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The Newer Never-Ending PublishAmerica / America Star Books Thread

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Don Schaeffer

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Maybe Our Expectations are Too High

I have been publishing with them. I am a poet on my fourth book.

Initially, PublishAmerica is a POD press (Publish On Demand). They make no bones about it.

They make books and don't charge up front for publication. The books look good. They make sure a listing of your books gets to every on-line bookstore on Earth. They will distribute profitable books to major full-service bookstores. The problem is their royalty payments are unreliable. But I have found that the payments by the book stores is also completely unreliable. I think that's the problem with the industry. I never know how many of my books have actually sold.

They don't market your books really. They don't arrange glamorous book tours. People who believe puiblishers do that are dreamers.

They rely on authors to buy their own books for distribution or sales. That's the vanity press aspect of it. I have spent hundreds for books to give out to bookstores and libraries. But there is no limit to the press run, the book is in press indefintely and listed in the right places with ISBN number.

If you want to make money for your publication you will be out of luck. Very few make any money from publishing poetry. The rule is, in my opinion, we have to pay our audience to read our stuff. But keeping this in mind, PublishAmerica is definetly NOT a scam, any more than Lilly is.
 

pink lily

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They don't market your books really. They don't arrange glamorous book tours. People who believe puiblishers do that are dreamers.
Hi Don. Publishers actually do arrange booksigning tours for their authors, and those authors never have to spend a dime or buy their own books.
 

Momento Mori

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Hi, Don, and welcome to AW.

Don Schaeffer:
They will distribute profitable books to major full-service bookstores.

This isn't totally accurate.

PA will make books available to stores to fulfil an order - e.g. if you went into your local Barnes and Noble and ordered a copy, then PA would fulfil that order. Of course, you could be waiting a hell of a long time for that order to be fulfilled but that's a different matter.

What PA does not do is make books available within stores. You will not find a book in a bookstore unless a PA author has arranged for it to be put there. Often this will involve the PA author having to buy copies of their book first and then supply them to the store. Often this will leave the PA author out of pocket.

Don Schaeffer:
The problem is their royalty payments are unreliable. But I have found that the payments by the book stores is also completely unreliable. I think that's the problem with the industry. I never know how many of my books have actually sold.

Surely there should be v. little discrepancy with PA as to how many books have actually sold, given that they operate on a POD basis, i.e. they only print books to fulfil orders. It should be remarkably easy for them to keep track of returns and sales.

Don Schaeffer:
They don't market your books really. They don't arrange glamorous book tours. People who believe puiblishers do that are dreamers.

Anyone who believes that a vanity publisher or self-publishing company will organise a book tour is a dreamer.

Anyone who is published by a commercial publisher, such as Harper Collins or Penguin, can expect a certain degree of marketing to be carried out for their book, even if it's only arranging for posters etc to be printed for you. That is the key difference between commercial publishers and PA, who won't even send a review copy out unless it's been paid for in advance.

Don Schaeffer:
I have spent hundreds for books to give out to bookstores and libraries. But there is no limit to the press run, the book is in press indefintely and listed in the right places with ISBN number.

How much have you made from being published with PA?

If you're doing all the running, then there are a tonne of other publishers who you could use - publishers who will have no difficulty in returning publishing rights to you if you want to cancel your contract (and do so without charge) and who are open and up front about the prospects for your book.

Don Schaeffer:
If you want to make money for your publication you will be out of luck. Very few make any money from publishing poetry.

You're right - it is difficult to make money from publishing poetry. That's why poets are probably better served by trying to sell their work to magazines and on-line publications and attending poetry events than putting together collections of their own work.

Don Schaeffer:
The rule is, in my opinion, we have to pay our audience to read our stuff.

Not true. The rule is that money should flow to the author. That doesn't happen with PA.

Don Schaeffer:
keeping this in mind, PublishAmerica is definetly NOT a scam, any more than Lilly is.

I think you mean Lulu, which is at least open and honest about being a self-publishing outfit and which is transparent in what it's charging for and what you're getting for that.

You only have to take a look at the PA message boards to see that plenty of people enter into contracts with PA on the mistaken assumption that they were being published by a company geared up to selling to the public and not back to its authors (which PA has itself admitted in court proceedings).

I personally find PA's advertising dishonest and their treatment of their authors reprehensible and disgusting. They crush the dreams of the naive and the desperate and having taken their books, treat them like crap.

MM
 

Marian Perera

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They make books and don't charge up front for publication.

PublishAmerica charges for :

1. Editing
2. Expedited processing
3. Changes to cover "art"
4. Books and shipping (shipping used to be prohibitively expensive, at $3.99/book)
5. Advertising in the backs of books (which other publishers do for free)
6. Having one's books free of inappropriate advertising
7. Release from one's contract

There's probably more that I've missed out. The fact that they don't charge upfront means nothing, when you consider how many backdoor expenses they can make money on.

It's like saying that your credit card company won't make you pay upfront for a meal in a good restaurant.

The books look good.

I'm curious. Have you taken a look at my thread on PA's stock image covers, where I show that PA routinely recycles these?

I'll repost just one such example.

51SRPpKKvGL._SL160_AA115_.jpg
51-eTLX5AmL._SL160_AA115_.jpg
51qayXuCIiL._SL160_AA115_.jpg
41paf2uUwfL._SL160_AA115_.jpg


That's not even getting into the editing, interior layout and so on.
 

Marie Pacha

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Don, I had two books published at one time by PA. One was poetry. My rights have since been returned.

I'm not going to talk about them though. I'm going to tell you what's going to happen with the novel I co-authored, that is being released June 1 by a small press located in the Midwest.

My publisher has already arranged a blog tour for our book, to introduce us and our work to potential fans, and the book isn't quite through the complete and comprehensive editing process (which didn't cost us anything.)

My publisher is working with the corporate offices of major booksellers to ensure placement of our books ON THEIR BOOKSHELVES.

My publisher is preparing ARC's for legitimate reviewers, and will provide them at no charge.

My publisher is providing free copies of the book to my co-author and me, and I don't have to pay shipping or handling fees.

If I purchase copies from my publisher (at a discount), I do not have to pay shipping and handling on those copies.

My publisher will take out the copyright in my (and my co-author's) name, and pay the fee. My publisher will provide the ISPN #.

My publisher is accessible by phone (not a 900 number) or email, and returns my calls or emails promptly and courteously.
 

Don Schaeffer

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Hmm! Where did you find the publisher? Maybe I'm just being masochistic.

I do publish online quite a bit and have had print magazine publication. But I like books. I always design my own covers and include my art work. I am pleased with the appearence of my books. But you are right, I have paid through the nose for that.
 
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James D. Macdonald

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Initially, PublishAmerica is a POD press (Publish On Demand). They make no bones about it.

They make no bones about it? They get up on their hind legs and flat-out lie about it:

FACT #5: PublishAmerica is NOT in any way a POD, vanity press, or subsidy publisher, and has nothing in common with them.

Emphasis theirs.

(That's from their "Facts and Figures" page, a regular farrago of false and misleading statements.)
 

Gillhoughly

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Hi Don! Welcome to AW!! :welcome:

We're always glad to hear from PA writers about their experiences. You won't be deleted here!


I think that's the problem with the industry. I never know how many of my books have actually sold.

Sorry, but the problem is with PA and their sloppy bookkeeping.

Twice a year from all of my publishers (four different houses) I get royalty statements on each book in print telling me how many sold, how many were returned, and how much money each made, right to the last penny.

They have experienced, trained accountants, specialized software, and links to their distributors to keep up with things. I expect PA has a minimum-wage student who will be fired when it's time for her to get an automatic raise. That's how they do things.

A few times I asked for something called "reconciliation to print" (hope I got that term right).

That means someone goes out to a warehouse in Jersey and physically counts books, turns the number in to the bean-counters, who subtract reported sales from the number of books in the building.

If books are missing, they send me more royalties, assuming they've been sold. In 20 years, they've always been spot on for my numbers.

As Uncle Jim has pointed out, PA insists rather loudly that they are not a POD printing operation.

I'm so glad to see you're not buying that one! That puts you way ahead of many writers who don't even know what the term means.

However, it does mean they have no inventory to count. You'd think it would simplify their accounting, but we see tons of complaints from PA writers who escaped their contracts, yet PA continues to sell their books without giving them royalties.

The Stooges who run the company know that the dollar amounts are too small to attract the attention of the law. It's just not worth it to the writers to go after them in a civil suit, so they walk away.

PA keeps the difference. Maybe it's 10 bucks here and there, but multiply that by 40K writers, several times a month and you can understand how one of the Stooges can afford to keep a helicopter and was even boasting on his blog that yachts aren't that expensive.

Now I know poets don't make much money, only a few get any notice. This is a sad thing when poets were once the rock stars of literature, before a bunch of seedy novelists horned into the market. ;)

But you should NOT have to give your books away!!

I hope you'll check the poets thread here on AW, and poets-dot-ORG (Not poetry-dot-com, which is a scam site. One of my friends got taken in by them, boo.)

I hope you'll stick around on AW and maybe we can help you find ways to turn your words into some well-earned money.
 
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Marie Pacha

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Don, we did what every serious author does (especially after my first experience.) I proofread that book until I was pulling my hair out, or at least it felt like it.

We researched and spent a lot of time working on the query letter, synopsis and proposal. And then I scrapped my original ones and started over (I did the query letters with my co-author's approval.) And then I revised them AGAIN! There are threads and individuals here on Absolute Write and also on other sites that will help you with those.

Once we had a good query ready, then we started submitting.

We were offered a contract by another publisher and nearly accepted until we read the contract more carefully and discovered that no royalties would be paid until the publisher earned enough back to cover the set up fees. While that's not an uncommon practice among a lot of smaller presses, that is not what we wanted. We refused that contract, even though it wouldn't have "cost us anything to be published." We would still have been subsidizing the costs.

And we started searching again. My co-author had very little experience with publishing and was eager to see his work in print. I had to squelch his enthusiasm a little and explained that it's not normally a quick process. Publishers (no matter what size) do have costs to cover, and the smart ones schedule their releases to maximize the potential for sales. The smart ones also are selective in what they will accept for the same reason.

If our book sells to the public, the publisher makes money and so do we. If it's well written and successful, it enhances the publisher's reputation and ours. We found a small press that will give us individual attention, and that's exactly what we wanted.

Every writer has to do some research though, and it helps if you understand more than the basics of publishing. Learn the terms, learn the process and you'll have a better shot at being published at no cost to yourself.
 

kullervo

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I had a great time on my book tour. First time, unknown writer. Hardbound book in bookstores, nice tour, a speaking appearance in a conference. My publisher even ended up giving me something like seventy copies of the book for free.

And yes, they paid me more than $1!
 
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DreamWeaver

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They will distribute profitable books to major full-service bookstores.
Not if the bookstores have anything to say about it. PA books are NOT profitable to bookstores. Recently one was special-ordered by mistake the bookstore I work at. The list price was $16.95; the discount price invoiced to the store was $16.05. By the time I'd opened the package, done the receiving paperwork, and called the person who ordered the book to come buy it, we had used up the $0.90 cent difference and were losing money on the book. Thank heavens the person actually showed up and paid for it!
 

Kenneth K

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Hi gang, been a while but since this one was so egregious, I had to post it. Rest assured, for every one I post on, there are 10 others I don't have the time to put up here.

The latest PubAm sales scam from their so-called Author Support Team: Try not to vomit.

Your Book In Borders Helps Haiti
Dear Author:

PublishAmerica will put your book in your local Borders!

We will donate your book to Borders. As many copies as you determine. We will also make a donation on your behalf to the earthquake victims in Haiti!

We're not waiting for the nation's second largest bookstore, Borders, to order your book. We're donating it to them, as many copies as you choose. They may put up your book for sale any way they want, and we will inform your local newspaper about Borders and your book.

Here's how we do it:

You may order any number of books you want on hand, and PublishAmerica
will match the order. We will donate the exact same number of books to
your local Borders store. In fact, we won't even charge Borders for the shipping!
And you receive a 40 pct discount!

On top of that, PublishAmerica donates $1 for each
Borders book to the American Red Cross Haiti relief effort.

Example: you order 15 copies, we print 30. We ship your 15 copies to you, and the same week we ship an additional 15 books to your local Borders store, at NO cost to the bookstore. Plus $15 goes to Haiti!


Go to www.publishamerica.net, find your book, click on it, then add to cart, indicate quantity, and use this coupon: Borders40. Then click Recalculate and finish the transaction. Minimum volume is 12 copies.
Want fewer books? Then use this coupon: Borders30. No minimum volume requirement here. This will give you a discount of 30 pct, and we'll still donate as many books to Borders as you order for yourself, plus we'll still make the donation to Haiti.

In the Ordering Instructions field, be sure to indicate the address of your local
Borders store. By using the coupon you are authorizing us to match your
order and donate the books. You may also request that we ship the FREE
books to your local Waldenbooks store instead, or to yourself.
Also write "Media Yes" in the Instructions field, and we'll contact you for name
and address of your local newspaper.


U.S. stores only. Full-color and hardcovers excluded. Offer expires this weekend on Sunday night.

Thank you,
PublishAmerica Author Support Team
 

entropic island

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I have been publishing with them. I am a poet on my fourth book.
Congratulations.

Initially, PublishAmerica is a POD press (Publish On Demand). They make no bones about it.
Actually, they deny it over and over again on their Facts and Figures page.

They make books and don't charge up front for publication. The books look good.
...Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I guess.

They make sure a listing of your books gets to every on-line bookstore on Earth.
Do they guarantee that? Is there any real accurate way of checking that?
They will distribute profitable books to major full-service bookstores.
They will not, because the bookstores refuse them. Sorry. It's not PA, it's the bookstore. Sorry.
The problem is their royalty payments are unreliable. But I have found that the payments by the book stores is also completely unreliable.
Are your books IN bookstores? Have you verified this? Which ones? How many copies? Is it just in local bookstores, or all over?
I think that's the problem with the industry.
There was a problem with the industry? (Other than PA, of course.
I never know how many of my books have actually sold.
Mr. Schaeffer, real pulishers tell you that.

They don't market your books really.
So they're not a publisher.
They don't arrange glamorous book tours.
They don't arrange book tours/booksignings, PERIOD.
People who believe puiblishers do that are dreamers.
Reality is being modified here. With all due respect, the publisher exists to put a book in a bookstore, market it and make money. Therefore, PA is not a (traditional) publisher.

They rely on authors to buy their own books for distribution or sales. That's the vanity press aspect of it.
No, they sell to the authors, who then desperately attempt to market. PA doesn't care after they've made money off an author.
I have spent hundreds for books to give out to bookstores and libraries.
You spent hundreds, not to self publish your book, but to distribute it? Through a "traditional" publisher?
But there is no limit to the press run, the book is in press indefintely and listed in the right places with ISBN number.
PA got you an ISBN. (And sent out a press release) They really are raising the bar.

If you want to make money for your publication you will be out of luck.
Excuse me? Whoa, whoa, that's a very strong (and false) statement. Sure, some books don't break even. But look how much profit some authors make! The whole purpose of a publisher is to make money - that's why the traditional ones don't charge you! If PA has got you believing that there's no money to be made in the literary business, no matter how talened you are, please correct them.
Very few make any money from publishing poetry.
Yes, poetry is losing its popularity and less money is made. Should that discourage you from trying to sell your books? Or did you go with PA so you could just have a copy of your books?
The rule is, in my opinion, we have to pay our audience to read our stuff.
No. Nope. That's not the rule. Sorry. That might be the PA rule, but never does an author bribe his audience to read his stuff.
But keeping this in mind, PublishAmerica is definetly NOT a scam, any more than Lilly is.
PA is a scam. You just haven't been hit yet.

Get out of there. Fast. Just one experience with them does not counter all the stories out there - I mean, your points show you've been brainwashed. Quickly request a contract termination if you want your poetry to actually be read by other people in the future. If not, that's fine.
 

M.R.J. Le Blanc

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Don, the reality is (if someone hasn't already said it) poetry doesn't sell well unless you're a big name. It's a VERY tight market. But being published by PA certainly isn't going to improve your odds. Real publishers pay you. Real publishers market your book for you, without you paying a dime for it.

Take a peek around the Bewares and Background Check section. Heck, browse the bookstore shelves! There are MANY MANY MANY publishers out there who pay their writers, sell those books, and actually take those stories somewhere. PA does not, could not, and never will fall into that list I promise you.
 

Gillhoughly

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The latest PubAm sales scam from their so-called Author Support Team: Try not to vomit.

Your Book In Borders Helps Haiti


Too late. I made it to the sink in time.


Miranda--I hope you read this.

As Joseph Welch said to Senator McCarthy, "You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?"


Clearly not. You're making money hand over fist on the dead and dying of Haiti.

You make me sick. You make anyone with a single cell of decency in them SICK.

You and your greedy, sorry ass pals are going burn in hell.


One can hope. You've gone too effing far with this.


I might too. As I recall *I* asked a few posts back when they planned to start turning the Haiti horror to their advantage.

Sadly and disgustingly I have an answer. I bet the InfoMonster scampered into Clopper's office with that post and a big grin.

AW and Haiti, I apologize.
 

CatSlave

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I'm outraged!
I'm speechless!

Willem & Alice Rush Meiners
Larry Clopper
Miranda Prather
Victor Cretella

PUBLISHAMERICA, YOU STINK!


(I'm afraid to say what I REALLY think of them.)
 
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DeadlyAccurate

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But keeping this in mind, PublishAmerica is definetly NOT a scam, any more than Lilly is.

There's no evidence they're sending those books they say they'll send to Oprah/Stephen King/Borders/Walmart/whatever they come up with next. Even if they do send them, they don't tell the writers that none of these "donations" will even work. None of those places are going to stock the books. The writer will be lucky if they aren't thrown in the trash.

There's evidence they sell books even after rights have been returned.

There's evidence they don't pay all royalties earned.

They claim not to be POD when they are.

They claim not to be a vanity printer when they are.

They claim to be selective when Atlanta Nights proves they'll publish almost anything without regard to quality.

There are people waiting months for books they ordered, though their credit cards were charged immediately.

They recently sent out an email offering what sounds a lot like a lottery scam.

They let writers think they're a trade publisher (what real publishers are) by using the term "traditional publisher." (Oh, they're traditional, all right. Vanity publishing has been around for a long time). And yet they offer no marketing and no distribution*.

In what way are they not a scam?



*A lot of writers (especially those whose information comes from vanity printers) think publishers don't do any marketing for new writers, but what they fail to realize is that the publishers market to the bookstores, not to the readership. Readership marketing does tend to get saved for the bigger title releases, but even new writers get marketed toward the bookstores.
 
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Don Schaeffer

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I'll keep looking for better publishers. But I will continue using PublishAmerica until I find one. I write a book every 6 months. My books are available online through Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and my local chain, McNalley-Robinson. McNalleys have copies of all my books on the shelf--some featured with cover-out presentation. They have had them out for more than a year. Look me up on Google (Don Schaeffer) for book availability.

Here are covers of my books, designed by PA using my painting:

smilebookcoverSM.jpg


cover.jpg


http://www.mcnallyrobinson.com/product/category/79/item/512845/







I say use whatever works. My goal is to make my poetry available.
 
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