Saturday, January 22, 2005

Watchdogging

PublishAmerica, not to be confused with any of those grubby vanity publishers out there, proudly bills itself a "traditional publisher." Except that PublishAmerica uses POD versus printing and warehousing books. Okay, those warehouse and printing costs are pretty steep; it could be a cost-efficiency thing.

PublishAmerica is also an "advance-paying book publisher" with a company banner motto that reads We treat our authors the old-fashioned way -- we pay them. Except that the old-fashioned way it pays authors an advance is -- hold onto your hat -- a whopping total of $1. Now, I made twenty-five thousand times that as the advance for the last book I wrote, but hey, maybe I'm just ridiculously overpaid.

PublishAmerica states on its web site that its titles "are available through most major bookstores." Except for this one little thing: "Availability is not necessarily the same as bookstore shelf display." Translation: you can't get them in the store, but you can order them through the store's computer. Assuming you have psychic power and can envision the titles, because they're not on the shelf. Have I got this right?

PublishAmerica authors have applied to join the Authors Guild. But, oops, the AG says PublishAmerica titles don't meet membership criteria. Well, who wants to pay all those AG dues anyway.

So, who's going to be the first author to dump their contracts with NAL or Harlequin or Tor or Ballantine and rush over to sign up with PublishAmerica? Anyone? Why am I hearing crickets?

Paula Span has the rest of the lowdown on PublishAmerica in her excellent article about the company for the Washington Post online, and I picked up the link from Nick Mamatas' Journal. If you would, as Nick requests, spread the word.

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