Friday, 5 December 2008

Do Your Research!

When you write anything for publication, it’s wise to do all you can to get things right in the first place: you can make such a spectacular fool of yourself if you get it wrong, as one poor writer found out when her PublishAmerica book was reviewed.

It’s harsh, isn’t it? Now, imagine how you’d feel if it was your book that was being discussed there. Because if you publish your book through a publisher which offers no editorial selection or control, that’s exactly what you’re risking.


Sally Zigmond said...

Thank you, thank you, Jane. I've not laughed so much in weeks! (And believe me, I need all the laughs I can get at the moment.)

But then, it's also sad that Publish America and its ilk grant such 'writers' delusions of ability.

PS You're not peacockharpy, by any chance, are you?

Jane Smith said...

Sally, that review is just awful, isn't it? I just ache for the poor woman who wrote the book--for so many reasons...!

My problem with PublishAmerica and other similar "publishers" isn't that they publish so many dreadful writers, but that they mislead so many writers of ALL levels of ability. It doesn't matter whether the writers are good or bad, they all get taken for a ride.

As for Peacockharpy, I can't say that's one of my (many) personas, but it's one I might take up.

Gutsy Living said...

Publishing today is even more competitive than before so getting your manuscript polished and ready to sell is key. The only problem is that you have to hire a GREAT freelance publisher, and that can cost $3,000 or more. Great posting.

Jane Smith said...

"Publishing today is even more competitive than before so getting your manuscript polished and ready to sell is key. The only problem is that you have to hire a GREAT freelance publisher, and that can cost $3,000 or more."

That bit about having to hire a freelance (I assume you meant editor, not publisher) is not actually true, Gutsy--just ask Sally Zigmond, who commented right at the top of this thread. Her first novel is coming out early next year, and she's not hired anyone to help her edit or publish it: Sally's done it the old-fashioned way by working hard and keeping at it.

Which isn't to say you shouldn't hire an editor: that works for some people (Sharon Mass credits the publication of her first book to the editorial service that she used). But if you want a career as a writer you're going to have to learn to edit your own work eventually, so why not do it right from the start?

Daniel Blythe said...

Sweet Baby Vampires... Publish America aren't doing anybody any favours with this shit, are they?

Jane Smith said...

This is just one of many, many stories I could link to about PublishAmerica. Honestly, they're pure gold if you're interested in stories about how publishing DOESN'T really work. I particularly like the "tone" letters they send to the writers who dare ask difficult questions--like, "why did your editing process introduce so many errors into my text?"

rxvenomqueen said...

Man, talk about slamming a book, or a writer in this case. I'll be brutally honest, I snickered after reading part of the review, but I also felt horrible for the author because I sure wouldn't want to be in her shoes if she came across it (if she hasn't already).

It's one thing to 'write' a bad review and give your opinion. However, it's an entirely different story when the review is meant to blatently insult the author.

I've heard about Publish America and needless to say, once I get to the point where I'll need a publisher, they won't be on my list.

Jane Smith said...

I know what you mean, RX: I thought long and hard before putting up this post, with this particular link. But over the last couple of weeks I've been contacted by several writers who have each asked me to explain just why I think it's so bad for writers to go with certain vanity publishers and despite my warnings of what might well happen, none of them seemed to appreciate the full implications.

This particular case illustrates it perfectly. And it's an old review, a good few years old, so I hope that the writer has moved on since it appeared, and won't be further hurt by my post.

And if it helps anyone else avoid "publishing" through PublishAmerica, so much the better!

writtenwyrdd said...

that review was priceless. I have to remember "strawberry scented elegance" for my snarkier moments.