Recently, an excited writer on an email group I’m in, wrote that after all the CBA publishers had rejected her book, she finally had a contract offer from a publisher who was willing to take a chance.
The problem: the publisher in question is PublishAmerica, and because the writer in question said she’d been very close to going the self-publishing route before she got their offer, I have the feeling she doesn’t know that PublishAmerica is as close to self-publishing as one can get without forking out money up front. Real editing won’t be there. Real marketing won’t be there. The best copy sales she might possibly enjoy is in the low to mid four figures.
There are, of course, times and reasons for going the self-publishing route, but that’s a tough direction to take with fiction. The big boxes and chains (Borders, B&N, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s, Family Christian, Lifeway) don’t stock the books. Yes, they (print-on-demand books) can be ordered, but fiction is mostly an impulse buy. You need that physical exposure to get the books into the hands of readers.
There are stories all over the Internet right now about PublishAmerica and how upset with them authors are. Here’s one from the Washington Post. And if that isn’t enough, here is something I received from another writer yesterday:
We’ve all heard from people who write and ask us about PublishAmerica, which insists it is NOT a vanity press. Well, this brilliant science fiction writer enlisted science fiction-writing friends to each write a chapter for a manuscript to submit to PublishAmerica. The only consistencies were character names and the setting, Atlanta. But seasons change, character descriptions change, punctuation didn’t matter. No common plot at all. The thing is a hoot.
And guess what? Oh, yeah, the manuscript was accepted. Here’s the proof:
You can read the manuscript.
You can read the acceptance letter.
You can read the sample contract.
The participating science fiction writers are now planning to use the book as a fund raiser for charity.
So my word to any writers reading this blog is, be cautious. Don’t want something so badly that you make bad choices. If you think PublishAmerica (which insists they are not a vanity press) or iUniverse (which knows it’s a vanity press) is right for your work and the best place for you to go, then that’s fine. Just gather all the facts and be fully informed before you make that crucial decision.