First testimonial: "Using Bookblaster, I have just sold my first novel "Manuel Muldoon" to a publisher and I expect to see it in print in 8-10 months. I had much better success using your program than conferences, or anything I could by myself....thanks! Peary PerryQuick Google search brings this up:Peary's first novel, "Manuel Muldoon" will be coming out the first of 2006 and is being published by PublishAmerica of Fredricksburg, Maryland. Sounds like that $100 (or more) was well spent.What is PublishAmerica's deal? They claim not to charge fees and that they pay royalties. Do they really? Are they vaguely legitimate?
It's been awhile since I toddled over to Publish America; let's see what they are up to these days.
It's clear they've been paying attention to the trash talking about POD on the web cause every other sentence is "we don't charge you money; we pay royalties".
So, my question is, how do these guys stay in business? Clearly this is not some sort of charitable foundation.
First, they aren't quite as upfront about royalties as you'd think at first glance.
They say "we above the industry average, 8% on the first 2000 copies". Well, ok, groovy. 8% of WHAT? Percentage is meaningless unless you know what 100% is. 8% of the cover price? 8% of the net after they pay the phone bill? 8% of what?
The other thing is that there is no tiered royalty system. That's a HUGE tipoff that these books aren't sold other than by ones and twos, probably online. Big buyers like BN, Borders, WalMart etc. get books at a steep discount and royalty rates reflect that.
Second, what doesn't leap out at you is the page that says "booksellers information" cause it isn't there. These guys don't market to bookstores, and as far as I can tell they have no distribution. "Available through Ingram and Baker and Taylor" means you can ORDER the book there but no one is out there talking about your book or any other PA books to retail stores.
Third, and most interesting to me is there isn't a single NAME of a staff person, or company officer anywhere on the website. The only names are those of authors, and John Ingram, the head of INGRAM, not PA.
That means if you call them, you have no idea who to ask for. That is a HUGE tipoff to high turnover. And if there's a problem, they don't want to deal with you directly. They've got general email addresses all over the place "author support team" etc, but NO PEOPLE.
Ok, so what does all that mean? It means you can have your book printed and then you can do all your own sales and marketing. And you get to pay them for the honor of that, cause you keep less than 10% of the (I'm assuming) cover price.
So, your book is $15.00 retail
You set up the signings.
You make sure the books arrive at the store.
You do your own pr.
You sell 100 books.
You get a royalty of $120. And you get it 8 to 10 months after the work.
Then I checked out their marketing page.
thankfully, I now invest in keyboard covers.
The marketing page is "buy this book" published by PA of course, "book promotion by published authors". No names listed of course. $16.95
If they have 1700 happy authors, well, there's a chunk of change if even half bought that book this year.
And then you look at the testimonials page. Here's the lead:
"I just got off the phone with my local Chapters store and they will carry my Publish America book."Rose DesRochers, "She is like the wind"
Ok, here's a big fat clue. When the LEAD testimonial is that a bookstore will stock your book, you know there isn't a lot else good to be said.
And then here's something from "Author News"
Jodis Life Sentence
1/13/2006, 8:54:55 AM
A very big surprise on Amazon.com website for the new book Jodi's Life Sentence. One book is left in stock and more being order. The Official release date was Dec 26th. Barns and Noble will be adding her to a Event book signing in Aprilok, aside from the fact that she misspelled the name of the store, and that the writing is piss poor, is that this poor person doesn't understand even the basics about Amazon.com
Everything on this website smacks of the amateur hour.
Bottom line: it's a publishing mill. If they automate enough of the work, they can make money on the 85% they gross off your work.
So, if you want a book that is about Grandma's recipes, or poems about your relationship with your cat, or something else of sentimental value and limited marketability, these guys will be glad to benefit from your work.