Friday, May 03, 2013

A Decade "In the Dark"

Hey, kids! What time is it?                    

Time for another milestone!

Ten years ago saw the publication of my very first book, the tome I humbly call my movie memoir IN THE DARK: A LIFE AND TIMES IN A MOVIE THEATER.

Ever since I was a snot-nosed little dirtball in Stockton,California, I harbored a dream of someday not only penning, but publishing a book of my very own. I took the advice of every writer since the Paleolithic era and wrote about what I knew: going to the movies. Thus, ITD was born. Now I needed a mid-wife. After several rejections far and wide, I looked at the then-infant stage of self-publishing (now referred to as independent publishing since "self" sounds so damn desperate). I looked high. I looked low. Eventually, I signed a deal with the Devil itself, the publishing house known as Publish America and my words finally saw the light of day.

Over time, I discovered that the Satan in question, Publish America, has the worst reputation of any book publishing house on the planet. At least that’s what I gather from every unfavorable posting I’ve read on writer’s watchdog sites like Writer Beware and Preditors and Editors. Granted, they are just looking out for vulnerable scribes who don’t know any better. These sites provide a great public service and are advocates for those who really need help. Their points about Publish America are valid for the most part.

But I am here to proclaim something you won’t find anywhere on the web:


They treated me as fairly and squarely as they possibly could. They provided help and support with each step of the process or whenever I requested it of them. They never promised me anything they could not deliver. On top of everything else, they performed every service for free. For someone with no budget, this worked for me after having my dreams of a large advance gone the way of all goldfish. I have to admit that I had the immortal of the late Jimmy Dean echoing through my head:

"Ye git whut ye pay fer."

Yes, PA's contract was not good, giving them exclusive rights for seven years. Their royalties were piss poor. The mark-up on my 150 page paperback was outrageous priced ($17.95). I had to edit it myself, but they sent the proof to me before it went to press for a last look. The cover they created (from my design) wasn’t as spectacular as I envisioned with an ugly title font, but I didn’t correct it and gave it a pass forward.

            I knew exactly what I was getting into with Publish America because I read the damn contract before I signed my book away. I accepted their terms without regret. I wanted my book to be published and get it out there to the world. And Publish America got the job done right on schedule. They even sent out review copies to anyone and everyone I asked of them.

At the end of seven years, I didn’t renew with Publish America and, since I had published three more books on my own, took control of IN THE DARK all by my lonesome. PA and I parted ways amicably and I’ll always be grateful for what they were able to do. I would have to admit that Publish America treated this virgin author with quite tenderly, the gentlest and sweetest of first lover I could ever hope for…

Okay, that’s creepy...

But from the bottom of my heart, I again want to extend a sincere and unironic thank you once again to Publish America.

Do I recommend them?  I can only speak for myself and the relationship I had with PA, but it depends on your expectations of success. PA is a print-on-demand publisher and they still charge nothing for their services. But you'll have to do everything else yourself-editing, marketing publicity, etc. Know what you're getting into with PA or any self-publisher. Understand the risks. If you don't, have someone explain to you or do some research. Go to Writer Beware, Preditors and Editors or any other watchdog site. If it sounds like you want to give them a try, be my guest.

But now, here in 2013, IN THE DARK is mine, all mine. I revised it a couple of years back with some new material, even having the gall to re-release it as a SPECIAL EDITION. It has more me than ever before if that’s your idea of a selling point. Apparently, it’s mine.

So Happy 10th Birthday, IN THE DARK.

For more info on IN THE DARK and to read a brief excerpt, please visit:

See ya at the movies.

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