On Avoiding Book Publisher Scams

Years ago, as a still wet-behind-the-ears writer, I remember studying the Writer’s Market book like it was a bible. Maybe it is. The writer’s bible. I did online searches, making sure that when I submitted my short stories, my poems, my essays, and ultimately my first book-length manuscript, that I was submitting to legitimate publishers. Not once did PublishAmerica’s name come up in my search for reputable places for book publishers.

There are two things glaringly wrong with PA. First, the contract binds the writer’s book to a seven-year contract, which is unheard of in the publishing world. The second is that the author has to buy their own books to sell. Even if they have a book signing, the author has to order and buy their own books–at discount!–to sell. That isn’t the way traditional (commercial) publishers do business. PA might not charge up front, but they sure charge the writer afterward. This would all be okay if they were honest and told the author up-front, but they don’t.

PA says they’re selective. They’re not. They at first accepted Atlanta Nights by Travis Tea to give it “the chance it deserves” until they found out it was a hoax. It was the worst written manuscript ever. They also say the author doesn’t pay anything. They’re “traditional.” No, they are not.

I went the route of a small independent publisher. The book was well-edited, since the editor and I were in constant contact by email and phone throughout the editing process. I received a  boxfull of my books–free, to do with as I pleased. Whenever I had a booksigning, all I did was have my publisher send the books to the bookstore. No money out of my hands. And that’s the way reputable publishers work. I received my royalty checks on time and they were always accurate.

And when doing research on a publisher, type in their name “+scam” and see what comes up. You’ll be glad you did.