As I indicated in my e-mail correspondence to you dated Wednesday, August 18, 2010, I, like numerous other authors, have also become a victim of PublishAmerica's scam and fraud when in early March this year their advertisement popped up on my computer screen and lured me to have my book published by them. Their advertisement made several claims and promises that looked very attractive. Among them were that: (1) they are traditional publishers who would pay me rather than the other way round; and (2) they would market my book after its publication.
As a consequence of their exciting promises, I signed a contract with them to have my book published. The contract was also emphatic that they would print the contents to conform to what I submitted in my manuscript. These would include foreign words/letters that appeared throughout my manuscript. Indeed, in signing the contract, they asked me specifically if I had foreign letters/words in the manuscript and if so to provide examples of them, and I did so.
After I had signed the contract, however, a man named Tom who designated himself as Cover Designer made it clear that they could not produce the foreign letters/words exactly as they were in my manuscript. As he put it: "We will need to review the errors regarding the foreign words before we know how to proceed. It may not be possible to generate them exactly as they appear in your manuscript."
Why this sudden change of their position regarding the foreign letters/words still beats my imagination. This is because besides expressing their apparent intent to breach the contract, the letters are easily available and obtainable from the MS Reference Sans Serif and MS Reference Sans fonts, from where I picked them up myself.
When I received the PDF file for a review, I realized that they terribly messed up the foreign words/letters altogether. In many cases also, the foreign letters were deleted completely; in either case, PA rendered the foreign words meaningless. This in turn would destroy the book if published with the mistakes as they were. Or, the almost 600 pp. long history book, which I spent a lot of money and precious time to research in England, Germany, Switzerland, Ghana and the United States, would become a shoddy one and would therefore receive bad reviews in the academic community, thus jeopardizing my scholarly reputation.
As I was in the process of trying to resolve this foreign words/letters problems and others with them, they surprisingly proceeded and purposefully printed the book with the myriads upon myriads of the mistakes they introduced in the manuscript. Equally surprising is that they did not even show me the final proof before printing the book, something they had promised to do. And that they published the book with so many mistakes in it is tantamount to a breach of contract.
During the contract signing stage, PA asked me to provide them with a list of the names and e-mail addresses of my family members, friends and colleagues for them to inform them when they published the book so that they would celebrate with me. PA's real intention, I later discovered, was however to sell my book to them at an exorbitant price--i.e., $35.00 per a copy, whereas they are selling it as low as $5.00 at times to others. And when they said they would market the book themselves, it is actually I myself and these my family members/friends they actually had in mind to sell my own book to in order to make their money. This to me is another breach of the contract.
While they were reluctant to correct the mistakes prior to printing, a list of which mistakes is hereto attached for your perusal, as soon as they printed the book (i.e., on 14 June 2010) they wrote on 17 June 2010 and told me that I could now correct the mistakes---mistakes they deliberately made themselves. Although they said they would make the corrections free of charge, they actually attached a string, which is that I must buy a number of copies of the book for them to correct the mistakes---so, it's a lie when they said that they would correct the mistakes for free. This to me is one of PA's ways of scamming and defrauding their authors.
One important question I have is, what about the books that they have already printed and claimed to have sold? How could the mistakes in them be corrected? In one of their numerous e-mail correspondence to me they claimed to have sold 5,000 copies of my book within a few days and an additional 1,500 another time. So, are they so morally weak as to sell the book with so many flaws, simply because they want to make profit?
Another lie of PA's is their claim of being a traditional publisher who would pay me. What they actually sent me as payment was a $1.00 (one dollar) check that they termed a symbolic payment. No one in his/her right mind would suppose that when a publishing company promises to pay an author for his/her book, the amount would be $1.00. Being aware that a friend of mine was paid $4,000.00 (four thousand dollars) after he had signed a contract for the publication of his book, I was excited when I read PA's advertisement that promises to be traditional publishers that pay their authors.
They are, however, a fraudulent company that aim at misleading and luring authors to submit their manuscripts to them to print. Yes, PA are no traditional publishers; they are mere printers who virtually do nothing about manuscripts submitted to them for publication except to design covers for the books. All reputable publishers edit manuscripts before publishing. Worst of all PA deliberately introduce numerous mistakes into the books they print in order to make money off their authors. Besides, their formatting is very poor. At least their formatting in my book is much unlike any I have ever seen in an important academic book like mine.
One most dishonest, hypocritical and insulting thing PA do is that they put a false disclaimer in the front inside cover of my book---and I understand they have done that with many other books as well---that reads: "PublishAmerica has allowed this work to remain exactly as the author intended, verbatim, without editorial input." What this falsely suggests is that PA would want to edit the work but they have not done so because the author has not allowed them to. Why this is dishonest, hypocritical and insulting is that it is PA's official policy not to edit manuscripts submitted to them for publication and yet they have decided to place all the burden on their authors---including the purposeful mistakes they introduce into the book.
When I saw this false and hypocritical disclaimer in my PDF file, I immediately vehemently protested against it, arguing that no author worth his/her salt would prevent a publisher from editing his/her work. They were, however, arrogant and stubborn and merely ignored me and included it in the book against my wish.
In view of the fact that PA have destroyed my book and have thus jeopardized my academic reputation, I have decided to institute legal action against them to have my contract abrogated and my copyrights reverted to me so that I may find a reputable publisher to publish my book for me. I have therefore engaged the services of an intellectual property law counsel based in Baltimore, MD, to prosecute the case on my behalf. He has already taken the preliminary steps to that end. He has suggested also that we make the case a class action lawsuit and I have so far got ten people who have expressed their interest in joining. I am still looking for the names of more people out there who may wish to join the lawsuit. If you can therefore please provide me with more such names and their contact information, I shall be grateful indeed.
Thank you very much, Editor, for your cooperation and assistance in this matter.