Tuesday, February 22, 2011

PublishAmerica Review

PublishAmerica is by far the most notorious publisher in the publish-on-demand game. And here I pick my words carefully because PublishAmerica goes to great lengths to say that they are not a vanity press. Looking at their website, they give one the impression that they are a traditional publisher. In fact, they are not very discriminating in determining what to publish, making them more of a publish-on-demand publisher than a traditional publisher. I was unaware of this several years ago before I published my first book. An acquaintance had published a book through them and I gave serious thought to doing the same, but when visited their website, I saw wording that said that PublishAmerica “specializes in books about, or by, people who face and overcome hardships and obstacles in life (both fictional and nonfictional), and who turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones.” I looked at the nature of my book and decided it didn’t fit in that category, so I didn’t send them a manuscript. Knowing what I know now, I’m sure they would have accepted it if I had.

Not having any real experience with PublishAmerica, other than purchasing a few of their books, I can’t say much about them, but I saw a comment on Rachelle Gardner’s blog from one of their authors, Norma Davis, that I am posting here because I believe it describes what you can expect from PublishAmerica in a very succinct way:

Three years ago Publish America (PA) published my Christian novel, "Pick up the Broken Pieces". There were no fees, but I won't send them my second book, which is being revised. I'll search for an agent when it's ready.

I signed a seven year contract with PA. It is POD. Although my novel is listed on Barnesandnoble.com and Amazon, the price is too high for a softcover book ($27). They make their money by selling to authors at discounts after pricing it too high. Every week I get e-mails from them wanting to send my book to Ophra or other movie stars. I only have to buy more books. They make a lot of money from postage (overpriced).

I'd like to take my chance with a real publisher this time. I want an honest opinion of my writing. PA wasn't a good experience.

-- Norma Davis, Feb 12, 2011, Used with permission.

I think that some of what PublishAmerica does is necessary if they are to make money while publishing nearly everything they are sent. Similar services with other POD companies start at about $500. PublishAmerica may need to sell 50 to 100 copies of a book to recover their costs. But some of what they do seems unscrupulous, so it might be best to avoid them altogether.

Norma Davis’ blog is at http://normadavis.webs.com/
Her book, Pick Up the Broken Pieces is available for order at Amazon.com.

Have you used PublishAmerica? What did you think?