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  1. #21
    Cathy C


    Glad you read the fine print before you were scammed, Terre! Good luck with finding a good, reputable publisher. They're out there...I promise!


  2. #22
    Dee Power

    PA is not a traditional, commercial publisher

    A Comparison of Traditional/Commercial Publishers
    and PublishAmerica/Vanity/subsidy Publishers

    Manuscript Selection, Royalties and Contracts

    Traditional Publishers (TP) accept a very small percentage of unsolicited manuscripts, 1% or less. Most TP, with the exception of the small presses, do not accept unsolicited manuscripts from writers directly but only from literary agents. The literary agents act as a screening device to sift out the acceptable manuscripts from the dregs.

    Publish America (PA) and other vanity/subsidy publishers accept nearly every manuscript submitted to them. There are documented cases of PA offering contracts on manuscripts containing gibberish, manuscripts that change characters in the middle, and manuscripts which repeat a series of the same pages over and over.

    Miranda Prather, Executive Director of PublishAmerica claims that PublishAmerica rejects 80%, San Antonio Current June 24, 2004) of the manuscripts presented to them. In an email they have said ďWe read every single submission before we accept or refuse.Ē

    If PA releases 5000 titles per year, then 25,000 manuscripts were submitted to them. PA has approximately 80 employees, each employee would have to read one manuscript each working day in addition to their other job responsibilities. Very, very few people can read an entire book in one day.

    The majority of TP authors have been previously published

    Very few authors with PA have been previously published.

    All of the titles of TP are expected to have sales. Unless for some reason the title is pulled, for example after 9/11 several novels involving hijacking and terrorists were pulled from release, as was at least one movie. All of the titles have some level of sales.

    PA has 1000 titles which have had no sales. 10% of the titles released by PA have not sold one copy.

    The number of titles released per year by a TP depends upon the publisher. However Random House, one of the largest publishers in the United States released 3000 titles in 2003. AuthorsHouse, a vanity press, released 500 titles a month or close to 6000 titles.

    PA released about 5000 titles in 2005 with a tiny fraction of the resources of Random House. The PA staff is about half that of AuthorsHouse.

    The TP buys the rights to publish the title from the author in exchange for money. Usually the rights are bought for a percentage of the revenues the sale of the title generates or these are called royalties.

    An advance is simply a prepayment of royalties that the TP believes the title will earn. For example if the TP calculates that the title will sell 5000 copies at a retail price of $20.00, and the authorís royalty is 10% of the retail price, the advance could be as much as $10,000.00.

    Once the author delivers the manuscript to the TP and the manuscript is accepted, the advance does not have to be paid back. If the publisher decides for whatever reason not to publish the title, the author does not have to pay the advance back.

    PA pays a symbolic $1 advance.

    Royalties are also paid on other rights: first syndication rights (an excerpt printed in Sports Illustrated Magazine for example prior to publication), sale of foreign rights ( a French publisher buys the rights to print the book in French), film and TV rights, audio book rights, and in the case of hardcover books, the mass market rights aka paperback rights. TP make active efforts to sell these other rights as they can significantly increase the revenues generated from a title.

    PA has sold the foreign rights of less than 10 titles out of the over 10,000 books they have released. No film rights, audio rights or any other rights have been sold or at least announced.

    Most TP include a clause in the publishing contract with the author, which allows the author to examine the records of the publisher to determine if royalties are paid correctly. Since the calculation of royalties can be complicated the author usually appoints a professional CPA, or audit firm to do the examination.

    PA refuses to allow authors to be represented by professionals when exercising the audit clause in their contract.

    Editing and Production

    TP edit manuscripts carefully both for content, structure, and copy editing ie., grammar, syntax, spelling and punctuation. A 90,000 word book requires 30 to 40 hours of copy editing. It is a reflection on the publisherís carelessness if errors are found in a published work.

    PA has approximately 30 editors who provided editing services. They claim to edit only on grammar, syntax, spelling and punctuation. They say they correct 35000 of these types of errors each day. However at the rate of current publication, each editor would have to edit a book every 2 days (in addition to reading a manuscript every day).

    PA now has the option of no editing that the author can select. The book is published without editing and a note on the copyright page states that no editing has been done.

    Marketing and Sales

    There were 190,000 new titles published in the United States in 2004. About half of these are never meant for retail sale, they are textbooks, technical manuals, in house corporate publications, medical manuals and such.

    TP books qualify for and have a library of congress catalog description. This description means that libraries can easily order and catalog books.

    PA books do not qualify for the library of congress description as the LOC has determined that PA is a publish on demand publisher.

    TP compile a catalog of their titles in the upcoming 3 to 6 months. The catalog has the cover of the new titles, a brief description, and a short authorís bio. Marketing plans such as advertising, book tours and the initial print run are included for each title as well. The catalog is distributed to independent bookstores, chain store buyers and wholesalers to the grocery stores, drug stores, the warehouse super stores and the airport locations.

    PA has no catalog.

    The TP has sales representatives or an in house sales force which follows up on the catalog with the buyers. The chain stores such as Barnes and Noble, Borders and BooksAMillion have buyers which specialize in the different areas, ie fiction, nonfiction, self-help, etc. The sales reps meet with the buyers to help them select the titles and the number of copies they wish to order. The sales reps also meet with the larger independent bookstores. The buyers select the titles based on the previous sales record of the author or like titles.

    Local managers of the chains and independent bookstores may order a copy or two of a local author if the author is persistent. Authors may also convince a local bookstore to stock a book on consignment, meaning that the author pays the publisher for the book, gives the book to the store for placement and only gets paid by the store if the book sells. Consignment is virtually the only way a PA book gets on bookstore shelves and then only rarely.

    PA has no sales rep and no in house sales force.

    TP offer standard trade discounts.

    Bookstores require a 40 to 50% discount from the retail price, the distributor from 10 to 15% and the wholesaler 10 to 15%. Even amazon requires a 55% discount. In actuality the publisher only receives from 30 to 40% of the retail price, and usually closer to 30%.

    For example if the retail price of a book is $20.00, the bookstore makes $8.00, the wholesaler $3.00 and the distributor $3.00, the publisher receives $6.00.

    The publisher has to pay the printer for the book, which depending on the number of pages in the book, format, and size of the print run, can range from less than dollar to $5.00 or so. In this case we'll use $2.00 as the printing cost. The publisher also has to pay royalties to the author and shipping costs from the printer to the distributor and then to the retailer. Royalties also range but in this case we'll use 10% of the net price the publisher receives ($6.00) as the royalty due to the author, or $.60. The shipping is about $.20 each time the book is shipped, so $.40. That adds up to $3.00 of expenses for each book for a profit to the publisher of $3.00 per book.

    To review- for each book sold at retail for $20.00. The bookstore gets $8.00, the distributor $3.00, the wholesaler $3.00, the printer $2.00, the shipper $.40, the author $.60 and the publisher $3.00.

    PA offers a non standard discount of only 40% to be split between the retail store, the wholesaler and the distributor. PA makes $12.00 per book.

    Bookstores do not want to order books that are not returnable to the publisher if they donít sell. Of the 90,000 new titles each year a buyer can not possibly even be vaguely familiar with each title. If a title doesnít sell the bookstore requires the option of being able to return it to the publisher or to the wholesaler. Bookstores, both chain and independent are very hesitant and most wonít order books they canít return.

    PA does accept returns, but only through Ingram and he bookstores only receive a 5% discount. There is a 10% restocking fee. So the bookstore is out $ if they buy a PA book and then return it.

    TP offer 90 day payment terms to the bookstore.

    PA requires payment upfront when the book is ordered.

    TP books usually have a national sales rep to work with the major chains.

    PA has no national sales rep.

    Barnes and Noble will not stock PA books as a matter of policy because of poor quality, high prices and non returnability. This has been documented in writing. WalMart will not stock PA books because Anderson Merchandising the distributor for WalMart will not carry them.

    TP books have the retail price printed on the book and/or imbedded in the barcode.

    PA books do not have the retail price printed on them or imbedded in the barcode. In statements to its own authors, PA has made the statement that the author and the title are designated in the ISBN. This is not true. The first number in the ISBN, the second series is the publisherís number, the third is the number of that title in the series of the publisher (ie itís the first book of the publishers or the 51st) the last digits are check digits.

    The number of titles released per year by a TP depends upon the publisher. However Random House, one of the largest publishers in the United States released 3000 titles in 2003 and spent $100,000,000 on marketing, thatís an average of $33,000 per title.

    PA released about 5000 titles in 2005, even if they took every dollar of their $4 million of sales and used it for marketing that would be less than $1000 per title.


    TP send review copies to the media, newspaper book editors, radio stations, whomever they believe will review the book and spread the word. There is no hard and fast rule, but it would be reasonable to say the TP distribute 100 review copies. TP also distribute a press release when the book is released and available in stores for sale.

    PA sends two review copies and only if they approve of the reviewer. PA sends out one press release to one newspaper of the authorís choice when the author signs the contract.

    TP books are reviewed by major newspapers and local media if there is interest in the book.

    Many newspapers including the New York Times, and the Washington Post have policies against reviewing PA books. Smaller publications do not review PA books as policy as well. PA books are not stocked in bookstores so reviewers donít want to waste space in their publication reviewing a book the readers canít find.

    TP advertise their books in trade publications that are distributed to booksellers and librarians.

    No trade advertising is done by PA.

    Advertising to consumers is not often done by TP, but when it is, it focuses on selling the titles.

    PA advertises constantly on the Internet and all the advertising is targeted to recruit writers who want to be published, rather than on the books it has published.

    TP attend major trade shows and bookseller conventions and conferences. TP take orders for their books from the attendees of these conferences.

    PA has not attended any major trade show in the past two years. They have not attended BookExpo America, the American Library Conference, or any bookseller conventions.

    Business Models

    The business model of a TP is to sell books to libraries, bookstores and other retail outlets for consumers to purchase. About 60% of books meant for retail sale are sold in bookstores, about 10% online (amazon etc.,) and the remainder in grocery stores, airport stores, drug stores and warehouse super stores (Target, K-mart, WalMart).

    PA business model is to sell books to the authors not to bookstores or to consumers directly. At least half of the books sold by PA are sold to their own authors.

    TP offer discounts to their authors when they buy their own books, but it is a courtesy. Often TP will give the author copies at no charge if theyíre going to be used for promotional purposes.

    PAís business model depends on authors buying their own books. On a regular basis PA emails authors promotional messages that urge them to buy their own books. While the author isnít required contractually to buy their own books, PAís profitability depends on it. PA says 300 times a day a bookstore orders a PA book. That means that about 76,500 copies sold through bookstores. PA has released about 5000 titles in 2005 so that means an average of 14 copies sold in bookstores. Not 14 copies per bookstore but 14 copies combined for all the bookstores in the United States.

    If 76,500 copies sold to bookstores at the full 40% discount that PA offers and the average retail price of a PA book is $19.95 then a little less than $1 million dollars of the $4 million dollars of revenues PA generates for the year is from bookstore sales. The majority of revenues come from authors purchasing their own books from PA.

    TP books are available in bookstores. When a product is designated as available in a store, common usage means that the product is stocked and available for immediate purchase. An example would be ďAs seen on TV and now available at your local drugstore.Ē

    When PA says that PA books are available in bookstores, they mean that the book is available for a customer to order, pay for and then wait for the book to be delivered to the store, or in most cases delivered to the customerís home address. PA books are not stocked regularly by bookstores. PA titles are not available at grocery stores, drug stores or superstores.

    TP have print runs from 1000 copies upwards to 500,000 copies for the bestsellers. Small presses may use smaller runs using digital printing. The average print run for a first novel is about 5000 copies. The books are warehoused by the publisher until sold to Ingram (wholesaler). The books are then warehoused by Ingram until sold to bookstores.

    PA doesnít have print runs. The books are printed as they are sold using the print on demand technology. Print on Demand technology means that books can be printed one at a time. No books are warehoused by PA. Very few if any PA books are warehoused by Ingram, the wholesaler.

    TP have a cost of about $2.15 for a 2000 print run for a trade paperback book. The average price for a fiction trade paperback book is around $15.00.

    PA has a cost of about $5.00 for print on demand for each copy. The average price is $20.00.

    TP can fill orders the same day as the books are ordered.

    PA books have a 4 to 8 day waiting period until they can be printed, thatís the lag from the POD printer. PA has a 3 to 4 week delivery time if books are ordered from their website.

    TP books are discounted by 30% on the amazon.com website.

    Very, very few PA books are discounted on amazon.com.

    Dee Power

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