The Old Neverending PublishAmerica Thread (Publish America)

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Status
Not open for further replies.

James D. Macdonald

Your Genial Uncle
Absolute Sage
VPX
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Messages
25,582
Reaction score
3,782
Location
New Hampshire
Website
madhousemanor.wordpress.com
Bonnie, if you're still around and it isn't too much trouble, could you please check on the returnability status of a few random PA books? Say five from January '06, five from January '05, and five from January '04? Just roll some dice and pick some titles.

(Or, I can give you a list of ISBNs and we can see what we see. I love doing random samples.)
 

BeeBomb

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Mar 29, 2005
Messages
130
Reaction score
39
Jim, I have no problem with any publisher making money, I expect it to happen. If it didn't make a profit, something would be wrong. However, I draw the line on PA's tactics when they say one thing and do another in the way they treat their "authors."
They make it sound like they are doing us a favor, when all they are doing is padding their pockets.

I am for free enterprises, making money without doing the three things I detest, i.e., lying, cheating, illegal practices. Lying begets cheating, cheating begets illegal practices and illegal practices "should" get you thrown in jail. Well, maybe they aren't thrown in jail but illegal practices aren't too good for the reputation. Ah, shoot, in this day and age jail time isn't even the norm. They slap a fine, tell you to be a good little boy or girl and whammo...they go back and do the same danged thing. There is no honor among thieves.


Bee


Bee
 

keltora

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 12, 2005
Messages
212
Reaction score
68
Location
East Tennessee
Website
www.sff.net
Why Publishers Must Make Money...

So they can pay you royalties after the advance is made... (And it should be an advance of a couple of thousand times more than a single dollar)

So they can buy your next book and increase the advance they give... (And increase your popularity, your readership, your royalties.)

So they can do publicity for your book. (And thus convince booksellers that this book WILL sell in their stores, so that booksellers order more and more of your books and make very happy readers.)

Have I missed anything? ;-)
 

Sootie

Banned
Joined
Jan 18, 2006
Messages
83
Reaction score
17
Location
Ontario, Canada
Website
p105.ezboard.com
PA

Hi Bonnie, it`s good to see ya.

Yeah, it`s the same old stomach turning lies that they always spew. They get away with it because of the high turnover of authors. Nobody knows that the same scamming techniques are being perpetuated over and over again. Well, until they come over here that is. :e2bear:

Sootie. :Sun:
 

egem

James D. Macdonald said:
Let's make one thing clear: I'm not against publishers making money. Tons of money. Heaps of it. I presume all of my publishers make a profit on my books. That keeps everyone happy.

What I object to is authors buying their own books for resale as the business model of the publisher.

Or, actually, I don't even object to that: If the vanity press didn't exist we'd have to invent it.

What I object to is authors buying their own books for resale as the business model of the publisher, and the publisher lying about it. I object to false and misleading advertising.

James I agree 100%. Would PA be doing biz if authors knew not to buy their own books? Maybe beside that "How Real Publishing works" we could put a "rules of publishing thread" that is written by those writers who have that published and sold books.

PA may not be upfront about their model, but if writers protected themselves PA wouldn't be able to do as well as they are doing.
 

mreddin

Dreamer
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 18, 2005
Messages
213
Reaction score
38
Location
Massachusetts
PA says that only titles sold through Ingram are returnable. There has been some discussion that Ingram no longer handles PA titles but passes the ordering on to Lightning Source, their subsidiary. This means that in reality PA books are not returnable.

Lightning Source will accept returns, a publisher simply logs on to the website and flags the title as returnable. The publisher may opt to have the book destroyed upon return, or sent to the publisher's office. I believe there is no cost to have the book destroyed, but there is a small fee to have it returned to the publisher. This does not guarentee that PA will still honor book returns, but it does indicate that a direct relationship with LSI does not represent a barrier to offering returns.

Edit: I just realized something that might be worth pointing out. If
Ingram indeed is forcing PA to place orders directly through
Lightning Source, then PA has lost their printing discount with LSI.
LSI charges less to print when an order originates from any
wholesaler.

Wholesale: $0.013 per page
Direct: $0.015 per page

This represents a 14% increase in cost to print a title. However, there is another kicker. When Ingram places an order for a book through Lightning Source, there is no Shipping and Handling charges. When a publisher orders a book directly through Lightning Source, the publisher pays shipping fees plus a flat $1.50 per unit handling fee. I suspect this will make a noticeable
impact on PA's budget.

Mike
 
Last edited:

Sparhawk

Jenna's Cabana Boy
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Mar 18, 2005
Messages
1,071
Reaction score
450
Location
in the state of Delusion
Sheryl Nantus said:
ah, the classic "blame the victim" scenario...

:rant:
Sheryl.. amen to that.

PA's target market are those newbies that have no knowledge of publishing and have no knowledge of this forum or any other forum like it.

IF I knew now what I knew then, I would never have signed with PA. but that's the beauty (I use that term loosely) of their business model. They sell the whole scam to a wanna be published writer. Sadly, it works and it works well. I don't beleive that we can blame MOST newbies for getting hoodwinked. But there are those taht drink the kool aide and never recover or never want to recover.
 

Lisa Y

Picked last in gym
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 13, 2005
Messages
159
Reaction score
41
Location
Snape's Dungeon
I got the "1 million in royalties" e-mail from PA- in duplicate!!

How come we don't have a vomiting smiley yet?
 

Aconite

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Mar 22, 2005
Messages
3,589
Reaction score
955
egem said:
Maybe beside that "How Real Publishing works" we could put a "rules of publishing thread" that is written by those writers who have that published and sold books.
Apparently you've missed every time someone's quoted Yog's Law: "Money flows toward the writer." Second version of the same: "The only place an author signs a check is on the back."

PA may not be upfront about their model, but if writers protected themselves PA wouldn't be able to do as well as they are doing.
And muggers may be nasty people, but if people just protected themselves better, so many wouldn't get mugged. Good grief.
 

butch

Mustard production of the "One Million Dollars Paid" Joyk Aroun

For fun: Got this stupid (and real) email from PA today gushing that they were nearing their "one million dollars paid" mark. Pretty embarrassing since they have over 12,000 titles since 1999. It maths out to about $83 per book. After the email I added a fictional drama using the real owners and staff. Hope you like it.



Dear author,



We have another milestone in our crosshairs: PublishAmerica is about to cross the "One Million Dollars Paid In Royalties" line.



Stop and imagine it for a moment: one million dollars that are finding their way to authors because others have decided to buy and read their books.



How rewarding this is. It truly underscores what we have been saying all along: PublishAmerica is treating its authors the old-fashioned way -- we pay them, thanks to your legions of book buying readers. We do not charge our authors a penny, ever. Instead, we pay them. A million dollars collectively! That's what good old traditional publishing is all about. PublishAmerica is a young company, we have barely entered our seventh year. And already our royalties paid over our young lifetime are amounting to this!



Book sales have been going through the roof lately, possibly in part as a result of our decision last year to make our titles returnable. Bookstore orders have doubled in the past few months, even in the famously slow first half of January, with bookstores ordering a PublishAmerica book every three minutes, day and night, seven days a week.



More than anything else, this is your success. You and your fellow PublishAmerica authors have written these books that others have purchased for their education or entertainment. It is the quality of your writing, above all else, that has caused our royalty payments to add up to this astonishing amount.



In the last week of next month we will be putting new royalty statements and checks in the mail. To celebrate the million-dollar milestone, we are making a rare exception by presenting an unusual offer to those who, under Pars. 5 and 10 of their contract, volunteer to order copies of their own book in the last week of January.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

FADE IN:



INT: PUBLISHAMERICA CONF. RM. L. CLOPPER RUSHES IN TEN MINUTES LATE.



THE 70’s CLASSIC “REMINISCING” BY THE LITTLE RIVER BAND OVER INTERCOM.



“Okay guys, sorry I’m late. Been giddy about the e-mail. So let’s have it. What’s been the response to the million dollar e-mail?”



“Loretta’s team won, Clopper killers lost. Lost big.”



“Wooow. Yikes.” Larry bugged his eyes and twisted his neck and looked at the table. “Okay, well.” All were quiet. “Sonya, after Reminiscing, can you switch to the other Mellow Gold CD? Thanks Beb.”



“Don’t even congratulate anyone Larry.” Loretta said. “This is really bad.”



“On a good note, “Willem said, trying to make the most of it. “Most of the negatives are from POD1, 2 and 3 writers. ROBOTS are steady as expected. No strong variance noted on email, telephone and submission monitors.”



“Sir, I’m Bill Jerrace, IT. Sir, I’m here with feedback stats as they occurred immediately after and as they tapered off. Sir, within four seconds of releasing the email I received the first of similar emails. The emails were cynical. Not hostile but cynical, like they were hearing more of the same and deleting.”



“I don’t remember signing the requisition for a freaking crystal ball! Just read the damn thing.”



“Pumblestilskin, your webpage says PA controls 12,000 books. One million divided by 12,000 works out to 83 dollars per book if the one mil was for this year. Oh, but I know how to read a PA email and that cool mil was paid over six years; Barely enough to pay Copyright fees.” One million..ooohhh. Too bad a milestone is an abstract. Take me off your email list” Bill read using proper dramatic flair.



“Everyone in the room except Larry giggled into their knuckle but stopped as he scanned the room.”



“Sir, it gets worse” Bill continued, “many have read between the lines and understand that your words specifically mean that you have paid over 1,000,000 over the life of the company that started six years ago. If POD2 gets to the other PODs the word will get out that PA barely paid enough to pay for their Copyright fees.”



“What else, ‘Bill from IT?’”



“Well, an elderly couple from POD1 went so far as to describe that if PublishAmerica were now advertising their payouts, then they should advertise the real numbers and further publish their business costs like any public company.”



“You know what,” Larry began to argue, “That’s crap. We aren’t publicly held. Publicly held means that I’ve issued stock and nobody in their right mind would buy stock from me.” He looked around for the laugh. There was none. “So you laugh at the stupid email but my stock joke gets nothing? Hello, is this mic on?”



“I was born just blocks from where Anne Frank hid, where she was betrayed and arrested, and from where she was deported to die in a Nazi death camp…”



“Willem. “Clopper looked like he would throw something if he didn’t have to drag his fat *** out of his chair to get something. “You weren’t even born then. I’m going to take that story off the website if you ever bring it up here again. Are we understood? Good!”



“Clopper, nobody laughed about the stocks because it was true, “Loretta was putting her perspective on things, “I’m happy with the paycheck but I’d more likely bet on a resurgence of the mood ring or the pet rock than buy stock in Publish America. Sam Walton said to ‘Exceed your customer’s expectations.’ Our customer is the writer, no matter how we might think the customer is, and we let them down regularly. The ROBOTS, as they have so affectionately become known will outlive their usefulness and our mistakes and reputation will drown us.”



“You know Loretta, last time I checked, Sam Walton was dead.” Clopper said smugly.



‘”Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bush, two Presidents and several world leaders and a load of celebrities at his funeral. Figure your funeral will turn out like that, Chief? Hell as it stands we can hold the thing right here in the conference room and still have room for a small putting green.”



“You know f you don’t like it,” Loretta,” You’re welcome to leave.” The room had heard the tired threat before but they also knew that the place would shut down without Loretta.



“Oh I know that. And I know that I could come back anytime I wanted. You need me more than I need you Larry, but you need not worry. I can’t get a job in Baltimore or D.C. unless I’m a criminal or a cop…and I can’t get a job as a cop unless somebody gets killed. If I want a criminal job it would be a lateral move. Her eyes lit up. “Dig the irony in that.”



Many in the room erupted in laughter.



“What’s Irony?” Clopper demanded, “Some publisher word, or a writer term. Why don’t you take some time off Loretta? It would put us back a bit but you haven’t taken any time off in a while.”



“Yeah Larry, Maybe I’ll spend some time in England; Maybe check in on our British offices at Milton Keynes.”



“Sweetheart, would you please give that a break?”



“Well why did you do it? That was the most pubescent thing I’ve ever imagined from a professional publishing house. I mean for God’s sake, advertising one the front page of the website and on newsletters that PublishAmerica has reached, ‘yet another milestone,’ Loretta waved her hands dramatically, ‘a British headquarters!’ You didn’t even consider that someone might actually drop by with their book? I’m going to remind you of the stupidity of it until I am no longer receiving telephone calls from people in England because there is no PA office in Milton Keynes, midway between Birmingham and London.”



“Well, PODs 4-6 are incubated in any event and monitoring shows a strong bond with the company; many birthing at least one but many birthing several books.



How is POD3 coming along?



“Satisfactory.”



“I think enough time has passed that we can put the Jamie Farr book back on the website front page. The sheep love that freakin’ Klinger. Hell, I love Klinger. I wish we could get Radar to write a book. Hey, somebody get Miranda Prather to get in contact with him. I bet we could do a ghostwriter thing with him. Has anybody seen her lately? Fancy apartment, $80,000 car, boy toy, and she thinks she doesn’t have to come to work anymore.”



“She doesn’t Larry. She owns a third of this ogre.”



“Okay, back to the meeting. Marketing your turn, what do you have?”



“Birthday party!”



“Clopper’s face was lying on his inner elbow with his mouth open.”



“A freaking birthday party.”



“Listen Larry, we’re talking POD6 Birthday party. Show the other PODs that we give a ****. Hell, we might even convince a POD6 that we give **** enough for him to pledge a book right there at the damn party in front of the cameras. Listen, we’ll combine it with an actual PA party. Lots of photos, celebs that need the gig (we can get the people from Dancing with the Stars, Skating with the Stars, Surreal Life; you know, those guys; hell $80 a day.) We have to get Klinger and freakin’ Radar O’Reilly. What if we got Gary Coleman



Clopper popped up—“Whatchu talkin’ ‘bout Willis! Genius, freaking genius! I want him to wear that security guard uniform, do you hear me. I mean it. “Clopper smiles contentedly as he sees the photograph of Gary Coleman on the hood of his car. Heck this email fiasco would blow over, all his goof-ups do.
 

postshy

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Apr 21, 2005
Messages
199
Reaction score
129
Me too.....

After receiving their JUNK e-mails over and over again, even though I return them with "tone" comments, I decided on revenge. Today, I received them in duplicate - all about crossing the line of $1,000.000. in royalties. I used my "forward" button and returned them to M. Prather, Jessica and AuthorNOSupport. I warned them that if they send me another e-mail of this type, I will click my "forward" and send the e-mail back to every member of their staff. I believe Dave has a list up at P&E.

I bet if all of us tried this, we would have them squawking. I doubt their "delete" button could keep up with the flood.

I also promised to send a copy of their e-mail to the Internal Revenue Service again, showing that I am certainly not seeing any of these royalties, and neither are a lot of other people on this forum who were once loyal PA supporters.

For goodness sake, PA Lurkers, listen up. You fell for the "returnability scam" and bought your own books. DO NOT BUY INTO YET ANOTHER SCHEME TO MAKE PA RICH. They do not come through on these offers.

postshy/Roberta
 
Last edited:

Ken Schneider

Absolute sagebrush
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Mar 27, 2005
Messages
1,977
Reaction score
412
Location
location,location.
One Mil. divided by sixteen thousand - 62.00 bucks each, WOW.

Buy your own books so your royalty check looks better, good one PA.
 

Lady of Prose

Member - the "Sting Gang."
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 26, 2005
Messages
512
Reaction score
101
Sheryl Nantus said:
ah, the classic "blame the victim" scenario...

:rant:

Very true--BUT, another key factor is that the older authors, who know better by their own admissions to me personally, keep hawking PA. Good grief! To me they are helping to make more victims to save their own stupid pride and hide their own gullibility. I no longer have respect for any of them. But I do respect and feel for those to have the guts to come out and fight PA for what they are and keep on writing in spite of being taken in. Hero's, one and all.

I know from personal experience that it is one of the most difficult things to do, to admit that you have been taken in a scam--and I applaud all those who have, and will do so in the future.

In the meantime, our focus should be on stopping any future authors from signing with PA--and be here to support those who have and need a place to vent and heal from the hurt and embarrassment of it all.
 

spike

Mostly Ignored
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Dec 10, 2005
Messages
1,100
Reaction score
151
Location
Bath, Pennsylvania
Website
oddgoose.blogspot.com
keltora said:
Why Publishers Must Make Money...

So they can pay you royalties after the advance is made... (And it should be an advance of a couple of thousand times more than a single dollar)

So they can buy your next book and increase the advance they give... (And increase your popularity, your readership, your royalties.)

So they can do publicity for your book. (And thus convince booksellers that this book WILL sell in their stores, so that booksellers order more and more of your books and make very happy readers.)

Have I missed anything? ;-)

So they can pay sales people,
So they can pay to print the books
So they can make the books available in stores
 

Peggy

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 24, 2005
Messages
1,456
Reaction score
174
Location
Basking in the sun.
Website
thoughtsontheroad.blogspot.com
butch said:
For fun: Got this stupid (and real) email from PA today gushing that they were nearing their "one million dollars paid" mark. Pretty embarrassing since they have over 12,000 titles since 1999. It maths out to about $83 per book.
Why would they admit this? Does PA really think that authors are too dumb to realize the implications? 12,000 (or more) titles, $83 (or less) per title, and not a single bestseller. One can only conclude that the criteria used by PA to select manuscripts does not translate into royalty-producing book sales.

What is sickening is that PA also suggests that their authors spend money promoting their books. At least from what I've read here, many authors spend far more than $83 in promotional expenses. I hope some of them think hard about it and don't waste any of their hard earned cash.
 

mreddin

Dreamer
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 18, 2005
Messages
213
Reaction score
38
Location
Massachusetts
Peggy said:
Why would they admit this? Does PA really think that authors are too dumb to realize the implications?

What is sickening is that PA also suggests that their authors spend money promoting their books.

It's not a matter of intelligence, but rather critical thinking. Other POD outfits have bragged about their sales and payments of royalties, despite the spectre of simple math unraveling the brag. People are naturally and understandably impressed by the big dollar amounts. However. critical thinking requires people to take the next step of logic and divide the royalties by the number of titles and only then does the painful truth become obvious. Statistically, most adults do not utilize critical thinking skills. (Well, if one is to believe the statistics given in my psychology book.) I suspect the hopeful writers are more willing to suspend these skills where their ego is concerned. This is also probably why many marketing efforts are aimed at stoking the consumer's ego, because it increases the odds that critical thinking will be superceded. I mean, who doesn't want pearly white teeth that will attract a beautiful perspective mate? Did you really expect that your teeth will become magically white by using this product? Do you really believe that bright white teeth will attract a sexually attractive date? This might be what is science fiction writers refer to as the "suspension of disbelief". PA aims their marketing at writers and their existing authors, in an effort cause a suspension of disbelief, disengaging critical thinking skills. This is one fundemental issue with the efforts here at Absolute Write. We can give writers plenty of information, but we cannot force them to engage their critical thinking skills. However, this might be why it is easier to reach perspective PA clients than reaching out to existing PA authors. PA authors have more at stake in terms of their identity and ego than someone who has yet to sign the contract and see their book given tangible form.

Mike
 
Last edited:

Peggy

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 24, 2005
Messages
1,456
Reaction score
174
Location
Basking in the sun.
Website
thoughtsontheroad.blogspot.com
mreddin said:
However, this might be why it is easier to reach perspective PA clients than reaching out to existing PA authors. PA authors have more at stake in terms of their identity and ego than someone who has yet to sign the contract and see their book given tangible form.
I think this is probably true. I just hope that the latest PA email doesn't make current authors reach for their wallets. I really appreciate the current (and former) PublishAmerica authors who are willing to share their experiences and emails here at AW. Without that inside view, most of us wouldn't know how ridiculous PA really is. And for all the non-critical thinkers out there: you don't have to do the math, we've done it for you.

mreddin said:
Do you really believe that bright white teeth will attract a sexually attractive date?
Of course not. But I do believe that the right floor cleaner will make me joyously happy.;)
 

SC Harrison

Dances With Hamsters
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 15, 2005
Messages
3,351
Reaction score
968
Location
Mid-life Crisisland
Website
www.freewebs.com
mreddin said:
It's not a matter of intelligence, but rather critical thinking...Mike

I think your assessment fits well with many who become ensnared in PA's dream machine. When people, even reasonably intelligent adults, want something bad enough, they can stifle their normally healthy skepticism and see only what their ego deems acceptable. While this does meet the standard that most people place on the word "foolishness", it is still a weakness that almost all of us succumb to from time to time. One person might say, "Well, I would never do that", and then turn around and do something else equally foolish.

I did read a few things about PA before I signed, but I could have dug deeper if my ego had allowed me to. Unfortunately, I was too smart to learn from other people's mistakes.
 

Lady of Prose

Member - the "Sting Gang."
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 26, 2005
Messages
512
Reaction score
101
James D. Macdonald said:
The basic auctorial response to anything is "Yes, but my book is different."

I believe this to be true of the majority of PA authors, if we are very honest. If it isn't true, we were, and they are, "hoping" that it is true and somehow the book would/will make it regardless of the pitfalls. Not going to happen with the current business model. I don't care how many "up-in-lights, possible movie deals, or any other antics the authors can come up with--it will not happen.

I did, and do now, think my book is good, but not good enough to be published in the form that it was printed. That is truth.

PA knows that most writers have egos when it comes to their own personal work--and they capitalize on that big time.

In short--they are scum. Beware lurkers, if you haven't, and you proceed to sign with PA or submit another book after reading all the info here--consider yourself warned. PA will ruin your first and subsequent attempts at publishing. Please, don't sign.
 

spike

Mostly Ignored
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Dec 10, 2005
Messages
1,100
Reaction score
151
Location
Bath, Pennsylvania
Website
oddgoose.blogspot.com
SC Harrison said:
I think your assessment fits well with many who become ensnared in PA's dream machine. When people, even reasonably intelligent adults, want something bad enough, they can stifle their normally healthy skepticism and see only what their ego deems acceptable. While this does meet the standard that most people place on the word "foolishness", it is still a weakness that almost all of us succumb to from time to time. One person might say, "Well, I would never do that", and then turn around and do something else equally foolish.

I did read a few things about PA before I signed, but I could have dug deeper if my ego had allowed me to. Unfortunately, I was too smart to learn from other people's mistakes.

Remember, PA also knows how to hook people. They tell people what they want to hear. "Giving your book a the chance it deserves" is classic grifter talk. They know that writers face an uphill battle, and they prey on this.

Think about it, you are a writer with limited knowledge of how publishing works. All you get is rejection. You begin to think there is some secret that will open the doors to success.

Then you stumble onto PA. Look at the message boards. All those happy authors. And quite a few of them saying how commercial publishing is stacked against the little guy. That PA is the wave of the future.

Publishing is a conspiracy and PA is on the side of the little guy.

They are saying everything that many unpublished writers think.

It's a siren song. And like the sirens, after they lure you in, they kill you (or at least your dreams).

No one should feel shame about falling for PA.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.