I don't often rant in posts (at least, I don't think I do) and I'm not really sure if this is a topic I've covered before, but either way, here it is:
I have made no secret of the fact that I think PublishAmerica is a scam vanity press. In fact, let me reiterate it, just because I feel so strongly about it:
**clears throat** PUBLISH AMERICA IS A SCAM VANITY PRESS.
Okay - that takes care of that.
Now, why the rant? Here's why - I'm a member of a writing forum, a great writing forum that does its best to support the writing community, no matter what stage an author might be at in their career. There are newbies to multipublished writers among the crowd and the veterans are more than willing to take the time to help out the newbies to the best of their ability. There is a lot of support, a few arguments from time to time, some silliness, and a lot of friendships that have come about from these very same things.
One thing this board does NOT condone is sliming the guest books - which is basically going to an author's (usually a PA author) website and leaving a message slamming PA. Now, I like to think that most of these dopes have the author's best interest in mind, but it's just a lousy thing to do to someone. Kind of like going over someone's house and ripping apart everything about how lousy the decor is. Just. Don't. Do. It.
But someone did on this particular author's website - several times over and under different names so I don't know if it's three or four people, or just one really rotten person - and she was understandably upset. Then this troll started taking cut-and-pastes of various posts and using them completely out of context.
I was one of those posters. My words were twisted - snipped so only part of the actual post appeared. I am also upset. I have nothing against PA authors per se (except for four I think are complete A-holes, but that's got nothing to do with PA - I'd dislike them no matter what.) I know a few who are great people who happened to fall into PA's trap.
Well, this author posted a very pointed blog about slamming PA. Apparently, she feels PA deserves nothing but respect, while anyone outside of the PA cult does not. Okay, fine. I'm sure she's still in the "honeymoon" phase. Soon enough reality will strike and she will probably want to kick herself but good.
However, one thing that really burned me was a statement she made, in essence, that writers deserve to be awarded because they finished a book. I take that to mean that "I wrote a book, ergo it should be published because I deserve it."
Yes, it is a huge accomplishment to write a book. There are people who talk about doing, but never finish it, or never start it. It's an achievement, to be sure.
But does writing a book necessarily make it publishable?
Does an author automatically deserve to be published, simply because she's written a book?
No one deserves publication. Every last one of us has worked for it. And most of us have worked damn hard. We've gone through rounds of rewrites. Rounds of rejections. Rounds of editing and revising only to do the whole process over again. Then, when that glorious call comes, there is still more editing, slicing out scenes you agonized over and love.
In the end, you have a book that a publisher (or an agent) feels that someone will buy. There is a market for that book.
To think that because I slapped 100,000 words on paper is just cause for publication is absurd at best and terrifying at worst. I have read some of the excerpts on PA websites. Some are really good - and those make me sad because they stood a chance at being published by a real publisher. But some are not. Some are downright awful and my eyes almost bleed. Some could be good, with reworking (but 95% of the PA authors are adamant that their words are golden and to suggest change is sacrilegious.)
You Belong to Me went through eight drafts of revisions. Eden's Pass went through ten (yes, ten). Eden's Pass underwent so many revisions that the only similarities to the book that will be released by Samhain, and the first draft are the hero, heroine, and hero's best friend's names. That's it. The entire story was rewritten. For the better. Had I made the mistake of having PA print that original draft (written when I, too, suffered from Golden Word Syndrome), I would be embarrassed beyond belief by it now. It was awful. Horrible. So bad that I can't believe I actually submitted it anywhere.
So to think that just because a person puts words on paper, they deserve to be published, well, all I have to say is that they need to wake up because that's not how it works. Nobody owes you a damn thing. You have to earn it - just like the rest of us.