasn’t even a post that I made, but a post my friend who runs the blog with me had posted, so I didn’t feel like it was my place to do anything. A day or two later, I got a nasty email threatening to sue me and get our blog removed from Google search listings. Bad move. I don’t respond well to being threatened, so I emailed back that I wasn’t doing anything and they could do what they wanted to. Their responses to that were childish and unprofessional (though, I admittedly did not give them a lot of room for professionalism). They kept calling me crazy and continued to threaten me. If it were up to me, I would not have removed their post. Clearly, I have a tendency toward belligerence. But my blog mate wanted to remove the post and get rid of the hassle, and so she did. Then the blog that ran the tour emailed my blog mate with an explanation (I am guessing that VSP contacted her when I was less than amenable to their plight). If they had started with that emailed explanation, and followed up with a polite “Hey, we noticed that your twitter/blog post was still up”, I have a feeling they would have saved themselves a giant headache and not lost the respect of a lot of the blogging community.

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    • Totally agree! I for one don’t mind removing posts, if I were asked nicely. I don’t even need a reason. I can even accept bad grammar. Instead, the DMCA notice in my inbox from Twitter one morning was a rude and upsetting surprise.

      Like

      • It just seemed really sketchy to me! I didn’t even want to click on the link in the email, cause it just didn’t seem like a message that a professional company would send out. So I erred on the side of caution and ignored it. It went from 0 to 60 real quick! I’ve never been asked to remove anything from our blog before, I didn’t even know that was a thing that could happen. And the more I read about how they have treated other bloggers, the angrier I get with them.

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  8. I’m anything but surprised. I was commissioned to work on this “novel” (not even sure I’d call it that, but that’s an individual appreciation), and have been repeatedly insulted by the “editor” in charge. Last one was to call me a “stupid bitch” (when I was on vacation and couldn’t send my invoice right way, swell), after a full list of such qualifications, during weeks. Luckily, I don’t have to ever talk to them anymore !

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    • I got here after reading this awfully written “novel” and wondering how the hell was this even sent out as an ARC when it rather reads as a poorly done draft. Well, that editor in charge should definitely change jobs after going to eff the eff off for treating you so badly (I hope Karma pays this person back).

      Regarding the conversation, wow. Just WOW. I thought the whole thing surrounding this supposedly *most anticipated 2019 romance novel* was fishy and dodgy but now it has just escalated to nightmare status. I am so sorry to hear fellow bloggers had to go through all this.

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  9. “It wasn’t over! It still isn’t over!” 😱

    I guess they have burned all their bridges in the book blogger community, because I just got a PM from them this morning on Goodreads (signed “Jennifer”; although the wording was slightly awkward, the message was too short to accurately ascertain if the writer was an ESL speaker or not, so I couldn’t say if it was one of those pleasant folks y’all had to deal with, or someone new). My book blog is not even up and running yet, but I am a respected reviewer on Goodreads with friendly relationships with a handful of authors and publishers.

    They asked if I would like an electronic copy of – you guessed it! – The Seduction Expert, in exchange for my honest review. Now, I’d like to think I was carefully selected for my outstanding writing and reviewing skills, but yeaaaah, no – I’m sure what’s actually going on is that they are just casting a very, very wide net, since, with the exception of one or two random books sprinkled in each year, I don’t review romance, or even very often read within the genre! I don’t know if this indicates laziness or desperation in their part, but it was weird enough to do some research (obviously I’d never heard of them), and voilà: I found this post.

    I am so sorry you (including all the folks in the comments!) had to go through such an ordeal with them. But thank you for sharing your experience; if Googling VSP had turned up clean, I might have taken them up on their offer just to try something outside my normal wheelhouse. You saved me! (They probably would have regretted asking me anyway, as I’m a tough reviewer! Ha!)

    https://www.goodreads.com/shellimeyers

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  10. Just a quick note to a) thank this blog’s owner for their post, and all the bloggers commenting here about their experience of VSP; and b) letting everybody know The Seduction Expert and VSP are back (NetGalley).

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  11. Hi Ashia,

    I did some digging after receiving a request to review this book. Hope you don’t mind but I’ve linked to this post in my review. You can read it on Goodreads. 🙂

    Like

  12. Pingback: Let’s Talk: What’s the Deal with VSP? – Sometimes Leelynn Reads

  13. Oh my gosh this is outrageous! Definitely one that I will be avoiding in the future as well – why would I bother if this is your experience? I hope they realise how much they are shooting themselves in the foot by isolating bloggers like this. And trying to find tweets from a year ago? I can’t believe it was only one you missed, I’d miss most! Thank you for sharing this, and I’m so sorry this was your experience!

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    • While the experience was certainly something I don’t want to repeat, I’m glad I was able to help fellow bloggers with my post 🙂

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  14. I was asked on Goodreads to review the “new” version. When they emailed a copy to review they stated that they don’t want anything less than a 3 star review posted because promotion costs money and they don’t want bad reviews when they send you a copy of the book. I declined after reading a tiny portion and knowing it was not 3 stars or more. I will never review for them now.

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  15. Wow. They are unbelievable! This is not the first post I have read about this publishing company being absolutely, undeniably rude to the bloggers that they have promoting their books. I won’t work with them after reading all of these comments. Yes I read all of them 😀

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  16. Pingback: Caffeinated Reviewer | Sunday Post #378 Heat Wave

  17. WOW! Just WOW! How horrible for you because I’m sure Twitter doesn’t give you any way to prove otherwise (I actually think an email with the promotional material provided would prove your innocence.) Thank you for sharing and I will watch out for VSP Publishing!!

    Like

  18. Pingback: ARC Review: The Seduction Expert – Cait Is Booked

  19. Has anyone notified Netgalley of this unethical and reprehensible behavior? It seems to me NG would like to know.

    And of course, many of us on Goodreads have had a field day with this “Book” in the last two or three weeks, as well as helping clear out the fake Listopia votes and fake reviews. Bushels of new, scathing one-star reviews.

    I feel better now…

    Like

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