Ever since I first wrote about my publishing pitfalls with Publish America, I’ve received a lot of correspondence from writers asking me if they too should avoid publishing with this notorious online POD Company. So, in response to yet another letter from an unpublished author, I’ve been motivated to write about the top five reasons why one shouldn’t hand over their manuscript to this Frederick, Maryland based online publisher.

Although a person can go to any search engine such as Yahoo or Google and type in the term “Publish America” or “Publish America” [using the quotes gets more results], many authors refrain from doing this. This is a gigantic mistake on their part as they generally have squandered a manuscript that they’ve spent many months or years working on, and have eliminated their chances at getting published with a legitimate publisher.

Publish America is a tiny online based publishing company run by a trio of unpublished authors, namely Dutch born and raised Willem Meiners who speaks and writes English as a second language, Larry Clopper, a computer programmer, and Miranda Prather, a poet. Unlike the “traditional” mainstream publishers that they are constantly comparing themselves to, this executive staff is under the delusion that they are changing the publishing industry. Instead of admitting on their patriotic looking web site that they are a vanity POD [Print On Demand] publisher with a strict no-returns policy that exists solely to sell the authors’ books back to the author him or herself, this company pretends that they are radically altering the publishing world.

Authors, if the above hasn’t already dissuaded you from signing a Publish America contract, please think about the following points:

1. Your book will NOT be stocked in a chain or independent bookstore due to the no-returns policy, high cover price, and short discount.
2. The Publish America team of editors consists of teenagers and young adults who run spelling/grammar checks on manuscripts, which doesn’t amount to much if you have ever used a standard word processing editing program. They also have a non-editing option you can choose which will allow your book to be released in a matter of weeks rather than months. Editing for story, length, characterization, and content doesn’t exist in the Publish America editing stable.
3. You will receive an author’s questionnaire in which you are asked to disclose up to 100 names of family members, friends, and associates. It states: “Also, please do not include businesses or organizations of any kind, including bookstores, media contacts, or government organizations. Include friends and associates only.” Why are they so shy of staying away from the media if their wish is to actually SELL books?
4. Twice a year, March and September, marks the season for minuscule royalty checks. Think of the time and effort you put in to writing your book. Add up the $30 copyright fee you paid, the number of books you bought yourself, the amount of money you forked over to get a web site and/or ANY type of online and offline promotional effort, and divide that into the amount you receive – usually less than $20!
5. Look at the numbers of authors and author’s advocates out there who write about what a scam Publish America really is. Not just one or two disgruntled authors, but hundreds of them. Over on the Absolute Write Forum we have over 900 pages of the Never Ending Publish America thread. Mindsight and Writers Net have similarly vast amounts of web space devoted to warning and educating people about the drawbacks of being a Publish America author.

And finally, think about the time frame of that seven-year long contract which is what Publish America offers. In some states you could commit some pretty nasty felonies and get less prison time than that! Perhaps a more appropriate slogan would be: Publish America, imprisoning author’s one book at a time!

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