So, I saw this tweet today and I read all the replies, and I still don't know why this is such a bad idea. It's money for writing, right? It's a pub cred right? So what if they're shotgunning emails to people, it's not like they're asking me for money, right?
Well, sure, they're not asking you for cash up front, but they ARE asking you for something of value and proposing they not pay for it.
Let's unpack this offer: you send them a pitch for a book. IF they like it and want you to write it, they'll pay you $1350 for all rights. No royalties. No indication of any kind of further participation at all.
If this book sells 1 copy you get $1350.
If this book sells 100,000 copies, you still get $1350.
If the book gets any kind of interest from foreign or audio publishers, you see none of that money.
If the book is optioned for tv or film, you see none of the money.
Their business plan is that you do not share in any success your work might have.
A publisher who wants to develop projects for a new series knows the better way to do it: contact all the agents they work with to see if anyone has a writer interested in this sort of thing. When an agent is involved, we know to ask for things like royalties, and duration of license, and how to protect the intellectual property of writers, EVEN IN WORK FOR HIRE contracts.
By contacting writers from a list (and not contacting agents), they're hoping to find the writers who don't know this is exploitative, and who don't know that not getting royalties is a terrible deal for a writer, and who don't know how to protect themselves.
In other words, they are hoping to make money from your lack of knowledge. I've said it before, I'll say it again: this is morally bankrupt way to conduct business and this company should be ashamed of itself.
Bottom line: Work with people who respect what you create.