Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), and several Kindle ebooks.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Scamming a Scammer


I love humor and hate scams—especially when the humor and scams are of a literary nature. If someone can both scam the scammer and reveal that the emperor’s new clothes are a sham, more power to 'em.

One of the prominent literary scammers, the author mill PublishAmerica, proclaims it’s a “traditional publisher” and thus suckers in aspiring authors who think they’ve been selected by a commercial publisher that will get their books shelved in bookstores “from sea to shining sea” (PublishAmerica’s words).

What the authors don’t realize until it’s too late is that, because of PA’s no-return policy and short discounts, bookstores won’t order their books. PA’s intended customers are the authors themselves, who will be offered a “discount” on their over-priced books, which they will then be expected to sell themselves. Since PA doesn’t charge its authors for publishing and even pays them a whopping one dollar advance, it can’t be a print-on-demand (POD) company, now can it? Especially since it “rejects 80% of all submissions.” Ah, but it is—a fact that many of its nearly 20,000 authors found out too late.

Some authors, once they realized that their publishing dreams had become nightmares, tried to get their rights back. A few succeeded, but it took a while. Others merely stopped promoting their books and accepted that they’d been had. A few others were actually happy to say they’d been published, even though their books hadn’t been properly edited, weren’t selling commercially, weren’t shelved, and weren’t eligible for legitimate reviews. After all, their books were “available” on amazon.com and all their friends could post reviews.

In 2004, a group of sci-fi writers seeking to show PA’s true colors, group-wrote a truly dreadful (but very funny) book, Atlanta Nights, under the pen name Travis Tea. PA of course accepted it, which either proves that PA will accept just about anything, or else the other 80% of submissions were incredibly dreadful. A few weeks ago, a group of writers did it again: PA offered Sharla Tann’s Crack of Death a publishing contract.

Atlanta Nights and Crack of Death are both hilarious, and they’re excellent examples of how not to write. They’re also the proof that PublishAmerica isn’t a real publisher.

Congratulations to all the literary scambusters who prove that not only does the emperor have no clothes, but he also looks dreadful nekkid. And he has no clue what a charlatan or a travesty is.

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