PA published my first book "Up All Night" in March of 2007. For some strange reason, the Amazon listing said the book's language was Welsh. PA gave me a symbolic "$1" advance and contract where I would receive royalties starting at 8% of the retail price of "Up All Night", $19.99 for all copies I didn't purchase myself and sold via online vendors.
Up All Night was required reading for two sections of creative writing at Gettysburg College in the fall of 07. It was PA's Book of the week for the first week of September in 2007. It was on Amazon US's top twenty sellers list for Welsh language titles for at least two months, #2 behind the Welsh translation of Harry Potter (not worldwide, just Amazon US but still, I have several eyewitnesses to testify to this fact.) And for one week, Up All Night was the #1 selling Welsh language book on Amazon US, one ring above the newest Harry Potter book, Welsh translation.
According to Publish America's royalty statement for this period, 10 copies of "Up All
Night" were sold on Amazon, 3 directly from them making for a royalty check, which included Amazon's 14.99 retail discount, and totaled no more than 15 dollars. Thus far, I had given PA 5,000 directly from me and my family's personal funds. My parent's also spent $500 on a book signing at English Country Manor. PA had given me Print on Demand publishing for a book I could purchase starting at $10 and keep the commission for every one I sell myself.
My first royalty check was around four and change, I rounded up. But from July 07 January 08, "UP All Night" had crossed oceans, united complete strangers, been required reading for creative writing classes at a liberal arts college, usurped the Welsh translation of Harry Potter for the #1 spot on Amazon.US. Been dubbed PublishAmerica's "Book of the Week" out of 20,000 titles and 500 copies of "UP All Night" to my knowledge, were in circulation. With the cover design, 500 copies would cost PA an estimated $1500 dollars to print and a $3500 profit directly from the content creator/generator/marketer and chief. I gave a lot of copies away, sold copies at face value to no more than 21 dollars.
The rates for my author "royalty-less" price kept rising, I could no longer pick up the books at PA's headquarters and a six percent tax for residents of Maryland was added. I had to pay PA $40 if I wanted to talk directly to their staff which I refused to do on principal. They tried to by my movie rights, E-book rights and spammed my inbox with multiple emails daily. Ultimately, me and my family gave PA around 7K for Up All Night (1K for my second book with PA, Three Weeks without my cell phone), they gave me one dollar, a royalty check sum that did not exceed $27 dollars and an option to buy out of my original contract for the small "de-listing" fee of $100 plus tax and shipping for the author plates that still haven't been sent, three months after I bought them from PA.
The buyout started when Up All Night, "sold no copies for over a year" at $200. It was tempting but I had made 8K that year and, at that point, decided to wait for the offer to go down. The buyouts stopped after they discovered I published a book via Amazon.com's POD outfit, Mentally Chill. They returned at $100 dollars plus tax and shipping once I begin to inquire via Amazon about the online sales for Up All Night's ISBN number. So mathematically speaking, PA gave me $27 directly from their bank account. Me and my family gave them at least 7K and I have no way of knowing how many copies of "Up All Night" were sold online because they gave me a number that I know is egregious, erroneous, is fraudulent based on all the people I had no idea had purchased Up All Night till they told me how much they loved it as well as my status as both "book of the week" and Amazon.US Welsh language book bestseller.
I paid them 7,000 dollars by a low estimate. When I begin to inquire how many copies Up All Night sold online, they made me pay $112 dollars if I wished to terminate my contract. They do not treat author's the old fashioned way, the treat them the d**k Cheney way--they hijack your baby, deceive you about the sales figures, censor any of your genuine complaints, charge you for a direct line to them and make you buy out of the contract they consistently violated and you signed under the premise that you would be treated with honesty, fairness and respect, i.e. the old fashioned way.
The final tally was me living through the age of first serious onset for a mental illness, spending two years writing, refining and securing publication for it. Investing 8K into the book and yielding $27 dollars from my "business partner" whom had unlimited ability to print a copy whenever someone ordered it online, from anywhere in the world, distort the royalty figures, deceive the content creator/generator about his baby's performance on the online market and the audacity to keep raising the price, keep sending me fraudulent royalty statements whilst spamming my inbox with 50 emails a month, offering me buyouts for a contract they consistently violated for 8x the amount of money they had given me from their own finances and, for an encore, bringing back my buy-out almost immediately after I began asking for transparency. I need a skilled media lawyer to get transparent sales figures for "Up All Night" and hold PublishAmerica accountable for their fraudulent business practices and violations of our author/publisher contract.