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

  1. #4776
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Eve--

    I'm so sorry for what you've experienced so far with PA. But if you've read this thread, you'll know you aren't alone.

    You may get no response to your email, but there's a good chance you'll get an even snarkier reply than you received the first time. If you do, don't take it too much to heart--this is how they treat all their authors who persist in asking reasonable questions.

    The problem with "kind of" re-writing and re-titling your book and then trying to market it as new isn't with PA. As I noted above, they have so little care for and knowledge of their authors that if you did this, it's likely they'd never figure it out.

    The problem is with a new publisher. Publishers don't want books whose rights aren't completely free and clear. A reputable publisher won't be willing to take on a book whose rights are contracted to another publisher--even if you've made changes to the text.

    Could you make changes and market the book as new and just not mention that the original book was contracted to PA? Sure. But if your new publisher finds out (and the odds that they will aren't small, because everything on the Internet is eternal, and publishers and agents do research their authors) they would not be happy--to put it mildly.

    I know how painful it is to abandon for a book that you've worked so hard on and hoped so much for. But the best thing for you to do now may be just to move on. Write another, even better book. Market it to real publishers. Success is the best revenge.

    - Victoria

  2. #4777
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Eve, who was the publisher you rejected in favour of PA? I'm curious. There's no need to tell me if you'd rather not, of course.

    I understand that you're upset and frustrated. You're in a horrible situation. But if you tweak your book a little and then self publish it, as you've described, you'll be at risk of litigation from PA because whether you like them or not, you freely signed a legally binding contract with them, and if you republish that same book in any form while it's contracted to PA, you'll be breaking that contract and they might well come after you in that case.

    Do what Victoria has suggested. Write a new and better book. Move on from this one. Notify PA that you want to get out of your contract in seven or ten years, if there's an appropriate clause in your contract which allows that: and if and when those rights are returned, you can then think about finding a new publisher for that book. But for now, forget about it. It's the best you can do, I'm afraid.

  3. #4778
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Eve - welcome to AW and I'm sorry you got caught up with these slimeballs.

    I'm afraid that I have to agree with Victoria, Jim and Old Hack - you'll either have to let your book go or pay them to release you from the contract. However I did want to pick up on this:

    Eve Thomas:
    In England if a company is trading like this then trading standards get involved.
    Trading Standards only govern business to consumer relationships. In general, they don't get involved with business to business relationships and unfortunately the relationship between an author and a publisher (no matter how scuzzy the publisher) is classed as a business to business relationship. There are some trading standards officers who will help people out, but it isn't the norm.

    MM

  4. #4779
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    PublishAmerica has a lawyer on staff whose only apparent duties are to make sure the contract is air-tight and doesn't require the publisher to do anything more than sit on its ass (laughing at you is optional, at the publisher's election and discretion, so don't assume that they'll expend the effort--they don't care whether you live or die), and to chase around the Internet sending cease-and-desist letters to anyone who calls PublishAmerica "a scam."

    That this is a full-time job for him can be demonstrated by Googling on PublishAmerica + Scam

  5. #4780
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eve Thomas View Post
    I noticed someone asked which publisher, I'm so sorry but I'm not at liberty to say, it's a big one though that has just literally had a big smash hit for what I class as a very poorly written novels. - Sorry to be so vague.

    I am literally kicking myself and so frustrated. I will never sign a contract again without doing extensive research.
    If it were me, I'd contact that Big Publisher and ask them if they'd still be interested in publishing the book/series if the contract with PA were severed. If Big Publisher says yes, then, as Big Publishers invariably offer an advance that's at least fifty times bigger than the $99 PA charges to end a contract, I'd pay PA, sign with Big Publisher, and laugh all the way to the bank.

  6. #4781
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eve Thomas View Post
    Really, it will only cost $99?
    I don't have any personal experience with this, but another PA victim recently posted:
    Quote Originally Posted by Not Write Now View Post
    If I were willing to shell out the $149 (they sent me a link to the $99 one oddly enough) I could get the rights back
    Maybe PM Not Write Now and ask her for the links? (Never mind. Found 'em. Here's the $149 one. Here's the $99 one. Here's the $199 one. They all look the same?)

    And, since it never hurts to double-check, do a quick reccy in Background Checks on the other publisher who offered you a contract? If the publisher isn't listed in this post with a link to its thread, start a new thread on that publisher in the Background Check subforum.
    Last edited by Unimportant; 11-19-2012 at 05:04 AM. Reason: added link

  7. #4782
    Grumpy writer and editor Absolute Sage Gillhoughly's Avatar
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    I shall campaign against PA now, they have ruined my career. Yes, I can release the rest of the series, yes I can go on to write another novel but The Eyes was the first.
    First, don't waste your time campaigning against PA. Just inform new writers to avoid them and to always do a simple background check: search the name + "complaints" or "scam" to see what comes up.

    Again on that theme, they do have a slimebag lawyer who cheerfully sends out C&Ds to anyone who badmouths the place. It's fairly safe to vent here, but I'd suggest not giving any clues out about your ID. There's little enough privacy left to anyone, and you don't want them sending fake cops to intimidate you.

    Yes. They've done that, though not lately. Too many camera phones, I expect, along with savvy writers who demand to see IDs.

    Next--your career is certainly not ruined! Push that out of your head. Kick it out with big steel-toed boots.

    At some point you'll get your book back. Whether you opt to pay their 99-dollar extortion rights reversion fee or not, it will be back again. Just get it in writing!

    If you pay up, don't be in a hurry. If you hassle them with some whining emails, ("my book isn't selling, I'm unable to promote it, I'm giving up being a writer, wah-wah-wah") they've been known to cut the price down to 39.00 just to get rid of the annoyance.

    Attacking them directly just doesn't work. They've been dealing with pissed off writers threatening to sue for over a decade and ignore them. But pestering them in a more oblique way has gotten results.

    If you've other books in the series--write them. Have them polished and workshopped and ready to go once the first is unentangled.

    You may not be able to sell the first to a real commercial publisher as they are notoriously not interested in reprints, but you can self-publish using Kindle and Createspace, etc.

    In the meantime, you write another, better book and shop those shiny new words to a legit publisher that has books in stores.

    You hang out here on AW, learn all kinds of cool things about writing and publishing and scrape PA's muck off your boots.

    They are a speed bump. They shake you up, but you keep moving forward.

  8. #4783
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eve Thomas View Post
    I can confirm that the other publisher is on that list which makes me happy, but they are a biggy so I have everything crossed they will forgive me - I have a feeling they may tell me how stupid I have been first!
    Feel free to ask for any recent/updated info on that other publisher in its linked thread -- it never hurts! And it also won't hurt to admit to that publisher that you made a mistake. I'm sure they'll be understanding.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eve Thomas View Post
    It would be just my look for PA to have a mole and come tomorrow the buy out price will be thousands!!!
    Yes, they read these threads regularly. They're really not very nice people at all.

  9. #4784
    Quote Originally Posted by Eve Thomas View Post
    I can confirm that the other publisher is on that list which makes me happy
    Just to clarify, that list of agents and publishers isn't a list of good publishers per se, it's just a list of all publishers we've talked about on AW. Some we've said great things, others not so great things. You need to read the thread centered on the publisher in question to get a sense of whether people here would recommend them or not.

    (Forgive me if you've read it already, the phrasing of your post sounded like you just checked to see if they were listed or not.)
    "An honest answer is like a warm hug." - Proverbs 24:26 (The Message)

    My short story collection, "The Poisoned City", is now available!

  10. #4785
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    I trust that all the books in your series can stand alone?

    Write book two as if there were no other book.

    You can change all the names in the unpublished book very easily.

    Use everything you learned writing the first book to make the next one you write even better.

    When you're looking for a publisher:

    Get and read some of that publisher's books before you submit to them. Can you actually find their books sitting on the shelves in bookstores? (Not just at the special-order desk!) Are the books well-written and well-edited? Are the books well-made? Are they reasonably priced?

    What are the publishers' typical sales figures? Any books win major awards? Any make legitimate best-seller lists? (An "Amazon best-seller" is meaningless.)

    As to how PublishAmerica gets people to sell them multiple books:

    Many of the people who have more than one book with PA submitted books 2, 3, 4.... in the time between the acceptance of the first book and when that book was published, in that happy honeymoon period when everything was wonderful.

    Many others are desperate, and can't find another publisher that will touch their books.

    Still others don't know any better and think that what PA does is normal across the board in publishing.

    Still others have goals that don't include Selling Books to Strangers and Earning Money.

    Still and all, leaving your book in your desk drawer is a better option than giving it to PublishAmerica.

  11. #4786
    Total N00b Not Write Now's Avatar
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    And just to add to what James said, others like me, with older contracts, may be obligated by that contract to send the next book.

    Edit: I've now received a second and third "FINAL" reminder about buying my rights back, all within a few days. They seem desperate or something. No thanks, but it's fun watching those guys flail around. *eats popcorn*
    Last edited by Not Write Now; 11-20-2012 at 04:56 AM.

  12. #4787
    Preditors & Editors Requiescat In Pace DaveKuzminski's Avatar
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    Those lawyer bills must be coming due for PA.
    When it comes to PA, the royalty check and the reality check arrive in the same envelope.

    Remember to be kind to writers who step in PA. They really don't know how bad it smells.

    The difference between PA and WLA? None. Both have the stench of dead and dying books emanating from their doorways.


  13. #4788
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    Wow, I love this place. I am not joking when I say I owe what success I've had to AW.

    Eve: the price was the first clue I had when my PA book was sucked into the void. 30 seconds of research on PA's own site would have told me what comparable books sold for, and I would have said "hold the phone a sec..." How do they get people to sign up again? Well, I can't get into anyone's head (or tell anyone they are not happy) but I briefly considered them for a non-fiction title that I could see selling for the prices they charge only because the academic publishers didn't consider it because they specialize in textbooks. It would have been an easy way out for me. And as others have said, PA didn't ruin your career unless you decide they ruined it. Looking back, my PA book was a non-starter anyway, and I've moved on to be happier (and more successful, even if I'm the smallest of the small potatoes) with what I'm writing now. Keep on chugging!

    Not Write Now: PA is always sounding desperate. Check out this thread on their never-ending email promotions. These emails are the only marketing PA does for your or anyone's books; getting the authors themselves to buy their own books. Many of us have predicted the last gasp of PA for years, but here they still are.
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  14. #4789
    Writing! Writing! Writing! Requiescat In Pace
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    Hi Eve, welcome to AW. Boy can I relate to your story. AW really helped me come to terms with my PA experience. What everyone is saying is what I would say, too. Your career is not over. PA cannot stop you, even though it can feel that way in the moment. Focus your energy on the rest of your series while you're trying to get out of your PA contract.

    I paid the $99 back in 2010, after trying for two years to get out of my contract. I wasn't sure if it was the right thing to do at the time, but I have never regretted it. I was finally able to be rid of them for good and I never looked back.

    Your book will be free one day and you can decide what you want to do with it. For now, I hope you realize that PA's website and contract is deliberately deceptive and misleading. They make their money by selling books to their authors (and gouging them for money on "special offers" that no one has any proof were ever delivered).

    The price of your book, both in the USA and the UK, is high (a common complaint for a PA book).

    I wish our paths had crossed under better circumstances, but I hope you'll explore AW and stick around. I'll join with everyone else in excitement when you're free of PA's clutches.

    Best of luck to you.
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  15. #4790
    I haunt QLH AdrianLynn's Avatar
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    I'm really sorry this happened to you, Eve! I can address this comment of yours, though:

    Quote Originally Posted by Eve Thomas View Post
    They offer press releases and say they will announce the release of your novel to the world - pft!!!! I have actually asked for proof of this after contacted various media outlets and finding they have never even sent it!!
    PA used to send out press releases. I know this because I used to work for a newspaper and I was in charge of sorting through the press releases that came in. Several years ago we received a press release about a young kid whose book was being published. There was an excerpt and everything - and the excerpt was so atrocious that I just had to check out what kind of publishing company would put this book out there for all the world to see. That's how I eventually found Absolute Write.

    I passed on the press release to our Entertainment Editor, along with the information available from AW. In the end nothing was done because it was decided that writing something about this poor child was only going to open the kid up to a lot of criticism. (And because we never wrote anything about self-published or vanity published books, which is what PA really is in the end.)

    Since that one press release there were more people from the area who were published by PA, and we knew this because the authors themselves were the one to tell us, but we never received any PR from PA about them.

    So, once upon a time PA did send out press releases. But my guess is they realized that it only brought more attention to the fact that they'll publish just about anything and made more newspapers out there realize that they aren't really legit.

    And Eve - I'm not trying to imply anything about your book (in case you're thinking I am!) It's just that for every diamond out there in PA-world there is an entire mountain of coal!
    WIP? What WIP?

  16. #4791
    Resident Curmudgeon Requiescat In Pace ResearchGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eve Thomas View Post
    Do NOT address us in such a manner. ... Shambles but all good for the media
    Good lord.

    And ANYONE thinks this is ok how? I am dumbfounded at my local writer friends 'published' by PA who still have the gall (or raging obliviousness) to endorse PA.

    :-(

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  17. #4792
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eve Thomas View Post
    "Eve Thomas wants free stuff

    Dear Eve Thomas
    Your message is not coherent. Please take care when writing, and explain yourself properly.
    "Formerly?" We read only the first sentence, and deleted the rest. Why would we give you a refund for orders that were placed by you. If you do not answer our question coherently, we will not reply to you further on this matter."
    This is vintage PA. Don't feel they are singling you out for this kind of response--they do this to everyone who questions or complains.

    - Victoria

  18. #4793
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    An absolutely classic tone letter!

    Woo, do I know how to call 'em?

    Don't take it personally, Eve. That was a form letter.

    Now ask yourself, what kind of business even has form letters designed to insult unhappy customers?

    (Yeah, yeah, I know. The authors aren't technically PA's customers. Technically the authors are suppliers and they and PA have a business-to-business relationship. But we both know that it's the case that the authors themselves are the market PA is selling to.)

    They get off on being emotionally abusive. That should tell you everything you need to know about this company.

  19. #4794
    It's a doggy dog world benbradley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    An absolutely classic tone letter!
    ...
    They get off on being emotionally abusive.
    You mean PA is run by trolls? Say it ain't so!
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  20. #4795
    Grumpy writer and editor Absolute Sage Gillhoughly's Avatar
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    Eve, you're in an exclusive club now. Getting a tone letter from PA is a badge of respect here on AW! Wear it with pride.

    Here's the anti-tone letter, Miranda Prather's Wiki entry. She's one of the Stooges who spews those little love missives around.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miranda_Prather

    Sadly, her lousy spelling in college has not improved.

    The 2nd Stooge is Larry Clopper III, a failed writer who couldn't sell any writing so he developed PA and Willie (the Wanker) Meiners, a Dutch opportunist who is happy to score money off Americans and play the big shot. I wonder if the IRS is EVER going to get to his tax records? I'm sure they're a fascinating study.

    Here's an account of one of their "memorable" (for the wrong reasons) conventions.

    http://absolutewrite.com/forums/show...postcount=4459

    Let's not bother the President of the US with anything as tiny as this or PA will turn it into some marketing scheme. "Pay us 49.00 and we'll send your book to the White House!" -- oh, they've done that already. Never mind.

    The main thing? Put them behind you and work on the next book. Make it AWESOME. Success is the best revenge.
    Last edited by Gillhoughly; 11-24-2012 at 11:28 AM.

  21. #4796
    Preditors & Editors Requiescat In Pace DaveKuzminski's Avatar
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    Hey, if they're using your artist's work without proper attribution or permission, then advise your artist to sue them for copyright infringement and get him to include every management name at PA so they can't scurry away under the refrigerator.
    When it comes to PA, the royalty check and the reality check arrive in the same envelope.

    Remember to be kind to writers who step in PA. They really don't know how bad it smells.

    The difference between PA and WLA? None. Both have the stench of dead and dying books emanating from their doorways.


  22. #4797
    starting over Marian Perera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eve Thomas View Post
    AND!!
    I have just received an email saying that my book is now available as an ebook!!! How stupid and unresponsive are PA? The mind boggles! I still do not want anyone to buy it as this would simply be lining their pockets!
    No one would buy it, because PA typically overprices ebooks. There's a thread about this on the PAMB where someone says, "My ebook is priced the same as my paperback!" and Infocenter replies, "What, should ebooks be priced higher, then?"
    Sleeping Beauty m/m retelling : 13059 words.

  23. #4798
    Resident Curmudgeon Requiescat In Pace ResearchGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Queen of Swords View Post
    No one would buy it, because PA typically overprices ebooks. There's a thread about this on the PAMB where someone says, "My ebook is priced the same as my paperback!" and Infocenter replies, "What, should ebooks be priced higher, then?"
    I know of one case where PA took $69 to produce ebook version and never did. The author was too clueless and technically limited (and in denial) to admit that she had been fleeced.

    --Ken
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  24. #4799
    Zombie lovin' elindsen's Avatar
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    I read somewhere that PA charged $30 for the ebook version of a picture book. Not surprising, just mentioning.


  25. #4800
    Heckuva good sport frimble3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elindsen View Post
    I read somewhere that PA charged $30 for the ebook version of a picture book. Not surprising, just mentioning.
    Bet they charge extra for color. Per color, probably.

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