Tuesday, November 30, 2010

PublishAmerica Opens Up a Big Can Of Worms

Looks like the Maryland Printer PublishAmerica has opened a big can of worms by asking this loaded question. Join in the discussion. We'll be discussing these comments and accusations in the comments section!

Dear PublishAmerica authors, we want your feedback. What services and specials would you like to see added at PublishAmerica? We'll consider all requests, but may, of course, not be able to implement them.
November 10 at 11:12am

Yeah, sure they will. If you make a suggestion they don't like,you may get a threatening letter mentioning a libel lawsuit or in it's mildest form a "tone" letter. Nonetheless, the seventy five comments, are not flattering but the PA replies are worth a look and a laugh!

Brandy Cooper: I need more direct instructions on getting my book listed at amazon and barnes and noble. Also having a marketing phone line to answer questions.
November 10 at 11:17am

PublishAmerica Book Publisher: ‎@Brandy, thanks for the idea on the phone line, we will seriously consider it. As to the listings - know that we are working on this along with our wholesaler Ingram. There will be nothing that you will need to do once they get their database synced with other retailer's databases. Even in the computer age these things don't always go as quickly as we'd all like.
November 10 at 11:18am

DeAnna Author Thompson-Blailock: I am with Brandy Cooper.....
November 10 at 11:19am

Brandy Cooper: So there is nothing I need to do? You ar listing it?
November 10 at 11:19am

PublishAmerica Book Publisher: ‎@ Brandy and DeAnna, yes, we have provided Ingram with our entire catalog of titles and every day we send them the titles that are released that day. They are in the process of processing our 40,000+ titles on their end. Some titles are showing up on the retailer sites already.
November 10 at 11:20am

Brandy Cooper :I only ask because it seemed to be that Publish America offered that only as a special.. I thought if we didn't use the special then you didn't list it... also another thing large quanties specials we as authors need those offered more
November 10 at 11:24am

PublishAmerica Book Publisher: ‎@Brandy, yes, we decided to go back to Ingram a month ago, so all books will now be listed there regardless of the special. The previous special was offered when we were with a different wholesaler. Could you please provide me with more details on the kind of special you would like to see?
November 10 at 11:26am

Brandy Cooper: well once in a while you do the 25 books for the price of 1 thing (or even 10 etc) as a single mom, I have a hard enough time coming up with the $ to buy even 1 copy of my book. I can't schedule book signings because I only ever ave like 5 books at a time.. I'm just saying make them more frequent..... One last question about Amazon... Do we just search for our book to see if it is listed? When is the deadline for Ingram to have all titles up?
November 10 at 11:29am

PublishAmerica Book Publisher: ‎@Brandy - thank you for the suggestion! Please keep any more that you come up with coming. Ingram has our entire catalog at this point. They will likely have processed all of them by the end of the month; however, that's only part of the p...uzzle, as then the retailers have to update their DBs. We, of course, can ask about titles, but we can't force another company to have them listed by a certain time. Right now I'm checking with Ingram to see if they have processed your title yet, since it was released this year, it should have been one of the first batches to them.
November 10 at 11:34am

Gwendolyn Cahill Pay your author royalties.
November 10 at 11:48am

Charles Shiver: I just had a question. I didn't know if PublishAmerica does press releases to announce new books to the public, or if the writer needs to submit the release.
November 10 at 12:41pm {Didn't you read my reports?}

PublishAmerica Book Publisher: ‎@Gwendolyn, we do pay all of our authors royalties, your contract would spell out the details for your books.
November 10 at 12:47pm

PublishAmerica Book Publisher: ‎@Charles - PublishAmerica does at least one press release for every book. This press release is when the book is initially released and goes to a wide variety of sources. We may do other press releases if there is something newsworthy about the author and/or the book, so please stay in touch with us about such things. It never hurts though for an author to do his or her own press release, too. Remember that media people are hit with many different stories each day.

Charles Shiver Thanks! I've been in touch with the P.R. Dept. but I didn't know for sure. I feel once I get the word out, the book should sell decently.
November 10 at 1:34pm

PublishAmerica Book Publisher: Thanks, Charles, good luck and congrats.

David Moody Publicity! Publicity! Publicity! If you check B&N reviews, you'll see what I am getting as feedback, I just need help with some wort of publicist!
November 10 at 2:43pm

PublishAmerica Book Publisher: ‎@David, what specific kinds of promotional services do you think would help?
November 10 at 3:01pm

Alisha Williams: ‎@Gwendolyn Cahill that's what I'm sayin!!!!
@ David Moody yes!!!
November 10 at 3:08pm

Alisha Williams: Lower prices for our audience!!!! I get embarrassed when I have to tell people my book is $24.99 on your site when they ask me how much it is. They always make the same face (like they smelled something rotton).

PublishAmerica Book Publisher: ‎@Alisha, we will review our pricing, but keep in mind that you earn royalties based on the price of the book, so everytime we lower prices, not only is our profit (much of which goes to printing and staff) lowered, but so too are your roya...lties. Believe us, we would love to be able to keep prices as low as possible, but we have to look at all the economics involved. Expect a reply from our Royalties Department royalties@publishamerica.com concerning royalties, we always pay what is owed and on time. Also, same question we submitted to David - what promotion exactly would you like to see more of?

Alisha Williams: Just lower prices.... honestly i don't care about the royalties as much as I do just wanting to get my book out there. I believe if you lowered the prices even by $7 a book more people would buy therefore the more $ you guys would make. I...t's like haveing a bakesale. Are you going to make 50 cupcakes and set the price ate $1 a piece and only sell 15 or set the price at $.50 and sell all 50? Point is, even if someone wants something they aren't going to buy it if the prices are outragious. Printing can't be that expensive and if you were selling more books you could pay more staff. I am always getting the offers of 1 book get 3 free (minimum 4 book purchase or something like that) What is the difference in printing all of those books for free, when you could just simply lower customer price?See More
November 10 at 4:13pm

David Moody: Well, none of us are wealthy enough to afford a publicist and don't have an agent. Someone at your company to read what you publish and actually decide on using some money to help us all make money...I know it is at your discretion to use funds to market any book, thats that standard in the contract...do you ever actively promote any book without one of us as authors having to spend more money with you?
November 10 at 4:56pm

David Moody :If I want my book promoted anywhere I have to buy copies from you...If I want to be up front at whatever it is, B&N, book fairs, etc...I have to buy even more copies. If I could have one wish it would be for someone in authority to pick up my novel, read it, read the reviews I am getting on B&N and say, hey! If we put something into this, we can actually sell it! Or read it and tell me I suck, so I can no longer live under the delusion I am an author...
November 10 at 5:08pm

David Moody: And no answer? Shocking...
November 10 at 6:01pm

Alisha Williams: hmmmmmm strange isn't it????
November 10 at 6:20pm

DMaria Scaglione: Hi PA. Who would I contact to get out of a contract for a book at PA? How does ths work? I don't think that I am going to be able to finish the book due to family illness...and my mind isn't on the book that I had contracted for because every day there is an emergency. What can I do?
November 10 at 6:21pm

David Moody: DMaria...I tried to get out of my contract before publishing but wasnt let out of it...so I wouldnt be surprised if they don't do the same to you...@Alisha, You must run up against the same problems in getting responses to the hard questions...
November 10 at 6:54pm

Alisha Williams: that's for sure!!! Do you know if after the 7 years is up we get our full rights back with no strings attached, or are we going to have to 10 books first, LOL
November 10 at 7:00pm

Pierrette L Komarek Camps: I am just curious and would like to know why most of my books are reasonably priced, One stands out at $40.92! Le Cafe' de Cadix my very first book with PA. and by the way when I tried ordering some copies a few weeks ago I was told it was not available.
November 10 at 7:10pm

Alisha Williams: Wow!!! 40.92!!!!!!!!!!!!!
November 10 at 7:24pm

Pierrette L Komarek Camps: Alisha You ought to see what they're asking for it 2nd hands !!
November 10 at 7:28pm

Alisha Williams: that's crazy!! I can't even afford my own book!!!!!
November 10 at 7:36pm

Pierrette L Komarek Camps: Just know this Alisha. if you go in this to make money I'd advise you to hold on to your day job for a while. As for me I have 4 books which I don't sell but mostly give away as gifts. And that alone gives so much pleasure -I can't even exp...lain it! My family is proud of me for having accomplish this late in my life...some children even buy some books to give to their friends for gifts as well. So all in all it has been a nice adventure..thanks to PA.. You can check my web site and see some of it

Alisha Williams: well your books look yummy!!!
November 10 at 7:52pm

David Moody: So how do we combat these problems? Surely there must be something?
November 10 at 8:02pm

David Moody: I am also sure that PA wasn't expecting this sort of response when they opened the door with their original question, but if nothing else PA should see that we, as their authors, want to see each and every one of us succeed, that we feel ex...ploited to a degree by the present business model. My questions are the following: Does it not make more sense for PA to work closely with us as a group to market and sell our product, as it would be more profitable for every one involved? Wouldn't PA become more profitable through the wholesale channels available, if there were some effort put forth by all involved? We all know that not all of the titles being carried by PA are commercially viable, but what about those that are? Shouldnt there be some department, or group within our publisher that actually reviews the manuscripts they accept and take on the responsibility of true author support by providing some, if not extensive, publicist efforts? Shouldnt it be possible to speak with someone other than the same poor people who answer our calls and listen to all of our complaints, and surely must be driven to the point of exhaustion at their powerlessness to assist us other than to pass on messages and emails to people I am not convinced even exist. I am having some commercial success, outside of friends and family, from Massachussets to California and Alaska...I have been able to get myself featured on television, radio, and in print on a regional level, at what point should PA recognize my viability, or the viability of any of it's other authors? Maybe when whoever it is that actually runs this company, or makes the decisions reads this, it may result in me shooting myself in the foot with some sort of price increase through the roof that I will never be able to afford, or maybe my book will suddenly become out of print and never available again...but the fact remains that I feel as if I have to vent my frustrations here, where others who are under contract with the same publisher as myself may find they are not alone. Certainly between the many of us that have been forced to do marketing, PR, and wear all of the other hats required to make a wholesale effort at being successful, have made enough contacts and learned enough to help each other? If what I have said here tonight goes unanswered by PA, then we may have only one another to turn to.

November 10 at 8:36pm

PublishAmerica Book Publisher: ‎@Alisha, unfortunately, selling books is nothing like selling cupcakes at a bakesale. If it were that easy, we'd all be rich by now.

{Note:Yes and the cupcakes are cheap and sell quickly!}

PublishAmerica Book Publisher: ‎@David, your understanding of our promotion of each and every book is not accurate. Every day we send out press releases about all of our books, usually about 200 a day. Every book will see at least 1 press release sent to numerous media o...utlets. On top of that, we work with wholesalers like Ingram to make the books available at all the online retailers and in actual book store databases. Daily we send review copies out for interested reviewers and reporters. If we see a book that truly warrants more of a push, it gets it - that's how it works at any publishing company. All of that is free. And as for not replying - why is that shocking? We don't sit here 24/7.

{Editors's NOTE: I have posted proof in my investigative reports that they have denied bona-fide reviewers and even a celebrity review request).

PublishAmerica Book Publisher: ‎@DMariia, very sorry to hear of the illness facing your family. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you. Please contact our Author Support Team: support@publishamerica.com to discuss.
November 11 at 7:42am

PublishAmerica Book Publisher: ‎@David, concerning the contract - do you think if you were entering into a contract for any other service that you woudl {sic}simply be able to get out of it because you request to be let out? Contracts are serious business. We take them serious and so should everyone on the others side.

PublishAmerica Book Publisher: ‎@David, we have never questioned that our authors wish to succeed. I think if you asked any author published anywhere in the world (any artist for that matter), they would tell you that they wanted to succeed. If desire was all it took, ev...eryone would be a success. In the real world, that's just not how it works. I would encourage any author who is serious about their work do a bit more research to educate themselves about the business side of writing. With over 100,000 new books released each year in the US alone, you've got quite a group to compete against.

PublishAmerica Book Publisher: ‎@David, we do review ALL books before accepting them. Breaking up answers here to keep it from going into one long thread.

[Editor's Note: Google Atlanta Nights!}

PublishAmerica Book Publisher: ‎@David, are you aware of what the number one reason is for someone to actually purchase a book? They read something previously by that author that they enjoyed - stay tuned for reason #2.
November 11 at 7:47am

PublishAmerica Book Publisher: And reason #2? Word of mouth. Notice the top 2 reasons that someone reports buying a book have nothing to do with hiring publicists, radio spots, television ads . . . .
November 11 at 7:48am

PublishAmerica Book Publisher: ‎@David, your fears are unfounded. We expected a mixed bag and a open dialogue and that's what we're getting. That's good and that's a start. But what would really help is to now move on to productive feedback - actual services and ideas for us to consider. Thanks.
November 11 at 7:50am

David Moody: I am all about it...I need contacts within the industry in order to get reviews completed of my novel, access to promotion through PA without being required to buy more and more novels, the novels I buy are for book signings and I can't aff...ord to continually buy more and more for those opportunities...based on viability of sales. I would gladly do all of my own PR work, I just don't have the contacts to make it happen. I agree that repeat business and word of mouth play a major role in sales, but for emerging authors there has to be exposure to the reading community in order to get that initial momentum built to make all of those other factors work.

David Moody: I am glad to see that you are taking an open mind...so how do I help with this process? How do we work together to increase our opportunities?
November 11 at 8:08am

Rhiannon Mills Demon Queen: I agree with some of the others about publicity. You just can NEVER get enough of it. I finally got my book to be sold in an actual brick and mortar bookshop...all the way in SCOTLAND lol. IMMORTAL TIES is available at Ming Books in Wigtown..., Scotland. The owner is an elderly man (in his sixties) and he read my book and though he didn't think he'd enjoy it at all because it's a vampire romance, he really loved it and is waiting on the sequel (which has recently been accepted). So, now he carries my book and is helping with marketing. I guess you just have to get creative sometimes.

And guys, if you don't have a blog, GET ONE and blog several times a week. If you can't afford a website, get hooked up on webs.com and design your site for free. Mine is rhiannonmills.webs.com. They're quite nice, and they do attract attention on facebook.

You all knew that this wasn't going to be a cake walk. Everything was laid out for you in your contracts. I really have enjoyed my experience with PA. :)See More
November 11 at 9:33am

PublishAmerica Book Publisher: ‎@All, please keep your eyes on your email inboxes for an imporatant announcement later today concerning book prices.
November 11 at 9:39am

Rhiannon Mills Demon Queen: Oh boy...I sure hope they're not going UP lol.
November 11 at 9:41am

PublishAmerica Book Publisher: ‎@Rhiannon, why would we announce that here if that were the case?
November 11 at 9:49am

Rhiannon Mills Demon Queen: Good point lol. But, I was just saying what everyone else was thinking lol. Regardless of price, though, if a reader likes your work, they're gonna dish out the dough for it. I've been a published author less than six months and already figured that one out...♥ Much love!
November 11 at 9:50am

DMaria Scaglione: PA, thank you for being so kind about my family situation and I will contact support@publishamerica soon. You have always been a blessing in my life. There is no perfection in any publishing company and I do believe the books are overpriced, yet I will never forget that you gave me my start and for that I am forever grateful.
November 11 at 10:19am

David Moody: Great, sounds like you are addressing prices, what about everything else?

Alisha Williams: the bakesale thing was an example broken down on a smaller scale. I am just saying that I have had numerous people that have bought my book that said they ♥'d it, it was emotional, they cried, they laughed etc... but they thought it was a ...little pricey because of the size of the book. $24.99 for a 124 page book is a little expensive. My sister in law did a pre-school age picture book with you guys and you are currently selling it for $24.99 as well. I don't know anyone that would buy a simple kids book for that price! I can't afford to buy anymore copies and I am embarrassed to promote it at that price.

PublishAmerica Book Publisher: ‎@DMaria, thank you so much for your kind words. We really do appreciate those.
November 11 at 11:31am

PublishAmerica Book Publisher: ‎@David, understand that we are considering all ideas and will always do so. Sometimes we do have to say no to an idea that is not financially sound for both sides.
November 11 at 11:32am

PublishAmerica Book Publisher: ‎@Alisha, we hear you, but by the same token there are other books that sell as the same prices with no trouble and the same level of promotion, so we have to realistically consider what lower prices and more promotion will really yield. Keep in mind that when a book is released, we are already in the hole financially when you add up the expenses of getting the book ready to go. We really are just as eager as all of you to sell many copies.

David Moody: Then it seems to me more promotion on both our parts is the key...I am a full-time freelance writer and am capable of putting in the time, with the right assistance sales would increase exponentially...I feel there are other factors, speaking only for myself now, that make my situation unique in what I bring to the table, and it would be worth the while for someone in authority with your company to have a real conversation with me...if for no other reason than to feel me out on what those qualities are...
November 11 at 11:40am

PublishAmerica Book Publisher: ‎@David - send your proposal of what you would like to see done to support@publishamerica.com - it will be considered.

David Moody: I have tried to work through those channels and in most cases never receive a response or am told when I call to follow up that the email has been passed along and support has no idea what if anything has been done with it. So here, in thi...s forum, I am challenging you to live up to what you state repeatedly whenever one of us has a complaint, that you have never let down an author...show some interest in my success...be proactive, you have my contact numbers, my email address, have a true decision maker talk with me about my novel and if it is deemed worthy, work with me to make it commercially successful. What better advertising would you then have if I were able to come back to this page, where all of your authors are watching and report a positive experience?
November 11 at 12:05pm

David Moody: ‎@PA...I will even make it easier for you in several posts as to why I think it would be worth your while...
November 11 at 12:25pm

David Moody: ‎#1 I was in broadcasting and print media for some ten to twelve years, including hosting my own talk show, giving me experience in the area...but not only that, it makes me a great interview because i have done it all before...I don't need coaching, all I need is an audience...
November 11 at 12:27pm

David Moody: ‎#2 I was a banker and financial analyst and investments guy as well...I have an understanding of the business world and don't need my hand held when it comes to talking business models and ROI, etc. I understand cost analysis, I understand diminishing returns...I know how it all works...
November 11 at 12:31pm

David Moody: ‎#3 I have a degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing and skin as thick as it comes. I take criticism as well as anyone in the business...but my product is polished, it is viable.
November 11 at 12:32pm

David Moody: ‎#4 You won't find anyone who will work harder to see their writing career a success.
November 11 at 12:33pm

David Moody: To sum up...I am a business/finance person with experience with and in the media, well educated in the field of creative writing that has an unbelievable work ethic...not only that, all bias aside, I have a wonderful novel that just needs the support of its publisher to make waves...that's why you should pick up the phone and call me to discuss how to do this together.
November 11 at 12:35pm

{Editor's Note: I'm sure they will sell you that phone call}

PublishAmerica Book Publisher: ‎@David - what you have said above may be all well and good, but we must request a proposal from you in writing with actual suggestions, not just qualifications.
November 11 at 1:17pm

David Moody: The question is will it go the way of all my other emails of requests past? So help me out here, considering I am not in the publishing business...what type of proposal are you seeking? A marketing and PR plan? One made up of facts and figures, a suggested dollar amount I feel would be a fair and equitable investment? Or a suggestion of a third party that specializes in these types of situations?
November 11 at 1:24pm

PublishAmerica Book Publisher: ‎@David, we are looking for us to tell you what additional services we provide to you. You have our word that we will consider them thoroughly. We may not be able to act on any of them, and that may not be want you'll want to hear, but they will be carefully looked into.

David Moody: Simply put, I want you to be my publisher, to help me get my work in front of as many people as is possible without my having to buy X number of books in return...I would like for you to put some skin in the game, help me with contacts for ...reviews...help me sell books to someone other than me. @PA authors following this...am I asking for too much or something that is out of line? It seems to me these are things other "traditional publishers" do, based on my research and conversations with writers associated with other houses.See More
November 11 at 2:59pm

{editor's note: here it comes, the PA patronizing post!}

PublishAmerica Book Publisher: ‎@David, again, you need to send your ideas to support@publishamerica.com. With respect to "publisher": pub·lish·er /ˈpʌblɪʃər/ Show Spelled
[puhb-li-sher] Show IPA

1. a person or company whose business is the publishing of books, per...iodicals, engravings, computer software, etc.
November 11 at 3:36pm

PublishAmerica Book Publisher: and "publish": pub·lish /ˈpʌblɪʃ/ Show Spelled
[puhb-lish] Show IPA

–verb (used with object)
1. to issue (printed or otherwise reproduced textual or graphic material, computer software, etc.) for sale or distribution to the public.
...2. to issue publicly the work of: Random House publishes Faulkner.
3. to announce formally or officially; proclaim; promulgate.
4. to make publicly or generally known.
5. Law . to communicate (a defamatory statement) to some person or persons other than the person defamed
November 11 at 3:37pm

David Moody: I could easily list the definition of author, which nowhere includes marketing, PR, or the requirement to buy copies of their own texts to receive representation...but I can take the point...I won't push this anymore...even though I feel deserve better.
November 11 at 3:56pm


Rhiannon Mills said...

I'd really love to know what the point of this post was. PA authors should ALL realize that this is NOT the best route to take in the quest for authorhood or publication. Most of us are with PA because of multiple rejections. And as I stated in the post, if the authors read their contracts and did a little research to begin with, they would realize that publishing with PA isn't a cake walk by any means.

So, what was the point in posting this? It isn't big news or anything...

Anonymous said...

PublishAmerica wrote one e-mail that really hits the nail on the head.

"PublishAmerica Book Publisher: ‎@David, concerning the contract - do you think if you were entering into a contract for any other service that you woudl {sic}simply be able to get out of it because you request to be let out? Contracts are serious business. We take them serious and so should everyone on the others side.

If authors took the contract seriously, as PA suggests, they might not sign it. The author agrees to a business arrangement that has a provision for any breach of contract. But the complaints authors make the most; prices are too high and PA will not promote their book are not breaches of the contract.

PA lost their contract with their printer, LSI, October of 2009. Since that time the only way to buy a PA book is through PA. They throw the name of Ingram around but it is meaningless because the only printer Ingram uses is LSI and LSI will not print PA books. PA books are listed with retailers like Amazon.com as are all books with an ISBN. PA does very little to get books listed.

Because of heavy discounts and non returnable books PA makes very little money selling books retail. The money is in selling books to their authors and that is all they focus on.

I do not think PA authors will ever see a time when PA uses a commerical printer. The books are printed at their own little POD shop and nowhere else.

PA authors are stuck in a situation where they must buy their own books and sell them themselves. That is just the way it works!

PA has been promising to hook-up with a commerical printer for 13 months. Do PA authors really think that will ever happen?


Rev. Sinthyia Darkness said...

@Rhiannon, pity this went over your head... it really, truly is.

Rev. Sinthyia Darkness said...

@Phil, you obiously understand the point of this post. If all authors did realize that PA was not the wisest of choices, they would not still be in business, now would they?

I doubt PA will ever use a commercial printer either. In fact, their articles of incorporation are set up as a vanity press "providing printing services" does not equate to being a commercial publisher... and the term "traditional" publisher has no meaning in the publishing world but instead is meant to convey the message to unseasoned writers that they are exactly what everybody thinks of when they think of a publishing house and that isn't so.

These books are printed on the machine that you see at Publishers Printing House and this company is owned by those who run PA. So if they boast that they can print a book for an author at less than 4.00 for a 200 page softcover, why are they charging the authors under contract outrageous prices for their books?

Anonymous said...

Rhiannon: "PA authors should ALL realize that this is NOT the best route to take in the quest for authorhood or publication." Should realize? Maybe. But they don't. You can't speak for all PA authors and you might consider the post is for all PA authors except you.

"Most of us are with PA because of multiple rejections." That isn't true at all. There are PA author posts all over the Internet claiming that PA was their first and only choice.

You are a happy PA author so you wouldn't see the point of the post. Enjoy your experience with PA but let others read the truth about PA.


Rev. Sinthyia Darkness said...

@Phil, that's right! If authors realized anything about this publisher, we wouldn't be here discussing this now would we?

And do be sure to check back with us in a year or so and let us know how its going for you.

Rev. Sinthyia Darkness said...

David Moody: ...I need contacts within the industry in order to get reviews completed of my novel

Even with contacts, no legitimate reviewers do reviews of PA books. Why? Because PA expects the news media to purchase review copies. Second, the notorious lack of editing and the reputation of the publisher.