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Old 01-09-2006, 07:24 AM   #1
Branwyn
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Arrow The New Never-Ending PublishAmerica Thread (NEPAT)

I've learned so much in the last 5 minutes...I just recieved an email from NY Literary Agency and PA back in Dec. I suppose the addage is true 'if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.'


Thanks for the heads up...
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Old 02-03-2006, 07:31 PM   #2
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Arrow The New Never-Ending PublishAmerica Thread (NEPAT)

Welcome to the NEPAT, Part II.

This thread is for discussing the business practices of PublishAmerica, a so-called "traditional" publisher located in Frederick, Maryland.

Please keep the comments on-topic, truthful, and helpful.
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Old 02-03-2006, 07:39 PM   #3
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Let's start with some useful links:

The Old NEPAT

PublishAmerica Contract Analysis

Condensed: The Reasons We Don't Recommend PublishAmerica

Indexing the Big PublishAmerica Thread

The Washington Post

Associated Press


The Pledge

The NEPAT Overflow

The "49 copies" myth
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Old 02-03-2006, 08:38 PM   #4
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Since I'm the first to post let me open this baby up by showing you people what PA has done in the past year and a half. Feel free to add if I forgot anything.

-Lost a lawsuit with EB for copyright violation.
-Put out a book that is nothing but cut and paste of other peoples articles. (Cancer Boy's book)
-Lost arbitration to Phil Dolan.
-Put out a book with Orlando Bloom on the cover.
-Put out a book with a cover of Wonder Woman on the cover.
-Put out a book that has a cover of the T-Rex from Jurassic Park.
-Filed harassment charges against an author and sent the police to his house.
-Filed a fake fraud charge and sent the police to another authors house.
-Published a racist book.

Am I forgeting anything?
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Old 02-03-2006, 08:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Yarbrough
Since I'm the first to post let me open this baby up by showing you people what PA has done in the past year and a half. Feel free to add if I forgot anything.

-Lost a lawsuit with EB for copyright violation.
-Put out a book that is nothing but cut and paste of other peoples articles.
-Lost arbitration to Phil Dolan.
-Put out a book with Orlando Bloom on the cover.
-Put out a book with a cover of Wonder Woman on the cover.
-Put out a book that has a cover of the T-Rex from Jurassic Park.
-Filed harassment charges against an author and sent the police to his house.
-Filed a fake fraud charge and sent the police to another authors house.
-Published a racist book.

Am I forgeting anything?
Only recently lost arbitration to an unnamed author.

-Nick
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Old 02-03-2006, 08:50 PM   #6
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Also in the last year:

Atlanta Nights

The "returnability" program (with the new, improved 5% discount!)

Willem's book

Other appearances in the mainstream media -- all of them unfavorable

==================

Discussions on other boards:

Writer's Net

Speculations.com

Mindsight
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Old 02-03-2006, 09:13 PM   #7
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I am a PA author who submitted a Mystery/Crime novel manuscript to PA back in the Spring of 2004. While waiting for my book to come out, I spent quite a bit of time on the PublishAmerica message board, associating with others like myself and excitedly preparing for the release of my novel Undeserved Trust.

Upon its release in May 2005, I began to print and distribute bookmarks, I contacted several bookstores to try to set up booksignings, and I vigorously pursued some local newspapers to see if I could get my book reviewed.

To date, I have not been able to convince any book stores to stock my book. I have had several state that they would allow me to place the books on consignment, but that would entail me purchasing the books myself, which I refuse to do.

It took me four months to finally get a newspaper to mention my book. Part of the reason for this was PA's reluctance to even send them a press release, which is something they claim to do for all authors. The book review editor required a notification from the publisher, and this took some six weeks, and a few e-mails from me to PA before he finally got something. I called him once a week to check, and got more and more depressed and angry as the weeks went by with no word from my "publisher".

I have also had friends and family try to order my book from bookstores, only to be told it was "not available". This is also very humiliating, and hard to explain to people. The fact that they have recently reduced the discount they give to bookstores (5% as opposed to their previous 40%), ensures that most bookstores will no longer touch the transaction, or they will lose money every time.

I have come to the conclusion that PA is not interested in pursuing or even facilitating retail sales. Their main objective is to sell books to the authors themselves, which is why they accept virtually any manuscript that comes their way. They even offer a formatting option with no editing whatsoever, which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt they are targeting the author instead of the wider reading public.

They are a vanity press, plain and simple, but they claim to be a traditional publisher. They do this because they want their authors to believe their work is at a level that can compete with all other books. I believe they do this so the authors will feel confident enough in their book to spend hundreds (if not thousands) buying books and promoting them. By the time an author realizes they have wasted time and money, two more aspiring authors have taken their place, to begin the cycle over again.
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Old 02-03-2006, 09:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SC Harrison
my novel Undeserved Trust.
Forgive me for using your title in this way, SC, but undeserved trust is also what many PA authors inadvertently give PA.

-Nick
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Old 02-03-2006, 09:25 PM   #9
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What's the story on the Wonder Woman cover? I seem to have missed that one.
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Old 02-03-2006, 09:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald
Also in the last year:

Atlanta Nights

The "returnability" program (with the new, improved 5% discount!)

Willem's book

Other appearances in the mainstream media -- all of them unfavorable

==================

Discussions on other boards:

Writer's Net

Speculations.com

Mindsight
And just how is ATLANTA NIGHTS (That wonderful sting novel that proved that PA was nothing but a bunch of crooks) doing these days?
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ARD MAGISTER (Yard Dog Press 2002) DRAGON'S TONGUE (Meisha Merlin April 2006) THE HOUNDS OF ARDAGH (Five Star Press October 2006) WANDERING LARK (MM 2007) BAD LANDS (With Selina Rosen Five Star Mystery 2007)

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Old 02-03-2006, 09:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadScientistMatt
What's the story on the Wonder Woman cover? I seem to have missed that one.
It's here: http://www.publishamerica.com/shoppi...asp?search=yes
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Old 02-03-2006, 09:33 PM   #12
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Hello all. Howdy do, and OMG I can't believe I'm on the first page of this thread!!! Take a picture for posterity!

I am not a PA author myself--I was lucky in having Real Published Authors as mentors in high school, and they introduced me to how the industry works. I do know someone whose friend published with PA, and when she told me, I knew enough to wince inwardly but not enough to make the wince worth showing on my face. Since then I have learned much, much more, and am determined never to let a mention of PA go by without treating it as an opportunity to tell the truth about them.

Also, when mentioning That Publisher, it is best to link them thusly:

Publish America

PublishAmerica

This helps keep the Washington Post article right in second place when one searches Google for That Publisher.
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Old 02-03-2006, 09:42 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keltora
And just how is ATLANTA NIGHTS (That wonderful sting novel that proved that PA was nothing but a bunch of crooks) doing these days?
586 sold in 2005, 23 so far in 2006.

Alas that the Indepence Books program is apparently no more! AN would have been a shoo-in for that coveted status.

(For those who came in late, the Independence Books program was a special deal by PublishAmerica a few years ago. If a book sold 500 copies, it would be made returnable! A half-dozen (out of thousands of titles) qualified. Then ... they stopped doing that.)

Valentine's Day is coming up. Give that special someone a copy of Atlanta Nights!
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Old 02-03-2006, 09:59 PM   #14
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I'm an ex-PA author who was printed by PublishAmerica. I spent more than I care to admit on books and promotion. I'm currently seeking to get my rights back, but have not been successful as of yet. I'm a big spender and they are probably hoping I'll be gullible enough to do it again. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN PA!

To all new defectors from PA--welcome. You are in the right place, and are among some good people and wonderful authors giving of their time to help new and experienced authors improve their writing abilities and become better/established in the real publishing world.

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Old 02-03-2006, 10:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald
(For those who came in late, the Independence Books program was a special deal by PublishAmerica a few years ago. If a book sold 500 copies, it would be made returnable! A half-dozen (out of thousands of titles) qualified. Then ... they stopped doing that.)
That seems counterintuitive. If a book had managed to sell 500 copies, it would logically follow that there wouldn't be any reason to make them returnable. It would make better sense to actually offer to promote the book as an incentive. However, since the authors are the ones buying the books here...

I'll have to pass on Atlanta Nights. I lost brain cells reading the PDF.

-Nick
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Old 02-03-2006, 10:18 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janetbellinger
I am a Publish America author and just want to know what's wrong with print on demand publishing, anyway? I mean, what if you don't mind marketing your own work and buying and reselling your own books? I have three booksignings coming up, starting tomorrow, and two of them are at Chapters.I felt no stigma at all when approaching them. They were as welcoming of me as if I were published by a mainstream publisher. And I believe that more people are buying online at places like Amazon.com. And Publish America is a member of the Better Business Bureau. I negotiated my own contract with P A. I did sign on with N Y Literary recently though and am concerned about all the negative posts. They say that they do not negotiate deals with print on demand publishers. I have nothing against print on demand publishers, but you don't need an agent to negotiate for you.And with regards to agents such as New York Literary Agency charging fees, I don't see that it is a sin to charge fees. What is a sin though, is to misrepresent yourself. But on the subject of scams, supposing that NY Literary was a scam, wouldn't it take more work for them to perpetuate the fraud, eg change names frequently, than it would just to be up front about the critiques? I was always prepared to pay for editing, and planned to pay a professional editor before I submitted to a publisher. I know that traditionally agents do not charge fees until they publish you, but on the other hand, it is difficult to find one to represent you unless you've been published. I am willing to pay a one time editing fee, but would not be willing to keep shelling out. So, I would have respect for a literary agency who just came right out and said they charged for critiques, and that they offered editing services. Of course, I would expect a good edit in return. But, whoever wrote the blurb on N Y Literary website has obvious writing talent and if that person would use that talent to edit my work, I would be willing to pay for it. I think that perpetuating a scam must much harder work than running a legitimate business. So why would Robert Fletcher etc. spend so much time and energy in running a scam if that were the case, when all he has to do is offer editiorial services? I don't know, maybe I am a hopeless optimist, but what I really want to say is, Robert Fletcher, you have a gift. Show me how to improve my manuscript and I will pay for the service. Just be up front with me.
Janet
Preserving this before it gets edited again or deleted.

Is this person for real? Surely it must be royalty time at PA.

(wandering off, singing a variation on "The Teddy Bears' Picnic")


Oh, my. That came across as particularly harsh if the poster _is_ for real. Please familiarize yourself with the business of publishing. Try some critique groups, some face-to-face writers' organizations, perhaps a class or two if you can find one nearby. Read the many other discussions on this board. Please.

The agent's job is not to teach you your craft; it is to sell the product of that craft. The agent's income shouldn't come from critiquing, or from referring you to editors; it should come from selling your manuscript to a publisher who will pay money for it, in advances and in royalties. A publisher's job is not to make a product available to an author so the author can do _all_ the work of promoting and selling the book; the publisher's job is to make the book available to the public in such a way that all concerned with the sale make money: the writer, the publisher, the bookstore.

Mo
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Old 02-03-2006, 10:23 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janetbellinger
I am a Publish America author and just want to know what's wrong with print on demand publishing, anyway?
Janet
PA claims to be a "traditional" publisher. They deny being POD/Vanity. They overcharge for their books and give ridiculous short discounts to book stores. Their business model is set up so that YOU the author are scammed into buying your own books.

With a real "traditonal" publisher--that is not the case. I don't mean to be unkind, but I would like to have a report from you on how well you have done, in say, about six months from now.

Good luck, I wish you the very best.
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Old 02-03-2006, 10:26 PM   #18
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Wow!

A New Never-Ending PubliScamErica Thread (I know, my spelling resonates across the fruited plane), and already 14 posts!

For any forum lurkers, you may like to read a few true stories written by people who have had their work published by PubliScamErica: True Stories about PublishAmerica.
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Old 02-03-2006, 10:28 PM   #19
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Dear Janet B.:

I see your book was published in October of 2005. Pray, tell us approximately how much you've spent on publicity, promotion and purchasing your own books and how much you expect your royalty check to be - if/when it arrives in the next month or so.

And how do people react to paying $20 for a 164 page book?
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Old 02-03-2006, 10:28 PM   #20
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Hi, Janet.

You seem to have a lot of questions, so I hope you'll forgive the line-by-line style treatment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by janetbellinger
I am a Publish America author and just want to know what's wrong with print on demand publishing, anyway?
If you want to sell a certain format of low-budget books in low numbers, nothing at all. If you want to sell books to a large number of readers, lots, starting with cost and quality.

Quote:
I mean, what if you don't mind marketing your own work and buying and reselling your own books? I
Then why choose Publish America, which is so much more expensive than Lulu.com or several other options?

Quote:
They were as welcoming of me as if I were published by a mainstream publisher.
So you do recognize that you're not. Good.

Quote:
And I believe that more people are buying online at places like Amazon.com.
People do buy online, but the vast majority of books sell at bookstores.

Quote:
And Publish America is a member of the Better Business Bureau.
Which means they pay a fee. Yay. It has no relationship to their relationships with their writers because that's considered a business-to-business transaction and disagreements between businesses mean nothing to the BBB.

Quote:
And with regards to agents such as New York Literary Agency charging fees, I don't see that it is a sin to charge fees.
The Association of Authors' Representatives finds it unethical. Want to send me money, too? I've sold more books than Robert Fletcher has. Unlike Fletcher, I readily admit that I'm not a literary agent.

Quote:
wouldn't it take more work for them to perpetuate the fraud, eg change names frequently,
I think Fletcher owns a hosting service, which means the cost to him to create new websites is an afternoon's work and a couple of bucks a month. He doesn't have those fictitious names registered, and they're not companies. They're just websites.

Quote:
But, whoever wrote the blurb on N Y Literary website has obvious writing talent and if that person would use that talent to edit my work, I would be willing to pay for it.
You think that's talent? I think it's weak. The very first sentence on the page is nonparallel.

Not to mention all of the lies, like the one about their corporate offices being in New York, attending the major book trade shows, not charging fees, and those ridiculous claims under their "Successes" header.
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Old 02-03-2006, 10:41 PM   #21
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Quoth janetbellinger:

I am a Publish America author and just want to know what's wrong with print on demand publishing, anyway?

Nothing’s wrong with POD per se, but PA tries to convince its authors that it’s not a POD. That’s the problem with PA.

I mean, what if you don't mind marketing your own work and buying and reselling your own books?

More power to you. But you would get a better product and service through the likes of Lulu, etc.

I have three booksignings coming up, starting tomorrow, and two of them are at Chapters.I felt no stigma at all when approaching them. They were as welcoming of me as if I were published by a mainstream publisher.

Good for you. Did you happen to compare your book’s price to comparable work from a mainstream publisher? Prospective buyers will.

And I believe that more people are buying online at places like Amazon.com.

About 8% of book sales are online. But the vast majority of those are by folks looking to buy that particular book. That is, folks don’t browse online for books to buy like they do in bookstores.

And Publish America is a member of the Better Business Bureau.

Meaningless. Companies pay to be listed with the BBB, and only need to acknowledge a complaint for the BBB to consider it “resolved”. Also, PA has changed its listed name at least once to clear the negative record that was beginning to build against it.

I negotiated my own contract with P A.

Ouch.

I did sign on with N Y Literary recently though and am concerned about all the negative posts.

You should be. They are a scam.

They say that they do not negotiate deals with print on demand publishers.

Funny, since they’ve “sold” dozens of people to PA.

I have nothing against print on demand publishers, but you don't need an agent to negotiate for you.

Correct.

And with regards to agents such as New York Literary Agency charging fees, I don't see that it is a sin to charge fees.

The problem is that they are profiting from the fees you pay them, not from selling your book.

What is a sin though, is to misrepresent yourself.

Yes. And both PA and NYLA do.

But on the subject of scams, supposing that NY Literary was a scam, wouldn't it take more work for them to perpetuate the fraud, eg change names frequently, than it would just to be up front about the critiques?

Not at all. Critiquing requires knowledge and skill; collecting fees does not.

I was always prepared to pay for editing, and planned to pay a professional editor before I submitted to a publisher.

Not a good idea. Read the other topics on this board for why.

I know that traditionally agents do not charge fees until they publish you, but on the other hand, it is difficult to find one to represent you unless you've been published.

No, it’s only difficult if you do not have a book they can sell.

I am willing to pay a one time editing fee, but would not be willing to keep shelling out.

You’ve got that going for you, at least.

So, I would have respect for a literary agency who just came right out and said they charged for critiques, and that they offered editing services.

Why? Such services are a blatant conflict of interest with selling your book to a publisher. That is, they needn’t spend time and effort contacting publishers on your behalf when they can just pass you back and forth for editing/critique/illustration fees.

Of course, I would expect a good edit in return.


Which they do not give. See NYLA topic for examples.

But, whoever wrote the blurb on N Y Literary website has obvious writing talent and if that person would use that talent to edit my work, I would be willing to pay for it.

First, it’s not logical to presume the person writing their website content would be their editor. Second, the site is not well-written.

I think that perpetuating a scam must much harder work than running a legitimate business. So why would Robert Fletcher etc. spend so much time and energy in running a scam if that were the case, when all he has to do is offer editiorial services?

You’ve answered your own question. The scam is the editorial "services".

I don't know, maybe I am a hopeless optimist, but what I really want to say is, Robert Fletcher, you have a gift. Show me how to improve my manuscript and I will pay for the service. Just be up front with me.
Janet


Robert Fletcher has a gift for conning people into believing in he can help them get published. He can’t, he won’t, and you would do better to avoid him.
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Old 02-03-2006, 10:58 PM   #22
Tilly
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Welcome Ilovepensandpaper

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilovepensandpaper
I thought PA was a real publisher and they it would have my books in the major bookstores. I thought it would atleast do a little promoting beyond that tacky press release/order form.
I'm so sorry you've had this experience. PA set out to make you believe those things.


Quote:
I am incensed, insulted, irritated, embarrassed, ashamed - you name it. I worked hard on my poetry and wanted it to be published and some con-artist took advantage of that!
It's shameful to deceive people, to insult those who ask legitimate questions and to generally behave the way PA does. You have no reason to feel ashamed. Those who own PA should be very ashamed.


Quote:
I have friends who wanted free copies, and I can't give them copies. Family will probably want some too. People saw my self-made release in the paper - people who knew me from school and all. What am I supposed to say?
While I do want my friends to have a copy of my work, I don't want PA getting any money.
If this happened to a friend of mine, I wouldn't think any the less of them. I doubt your family and friends would either, and you might find they can offer you a lot of support right now. I can understand why you feel embarrassed, PA have put you in a horrible position. I also know that just saying you shouldn't be embarassed doesn't mean you can just switch off an emotion. But you've done nothing wrong.

Quote:
I don't know what to do with my website. Stuff is just overwhelming, and simple stuff is overwhelming when you have a nervous disorder. I feel like the anger is simmering, waiting for a time to explode out.
This situation sucks royally, and for PA: Karma is a you-know-what.
I hope this gets better for you soon. There are legitimate paying markets for poetry, and a great poetry writing board on this forum.
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Old 02-03-2006, 10:59 PM   #23
Roger J Carlson
Moderation in All Things
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LloydBrown
I think Fletcher owns a hosting service, which means the cost to him to create new websites is an afternoon's work and a couple of bucks a month. He doesn't have those fictitious names registered, and they're not companies. They're just websites.
Even if you don't own a hosting service, you can buy webspace at www.webhost4life.com for $4.95 a month. That plus a domain name for $16 at www.buydomains.com. Copy your website to the new space, change a few words on the page -- that's all you need. Hardly any work at all.
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Old 02-03-2006, 11:08 PM   #24
Christine N.
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They also printed that mostly plagerized Cancer book.
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Old 02-03-2006, 11:13 PM   #25
Jean Marie
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Welcome Ilovepensandpaper

I'd like to tell you to take heart. As an ex-PA'er, I know it's difficult at best, but hang in there. There are quite a few of us here. And many more who aren't but understand.

Please, above all, do not quit writing and never hang your head in shame. If you do either of these, PA wins. Don't allow that to happen. Instead, continue to post here and allow us to help you through it.
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