You’re So Vain: Vanity Presses Versus Self-Publishing

writers paying for publishing euro-317927_960_720Over the years we’ve have several posts regarding companies that some call vanity presses or vanity publishers. About three years ago we had an entire series of posts about these companies, called #PublishingFoul. Five years ago there were two major players in this arena: PublishAmerica and Author Solutions with a few other smaller companies using the same business model.

The two biggies operated under a myriad of different names with foreign subsidiaries and multiple imprint names. Keeping track of them was tough. But a rule of thumb that is attributed to author James D. Macdonald that “money should always flow toward the author” was all a wannabe-published author needed to know to avoid becoming the victim of those who would prey on the less informed. But the only thing constant in the world is change, and over the last several years a lot has changed, both in this portion of the publishing industry and in how authors can protect themselves. Continue reading “You’re So Vain: Vanity Presses Versus Self-Publishing”

My Bad Experience with PublishAmerica/America Star Books

Predatory Publisher Month at Indies UnlimitedSome of you may be familiar with PublishAmerica, who some time ago changed their name to America Star Books. I did a post on the change last year and touched on my own story then, but I want to go into a bit more detail about their racket and how I extricated myself.

My run-in with them started in the 90s. I had had five books published already, two by a New York house and three by small presses, when I stumbled across their site. Their mantra at the time was, “We don’t want your money — we want your book!” Continue reading “My Bad Experience with PublishAmerica/America Star Books”

PublishAmerica Changes Its Name, but Can It Change Its Stripes?

americastar2Recently, Victoria Strauss wrote a post for Writer Beware about a change at PublishAmerica. If you’re not familiar with PA, they are one of the most seductive of vanity publishers, primarily because they promise so much and require no up-front payment from authors, blurring the definition of vanity publishing just enough to make it sound good. When I first stumbled onto them over a decade ago, they blared in very large type across their webpage, “We don’t want your money! We want your book!”

And they did, and were very happy to have it.

I won’t lie; I fell for it. While I had had several books traditionally published by then, I still had several unsold manuscripts and uploaded one; they gobbled it up. It sure seemed like a win-win. It didn’t take too long before I was disabused of that notion. Continue reading “PublishAmerica Changes Its Name, but Can It Change Its Stripes?”