Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Beware Of Shelagh Watkins and PublishedAuthors.org

Recently I took a gander at PublishedAuthors.org and saw Shelagh Watkins, author of Mr. Planemaker's Flying Machine and other books and saw she posted this:

There is no difference to the final product if you self-publish with Lulu.com or allow Publish America to produce a book for you.

Through Lulu, you have to format the interior, produce the book cover design and upload the files to their site. They print exactly what you send. If you require help, there are editors to help you with the layout and cover design -- but you have to pay.

With PublishAmerica, the first thing you do after signing the contract is answer and return an author questionnaire (same as a commercial publisher) to be sent with the full manuscript. Then they run a grammar/spell check. If the manuscript is covered in green and red underlines, the manuscript is sent back and the author asked to clean it up. Some go onto the PAMB and ask why the manuscript has all these green lines and kind souls (like Carol Troestler) offer to help them to tidy up their work (Ann recently assisted a colleague with a commercially published book, for which she was paid).

PA do a light edit, format the book interior and send it back to the author, who's given a fortnight to proofread. When all the editing is finished, the pdf file is sent to the cover art department. The cover is then sent to the author for approval. Once approved, a release date is set and the book goes on sale on the PA website. Six weeks later, the book appears on 
Amazon and eventually is offered for sale on forty or more book selling websites.

No costs to the author are incurred from start to finish. The author is offered a once only opportunity to buy the books at a discount of 55%. I don't know how many books need to be bought to qualify at the present moment. The will be given the chance to buy at lower discounts for set numbers of books at a later date.

About ISBNs: Both PA and Lulu buy the ISBNs in bulk and are the owners of those numbers. They are free to the authors. When the books appear online, the publisher is attributed to the ISBN holder, i.e., PA and Lulu. If self-publishers want to own the ISBN and appear on 
Amazon as the publisher, they have to buy the ISBN at the rate set by Bowker. Similarly, if self-publishers want their book to appear on sellers' websites other than Amazon, they have to pay for distribution.

The difference between the two companies: one does all the work at no charge; the other does none of the work and charges if self-publishers require assistance.

All the PA authors (apart from DK, and possibly Abe) on this forum, knew exactly what they were getting: a book published at no cost that would help them to learn more about the business with no financial outlay. DK thought she was a "proper author" -- although I'm not sure that the process she adopted of selling the books herself fits with the image of herself as a "real" author. Abe thought that he could distribute the book himself but failed to make the necessary arrangements with PA and feels let down because of this. Agai
n, I don't see how this kind of author intervention sits with the idea of PA being a "real" publisher.

If you take into consideration that PA authors had differing views of themselves and their publisher, then there are probably as many different reasons for publishing with PA as there are authors.

See original post here.

Later she added:

I received equal printing rights for the book two years after publication because the book wasn't selling. I was given full e-rights at the same time. PA support wished me well and said that they didn't want to hold back any author who might find new ways to reach a bigger readership. I found the support staff courteous, helpful and always pleasant. 

PA had fulfilled their part of the agreement to publish my book; they had given me equal rights before the seven years were up and full e-rights. There was no need for me to ask them to publish a second book that would fail to make a profit for either me or the publisher.

There are several ways to take this: First, she's ignorant of PublishAmerica and it's business methods. I find this hard to believe, she'd have to be willfully ignorant of all the information that is out there and has been for years. She's not dumb, that she's shown that many times.

She may not know a lot about publishing, but she's got PA's MO down pat. She published one of Alice Crooker's books, Living By The Swamp, and Alice purchased one hundred copies from Shelagh "To Make It Worth [Shelagh's] time."

The only thing that is left to conclude is that Shelagh Watkins is a shill of PublishAmerica and a liar. She lets the many former PublishAmerica authors who frequent her forum think they have escaped PA's clutches, when in fact she is lying day and day in out to them, pretending to be their friend when it is closer to just a friendly prison warden.

The domain registration for PublishedAuthosr is hidden behind a proxy. I have no doubt now that behind that proxy stands PublishAmerica or someone closely connected to them.

I cannot state this strongly enough: Stay away from PublishedAuthors.org!!

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