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Thread: The Old Neverending PublishAmerica Thread (Publish America)

  1. #1051
    James D Macdonald

    Re: A bit of a dilemma

    Try writing the flashback in your own words. That's a derivative right.


    In other news.... my ambulance squad had three runs so far this morning:

    7 month old baby, lethargic and vomiting blood.
    25 year old female, 9 weeks pregnant, bleeding.
    Car versus bicycle collision.

    Would any of the people involved in any of those events have gladly signed a contract with PublishAmerica if the deal was that this morning didn't happen? You betcha. Does this mean that PublishAmerica gets a free pass to swindle people? No, PA doesn't get that free pass.

    The events are not related.

    The existence of one evil in this world doesn't mean that other evils don't exist.

    Simon, I'm just guessing, but I'm betting that you personally have never published a novel.

    It's difficult to explain to people who've never written a book what kind of emotional tie there is between the writer and the book.

  2. #1052

    true Jim

    No, I've never published a novel, I'm still working on my first one, but I am well aware of the emotional ties a writer has with his work. I have supported myself as a screenwriter both off my spec scripts and as a writer for a hire for years. Like a novel, I created those babies from scratch. My characters, my worlds - no less real as the characters in my novel - no less of an emotional attachment.

    And I have in fact had people steal my work and/or my ideas. It is sometimes the nature of the beast in Hollywood, which does not make it any less painful. The ideas that were taken from me are gone, they have already appeared in other people's films. I cannot get those scenes back and use them in another script 7 years from now.

    So don't assume that I don't understand the emotional impact. My work went out to the world with someone else's name on it and was seen by millions. It has been well and truly stolen from me.

    And I have dealt with it. I fought back when I could, and moved on when there was nothing that could be done. I am not bitter, I still love my craft and continue to create and to get better. I do not sit here whining and moaning about it and feeling sorry for myself.

    PA does not steal work. They don't even steal dreams, they lie and mislead. But in the end the work is still yours to do what as you please down the line.

  3. #1053
    James D Macdonald

    Re: true Jim

    Simon, good luck with your novel, and I feel your pain with the rip-offs you've endured in Hollywood.

    Compassion is not diluted. (And the koala tea of Mersey is not strained.)

  4. #1054


    Answer this for me Simon. When you first realized that someone had stolen your work and put it out as theirs, were you mad? Did you vent? Did you warn other about the person that stoled your work?

    Did PA steal our work? Not in the sense you see stealing as. They did steal our rights to the book through false advertising and misleading tactics. Had I known that I wouldn't be able to get into bookstores, that my book would be $19.95 for 224 pages, that whenever I said something that PA didn't deem worthy that I would be banned, that I wouldn't be getting more than spellcheck when they claim they edit, etc, would I have still signed with them? NO!!! Is my book perfect? No way, it was my second book and I'm still learning. Is it publishable elsewhere? If I would have gotten some feedback that said it needs editing then I think yes it could be. Would it be a bestseller? No, probably not.

    I have a little over five years left until my contract is up and those are five years that my book could be sitting on a shelf, available for people to read. Did I get into this for the money? No, but it would be nice to do this for a living. I love to write, and that is why I do it. At the end of my book I have an afterword, here is a paragraph from it.

    "I have no idea how well this book will do. I write to fulfill my needs and desires. If in the process it fulfills yours as well, I'm glad. If you find the chaos that I call my mind entertaining then who am I to argue. I just hope we can do it again. I have more books to come. Hopefully the experiences that I've learned from this book will make the ones to follow better."

    I'm mad at them, but it isn't consuming me. I will tell my story because I feel it is my obligation to do so. When I signed on with PA there wasn't that much bad publicity about them on the net, most of it was good with a few bad. I weighed the scenarios and thought that since the majority liked PA then they must be legit. The more people that tell their story the better, it shows that this is not a one time occurrence. To me, I feel like the police. They call up people and say "we have had reports of scammers in town, they seem to be going after people like you so be careful. If you see anyone that says they do this (place topic here) then call us."

    New authors need to be warned.

    Does PA steal? Yeah, they stoled Bly's bio to promote their own didn't they? You may think it was a mistake, but I don't. It got their authors talking, the word spread and they would have continued using it if someone wouldn't have said something. They are trying to look legit, but the mink coat they are wearing is a bit to small. They didn't buy it, they stole it from someone else.

    Kevin Yarbrough

  5. #1055

    Complete fiction...or not.

    Just in case one needs more evidence that PA behaves oddly.

  6. #1056

    Re: A bit of a dilemma

    Mind you, there are other publishers that will ask if there are any followup books. Some have been known to offer a contract on a novel that's not complete. However, it's been my experience that they are usually seeking a sequel, though not always, to a book that is selling well.

    The operative words here are TO A BOOK THAT IS SELLING WELL.

  7. #1057

    Complete fiction...or not.

    <blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>Just in case one needs more evidence that PA behaves oddly.<hr></blockquote>
    Wow, this is fascinating and downright scary. To accept a novel based on three chapters is suicide. Out of the 93 full manuscripts we've read, 60 were rejected because the manuscript simply fell apart after the first three chapters for one reason or another.

    Reviewing a scant three chapters is simply not enough to warrant issuing a contract for publication. If this company is at all concerned with improving their reputation, they should start by employing some standards.

    Geez, this is akin to buying a house without bothering to open the front door to peek inside. Unbelievable.

  8. #1058

    Re: A bit of a dilemma

    <blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>Mind you, there are other publishers that will ask if there are any followup books. Some have been known to offer a contract on a novel that's not complete. However, it's been my experience that they are usually seeking a sequel, though not always, to a book that is selling well.<hr></blockquote>
    This is true, Dave. In fact, we're doing that very thing with one of our authors whose first book is doing extremely well. However, since we're small, I still insisted on seeing the entire manuscript before we signed the author for the sequel. I'm sure all of us have seen a first book be terrific only to see that the sequel bites. The way I look at is, this is my money going into this product and I dang well don't want any surprises. I'll save that for Christmas.

  9. #1059
    James D Macdonald

    Re: A bit of a dilemma

    Three chapters is plenty to reject a book.

    If the first three hold up well, the usual thing is to request the full manuscript.

    Now, mind you, there are all kinds of special cases and counter examples around. Established pros can sell on an outline. When you're making a living at this racket, oftentimes you're shopping around three-and-an-outline and not writing the book until it's bought. But that's for established pros.

  10. #1060

    Re: A bit of a dilemma

    James is right. Also, the pressures are different. Now there's a deadline to meet on what is supposed to be an original book. We're not talking about a deadline on editing proofs.

  11. #1061

    IRS wants to hear from Authors

    I talked to the IRS tonight, and they want to hear from any other writers who are sure or think they are owed money from PA. You can call them and file a complaint...1-800-829-0433.

  12. #1062

    Re: A bit of A Dilemma

    I wouldn't find it odd for a Publisher who makes their money off of selling their books to the Author, the Author's family/friends, and maybe a couple more copies on the side, to agree to publish a book on based three chapters. It was only recently that Poetry.Con started filtering submissions for diatribes against their site. Why would PA reject a manuscript from a person willing to make them money again. I noticed in the thread on the PA board someone noted it took longer to get approval for the second manuscript than it did the first. This would only support the notion of PA's Business model and is most likely an intentional delay on PA's part to allow every cent to be gleaned from the first one and Aunty Em's cookie jar to get a bit more money back in it after buying the first. If they allowed the release of the the second book too soon after the first, family and friends may tend to choose one or the other instead of both, it will also lesson the numbers of the first book purchased by the Author at a "discount". By sticking the manuscript in a file cabinet and putting a little reminder message on a desktop computer task scheduler to send an acceptance email a couple months later, they in effect guarantee better sales for the book than if they just said yes right away. The person who started the thread would have probably had to wait the normal time frame but their schedule got skewed because of the comment by the guy saying she should not have sent jut the three chapters in. Actually their schedule is probably still on target because she admitted the rest of the book is not complete yet and they can fairly well infer that it will take her a few months to get the manuscript done. If she manages to complete it early, they simply drag their feet with the publishing process and the book still ends up coming out about a year after the first, plenty of time for the "Friends and Family" wallet to refill itself becoming ready to dole out more money for her newest book.

    One thing that does surprise me is that they don't pursue sequel rights to books and throw a little clause in about them controlling the release dates for marketing purposes. That would in effect give them twice the sales and if a disgruntled author wanted to walk away they could then hold the rights to the sequel hostage as well as the original. I am sure there are plenty of authors out there who after becoming disenchanted with the PA model would give a quick grand and sign a gag agreement to get their beloved property back early. As long as they kept the price under what obtaining legal counsel would cost, many people would just shell out the dough, even ones who did seek legal counsel may be swayed by their own counsel to purchase it back at "the reasonable offer" rather than pursue litigation, or wait the seven years for the rights to revert.

  13. #1063
    Teena Haywood

    Re: IRS wants to hear from Authors


    Thanks for posting the IRS phone numbers. I, for one, truly appreciate it.

  14. #1064
    James D Macdonald

    On Returnability

    If bookstores truly didn't care about returnability there wouldn't be a returnable book published in America by this time next week.

  15. #1065

    About constant posting

    One of the tricks that PublishAmerica has used is to claim that certain complaints are old news and no longer reliable. I've seen that kind of comment in their forum and in emails to writers who dared to ask beforehand about the complaints. Those writers then shared the responses with me for my input.

    This is the primary reason for why each new complaint should be aired and posted for all to see. It's important to deny PA the ability to claim that any complaints against it are old news because they haven't changed their ways.

    Over four years ago, P&E dared to review a copy of their contract that was furnished it by a writer needing advice. Upon seeing the rights grab made by PA along with the contract length, I couldn't do anything but recommend against them. That set PA off and they've been after P&E ever since. No one else knew then just how bad they would behave toward authors.

    Since then, they've cut the length of their contract down to seven years and have put in a comment that the film negotiation rights have to be assigned to them in writing though I suspect that a good lawyer could make the case for them that the contract already gives those to PA. As well, the writers who generally sign with PA don't have lawyers of their own because they generally can't afford them. Consequently, for PA it's like shooting fish in a barrel with a sawed-off shotgun.

    There's really no way for anyone to estimate accurately just how many writers we've saved from the PA route at Absolute Write, Writers Net, Writers Beware, and P&E. However, given the number that PA has grabbed and how violently PA opposes us, I suspect that we've put a significant dent into their operations, possibly warning away greater than fifty-percent because we've kept the PA name and the complaints in plain view so that more and more writers know the truth.

    So, are we going to let this topic settle? Not on your life. It's one of the few cost-effective methods we have for dealing with a predatory publisher.

  16. #1066
    aka eraser

    Why are these reply titles changing so whimsically?

    Every single day some PA author (or three) finally strips the veil from his/her eyes and realizes the truth. The truth hurts. Often they are banished from the boards and friends they previously considered as "home." They seek the company and understanding of others who have experienced the same thing.

    Some wend their way here. They vent. Eventually, each at their own pace, they deal with it and move on. Many stay here to pass on their own advice and share their own experience with the newly-disappointed.

    The fact that they do so only seems to bother a couple of people. Perhaps the "problem" is with those couple of people.

  17. #1067

    PA online bookstore has been down since Friday

    PA online store has been down since Friday and the writers are starting to notice, two threads so far started on the subject.

  18. #1068


    Interesting. Then again there are all sorts of people in the world who play weird games.

    Too bad a big bad billy goat has to knock them off the bridge eventually. Ever notice how they spout their qualifications but never back them up?:jump


  19. #1069
    James D Macdonald

    Re: be careful

    A troll's purpose is to turn the conversation away from the thread's topic and into a discussion of the troll. Trolls go away if they aren't being talked about. The way to deal with trolls is to ignore them; don't let them derail the conversation. When they get hungry they go on to other message boards where they can get their preferred food.

    You can still find trolls lurking after they apparently left, though, when they aren't locked out. A newbie arrives, and all of a sudden it's Troll City again.


    Now, let's see: Hey, InfoCenter! I know you still monitor this board, so could you give Charley a hand? <a href="" target="_new"></a>.

    Seems your on-line bookstore is down, so when Charley's nephew tried to order a copy, he couldn't.

    Pierrette had the same problem, and you didn't even answer her email. Guys, get with it! At least pretend you're trying to sell books, okay?

    " P.A fashion I am sure they're working on it," Pierrette says, and you know something? I'm sure that in PA fashion, they are.

    Now, a blast from the past. Remember the silly (not to mention misleading) reply that InfoCenter gave to folks who were wondering why their books weren't in bookstores? I think I figured something out. Look here:

    Remember this bit:

    <BLOCKQUOTE>A Vice President at Barnes and Noble wrote us a letter recently, saying, "We very much believe in print-on-demand (POD) technology as a cost-effective tool available for publishers to extend the range of their title offerings to Barnes & Noble... We believe that POD represents an opportunity to increase the range of titles we offer... We will continue to stock every title that you publish, which enables us to rapidly replenish our stores..."</blockquote>

    That doesn't make a lot of sense. Why should B&N think that POD publishing will enable them to rapidly replenish their stores? POD printing is slower than offset. POD printers don't use faster shipping methods than anyone else. And if B&N were having trouble restocking their stores in good time, they'd be talking to Ingram or Baker & Taylor or their favorite shipping firms, not to PublishAmerica. Moreover, if they were making an agreement that involved shipping and restocking, the whole thing would be a lot more serious and technical than this cheerily superficial little note.

    But notice the ellipses.

    I suspect those sentences or sentence fragments come from different paragraphs. Let's home in on this one here:

    We will continue to stock every title that you publish, which enables us to rapidly replenish our stores...

    Now it's obvious that B&N doesn't stock every title PublishAmerica publishes. Check your random B&N and you'll find you're hard-pressed to find any PA title in stock. The PA message boards are chock-a-block (until the threads are deleted and the author banned) with stories of authors unable to get their books stocked on the shelves of physical B&N stores despite going to the managers and begging.

    So, what does this mean? Let's combine it with a sentence from a bit higher up in that silly, superficial, and misleading InfoCenter reply:

    "Also worthy of note, most of your books are physically, actually, in stock at Ingram, with copies in their Oregon and Tennessee warehouses, and at a Barnes and Noble distribution center, ready to ship immediately."

    "Most of your books are physically ... at a Barnes and Noble distribution center, ready to ship immediately."

    Okay, got it. The Vice President of B&N is saying, sure, we'll take one copy of each book to put in one or another massive echoing distribution center, just in case someone, somewhere orders one. They keep books in those warehouses "...which enables us to rapidly replenish our stores...."

    That won't put PublishAmerica books on B&N shelves out where the public can see (and perhaps buy) them, but it sure allows InfoCenter to post misleading information without technically lying.

  20. #1070

    Re: The tedium! The tedium!

    Ah, but the sad thing is that honest publishers don't have to twist the words of others in the manner that PA uses.

    Maybe we need to write one of those sources to find out exactly what they stated, if anything, in response to PA.

  21. #1071
    James D Macdonald

    Re: The tedium! The tedium!

    Maybe we need to write one of those sources to find out exactly what they stated, if anything, in response to PA.

    Not easy. We don't know the date of this letter (at least two, maybe three years ago), nor who it was from, nor who it was to. I'm sure B&N has a lot of vice presidents.

    If you want to do it, Dave, in your role as editor of P&E, I'm sure you'll get more attention than I would. Not that they'd necessarily give you a copy even if it did exist and they could find it -- a letter between them and some third party? B&N would be quite within the limits of propriety to say "none of your business." What it might take would be a subpoena. Having a court ask PA to provide the original would be the simplest way to go.

    Dee, we're rooting for ya.

  22. #1072

    Re: be careful

    Re: the analysis of PA's "quote" from B&N:

    James, that is immensely clever of you. I'd noticed the broken logic in PA's chopped-up version of the quote, with its carefully contrived (yet nonsensical) impression that POD will make it possible for B&N to restock more quickly.

    I knew B&N couldn't possibly be agreeing to stock all of PA's titles -- first, because B&N manifestly doesn't stock PA titles except in special-case dribs and drabs at one or two stores; and second, because B&N would never agree to stock all of any publisher's titles. What I hadn't seen was the connection between "we will continue to stock every title that you publish" and "distribution center". Your interpretation has to be the correct one: B&N is agreeing to keep a small number of each PA title in one of its distribution centers, purely for B&N's own shipping convenience.

    Applause, applause. Good catch there.

    We know that individual stores will order PA titles if the customer specifically requests one and pays for it in advance. Having a copy in the distribution center means that B&N store doesn't have to keep track of the order while it waits for PA to send the book, and the customer doesn't have to keep checking in to see whether it's arrived. The store can get the book from their own distribution center within a predictable amount of time, and then the distribution center can let PA know that they need to restock their one or two copies of that title.

    No way does it have anything to do with PA titles being offered for sale on the shelves of your local Barnes & Noble. As we've known all along, neither Barnes & Noble nor any other chain is going to stock PA titles, and precious few independents are going to do it either.

  23. #1073

    Bravo, Jim *clap clap clap*

    You're always a great resource for all kinds of things, Jim. Great job putting your interpretive gifts to use.

    Uncle Jim- Word Detective.

    Thanks for all your efforts.

  24. #1074
    aka eraser

    Re: Bravo, Jim *clap clap clap*

    I'll echo the huzzahs Jim.

    For those who may be interested, I opened a "Free Speech" thread on the Take It Outside board.

  25. #1075

    Warning about PublishAmerica

    There was a comment made that not enough specific warnings had been posted about PublishAmerica on this board.

    So if you are a writer considering publishing with PublishAmerica - PA Consider these points.

    PA books are very difficult to place in bookstores because PA does not offer the standard discount and does not accept returns. Many independent bookstores won't even accept PA books on consignment. Accepting returns is the industry norm, and by not accepting returns from bookstores and distributors such as Ingrams, Pa is almost guaranteeing that their books will NOT be in bricks and mortar bookstores.

    Both the chains and independents won't do a booksigning for a PA published author because they consider PA to be a vanity press much like the POD presses.

    Many reviewers, especially traditional print media will not review a POD or PublishAmerica book as a matter of policy. The trades, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews won't review a PA book. These publications don't want to waste precious review space on books which are not distributed nationally.

    Publish America does not obtain a Library of Congress catalog description for their books, which means it is difficult to convince libraries to buy PA books, and libraries buy thousands and thousands of books. The lack of a Library of Congress catalog description (normally on the page of the book the copyright notice is on) marks the book as self published or vanity published. The Library of Congress will not issue a catalog description to a vanity title.

    PA is rude, condescending and arrogant to their own authors.

    Let me repeat that:

    PA is rude, condescending and arrogant to their own authors.

    PublishAmerica demands that their authors communicate with them only be email to They say any other forms of communication including postal mail and faxes from their authors will be trashed unread.

    The bulletin board at PA is monitored constantly by PublishAmerica, any post that could be considered negative is immediately pulled. Any question about why PA books aren'tin bookstores is pulled. Publish America also bans their own authors from posting on the PA boards if PA doesn't like what the author posts on other boards such as the one you're reading now.

    PA accepts any book that they feel the author will sell at least 20 copies.

    PA has 8000 authors and will have to "publish" 3000 titles in the next 12 months in order to meet their contract of publishing within one year of signing. Penguin Putnam publishes 3000 books a year. Does PA have the same staff level for editing, cover design and marketing that Penguin does? PA says they meticulously line edit. They would have to edit 10 books a day in order to meet their obligation. And design 10 book covers, as well as send out 10 press releases. Where is their staff hidden? You be the judge their offices are pictured here Yes that's just a townhouse in Maryland.

    PA books are sometimes not even in the system for the bookstores to special order.

    I know all this because I had a book published with PA. That was the wrong decision to make.

    However we have hired a literary - entertainment law firm to pursue legal action if necessary to obtain the full rights to our book back to us.

    Dee Power

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