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Interview with Publish America, www.publishamerica.com
Conducted by Dawn Seewer, December 2002
Publish America has stated pretty firmly that they are in no way a POD, vanity press, or subsidy publisher. What type of publisher is Publish America considered to be and why?
PublishAmerica is a traditional, advance and royalty-paying publisher. We follow the model of other traditional publishers, and not the POD, vanity, or subsidy press model of charging the author fees to have their book in print. We maintain this old-fashioned, time-honored belief that a publisher should sell books, and not so-called “services.” We’re not reinventing any wheel here, we’re just selling books, and by concentrating on bookselling only, we have grown very good at it: hundreds of thousands of books per year. This puts us in the top ten percent of the nation’s publishers in terms of volume of books sold.
Who are your editors, what special qualifications do they bring to Publish America?
Miranda N. Prather is the current Editorial Director at PublishAmerica. Miranda has been with PublishAmerica since January 2000. She holds a BA in English, with a minor in French. She has worked as an editor and writer for more than ten years, both in the private sector and the university system. She enjoys reading any new work that is especially engaging and well-written though Science-Fiction, Horror and Fantasy are her favorites. She has completed one novel and is at work on three more.
Jaime Long has been editing at PublishAmerica since July 2001. She graduated from Villa Julie College with a BA in English Language and Literature. Jaime also writes in her spare time and is working on many projects that she hopes to share with the world some day. Along with editing books for PublishAmerica, Jaime reads science fiction, fantasy, historical, and romance novels, and non-fiction science and history books. Jaime enjoys editing the non-fiction, romance, and science fiction books of budding authors at PublishAmerica. The new concepts that authors bring to the editing staff makes for an exciting working day. She looks forward to editing new material each day from the future writers of great American literature!
Sarah Becker graduated from Shepherd College with a Secondary English Education degree. She taught high school English for a time before pursuing a career in publishing. She is currently PublishAmerica’s Senior Editor. Sarah has a great love for the English language that spans from 19th c. English Romantic literature (her favorite) to the intricacies of grammar. At PublishAmerica, she enjoys reading fresh and original ideas from new authors and providing the final edit that will help the book arrive in readers’ hands at its very best. Her favorite genres to edit are historical fiction and poetry.
Walter Chalkley has been involved with publishing and writing for nearly a decade with most of his work being freelance material for large book publishers, very small niche publishers, and non-profit organizations. He has degrees in English, Philosophy, and History from Virginia Commonwealth University and is currently finishing an advanced degree in Modern Humanities from Frostburg University. He also teaches business communications and business English at AccuTech Career Institute. He uses this wealth of experience as an editor for PublishAmerica.
Marie Raeder is an Acquisitions Editors at PublishAmerica. She helps to review manuscript submissions, negotiate contracts and help inform authors about any questions they may have. Every day is exciting because she gets to read various materials submitted to the company for review, and it’s always so rewarding helping writers make their dreams come true. She holds a degree in BA in Communications.
In your submission guidelines Publish America asks for “an outline of why you believe your book would be marketable”, this isn’t a guideline you often see. Can you tell us a little bit about this guideline and what affect it has on the acceptance?
The market statement lets PublishAmerica know that the author believes in his or her own book and understands at least some of the book’s potential market. This statement helps convince us that the seeds of a market exist for the book. By the way, it is actually very much a standard guideline, also used by most other traditional houses. Today the author is expected to pitch their book to publishers they seek out to submit their work to. You don’t just drop your manuscript somewhere and expect that just its mere arrival will sway the acquisitions editor one way or the other. If you’re an author, you are selling your book, and we the publisher, are buying!
Actually, we find that most authors are quite good at pitching their work, mainly because they are the best expert on their subject matter. Later, and often to their own pleasant surprise, they usually also turn out to be great promotors of their book after it has been published, which is equally vital.
After searching through your website we were unable to locate guidelines on the required length, does Publish America have a set length requirement?
We require that submissions be a minimum of 7,000 words with no upper limit to word count.
When a new submission arrives what process does it go through in order to determine its potential as a publishable title?
Every submission goes through an immediate review. During the immediate review, we check to make sure the manuscript meets our submission guidelines. If the manuscript meets our submission guidelines, we place the title for review with an acquisitions editor. The acquisitions editor reads the entire manuscript and reviews the other materials. After the review a decision is made and the book is either accepted or rejected.
Where does your cover art come from and do authors have any say in the design of the cover?
We have a staff of talented cover designers who create our books’ covers. Each book is paired with a cover designer. If the author has a design or an idea, the cover designer will work with that design to create a mutually agreeable design. We do have final say on the cover design, but are always willing to work with the author.
It’s stated in your FAQ’s that “all successful marketing begins at home” how does Publish America encourage its authors to promote their work? What role (if any) does Publish America play in the marketing and promotion of each title?
We craft and mail an announcement letter for every title and send review copies to interested media. We inform the entire industry about our titles. We provide a dedicated, full-time Author Support Staff to assist authors in their marketing efforts. We have seen increased media coverage and recently, expanded our scope to Europe by partnering with Ingram and Amazon UK. We also regularly attend trade shows to promote the company and individual books. All of our combined efforts have lead to:
*each and every day, somewhere in America, there are more than five bookstores/libraries/etc., hosting a book party, signing, or reading, with a PublishAmerica author;
* each and every day, somewhere in America, more than four PublishAmerica authors or their books are the subject of media stories (newspaper, radio or TV).
Where can customers find Publish America titles for sale? Is the publisher or the author responsible for listing the book through these channels?
PublishAmerica books enjoy full distribution through all of the major distributors: Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Brodart, and Barnes & Noble. We list our books with these distributors and elsewhere. Consequently, our books can be found at numerous online vendor sites, and through each and every brick and mortar bookstore from coast to coast.
Who are you leading authors at the moment and what has been the key to their success through Publish America?
Our best selling authors wrote interesting stories with tight plots and developed characters. Readers have responded accordingly. Second, they believed in their work. Their enthusiasm infected others. We often say that the author is the best sales tool for any book, and these authors have proven that time and again.
Publish America appears to have an extensive list of titles, can you tell us about how many title you carry and of those how many are first time authors?
We publish approximately 1,100 new titles per year. Of those titles, about 800 are first time authors.
What kind of author or story would be best suited for Publish America?
Any author who believes in his or her work and who has taken the time to craft well written book would be suited to PublishAmerica. We specifically look for work that presents a character(s) overcoming obstacles in life.
Is there any other news you wish to share about Publish America?
As stated above, we have recently teamed with Ingram and Amazon UK to increase our scope to the European market. We have had foreign rights success with Yaccom Publishers in Korea.
Thank you very much to Publish America for a great interview and offering some wonderful insight into the world of publishing. We wish you much continued success.