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Old 03-13-2009, 04:22 AM   #10101
Don Davidson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merrihiatt View Post
(bolding, underlining and font color change mine)



Am I the only one who finds this incredibly revolting? Wouldn't it be good practice, as a publisher, to put similar genre ads in the back of a book. Further, wouldn't it be wise to include ads in the back of a book in all published books as a way of marketing other authors?

Repeat after me:
PA is not a publisher, they are a printer.
PA is not a publisher, they are a printer.
PA is not a publisher, they are a printer.
Obviously, advertising other books for sale in the back of another book, for free, would be a great marketing strategy for a publisher, IF the publisher's business model is to sell books to the general public. I'm reminded of Amazon's marketing strategy of suggesting other products you might want to buy when you return to their web site. But PA's business model is to fleece their own authors for as much and as long as possible, so making authors pay for such advertising fits PA's business model perfectly. And as others have pointed out, advertising in this way with PA is likely to be largely, if not totally, ineffective, because (1) your book will be advertised in books that have nothing in common with your book, and (2) most of the books you are advertising in will be in a box in someone's garage anyway.
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Old 03-13-2009, 05:06 AM   #10102
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In a long history of unprofessional behavior, this takes the biscuit for this week.

Dear PA Lurkers,


REAL publishers do not charge their authors to advertise in books by their other authors.

This is another ploy by the stooges to get you to send them money.

They don't even charge a set fee for an advert like any other sane company, but invite you to BID on it. That is absolutely disgusting. How are you to know if you've won?

Suppose you bid 100.00 and another person bids 99.99?

What do you want to bet PA tells BOTH of you that you've "won" the auction.

What do you want to bet PA tells 100s of bidders that they have won?

You'll only have their word for it. There's no way you can check unless you buy a copy each of the 10,000 books they claim they're going to print.


Remember they only ever print one or two copies of any given title at a time--IF THAT MANY. It's not going to be 10K of the same title as you might get with a REAL publisher.

They take money from all the bidders and put an ad--and I would NOT trust them to do that--into a book you may never see unless you want to shell out 30.00 to buy it.

I note they say send in the title of your book. This tells me they may do nothing more than list the title and maybe your name on a back page. A random title and an author's name just hanging there without anything else is NOT an ad.

Suppose they put an ad for an erotica into the back of a children's story? They've done this sort of thing before. The writers have indeed complained, but info-monster Miranda is quick to delete those from the PAMB.


And WHO will even see your ad?


The family and friends of the other writer, not the general public browsing in a bookstore.

PLEASE, be smart and DON'T fall for this. Don't make bids, don't trust them, don't give them more money than you already have.

THEY ARE A VANITY PRESS. The moment you buy a copy of your own book from them makes this true.

Think I'm lying? ASK them to put up a list of auction bids with names as it is happening. QUESTION them about why they don't just charge a flat fee--or no fee at all like other publishers.

POST that on the PAMB.

Then see how long it takes to be deleted and YOU banned from the board.

Last edited by Gillhoughly; 03-13-2009 at 05:15 AM.
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Old 03-13-2009, 05:50 AM   #10103
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Blatant trolling for cash. Ridiculous.

And if you complain, PA will tell you the practice is 'as old as publishing'. That's a half-truth. Yes, advertising the publisher's other works IS an old practice. BUT they are usually genre-compatible ads in the back of your book, and they DON'T charge the author for it. They do it for free, and why? Wait, you're really gonna laugh at this one - because they want to sell book! To people you don't know!
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Old 03-13-2009, 06:35 AM   #10104
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Old 03-15-2009, 04:27 AM   #10105
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We can take this as a positive sign that the uncensored posts here on AW are indeed having an impact on PA, though they are their own worst enemy.

They've priced their books too high for even the most starry-eyed customer to buy copies, so now they're hoping to take in the ones still in the honeymoon stage and convinced they're one sale away from Spielberg contacting them for a movie deal.

Please note that, PA lurkers-- to them you are a CUSTOMER. They just happen to call you a Published Author 'cause they know how cool that sounds.

You are nothing more than a wallet to this bunch.

When in doubt, crunch the numbers.

However much you spend in promotion for your book you will NEVER make it back again.

Don't believe me?

Try this Consumer Reports story. Yeah, it dates from 2005--but PA hasn't changed the way they do business. That story could have been written yesterday:

"(Philip) Dolan spent $7,000 of his own money to promote his novel while waiting for confirmation that the book had hit the printers, he said.

He waited for months through repeated claims from the publisher that the book was available, only to find that it wasn't, because of apparent printing problems. He found this odd, given that PublishAmerica uses digital printing technology to ensure books do not go out of print.

"PublishAmerica will not reimburse me for my advertising expenses nor terminate the contract," said Dolan. His book, when he finally received a copy, was "riddled with errors," he said.

"I'm out $13,000 for advertising a book that could not be purchased because of their breach of the contract. I'm unable to seek a new publisher to print and sell my book," he said.

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Old 03-15-2009, 11:59 PM   #10106
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[FONT='Georgia','serif']Greetings!
A friend told me I was taking up considerable space here so I checked it out for myself. Seems fine, although I am neither an advocate for or against any publisher. but in the future Iíd be most appreciative if youíd use my name rather than "The Pipe." After all, isnít that beneficial even if a post, story, or whatever is somewhat derogatory? Canít think of a single professional writer, and I know a great many, who tries to remain anonymous. However, one comment attributed to me was the work of another person.
[/FONT]

[FONT='Georgia','serif']The purpose of this post is twofold. First, someone who prefers anonymity questions actions regarding my age. True, I am 83. Quite active, though. A few years back, while somewhat shackled by the aftereffects of a heart attack coupled with a nasty and chronic affliction known as ulcerative colitis, I stumbled back to the computer determined to make up for an absence of roughly two years. Among other projects waiting for attention was a five-part family history written a decade earlier solely for the few relatives still breathing. I was interested in having a neater copy of a segment concerning my somewhat less-than-pleasant experiences as an infantry rifleman in the invasion of Normandy. I had no interest whatsoever in getting back into the mainstream other than marketing a few short mysteries to high-paying magazines. In searching around I discovered I could obtain not one but two neatly-prepared copies of this gray-haired segment from an outfit called PublishAmerica. It could be done in a surprisingly short period of time. All things considered, time was of the essence. I had read many less-than-flattering comments about this publisher but they were of no interest to me. If that excuse is not satisfactory to some people, I apologize for the heart attack.
It turned out to be a somewhat amazing experience. With not one iota of interest in anything more than obtaining that one neat copy, you can imagine how dumbfounded I was when people began buying the finished product. I have never bought a single copy of the book, not even one, yet other people have. It now can be found in the library of the United States Military Academy at West Point, at the General George C. Marshall Foundation, in the archives of the 4th Infantry Division (just back from its third tour in Iraq) and in a number of university and public libraries. It also led to two appearances on a History Channel series. In addition I have been sent royalty checks equaling or surpassing, depending upon word count, the amount paid for a short story sold to a major market. All this because I wanted one neat-looking copy.
I have spent money, though. There was the cost of paper and ink to print the manuscript as well as an envelope and stamps to mail it. Everything beyond that has been gravy.
I can hear the comments now: Why didnít you send it to a major market when you had already been published by several and were acquainted with so many people in the business? The answer is simple, I didnít want to because of the reasons cited above. I wanted one copy, that was all. The second copy, by the way, was confiscated by my wife.
For a while I did attempt to assist newcomers with concrete advice on the publisherís message board. Covering the same ground again and again eventually grew boring. When weary, which happens more frequently these days, I do enjoy posting on another message board as well as several conducted by professional writers of mystery stories.
So I have no beef with the publisher, although some of its methods, particularly pricing, could be improved upon. That is hardly my concern. If I did harbor any ill feelings I would do what most writers I know would do, chalk it up to experience, forget it and move on to other writing. I cannot imagine making a career out of blasting said publisher. Doing so is tantamount to banging your head against a brick wall. Should senility creep in and alter my thought processes so I indeed would spend time that way, I would sign my name to every comment. Anonymous comments, wherever found, are meaningless.
I should mention that a highly-regarded mystery writer who has had many short stories as well as books published by major trade publishers in the past has within the past 30 days had his latest book published by PublishAmerica. His previous one was published by the respected mainline firm of Charles Scribner's Sons. The switching of publishers was owing to the increasing changes in publishing and the difficulty faced by even long-established writers in placing manuscripts today.
Mentioning this does not in any way mean I am an advocate of or for said publisher. It merely is something of interest in the changing world of publishing.
It should be of little interest to anyone , although it appears to be to some folks here, so let me say that most of my working life has been spent as a newspaper reporter, bureau chief, award-winning daily columnist and writer of a weekly travel column that ran in 25 newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune. The large papers I worked for in the distant past include the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Akron Beacon Journal. I much preferred a medium-size paper where, in addition to covering a beat, a reporter was allowed to do a variety of other jobs. Among them for me was covering Cincinnati Reds baseball in the 1970s as well as one of my great loves, high school sports. Since spending two years as a Pinkerton detective half a century ago, every cent I have earned has come from writing. Starting in 1979 I have been fortunate enough to have had many mystery short stories and novellas published in major markets.
One person questions a comment I once made concerning some agents not wanting members of their stable writing blogs as this is not a moneymaker for the agent. This did not originate with me but from a column in a Mystery Writers of America monthly publication. One of those commenting was a New York agent I worked with in the past. I enjoy blogging myself and have written about 400.
I have one suggestion, if I may. While I realize that much of what is posted here qualifies as socializing, since this and associated threads are seriously devoted to blasting a business firm it seems levity is out of place. I enjoy levity, but clever one-liners and standing jokes regarding eating habits appear more appropriate elsewhere. In addition, some of the more vitriolic posts could use a bit of monitoring or editing so they avoid treading on dangerous ground. All posts supposedly blast only the publisher, not its writers. After reading some, you could have fooled me. This is surprising as some of those who post here have had books published by the targeted firm. Isn't that being a little rough on your own people?
Well, thatís it. Hope Iíve covered everything. My next short story to be published will be in the June issue of Alfred Hitchcockís Mystery Magazine, should anyone be interested. Itís part of a series that has been running since 1988. If anyone here writes that sort of story, AHMM and its sister publication, Ellery Queen MM, are markets that pay very well. As difficult to crack as having a book published by a mainline firm, of course, because each magazine receives thousands of submissions a year and is now buying fewer than a hundred. Being published in either, or in a select list of major publishers, but not small presses, qualifies a writer for active membership in Mystery Writers of America. This offers many benefits to a writer.
I have no interest in a back-and-forth exchange so I wonít return again unless I can be of assistance or clarify a point, but please feel free to let the derogatory comments flow at will. Having been cussed at, shot at, bombed and shelled as well as floored by an inconsiderate enemy soldier, my skin is coarse and thick. I would appreciate it if you would limit your own comments to comments I have actually made. In addition, please always use my name. Isnít that what the promoting end of the business is all about?
Best regards and good luck,
Dick Stodghill
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Old 03-16-2009, 12:10 AM   #10107
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With all due respect-because you are much, much, older then me-if you only wanted a single copy, why not just publish with Lulu? And if you didn't know how to format or just didn't want to deal with the hassle, why not get someone like a family member to do it for you?

That seems like a better deal to me then letting someone have my book for seven years and then still selling it once our contract has been terminated.
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Old 03-16-2009, 12:22 AM   #10108
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Well said Dick.
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Old 03-16-2009, 12:30 AM   #10109
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Greetings from a fellow mystery writer and welcome to AW, Dick.

Thanks for correcting some of the misinformation that was posted about you.

You appear to be one of those folks who went to PA with their eyes open. I won't speak for anyone else here, but I don't have a problem with that.

Allow me to explain why we use nicknames, here. It's not out of mockery. We do it so if someone changes their mind about their choice of publisher, it lessens the chance that their name will come up on a Google search stating something they may regret later. While I agree that some folks here have stated things they may regret later, at least we allow people to edit their posts and moderate their own remarks. I know I've posted things that, on reflection (or after sleep) were wrong, and I appreciate that I can go back, edit, and apologize.

I hope you do stick around.
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Old 03-16-2009, 12:34 AM   #10110
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Dick, I get it, I really do. You knew what you wanted to do and you did it. You've not rocked PA's boat, so the waters remain calm. Others have not been so lucky - now the authors don't even GET the two coveted copies you were after.

I have respect for your work, and I say this will all honesty - you could have done far better by submitting to one of the many small presses out there. Yes, you wouldn't have been guaranteed publication, but with your resume you stand a better shot than 95% of the other people submitting.

And all my small press contracts give me at least 10 books.

You deserve better than what PA gave you, is all I'm saying.
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Old 03-16-2009, 01:09 AM   #10111
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I also know where you're coming from.

This makes you one out of 35,000 where PA was the (dubious) "right" choice.

Glad you had some success with YOUR book, but the vast majority of people targeted by PA are wholly clueless about how professional publishing really works. If they did have a clue they'd run the other way. Many have, because of the efforts put forth by the people on this forum.

PA is still a vanity press that waves the flag and praises Jesus while overcharging for a shoddy, unedited product.

Sorry, dude, however impressive your resume, I cannot applaud your choice and continued support of them. With your background you really should have known better.
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Old 03-16-2009, 01:34 AM   #10112
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Greeting Mr. Stodghill! I've read some of your short stories and read as much of your WWII memoir that I could in the Amazon preview. It is well written and I hope to eventually read more.

It is the price of your memoir and how much is going to benefit the PA machine that irks me to no end. There are too many respected self-publishing outfits such as Lulu and CreateSpace that would have created your book for less than $10.00 and brought your amazing story to a much wider audience. It is our loss that your book is so expensive and hard to get.

I agree that even a small press would have taken more time than you had at the moment. My brother is ill and he has been working to put together his personal memoir for his family. His time in Vietnam and rather amazing career afterwards covers many things I never knew about him. I guided him through the Lulu process and after a couple of missteps, his memoir, with a circulation of about 25 copies is available for less than 10 bucks, reasonable shipping, and shipped in bomb proof packaging.

We hope you'll come around and share some of your wealth of experience in mystery writing with us, not just about PA.
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Old 03-16-2009, 01:38 AM   #10113
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Perhaps you should read the post again and see why I made the choice I did. Again, I apologize for the heart attack. And what ever gave you the idea I support the publisher? Oh, and my name isn't dude.

Oops, I'm in a back-and-forth exchange. Sorry, guess I lied.
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Old 03-16-2009, 01:39 AM   #10114
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Stodghill View Post
One person questions a comment I once made concerning some agents not wanting members of their stable writing blogs as this is not a moneymaker for the agent. This did not originate with me but from a column in a Mystery Writers of America monthly publication.
No matter who the comment originates with, the fact remains that it is inaccurate. Therefore you repeated an inaccuracy to new and inexperienced writers who may not have known any better (and it wasn't by any means the only misinformation given to them, either).

I don't find it admirable to cast the responsibility for that inaccuracy on to someone else - to say, in effect, "Well, it wasn't me who originally said that, it was someone else. Therefore, don't comment on it because I didn't originally say it."

Thanks for posting, and I hope you enjoy your stay here.
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Old 03-16-2009, 01:55 AM   #10115
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Stodghill View Post
Perhaps you should read the post again and see why I made the choice I did. Again, I apologize for the heart attack. And what ever gave you the idea I support the publisher?
Probably posts like these:

Quote:
In every aspect of the publishing industry, writers always get the short end of the stick. That's just they way it is. If you don't like it, find another line of work.

You won't find any leading writers among the bashers. Those bashers that have been published, and many have not, are with little-known second, third or fourth rate publishers.
Or this one, when PA authors were puzzled about the sudden appearance of advertisements in their books (without their consent, without any thought to genre and with an auction to decide who would get the ads):

Quote:
Apparently you are not an avid reader of paperbacks. It's common practice among all publishers and has been for more than half a century.
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Old 03-16-2009, 01:56 AM   #10116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Stodghill
One person questions a comment I once made concerning some agents not wanting members of their stable writing blogs as this is not a moneymaker for the agent. This did not originate with me but from a column in a Mystery Writers of America monthly publication

I write nonfiction and both my agent and my publisher essentially insist that I have a blog.
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Old 03-16-2009, 02:08 AM   #10117
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Well, I suppose that's true then too, circle - maybe it was too long for Dick to wait. His expectations were reasonable and he got what he wanted.

Which is absolutely fine for him, but others who aren't as savvy about publishing (and it takes time to learn the business, we all can agree) are shocked and amazed when they finally figure it out. Is that PA's responsibility? Well, I think they are a little dubious in their advertising, and anyone not well-acquainted with the ins and outs might think PA is the right choice for them, when in fact their expectations are much higher than someone like Dick's.

We're just here to untangle the weasel wording and double talk, and just give it people in plain talk what PA will and will not do. They are not exactly forthcoming, as a company, about it themselves, and often respond to the simplest questions with insulting emails or just by ignoring the author, hoping they'll go away.

And yes, you should perhaps be more up-to-date on what's happening in publishing before you pass on advice that (may?) be old. I can't think of a single agent (though I'm in a different genre) that doesn't WANT their authors to both blog and maintain a website. However, I know a mystery writer or two (not many) and they both have well-read blogs and highly trafficked websites.

Don't know where that columnist got his info from, but that's the Stone Age. AND you also know better about the ads in the backs of books - I KNOW you know that books adverstised in the back of a paperback is usually of similar genre or interest, and not for some random book. Imagine an ad for a children's book in the back of one of your mystery novels. Or an erotic thriller in the back of a children's book! Yet that is what PA does, and sells the 'priviledge' to the highest bidder. Even YOU can't condone such behavior.

Perhaps you might also dig a little deeper who are doing the bashing as well - they're not all here at AW, and there are MANY who ARE with "first-rate" publishers, as you put it. They know what PA is and many will gladly warn you away if you were to ask them.
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Old 03-16-2009, 02:31 AM   #10118
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christine N. View Post
Imagine an ad for a children's book in the back of one of your mystery novels. Or an erotic thriller in the back of a children's book!
There's no need to imagine this.

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Publish America placed ads in the back of my childrens book - one for an adult book that no parent would want their seven year old reading.
It's already happened.
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Old 03-16-2009, 02:45 AM   #10119
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Sorry, dude, however impressive your resume, I cannot applaud your choice and continued support of them. With your background you really should have known better.

Don't worry, Gillhoughly, you can still call ME dude! I'll take it as a term of endearment.
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Old 03-16-2009, 02:48 AM   #10120
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Stodghill View Post
Perhaps you should read the post again and see why I made the choice I did. Again, I apologize for the heart attack. And what ever gave you the idea I support the publisher? Oh, and my name isn't dude.

Oops, I'm in a back-and-forth exchange. Sorry, guess I lied.
Me thinks the thick skin is not as thick as described. Dick, by simply remaining on the PAMB you are supporting the publisher. But you have to do what you feel is right. I got myself away from the evil ways of Publish America because it was right for me. If it's not right for you, that is your perogative. But don't say you don't support them. You do.

I'll clarify: If you had ever said anything that was not supportive of PA they would have banned you faster than you could say, "What?!"
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Old 03-16-2009, 03:21 AM   #10121
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Dick, I'm glad you got what you wanted (and more!) from PA. I wish that was the case for everyone who signed on the dotted line. Unfortunately, it is not. If you submitted your manuscript now, you wouldn't even receive those two free copies. Times have changed. Sadly, PA's business model has not.
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Old 03-16-2009, 03:54 AM   #10122
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This is an interesting place in that some people apparently don't read too well while others do. For example, it was quite some time ago that I last posted on the PA board. Someone missed that.
Now Queen obviously reads well. She has taken old posts from the PA board and makes it appear they are current. That's OK, but let me say one thing about the post concerning ads in books: it was made before it became known that the PA ads were placed indiscriminately. That changed everything. It is, indeed, an insideous practice. In fact I have a disclaimer about it on my website. As for the other part of the statement, ads for different books were found in the back of books as far back as the 1800s. It indeed is an old practice. Queen, I invite you to read posts I have made on other boards and you will see I am not a booster of PA. Frankly, I don't care about them one way or another. The firm has no effect on my life whatsoever. However, I give you an "A" in research, Queen. You have done well. Do we know each other?
I should have said hello, Christine. It's nice to see you again and I have noticed that you are doing well. That's good.
In summation, I have to say this place grows on you. There are those who say so do warts, but that wasn't me unless Queen can find an old quote. Come to think of it, I believe I did say that about someone or something in the past. It does sound like me.
Anyway, I am enjoying the comments so keep them coming. I suggest that as outrage is a specialty here, write your congressman or woman and your senator expressing disgust at AIG because of accepting bailout money and then giving $160 million or more in bonuses to the very people who made in necessary to do so. Now there is a cause for genuine outrage.
I failed to mention one thing in that original post. The June issue of AHMM in which my story "Jack the Tripper" can be found actually appears in early April. Now why do you suppose they do that? By June, the July and August issues will be out. It's a strange business.
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Old 03-16-2009, 04:03 AM   #10123
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Dick posted on another forum about this, expecting to be attacked. He obviously came here partly to bait us.

Dick, you know what PublishAmerica is, yet on every forum you frequent you stand by while other PA authors attack anyone who posts what PA really is -- a vanity press. Your silence makes you as guilty as those who run PA.

You are an experienced writer and WW II vet -- you have the chance now to educate writers, just starting out, who can benefit from your knowledge. Yet silent you sit there, while others get led off the cliff.

Do your fellow writers a favor -- stand up for them, be a guide, and let your experience benefit others.
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Old 03-16-2009, 04:08 AM   #10124
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I forgot to mention one point raised. I was banned from the PA board for being cranky. Me? Can you believe that? Then they asked me to come back and I said, "So long, it's been good to know ya." That post, sad to say, was quickly deleted.
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Old 03-16-2009, 04:17 AM   #10125
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Stodghill View Post
Now Queen obviously reads well.
You're too kind.

Quote:
She has taken old posts from the PA board and makes it appear they are current.
I'm sorry, I wasn't aware that I had placed "Current Date" timestamps on the posts. Perhaps you would like me to quote the exact date of your posts in the future? After all, you might have discovered after the fact that you were mistakenly quoting someone who was wrong (again).

Quote:
That's OK, but let me say one thing about the post concerning ads in books: it was made before it became known that the PA ads were placed indiscriminately.
The original poster asked, "How do you select who's books to advertise. Do you promote everyone's book or just a select few? If just a few how do you decide who's book to put in the back of our books.

I was really surprised when I looked at my books and found an advertisement for someone else's book."

Was there any indication, Mr Stodghill, that these ads were placed discriminately? And did you not receive an email about the auction? Do you believe that it is a normal practice among publishers to auction ad space to their authors?

Quote:
That changed everything. It is, indeed, an insideous practice.
I'm just curious - if you claim that PA's practices are "insideous", does that make you a basher?

Quote:
The bad things you may read about PA are written by people who know absolutely nothing about the business and expected to have their book make the best seller lists. -- Dick Stodghill, Wed Jan 02 2007 12:08 pm
Getting back to the rest of your post...

Quote:
As for the other part of the statement, ads for different books were found in the back of books as far back as the 1800s. It indeed is an old practice.
I have yet to see ads for adult romances in the backs of children's books put out by other publishers (though I've seen two PA authors post about this happening to their books).

Quote:
Queen, I invite you to read posts I have made on other boards and you will see I am not a booster of PA.
I can't imagine why not, since you were so supportive of them in the past. Did they displease you in some way? Did they fall short of your standards?

Perhaps you should give them more of a chance. After all, they printed your book for free. Even if you feel the prices are high, just remember that "POD books are always priced higher than those with a substantial press run... much of the production cost is built in." Dick Stodghill, Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:46 pm.

Quote:
Frankly, I don't care about them one way or another. The firm has no effect on my life whatsoever. However, I give you an "A" in research, Queen. You have done well.
I can't decide whether to imagine you saying the last sentence in a Megatron-ish voice or with a Dracula accent. But I think with the latter, I could reply, "Igor is pleased to have served Master!"

Quote:
Do we know each other?
No, and let's keep it that way.

Quote:
I suggest that as outrage is a specialty here, write your congressman or woman and your senator expressing disgust at AIG because of accepting bailout money and then giving $160 million or more in bonuses to the very people who made in necessary to do so. Now there is a cause for genuine outrage.
This is a board about writing and publishing, Mr. Stodghill. Therefore we discuss writing and publishing here.

If you wish people to express outrage about other issues, you might find it more productive to go to boards where those other issues are addressed.
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