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2003-12-02 12:48 PM
PublishAmerica and Authorsmarket.net
Here is the blog entry that brought my attention to it, here is another, and here is an explanation of how vanity press scams work. Here is the "Preditors and Editors" page on which their warning about PublishAmerica appears.
That was introductory reading. Here's my contribution:
AuthorsMarket.net is PublishAmerica's legit-looking front. Here is a link to their discussion board. I've been watching it for a couple of days. Any post that does not support PublishAmerica has been removed within 24 hours. Posts that are allowed to stand are from PublishAmerica customers who think they've gotten a good deal. In the last day, more posts have been removed than have been allowed to stand.
Here is a chapter of a book by one of the PublishAmerica customers who posts enthusiastically on their board.
If that writer just wanted a book printed, with her name on the outside and her words on the inside, then she has what she paid for. She could have paid less, but that's between her and her budget.
If, however, she believes that PublishAmerica is a viable way to break into real publishing... well, I have no doubt that a writer here and a writer there will succeed. Success comes from all kinds of weird places. However, the low quality of this particular excerpt illustrates that there are no real-world editorial standards in place at PublishAmerica. It is, fundamentally, a place for wannabe writers who aren't good enough to make it in the real world. That excerpt is not, in my opinion as a writer who's published through inarguably legitimate channels, of publishable quality.
Again: Yes, a few will use PublishAmerica and later break into publishing. Good for them.
However, that does not contradict the true statement that it is a vanity press, and that it depends, for its existence and profit, on the hopes and aspirations of people who don't have the critical mechanisms to realize they don't have the skills or talents necessary for success.
If PublishAmerica advertised itself as "A way to bind your writing into a semi-attractive cover, for posterity," I would have no argument with them. It's when they make false claims about the real publishing business and lure desperate writers into moneymaking scams that I get annoyed.
PublishAmerica is NOT taken seriously by the real publishing industry. It's widely known as a scam.
PublishAmerica is NOT taken seriously by real reviewers. You may get a review here and there, but most reviewers are aware of how bad most of the writing is and how unethical the company is.
PublishAmerica is NOT taken seriously by real bookstores. The fact that Amazon lists it is almost meaningless. Amazon is not a bookstore; it's an online merchandise middleman. It likes products it doesn't have to store, such as auction items and used books. Real bookstores will usually not stock a PublishAmerica book. That's because shelf space is limited and PublishAmerica books are not in demand. A local author may be able to talk a local bookstore into carrying her book, but that's not going to be the rule. PublishAmerica actively discourages real bookstores from stocking your book with their no-returns policy. "No returns" is not how the publishing industry works. That's why there are 300 Michael Crichton books stacked near the door. The store doesn't expect to sell them all, and the rest are returnable.
PublishAmerica is just another parasite. It's a parasite that some writers may get the better of, but most will derive no benefit. Writers, EDUCATE YOURSELVES! First, learn to write better. (Jesus, please, please learn to write better.) Second, learn at least the basics of the publishing business. If you don't, you will be taken advantage of by unethical hucksters.
And judging from Authorsmarket.net's discussion board, you'll even enjoy it.
[Another PublishAmerica entry | Best of the Blog]
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