Warning! Rant Ahead
I dedicate a lot of my time to trying to help aspiring writers learn the ins and outs of the publishing industry and some of the basics of good writing. I do this because I've made a bit of progress myself but I never would have gotten there if it wasn't for lots of generous and talented writers over the years who shared their wisdom with me. I feel like returning the favor is the least I can do and there are plenty of aspiring writers out there who are eager for the help and willing and able to learn.
Unfortunately, there are also plenty of writers out there who are totally clueless. I'm not sure why I beat myself over the head time and time again trying to get these folks to see the error of their ways...I suppose it's the same stupid stubborness that wouldn't let me give up on getting published after years and years of rejections.
My latest frustrations stem from a small group of writers on an author's forum started by a woman whose book has been published by the ever-controversial Publish America (PA). I was invited to this forum by its owner because an issue of my newsletter from last year was quoted as an evidentiary source in a law suit recently filed by Encyclopedia Britannica, claiming trademark infringement by PA's British entity, which was calling itself Publish Brittanica. The owner of the forum told me she felt the sources I cited in that issue of my newsletter were unfairly biased against PA and if I wanted to see more open and balanced opinions, to come and visit her forum. So I did.
What I found there was a bunch of ostriches, people who have been "published" by PA and proudly claim themselves "published authors!" in posts that demonstrate they have absolutely no clue how to write a grammatically correct sentence, much less write a readable book. Clearly these people are interested solely in some perceived prestige they think comes along with the label of "published author" and have no interest at all in writing with any level of skill. Despite numerous posts pointing out the flaws in their logic (not to mention their writing!) these people persist on doing the cyber equivalent of plugging their ears and singing, "lalalalala, I can't hear you."
The latest debacle from PA is their claim that they are going to make all their books returnable. Given PA's past actions and their reputation, many (myself included) suspect this is merely a thinly disguised way to get PA authors to buy a bunch of their own books, thereby filling PA's coffers with some new cash just in time for the payment they will have to make to Encyclopedia Brittanica come October.
But don't let me persuade your thinking, check out the forums for yourself and decide. You can visit the aforementioned forum here: Author Forum
For a more balanced and realistic forum, check out the Bewares and Background Check section of the Absolute Write forum here: http://absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=22