Fun fact: did you know that back in 1997, Miranda Prather (Executive Director of PublishAmerica) was arrested for faking a hate crime?
This doesn’t really surprise me. After all, this is a company widely reviled by anyone with the slightest clue about publishing. It’s the company that accepted the deliberately and brilliantly awful book Atlanta Nights, the same company that published Night Travels of the Elven Vampire with a horribly Photoshopped (and illegal) cover of Orlando Bloom. The Absolute Write boards have a great deal of info on PA, everything from their $1 advance (so they can claim to be an advance-paying publisher) to advice on how to get out of a PA contract. Here’s a summary at AW about why they don’t recommend PA.
Apparently it’s now reached the point where even PublishAmerica wants nothing to do with PublishAmerica. From Writer Beware comes PA’s latest “offer” — PA authors can get their books relisted with a new imprint called Independence Books with the following benefits:
- Not registered as POD in vendor databases.
- Not registered as PublishAmerica.
That’s directly out of PA’s letter to their authors. I’m suspicious of the PoD designation thing, but it’s the second part that gets me. I wish I could have been there for the meeting where they decided the best thing they could do to sell books was to try to disguise them as non-PA titles. Just for fun, I’m imagining the conversation with various Star Wars characters doing the voices.
Emperor: “It appears that we’ve so thoroughly destroyed our reputation that bookstore staff spontaneously burst into sickly green flames at the mere mention of our name. Something must be done!”
Rookie Stormtrooper: “Hey, what if we tried producing better-quality books, and maybe started trying to sell those books to readers?”
::Flushing sound as the new guy is dropped into the rancor pit::
George Lucas: “We should hire that Brittany Spears guy to produce a video where he cries and says ‘Leave PublishAmerica alone!’ Better yet, I’ll create a CGI alien to do it in a really bad accent.”
Emperor: “Implement this plan immediately.”
Vader: “Perhaps it’s time to offer another ‘deal’ to our authors. Our prices are 50-75% higher than other publishers’ titles, so we can let our authors buy books at 40% off and still the Empire shall profit.”
Emperor: “Inform our authors that we are displeased with their lack of progress. That should frighten them into buying more copies. But it still doesn’t fix our reputation.”
Jabba the Hutt [Translated (badly) from Huttese]: “Dude! You should, like, totally change your name. Like when you were sayin’ ‘I’m Senator Palpatine,’ but then you went all ‘I’m Darth Sidious, fool!’ Because nobody saw through that one!”
Emperor: “Excellent. Be sure to make them pay for the privilege…”
Jabba the Hutt: “And you should totally call it ‘Imperial Poodoo!'”
Seriously, when things are so bad that you’re offering your own authors the opportunity to hide their association with you, maybe that should be a clue that it’s time to give up and go home.