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PostPosted: August 24th, 2004, 1:37 pm 
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Joined: August 18th, 2004, 7:49 pm
Posts: 32
Location: Wisconsin
Stuffedtoy wrote:
So I would present my resume like this...
I am also the author of - such and such a book- which caculated a half million in sales ( I think big)- so are you going to consider me as a serious writer??? You tell me!


Before I say anything else, let me say that your web site is lovely.

Now here comes the ugly stuff. If you can sell a half million books (and your book doesn't calculate sales unless it's actually a calculator) then yes, a lot of people will consider you a serious writer. The problem is, that's a totally unrealistic expectation for several reasons.

First off, the synopsis of your book on your web page shows an overall lack of writing skill. You have one sentence that changes its POV three times. Your sentences are passive and at times redundant (multiple, unecessary "had"s). I'm sorry if this seems harsh but it's how most potential buyers are going to evaluate your book's potential. Your synopsis needs work and if the rest of your writing is similar, I doubt your book will generate enough buzz to sell even a hundred copies.

Secondly, there are millions of books out there to be bought and read. Readers will need to choose. What is there to make yours stand out from the other millions? Your book is listed with Amazon and others, but what is going to make people go to your book's page? Unless they are friends or relatives, a typical buyer will have no reason to go to your page. If you want to invest thousands of dollars in an advertising campaign the way the big publishers do, then you might generate enough of a buzz to get people looking for your book. But without that, there is nothing to make your book stand out from all the rest. Being published by PA makes it stand out in one way, but it's not a good way.

With that said, I will add that you have a bit of an edge over some in that you can advertise your book on your web site and perhaps attract potential buyers that way. You have a bit of a built-in audience that lots of writers don't have. But if you want people to actually buy the book, you need to polish up your synopsis. (I like the cover very much, however.)

I've had 3 novels published by one of the "big boys" and those books were promoted with thousands of dollars worth of ads, displays, etc. They were distributed nationally and appeared in almost every bookstore as well as a lot of drug stores, grocery stores, Wal-Marts and such. I did over 70 book signings all around the country. And the most any of the books sold was a little over 100,000 copies.

I have a decent-sized audience of "fans." I have some level of name recognition. I'm listed on dozens of author- and book-related web sites. My web site gets somewhere between 25 and 50 hits a day on average. And if I can sell 100 copies of the book I just self-published, I'll consider that a HUGE success.

Beth

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Beth Amos
www.bethamos.com


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 Post subject: PA
PostPosted: August 24th, 2004, 3:19 pm 
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Joined: April 29th, 2004, 8:49 pm
Posts: 3631
Location: God's country
I agree with Beth. Do your homework Stuffed Toy and find out what a "normal" amount of books sold are... Then do your homework and figure out how many thousands of advertising dollars were spent to generate that "normal" amount of a sale. (Hint, it's related to first run numbers....) Now figure out how many dollars it will take you to sell the same amount and get INDUSTRY RECOGNIZIION...that is what you are really trying to achieve---your name known positvely. Their advertising dollars are likely to be spent very differently than yours. And will generate different results.

500,000 copies is not just being optimistic...Optimism is good but so is reality. If you just got Beth to give you some great constructive feed back, that's FREE! Use it to your advantage. Each of us who have gone the route of traditional publishing (I am now trying to sell book 7) have all learned the hard way--just as you are. We are all on the SAME PATH to publishing--we just need to teach each other what we learn along the way.


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 Post subject: I'll take this one..
PostPosted: August 25th, 2004, 9:29 am 
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Joined: August 18th, 2004, 10:08 am
Posts: 50
Excuse me if I stumble... I am still sleeping.
I commend you on your success with the publishing industry, and I am sorry if you got a hold of some not so good books- there are points where I agree with you. Such as... I do think that the in house editing could be/ should be- improved. On my work, there were a lot of comma's added, but not much else. I can not speak for everyone, but I can tell you that I do care about the quality of my work, which is why it goes through editing at least five times before it leaves my desk. I am not a professional editor, and there are some things that I often miss. (I find them every time I edit.) I had completed about 7 manuscripts before I found the courage to send the first one out. This was because I cared what people read and how it would be judged.
On the other hand, let me say this...
I am in the middle of reading a series of short stories published by a well- known publisher. The first three were ok- but nothing great, but this last one leaves me scratching my head. Very hard to keep up with. Little description of who is saying what. Would I want to buy these books? Absolutely not, but that does not mean that I would not buy anything else that this publisher put out. Bottom line is... Some stories are good- some stories are not. I take the responsibliity upon myself to send in the best that I can , hoping that the errors will be caught, but not judged too harshly- by the editor.
Some people may only need to see their work in book form to settle their dreams. What is the problem with that? They don't pay for it- and another point is that PA sells the books at a discounted price to authors- which, even if they only sold 10 copies of them, they would make a small profit.
I've read some of the royalties of other mainstream publishers and their pay percentage is not that great either.
I will also say this... I once sent something in to a small company- he didn't want the book, but he did take the time to point out- copy- highlight- a few things that needed to be changed. I wrote him a thank you note for his help. You don't see much of this- and in that process I learned something. He did not say... You suck.. He did say, good story but you need to do this... I am not a mystery writer, and that was what he was looking for.
Writers are a unique mental group who live on the outside of duel worlds... We should support one another, not condem. Lead gently but not push.
Until next time....


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 Post subject: Re: I'll take this one..
PostPosted: August 25th, 2004, 3:14 pm 
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Joined: August 18th, 2004, 7:49 pm
Posts: 32
Location: Wisconsin
Stuffedtoy wrote:
Writers are a unique mental group who live on the outside of duel worlds... We should support one another, not condem. Lead gently but not push.
Until next time....


My post to you was intended as support. It was honest, perhaps painfully so, but my cautions and advice are based on years of experience. Is there dreck that gets published the traditional way? Absolutely. And since individual taste also comes into play, a "good" book will often be a subjective rating.

You may have a great story to tell but if your writing is substandard, no one is going to care. Your words and the accuracy/quality of them do leave an impression (for instance, in the quoted sample above your incorrect use of the word "duel" and the misspelling "condem" communicate to readers what your level of writing skill may be. As does the blurb for your book that you have on your web site.) That doesn't mean your book has to be absolutely error free...even the traditionally published books are issued with errors. Sometimes lots of them. My self-published book has some errors in it. But you almost never see those errors in the blurbs and promotional material. If you want to get the attention of a potential buyer and have them seriously consider buying your book, you need to put your best writing face out there for them to see.

My advice to you to polish your book blurb and adjust your sales expectations to something more realistic IS supportive advice. I'm sorry if you see it as condemnation.

I wish you the best of luck,
Beth

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Beth Amos
www.bethamos.com


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PostPosted: August 26th, 2004, 5:25 am 
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Joined: November 5th, 2003, 8:28 pm
Posts: 27
And then vanished?

I thought the thing about YoYos was that they came back?


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 Post subject: ??????????
PostPosted: August 26th, 2004, 8:28 pm 
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Joined: August 18th, 2004, 10:08 am
Posts: 50
Testing.... Testing.... where are my posts going???


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 Post subject: Try again
PostPosted: August 26th, 2004, 8:48 pm 
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Joined: August 18th, 2004, 10:08 am
Posts: 50
First off... Who are you calling a yoyo????

Now that I got that out of the way...
I have tried three times to answer the recent posts.... But for some reason, they disappeared.
It also seems that my stuff is scattered all over the place. Not as I posted them. Hopefully this finds the right place.
I appreciate the constructive criticism. The description wasn't what I wanted, but I settled with it.
I have been working on it- so maybe you might like it better. Unfortunately, I can't change it on the book itself, but I can change the on- line presentation.
And I was a little over the top with the sales expectations, but I did add that I was thinking big. All I was saying was that the ability to sell a product does speak.
I still believe that it is better to get ones book into print, than letting it sit dormant and never move forward. Where it goes from there depends on several factors.
Not much to say tonight. (I've said it all in the ones that didn't make it.) Maybe next time.


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PostPosted: August 27th, 2004, 3:21 am 
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Joined: August 18th, 2004, 10:08 am
Posts: 50
Tonight I took a tour on the PA message board and thought that some of this posted info would be helpful.

I had my first booksigning yesterday at WaldenBooks in Massena NY, from Noon til 2:00...and sold..............
108 BOOKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was a great sucess, and they can't wait to have me back!!!

Melodie Rogers
"Followed By Death" PA author

I resubmitted my 2nd novel, which you all know was rejected for editing purposes, and I, after going over ir, I could see why. I spent every day editing and re-editng and had it proof read by my wife, an avid daily book reader, and after going over the mauscript for a final time, I was impressed. After submitting it today, I got an immediate response that I will hear from them before the end of this week. (Usually it is a lot longer to wait, so I am in anticipation waitng and I am impressed by the quick response the editors at PA respond to me.
Leo Byrne
The Flats

A film producer at Lions Gate Studios has agreed to read my novel: "Chasing The Truth" to see if the story line is viable for a film feature. Although this is just an agreed upon reading of my novel, I am gaining experience in promoting my work and an insight into what is expected. Who knows where these things may lead to? Anyway, a bit of news to share.

Barry Lee Davies
Author of: Chasing The Truth

Don't want to take up any more space...


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 Post subject: Re: Try again
PostPosted: August 27th, 2004, 11:25 am 
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Joined: November 5th, 2003, 8:28 pm
Posts: 27
Stuffedtoy wrote:
First off... Who are you calling a yoyo????
Quote:

Someone who called themselves YoYo. As it happens...


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 Post subject: Re: Try again
PostPosted: August 27th, 2004, 5:33 pm 
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Joined: August 18th, 2004, 7:49 pm
Posts: 32
Location: Wisconsin
Stuffedtoy wrote:
I appreciate the constructive criticism. The description wasn't what I wanted, but I settled with it.
I have been working on it- so maybe you might like it better.


Hm...I posted this once already but it seems to have disappeared. Guess you aren't the only one having those problems. Anyway, I read your new book blurb and like it very much. It is a great improvement. It teases and makes the reader curious. The poetry (bear in mind that I'm not a big fan of poetry so I may not the best judge) works, I think.

Nicely done.

Beth

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Beth Amos
www.bethamos.com


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 Post subject: nice debating
PostPosted: September 1st, 2004, 11:14 pm 
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Joined: August 24th, 2004, 12:16 am
Posts: 23
Location: USA
Well I am glad to read some positive stuff on here. I just wanted to psot a quicky before i go work on my new book that i have started. Okay I got a question: Have any of you writers ever had a crush on a movie star or friend or someone and put them in there book along with themselves??? I mean like it's your own little world inside your own little world. I was just wondering. It hepls me write sometimes and i write because it takes me away from the real world for a bit. Does anyone else feel the same way??


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PostPosted: September 3rd, 2004, 12:25 pm 
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Joined: June 23rd, 2004, 7:00 pm
Posts: 112
This is a rather complicated email. I have broken down our
original May 20, 2004 letter to PublishAmerica demanding that
our contract be terminated. The paragraphs ****** before
and after are paragraphs or bullet points of our letter,
followed by the response from PublishAmerica. Because I know
so many people read this board I have also rebutted in several
instances the falsehoods of Pa’s responses. That rebuttal
is separated by ########.

Here we go.

*************************
Opening paragraph of Brian Hill’s and Dee Power’s demand for
termination of contract with PublishAmerica sent by fax and
US Postal Service Priority Mail with delivery confirmation.
This was NOT sent by email

Dear Mr. Meiners:

We are extremely displeased with our experience with Publish
America LLLP, in regard to our novel OVERTIME, which you
published in 2003. We entered into a contract with
PublishAmerica based on assurances, from material on your web
site and through e-mail correspondence from your company, that
you were a “traditional publisher.”

The bullet points contained in the letter are below with PA’s
response after each point.
***************************

PublishAmerica’s response

“Again, the tone of your letter is way out of place. Soon we
will sell our one millionth book! Neither your fax nor your
registered letter reached the intended recipient. Future
paper letters from you will be discarded unread.

“If, after reading our bulleted refutations below, you still
wish to end your contract, please renew your request, using support@publishamerica.com as your sole point of contact.

“None of it what we say is nonsense, and all of it is exactly,
completely accurate. What is nonsense is your tone, your
drama, and your whole escapade. There is no drama, no problem,
no attorneys in New York, and no issues at all. What there
appears to be is a simple request for contract termination.
We will deal with that request without any special
consideration at all.

“You do not need baseless jabs, drama, or a lawyer to request
termination of your contract. We will consider your request
at our next review meeting, to be held at our leisure,
probably within the next month or so. Our decision on your
contract will be made with disregard for your tone and
ridiculous and baseless accusations. Your communications with
us will not be made known to the committee making the
decision, and your untrue statements will not be considered.

“Your statements are so naive, so false, and so totally
baseless that it is difficult to even respond to them, but
we'll make a brief attempt.”
##########################################
Rebuttal – not presented to PA – but may be of interest to
readers of this board.

There is a real attorney in New York, experts in the
publishing and entertainment industry. This was no bluff on
our part and we are proceeding. Although going through legal
channels can be so d@mn frustrating because you have to wait
an appropriate amount of time before going to the next level.

********************************************
Our Bullet Point
Your no return policy has made it impossible to get bookstores,
particularly the large chains to order the book, despite the
fact we contacted numerous bookstores with personal letters
that included the excellent reviews our book has received.
We do not understand how you can represent your company as a
traditional publisher when you do not conform to one of the
basic standards of the publishing industry, which all
legitimate publishers follow.
********************************************

PublishAmerica’s answer

“- Return policy: Your statement is incorrect. Our returns
policy does not make it "impossible to get bookstores,
particularly the large chains, to order the book." Actually,
large chains order and stock our books all the time. Our
policy of accepting returns is in the experimental stage.
Non-returnable books may present some challenges, but are
becoming increasingly standard. Please see our message board
for testimonials by hundreds of authors whose books are
stocked in stores. There are hundreds and hundreds of
contradictions to what you say.”

############################################
Rebuttal – not presented to PA – but may be of interest to
readers of this board.

The contradictions are authors who have placed their books
in bookstores on consignment, meaning the bookstore has not
ordered the books and if the book sells they will pay the
author a percentage of the sales price usually 60%. The best
discount PA offers is 55% and the author must pay shipping.
So the author gets very little profit from a bookstore sale
on consignment.

Non-returnable books are only becoming increasingly standard
in PA’s mind, not the industry.

The message board is policed by PA and any and all negative
posts about difficulties with bookstores, reviews, anything
negative about PA are deleted and in most cases the author
banned from the message board.
##############################################

**********************************************
Our bullet point

When we contacted the sales director for a chain about having
book signing events at her stores, she said that PublishAmerica
books do not appear in their computer systems and thus they
could not order them.
***********************************************

PublishAmerica’s response

“- Sales director: Your statement is incorrect. The sales
director you mentioned is wrong. All bookstores have access
to Ingram's computer system, and all of our titles may be
found there. Additionally, all bookstore managers know this.”

##################################################
This happened to us at two chains. Additionally after
agreeing to schedule an event, one of the chains cancelled
it after realizing the book was by PublishAmerica. The only
reason, I believe the event was scheduled in the first place
was because the Community Relations Manager had done an event
for us previously concerning our business books.
#################################################

***************************************************
Our bullet point

The fact you do not discount the books with amazon.com has
made it extremely difficult to sell our book there, as
consumers expect to receive the discount, and traditional
publishers offer that discount as a matter of course.
**********************************************


PublishAmerica’s response

“- Amazon discounts: Your statement is incorrect. We do
discount books with Amazon.”

##################################
Rebuttal – not presented to PA – but may be of interest to
readers of this board.

Of the nearly 4000 titles listed on amazon.com in the
beginning of June 2004, only six were discounted. And yes I
looked at every single one.
#################################

***********************************************

Our bullet point

We paid Amazon.com for a special promotion of OVERTIME to
coincide with the football season, but when the promotion
ran the book was on a 5-7 day delivery status because you
did not make the books available, which effectively ruined
the promotion. In paragraph 3 of our contract with
PublishAmerica it states that “to cause copies so printed to
be bound, from time to time, in sufficient quantities to
supply purchasers of the said literary work therewith.” You
did not do that.
**********************************************

PublishAmerica’s response

“- On Amazon and availability: Your statement is incorrect.
“Yes, we did do that. Obviously our books are available in
any quantity. To suggest otherwise is just laughable. We've
sold upwards of a million books.”

######################################
Rebuttal – not presented to PA – but may be of interest to
readers of this board.

PA says “Yes they did do that” But what? Not provide the
books?

PA was notified of the promotion and failed to provide copies.
The book went from 24 hour delivery to 5 to 7 day delivery in
less than a day. No doubt many sales were lost.
######################################

***************************************

Our bullet point

You do not provide a catalog description to the Library of
Congress, and thus libraries will not order the books.
Traditional publishers do that as a matter of course
**************************************


PublishAmerica’s response

“- Libraries: Your statement is incorrect. Yes, libraries
order our books all the time. And yes, our books are listed
in the LoC.”

########################
Rebuttal – not presented to PA – but may be of interest to
readers of this board.
Only three PublishAmerica titles were included in the LoC as
of the end of May 2004.

*********************************

The incredible volume of titles you are now publishing is
giving your company a reputation in the industry as a publisher
that will accept almost anything, whatever the quality, and
that negative reputation has now reflected on us. You represent
your company as a legitimate publisher but yet you do not attend
the BEA convention, as all other publishers of any size and
industry reputation do. When the number of submissions you
receive, as stated on your website, is compared to the number
of books you publish, it is clear your acceptance rate is about
60%, when with traditional publishers the acceptance rate is
less than 1%
*************************************

PublishAmerica’s response


- Reputation: Your statement is incorrect. No, we have no
such reputation at all. We're in the news constantly, all
over the country, and it's all good.

###################################
Rebuttal – not presented to PA – but may be of interest to
readers of this board.

Notice that PA never really addressed the concerns merely
danced around them.

I did a google search and other than one news article couldn’t
find PA in the news anywhere.
###################################


*************************************

Our bullet point

As part of your contract you demand that authors supply you
with 100 names of “friends and family” that you can send
announcements to when the books is published. Brian Hill’s
name was misspelled in the flier you sent. That was
inexcusable
*************************************


PublishAmerica’s response

- Direct Mailing: Your statement is incorrect. No, it is
not part of our contract, and no, we do not "demand" that
authors supply "100" names of friends and family. We only
suggest a list of acquaintances, out of popular demand for
this service, and it is entirely optional. About 90% of
our authors supply this list.

######################################

Rebuttal – not presented to PA – but may be of interest to
readers of this board.

Actually PA is correct in that the demand is not in the contract
but part of the materials that must be sent with the final
manuscript. And it is demanded. They also never apologized for
the misspelling.
######################################

Okay that’s enough for today, the letter goes on with lots of
propaganda. I will continue with the rest of the letter tomorrow.
Except for one little point

PA said:

“PublishAmerica continues to grow faster than any other
traditional publisher, and today we are apparently the most
popular publisher among new authors. More than 50 new authors
contact us every day, hoping to join you as a PublishAmerica
author. That's more than 12,000 hopefuls per year. At
least 80 percent of them never make it to the "published
author" status, because they don't pass our acquisitions
process, but that does not seem to discourage anyone from
submitting their work to us in ever growing, and frankly
astonishing, numbers. We read every single submission before
we accept or refuse.”

They have been contacted by 12,000 “hopefuls” and they decline
80%, which would mean that they would publish 2400 books a year
or 200 a month. Between the time period of May 21 and September 1
PublishAmerica released 2,869 books. That is nearly 1000 books per
month. PA has a staff of 32 editors, those editors would have to
edit one book every day> Most people can't even read an entire book
in one day much less edit the book.


Dee Power
http://www.BrianHillAndDeePower.com


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 Post subject: PA claims
PostPosted: September 4th, 2004, 8:38 pm 
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Joined: September 4th, 2004, 8:22 pm
Posts: 117
Location: http://anotherealm.com/prededitors
I find it most interesting that some PA supporters are willing to believe the claims of some other writers who have stated they had successful signings where they sold over a hundred copies and that their books are in such and such libraries without asking for any substantiation, yet disbelieve claims to the contrary by other PA authors who then disappear from the PA forum because they're banned by PA's staff. Such claims by PA supporters without substantiation are not only difficult to believe, but they lend credence to the fact that the posters are not real authors, but PA staff members in disguise trying to do damage control.

So let's see some proof about those claims. Names, titles, dates, and places, please. Surely those signings were mentioned in a local paper in both its print and online versions? Surely, those libraries must have branch names ? Surely, those bookstores that individuals are claiming have their books on the shelves have branch numbers? Surely, those PA books that the PA supporters are claiming are in bookstores have titles?

Until those are provided for verification, the claims are unsubstantiated and mean nothing.


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 Post subject: oh my gosh!!!
PostPosted: September 4th, 2004, 10:20 pm 
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Joined: August 24th, 2004, 12:16 am
Posts: 23
Location: USA
Okay, For one thing, what you ar your lawyer or whoever wrote to PA, went about it the wrong way. Since you sighned that contact, PA can still keep your manu and everthing. If someone has your manu or screenplay you never threaten or make the person feel threatened. You have to be careful on how you put things to publishers, i know this from experience. I have lost a manuscript over crap like this. With Pa you just simpley tell them you want your contact terminated because you need to work on somethings in your manu, or you feel that you have come to a bad time where you want to do it later. You know it almost took me 5 months before I signed my contract with PA. Im a new writer and I got scammed by Janet kay. So you want to watch how you put things. Im no expert at it, but i too need to work on how things come out of my mouth. Heck we are only human.


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 Post subject: What seems to work?
PostPosted: September 4th, 2004, 10:41 pm 
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Joined: September 4th, 2004, 8:22 pm
Posts: 117
Location: http://anotherealm.com/prededitors
Write a complaint to the Maryland Attorney General, the Maryland BBB, and the Federal Trade Commission. These produce results. So far, several writers have become former PA authors by writing to those agencies. When those agencies then contact PA to let them know they'll be investigating, PA usually hurries to terminate the contract so that there's no longer any basis for a complaint and no need for an investigation.

If you do write to those agencies, keep calm, collected, and factual in your letters. State only the facts about how and why you first chose to sign with PA. Then explain your complaints regarding PA. Keep in mind that you won't gain any punitive damages by writing a letter, so don't even bother bringing that up.


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