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Well, Hello Publish America. Fancy Meeting You Here

By Clogsandtulips @clogsandtulips
Well, Hello Publish America. Fancy Meeting You HereYou've probably heard of Publish America as they've been splashed all over the news of the writing world lately. If you haven't, it's time to get with the program.
"We treat our authors the old-fashioned way -- we pay them," Publish America (PA) proudly claims on their website. According to the site, PA is "the Nation's number one book publisher!!"
They give the author full control of the book's production time; design all covers; organize Guinness Book of World Record-worthy book signings; leave copyright and movie, television, audio and manufacturing rights to the author; attend trade shows all over the world and more at no cost whatsoever to the author.
A contract binds you to PA for 7 years. Their books are very professional-looking and they seem to pay their authors well. Sounds pretty good, huh?
Until writers signed with PA started coming out of the woodworks lamenting about how PA did not keep their end of the bargain.
You'd think that'd be enough warning not to sign on with PA, but the publishing company continues to draw negative attention to themselves.
Though PA claims to reject 80% of submissions, some brave writers have made them eat their words. First a group of sci-fi and fantasy authors sent in a manuscript in 2004 that intentionally made all the mistakes we're told to avoid in our manuscripts. The 'novel,' Atlanta Nights, was accepted by PA without question. When the writers behind the fake manuscript published the news, PA retaliated with derogatory comments about sci-fi and fantasy writers, saying -- among other things:
"...the quality bar for sci-fi and fantasy is a lot lower than for all other fiction. Therefore, beware of published authors who are self-crowned writing experts..."
Then PA claimed that it took a second look at the manuscript and decided not to purchase it. However, this was after they had already released Atlanta Nights on Amazon, where it is still on sale.
Another sneaky author submitted a fake manuscript to PA, which consisted of the same thirty pages copied ten times. PA accepted it.
Then yet another author took PA to court, accusing the publishing company of bad bookkeeping and withholding royalties. The author didn't feel that his sales were comparable to that of other PA books and wanted to review PA's book list to see if that was indeed the case. PA refused the author's request and eventually settled out of court.
Earlier this year, PA hit the news yet again. This time, in exchange for $49, PA promised to personally "bring your book to the attention of Harry Potter's author next week while our delegation is in her hometown, and ask her to read it and to tell us and you what she thinks."
A representative of Rowling's reported that no such deal existed between Rowling and PA and said that "appropriate action" against PA was being considered. This came in the form of a cease and desist, which PA retaliated with a law suit threat. The original letter from PA over the law suit can be read here.
PA also promised to take copies of clients' books to the Edinburgh International Book Festival as they were to be there with their own booth. However, organizers of the festival have reported that PA is not signed up to attend the festival at all.
The news was spread all over several blogs I read and I really began to dig deeper into the stories when I discovered that PA is a Maryland-based company. And Maryland just happens to be my home state. I was absolutely flabbergasted by what I read over PA and it stayed stuck in my mind as my husband and I flew to the US at the end of August to visit my friends and family in Maryland.
My Dutch husband isn't a huge fan of dining out in the US. He loves IHOP and enjoys a good hamburger, but, as we both noted during our last trip, though the portions are far larger than in Europe, the meals never quite seem to fill you up. Nor do they contain a good helping of vegetables or exquisite flavor. Plus, you can only eat super-sized and fatty for so long.
In the numerous times my husband has visited the US (pre- and post-me), he has only found one restaurant that meets the standards of his refined European palatte: Quynn's Attic in downtown Frederick, Maryland. In fact, that's where we went to dinner the night he proposed.
This past trip we spent a day in DC -- going and coming by train -- and decided to stop by Frederick to have dinner at Quynn's Attic before heading back to my parents' house.
As we strolled down the streets of the historic downtown area, peering into antique and novelty shop windows while I pointed out significant digs from my many years relationship with the city, I spied a sign that looked familiar. I did a double-take before coming to a dead stop outside the building brandishing the sign. Seems I have more in common with the aforementioned publishing house than just the state.
"Well, hello, Publish America. Fancy meeting you here!"
Image: Daniel Ogren, Flickr
© 2011 Tiffany Jansen, writer

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