Egyptian Fe-mail (Marwa Rakha) listed the signs of publisher-author abuse:
If your publisher
1) Makes you pay money to get published (cheap blackmail)
2) Does not consult you when changes are made to your original text
3) Does not consult you when choosing your book cover
4) Does not pick up the phone
5) Does not deliver the book on time
6) Does not distribute your book in the bookstores he promised
7) Does not market you or your book
8) Does not show up with copies on your book signing event
9) Does not send copies to the media
10) Corners you into a 5, 7, 10 year contract
Then he does not know what being a publisher means and you are abused
Taking a stance against abusive publishers, Marwa Rakha made her book, The Poison Tree – planted & grown in Egypt, available online for free download. Then she launched a free publishing service on her website:
Marwa Rakha's Free Publishing Service – Who Needs Publishers When He Has Friends
Yes … send me a PDF file of your book and I will publish it here, promote it on my blog, and send it to my official Facebook group.
In solidarity with their fellow writer, many Egyptian authors sent Marwa their books for online publishing. Mohamed Sami ElBohy (2 books), Bassam El Boghdady's Arabic translation of Richard Dawkins THE GOD DELUSION, Usama El Shazly, Mostafa Hussein, Mohamed Al Arafy (2 books), Ahmed Ramadan, Nashwa Nagy, Tarek Hassan Refaat (2 books), Ayman Shawky (2 books), and Ibrahim El Mahallawy. Two British authors joined the campaign as well;Alex Jenson and Lynda Renham. Jasmine Madkour, Zeina Medhat (2 books), Adel Shaaban,Mostafa Mohamed, Mohamed Farouk, and Rehab El Melehy who turned their blogs into books and published them online as well.
While many bloggers linked to the initiative on their blogs, Zeinobia shared her experiencewith the publishing "hell" in Egypt:
Now I am not surprised at what Marwa suffered or is suffering with her publisher at all , this is a normal thing in Egypt , publishing is just a printing for profit job in Egypt nowadays. It seems that most of the publishers are vampires in Egypt and this I am saying from a personal experience.
Without mentioning names after the death of my late grandfather I found out his last book on which he was working and I used to help him in was published without our knowledge , I found out by coincidence online !!
On the WHO NEEDS PUBLISHERS WHEN HE HAS FRIENDS initiative, Marwa wrote:
The relationship between a writer and a publisher in Egypt has turned into a textbook definition of abusive relationships! I am not out to attack paperback books … I am not undermining their importance … I am just trying to put an end to this farce-in-disguise. When we feel desperate and option-less we compromise. I decided to set an example of "the other options" that writers are not aware of …. who the hell needs a useless publisher who serves as nothing but a lousy print shop when another door opens … I am paving the way hoping that more people will follow. Publishers have no business if writers say NO but writers are scared … just like an abused woman!