I have many passions in life. My family and friends, my love of fitness, photography, reading, and writing. Each one of these passions have played a very important part of my life over the years. Sometimes one at a time and sometimes several. Well, today I am going to talk about my love of writing.
Writing is a great way to express yourself. Sometimes it is easier to put words on paper that you can’t make come out of your mouth. Some people just express themselves better with written word. I am one of those people.
When I was a little girl I remember my parents putting me in this computer class. In this class we wrote a book. I remember it. It was called The journey to the Thunderbird. Basically it was a story template. The basic story line was set and you just added in the creative part of it. That was the first story I remember writing.
All through school I would write poetry. Of course most of it was love sick teenage poetry about a boy I was crushing on or maybe a fight I had with a friend. There were also many short stories along the way.
My life took off after high school like most 18 year old’s lives do. Only this wasn’t the life I had planned for. Instead I found myself pregnant the summer after graduating and living with my high school sweetheart.
Life from there wasn’t easy. I’m in no way saying life wasn’t good. It was, and I wouldn’t do a thing different right now. But through the years after high school my life was challenging. Like most young families we struggled. Not only with money because we were basically uneducated except for high school but we had first one then two young children and tons of mounting bills and frustration. Through all of this I chose an outlet of writing. Normally poetry and short stories. Anything to keep my mind off of the real life I was living.
I was and still am a huge fan of romance. I do like other fiction as well but Romance has always been my go too. Another escape from reality I suppose you could say. One day I decided since I liked reading romance and I loved to write short stories, why couldn’t I write a novel.
After many false starts and stops, and through the last year of my first marriage. I wrote my first novel. The Power of Love by Jenny L Brown. (yes I was brown in those days.)
Okay so I was super excited about this and I printed copies out and gave them to my closest friends and family and sat on pins and needles while waiting for them to read it. Not surprisingly they all told me how much they loved it. Now, being my closest friends and family, I guess I shouldn’t have expected anything less from them, right?
Everyone went on and on about how great it was and how I needed to get it published. I did so much researched on getting a book published and it was so depressing. Rejections after rejections. I even looked into self publishing but that cost a fortune I just didn’t have.
When it was all said and done, all I wanted was to see my book in print. With a cover with my name on it. So when I ran across PublishAmerica’s website, I was excited to learn I didn’t have to pay a dime to get published. I was thrilled! Submitted my manuscript and checked my email daily waiting for any news from them. In the last months of 2005. I received a response. They accepted my book. They were going to publish it. They even sent me a $1 bill.
All through January of 2006 I went through the process of filling out paperwork, author questionnaires. Different tools they would use to Market my book. They had me super excited. I still could not believe this was happening. In March of 2006 they emailed me what was to be the cover of my book and I was so happy with it. I felt it fit my book perfectly. Just a few short months later I received two Author copies in the mail. I was holding a book that I wrote that had been published. It had my name on the cover and my writing inside of it. It felt good.
By the time the first book was released I had written and submitted my second book to PublishAmerica. There was a wait this time since I had just published my first book.
It is a good thing I didn’t have any illusions of grander when it came to my first book because I would have been truly disappointed. My book was offered online only for an astronomical price of $24.95. You could purchase it through the Barnes and noble website or amazon website but not in a store. PublishAmerica did absolutely NO marketing. I sold quite a few copies of my first book because every single person in my family bought one and had me sign it. That is pretty much were the success ended. I believe I may have made a whole $10 in royalties the whole time my book was in print. I will add I just tried to google it to add the link and it is no longer available. I will say that the local library has a copy at every library because I personally asked them to order it. I was quite proud of my accomplishment. Since I can no longer show you the link I will upload a picture of the cover. I thought it was nice.
My excitement and expectations were dimmed when I realized that the only good thing coming out of PublishAmerica was the fact that I had a copy of my book. After much research online I realized that they probably didn’t even read the manuscript before they accepted it. They did little or no editing. I could have written the same word over and over again and they would have published it anyway. Even though I still had my book published with my name on the cover, knowing anyone could do it really took the joy out of it. I hate to say that when they finally emailed ready to start the publication of the second book, I ignored it.
That first year after my book was published a lot of changes happened in my life. I got a divorce and moved in with my mom. Then she moved out and then my boyfriend, current husband, moved in. We had a lot of computer problems during this time and I lost my electronic copy of my second book. I had a hard copy but I just didn’t have the time to retype it. Between that and my disappointment of success my first book had. I totally ignored the emails from PublishAmerica and eventually they stopped coming.
Fast forward to August 1 2011. I received an email from PublishAmerica. The title was “Is something wrong?” It went on to remind me that on August 25, 2006 I signed a contract with them to publish this book. In a very nice way they reminded me that if I didn’t cough up the goods, I would be in breach of this contract. Mainly to avoid any problems I wrote the gentleman back explaining my dilemma. I lost my book. On August 3, 2011, they emailed me back with the original manuscript I submitted. On August 10, 2011 I submitted the manuscript back to them after making a quick run through to check for noticeable errors.
On August 31, 2011 they sent me a pictures of what was to be the cover of my book. Not only did it look generic but it was of a scene by water an a dock. Nowhere in my book is there a body of water. So I emailed them back explaining I didn’t really think the cover was appropriate and that afternoon recieved another picture stating this would be my cover. No options. It still looked generic. I was not happy with it at all but I already knew going into this from my first experience that not to expect much. So I said okay, fine, whatever. I get my two author copies and screw the rest.
So I waited, and I waited, and I waited. The last email I got from them said it would be a few months so I didn’t think anything of it. Today I emailed them to see where my book was in production and got no response. Just curious I decided to google my first book but wasn’t thinking and googled the second one instead.
There it was. Offered online at Amazon.com , BN.com, and Publishamerica.com. Release date: September 8, 2011. That date was nine days after they sent me the cover design. I never got an email. I never got a letter. I never got my copies I thought I would get. My book has been available to order for over four months and I didn’t know it.
Well, needless to say I was and still am very upset! I emailed all my friends and family who knew about the book to vent. Advised them to not purchase the book because screw PublishAmerica. Then I got online and wrote a review on each of the sites about the book that went like this:
Hi, I wrote this book. I love this book and feel that it is a great book. I however wouldn’t spend a penny on purchasing this book from the company who published it. It was apparently released on 9/8/11 to be ordered (because they sure don’t sell in stores) and I was never even notified. Until today (1/25/12) I had no clue I could order it. Also, this particular date is a whole 10 days after they assigned me this crappy cover! It looks so generic! My ignorance had me signing not one but two contracts with this company! As much as I would love to have everyone read this book! Don’t fund it!
The worst thing about this situation is that I went into it with very low expectations and still ended up being disappointed. How sad is this.
I won’t stop writing, I’ve actually gotten many projects started including this blog. The difference is I won’t be publishing anything else with PublishAmerica. Ever.
I’ve attached a link to both cover designs. You can tell me if you think the second one was lacking.
*UPDATE* Below is the email response I just received from Publish America.
Dear Jenny Jones:
We did notify you. Apparently you did not receive our message. That
is not our fault.
Thank you for filling out the form, and helping us to help you faster!
Follow us on Twitter at @PublishAmerica!
Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PublishAmerica
My newest email! Best news all day long!
Dear Jenny Brown:
Your contract with PublishAmerica for “The Power of Love” will soon expire. If you would like for the contract to be renewed for another seven years on the same terms and conditions as specified in the original contract, please send a signed response in reply to this e-mail indicating your assent to renewal. Your typewritten name at the end of your reply e-mail will suffice as your signature. If you do not reply, the contract will expire, all rights will revert to you, and your book will be out of print.
Have a good day,
Better bet your ass I didn’t even respond to tell them where to stick it! Taking no chances on this one
After being told that I would not get any free author copies until I ordered some at half price I opened my mail today to two book! Huh? Guess my email got through to someone!