PublishAmerica Author To Seek Changes Via Class Action Suit

Timothy N. Stelly, Sr., author of the books “Tempest In the Stone” and “The Malice of Cain,” is organizing PublishAmerica authors to file suit against the company. Stelly says the company misrepresents itself and accuses the publisher of breach of contract. Furthermore, the company is accused of poor record keeping and an inability to accurately track author sales. Stelly says, “It should not be up to the author to track his own sales, which is impossible. You trust that your publisher will live up to their claims and pay you what you have earned and do it on time, per the contract you signed with them.”

He cites Anne Crispin, co-founder of “Writer Beware,” who says that “We would have no complaint if they'd just be honest about what they were." Various websites have posted comments critical of PublishAmerica’s contracts, calling them not only misleading, but one of the most unfair in the business. Internet sites such as Linda Roberts’ “PublishAmerica Sucks,” Preditors and Editors, AbsoluteWrite.com, Writer’s.net and Writing.com have posted hundreds of tales of woe in regards to PublishAmerica authors. If the word “PublishAmerica” is typed into the Google search engine, one will find a slew of horror stories from authors voicing their displeasure.

“Authors need to do more than complain about PA, we need to organize,” Stelly said. “I know duplicity when I see it and I want to save hard working, unsuspecting authors time and heartache. No one has the right to degrade your dream.”

Stelly says when authors confront the company about their shoddy editing, promotion and unwillingness to pay authors on time, PublishAmerica takes on an adversarial tone. “They offer to help the author only if they change the tenor of their complaint,” he said. “They expect you to kowtow, figuring that the unhappy authors can’t organize.”

PA calls itself a “traditional publisher,” but is actually a POD (Print On Demand) company. Their books are seldom found in the bricks and mortar stores as insinuated in their contract. Furthermore, orders for PA books are difficult to fill and the customer must often wait several weeks before receiving their book. Most stores will not allow PA authors to host an author’s signing unless he or she purchases a set amount of their own books in advance.

The company promised to issue press releases to local papers and Stelly says they never did. They also promised to make the books available for review, but the only reviews he found were on Amazon.com and Forbes.com, that had been submitted by friends and relatives.. When Stelly requested five copies of his book to send to black reviewers (he is a hip-hop author), the company declined. Instead, Stelly sent out more than 1400 e-mails and flyers to black college bookstores and student organizations, book clubs, writer’s groups and afrocentric newspapers and bookstores around the country. He also mailed out 300 letters through the USPS. Stelly says he has received e-mails from as far away as Montreal, Canada and the UK from people who have purchased “Tempest In The Stone.”

Other PA authors were surprised to find that the company’s reputation is so tainted that they cannot join the Writer’s Guild of America for two years. Stelly contends unhappy authors should be given the rights to their work and be paid damages for inaccurate accounting and breach of contract. Stelly sums up, “Once upon a time I was proud to be a published author. Now I feel as if I’ve never been published, at least, not in the traditional sense; or by a publisher with credibility.”

To join this suit, contact Timothy Stelly at: stellbread@yahoo.com, or stellysr7@aol.com. For more information about Stelly’s experience with PA please read his article at www.publishamericasucks.com.