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Thread: The Newer Never-Ending PublishAmerica / America Star Books Thread

  1. #5251
    New kid, be gentle! A Scribe's Avatar
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    HOORAY! HOORAY! HOORAY! THE DAY HAS COME!

    As of today, my book, To Dry the Tears of a Clown, is no longer held hostage! The last day was yesterday, August 24, 2016, and today my book is now up for sale at all the major e-book retail sites!

    I made use of Smashwords' and Amazon's new feature for indie authors that allowed me to do a pre-order, and as I waited for that magical date, I created new book covers and went through the manuscript line-for-line. I had all the time in the world but the funny thing is? I found precious few errors, unlike what ultimately ended up in the PA version - which goes to show that they actually ADDED errors! As if the gods and goddesses were blessing me from the hereafters, I was surprised to already sell a copy of both of my books this morning!

    At any rate, I'm now busy with preparing both books for printing via Createspace because I intend to hold a giveaway soon.

    But I'm certain all of you who have had to wait out your contracts (or had to buy your publishing rights back) know exactly how happy I'm feeling!

    You can see the new book covers that I've set as my avatar. I had to remove the one with my beloved Pug, Harley, since he's no longer with us. I had to put him to sleep last April, which was very, very difficult for me to do. I can only hope he enjoyed his 13.5 years with our family. I still miss him incredibly.

    At any rate, a long and arduous seven friggin' years is over, and I can finally breathe freely.
    People tell me I write unique and intriguing stories, but the thing is, my stories write themselves. I'm just a scribe.
    ==================================
    Writing Illuminatus {Book 2 in The Girl in the Leather Jacket paranormal YA 4-Book Series}

  2. #5252
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Hurrah! A detour, not a dead end. Onward!

  3. #5253
    New kid, be gentle! A Scribe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    Hurrah! A detour, not a dead end. Onward!
    That's exactly what it feels like, James! I couldn't be happier. My lord but it was a long detour. At any rate, I have my publishing rights back and I really couldn't be happier!
    People tell me I write unique and intriguing stories, but the thing is, my stories write themselves. I'm just a scribe.
    ==================================
    Writing Illuminatus {Book 2 in The Girl in the Leather Jacket paranormal YA 4-Book Series}

  4. #5254
    Theophilus Don Davidson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A Scribe View Post
    That's exactly what it feels like, James! I couldn't be happier. My lord but it was a long detour. At any rate, I have my publishing rights back and I really couldn't be happier!
    Congratulations for waiting them out! I hope they didn't get any of your money.
    May God bless,
    Don

    Don't give your book, or your money, to America Star Books (formerly PublishAmerica) until you know the truth. Follow this link to read actual documents written by America Star Books/PublishAmerica that show conclusively what they are, and what they are not: http://christianityforthinkers.com/PublishAmerica.html.

  5. #5255
    New kid, be gentle! A Scribe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Davidson View Post
    Congratulations for waiting them out! I hope they didn't get any of your money.
    Maybe in the beginning, like around 2010, a year after they "published" my book. But I haven't bought anything since. They haven't even tried to sell me this last year. I guess they knew I had no intention of ever buying from them again.
    People tell me I write unique and intriguing stories, but the thing is, my stories write themselves. I'm just a scribe.
    ==================================
    Writing Illuminatus {Book 2 in The Girl in the Leather Jacket paranormal YA 4-Book Series}

  6. #5256
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A Scribe View Post
    Maybe in the beginning, like around 2010, a year after they "published" my book. But I haven't bought anything since. They haven't even tried to sell me this last year. I guess they knew I had no intention of ever buying from them again.
    A few years ago, based on what former PA employees posted here about their hourly salaries, how many people are involved in any PA book at the time, how much time each spent on each book, and what it costs to print a book on demand, I calculated that PA only needed to sell about 15 to 20 copies of any one title at list price to come out ahead. I'm sure enough hard-working authors with stars in their eyes bought that many or more to make up for the 10 I bought of my own on a 50% off special.
    Last edited by Chris P; 10-29-2016 at 05:05 AM.
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  7. #5257
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Somewhere back in the archives here I figured it out; without re-researching it and recalculating it, the answer to how many sales PA needed to make to break even was 15 (as Chris said). The typical PA author sold 75-150 copies of their book, or bought the books themselves (at inflated prices so high that books at "author's discount" were still more expensive than full-retail books from real publishers using identical printing technology).

    If some authors bought few or no copies of their own books, no matter. Some eager beavers would buy 200 copies. The averages held.

    It was a brilliant plan -- for PA. The authors, the ones left holding the bag, didn't make out so well.

  8. #5258
    New kid, be gentle! A Scribe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris P View Post
    A few years ago, based on what former PA employees posted here about their hourly salaries, how many people are involved in any PA book at the time, how much time each spent on each book, and what it costs to print a book on demand, I calculated that PA only needed to sell about 15 to 20 copies of any one title at list price to come out ahead. I'm sure enough hard-working authors with stars in their eyes bought that many or more to make up for the 10 I bought of my own on a 50% off special.
    Well, I did buy 5 hardcovers and 5 paperbacks. Looks like they made money off of me after all. *sigh*

    So...does anyone know if they still exist? I know they changed from PA to Star Spangled whatever publishing. Are they still in business? I sure HOPE NOT.
    People tell me I write unique and intriguing stories, but the thing is, my stories write themselves. I'm just a scribe.
    ==================================
    Writing Illuminatus {Book 2 in The Girl in the Leather Jacket paranormal YA 4-Book Series}

  9. #5259
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Oh, the zombie is still lurching on trying to eat brains, even after PA dissolved in a flurry of lawsuits between Willem and Larry while Wazzername moved on to other endeavors outside of publishing.

    What they're doing anymore is a mystery to me. It's safe to say they've been darfed.

  10. #5260
    practical experience, FTW
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    I am so glad there is a thread on this--multiple ones, at that! I'm reading everyone's stories and my stomach is churning. Ew and ugh.

    I sent my manuscript to them as a pre-teen (I was young, ambitious and overly-cocky). I was thiiis close to becoming entangled with them; then they realized I was eleven and said no. Five years later, they called me at home to try and get me to re-send the manuscript. I did. Then someone I respected told me what was up, I snapped at PA, and heard nothing back. I turned eighteen, and, phone rings. They tried to get me involved with one of their subsidiaries, RoseDog, and were furious that I was furious that they thought I was going to pay 50K for the "privilege", and do all my own marketing. "I do not even have 50K!" I remember yelling at them. "Get friends and family to donate," they insisted. I hung up on them after cussing them out. Not my proudest moment, but they stopped calling.
    Am--am I supposed to be creeped out that I just realized they kept track of me? Because I am. EWWW.

  11. #5261
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iszevthere View Post
    They tried to get me involved with one of their subsidiaries, RoseDog, and were furious that I was furious that they thought I was going to pay 50K for the "privilege", and do all my own marketing.
    Just as a point of information, RoseDog was its own thing, part of vanity-publisher Dorrance, not part of vanity-publisher PA.

    They have their own thread here.

  12. #5262
    So many WIPs which one to work on Jill Karg's Avatar
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    I just do a look and see at the American Star Books. I started to chuckle at their lame website then I went to services tab and almost snorted my water I was drinking when I read their services.......all the emails they sent over the years you now can buy as services. I was laughing so hard that my family came in to check on me. They do have some nerve and gaul to charge for Dear Oprah charge 69.00 bucks unreal and 99.00 to get your book cover on their facebook page. Just shaking my head and hoping no one is falling for it.
    Jill M Karg
    The first step to happiness is to know what makes you happy.

  13. #5263
    practical experience, FTW Brenda Hill's Avatar
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    An author friend said she received an email from them promising a lot of wonderful things if she'd submit her manuscript for review. When she asked if I'd ever heard of them, I told her to run, not walk away, to burn the email. They must be hurting to solicit manuscripts.
    "The professional writer is the amateur who didn't quit."
    Richard Bach
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  14. #5264
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    Just as a point of information, RoseDog was its own thing, part of vanity-publisher Dorrance, not part of vanity-publisher PA.

    They have their own thread here.
    I guess selling the contact information for their "50,000 happy authors" was another way to get some income.
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  15. #5265
    practical experience, FTW Brenda Hill's Avatar
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    Sounds about right for them, but one problem: the author had never been one of their happy authors.
    "The professional writer is the amateur who didn't quit."
    Richard Bach
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  16. #5266
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    A blast from the past, from the Old NEPAT:

    Quote Originally Posted by James D Macdonald View Post
    ...
    A first hand example was the case of my third novel, The Stork which got no reviews. In desperation I surveyed the major reviewers across the country who replied that they had never heard of the book and had never received a copy for review. It turned out that on the day the publicity department was to work on my book, a new publicity director took over. In the transition, none of the labels were generated and sent to the warehouse. I was devastated. Two years of my life were shot.
    No mailing labels were sent to the warehouse? As in, mailing finished copies out to reviewers? What happened to all the advance copies that should have gone out a month or two or three earlier? And why didn't the person responsible for generating the labels take care of it the next day, or the day after? This story does not add up.

    But let's assume it was true. What it tells us is that there was a screwed-up situation that day at Morrow -- and that that wasn't normal. You don't have a publicity department screwup if you don't have a publicity department.

    If true, it's an example of bad things happening to good books. And bad things do happen. But it's also an example of how your worst day at a major publisher will be better than your best day at PublishAmerica.

    I bet that when Denny complained to Morrow about his book not getting sent out for review, that the answer that came back wasn't "don't take that tone with us," and a note than any future correspondence from him would be discarded unread. Furthermore, I'll bet that his book (a hardcover) was distributed to bookstores all over the country. I also notice that it went to mass market paperback a year later, and was optioned for film. And I'll make one more bet that the advance check was substantially more than one dollar.

    I'd really like a look at the front and back covers of the Jove paperback edition. I'd be able to see whether there were any quotes from reviewers. Interesting question, eh?

    But let's say his story is true. He assumed that review copies would be sent out in advance of publication. With real publishers, advance reading copies and review copies are expected. With PublishAmerica we know that won't happen.

    ...
    Time marches, more things are digitized, and search algorithms get stronger.

    No reviews for The Stork? Denny surveyed the major reviewers and none had heard of it?

    How about this review for the first edition (Morrow, 1977) hardcover, that appeared in Kirkus?

    KIRKUS REVIEW

    Tim Smith is called ""The Stork"" because of his leggy, bony, storky mien, but the nickname takes on new meaning when Tim leaves his father's cattle stud-farm empire and applies his unrivaled breeding know-how to humans: a computerized sperm bank for the best in artificial insemination. Unfortunately, even with the prestige of his reluctant partner's name (Bink Roosevelt, supposedly an FDR grandson) and the expertise and dollars of Dr. Resnikow (Central Park South's top gynecologist), Tim's operation is a flop. So, to stimulate business, Tim and Bink and Doc resolve to fill their ""creamatorium"" with a ""Who's Who of American sperm""--an easy proposition once Tim meets Tony Wilde (as in Oscar), top honcho at S.A.D.D.O.G. S.A.D.D.O.G.? Sons and Daughters Descended of the Great. Soon all those ne'er-do-well scions are hooked up to the ACCU-JAC machine--encouraged by screenings of Marilyn Chambers and Linda Lovelace--and Tim's menu promises everything from a third-generation Hemingway ($37,000) to a sixteenth-generation Hans Holbein the Elder ($12,000). Business booms, but Bink's ethics, a muckraking reporter (""This story's going to do for me what Watergate did for Woodward and Bernstein!""), hints of forged genealogies, and one slight error (a Southern senator's wife gets an Adam Clayton Powell instead of a John Welsey Powell) precipitate a sticky Day of Judgment. When he isn't regressing from the sophomoric to the freshmantic (""seed money,"" ""notary pubic,"" ""El Seed""), Hatch unreels this fantasia with approximately the right mix of slapstick, word-play, and documentary mock-seriousness. He also decorates the doings with so many irreverent au-courancies that The Stork is already dated (Clay Felker plays an important role as New York Magazine editor), so this is not one for the ages, or even next year, but, for the moment and for those uninterested in real people doing vaguely real things, The Stork makes a lively enough delivery.



    Pub Date: April 4th, 1977



    Publisher: Morrow

    Or how about The Los Angeles Times Book Review (again for the Morrow hardcover):
    "An Entrepreneur Goes to Seed"

    By Benjamin Marble

    When someone named Denny Hatch writes a spoof called "The Stork (A Novel About Breeding)," the reader is entitled to know eggsactly what’s going on. Briefly, this: Tim Smith is 30ish, fed up with playing cupid at his father’s Aberdeen-Angus stud farm and eager for a little pocket money—his tax-wise, curmudgeonly sire has all his possessions listed in the name of the farm, and although Tim drives a car any oil sheikh would admire, he rarely has much more than parking-meter change in his Bill Blass suit. He decides to split, to make it on his own as a consultant on human artificial insemination using a knowledge of genetics gained down on the farm.

    It’s a bummer. All across the country gynecologists are content with the contributions made by their anonymous donors—mostly medical students in need of a few dollars—and unanimously turn him down. Tim’s sophisticated computer dating system is designed to produce the perfectly matched-up zygote. The whole program is bailed out by an opportune arrival—one Mike O’Shea, leprechaun-of-all-trades, who hits upon the supreme finishing touch to Tim’s human mating scheme: promising parents that their artificially induced offspring will bear the genes of distinguished ancestors.

    O’Shea, that elegant elf who claims to know everyone who’s anybody, is to supply the donors of pedigreed seed. Authenticity and effectiveness of the donations are guaranteed to each recipient.

    The service is confidential—only the parents know their little darling is a byproduct—several generations removed, of Napoleon (even Josephine)—and anonymity of recipients is stringently maintained.

    With the aid of a gynecologist who supplies professional respectability and plenty of persuasion, whose efforts are abetted by a field sales force that also functions as an acquisitions team, Tim and Mike thrive mightily. The cash rolls in by the tens of millions. Can anything go wrong? Of course it can—everything can, and will. The pace quickens nicely at this point, and the resolution of the book’s many threads into one outrageous, coincidence-supported spermatic Götterdämmerung is one of the thigh-slappingest scenes I have read in years. It is also gross beyond words. But by this time the reader has either become toughened to the author’s raunchiness or put the book down, period.

    After all, a story whose central theme involves the onanism of various quadrupeds and bipeds can hardly maintain the tone of Little Women. So let us forgive the author his sins (after all, he’s probably willing to forgive us our sins—anybody who’d have his dustcover picture taken with a parakeet on his head is in no position to cast any first stones) and lean back for some hearty laughs. The story is certainly original and even though easy to find Comstockian fault with, it has some wondrously funny scenes.
    Or maybe Library Journal? (From 5/1/77, for the Morrow hardcover release in May of 1977).

    LIBRARY JOURNAL
    Richard Moses, Oakville P.L., Ontario Canada

    Fed up to his elbows with bulls, Tim Smith leaves the family stock breeding business to apply his considerable knowledge and skill to humankind. Artificial insemination is the name of the game; the demand is terrific, the money abundant, particularly after a gaggle of “famous descendants” agreed to donate the required seed. The climax (sorry) comes when at one and the same time the lineage of Jesus Christ is “traced,” the gaggle turns out phony (though the 1000 children therefrom produced have turned out splendidly—power of suggestion?), and the company beats a hasty retreat. Interesting points raised about human v. cattle breeding (the latter makes far more sense); overall, quite a provocative premise is advanced. The text is larded with atrocious puns and far-fetched headings, but it all makes for enjoyable if unsophisticated reading.

    I leave it to the reader to determine if Denny had merely been forgetful or had, perhaps, been fibbing in the midst of his praise of PublishAmerica.

  17. #5267
    Seen 'em come, seen 'em go Gravity's Avatar
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    What was the name of that one author who'd taken it upon himself to be PA's "enforcer"? Gads, that guy was a nasty sumbeetch. I want to say it was "Crispy", but that can't be right. Also I wonder if he was the same dude who used to troll here and went by the handle Alien Enigma. PA had its share of rabidly insane fanboys; all of them gone like smoke, now.
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  18. #5268
    starting over Marian Perera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gravity View Post
    What was the name of that one author who'd taken it upon himself to be PA's "enforcer"? Gads, that guy was a nasty sumbeetch. I want to say it was "Crispy", but that can't be right.
    H. B. Marcus, whose book was called Crispy? IIRC, he faked his own death and got some sympathy from his supporters on the PAMB. I'm guessing he vanished into obscurity after that. Alien Enigma was someone different, but just as gung-ho about PA.

    PA had its share of rabidly insane fanboys; all of them gone like smoke, now.
    No kidding. Those were the good old days, when people built lollipop trees for book signings in morgues.
    Historical romance : 2000 words.

  19. #5269
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    I'd completely forgotten the lollipop trees.

  20. #5270
    So many WIPs which one to work on Jill Karg's Avatar
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    I was just thinking about how long I have been a member here and how thankful I have found this place. With your help, I was able to stomp on the rose-colored glasses that I was wearing when I entered this thread. I posted like many, supportive and praises at first about the villains that were formerly known as PA but thanks to many of you I was enlightened to the errors of my ways. If it wasn't for this thread and other threads about PA, I wouldn't have found the lawyers that freed me from contract (several years ago) and this year I would have been trying to get out from under it. All I can say is thank you. Over the years, I have appreciated your sound advice and felt the support from all of you. You have never judged me or found fault with me for making the mistake of a lifetime. I had kicked myself in the butt many of days for this but instead you offered sound advice of how to look at my work. I was able to revamp it making it better than it was when I submitted it to PA all those years ago. Again just wanted to thank all of you that have posted here through the years and I will always be grateful to you.
    Last edited by Jill Karg; 06-30-2017 at 07:35 PM.
    Jill M Karg
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  21. #5271
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    Ho. Ly. Smokes:

    America Star Books no longer accepts new authors and will soon become Paperback Services. It looks like they are devoting themselves to book promotion services.

    PA/ASB/PS is launching (behind a thin veil of partnering with) a 24/7 radio service about books and writers, Paperback Radio. According to Paperback Radio's About Us page, they are operated by World Wide Words, based in (wait for it) Frederick, Maryland. Among the on-air personalities: Willem Meiners (one of the founders of PublishAmerica/America Star Books/Paperback Services, for those who are newly discovering this particular corner of publishing).

    It seems it is no longer profitable to prey on the hopes of newbie authors (as I once was) and they are trying to cash in on the self-pubbers who find themselves out of their element in the promotion business (as I would be).
    Join any time! Take the 2017 AW Reading Challenge. Pick 12 books from a list of topics and read/discuss with us throughout the year.

  22. #5272
    figuring it all out RWrites's Avatar
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    PA is the worst, I'm glad I was on this forum before I ever heard of them. It's really sad to see writers with good works being scammed, having to pay for their works to even be seen by family, and have it riddle with grammar errors! PA needs to be sued or place in prison for all that they are stealing.
    http://writersweeklyblog.wordpress.com

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  23. #5273
    Theophilus Don Davidson's Avatar
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    Oh my! I thought PA was gone!

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris P View Post
    Ho. Ly. Smokes:

    America Star Books no longer accepts new authors and will soon become Paperback Services. It looks like they are devoting themselves to book promotion services.

    PA/ASB/PS is launching (behind a thin veil of partnering with) a 24/7 radio service about books and writers, Paperback Radio. According to Paperback Radio's About Us page, they are operated by World Wide Words, based in (wait for it) Frederick, Maryland. Among the on-air personalities: Willem Meiners (one of the founders of PublishAmerica/America Star Books/Paperback Services, for those who are newly discovering this particular corner of publishing).

    It seems it is no longer profitable to prey on the hopes of newbie authors (as I once was) and they are trying to cash in on the self-pubbers who find themselves out of their element in the promotion business (as I would be).
    I saw this posting and, for grins, went to my old bookmark for PA, "publishamerica.com," thinking I would see the America Star Books web site. But instead I got the "PublishAmerica" heading, including the old bogus slogan, "We treat authors the old-fashioned way--we pay them." Has PublishAmerica been resurrected from the ashes?
    Last edited by Don Davidson; 07-24-2017 at 12:11 AM. Reason: fix typo
    May God bless,
    Don

    Don't give your book, or your money, to America Star Books (formerly PublishAmerica) until you know the truth. Follow this link to read actual documents written by America Star Books/PublishAmerica that show conclusively what they are, and what they are not: http://christianityforthinkers.com/PublishAmerica.html.

  24. #5274
    Christine Tripp ctripp's Avatar
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    Went to look at "Paperback Radio" on Facebook and seems ol Willem Meiners was one of the hosts at least as far back as 2016 (I didn't continue scrolling down, far too boring a fb page)
    Nothing seems to come up for American Star anymore, so I assume it's all gone, PA, AS but ol Willem still alive and well on the air.
    Wonder how much they charge these Authors to be interviewed

  25. #5275
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    I bet you're right, ctripp, that the authors get charged to be interviewed, under the glamour of "you will be on a real radio station tailored to readers and fellow authors where your work will be discovered!"

    The interviews seem to be from more than just PA/ASB authors, and I wouldn't be surprised if there's some fun, interesting stuff on there. But if I'm paying for exposure, I'm paying for exposure and a podcast interview that gets four listens in a month isn't going to do much for me. Their Facebook page has 288 likes as of right now, and none of the interviews I've looked at have any comments. There is no play counter that I could find on the audio. Is there any way to know how many page hits a site like Paperback Radio gets?
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