Saturday, March 5, 2011

Does PublishAmerica really pay an advance?

My position is that PA does not truly pay an advance, as they promise. Don't believe me? Would you believe Ellen Kozak? I believe her.

"Normally, a publisher offers an advance against the royalties that a book is expected to earn, although university presses and some smaller publishers either do not pay advances or pay only very small ones. For commercial presses, the advance signifies the publisher's commitment to the book - it is putting its money on the line, paying the author up front what it thinks the royalties on initial sales will be. (University presses traditionally do not offer an advance because they presume they are publishing the works of professors who have another source of income. Very small niche publishers may not be able to afford an advance, but if they are getting the books into bookstores, and paying for the editing, printing, and distribution themselves, they still may be legitimate.)

Does this next paragraph sound like PublishAmerica?

"Sometimes a publisher will offer a $1 advance. This is usually a gimmick that satisfies the consideration requirement of a contract but essentially means, "We don't expect you to earn any royalties." Such a publisher may be counting on the author to purchase a whole slew of his or her books in order to cover the costs of printing. The publisher will produce an inexpensive edition and set the price of the book very high and then will collect half of that inflated price on every copy the author purchases."

Ellen M. Kozak, Kozak Law Offices, Milwaukee, concentrates her practice on copyright, media, publishing, and entertainment law. She is a graduate of Barnard College and the U.W. Law School. Her book, From Pen to Print: The Secrets of Getting Published Successfully (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1990), was named best nonfiction book of 1990 by the Council for Wisconsin Writers. She also is the author of Every Writer’s Guide to Copyright and Publishing Law (3rd ed., Henry Holt & Co., 2004); a pseudonymous series of science fiction novels published by Pinnacle books in the 1980s; and many published articles.

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