Thursday, September 17, 2009

No More

My book is available for all to order on, and among other places. You could also call PublishAmerica directly and order copies of my book. When I finished Harter Union back in late 2004, I was proud of myself and sent the manuscript to any publishing company that seemed like a good fit for it. I got quite a few rejection letters, which I have all saved, and then I came across PublishAmerica and, being young and stupid, didn't quite look into it as much as I should have. Even I thought PA was kind of skeevy but I went with them anyway. Looking back, I'm not exactly sure why. I had to do my own promotion, I got a crappy signing bonus ($1) and it seemed as if no one actually considered PA a normal publishing house.

Maybe I was just excited to actually see my book in "print" but I received and signed the contract and was excited to receive my dollar. I even received two free copies that were mine to do whatever I wished with. I received several emails helping out with editing and cover images. The first draft of the cover featured a scantily clad woman sitting on top of the title. I immediately told them to get that off of there. I don't even know why they put her on there. I'm assuming for color or something because otherwise the cover is kind of dark. I liked the cover although I look at it now and think of what could have been. I don't know what I would've done for a cover but not something like this--maybe similar, but not exactly like this.

On the plus side, I have spent a whopping fortune of zero dollars and zero cents in getting my book published. That is something that can't be said for authors submitted to PA now. PA now charges to edit ($49), redoing the cover ($99) and any last minute changes ($99, possibly more). One thing that hasn't changed is that PA will offer to frame your bonus, the dollar, for $19.99. I bought my own frame for $6 from Wal-Mart. Shortly after signing, I began reading around and saw all the commotion. Undaunted, I figured I may be able to recoup my losses of what I spent to photocopy and mail out the rejected manuscripts but to date I have only received $10 ($8 from one check, $2 from another). I didn't even cash the $2 one. My book has been out since February 2006 and PA authors receive a royalty check every six months. My first check was for $8, my second for $2, my third $0, my fourth $0.02, my fifth $0, my sixth $0 and I have yet to receive my latest one (for $0, no doubt). I have no idea where that $0.02 came from but I was shocked they wasted the paper for two cents. I didn't cash that one either.

I decided to never tell people to go the PublishAmerica's website or call and give their information to them. I told people to go to Amazon, it seemed like a safer place to give out your credit card number to. I was stunned at the cost of the 228 page paperback creation that was my book: $19.99 plus whatever it is for shipping. Well, thankfully, PA has changed their prices over the years and now my 228 softcover creation is only $24.99. However, you can get it in hardcover for $29.99. I bought Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policeman's Union brand new in 2007. It's 415 pages, hardcover $26.95. I bought Chabon's The Mysteries of Pittsburgh in the last year or so (it's from 1988) for $13.95 and it's over 300 pages in softcover. And yes, the price of a PA book goes up if it has more pages. But I shrugged my shoulders and went on with my life, advertising my book less frequently because I don't want to gyp anyone--friend or stranger--out of $25 for my P.O.S. book.

PublishAmerica began this promotion thing where authors would email their website links to PA and PA would create a page on their website listing their author's websites. That I decided to do so I sent them my web address (this one) and waited. Soon the pages were up and I went to check them out. Most people sent in their MySpace accounts, a few had sites on free hosting sites like freewebs or geocities, some just had blogs that talked about the book they had written and published through PA (those I found really sad that you had to create an entire site for your piddly book) but only a few actually had their own website, URL and purpose. A majority of site with their own URL still only talked about their PA book and what they were currently writing or something like that. Only a few that I saw actually was a site worth going back to every day. PublishAmerica chose not to include "Watch This Space". My guess is that they ran each website through some sort of search to see if the person bad-mouths them. If they do then the website isn't included. Seems fair to me. They also regularly edit their own message board, Tweets and anything else they can to rid the world of people who back sass them.

And through all that, I did nothing. Now, I have read that they are discontinuing their 301 area code phone number to take orders. Instead, they are urging people to go online and buy the book or to call their new number. A 1-900 number. That's right, 1-900, as in phone sex. Yes, for just (maybe) $0.99 a minute you can order multiple copies of a badly edited and printed book for only $25 (plus s&h). That was the final straw. I now disavow any knowledge that I have a book out there. Maybe soon I will talk with PA to get my book back from them but I shall never submit it again. I will reuse the characters in my book 87 but Harter Union is dead to me.

For more PublishAmerica bashing, you can view the Absolute Write threads or you can go here.