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James D Macdonald
10-28-2003, 07:40 AM
Found elsewhere on the 'net



Take your book. Change the title. Change the authorís name. Do a light rewrite on the first and last chapters, the first and last paragraphs of all the other chapters, and the frontmatter and backmatter.

Youíd be surprised how often the central plot mcguffin can be swapped for a different mcguffin without making you have to do a major rewrite. If thatís true of your book, swap it out.

Now go through the book again and change all the proper names, plus all the place names that can be changed without doing violence to the continuity. Change any made-up language you used. If thereís poetry, consider deleting it. You probably should have done that the first time around anyway. If you used chapter titles, change those too.

Dedicate it to someone else. For instance, dedicate it to your parents, but give them different names. Or dedicate the book to everyone who helped you with it at some university or workshop you never attended. Draw a new map. If any of the frontmatter could just as well be backmatter, move it there. Same goes for backmatter that could just as well be frontmatter. Finally, change the copyright notice. Youíre allowed to do that. Itís a substantially different work.

What you now have is a manuscript that can only be identified as the book published by the Bad Old Publisher if the person doing the identifying has read both versions. This is unlikely. (Letís face it: If anyone had read that edition, you wouldnít be looking for a new publisher.) Itís even more unlikely that the person who spots it will be your former publisher, or someone who still likes your former publisher.

One faint possibility is that itíll be the person who was employed to do the text formatting and spellchecking the first time around. Donít worry. Nobody uses in-house staff for work like that unless they have money to burn, so the text wrangler was either a freelancer who doesnít much care, or an ex-employee who doesnít care at all.
The other possibility is that itíll be spotted by your vengeful former spouse or employee. God gives us enemies to make sure thereíll always be someone around whoís interested in how weíre doing. The current emotional status of your exes is something youíll have to calculate for yourself. If your ex-spouse comprehensively loathes you, consider using this as your new dedication:

This oneís yours, honey;
Always was, always will be.
If you find this message, call me.
You know my number.

Theyíll be slower to confront you if they think itíll be taken as a gesture of reconciliation.

If someone does rat you out, insist that the revised version is a separate book that took you even longer to write than the first one did. Start prosing on about the many significant differences between the two titles. Youíll sound just like one of those authors who really does write the same book every time. Keep it up until your accuser dies of boredom or goes away, whichever comes first.

Donít ever talk about having pulled this stunt. Not even if it makes a good story. Not even if you claim it happened to your cousin. Not even in an interview years and years from now when youíve become rich and famous. Not at all. Itís bad enough for me to suggest that this is possible. Saying that youíve done it is wildly indiscreet, and could be used against you in a court of law. Remember: the only easy way to prove youíve done this is to have you say so yourself.

Will this actually work? Seriously, it might. If thereís one thing you can assume about vanity presses that publish dozens or even hundreds of titles, itís that management isnít reading the books. Besides, a lot of books have similar-sounding plots. If youíre trying to smuggle your book out under their radar, itís probably enough that you donít provide them with any easily googled search strings, and that you alter the text theyíre most likely to look at while flipping through a printed copy.

Remember, only one reviewer ever noticed that Richard Bachman wrote just like Stephen King; and when he said so, nobody paid much attention.

So hereís the end. I canít say Iím recommending that you do this. Iím just saying itíll probably work. But whatever happens, you didnít hear it from me.

marky48
10-28-2003, 08:05 AM
Harder for me since mine is nonfiction. Luckily I didn't name my ex.

DaveKuzminski
10-28-2003, 10:54 AM
Suggest to all your writer friends that they submit their trunked novels that they know are not recoverable as truly marketable works to PublishAmerica for the two free copies and not attempt to sell any copies to anyone. Then we can find out just how much they can handle before they go broke. That or they'll start applying some actual quality control. Either way produces a good result.

James D Macdonald
10-28-2003, 11:08 AM
They can probably eat a lot before they go broke. The way I figure it they've pulled in $1.3 million in unearned profits so far.

marky48
10-28-2003, 10:00 PM
That's why they won't quit until someone helps them to do so. Like extras in Hollywood they just keep coming in waves.

bellascribe
10-28-2003, 10:36 PM
From what I've seen a la "read an excerpt" -- nonfiction notwithstanding -- there's a great deal of room for revision and coming up with a ms that looks far different from the self-published version anyhow. I can't help thinking that if one went this route in the first place because s/he felt s/he had a story to tell worth telling, then it's worth re-seeing -- re-vising -- isn't it? As an editor, my experience is that often one isn't aware that s/he has not yet gotten to the heart of the story. That's one of the reasons for an editor, to help those who are too close to the writing to know that there's a distance yet to travel before there's a story for printing. The examples I've seen indicate that a good editor had yet to be consulted, so these manuscripts have yet to fulfill their promise or potential. Now, perhaps, they might, and any method that gets the author fiddling with the material again can serve as a springboard.

DaveKuzminski
10-28-2003, 10:57 PM
Someone did the math somewhere on this or another forum on how much it cost PublishAmerica to publish a book. It was then calculated that they had to sell a certain number of books to reach the breakeven point. All I'm suggesting is that if they had to publish another 5000 authors and received no sales while still having to furnish two printed copies and a dollar to each author, that would put a significant crimp into their operations. So, if it cost X-dollars for Lightning's setup and to produce the first two books, then 5000 more authors would set them back 5000X+$5,000.

I wouldn't be surprised if they closed up before reaching that point. For all we know, they might not have the sales we're ascribing to them already. Why else would they fight so hard to discredit anyone who complains or points out their lies? After all, their operation is built on a fragile platform made of half-truths. The more weight put upon it by dissatisfied authors, the sooner it will come crashing down.

marky48
10-28-2003, 11:23 PM
I agree with the last part Dave, but I'm not sure of the math part. They're really pumping these things out, and more and more people are "getting their dollar";talking about having it framed and so on. I don't think 5 grand is enough to touch them. What do you know about the Maryland AG file on them?

DaveKuzminski
10-30-2003, 09:12 AM
It's an algebraic formula. That X represents how much it cost PublishAmerica in setup fees since they have to pay something in order to get those first two books to send to the author. Consequently, the amount would be 5000 times that X plus 5000 which represents the additional dollar they pay out.

marky48
10-30-2003, 10:58 AM
No, I know that, it's just how to get anyone to sign up who won't promote themselves to the profit level for PA that's the problem. I don't know what the lightening charge is, but that Canadian company is cheap. I mean, the survey netted 7 against PA. 5000 would be a problem, for this side of the equation anyway.

DaveKuzminski
10-30-2003, 09:19 PM
About that part, you're right. That's one factor that's temporarily in their favor. It requires exposure and experience within their system before many individuals can recognize what we're warning them about. By then, it's too late.

For the time being, we can only hope that their staff continue to haunt the forums and oppose the facts so that a majority of writers can see for themselves just what is actually taking place over there.

adnerb8654
01-03-2004, 04:20 AM
Hi,
I've got one book out, and a 2nd on the way. I wish to high heaven I wouldn't have submitted the 2nd. I didn't think they would take it and hoped it would get me out of the two book contract. But I (naive) blew it.

My idea was to find a real publisher and agent (not in that order). Can I legally make changes to the book(s) and get them out to someone else?

Bre
adnerb8654@yahoo.com

FM St George
01-03-2004, 05:09 AM
tell you the truth, I think you REALLY need a lawyer's opinion on this... just to make sure that you get good strong advice that would stand up under scrutiny...

anyone have a good link to a reliable lawyer who works in this area?

DaveKuzminski
01-03-2004, 08:51 AM
Have you accepted the offer on that second book? The contract you signed on the first doesn't require you to accept their offer. So, if you haven't accepted, say no, and shop it around elsewhere.

adnerb8654
01-08-2004, 03:04 AM
Dave;

I did the uh-dah, yes I signed it, even knowing I didn't want too, you know? I didn't enjoy signing it, and should have gone with my gut instinct. UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! To naive for my own good darn it all!
Bre:blackeye

FM St George
01-08-2004, 05:04 AM
hmm...

well, best advice I can think of is to do NOTHING to support it at all - let's see how the great PA publicity machine works when you're not out there buying copies to resell yourself or making bookmarks to spam everyone you know...

move onwards and upwards from PA as soon as you can and just let it go... as DarbyJ and myself have found.. it's hard and horrible and not easy to do, but it's got to be done.

DaveKuzminski
01-08-2004, 07:56 AM
If enough writers do nothing to sell their books to neighbors, friends, and relatives, publishers who take advantage of that as part of their current selling strategy will be forced to change how they sell and support their authors.

James D Macdonald
01-08-2004, 12:22 PM
Talk with a lawyer. It may not be too late.

HapiSofi
01-12-2004, 10:28 AM
Bre said:

I've got one book out, and a 2nd on the way. I wish to high heaven I wouldn't have submitted the 2nd. I didn't think they would take it and hoped it would get me out of the two book contract. But I (naive) blew it.

My idea was to find a real publisher and agent (not in that order). Can I legally make changes to the book(s) and get them out to someone else?

Bre, the point of that excellent rant of Jim Macdonald's isn't that this is a way you can legally get your book back; it's that this is a way to get your book back, period.

Will it work? I wondered about that myself, so I showed the piece to a real in-house editor, someone who's the head of a line at a fairly major publishing house. He said it probably would. You can take that for what it's worth.

However. If you're asking about this in a public forum, I have to wonder whether you've grasped the idea. If that post is traceable to you, you've left a record of your intentions. That's not the ideal way to go about it.

Here's an idea. Have you submitted the final version of your second book to PA? We know that PA doesn't pay attention to the text of its books once they're in galleys, because they've put out books that are all one paragraph, or all one word, and you can't do that if you've so much as run your eyeballs once over the text. You could probably send them the text of Gone With the Wind as your first-pass corrections without setting off their alarms, as long as it came out the right length.

What you want to do is make all those changes suggested in the rant to the text you send back to PA. They'll publish it without looking. At that point they'll have implicitly agreed that the text you sent was acceptable, and has fulfilled the terms of your contract's option clause. You'll be off the hook, and they'll have published a work that's substantially different from your unaltered manuscript. That'll mean you can take your unaltered manuscript and send it to someone else.

CaoPaux
03-16-2005, 08:29 PM
*pinging old thread for search engine*

How to get your book back from PA

Publish America Publishamerica release from contract

rjobrien
03-20-2005, 05:38 AM
Well, I finally got my book back from PublishAmerica. This after an exchange between myself, the Maryland Better Business Bureau, and PA.

Here's what happened. Once the cover price got jacked up to 24.95 (for a 400 page book????) I refused to even mention my book to anyone let alone promote it.

PA turned around and sent a form releasing the rights back of me due to "lack of sales".

There is hope out there.

If I can convince one other PA author to do what I've done, and they in turn do the same, then soon the evil PA empire will be toppled.

I suggest to anyone looking to get out of their contract to first contact the Maryland Better Business Bureau, state your case (why your contract should be dissolved and the rights of your book released back to you), and see what happens next.

CaoPaux
03-21-2005, 12:45 AM
Congrats, rjobrien! :partyguy:

If you haven't already found it, come on over to the Neverending PA Thread http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=524&page=1&pp=25 and celebrate/comiserate with lots of ex-PA authors.

:welcome:

Renee
03-23-2005, 05:41 AM
Well, I finally got my book back from PublishAmerica. This after an exchange between myself, the Maryland Better Business Bureau, and PA.



Congratulations, Rjobrien! That's awesome!

:Cake:

Renee
03-28-2005, 11:54 AM
Ok, before this thread goes away - has everyone seen it?

HapiSofi
04-25-2006, 03:06 AM
Let's say you've signed a contract with PA, and you sent them the text of your book, but now you just want out.

PA used to be very unwilling to let authors go. Lately they've gotten a little looser, but there's still no guarantee they'll let you back out of the deal.

First: don't fall for their guilt trips about all the time and money they've invested in you. They haven't. At most, their total resources expended on your behalf consist of a few hours of text formatting by an underpaid young lady from the school up the road, and considerably less than an hour of Quark and PhotoShop time by another of their employees. Remember, PublishAmerica has eaten up a lot of your time, too -- and that's even if you don't take into account the time it took you to write the book.

Second: PA doesn't proofread their own books. They send the text files back to the authors, and let the authors do the proofreading. We know they don't look at what comes back, because authors who've made errors in those files have had their books go to press with no paragraph breaks from start to finish, or other glaringly obvious text glitches. This is your salvation.

When your text comes back for proofreading, you're going to do a modified version of that process Jim Macdonald described in the first post of this thread. There are two differences. First, whatever the changes you make, the have to come out the same length as the original version. Second, the changes don't have to make sense. You do have to change the names, placenames, chapter titles, and other distinctive strings; but while you're at it you could run search-and-replace to swap around all instances of the words apple, sprog, linger, cheap, swain, poopy, chops, sense, and any other words that are the same length.

Even if you can't get out of your contract, you can see to it that the book that goes to press under PA's imprint is obviously not the same work as the book you submitted to them. They'll hold the rights to a work you don't want, and you can take the real book and go elsewhere.

HapiSofi
04-25-2006, 03:46 AM
O Masters of this Venue:

Could we please get Oracle's excellent long post of 4/21 from "The Publish America Wars" copied into this topic? It's going to disappear into the molasses-like flood of posts on the NEPAT, and there's some genuinely useful material in it about getting your book back which I haven't seen explained anywhere else.

James D. Macdonald
04-25-2006, 05:01 AM
I've re-opened the PublishAmerica Wars thread.

A link to that post (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=578902&postcount=39) would certainly be appropriate.

CatSlave
08-16-2007, 05:14 AM
I was browsing through the old PA threads and ran across this one.
Thought it would be worthwhile to post here, so the thread would move up to the current area.

The link in the post above me is worth reading.

Marie Pacha
08-19-2007, 07:12 PM
This was posted on the Guild on 8/9/07. http://www.adr.org/sp.asp?id=21936
The link is for the rules for filing for class action arbitration. The rules listed are supplemental to the Commercial Rules.

It's not an option for me, my arbitration is already filed as an individual.

But it's a viable option for any authors seeking their rights back, and resolution to their contract disputes.

Laurie Champion
09-09-2007, 11:38 AM
Suggest to all your writer friends that they submit their trunked novels that they know are not recoverable as truly marketable works to PublishAmerica for the two free copies and not attempt to sell any copies to anyone. Then we can find out just how much they can handle before they go broke. That or they'll start applying some actual quality control. Either way produces a good result.

I like this idea. It's action oriented. If everybody on this forum did this and got one "Friend" to do it, the damage might be substantial. We could just type junk, the minimum. Or take most of the good stuff out during our own proofreading. They'd be out postage, etc. It's an old post, so I don't know if writers still get two free books.

Also, we could each act interested and keep them busy answering our emails. Wouldn't take long to ask a couple dumb questions. Even though it looks like they have standard canned answers, it would consume their time if enough people did it. And it would only take each of us individually a few minutes a day, but multiply our few minutes times the number of people inquiring and they'd get bombarded. Seems reasonable.

Any thoughts. I'm dead serious. I'm willing to help someone whose been on Absolute Write awhile lead such an operation. I hate fraud and think we should do something.

Laurie

PVish
09-09-2007, 06:11 PM
Suggest to all your writer friends that they submit their trunked novels that they know are not recoverable as truly marketable works to PublishAmerica for the two free copies and not attempt to sell any copies to anyone. Then we can find out just how much they can handle before they go broke. That or they'll start applying some actual quality control. Either way produces a good result.

PublishAmerica will give up to five author copies; my dog asked for four and that was what was in his contract that he, of course, didn't sign. So ask for more. Can't hurt.

Before you submit, you might want to ask lots of questions via email. I'm pretty sure PA will be nice to potential authors, even though answering questions will take time.

Be aware that if you sign a contract, you will have to give your social security number. It will cost PA $1.11 to mail a contract. However, just having them mail a contract that you later decide not to sign will cost them time and money.

If you're really going to have them publish your slush, use a pen name. You don't want your real name linked to them forevermore. Be warned, however, that if a reviewer requests a copy, PA will tell them your real name. (I once asked for a review copy of a local author who'd sold no copies in the several years her book had been, uh, available. Took me six weeks to get it and they revealed her real name to me. I used my faculty email to ask for the copy and had it sent to my office; I guess PA thought that a college journal would review the book.)

jamiehall
10-03-2007, 12:04 AM
This PA author (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=78953) is thinking of paying PA money to cancel the contract. Does anyone have some advice about this?

Arkie
10-03-2007, 01:21 AM
This PA author (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=78953) is thinking of paying PA money to cancel the contract. Does anyone have some advice about this?


Yes. Write a professional business letter. Return the dollar advance and tell PA that he (or she) will not be buying any books and will not engage in promotion. Keep copy of the letter on file.

PA will probably not release prior to the first royalty statement, because there should be a few sales from the list of family and friends, the author provided. But without author direct involvement in promotion there should be very few sales during the second period. I would think a second letter requesting release might have positive results.

However, one cannot account for "word of mouth," and the possibility of getting the book into the local library system. Should this happen, the third and fourth royalty periods could prove to be more productive than the first two, which happened in my case. If PA is pulling in a little money along, they may be reluctant to grant the release until the well runs dry.

DaveKuzminski
10-03-2007, 01:42 AM
Make sure you use a check so there's a record of them receiving the dollar.

WritersNotesAdvocate
03-16-2008, 10:53 PM
I realize this thread has been less than active for some time, and that my question may have been answered elsewhere (though I apologize that I didn't locate said answer in the index yet), but I was wondering about successful techniques that people have used to get out of their PA contracts. I also wonder if their books are listed perpetually on Amazon.com and other sites, even after the contract release.

I should say I have a new book coming out in June and have other projects with an agent. Thus, I don't really need to get the title, which is honestly not my most marketable work, for re-publication at this point. It's just that I'm ashamed I ever signed (in the early 2000s) with a company that treats people the way PA does. I simply don't want my name to be associated with theirs. If I can be completely honest, I also underestimated them: after my PA ordeal and after the rise of the never-ending PA thread, I truly thought PA's days were numbered. Apparently, they're still alive enough to kick.

I recently emailed and asked outright (I thought politely) for a release, though I did note I didn't plan to promote the title (which frankly has lower rankings on Amazon.com than I thought even possible for any book ever printed in all of time). PA replied tersely with a customary "your contract termination request is denied" asking for reasons for "such an unusual request". One previous poster noted that they were granted a release after contacting Maryland's BBB. Would that work for an author who hasn't been a customer since the book's initial release? Is that the next logical step or are there more effective methods for someone at my stage of the contract cancellation game? I can sit it out until the end of the contract, should PA honor that end, but I feel publication (or printing) through them is a tacit endorsement of their company.

One last statement: though the truth hurts sometimes, I really think that writers who are well-published and have nothing to gain by taking on this issue and yet have are to be commended. Sacrificing time and energy to help the aspiring like myself is appreciated.

Marie Pacha
03-16-2008, 11:01 PM
After I requested my contract be rescinded during my arbitration (PA was not amenable to that) and the arbitration officially over, PA decided that "no sufficient demand for my book" (should have read books) could be expected and returned all my rights and supposedly pulled it from the market as of January 8, 2008; although one of my books still showed available as of yesterday on Amazon.

I sold 6 copies of one of those books during the last royalty period, and considering how many of their authors say they received checks for $ 0.00 I'm surprised they have many people still under contract.

Marie

WritersNotesAdvocate
03-17-2008, 01:03 AM
I thank you for replying, Marie Pacha. I'm reading over your thread and commend you for being brave and persistent enough to follow up on the abritration clause and call PA on their bluff.

At present, I must admit I have no evidence of sales (receipts and the like) or witnesses who might validate a purchase not accounted for on the royalty statements. Truthfully, I did email PA awhile back about a concern I had over royalties. I'll admit I've probably collected as many $0.00 checks as any PA author. I emailed them indicating that two people claimed orally (no receipts kept, unfortunately) to have made a purchase not reflected on the statements, thinking this complaint would compel them to send me a termination notice. Instead, over the next two royalty periods their royalty statements accounted for *exactly* two sales per payment period. After that, predictably, the statements returned to $0.00.

I guess I wonder how and why PA still operates. I imagine they must still make a considerable amount of money, but I really thought one of the following scenarios might've played out by now:

(1) A whistle blower and former PA tool (nobly recovering some semblance of conscience) would step forward and grab the attention of the media, leading to PA folding in shame;

(2) A book would be written about PA by a high-profile nonfiction writer (hey, I'd buy it, so long as PA wasn't the publisher) exposing the scam, which is juicy, getting the attention of a news magazine show of some kind, leading to PA's disgraceful demise;

(3) A series of disgruntled victims would start a Youtube parody of "The Office" using PA as the model. Said Youtube series would take off due to biting acerbic humor and "out" PA to the world, receiving links on equally high profile sites;

(4) Too many writers would start taking PA to arbitration, alerting the law to their antics;

(5) A former "celebrity" author, upon learning the truth, would expose them;

(6) SOMEONE would listen--i.e. writers of some kind more intelligent than myself--and stop feeding PA new victims (especially given how many Pods there are to choose from nowadays);

(7) PA's greed and antics would be so overwhelming as to lead them to illegal actions that forced them into litigation, leading to their demise;

(8) God would strike them down with lightning.

Sorry this is so long. I guess I indulged myself on some of those scenarios, but I truly am shocked something of the kind hasn't happened yet and I'm still holding out for "The Rise and Fall of PA" TV Movie of the Week.

WritersNotesAdvocate
03-17-2008, 01:37 AM
Sorry for going off on a tangent, but I thought of one last PA Demise scenario that I thought might occur.

(9) A disgruntled author--a businessman or lawyer type--decides to get even with PA by sending a deed of ownership (the transfer of sale is listed as taking place, fittingly, for $1) with a signature. Since PA apparently doesn't read what they publish, they publish the document as a book (in effect endorsing said document), making it available in bookstores all across the world. Said businessman or lawyer acquires the company, issuing a press release courtesy of PR Web announcing that effective immediately he is shutting PA down.

I guess this is just a stupid fictional scenario with little logic. I'm sorry. I'll try to keep my fantasizing about PA's demise off the web in the future. For now, anyway.

Marie Pacha
03-17-2008, 02:07 AM
I am writing a book about my experience with PA and my arbitration. It's going to take a while as the documents alone that I received (and many of which I plan on including) number at well over 100 pages, and that doesn't include any of the correspondences which number in excess of 200.

It's going to make me some time to get it together and present it to my satisfaction, but I will.

Marie

CatSlave
03-17-2008, 02:16 AM
I am writing a book about my experience with PA and my arbitration. It's going to take a while as the documents alone that I received (and many of which I plan on including) number at well over 100 pages, and that doesn't include any of the correspondences which number in excess of 200.

It's going to make me some time to get it together and present it to my satisfaction, but I will.

Marie
Marie, you STILL rock! :D

Christine N.
03-17-2008, 02:42 AM
I rather like the YouTube scenerio. You'd probably get a love letter from Vic, though, if you did it and named PA.

Joanna_S
03-17-2008, 03:18 AM
Since parody is a lot harder to prosecute, all you'd have to do is call it Publish Antarctica and go from there.

Christine N.
03-17-2008, 03:20 AM
LOL!

benbradley
03-17-2008, 08:25 AM
Since parody is a lot harder to prosecute, all you'd have to do is call it Publish Antarctica and go from there.

How about PublishAmnesia?

Khazarkhum
03-17-2008, 12:50 PM
How about PublishAmnesia?

How about "PublishUS" ? If done as a parody/comedy, the company could be referred to by detractors as "Publish HUSH" since they never promote anyone & silence critics on their board.

Komnena
03-17-2008, 03:49 PM
This is 2008. If you signed in the early 2000s, your contract is close to expiration. Why jump into a fray at this juncture?

If you intend to build an arbitration case on the information you posted, you're blowing smoke in the wind. PA will chew you up and spit you out.


Is this really a company aspiring authors want to control their book and their dream for the next seven years?

Richard White
03-17-2008, 03:53 PM
Not to mention that PA has lost more arbitration hearings than they've won.

They're not exactly a legal juggernaut anymore than they're a publishing juggernaut.

They're real good at intimidation tactics, sending fake(?) policemen after people*, spreading rumors and innuendos about people and sending attack poodles (think Shemp) to other bulletin boards to try and convince people that talking about PA is a "bad thing".

I would never recommend PA to anyone for any reason and I would certainly support anyone trying to get out of their misleading, weasel-worded contract.

Ol' Fashioned Girl
03-17-2008, 04:04 PM
This is 2008. If you signed in the early 2000s, your contract is close to expiration. Why jump into a fray at this juncture?

If you intend to build an arbitration case on the information you posted, you're blowing smoke in the wind. PA will chew you up and spit you out.

Some of the early contracts were for 'life'.

Sheryl Nantus
03-17-2008, 04:22 PM
This is 2008. If you signed in the early 2000s, your contract is close to expiration. Why jump into a fray at this juncture?

If you intend to build an arbitration case on the information you posted, you're blowing smoke in the wind. PA will chew you up and spit you out.

dang, you're a cheerful fellow to have around!

:ROFL:

Marie Pacha
03-17-2008, 04:37 PM
Mr. Rogers if you purchased a vehicle and it broke down the month before the warranty expired wouldn't you expect the manufacturer or seller to make good?

Wouldn't you make your displeasure known somehow?

And if that manufacturer or seller didn't acknowledge your complaints in a professional manner wouldn't you take whatever action was open to you?

Sheryl Nantus
03-17-2008, 06:17 PM
If directness offends you, don't read my posts. Cheerfulness is a prerequisite for the PAMB.

if cheerfulness offends you, don't read mine.

you don't have to be a sourpuss ALL the time, you know...

:D

DaveKuzminski
03-17-2008, 07:17 PM
Well, W. Lane Rogers, now that we know how you feel about letting some folks get away with victimizing others, how do you feel about those who break other laws? Should we award them with medals for ingenuity and bravado? Or better yet, how would you feel if it was your mother that PA was victimizing?

Mel
03-17-2008, 07:41 PM
For directness, PA sucks.

I'm beginning to wonder, Mr. Rogers, what you are seeking here at AW. You've made a few posts, very few, in other threads, but the majority of your posts are in PA threads. Also, you're an historian, correct? If I'm not remembering correctly, please set me straight. As an historian you would have done tons and tons of research, and as much as I loathe assuming anything, I will here and say you probably still do. So, why did you not do so when it came to PA? Have you read the stories of ex PA authors who have come here and told of their experiences? Some even have proof of the things PA is capable of doing. Hard copy proof they've shared.

You're right, communication on the Internet isn't always easy to interpret. Yet, I keep getting the feeling that you are against those who want out of their contract and that they should just suck it up and wait. See, I may be wrong, because it is hard to "read" what someone really means and where they're coming from.

I guess I don't understand your purpose for being here, in the PA threads that is, when AW itself has so much to offer everyone. Not saying you can't post mainly in PA threads, I'm just a bit confused.

Joanna_S
03-17-2008, 09:39 PM
I seem to recall that PA automatically renews a contract after it expires unless the author asks to be released. I could be totally wrong on this. Just have a tickle in my memory that this might be true.

-- Joanna

Richard White
03-17-2008, 11:01 PM
To avoid the current (intentional, IMNSHO) derailment and get this thread back on topic:

The best ways to get a PA book back are simply to:

1) Refuse to buy any copies from PA (or any more if you've already bought some)
2) Inform PA you will not buy any copies (or any more if you've already bought some)
3) Inform PA you will not be promoting it to friends and family
4) Resist their attempts to intimidate you and continue to send polite messages (both certified mail as per your contract and e-mails) stating you will not buy any copies of your book nor promote it.
5) Review the various threads in this particular forum and review how other authors got their rights back
6) Prepare for a wait - PA is notorious for hanging onto things just to spite their unhappy authors (Remember, the PTB at PA can be vindictive).
7) Continue to maintain your patience and keep sending those requests to be released.
8) Maintain a file of any correspondence you receive from PA, especially e-mail. If they call, try to take concise notes regarding the topic and what was said. The more details you have, the better chance you have to tailor your release requests (or arbitration if it comes to that).
9) Work on your next book while you're waiting. Odds are, it'll be a better book than the one you've sent to PA anyway.

lather, rinse, repeat.

I know it's not easy. This advice is easier if your book hasn't already gone to production, but even if it has, you'd be better off getting the rights back from PA and printing the book yourself at someplace like Lulu. At least that way, you avoid the errors the PA editors add into the books, your books are more reasonably priced, you pocket more of the money and you wind up selling it to the same people anyway.

Sheryl Nantus
03-17-2008, 11:03 PM
I second the polite attitude in the emails - even though you're bound to get many "attitude" responses from PA keep on being polite and nice about it. State your case clearly and succinctly without malice or threats - be so nice that it hurts!

think of it as working on your communication skills in the face of adversity.

;)

DaveKuzminski
03-17-2008, 11:07 PM
Document any correspondence between you and PA.
Keep your claims realistic. Do not exaggerate.

Remember, let PA be the one to make mistakes.

Christine N.
03-18-2008, 01:57 AM
Um...Sheryl's first post had a laughing smilie with it, Lane. I read it as a humorous poke at you - a good natured ribbing - rather than a snipe.

Could just be me, though. Hey, apparently I was attacked from stem to stern today(can't be completely sure; I have the person on ignore, so I can't see their posts) and wasn't even here all day. Miss a little, miss a lot, I guess.

As to the OP - just be as professional as possible, let them know that it is your desire to be let out, that it's NOT an unusual request, and if they don't you are prepared to take them to arbitration. After that, let the lawyer handle it.

WritersNotesAdvocate
03-18-2008, 02:05 AM
Thanks for the recent posts regarding questions I'm sure you've received many times before. I'm still at #5 on Richard White's list, the researching / reviewing phase regarding obtaining rights back, and it shows. I've emailed one other author from another PA-related thread who's seeking litigation against PA so that I might receive detailed info.

I can "politely" re-email PA, but I admit I find it hard to find a polite way of stating I'm ashamed of their obnoxious behavior, which is what it really comes down to in the end. I simply don't want my name associated with theirs. I will take Christine N.'s advice and see how it goes.

Though there's a wealth of info to review here at AbsoluteWrite, I have a few questions I haven't yet located answers to. (Hey, if I had better researching skills, I wouldn't have signed with PA).

1. Regarding chronicling evidence against PA. Is there any way to obtain a record of sales independent of PA's royalty statments? For example, since they're a POD, would Lightning Source or Ingram or even book sale aggregate sites of some kind list records of sales that might be measured against PA's royalty statement claims? Would an author (non-publisher) be able to obtain them? Would any of this matter in arbitration or would PA's own records be given priority? Also, they pay on net. Would there be any way, then, to accurately measure sales records from other sources against their royalty claims?

2. Some posters here have indicated they've kept meticulous records of all PA-related info. I hate to sound so ignorant, but what records were kept and how were they obtained? Frankly, no one's purchased my book in a while and it's likely no one will. What types of records / complaints have proven effective in bolstering claims against PA and how did you go about obtaining them?

This may already be somewhere on Absolutewrite. Even a thread link containing this info would be appreciated, as I haven't found it yet. Thanks.

Christine N.
03-18-2008, 02:07 AM
LSI won't release their records to you, since the account is with PA. It's a privacy thing. They're just doing their jobs and fulfilling their client contract, no matter how slimy their client is.

Ingrams - you should be able to get an account of how many have sold through them with their 1-800 number. That won't tell you how many have been sold through Amazon, or from PA directly.

JulieB
03-18-2008, 02:37 AM
I can "politely" re-email PA, but I admit I find it hard to find a polite way of stating I'm ashamed of their obnoxious behavior, which is what it really comes down to in the end. I simply don't want my name associated with theirs. I will take Christine N.'s advice and see how it goes.

What you've described is an emotional reaction. There's nothing wrong with that, but in your letters and e-mails you need to stick with the facts and not let emotions get in the way.

Christine's advice is spot on. Just stick to the facts.

Whatever happens you'll come out looking professional, which is never a bad thing.

Marie Pacha
03-18-2008, 02:38 AM
I don't have information for all booksellers, but I have an email for the Vice President of Author Relations at Barnes and Nobles. She can provide with your sales records for the last two years or so.

Send me a private message or an email.

Marie

Jersey Chick
03-18-2008, 02:39 AM
To get some of those emotions out, write a letter, with every rotten thing you can think of that you'd like to say. Then put that letter in a drawer. With that out of the way, you can approach emails and other correspondence with a cooler head.

Good luck - be patient, be persistant, be polite, and be professional - can't go wrong with those. :)

Christine N.
03-18-2008, 03:30 AM
I mean, you can explain to them that they've already had your book for eight years - statistically the market is probably tapped out, and you'd like your rights returned to you. MOST publishers have a set time limit, after which the author gets the rights to the book back and the book goes out of print. They've got a shelf life.

Like Jersey said, be patient and persistent and act like a professional :)

Sheryl Nantus
03-18-2008, 04:45 AM
I can "politely" re-email PA, but I admit I find it hard to find a polite way of stating I'm ashamed of their obnoxious behavior, which is what it really comes down to in the end. I simply don't want my name associated with theirs.

first, don't be upset with the fact that you're mad - these sleazy crooks took advantage of you from the outset and had no intention of doing right by your book. So you have every right to be upset.

but anger isn't going to get your book released - in fact, they probably sit there and chuckle when they get some angry diatribe in the email, knowing that they've jerked some other poor author around by the nosehairs and taking great pleasure in it. There's no other reason why they continue to hold onto books long past the time that they should.

channel that anger into a good, balanced email campaign to ask for your rights back. Send a sweet email every week on Monday so that it meets their eyes as they sip their first cuppa coffee. Make it so frakking sweet that it puts them into insulin shock!

and, if need be, take the time to mourn your loss. A wise friend here on AW advised me to do the same in a similar situation - it's okay to be upset at losing your book, even if it is just for the length of the contract. Mourn it and take that energy and move onto a new work, one that's not going to end up with a bad publisher.

but don't let the bastards win. Don't let PA stop you from moving on to write better and better books and putting them far, far behind you. Keep writing those emails and right after you hit "send" get back to work on a new body of work.

says I.

:)

The Exorcist
03-18-2008, 05:00 AM
I may have the easiest way out of all-

It seems that there are more new and "Used" copies of my book for sale at Amazon than I have been paid for.

Lawsuit time?

DaveKuzminski
03-18-2008, 05:02 AM
No, it's time to properly document the facts.

JulieB
03-18-2008, 05:40 AM
I may have the easiest way out of all-

It seems that there are more new and "Used" copies of my book for sale at Amazon than I have been paid for.

Lawsuit time?

Drop a line to the sellers and ask if the book is available for immediate shipping.

I once tried to get a book that PA had just dropped. Whenever I tried to order it the order got canceled the next day, even though the seller showed one item in stock. The book would show up for sale the next day with a stock level of one.

This is why you need to verify stock levels if you can. They may just be showing up as one copy in the seller's system even though it has to be ordered and printed. I tend to believe that this is an issue with the seller and their system rather than PA. You know they don't have single copies of thousands of PA (and AuthorHouse and iUniverse, and so on) titles sitting in a warehouse somewhere. That's just not cost efficient.

Marie Pacha
03-18-2008, 06:09 AM
If PA would notify Bowkers (who issues the ISBN numbers) that the books are out of print Bowkers WILL cancel the ISBN number. I asked the Author Support member who was present at my arbitration if she knew what Bowkers was and her response was no.

Marie

tlblack
03-18-2008, 08:19 AM
PA won't waste their time sending emails to get ISBN numbers cancelled. They are too busy trying to wrangle in the next writer who wanders across the PA Google ad, and sending out those newsletters with offers for authors to buy their own books at discounts.

Apparently I had too many issues for PA to send me one of those "sorry we don't see the need to cancel your contract at this time" letters. Either that or I was a bit too persuasive. It took 10 days from the time my registered letter left my hands until I received their registered letter cancelling the contract. Persistence is the key. Refer to your contract, see how it says to contact PA. Be persistent. Be firm but polite. Any rude email replies you receive from PA, make a paper copy and keep in a file. If/when you contact an attorney, the more you have to offer him/her, the better.

Just a side note here: None of the bookstore managers in my area have ever heard of PublishAmerica. There are over 25 listings for bookstores in the area I live in (just in one major city) and not a single one of them has heard of PA.

jamiehall
03-19-2008, 01:38 AM
I may have the easiest way out of all-

It seems that there are more new and "Used" copies of my book for sale at Amazon than I have been paid for.

Lawsuit time?

If I remember right, I think some of those are fake copies (that is, not actually on hand, but the seller thinks they can get some to fulfill any orders which may occur).