Friday, November 26, 2010

PublishAmerica: Buy Your Own Interview

This is a new low, even for this company. It is a sad day indeed, when a publisher offers to sell its authors publicity, especially when they deny their authors a shot at real national publicity. Shame on PublishAmerica.

For those of you who may be new to this website or don’t yet know my name, I write several nationally syndicated news columns. I am a critic and reviewer. In fact, right now, I am reviewing several books for Penguin and Simon and Schuster. The major publishers-that’s right. I have more en route to me from other publishing houses. Why? Because my articles, between the Examiner News, Miami Style and my personal blogs are viewed by get this- 10 million readers every month… and growing!

As part of my expose on PublishAmerica, I contacted them about reviewing some of their books and expressed genuine interest in interviewing their authors. I bet not one of their authors ever learned that a real reporter and book reviewer was interested in their books…and they surely won’t tell you that they slammed the door in my face because I wouldn’t buy a single copy. No reviewer does! I even looked forward to seeing a dear author solicitation, but a national review would mean real book sales and from this I can tell you with certainty that due to the way they treat the news media, all of those stories about having these 30,000 media contacts, celebrity book review requests are simply that-stories.

I wrote an article about my experience with this Maryland publisher, when I contacted them in an attempt to review some of their books and interview their authors. What publisher would not want national publicity for their authors? Especially when the 30,000 media contacts that they boast about having (but they really don’t have) pales by comparison to my millions of readers.

Before I present the latest PublishAmerica solicitation- which is aimed at selling a “professional interview” to their authors, let me share with you my experience.

If you have considered entering a contract with PublishAmerica, you must also have read some author’s complaints about not being paid for books sold or that the publisher does not promote their authors. Author’s also claim that they have spent in some cases, thousands of dollars to promote their own books. link
PublishAmerica sends frequent sales pitches to their authors, incentives to get them to buy copies of their books, such as “donations” to Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, Wal-Mart and the list goes on. But is any of this true? Many are sceptical.

What happens if a reviewer contacts this publisher about a particular author or a media inquiry in general? Let’s face it, media coverage can make or break a writer’s career. I have taken note that very few author’s published with this company are well reviewed and have heard rumors that reporters and reviewers have refused to review a book published by PublishAmerica. If you know me, I don’t follow any trends or pay attention to what anybody else is doing. I do what feels right for me and reviewing authors is right, especially if I can shine the spotlight on an unknown writer.

I visited their website for their review policy and found a statement pertaining to reviews on their website.

“Does PublishAmerica provide complimentary review copies?

Can bookstores receive them?

PublishAmerica provides complimentary review copies to legitimate media reviewers who submit their request in writing. As per contract, this is done at our discretion. Please have any potential reviewer e-mail support@publishamerica.com or fax 301-631-9073 with his or her request. If you have any e-mail correspondence with a reviewer, you may also forward that to the above e-mail address.”

Found on this page PublishAmerica responds to the following issues:

number 2.- “PublishAmerica does publicize and promote individual books in many different ways, including sending free copies to reviewers, magazines, newspapers, television, and radio programs. We also do direct mail campaigns, make announcements to major national reviewers and their organizations, attend trade shows, etc, and conduct workshops and discussion groups at these events.

These efforts have helped to generate hundreds and hundreds of feature articles and/or reviews about our authors and their books, some of which are posted on our web site.”

OH REALLY?????

I have an interesting story to add to this controversy. As a news columnist, I contacted PublishAmerica at the email address provided in hopes of interviewing and promoting some of its authors. Every author deserves a break and here I am a member of the press asking their PR department about worthy candidates for an interview. I sent them a letter of inquiry and I did receive a very polite response last week with an offer to send me several author’s Press Releases. Of these, I chose to review for my column, a book that looks most promising titled ‘The Order of Spirits by Dr. Larry A King D.B.S. I was looking forward to reading this book, reviewing it and discussing its merits with my congregation. The man from the PR department, in response to my request to review this book, instructed me to contact support@publishamerica with my request. I had initially contacted that address and my letter was forwarded to the PR Department. Despite this confusion within their company, I again contacted support with my request. The next day, I received, to my utter most surprise this letter:

“Thank-you for your request. At this time we are unable to approve your request for a complimentary review copy of the title ‘The Order of Spirits’ by Dr. Larry A King, D.B.S. If you would like to place an order for this book please visit our online bookstore at www.publishamerica.net or call our author support team at (301) 695-1707.
Have a nice day,
(name withheld)
PublishAmerica support
xxxx@publishamerica.com”

WHAT? The press does not buy their copies to review. Nobody does. Why should we? In all honesty, journalistically speaking, there are no perks in reviewing an author unless its somebody on the NY Times best sellers list. It would have been to this publisher’s advantage (and the author’s) to provide it for me. But they refused the news media! What really gets me is how they wasted my time. My initial query was sent to support@publishamerica.com. At that point, someone should have responded with sorry but you have to pay us to review our books. Instead, they forwarded my letter to their “PR department” who in the end instructed me to send my request to support, which is what I initially did anyway. Makes no sense to me. This is why you never see a PublishAmerica book reviewed. Nice, eh? Traditional publishers do send out review copies and I have a stack of them right here from other publishers that I will be reviewing instead. I bet you authors, if you buy 12 copies, they would be willing to donate a copy to me..

I responded to this shocking email when I could finally lift my jaw up off the floor. I asked them why they were denying books to the news media and reminded them that reviewers do not pay for their books to review (IMO, author’s shouldn’t either. The impression I was given is that this publisher does not care about having their books reviewed and is unwilling to make an investment in their authors, but more than willing to sell copies to reviewers and authors.

PublishAmerica is sending out press releases (more than likely written by the authors themselves) at the bottom of these releases, they add the same misleading content:

“PublishAmerica is a traditional publishing company whose primary goal is to encourage and promote the works of new, previously undiscovered writers. Like more mainstream publishers, PublishAmerica pays its authors advances and royalties, makes its books available in both the United States and Europe through all bookstores. PublishAmerica offers a distinctly personal, supportive alternative to vanity presses and less accessible publishers.”

Don’t believe a word of this. They are not encouraging. As this article points out, they do not promote their authors. In fact, denying them the chance for media coverage is sabotage. Notice their careful wording here “through all bookstores,” is much different than “in all bookstores.”

I found this little gem on their website, here they are giving marketing advice! Considering they are limiting their author’s chances of success, I find it interesting that they are giving out advice. ” If you get reviewed in the paper, announce the review, which paper it appeared in, and put the entire review online.” Shout it to the world, because it would be miraculous indeed.

__________________________________________

This is the latest PA solicitation, that attempts to sell an interview to their authors. Keep in mind that the news media actually came to them and they denied their authors that publicity. I wonder just who is going to show up with the camcorder? Authors could do this for themselves and save the money. All of the “well-known sites” that they reference are all free!

I would love to hear from any authors who paid for this service. Who showed up? Did a helicopter land on your lawn? How was the video quality? I am especially interested in their means of transportation.

Dear author:

Are you among the many authors who would love to be interviewed about their book, but get nervous just thinking about it?

We can solve that. PublishAmerica will send a professional interviewer to your home who will let you tell your story on camera. They will spend hours with you until you get it right. You can be completely relaxed, knowing that the end result will be perfect.

Your interview will be posted on multiple well-known sites, including YouTube, Metacafe and DailyMotion, where it will be accessible to news reporters, publishing agents and Hollywood producers. We will inform 30,000 media contacts about your interview. You will also go on PublishAmerica TV!

Go to http://www.publishamerica.net/product120691.html, and book your professional video interview now. Our introductory $1499 price covers everything, including our traveling to your home town. You must choose a shipping option to activate the booking. You will be contacted within 48 business hours to schedule your professional on-camera interview.

–PublishAmerica Author Support Team

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

"You will also go on PublishAmerica TV!"

I watch PublishAmerica TV every night. Can't get enough of it! LOL

Phil

Rev. Sinthyia Darkness said...

Hmmm, selling an author an interview. So much for this statement from PA's website:

"PublishAmerica adheres to the traditional publishing concept. . .we earn our income by selling books, and books only."

Anonymous said...

Since they don't properly edit their books, why would they want them reviewed? Anyone can publish any rant they want to with this "company". They don't need to verify any facts, either. This isn't a publishing company, it's a printing company. Plain and Simple. If it had been available to the uni-bomber, his manifesto would be on their list of titles, too! I know of one sociopath in Morristown, NJ who is doing this just to have a hard copy of a book in hand when he tries to pick up women. So, that's all this company is useful for.