Warning for writers: No Starch Press treats its writers badly

Back to the home page

No Starch Press doesn't treat its writers well.... I've written an entire book for No Starch Press (San Francisco, USA), without getting any financial compensation at all. Sadly, I've found this company to be untrustworthy and unreliable to write for.

I advise potential writers to seek another publisher. This publisher doesn't treat its writers decently.

The gory details

Want to read the long story with all the gory details? This is what happened to me (read and shudder):

1. May 2016: the director of No Starch Press sent me an email asking me if I wanted to write for them. I agreed and upon his request, I wrote a book outline with a provisional table of contents.

But... Three weeks later he notified me that he had changed his mind and didn't want to continue with the book, as he was afraid it wouldn't sell enough copies.

2. November 2017: the same director approached me again, with the request to write the 2016 book after all. I agreed to that again, and we signed an agreement. So in the course of six months I submitted a complete book to them in accordance with the agreed outline. I wrote this in cooperation with several editors of his staff. Both the editors and I were satisfied with the result.

But…. In June 2018, the director suddenly informed me that he wanted a different kind of book, with a lot of different content. This technically constituted a breach of our contract. I expressed my disappointment but I agreed to write that whole new book anyway.

3. I finished this second book by the end of July, even before the original agreed deadline of the first book. Then I processed it with the No Starch editors, from the first chapter to the last. This was finished in time, in October 2018; both the editors and I were satisfied with the result.

But... By the end of October 2018, the director all of a sudden told me that he was afraid that the book wouldn't sell because it would reach the market too late after all, and that he would prefer to call it off for that single reason. I replied that I disagreed with that, and that I would want a financial compensation for my efforts in case of a cancellation.

Then, completely out of the blue, the director dropped a bombshell: he suddenly claimed that the book was "far below the required quality" and gave me an impossible 30 days to rewrite it entirely. After which he terminated our contract without any financial compensation.

That's what you're in for with this highly unprofessional company, folks. You put in a lot of effort writing a book, jump through every hoop they tell you to, and in the end you may well be rewarded with exactly nothing at all….

Back to the home page