Does anyone know anything about the company PUBLISH AMERICA?

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  1. CherylAnne Nelson profile image59
    CherylAnne Nelsonposted 10 years ago

    Hi,  Does anyone know anything about the company Publish America?  I sent my childrens story manuscript to them without illustrations and they apparently liked it because they want me to submit illustrations--which is not a problem.  I am a bit freaked out by it because I know nothing about becoming published and I want to make sure, should they like the finished work that I don't get screwed.  Has anyone worked with the company?  Also, what is the usual cut for an author/illustrator when signing a contract?  All professionals please help me!!!!!  Thanks so much, CherylAnne

    1. RFox profile image70
      RFoxposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Reputable publishers only want the story from the writer and will find an experienced illustrator to work on the illustrations.
      It is rare that they accept writing and illustrations from the same person. This is for marketing reasons among others. Usually people who do both are already known in children's publishing circles.
      Reputable publishers would certainly want to see examples of your artwork before committing to a contract for illustration.

      On all the reputable publishers websites they discourage writers from pursuing illustrations for children's books and entreat them to focus solely on the writing.

      Given these facts I would be highly sceptical of Publish America.

      The usual cut is split 50/50 between the writer and the illustrator. Typically the total cut is around 10%. So 5% goes to the writer and 5% to the illustrator.

      If you really want help with getting your story published join the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators or SCBWI in the States. They will send you detailed information on submission policies to reputable publishing houses with the editors names and contact information. It opens the submission doors and gives you loads of pertinent information regarding contracts, proposals, query letters etc.

      It is not that expensive and a very worthwhile investment. Good luck! smile

    2. seohowto profile image55
      seohowtoposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      My 2 cents: I am always asking for referrals on LinkedIn.com.


    3. An Again profile image53
      An Againposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Back to publishing children's books!  I've made more of a study of getting published in my own genre, but I don't see why it would be very different, Cheryl Anne.  As someone mentioned, it's a great idea to have a copy of the Writer's Market.  Another thing you can do is check out similar books to see who published them.  I grabbed "Good Night, Sweet Butterflies" from my daughter's shelf and found that it's published by a imprint of Simone & Schuster.  Bad news is, they're not taking unsolicited manuscripts, but that's fairly common these days.  From there, you can start searching for a reputable agent to shop your manuscript to such publishers, or you can check other books for their publishers to see if any are taking unsolicited manuscripts.

      1. RFox profile image70
        RFoxposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        Actually for children's books the process is quite different, especially in regards to picture book manuscripts like Cheryl Anne is pitching.
        If you belong to the SCBWI (I advised this earlier) you will be given all the editors contact information for the major publishing houses. They all tell the general public they are not taking unsolicited manuscripts but the reality is that they are. If you belong to SCBWI.

        Simon & Schuster have many imprints belonging to their company and most of them take unsolicited manuscripts as long as you follow the submission procedure.

        For children's publishing you don't need an agent. In fact most children's book authors only sign on to an agent once they are established. It's the complete opposite of adult literature.

        All Cheryl Anne needs to do is join SCBWI and wait for their information package to arrive. It details all reputable publishers, what they are interested in reading, how to go about submitting and who to submit to. Most children's book publishers will take unsolicited proposals, they just don't advertise that fact. big_smile

        1. An Again profile image53
          An Againposted 10 years agoin reply to this

          Fantastic info!  (Gotta save this in case I ever have inspiration for writing my own children's book. smile  )

  2. Mark Knowles profile image60
    Mark Knowlesposted 10 years ago

    Yes.

    To be avoided like the plague. smile

  3. Mark Knowles profile image60
    Mark Knowlesposted 10 years ago

    I should have added more details:

    http://www.geocities.com/complexitypoet/

    I personally know two "authors" that have lost money with this company.

    They are a POD company/vanity press disguising them selves as something else. There are also a lot of "rebuttal," websites around promoting the idea that PA is genuine. This is called "spin" I believe. What works for gov.us works for the smaller ones too smile

    Avoid them like the plague. big_smile

    One again RFox, we agree lol

    1. RFox profile image70
      RFoxposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Lol. Agreeing is becoming a habit with you. wink

      And if Publish America is a vanity/POD press then definitely don't do it!

      If your story is great and you want have it available at as many retailers as possible then using one of these publishers is counter productive. Most distributors will not even take POD/vanity books.
      I have seen authors with what could have been a best selling book stuck not being able to sell it because of distribution rights. Even if the bookstores think it will make lots of money they can't sell it because of these distribution rights.
      It's really sad when you see that happen to an author. Then because you've signed a contract with the vanity/POD publisher you can't then re-sell it to a reputable publisher even if they want to buy it.

      Don't entangle yourself in that nightmare, it's hard to get out of.

      Some self-published books get picked up by big name publishers but in those instances the writer was smart enough not to get locked into a dead end contract. Read any contracts very carefully. Anything you do not understand, take to a lawyer. big_smile

  4. CherylAnne Nelson profile image59
    CherylAnne Nelsonposted 10 years ago

    Thanks to EVERYONE who came to my rescue.  I should have known it was too good to be true.  Sadly.  I do appreciate all of your comments and will definitely check out all of the other sources you spoke of here.  I will be avoiding it like the plague as ordered.  I am so happy to be part of this caring community of writers.

  5. Eric Graudins profile image60
    Eric Graudinsposted 10 years ago

    Hi CherylAnne,

    Have you checked out www.booksurge.com ?

    This is a reputable Print on Demand company (now owned by Amazon) that allows you to self publish.

    You submit a completed PDF file, and the book is printed on demand at a ptint centre in the nearest country to where the purchaser lives.

    I know a couple of people who have published through them with good results.

    You have to pay to get your book onto their system, but a benefit is that it then available through Amazon.
    I think it costs around a thousand dollars.

    Anyway, I'm not an expert on publishing, but I'm sure that Mr Knowles, that ever present bon vivant, raconteur, and user/flogger of manbags will chime in to tell me if I am full of crap.

    1. CherylAnne Nelson profile image59
      CherylAnne Nelsonposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        Eric,I'm not sure I am responding correctly on this... I have never quoted and replied before so forgive me If I am doing it incorrectly.  I will look into Booksurge, thank you.  I looked into two other self publishing companies, Authorhouse and the other one run by Random House whose name fails me now.  I just don't have money to sink into the book--u know?  I haven't exhausted my possibilities at all.  I have only submitted to Shereebee and PublishAmerica as they were the first ones I researched.  I have a lot more research to do I guess.   Why can't it just be easy?  If Madonna can publish a kids story----DANG, can't we all?   Sorry Madonna-- (just in case she reads this)  smile

    2. CherylAnne Nelson profile image59
      CherylAnne Nelsonposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        Eric,I'm not sure I am responding correctly on this... I have never quoted and replied before so forgive me If I am doing it incorrectly.  I will look into Booksurge, thank you.  I looked into two other self publishing companies, Authorhouse and the other one run by Random House whose name fails me now.  I just don't have money to sink into the book--u know?  I haven't exhausted my possibilities at all.  I have only submitted to Shereebee and PublishAmerica as they were the first ones I researched.  I have a lot more research to do I guess.   Why can't it just be easy?  If Madonna can publish a kids story----DANG, can't we all?   Sorry Madonna-- (just in case she reads this)  smile

      1. Eric Graudins profile image60
        Eric Graudinsposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        Your reply and quote was great - Don't worry about doing it twice - I still do that sometimes too smile
        Good luck with the research.
        And I don't think Madonna is likely to read this - but who knows.
        And if YOU had her history, I'm sure that loads of publishers would be competing for your book smile
        Regards, Eric G.

  6. Marisa Wright profile image97
    Marisa Wrightposted 10 years ago

    CherylAnne,

    You might find my old blog helpful.  It's moribund now but it has answers to a lot of your questions!

    Here it is:

    http://getthatnovelpublished.blogspot.com/

    You'll find some info on Publish America plus a debate on the pros and cons of self-publishing.

    Good luck!

    1. CherylAnne Nelson profile image59
      CherylAnne Nelsonposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Thank you so much Marissa, I will read your piece.  I will need luck--lots of it.  And a prayer or two if you can muster that up too.

  7. Marisa Wright profile image97
    Marisa Wrightposted 10 years ago

    Once upon a time, I wouldn't have recommended Booksurge.   I've heard some negative comments about the quality of the printed product.  However, my view is changing - solely because Amazon seems to be blocking the sale of ALL other POD publishers' books through Amazon.

    Effectively, if you self-publish with anyone but Booksurge, you'll have a hard time getting your book listed on Amazon.  Since you can't get POD books into bookstores, that means the only way you can distribute your book is yourself (or through your publisher if they provide that service).  It's hard enough to get your book out there without that handicap, so I agree with you, Eric - if I were considering self-publishing, Booksurge would be my choice.

    1. CherylAnne Nelson profile image59
      CherylAnne Nelsonposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Marisa,
      Thanks for that info.  I didn't realize that was becoming an issue.  I will definitely keep that in mind.

    2. darkside profile image79
      darksideposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      www.cafepress.com also do POD.

      They've changed their affiliate program recently though.

  8. crashcromwell profile image73
    crashcromwellposted 10 years ago

    Publish America is an anathema in the publishing business. I have no problem with vanity presses - they serve a purpose in the world of publishing. The problem I have with Publish America is that they try to pass themselves off as a legitimate publisher. They will make their money the moment you cut them a check, and after that, the rest is gravy.

    On the subject of BookSurge, my understanding is that Amazon will list POD books from competing companies, but they will not allow a sale to be completed through their website.

    Ironically, I just received an email asking to read my manuscript from a small press in Florida that uses Amazon heavily to sell their books, and most of their books are published by BookSurge. Personally, I find it distasteful that Amazon would pull this kind of maneuver, which is why I won't put Amazon links on my hub pages. However, as a first-time novelist, I would be a fool to avoid a publisher that chooses to use BookSurge and Amazon if they are willing to publish my book. Breaking into that business is a goal I've had for 30 years, and I believe I have a marketable product.

    I would suggest that you invest in a copy of Writer's Market, or even sign up for their web-based service. They screen publishers pretty well there, and while sometimes some stinkers get through, Publish America is not one of them!

    1. CherylAnne Nelson profile image59
      CherylAnne Nelsonposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Congratulations Crash---So happy for you.  You should definitely jump on the opportunity.  I pray to GOD that I don't have to wait 30 years to be published.  I don't exactly have the patience for that.  Send me the title so I can pick it up once it is published.  smile   Thanks so much for the advice.  I wish I had more time to investigate; I find that I have less and less time to study up on these things as my two boys are always keeping me business.  I guess at this rate 30 years is about right.

      1. crashcromwell profile image73
        crashcromwellposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        CherylAnne: Thanks for the words of encouragement. I haven't accomplished anything yet, but when I do, you can bet people will hear about it.

        I got to thinking about this situation earlier today. This publisher pretty much puts its books out to Amazon, using BookSurge as its printer. On their own website they say that it's impractical to try to place books in bookstores, because all the bookstores want is established writers. As has been noted previously on this thread, using BookSurge or another POD publisher is an option that is open to anyone who has a completed manuscript. So the question becomes, how much better off am I to have a publisher to put its name on my book than to put the name of my own publishing company?

        Maybe they're both bad ideas, unlikely to sell many books. I just don't know.

        By the way, I've posted a few of the chapters on my hubpages, if you care to read some sample chapters. Here's a link to a hub with all my hubs, broken down by category: http://hubpages.com/hub/Table-of-Contents.

        Jim Henry

        1. Marisa Wright profile image97
          Marisa Wrightposted 10 years agoin reply to this

          You could find a local printer and print them yourself, but ask yourself - what will that get you ?  A garage full of books and a big upfront bill.

          Print with Booksurge (either indirectly through the publisher, or direct with Booksurge) and (a) you'll get your book listed on Amazon easily and (b) you'll only have to pay for one or two copies upfront plus their fees.  The books are then printed as people order them - that's why it's called POD.

          If you're going to self-publish, you'd be mad to get a pile of books printed upfront.  By all means, do a small run to promote locally, but for the rest - use the POD option.  Before Amazon started throwing its weight around, I'd have suggested Lulu.com.  You might like to read my Hub on the subject.

          http://hubpages.com/hub/Get-That-Novel-Published

          1. crashcromwell profile image73
            crashcromwellposted 10 years agoin reply to this

            I understand how the dynamics work - when I worked in municipal government, I used to publish the towns' annual town reports, which was essentially a 100-200 page book (depending on the size of the town). The last thing I would do is do a press run at a local company, because I know what it costs, and my wife would kill me if I printed a bunch of books that wound up sitting in my garage.

            The question I was asking was whether I would be any better waiting around for months to see if one of these small POD presses wants to publish my book or if I should just do it myself. In that regard, the profits would be all mine, and a lot of these publishers don't seem to either have much of a clue for marketing, or just don't have the budget.

            I will check out your hub, though. By the way, on a different topic, I have a cousin named Marisa Wright, but if that picture is of you, I don't think you're her!

            Jim Henry

            1. Marisa Wright profile image97
              Marisa Wrightposted 10 years agoin reply to this

              The picture reflects a me of about twenty years ago, but I think it's fairly safe to say I'm not your cousin!  Particularly as Marisa Wright is a play on my real name.

              I assume this "small POD publisher" is going to bear the cost of publication?   If they are, then I strongly suggest you grit your teeth and wait.

              I've had two mainstream publishers tell me they are LESS likely to consider a writer who's already had a book self-published, unless the book sold more than 5,000 copies.  I asked them why and they said self-publishing suggested the author was impatient, or might have too high an opinion of their work to be willing to go through the editing process. 

              Whereas if your book has been published by a small independent publisher, regardless of the number sold, that's a positive for a big mainstream publisher and will get their attention.

              I guess it's like selecting a candidate for a job - as a manager inundated with applications, I'm looking for the tiniest excuse to winnow down the pile to a manageable size.  Publishers do the same with that pile of manuscripts, so it's always best not to give them the excuse!

              1. crashcromwell profile image73
                crashcromwellposted 10 years agoin reply to this

                That does make sense. There's a certain level of validation to have a publisher - even a small one - say that your work has value. On the other hand, anyone with a checkbook can get their book published through BookSurge or the like. Impatience is one of my vices, but hey - I've been waiting to have a book published since I was 11 years old, so why not wait?

                And yes, this publisher is footing the bill - they are not a vanity press.

                Jim

        2. RFox profile image70
          RFoxposted 10 years agoin reply to this

          I disagree with the statement that bookstores only want established writers. That is not true. (I have friends who've worked in the purchasing side of book stores and friends who are first time authors with their books in Chapters (Canada) and Barnes and Noble (States.)

          What the book stores do want, however, are established publishing houses with good credit ratings!
          Remember book stores are in a financial working relationship with the publishers, not the authors.
          If the publishing house doesn't make the grade business wise, bookstores want nothing to do with them. It's not the writers reputation they are concerned with, it is the publishers.

          This is the same reason why POD and self published books can't find distribution through retail bookstores. It has to do with the business model of the whole publishing industry and distribution rights are tied up with that.

          I knew an author who signed a contract and had her book published by what was supposed to be a reputable small publishing house and then they couldn't distribute her book because they had developed a bad credit rating in the meantime and no bookstore would work with them.

          It is definitely better to continue trying to get published by a reputable publishing company who can sell to book stores. It may take longer but will be worth the pay off in the end, especially concerning your reputation.

          A number of published authors are close personal friends of mine and this is the inside info I have been given. I was also told the inner workings of book store policies in regards to publishers and how it works. Take this advice however you will. smile

          Just remember: J.K. Rowling was rejected by every major publishing house and then her manuscript was taken out of the slush pile by an Editor who believed in Harry Potter. Compiling rejection letters is almost a right of passage! Lol. big_smile

          Keep at it all you wonderful writers! wink

          1. Marisa Wright profile image97
            Marisa Wrightposted 10 years agoin reply to this

            This is absolutely right.  The idea that "bookstores only want established writers" is one of those myths encouraged by the vanity press.  They want you to think that publishing a book with them will somehow give you credibility, so the bookstores will take your next book (or if not that one, then the one after).  It has nothing to do with that, as RFox explains.

            As for the point you make about POD publishers, Crash - you're right, all you need to get your book listed is $100 or so.  Even the founder of Lulu.com himself admits that he's made his money by publishing a lot of bad books!

          2. crashcromwell profile image73
            crashcromwellposted 10 years agoin reply to this

            I'll have to digest this a bit to see if it makes sense, as far as the publishers' credit rating is concerned. Certainly having a poor credit rating is a sign that there are problems with the business, and I suppose the bookstores would like to have relationships with stable operations.

            My understanding is that the book stores usually take books but expect discounts on the books that the small operations can't afford. And they also want to return books that don't sell because shelf space is at a minimum. There is an economy of scale involved, in that when you have a press run for a traditional publisher, the more copies you print the better your unit cost is. But then the publishers have to be much more careful about who they try to publish, because they want to make sure that there is a market for a book before they print a large amount of books that they might end up eating if the book doesn't sell. That's what makes POD attractive - there's no big stockpile of books sitting in a warehouse (or garage) waiting to be shipped. I would bet that the downside, though, is that if I or any publisher were placing orders for, say, 10-20 copies of a book, the per unit cost is going to be so high that there would be no room to discount a book as the bookstores will want, which in turn makes it more difficult to place in bookstores. That leaves the online market and other non-traditional ways of selling books, which is where I'm at now.

            One publishing house advised on their website that the best way to get books into bookstores is to do a lot of book signings - in the neighborhood of 50-100 in the first year.

            Jim

            1. Marisa Wright profile image97
              Marisa Wrightposted 10 years agoin reply to this

              Yes, and that's why they wouldn't accept Publish America books, because at one time PA wouldn't accept returns (whereas mainstream publishers do). 



              Not necessarily.  At one time, there was a huge gulf between the cost of printing on a printing press and the cost of printing on a photocopier. These days, go to a small printer and you won't find an offset litho machine in the back room, it'll be a multi-function device of some sort, because the cost differential isn't that great any more.  That's why POD has suddenly become a viable option.  It's quite possible to produce a POD book that's competitively priced. 



              I'm not sure what that's supposed to achieve.  Do you mean that you'd pick 50 to 100 bookstores around the country, then travel around them to sign books?  Sounds like a drop in the ocean that wouldn't have much impact except in each local area.  Was this a vanity publisher by any chance?  They like to give you what they claim are effective marketing strategies.

              By the way, Crash, have you noticed that when you want to quote a previous post, you can edit it?   Just delete the irrelevant bits.  Makes it easier to follow the thread.

  9. An Again profile image53
    An Againposted 10 years ago

    If you stop and think about that, the very concept of what they're trying to sell is stupid.  Bookstores only want books by established writers.  People die.  Do the bookstores wait until all the writers of one generation are dead, get a new batch established, and refuse to sell books by anyone else until they all die, too?

    OK--I admit that I'm withdrawing from nicotine and am a bit more snarky than necessary, but you see the point?  Further illustration of it: on my desk right this second, there are three books. One from a new-to-me author from a small press but just jumped up to a major house, and two from brand-spanking-new authors.  Who signed with major houses and can be found in all major bookstores.


    This is also the conventional wisdom given by pretty much all speculative fiction editors.

    Basically, in spec fiction alone (the genre where I "live" on the fringes), a good hundred thousand manuscripsts people try to get published a year.  Spec fic alone, so that doesn't count mysteries, chick-lit, ect.  Even the large houses have only so many books they're putting out a year, so sure, some slots are immediately going to established writers.  The rest are hotly contested.  But there is still the perception that, if your story is good and your manuscript professional, it will eventually make its way into the right hands.

    Self publishing/POD by-passes their system, off putting for a couple of reasons, one of which being "if your story's so good, why'd you have to get it out there like that?"

 
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