Gaffs of Truth

from One Who Creates with Alphabets

30 April 2006

Soiled Debut

I had a brush with PA aka Publish Anything America. A real scam outfit.

They offered a contract, I accepted. They never printed published my manuscript. Instead they waited 14 months to let me know "production was backed up" and would I sign another contract?

My initial contract specified they had to publish within a year or the contract was void. The contract was also for seven years. Their first contracts under AmErica House/PA were for 70 years-so they could control the copyright of author +70 years. Since then, they've changed the contracts to one year, but offer a "rush to publication" which bypasses even their spell-check version of 'editing'.

I don't know what they truly did with the file of my manuscript. I don't know if one of their 'editors' ever saw it. But by the time they woke up to the fact that my $30 was gone (I had cancelled the payment), I was much wiser. The $30 was to cover my copyright (something a real publisher pays for--under the author's name, not registering it to the publisher as PA does illegally) and two free 'author copies'.

PA contacted me to "re up" in February of 2004. By then I had found and been posting on Mindsight, a haven for the PAbused and Absolute Write, a interesting collection of writers, authors, screenwriting, editors, and agents and PA shills (and other) trolls. I was also a lurker on Forward Motion. All of these internet writers communities gently awoke me to what PA truly was and what I needed to do.

Rather than tell them what they could do and in what position they could do it in, I merely I said I was not going to sign again and requested my manuscript back. I expected a fight. One of PA's tactics is to hold manuscripts hostage and refused to give back the rights to the authors--all illegal--if the author refuses to follow orders and/or badmouths PA publicly. I should note that I had used a different userid on AW and MS until after my dealings with PA were over, now I go by Alphabeter almost everywhere I'm online.

After nearly a month, I received a reply stating the manuscript file was destroyed, that a revision contract was not needed and they would not be publishing my manuscript because it was "not up to PA's standards". I again requested a revision contract and in the email added a clause the AW legal pal named JAWS had posted on the Neverending PA thread. Note-it was not official legal advice and was couched in very loose legal language. I merely used it so that if PA tries to publish my book later, I can show they have no rights to it and specifically were stripped of any permissions by myself in 2004.

PA has never responded to that final email but they did send a copy of my original contract with a date of 2004 and an overwritten version of my signature on it. Forgery is illegal and completely unenforceable. However, I am not worried at all about PA ever publishing that book. They have other fish to fry.

So what does all of this mean?

Miss Snark posted tonight that a PA start need not be mentioned unless you're gunning for Debut Writer of the Year. The manuscript PA had was never printed published. I still consider it my debut book.

It was a bad bad thing PA tried to do to me. They are still doing it to hundreds of writers every month. Until they are shutdown and their victims compensated, I will keep a copy of that manuscript in a looseleaf binder on the books of Alphabeter shelf. Its pages are crisp and clean. But it will always be soiled.


At 1/5/06 11:09, Blogger jason evans added...

Preying on unpublished writers is such a foul business. These worms tap into the dreams that keep us going and twist them to empty our pockets. Thanks for speaking up! More people need to learn the truth.

At 1/5/06 21:23, Blogger AstonWest added...

It's unfortunate that as many people learn the truth, there are equally as many (if not more) that fall into the trap...

It'll be a happy day when those sleazebags in Frederick are put out of business...

65+ years and counting...

At 3/5/06 12:44, Blogger Erik Ivan James added...

Yes, Alphabeter, thanks for speaking out.

At 5/5/06 12:29, Blogger Bernita added...

They are scum.
Good for you.


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