PDA

View Full Version : Kicking the PublishAmerica habit



willofthewisp
10-12-2007, 02:25 AM
Hi
I "published" a novel through PublishAmerica back in November 2006 and have since been suffering. Since there are so many posts about how horrible PublishAmerica is, I won't go into detail, but I am basically trying to sell my book myself. I thought word of mouth would be the next best thing so I started posting reviews and advertising it on forums. Unfortunately, many people get disgusted by self-promotion and I've had to read some pretty nasty insults. Is there any way to salvage this book, or should I just start on another one and get an agent? This is my first novel and other than publishing an article in ROTC's national magazine, I have no publications or professional experience. Help!

Jersey Chick
10-12-2007, 02:31 AM
I would say get to work on another book. There's no harm in still trying to sell th PA one, but if you stop promoting it you'd be on your way to getting out of that contract. When you finish the second one, start a third while you're shopping the second.

Take a look at some of the PA threads in the PA forum - you'll see you're not alone and there's a lot of great advice out there.

Oh, and :welcome: to the Cooler. We're glad to have you! :D

veinglory
10-12-2007, 02:35 AM
Welcome. In terms of self-promotion, a little goes a long way if it is in the right place. If you spammed I suggest apologising. There are outlets for welcome promotion but PA seems to promote the shot gun rather than the sniper approach. Just as an example I help run a blog for self-published books where we have reviewed over 50 books over 2 years. In all that time we have received several hundred submissions and only one submission from a PA author (which arrived last week as it happens by way of a paid publicist). We open to submissions on the 15th. http://podpeep.blogspot.com

Marian Perera
10-12-2007, 02:36 AM
First, welcome to the board and I hope you'll find success in writing.

Secondly, I don't know if there's any way to get your book back or if another publisher would be interested in it now that first publication rights have been used up. Personally, I'd work on something else and try to get a legitimate agent or publisher interested. This is going to take more time and more effort than submitting to PA, but at least one is much less likely to be scammed.

Finally, I don't think there's ever been a book I bought solely because I saw it advertised on a forum. All the books I've bought from authors unknown to me came from stores where I was able to read some of the book first.

Good luck!

Edited to add : oh good lord, a PA author hired a publicist? Never mind, at least they didn't pay to be published. Sigh.

willofthewisp
10-12-2007, 02:40 AM
Thanks. I didn't expect so many responses so soon after posting. In retrospect, I don't think my novel was ready to be published and having it out there now may actually ruin it, so I am working on other things, and I will certainly explore this forum and see what advice I can get.

ResearchGuy
10-12-2007, 02:57 AM
Hi
. . . I thought word of mouth would be the next best thing so I started posting reviews and advertising it on forums. . . .
Word of mouth means that readers tell others about the book, not that the author talks about it or advertises it.

What can be done to promote the book depends on many things, including the subject, how well written it is, your own abilities as speaker and your own connections via organizations and groups, and hooks for free media. A book with strong local interest can be of interest to local newspaper columnists (but not so much to reporters). Timeliness is important, both in terms of subject and in terms of publication date. Your opportunities have probably faded by now, even if conditions were ideal to begin with, which they were not.

As someone already mentioned, write another book and do the right things to pursue commercial publishing. The methods are not secret, but there are no shortcuts.

You can get your rights back to your PA book. One approach that I am aware has worked is to send PA a polite, nonconfrontational letter indicating that you will not be buying any further copies or otherwise promoting the book AND offering a few hundred dollars payment for cancellation of the contract. But the value of that approach (as opposed to giving up on that book and moving on, or trying the less certain route of the polite letter without the offer of payment) depends on the value of the book and what you believe to be its future potential.

My sense of it is that your PA book is best considered a learning experience. Write that better book and pursue publication professionally. It will be very, very, very hard -- think years of careful effort. But it is impossible if you do not just forge ahead and do it.

--Ken

Saundra Julian
10-12-2007, 03:13 AM
Welcome to AW...you'll like it here. I second or third or fourth the suggestion to write a new book.

brianm
10-12-2007, 03:21 AM
Welcome to AW...you'll like it here. I second or third or fourth the suggestion to write a new book.

Welcome to the cooler!

I agree with Saundra. That makes me fifth, sixth, seventh to agree? :D

willofthewisp
10-12-2007, 04:19 AM
LOVE your picture, brianm. I have started new projects and feel very welcome here already.

JulieB
10-12-2007, 06:59 AM
Glad you made it here. Have some coffee.

jamiehall
10-12-2007, 07:01 AM
Hi
I "published" a novel through PublishAmerica back in November 2006 and have since been suffering.


My condolences. :Hug2:


Since there are so many posts about how horrible PublishAmerica is, I won't go into detail, but I am basically trying to sell my book myself.


This is PublishAmerica's business model: to try and force authors to sell their books themselves. Countless PublishAmerica authors end up selling just like you.


I thought word of mouth would be the next best thing so I started posting reviews and advertising it on forums. Unfortunately, many people get disgusted by self-promotion and I've had to read some pretty nasty insults.


It is very difficult for an author to self-promote. That's why legitimate publishers have an entire department dedicated to promotions. Authors can't do it alone.


Is there any way to salvage this book, or should I just start on another one and get an agent? This is my first novel and other than publishing an article in ROTC's national magazine, I have no publications or professional experience. Help!

It depends on a lot of factors. If by "salvage" you mean get out of your contract - yes, many people have gotten out, you can find lots of instructions and support here to guide you through that process.

If you are wondering whether you can then publish your novel with a legitimate publisher after getting it out of PublishAmerica's clutches, this varies. The usual advice is to try to get a different book published first, then after your other book is published you can sometimes get an agent or publisher to look at your first novel.

This is what I'm currently planning after getting away from my vanity publisher (not PublishAmerica, a different one, but some of the same principles apply to the process). I am trying to get an agent to take on a new book that has never fallen into the clutches of a vanity press. Then, after getting that one accepted, I plan to try and get my vanity-published book published for real.

Nefertiti Baker
10-12-2007, 07:31 AM
Hey there! Welcome, and congrats on breaking out of the PA Pit. There are so many brilliant and kind people here, and so much to learn. You've come to an excellent place.

I'm glad that you're starting new projects. Put the PA stench behind you. Get your rights back. Once that happens, keep checking up to make sure that they're not still publishing you. They're sneaky ones.

VGrossack
10-12-2007, 10:40 PM
You can get your rights back to your PA book. One approach that I am aware has worked is to send PA a polite, nonconfrontational letter indicating that you will not be buying any further copies or otherwise promoting the book AND offering a few hundred dollars payment for cancellation of the contract. But the value of that approach (as opposed to giving up on that book and moving on, or trying the less certain route of the polite letter without the offer of payment) depends on the value of the book and what you believe to be its future potential.
--Ken

I'm sorry, but I don't think anyone should offer them money to leave! So PA makes money for doing nothing?

You can get out of the contract by being firm and persistent and telling them you won't market the book. Tell them you'll tell everyone about your bad experience with PA unless they give you back the rights.

So try it without the money, first try it by being polite (but persistent) and then, when they get nasty (and they will, it's their modus operandi) be nasty back. But persist, persist, persist! And you will prevail!

benbradley
10-12-2007, 11:02 PM
I'm sorry, but I don't think anyone should offer them money to leave! So PA makes money for doing nothing?
I read ResearchGuy's comment about paying as being sarcastic (I've read other posts from him, he seems like a "Reasonable Guy"...). Perhaps he picked the wrong color for the text, or forgot an emoticon.

VGrossack
10-12-2007, 11:30 PM
Well, offering money is a frequently-used technique for breaking a contract. So in many situations it would not be unreasonable. However, there are many reasons why PA authors should not do it:

(1) PA doesn't deserve the money
(2) Often PA authors' books are not good enough to sell anywhere - most of them are new to the business, or they would not have gone to PA
(3) You can get out of the contract without offering money

Yes, I agree that RG usually seems reasonable, but sarcasm is very hard to detect in a posting - and I didn't think it was there.

ResearchGuy
10-13-2007, 01:10 AM
I read ResearchGuy's comment about paying as being sarcastic. . .
Not sarcastic at all. Nor facetious. I know of a case in which that method proved promptly successful. Others are free to make their own choices. That individual chose that route for reasons that were apparently considered sufficient. I am not in that person's shoes and would not presume to condemn the choice.

--Ken

DaveKuzminski
10-13-2007, 02:55 AM
Not sarcastic at all. Nor facetious. I know of a case in which that method proved promptly successful. Others are free to make their own choices. That individual chose that route for reasons that were apparently considered sufficient. I am not in that person's shoes and would not presume to condemn the choice.

--Ken

The writer paid PA to get a release?

willofthewisp
10-14-2007, 01:42 AM
I kept my contract but I feel lazy at the moment, so correct me if I'm wrong, but the contract I have with PublishAmerica applies only to this one book and only for a certain length of time. If I want nothing further to do with that book (it's not my best and I have since gotten married so I write under another name), then I can wait it out and put my energy into my new projects. Maybe money means more to me than it should, but I will never give PublishAmerica any of my money for any reason. They've proven to me they're con artists, so paying them just seems like martyring one's self even further.

JulieB
10-14-2007, 03:52 AM
That's a good idea, but it also wouldn't hurt to drop a line to PA essentially stating that you'll not be promoting your book nor will you be purchasing any copies.

Check your contract. Some versions of the contract allow them right of first refusal on your next work. Of course, you can send them something horrid as your "next work" and then you'll have fulfilled your obligation.

DaveKuzminski
10-14-2007, 04:09 AM
Check your contract. Some versions of the contract allow them right of first refusal on your next work. Of course, you can send them something horrid as your "next work" and then you'll have fulfilled your obligation.

Also, even if they have first right of refusal, that doesn't mean you have to accept their offer. Make a counter offer demanding a proper advance like real commercial trade publishers offer. That's almost guaranteed to get PA to say no since they don't like paying out money especially for a book they know they won't market. ;)

Jersey Chick
10-14-2007, 06:36 AM
But isn't it also true that, even if they met the most ridiculous terms in the world (which we all know PA would NEVER do), you still aren't under any obligation to accept their offer? They get first crack, but you don't have to sign, right?

DaveKuzminski
10-14-2007, 06:40 AM
But isn't it also true that, even if they met the most ridiculous terms in the world (which we all know PA would NEVER do), you still aren't under any obligation to accept their offer? They get first crack, but you don't have to sign, right?

Correct. You can refuse them.

Jersey Chick
10-14-2007, 07:07 AM
That's what I thought. Hey, I have learned something! :D Woo hoo!

jamiehall
10-14-2007, 08:54 AM
I kept my contract but I feel lazy at the moment, so correct me if I'm wrong, but the contract I have with PublishAmerica applies only to this one book and only for a certain length of time. If I want nothing further to do with that book (it's not my best and I have since gotten married so I write under another name), then I can wait it out and put my energy into my new projects. Maybe money means more to me than it should, but I will never give PublishAmerica any of my money for any reason. They've proven to me they're con artists, so paying them just seems like martyring one's self even further.

If you decide to wait it out, check the terms of your contract carefully. I believe they now have a clause that makes it tricky to get out that way, making it so that unless you do a certain thing exactly when the contract expires, it instead self-renews for another seven years. I forget the details, but it is a good thing to check for.

willofthewisp
10-14-2007, 07:19 PM
I read over my contract and I didn't see anything like that. I also emailed them to tell them, so I expect to hear from them oh, say, months from now because that's how they always are about getting back to me. I'll keep nagging them.

Jersey Chick
10-14-2007, 07:34 PM
Persistence
Patience
Professionalism

Remember those and you'll find your way clear. Don't wait six months - but persistently email them (stay polite no matter how aggravated you are) once a week or every three days, or what have you, until you get the answer you want.

Be prepared for ruler-across-the-knuckles type "tone" letters scolding you for taking such a tone with them and demanding an apology. Just keep at it. You might want to post your progress here- trust me, you'll get tons of good advice.

:D

DaveKuzminski
10-14-2007, 08:14 PM
You could also send them emails with questions similar to those at URL http://www.freewebs.com/meet_real_pa. Somehow I get the feeling that PA doesn't like questions or people capable of documenting events because they have two or more braincells.