The Newer Never-Ending PublishAmerica / America Star Books Thread

James D. Macdonald

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Could someone who has posting privileges over at the PAMB carry the word to the folks there that Robert Fletcher is being sued by the Florida Attorney General, and that the AG is trying to get Fletcher to pay restitution?

We know that Fletcher sold at least one author to PA. Which means that author had to have paid money to Fletcher. And so is in line for restitution (when the time comes).
 

CatSlave

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Old, New and Newer NEPAT

Over 40,000 posts and it still hasn't all been said.

NEPAT Trilogy: The Unforgiven

w00t!
 

Eirin

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My goodness. A third incarnation of the Neverending thread rather puts the sheer size of PublishAmerica's operation into perspective, doesn't it? Not to mention the number of dissatisfied customers*

Key word: Customers.
 

JimmyD1318

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Well...here we go again! Good thing I've popped up plenty of the good stuff for this new thread. :popcorn: Let the chaos commence.
 

CaoPaux

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Yeah, I was thinking we were due for a new one when the old one kept freezing as I was trying to move & copy stuff from it yesterday. :Hammer:

ETA: Being OCD like that, I added a link to the Original NEPAT, too.
 
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merrihiatt

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Since this is the beginning of the Newer NEPAT, let me state the reasons why I am dissatisfied with my PublishAmerica experience:

* The price PA set for my book is not competitive ($24.95 softcover, $29.95 hardcover).
* The bookstore managers I spoke to would not stock print on demand books and looked at me and my PA book as if I had the plague.
* Without the look inside feature on Amazon, no one can read any part of my book and get an idea of my style of writing. PA denied me the digital rights when I asked them for them for the express purpose of posting them on Amazon.
* I have received a ton of solicitations (PA calls them "special offers") to purchase my own books, yet PA never sent the notification to my family and friends, nor did they send out a press release. In the PA contract these items fall under the wording "at PA's discretion."
* I was banned from the PA message board. When I asked PA why I was banned, I received an e-mail stating that they didn't owe their authors an explanation.
* I didn't like the cover art for my book, but when I said as much, the other option I was offered was a red rose that looked like clip art. I chose the first option, it was better than the red rose, which had absolutely nothing to do with my book.
* The line-by-line edit that PA said they would do was nonexistent. They put a disclaimer in the front of the book stating that it was being left exactly as the author wrote it (I'm actually glad about this now, since I have heard horror stories about PA inserting errors into books!). I wanted a line-by-line edit. I wanted to know what areas I needed to work on. A quickie spell check is not editing.
* I was under the mistaken impression that PA read submissions and published works based on their merit. I have learned that this is not the case. PA will publish just about anything.

Those are the main reasons, although there are more. Suffice it to say, I am done with PA and can't wait until my rights are returned to me -- six years and counting.
 

Don Davidson

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Since this is the beginning of the Newer NEPAT, let me state the reasons why I am dissatisfied with my PublishAmerica experience:

* The price PA set for my book is not competitive ($24.95 softcover, $29.95 hardcover).
* The bookstore managers I spoke to would not stock print on demand books and looked at me and my PA book as if I had the plague.
* Without the look inside feature on Amazon, no one can read any part of my book and get an idea of my style of writing. PA denied me the digital rights when I asked them for them for the express purpose of posting them on Amazon.
* I have received a ton of solicitations (PA calls them "special offers") to purchase my own books, yet PA never sent the notification to my family and friends, nor did they send out a press release. In the PA contract these items fall under the wording "at PA's discretion."
* I was banned from the PA message board. When I asked PA why I was banned, I received an e-mail stating that they didn't owe their authors an explanation.
* I didn't like the cover art for my book, but when I said as much, the other option I was offered was a red rose that looked like clip art. I chose the first option, it was better than the red rose, which had absolutely nothing to do with my book.
* The line-by-line edit that PA said they would do was nonexistent. They put a disclaimer in the front of the book stating that it was being left exactly as the author wrote it (I'm actually glad about this now, since I have heard horror stories about PA inserting errors into books!). I wanted a line-by-line edit. I wanted to know what areas I needed to work on. A quickie spell check is not editing.
* I was under the mistaken impression that PA read submissions and published works based on their merit. I have learned that this is not the case. PA will publish just about anything.

Those are the main reasons, although there are more. Suffice it to say, I am done with PA and can't wait until my rights are returned to me -- six years and counting.

Here are a few more:
1. They are not honest and up-front about their business plan, which is to sell books to their own authors. Instead, they pretend, through their web site and informal communications, to be a "traditional publisher" that makes money by selling books to third parties--until after you have signed the contract. Then you learn the truth.
2. Their contract gives them the rights to your book for 7 long years, and defaults into another 7 years unless you specifically write and tell them you do not wish to renew. Then they adamantly refuse to cancel the contract when you learn the truth about how they operate--unless you grease their palms with some cash or agree to buy lots of copies of your own book.
3. They are impolite--even downright rude and insulting--to their own customers (a/k/a authors).
4. They will insult your intelligence by repeatedly denying what is patently obvious to anyone with a brain.
5. You won't sell any books--or at least, very few--unless you buy them yourself.
6. They won't lift a finger to help you sell any books, except those they can sell to you.
7. They lie.
8. They can't be trusted.
9. They are running a very sophisticated and creative scam.

'Nuff said.
 

CatSlave

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worth repeating

I said it before and I'll say it again:
PublishAmerica is to legitimate publishing what Reno 911 is to law enforcement.
 

Christine N.

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Well, now that we're in a new home, we can see just how far PA has slid:

They used to give two free copies. No more
They used to at least have options on editing: No more
Now, they charge to fix errors (which they probably put in themselves)
Now, they charge to fix cover art

They are a book mill, rushing through as many as possible so the AUTHOR themselves can purchase them by the boxload. They have no interest in selling to anyone else.

They are, in short, the definition of a vanity press.
 

Sandyz

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I hope someone contemplating having their book published by Publish America reads this before signing a contract with them. Or…if the contract is signed, stop dealing with PA and write a new book.

Because this is a new thread I decided to tell my story again…the ending is different or I wouldn’t take space on this thread. If some one wants to move it else where please feel free to do so…some things just need to be said…over and over.

Those that recall me storming across this thread know I had a close call with Publish America. To make a sorrowful story short…when I first submitted my query letter to PA I was amazed at the quick response asking me to send in my manuscript. Within a day I was overjoyed that they, PA, were “willing to give my book the chance it deserved.” I made the grand announcements to every one that I was soon to be a published author. Lucky me it was Christmas time and I enclosed a note with all my cards letting all my friends and loved ones know I was stepping up to the big time. I truly with all my heart believed someone read my manuscript and decided it would be a best seller. I honestly believed I would be assigned an editor. I believed this was the answer to a prayer and the ego part of me just knew my manuscript was just that good. All my friends and family I had shared my manuscript with over the years encouraged me to complete it…it was awesome. So I thought.

There was a slight problem with my manuscript…it is a true story the core of my book was the loss of my grandson, the never ending battle to hold dear to faith when faced with inconceivable loss. Publish America sent me a list of things I would need in order to proceed with publication. Along with this, my manuscript was riddled with quotes…I was informed I would need permission to use them…they PA was kind enough to send me helpful links. There were also documents I needed signed from every person I had mentioned throughout my labor of love. I also received their contract to sign.

Within a few weeks (thanks to some concerned family and friends) links to some negativity surrounding Pa was sent to me. As I read the information I noticed all the dates for this corruption was dated up to…2005, and ended. I wrote the person PA put in charge of my publication and voiced many concerns (I had read on the never ending Publish America thread here at AW no e-mails were answered and when they were, they were rude) Much to my surprise I received a quick response disproving all my fears. I wrote again about more negativity I had read about…once again an e-mail came and everything was explained…Ha! I thought…AW site was wrong and as I had read about everyone here I believed they/you were just a bunch of disgruntled X-PA authors whose books didn’t sell. I was reading the authors open forum over at PA…every post was positive…these were some happy PA authors. So I thought.

Still more negative links were sent to me. I would come over to AW site and read for hours, I found the updated never ending thread when I Goggled, “Publish America scam 2009”…I was getting more nauseated with every post. I wanted to delete this site…it was my worst nightmare. I started hopping from PA message board and back to this one at AW…deciding I should take a closer look I started to follow links from posters here at AW…crap the truth was coming out…so many writers on this site have published books…from reputable publishing places. There were real life editors, writers for magazines and published authors. Some were X-PA authors and told their stories; I was shocked to read many were banned from the message boards. Was this for real??? I wondered.

I could no longer dismiss all this information and went back to PA message board and took notice how few people were posting. If there were hundreds of “happy authors”…where were they?? Why were so many questions not being answered…just a Hi, enjoy the ride kind of posts. “Promote” was the most used word on the message boards. When important questions were addressed no one answered. To my amazement once while I was reading a slightly negative message…poof!...it was gone right before my eyes.

All the while PA was waiting for me to sign and return the contract…I in the mean time was talking to a lawyer about the contract. Warning signs were all through it…the wording could be twisted…seven years they hold your rights, not a good thing, I knew then it was the end to my dream. Royalties that were paid were in question, when anyone goggled in PA scam there was an unbelievable amount of links filled with warnings from PA authors, Bloggers, the list of infractions against Publish America written under Predators and Publishers.com was mind boggling. It just took a quick internet search and everything you didn’t want to hear about your publisher…was right there in flashing lights.

I finally signed up on this site and tried to re-group by telling my story. I couldn’t write any more, the words wouldn’t come…I was embarrassed feeling victimized by my stupidity. Thoughts about my self were all negative…I tried to draw strength by knowing I was one of the lucky ones…I dodged the bullet. But still…it didn’t help my feelings of failure. When people grew weary of me on this thread (even if it was only my over active paranoid mind) I slid over to “share your work,” then over to poetry…I spent hours critiquing other peoples work, and weeks, writing poetry. I realized I was building a wall between my desires to write and trying to find a nitch I would fit into…I was afraid to trust again, to believe in myself or others. One day it dawned on me, PA was winning…they stole my desire to dream again…I decided this was not going to happen.

I went over to threads concerning self publishing and a thread filled with the how’s to get a traditional publisher. I ran many checks for guidelines for publishing a memoir of sorts. What I found was my manuscript was too small to be called a novel…and true stories are difficult to get a publisher to run with…non-fiction most difficult to submit or sell the idea.

I knew without a doubt I truly wanted to put Publish America’s nightmare behind me…I would not allow them to destroy my desire to be published or to self pub. If anything my anger and hurt begin to light a fire under me and the desire to put my story out there was stronger than the heartache I felt when finding out the truth behind PA’s ghastly mask.

I stopped posting here at AW and went in search for inexpensive places to self publish. I continued to read the PA thread on AW but never signed in or made comments…I would just shake my head and thank God I didn’t fall victim. When I received a message from someone here at AW it sparked a desire to come back around payment time and hope another writer would think twice about letting PA get their greedy fingers on their manuscript, or just maybe some one would read this and learn a bit more about the similarities between Publish America and self publishing.

I found a small self publishing place and had a lawyer friend of the family do some digging. It paid off; the choice I came up with was like an answer to many a prayer. After all that time wasted having my private little pity party I knocked myself in the head and spent months reworking my manuscript realizing it was a far cry from being ready to be published. I then hired an editor and my mother did an oil painting for the cover.

For less than $200.00 within a month after basically rewriting my manuscript and working with an editor, I had my book in my hand. My publisher is Avid readers Publish Group owned by Eric Patterson who has proven to be one of the kindest people I have had the honor of getting to know. I can order one book or a thousand, no limit. He continues to communicate with me when I question sales on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. His expertise was a blessing for me. He has given me hope once again knowing there are honest and caring people in the publishing world…my negative thoughts were not justified because of one rotten apple.

I was able to give copies of my book to family, friends, donate to the libraries, which I have done and they are shelved. My book is in a book store and more of them in a little country store on consignment. The Christian book store in our area is having the book reviewed to see if they can shelf it; it didn’t cost me a dime…all they needed was the ISBN number. I have been busy going to my first two book signings and I have two more coming up this month. The article written in the paper about my book was amazing, I have a copy of it on my web site…it cost me nothing.

Promoting my book has been a fascinating experience and I am not pressured to sell hundreds of books to break even or even begin to turn a profit. I am so wickedly close to making a profit and I smile more than ever. I know I am not going to get rich…I also realize I didn’t get an advance (missing that one dollar advance has me often in tears)…but my book is out there. I have two offers to have my book reviewed to see if it qualifies for helping those in grief counseling. If it meets their qualifications it will be placed on a recommended reading list, and put up for discussion.

When I order books, for example, if I e-mail my order to Eric on a Friday they are delivered by the following Tuesday, I ordered 30 books for under $160.00 shipping included. My shipping cost for 30 books was some change over $12.00.

I can sell my book for an affordable rate and I can give discounts and pay for shipping when bought from my personal web site. I have total control and am not treated like a piece of crap like I read about when dealing with PA.

What I am thrilled about is my book is so affordable I have not hesitated in donating or handing them out to family members. I don’t have to hope family will pay twenty some dollars for a book because I have spent an ungodly amount apiece plus shipping.

When deciding to go with a sell publishing place I did try LULU…I do not understand formatting and would have had to buy the complete package…I checked out several others but also knew my manuscript needed serious editing and grammar check. Eric Patterson at AVPG offered it all for his unbelievable low cost. If you knew his story you would know why he does this. Before I chose him for sure I ordered a book off his site…it looked like a professional book, cream color pages…nice cover art that the author designed himself and the binding tight. When left lay the cover did not curl up.

The title of my book is “Red Hair and Freckles”: (Sub titled) “Running barefoot through the Storm.” I have a web site that I continue to work on.

My book is also listed on Eric’s book store,

Barnes and Noble,

And, Amazon,


When I decided to post this message on the NEPA thread it was not to encourage anyone to self publish but to let others know there is other ways to have a quality book in print and feel good about your work instead of hiding from the world when the truth is exposed about Publish America. When I have a question I get a polite answer within the day, I can have my books offered as returnable if I chose to pay a bit extra per year...I am not that gutsy yet.

I am aware my book is self published and I am still extremely proud. I didn’t think I was going to have an editor like they make believe on PA website, I knew I needed to hire one long before it went to print. I knew without a doubt the book was supposed to be published…I felt it. The comments from the readers, some are on my web site…are amazing. So many people that I don’t know are finding a connection through the pages of my book…some are finding peace for the first time.

Had I published with Publish America it would have been dead in the water right from the beginning. I could not have asked my family to pay a high price for a book I wrote as a labor of love. I have two sets of parents, five siblings, 3 children, and numerous grand children. (19) At last count. My husband has two sets of parents, seven siblings, 5 children, and numerous grand children. I would have gone broke attempting to pass out that many books, plus the ones I had the honor of donating to the libraries, it would have been impossible.

I was able to offer a two dollar donation to the library for each book sold, and that increased sales and got me and invitation to return. I also have a request to have a second book signing at the little book store that I just had one at. I had too many offers for book signings so I had to push some back. One week I had two signings within a three day time slot.

And think about this…the extremely high price Publish America charges for shipping is down right immoral…that alone shows me by their actions what thieves they truly are. It isn’t enough they prey on their authors, their families, their friends…they rob their own authors; legally…I often wonder how they can sleep at night. They are monsters…they are in business to rob people of their love of writing and their wallets. Publish America might state they publish for “free” but the moment they have the contract in their greedy little hands the “honey moon” is over and it is time to open your wallets. The money then flows to the publisher until the writer is all dried up. And then the bell rings and Publish America is off and running searching for their next Author/victim…

“Next please…we want to give your book the chance it deserves,” shouts the wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Writers Beware, Publish America hides behind a smoke screen of glitter. Don’t let them fool you and rob you of your dream…Gather ALL the facts before sealing a deal with the devil.

Written from the heart,
Sandyz
 
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CatSlave

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Sandyz, if your story will deter just one bright-eyed newcomer from signing with PA, it will be worth the time you took to share your story.

Thank you for posting.

P.S. I love your avatar...I wonder why?
 

merrihiatt

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Sandyz, you've come a long way, baby!!! I'm thrilled that you have turned your PublishAmerica experience around and now have your book available at a reasonable price. You rock!!!
 

JimmyD1318

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Sandyz...it is so nice to see you again. You took a path that was right for you and your work. And you made it work! That's all that matters.
 

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After ending my contract in 04 and and not hearing a word from PA since, I was sent a letter about the newest sales option offered to PA authors. What should I make of that?
 

CatSlave

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At one low point in PA's income flow when submissions appeared to be dribbling in too slowly (probably after Atlanta Nights became public),
staff was ordered to go back through all the rejected submissions and contact the authors with an offer to accept their books.

EVERY rejection must be personally approved by Miranda, and she reviews every single one.
If you want to keep your job at PA, you accept everything and anything that is marginally legible and long enough to meet the format requirements.

Quality has NOTHING to do with the acceptance procedure.
 
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LexiCan

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So here's the latest "final offer". The contradiction of "this practice will be discontinued" and the promise of "future deep discount offers" is typical.
Note the update on 900 number at the end. Okay, so future deep discounts will be recouped by the exorbitant fair on the 900 line. Surely the directive to employees manning that line will be "keep 'em on the line as long as possible."

Dear Author,

PublishAmerica has been offering call-in sales offers at deep discounts of 55, 60, 65, 70, sometimes even 80 percent off list prices for almost two years now, at first to all authors, later for selected titles only. We are discontinuing this practice.

This is our final deep discount call-in sales offer for all authors*. If you want to benefit, this is the week to do it. Two days only, that's all the time you'll have. After that, we're going back to more regular pricing on most titles. No more deep discounts!


Here's our final 2-day-only deep discount offer for most titles:

Those who choose to have copies of their own book on hand are now given a deep 60 percent discount on all softcover orders. Plus this:

We will double all orders. Buy one book, get one FREE. Example: if you purchase 12 books, we will send you 12 EXTRA, for a total of 24 books. If you purchase 25 books, we will send you 25 EXTRA, for a total of 50 books, etc.

You can do the math: for most titles this adds up to a spectacular 80 percent discount per copy that you receive!

You want deeply discounted hardcovers instead? Though we cannot double hardcover orders and give away free copies, hardcover books also receive a 60 percent discount! FINAL TIME!


Phone orders only, at 301 695 1707, between 9am - 5pm EST. Minimum order volume is 12 copies. Full-color books restricted to discount only. Selected titles may qualify for future deep discount offers. Code: Final60. Be quick: this final deep discount offer for all expires the day after tomorrow, Friday, Sept 18.


Thank you!

PublishAmerica Author Support Team


*As indicated earlier, our regular phone line will be discontinued in the near future, and will be replaced by a premium-rate (1-900) line. Deeply discounted call-in offers may continue through the future premium-rate phone number.
 

lateran_xiii

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Driving by PA's office yesterday (nice building, such a shame) I noticed there was a trailer out front and it was being loaded with file boxes, a chair or two, etc. Several people were going up and down the stairs.

Probably it's just some junk going into storage, so don't get your hopes up. All those thousands of terrible manuscripts have to go somewhere. But it did make me wonder. I know they're cheap enough that if they did have to move they'd do it in someone's borrowed truck instead of shelling out for a moving van.

I wish this town would ride them out on a rail, honestly.
 

LexiCan

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I remember reading something a while back (may have been a tweet) where PA said that they would be moving to new offices. Can't exactly remember where I saw that.