I hate to beat a dead horse, but the damned thing keeps neighing. I say this in reference to some submission guidelines I recently read on a publisher’s website. I was just innocently looking for information about some of the different publishers out there and I ran into what I consider to be a very prejudicial statement, spelled out in black and white for all the world to see. I know that I shouldn’t let it anger me so, but it is very disheartening to see this over and over. To explain:
Do not send us books printed by PublishAmerica, iUniverse, Xlibris, or anybody else as a sample of your work. It will, in 99.9% of the cases, work against you. Obviously, that also means don’t include those books in your query letter or list of credits, either.
I won’t mention which publisher’s website this was on and I don’t want to sound whiny, but for Pete’s sake people. Right now, I’m a PublishAmerica author. Although they aren’t at the top of anyone’s list for best and brightest publishing group, they do not charge a fee and should not be lumped in with publishers who do. My work through PublishAmerica should be considered as work that I can include on my list of writing credits. It was distributed through the big warehouses and I did receive royalties (no matter how meager).
I have spoken with authors who paid through the nose to have their books published and they don’t seem to be having the same problems with credibility as I have had as a PublishAmerica author. Even though I’ve said, time and time again, I paid nothing to have my book published. I was never asked to pay for their services, nor did I ever do so.
Because of this seemingly universal snubbing, I have been denied book signing opportunities, book reviews, memberships to writing groups and now, it appears, the likelihood of being published through another publishing house because my work with PublishAmerica simply doesn’t count.
I’m sure there are people out there who believe that all of this makes sense and that PublishAmerica authors have not put in their time as writers. They base this solely on their own beliefs about the publisher and project their feelings onto the writers. They have no real basis for their claims other than their own bias and quite frankly, I think that sucks.
My intention has always been to submit my first novel-length effort to a bigger publisher and see if I have what it takes. As someone who views a show of effort as a positive thing, I see absolutely nothing wrong with writing and publishing through a smaller, less prestigious publisher to get started in the writing world. My goal here is not to grumble and complain, but to enlighten those who are clinging to the notion that PublishAmerica authors are just hacks or vanity press writers who couldn’t possibly succeed on a more substantial playing field or who were somehow deviously suckered into signing with a predatory publisher. Hasn’t anyone ever heard of starting out small or what I like to call an entry level position?
I’d worry that writing this blog post might damage my credibility, but it appears that I probably didn’t have any to begin with. After all, I’m just a PublishAmerica writer. What do I know?
Just another example of how narrow-minded people can be…just another reason why I write.
Until next time…