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jthome1223
04-06-2007, 10:29 AM
I just purchased a book from PA.

I'll give you a second to digest that information.

Anyway, I work as a reporter at a newspaper, and a former co-worker of mine had a book published through PA. Now, she didn't tell me she published through PA in the e-mail she sent me, but it was obvious that she was very excited about the whole thing. For some reason -- since I know how hard it is to get published in the real world, probably -- I immediately thought, "Oh, no. Please tell me she didn't go with PA."

Sure enough, she did.

I didn't tell want to burst her bubble, of course, so I put on my happy face and extended the requisite congratulations.

And bought the book. Let me tell you, it was beyond painful shelling out $25 for something PA produced.

I certainly don't want to support them.

But I do want to support my friend.

Now, the information that PA is little more than a vanity publisher is all over the place. If you really want to find out what they're all about, it takes about five seconds of research. However, if YOUR FRIENDS, who you know to be intelligent people, choose to turn a blind eye to that information, all you can really do is suck it up and soldier on.

Right?

Right?

Any thoughts on this? How would YOU have dealt with it? Personally, though I know the information is accurate, it irks me when some people pontificate about PA and end up coming across as know-it-all blowhards. What's probably meant as helpful advice often sounds like pompous "words from on high" in the mouths of certain posters. If this isn't the time to keep your mouth shut, when is?

James D. Macdonald
04-06-2007, 02:51 PM
"Congratulations!" is always in order.

PA author's sales go to friends and family. We already know this.

I've bought a PA book too.

endless rewrite
04-06-2007, 03:01 PM
I've bought a PA book too, it just wasn't the right time to burst the writer's bubble and in the end I cared more about their feelings then not wanting to line PA's pockets. As the bubble started to deflate I passed on useful contact information, web sites, writing support and publisher info relevant to them. Good people make bad publishing choices, all you can do is support their writing by pointing them in enough right directions that they cannot fail to make a better choice next time.

Pagey's_Girl
04-06-2007, 03:59 PM
I would have dealt with it exactly the same way you did. This is one of those times it's not right to "be cruel to be kind."

The best thing you can do is be supportive and be there for her when reality bites.

zizban
04-06-2007, 05:17 PM
A PA author I had been talking with challeneged me; "Buy my book and tell me it's not as good as anything the big NYC houses publish."

Well, it's not. It is not even close. It's a big book and kudos to him for writing such a massive volume but if it came through the slush pile, I would have rejected it after reading the first three paragraphs.

allenparker
04-06-2007, 05:34 PM
I think the key is, "How do we best support the author in their quest for success in publishing/printing/smoke signals.

In this situation, it would be best to smile, shake her hand and say congratulations and best wishes. Buying the book is an option.

The other thing is to stand by and wait for the moment when PA finally is done with her and treats her like dirt. This is the moment when she will need heavy support, comfort and a good swift kick in the rear. Comfort for the tears. Support to keep her focused on the larger picture. last but not least is the kick, to keep her writing.

I could be wrong. I was once. Or was I? No, I wrong. I was never wrong.

giftedrhonda
04-06-2007, 05:37 PM
I think that's really nice of you to support your friend. When things start falling down around her, and she realizes what PA really is all about, I'm sure she'll appreciate your support.

Gillhoughly
04-06-2007, 06:01 PM
Someone often quotes here that the PA reality check arrives at the same time as the royalty check.

That will be when you can offer support and very gently ease into, "I've learned some disturbing things about PA on the industry grapevine. Before you place another book with them you need to do some research. I don't want to see you hurt by these guys." Then you google "PA" and "scam" for her. The first 30 entries are all warnings.

But be aware that she may have turned a blind eye to them in her driving need to get into "print." Don't let it destroy your friendship.

If she's smart enough, she'll figure it out herself. She's gonna be mad and feel like a moron. That's when you bring chocolate and sympathy.

DeadlyAccurate
04-06-2007, 06:36 PM
While I certainly don't blame anyone for buying their friend's book, I don't think I could've. I would congratulate the writer on finishing a book and try to avoid flat-out saying I wouldn't buy it. Only if pressed would I finally tell them that I won't support PA's shoddy business practices.

Rosamund
04-06-2007, 08:22 PM
One of my e-friends is currently publishing with P.A. She said she chose them after extensive research, and she is very, very excited about the whole thing. OK, she's not the brightest crayon in the pack, but I really wonder at what her 'extensive research' involved, as I found out about what PA does within five minutes of typing 'Publish America' into Google.

Unfortunately, I only found this out after my friend had signed with them. The speed with which they accepted her manuscript made me suspicious, and her talk about the wonderful contract that let her keep her copyright made me even moreso, but by the time I'd done my research and tentatively enquired as to the state of things the deed was done. Her dad had checked the contract for her, she had signed, and her mum was proudly hanging the framed dollar on their wall. I was not going to come in like the raven of doom and tell them about PA post-signing. Whether they believed me or not, the deed was done, and all I would achieve would be to rain on her parade.

My current plan is to listen to her without bursting her bubble, and then to be there for her whenever the whole thing comes crashing down. There's not much else I can do, really. So, yes, in the same situation, I am keeping my mouth shut as well. Reality will hit soon enough, so let them be happy while they can, I say.

JimmyD1318
04-06-2007, 08:33 PM
I would have done the same thing. I would have given all of the congratulations in the world. If the book was something that interested me like sci-fi or horror then I might have bought a copy of it. And I would do my best to be there for them when they started to learn the bitter truth. I guess that all you really can do in this type of situation.:Shrug:

Arkie
04-06-2007, 09:47 PM
I have purchased three PA books and one other vanity press offering. The editing was lacking in one or two but all the stories were good and the writing not bad. So it was congratulations and move on.

Maddog
04-06-2007, 10:00 PM
JT~
The harder part will come when she asks how you liked the book. What do you say then? In a similar situation, I just smiled and gave vague praise. I could not finish my friend's self pubbed book. It was that bad...

arrowqueen
04-07-2007, 02:08 AM
I gritted my teeth, smiled and offered congratulations. It was too late to do anything else.

The_Grand_Duchess
04-07-2007, 02:21 AM
I'd have to tell my friend the truth. The cold, hard truth. I would feel bad about it but I would feel even worse for keeping it from them.

Ken Schneider
04-07-2007, 04:54 AM
In your situation I might play it off to a point.

What I would do, is question H/S on how PA will market the book, or if the book will be in bookstores.

Then in a subtle way, try to make sure that your friend doesn't purchase copies of the book.

I've purchased PA books too, 150 of them. Bad, bad, bad.

stormie
04-07-2007, 05:17 AM
This was a former co-worker, not a close friend? I doubt I would have bought the book. I wouldn't, though, burst her bubble. In time she'll realize that PA means Publish Anything and is the pits.

DaveKuzminski
04-07-2007, 06:14 AM
I try not to purchase bullets for murderers or to support scam organizations by purchasing their products regardless of how good the person is who was taken by them because doing otherwise results in only more victims.

James D. Macdonald
04-07-2007, 09:08 AM
The PA book I bought was Molly Marx Brent's Ain't Enough Front Porches. I bought it long after PA had returned her rights to her and supposedly stopped printing it.

I kept the receipt.

At the time, Molly was contemplating legal action.

Saundra Julian
04-07-2007, 05:05 PM
J, I think you did what most would do. However, I have to agree with Dave on this one and I probably could not have pulled it off as well as you.

My first (gut) reaction would have been, “OH, NO!” But you see I’ve been there and know first hand how PA operates.

I warn everyone I can about them, some listen, some don’t. Not my problem if they choose to be ripped off but I will be there to give them a hug when the light bulb comes on!

The Lady
04-08-2007, 02:24 AM
There's no way I'd have bought the book. I'd have pointed out the price discrepancy and asked her why it was priced so high. I'd probably be slightly nasty and tell her I'd wait for it to appear in the bookshops at a reasonable price. I hate it when people push products on friends and acquaintances. I wouldn't have burst her bubble by telling her all about PA either though, but what she did is just exploiting a friendship. Doesn't she know the price of a book?

ccomer
04-08-2007, 02:35 AM
The reason why I left PA was because of what was said to me here on this board. It got my a-- in gear and got me doing the job I should of done in the beginning. I have learned a lot here and continue to do so.
So sometimes it takes a 2x4 across the head to get through. If the person is smart enough, they will shake it off and look at the big picture.
So I guess what I am trying to say is, maybe everyone should stick to their guns and fight for their friend and let them know Now. Don't wait for the tears to fall. catch them before.
But, hey, that is just my opinion and you guys hit me with a 2x4 and I am still alive and working harder to find the right publisher.
I got an email from someone asking about PA, as they were thinking on going to them. What did I do? why I sent them here. PA lost another author

janetbellinger
04-08-2007, 02:41 AM
If it was a friend who had already been published by P.A., I would do exactly as you did, congratulate her and say nothing about P.A. Now, if she were just thinking about going with P.A., I would feel compelled to give my opinion. Once done though, I wouldn't be the one to pop her balloon.

James D. Macdonald
04-08-2007, 02:58 AM
If the author is selling the books out of the trunk of his car, then PA's already gotten its money.

DaveKuzminski
04-08-2007, 03:36 AM
This is for those who might think that purchasing the book directly from the author won't benefit PA, which already has its money from the author. You'd think you're only helping the author to break even, but you'd be wrong. If the author makes back all the money given to PA, then there's no lesson learned. You'll be reinforcing the idea that selling out of the trunk is how it works. That author might make an even bigger mistake by not only sending a second book to PA to publish, but also put even more money at risk by purchasing more copies of the first or both books than before in the belief that they can eventually reach bestseller status because they'll be recognized by virtue of building a massive system of word-of-mouth for themselves.

If it's a really good book, then buy it because it's good, not because you want to help a friend out. Just be sure you look over the first few pages before you make that purchase. That author might not like the loss of a sale then, but my experience has shown me several times over that doing the right thing will eventually be recognized by that person as beneficial.

James D. Macdonald
04-08-2007, 03:49 AM
Hurting authors doesn't harm PA.

Hurting authors ... hurts authors.

Lisa Y
04-08-2007, 05:47 AM
Jthome,

Did you think it was well written and badly published OR was it badly written and shouldn't have been published at all?

Lisa

Ken Schneider
04-08-2007, 08:06 PM
Printing new, unseasoned writers as PA does makes for a perfect operation. With an owner on the staff who knows how people's minds work, a business model was developed to prey on their weakness'.


First book printed = excitement.

I've searched far and wide, and submitted and been rejected, and finally I've been accepted.

Posting on the PA board with other unknowing scammed honeymooners= misinformation about how to market and sell= more unwarranted excitement and have downloaded a proven failed strategy.

I am empowered with the tools to sell books by people that have been around longer than I have.

Receiving the two copies+ a timed offer for discounted books= pressure to buy.

I better buy now, or later it will cost more. I have faith that my book will sell. I have hope.

A box full of books on the door step= pressure to sell.

My wife said I better get the grocery money back before Friday.

Running into the brick wall= scam alert!

Bookstores want nothing to do with me. The price is too high, and no one will buy a copy from me.
You better get the money back for the grocery.

I'll sell them for what I paid.

Gillhoughly
04-10-2007, 01:30 AM
I am going to have a T-shirt made, quoting Miss Snark: "Publish America--Where C**p Goes to Die" and wear it everywhere.

Those caught in the cult will leave me alone and the rest will get the skinny from the first.

There's an RWA conference coming up in my state... http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/icons/icon10.gif

JulieB
04-10-2007, 05:36 AM
C'mon, G. You'd just get 'em riled up.

Captain Morgan
04-10-2007, 05:51 AM
I find this thread amusing. The first time I saw a PA book (by accident) I was so shocked at the poor quality of the writing that I almost bought the book just on that fact alone!

I am not making this up either. I also started thinking to myself, geeze I really must be a lot better write than I thought! Unfortunately I was knocked off my high horse when later my girlfriend explained some things to me about PA. Oh well, it was nice thinking I was a genius while it lasted.

BTW, the English grammar in that MYSTERY novel looked like it had been chewed up through three different language translators, originally drafted by an ESL kid. The author's home page was one of those free geoshitties sites, that was about as impressive as the book was.

Gillhoughly
04-10-2007, 07:15 AM
C'mon, G. You'd just get 'em riled up.

And yer point is...?

:Snerk: You know how I like poking sticks at, well, everything. :poke:

The Otter
04-10-2007, 09:06 AM
When I was eighteen and had just finished my first novel, I encountered a scam agent (who I didn't know was a scam agent at the time). She encouraged me to get my work professionally edited, and recommended someone, of course. I shelled out the money and was then turned aside by the agent. Recently, my dad told me that at the time, he'd suspected it was a scam, but he didn't tell me because he didn't want to disappoint or discourage me.

I WISH he had told me. I could have saved a lot of money and time, and it would have guaranteed I'd never make the same mistake again (it took me awhile to figure out I'd been ripped off). Of course, it's possible I wouldn't have listened, but then, maybe I would have.

Point being, if I knew someone who'd published a book through PA, I think I would break the bad news to them as gently as I could and try to encourage them to get their rights back. If they didn't agree with me, I wouldn't push the issue, but I believe in being honest with people even when the truth is hard to hear.

Captain Morgan
04-12-2007, 02:59 AM
Hell I remember my sister's entire school got taken for a scam. Some publisher mailed the office with some scheme how they were having a poem contest, and selected students would become published.

Sounded great at the time. Surprise - surprise my sister and a few others from the school got their poems selected. Drum roll..... My sister was on top of the world then. Soon we received a notice that we' were not even going to receive any free copies of the poem book her work would contribute to. To make matters worse, there would be no money either. And to make matters even worse yet, they wanted almost 100$ per book. Yup folks, my sister had to PAY for her own SELECTED poem. And a hefty price too!

I hinted to my sister it sounded like a scam, however that didn't go well with her ego. My parents got upset that I was DISCOURAGING my sister and ordered me to stop hinting it.

Well, we finally did get that book. For almost 100$ a pop, you would expect a very hefty book, one with gold print and leather bound with diamond studding or something.

Nope! It was some little thing bound horribly and even the print looked like a dirty off-the-photocopy machine, after it had been self photo-copied numerous times on top of its own grain.

She never did receive even a royalty. And btw, most of those poems in there were such horrible trash, not to say anything about even the grammar with was lacking in a fair number of the entries.

There was something like 100 poems in that book though, as they had hit other schools as well and pooled them all together. Now assuming each entry bought at least 1 book, that comes out to be the easiest 10 grand anyone made!

The Otter
04-12-2007, 06:17 AM
$100 for a book of poetry?!

I remember a similar thing back when I was in high-school...one of my poems got selected for some student anthology. I wasn't all that jazzed about it, I kind of knew it wasn't anything special and that my poem wasn't even that good. But I remember that it was at least a nice, professional-looking book with a sturdy cover. I can't remember how much it cost, but I'm sure it was nowhere near that much.

The depths some scammers will go to never ceases to shock me.

JJ Cooper
04-12-2007, 06:46 AM
Hell I remember my sister's entire school got taken for a scam. Some publisher mailed the office with some scheme how they were having a poem contest, and selected students would become published.

Sounded great at the time. Surprise - surprise my sister and a few others from the school got their poems selected. Drum roll..... My sister was on top of the world then. Soon we received a notice that we' were not even going to receive any free copies of the poem book her work would contribute to. To make matters worse, there would be no money either. And to make matters even worse yet, they wanted almost 100$ per book. Yup folks, my sister had to PAY for her own SELECTED poem. And a hefty price too!

I hinted to my sister it sounded like a scam, however that didn't go well with her ego. My parents got upset that I was DISCOURAGING my sister and ordered me to stop hinting it.

Well, we finally did get that book. For almost 100$ a pop, you would expect a very hefty book, one with gold print and leather bound with diamond studding or something.

Nope! It was some little thing bound horribly and even the print looked like a dirty off-the-photocopy machine, after it had been self photo-copied numerous times on top of its own grain.

She never did receive even a royalty. And btw, most of those poems in there were such horrible trash, not to say anything about even the grammar with was lacking in a fair number of the entries.

There was something like 100 poems in that book though, as they had hit other schools as well and pooled them all together. Now assuming each entry bought at least 1 book, that comes out to be the easiest 10 grand anyone made!

This was on drive-time radio here the other day. A young man confessed to falling for the same type of scam. They mailed him back a second-hand poetry book with his poem glued inside one of the pages.

JJ

jamiehall
04-12-2007, 08:01 AM
The PA book I bought was Molly Marx Brent's Ain't Enough Front Porches. I bought it long after PA had returned her rights to her and supposedly stopped printing it.

I kept the receipt.

At the time, Molly was contemplating legal action.

That's absolutely the best way to buy a PA book. Hope she was able to get PA to conform to the law.

Gillhoughly
04-12-2007, 07:36 PM
I think an old bud of mine fell for the poetry scam, too. He was so tearfully pleased his poem was accepted by some on-line thing that supposedly put it into print. Back then I didn't know about scammers. I hope he didn't lose too much money!

For those here with kids and regular contact with their teachers, etc. it's a good idea to alert those in charge about this sort of thing.

These scammers troll everywhere looking for opportunities, and what richer feeding ground than the public school system?

All they need is to check school website newsletters. Google makes it too easy. Soon as they see some innocent piece about Jenny winning the school poetry or short story contest the cash register bell in their head goes ker-ching. http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/icons/icon8.gif

Celia Cyanide
04-12-2007, 08:10 PM
Jthome,

Did you think it was well written and badly published OR was it badly written and shouldn't have been published at all?

Lisa

That is a good point. I am so picky about what I read that I can honestly say that no matter how good a friend it was, I would not buy their book unless I truly wanted to read it.

It is interesting to hear from ex-PA authors, as well as non-PA writers, and how their answers vary.

Lisa Y
04-15-2007, 11:31 PM
I remember when I bought my first batch of PA books. I was so excited to start reading. But as I read, I felt this icky, gloomy feeling come over me, as I, too, was PA author (still am). Of the four or five I bought, there was one decent one in there. The rest were terrible, from decent stories with a ton of typos and grammatical errors to stories that just went nowhere to the point where no amount of editing could have saved them.

A friend with a decent story that could use editing (not to mention, a decent publisher) would be easier to deal with than one with a terrible story. The decent story writer will need a friend when his/her book doesn't sell and the tone letters start arriving, and you could easily tell him/her what talent he or she has.

A terrible story writer? That would be difficult. What do you say to a friend/family member in that situation?

Moon Daughter
04-25-2007, 06:33 AM
It seems like everyone here is a bit more supportive than myself (ha ha). I would have printed or e-mailed the truth about PA and gave them to her--that way, maybe it's not too late (depending on the progress of the book) and also to prevent her from making a mistake in the future. I wouldn't push the topic on her though; instead, I'd let her read the info for herself and let her make her own decision. Of course, I'd do all of this AFTER I congratulated her. No matter where you're published, I think it's still a big accomplishment to write an entire book--whether it's good or bad.

Toxic_Waste
07-14-2007, 10:22 PM
This is an old thread, but is still interesting.

A friend of mine writes poetry and when I asked where I could read his work, he directed me to poetry.com. People can use their pages to post, much like you do with blogs. I posted one and sure enough, right away my e-mail is flooded with messages about how I won this or that and how I can buy a medal, a plaque or whatever, to "prove" my worth as a distinguished poet. And yes, here came the offer to be included in their "exclusive" book of poems, yadda yadda. And, of course, all these "awards" and "privileges" came at a steep cost.

I must admit, though, that my friend did manage to receive $1,000 from poetry.com. I guess what you do is get as many people as you can to vote for your poem when there is a contest. But all in all, I am not impressed with that outfit, or PA. A chimp could sit at a keyboard, blindfolded, and poetry.com would rave over it.......and try to get money.

stormie
07-14-2007, 10:28 PM
" A chimp could sit at a keyboard, blindfolded, and poetry.com would rave over it.......and try to get money.
You have to try this (http://www.winningwriters.com/contests/wergle/we_guidelines.php). It's fun!

PVish
07-16-2007, 02:17 AM
This is an old thread, but is still interesting.

A friend of mine writes poetry and when I asked where I could read his work, he directed me to poetry.com. . . . I posted one and sure enough, right away my e-mail is flooded with messages about how I won this or that and how I can buy a medal, a plaque or whatever, to "prove" my worth as a distinguished poet. And yes, here came the offer to be included in their "exclusive" book of poems, yadda yadda. And, of course, all these "awards" and "privileges" came at a steep cost. . . .

But all in all, I am not impressed with that outfit, or PA. A chimp could sit at a keyboard, blindfolded, and poetry.com would rave over it.......and try to get money.

My now-deceased dog, who has dreadful poems on poetry.com (as well as an email address on yahoo) still gets their offers--as well as offers wanting him to send pictures of his children to a photography contest, etc. They really pressured him to attend their conference, buy books, publish a book with him. He did become one of their poetry ambassadors (because the isting was free, but never bought any medals, books, pen sets, etc.

As dreadful as the dog's poetry was, PublishAmerica took only three days to offer him a contract to give his poetical manuscript (mostly doggerel) "the chance it deserves." Consequently, he received two copies of a contract signed with illegible signatures. After he didn't return the contract--and I mentioned our sting manuscript on AW, PA never contacted him again.

Poetry.com is still going strong, though.

I use the now dog-eared sting manuscript and PA's contract as evidence that PA will publish anything.