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I’d discovered through an upset PA author on messageboards, which I read on occasion, that someone was complaining about PublishAmerica. Discovering Absolute Write Background Check area I spent several hours reading, at time, more than 40 pages of complaints about PublishAmerica. Authors not receiving books in time for booksignings that they set up themselves. Bookstore owners/managers refusing to stock their shelves with unedited PublishAmerica titles. Writers unable to get their books reviewed.
Doing a search on LexisNexis, reputable online legal research system, for all PublishAmerica books receiving newspaper reviews, I saw that from July 2002 to June 2004, only 24 books had been reviewed nationally. Papers in Syracuse NY, Tulsa, OK, Fort Pierce, FL, Wilmington, NC and Lakeland, FL were represented. Only Salt Lake City’s ‘Deseret Morning News’, ‘Tulsa World’, ‘Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’ and suburban paper, ‘Chicago Daily Herald’ were actually major newspapers. Evidently, ‘New York Times’ or ‘Los Angeles Times’ were not reviewing anything by PublishAmerica’s authors. According to PublishAmerica site in Facts and Figures section, “Fact #3: Again, unparalleled among all traditional book publishing companies, each day an average 15 times a PublishAmerica author appears in news media, in newspapers, magazines, radio or TV.” Yet even mathematically challenged folks can determine that by using LexisNexis search statistics, we learn that average is a paltry once a month that a PublishAmerica book gets mentioned in a newspaper somewhere in United States.
Editing – What’s That? Here’s a gem of a post on PublishAmerica message board: “When it came out in book form a month ago, my friends mentioned editing problems in it, so a friend of mine with a masters in education went through it for me. It had close to a thousand editing errors in a 182-page book. So, have some who actually knows what literary content should be in a book, go through your book for you before you send final draft back to PublishAmerica. Because final draft, IS!, how book will be when it comes out.”
I discovered that through misspellings, grammatical errors, and general bad writing that just about anyone was publishable through ‘traditional’ publisher located in Frederick, Maryland. Such postings as: “I too am not best editor LOL! I did get my finished books. And when I met with a lady that is huge in marketing field, she told me that my book at it's length of 132 pages needs to have chapters.” A couple of PublishAmerica authors discussed editing. “I felt like you did when I found errors, but then I realized, hey people read it for story, not looking for mistakes in typo land! LOL Now I just keep on a keepin on!”
Sales Figures Question: I’d really like to know how many copies I’ve sold. Answer: Buy all of books yourself and then count them. No matter how naďve PublishAmerica authors appeared, they will eventually come to realization that PublishAmerica isn’t really a traditional publisher, especially when those twice-yearly royalty checks arrived. Every few months or so PublishAmerica sent them an e-mail extolling their success, bragging about a big name author they’re negotiating with, or, more recently, doing a deal with New York Times. On August 17th, an e-mail bearing proud subject heading ‘Advertising Our Topsellers in New York Times’ appeared in author’s online mailboxes.
PublishAmerica was well named in that they want to publish anyone in North America who has churned out a manuscript, regardless of quality. They claim to have anywhere from 9,000 to 12,000 “happy” authors and they want more and more of them as that obviously means more money for greedy owners, namely Willem Meiner and Larry Clopper.
The PublishAmerica name and logo is seen as a joke to those in media, bookstores and libraries. Books can’t be returned. All PublishAmerica titles lack necessary CIP [Cataloging-in-Publication] data, which is necessary for libraries to order titles, and who wants to read unedited and overpriced tomes other than author’s cronies? Oh yeah, and while PublishAmerica claims that they’re a ‘traditional publisher’ why on earth do they have in their main page keywords list term ‘self publishing’ three times? And in their site’s description, they brag: “PublishAmerica, Inc., a traditional publisher, accepting and publishing manuscripts and books at NO CHARGE to author. Royalties paid to writers, books sold in stores. Manuscript submissions by mail and online"
In beginning of September I received a royalty check. To my surprise, I was not only able to afford to buy a pair of laces for my skates, I shelled out $12 it cost to sharpen my blades. Who knew that this company would provide extra income enabling me to continue participating in my recreational skating hobby? But it cost me more than $160 in author-bought books, $40 for galleys, which were probably plunged into a recycling bin, $87 color business cards, $20 press release -- and countless hours building and rebuilding my website so people would happen across it and buy a book that was only available online--like any other eBook.
PublishAmerica allows myth of being a ‘traditional’ publisher, a term not used before advent of Internet, to fester. The lie is perpetrated in those HTML source codes that search engine spider robots deliver; future authors led to promised realm of publishing, an internet web of woven myths fanning across cyberspace. PublishAmerica resembles most other ePublishing companies promising tales of bestselling books and authors. PublishAmerica is just another scam, just another future dot gone.
If you are a PublishAmerica author, or know of one, who is unhappily published and will tell your story, please contact:
Attn.: Beth Silverman Office of Attorney General Consumer Protection Division 200 Saint Paul Place Baltimore, MD 21202
Read and learn at Lisa's Library of Writing. Discover the diverse writings ranging from bath & body recipes to fiction, figure skating, herbal hints, and helpful publishing advice. This is the literary home of Lisa Maliga, owner of EverythingShea.com. Link to: http://www.lisamaliga.com