Hello everyone. My name is Daniel Peyton and I am the author of several books, including The Crystal Needle series. I want to share something with you. This is the story and results of how I got abused by a publisher.
To everyone reading who is not an author, you may not realize how special and important a moment it is to be accepted. Not just accepted by a publishing house or a literary agent, but accepted by the literary community. To be accepted by a single reader who likes your work. To be accepted by other authors who delve into the same genre as you. We writers are solitary folk and as such contact with the real world is limited. But, that does not mean that we don’t want friends and family. We want fellowship, we want companionship, and we want to know that we are not alone.
The most anticipated and longed for acceptance is that of a publisher. For, being accepted by a publisher gives you a feel of legitimacy. All of your work has not been in vain, and you may just achieve a modicum of success that you have worked so diligently for. Not only general success, but specific success. You have worked for a long time, through many different levels, to create your masterpiece. It is your child, your baby, your product. No one else created it, no one else gave birth to it, it is as much a part of you as your own personality. When a publisher accepts that work and says they will produce it, you have achieved a great thing.
That all said, this is my story:
A number of years ago I began writing. Well, okay, I started writing in 4th grade but this is much later. I love to write Star Trek stories and other specific things that cannot be published without consent of the owners of the original storylines. I just liked to write. Then my mother asked me why I didn’t write something completely mine and independent. I was afraid of branching out, but I had to try. So, I sat down on the deck of my house and just started typing. I wrote notes and crafted a story. I didn’t know how it was going to turn out, but all I could do was fail. I had little to loose other than time. So I did it. With the help and constant encouragement of my mother I wrote, edited, and re-edited a fantasy novel. It took me a total of three months to write it, and another three to edit it. When the six months were done I had mom edit it through, as I couldn’t afford a traditional editor and mom is pretty good. Come a year or so later I had a final product. I wrote The Jalan Chronicles: The Eyes of Amaterasu.
I knew it was still rough and could probably use some work, but I felt that a publisher would do that for me. So, I began to search the internet for a publisher. Understand that by this point in my life I had little to no understanding of the publishing world and was alone in this venture. I didn’t know the pitfalls, and I certainly didn’t know the wolves out there seeking to take advantage of new authors. I got turned down a half dozen times until I sent that letter to a publisher in Maryland.
PublishAmerica seemed so legit, so real, I sent that letter and my manuscript and they did something that I didn’t think I would ever have done for me. They accepted and offered a contract. Knowing what I have written above about the need of acceptance, you might understand the thrill and blind happiness I had in my heart at that acceptance letter. I had done it.
At first it was going smoothly. They sent me an email telling me the process by which they work. I agreed and they sent the book to their editors. They read it and miraculously sent me another email telling me that my work was good enough to publish directly. WOW, I was thrilled beyond thrilled, especially considering how long they first told me editing would take if it wasn’t good enough. I agreed to them speeding up the process, having faith that they knew the book was good and fit. Then the cover artist came to me and gave me some examples of what they were going to go with. I liked their cover, but I didn’t like that they put a little kitten in the center of it. I asked to change that and they did, to a dragon. Let me state right here that the cover is still one of my favorite parts of this, I have never had a problem with it and still love it.
Then publication came. In less than two months, my book went from submission to being on the market. I was happy, I was in heaven. They told me the pretty stories of how they were the number one publisher selling to Barns and Noble, and that Amazon sold millions of their books. I had made it, the world would know my work. When was Hollywood going to call me?
Then reality sunk in. They had priced my book, a simple new author fantasy, at $25 which I knew no one would buy. Then I got my first email about the book from PA. Were they going to tell me about how well it was selling? No. Were they going to inform me of their desire for a sequel? No. The email was an ad……to me. They were selling me my own book, telling me that it was my job to market it and sell it. They would have nothing to do with that. When I asked them about that, wondering why a publisher wouldn’t want to market their own products, they gave me a cock-and-bull story about how in the publishing world it is ENTIRELY on the heads of the authors to sell the books, that selling it to friends and family is the best route to go. Seriously?! I am responsible for every detail about marketing? The stink of this company was beginning to seep into my nose and I smelled a rotten skunk. I went to Barns and Noble to ask them about putting my book on their shelves and they gave me the funniest look. They informed me that my book was too expensive and they never, get this NEVER, put PublishAmerica on their shelves. I have been lied to, or really deliberately misled.
Not only that, but when my book was read by a few friends and family, they informed me of the glaring flaws in the grammar and sentences. The book needs serious work with a real editor. Again, they misled me so they could get to selling me my own book quicker. And to rub salt in the wound, a few months later, they sent out blanket emails to their authors offering their editing services for an enormous fee.
Over time I got emails about buying my own book, about paying them to edit it, about paying them to send copies to celebrities randomly (as if that would make it a Hollywood smash), about paying them to promote the book at book fairs around the world. They were in it to take me for every last dime. I felt like I was being held up by my ankles and someone was shaking for pennies.
When I looked at the contract I blindly signed, I saw that they have my book for six years. It is firm. When I asked about backing out because I refuse to sell the book and their non-existent marketing techniques are certainly not selling any books, they agreed and then told me I can certainly end the contract right then and there by taking advantage of one of their many offers. This is actually one of their “deals”. This is a company that has a high dollar special service designed to end contracts with their producers….really?!
Note: PublishAmerica is currently being sued by other authors who discovered that this company actually puts mistakes into manuscripts they publish so they can offer editing services. After hearing about this and looking at the books they sent me and my original files I have discovered this is a truth.
So, if you have wondered why my book The Jalan Chronicles is attached to my name on Amazon and Goodreads and other places, yet I have not even been talking about it. There is a reason. I refuse to make PublishAmerica on red cent. They are crooks and currently are facing a class action suit started by some other authors they gypped. When my contract ends and I finally get my book back, I am going to put it through an editor, rework it to better standards, and make it worth reading. Then, I will publish it so that readers can finally see what I wanted them to see, not the crud that PA has left me with.
As a side note: To really rub acid in the wound, during this time I had an individual that began to bully me on the internet and followed me everywhere I went. They tried to get me kicked out of a CCG game I love to play, and he used this book to go all out to hurt me. He even tried to get other companies to sue me for plagiarism making false claims about me. He attacked my mother, he attacked my friends, it was an all out assault that left me scared to do anything. When I decided to move forward and write again, I finished a book and then spent a year fighting with myself about publishing it for fear of him finding me and starting it up again. I still have a deep seated fear in my belly each time I see a review pop up for one of my books, sure that he has found me. So, if you find The Jalan Chronicles and look at the reviews, know that most of them are him under different guises, bent on my destruction. Even writing this here has me sick to my stomach, but I really want you to know.
Thank you for reading. You continued support through comments and being friendly has helped me so much.
If you would like more information about PublishAmericas record and tactics, please read this article on the website Preditors and Editors or P&E.