Monday, October 03, 2005

Deeply disturbing

For those who have been following this blog, you are probably well aware that I've published a book (duh). It was published through PublishAmerica. I posted announcements on Usenet and Google Groups. One person responded thusly:

Excuse me, but $24.95 for a 316 paged paperback from an unknown author
is about $19 more than I would possibly willing to pay. That and it's
a PublishAmerica book, and from my research into that company, I
couldn't purchase that book and still feel morally sound.

Good luck selling your book. I certainly hope you have many friends
willing to part with $25 for your average length paperback.

If you click on the title to this entry, it will take you to one such website that decries the scandal that is PublishAmerica (PA). However, interestingly enough, it seems that authors fail when they aren't aggressive enough pushing their own book. At the very end of the post (linked above), it seems that there is one person who DID push their book and "got the three-star treatment" through Amazon, etc. They seemed quite pleased with PA.

Here is another link warning people away from PA. The first item on the list is also decried in the linked post above: authors are misled into believing that their book will be put into bookstores. This is not true. Any author who believed that did NOT read the contract or the FAQ. I already KNEW it wasn't going to be in bookstores. Do I feel victimized? Not yet, anyway.

Here's how I see it: PA removed one hurdle...getting your book published. Now, if I had my book published through a mainstream publishing house (i.e. Bantam), it would be very likely to be stocked in SOME bookstores somewhere, because the book had already gone through a "screening process" as it were. However, PA doesn't use that process; so the book gets published. Now, with hardcopy in hand, the author not only has a book but a marketing tool to sell to bookstores.

Yes, it's extra work. I guess anyone interested enough in their own work would do this extra work to see some success.

Now the price, on the other hand, may be a touchy issue with bookstore managers. $25 per book is cheap...if it is an O'Reilly technical book or something like that (Voyage to Xanadu is as big as a typical O'Reilly technical/computer book). For a paperback, it is about $5 over what one would expect in a bookstore for something of similar is $15 to $20 more than a "trade paperback" (the books where the ink always comes off on your hands).

Finally, something that has been mentioned is that bookstores are reluctant to buy these titles because they are nonreturnable. PA claims that their books are NOW returnable (bookstores can sell unsold copies back). What this entails, I don't know.

Ultimately, I've seen some good press but a hell of a lot of bad press in regards to PA. What I'd like to know is, why didn't I find all this out sooner? The more I read, the more disturbed I am. It took fourteen years to refine this book to the state it is in now. I went with PA from what I had heard from friends who claimed they had a good relationship with PA. Now, I'm concerned.


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