I’m likely writing and preaching to the choir here, but when sharks start circling, it bears repeating especially for the folks who may be treated like chum. It’s not fun being targeted by the sharks, and even experienced writers and authors fall prey to some of the crappiocca floating around these days.
Yes, there is DANGER out there for the unwary and eager authors. Certainly, you can choose your own path to publication, and far be it from me to say what is the best choice for anyone but myself. That said, PLEASE be informed. There are some well known companies that have earned either a great or abysmal reputation and when you spend all your blood-sweat-and-tears on your baby-book, it’s important to know the difference.
Publish America has been around for many years. Once self published writers took the reins of their own careers and learned they could accomplish more for less $$ on their own or by hiring pros, such companies turned to advertising and marketing packages to make money. Sure, it’s fine to hire help to market and promote your work–but again, be informed. High price does not equal high quality.
I love the Writer Beware site and strongly urge all writers to bookmark the site. It’s sponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and founded by A.C. Crispin and Victoria Strauss. So when I got the (below) letter last week, and it didn’t pass the sniff-test, I visited the Writer Beware site and found out this is old news but new to me. Here’s their post on the subject.
Take a look at the email I got yesterday, copied below. I found it interesting that this company that used to do nothing but publish (for a high fee), now says it publishes for free–and offers to promote my indie book for free.
Except my 1st Aid book is NOT an “indie” title.
All they want is to add my name to their marketing solicitation list–but they’ve already GOT my email and sent that letter in a marketing blast. So why reach out? Why do you think? Baiting the hook? Hmnnn.
Or do they want permission to use my pet 1st aid book in their marketing at this event? GAK! no-no-no-no-no!
My name is Jackie Velnoskey. I saw that you have written The First Aid Companion for Dogs & Cats. My question for you is: may I promote the book at the American Library Association’s Annual Conference & Exhibition in Orlando in June? It costs you nothing. All I’m asking you in return is if we may add you to our book marketing email list.
Amy’s Note: American Library Association is a legit organization, as is its conference. Anyone can pay to exhibit there.
We would like to include your work in the Hot Indy Author Guide that we’re displaying and distributing during the ALA event. This option is free. Check out our Facebook page (URL REDACTED) when we report live from Orlando where over 150,000+ are expected to attend.
At America Star Books we have a book promotion department that does nothing but offering book promotion at the lowest fees in the nation. We attend all of the big fairs and festivals: Book Expo America, London Book Fair, Frankfurt Book Fair, Miami Book Fair International, the American Library Association mid-winter and annual Conferences, Baltimore Book Festival, and so on.
All I am asking you at this time is if we may add you to our email list when we issue our next book promotion offers. You may at any time unsubscribe, and we will promptly cease sending you any further emails. America Star Books has been around for more than fifteen years, serving over 60,000 authors. Participating in book promotion is entirely optional.
America Star Books Special Services, manager
Hey, it’s complicated and can be hard to recognize some of the bad actors because…well, because some of them have joined forces with other well known publishing houses to give themselves legitimacy. Another of my favorite writing blogs is written by author David Gaughrin, and he has a take-no-prisoners approach to calling out the bad actors. Check out his post here about Author Solutions (another infamous example).
I realize this is not an in depth explanation or recommendation for what you SHOULD do. Others have written with more detail and insight, which is why I encourage you to check out both David’s and the Writer Beware blogs. Also, subscribe to email lists so that when something like this comes up, simply ASK if anyone on the list can tell you anything about the company. The indie community of writers is one of the most generous and giving I’ve ever seen, and those with more experience typically will offer feedback and help to those who genuinely want help.
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I had a few books published by Publish America/America Star Books. I was paid for some of my books, but I don’t think I was paid for all of the books sold.
I’m sorry, Tim. I know some authors who got their rights reverted and released under their own name/publishing company as independent authors. There’s always a learning curve to publishing, and I’m glad you were paid for some (hopefully most or all!) of your books.