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Friday, January 28, 2005
The Publish America Sting

Because they were annoyed with the authorsmarket.net site (put up by PA), some SFWA writers got together and decided to prove that PA doesn't review manuscripts before accepting them. Each one was assigned to write a chapter. They didn't know where their chapter went in the book, and they didn't know what other authors had decided as the gender, race, etc. of their characters. All they knew was that they had to write a purposedly bad chapter.

The result was unpublishable. And of course, PA accepted it and offered a contract on it. (The contract was rescinded when the sting was exposed.)

You can learn more on the special PA Sting page at Critters.org. (BTW Critters.org provides a great free writing workshop for SF, fantasy, and horror writers.)

From there, you can download copies of the infamous book, "Atlanta Nights." It's worth it just for the strange fun of reading this thing. If you've ever read "The Eye of Argon," you'll know what it's like to read "Atlanta Nights." If you "get" the fun of watching campy movies like "Plan Nine from Outer Space," you'll "get" this book, too. You can also order copies via Lulu.com at www.lulu.com/content/102550. Proceeds go toward the SFWA emergency medical fund.

By the way, if you are a PublishAmerica author, this does not mean your book is bad. Heck, with that many authors, some of the books are bound to be good. And I've seen some PA books I wouldn't mind buying. (There was one I would have bought, but the author no longer wants PA to be selling it...) Any submissions desk is like the pans old prospectors used to pan for gold. Sure, most of the time, the prospector picked up mud. But sometimes, they found gold nuggets, too. Real publishers are looking for the nuggets. The problem with author mills like PA is that they don't care if the books they have are good as bad. Your book could be a nugget, or it could be river mud, but they just want your money. Instead of separating the nuggets and selling them to the public, they acccept any they can get their hands on, good and bad, and throw them out into the cruel world with the same (lack) of support. With one goal only. To find ways to get money from the authors.
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