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Oh No, PublishAmerica Again
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As I wait for the cicadas (not a pleasant pastime for someone who hates large, flying insects) it occurs to me that I'm a cicadaesque blogger. A swarming brood of entries is followed by none for weeks on end, before the next brood emerges. I guess in between my brain has burrowed into the earth to feed on the roots of my existence. I guess one can only drive a simile so far without arriving in Silly Land.

At any rate, this re-emergence is triggered by another unpleasant, periodic event, a discussion of PublishAmerica on the EMWA list. "Discussion" is probably not the right word. PublishAmerica, like iUniverse and so many others, is a vanity press. There is nothing worth discussing about it. No one who knows anything about the industry considers such companies to be publishers but a lot of writers, flushed with excitement at having heard that someone is willing to accept money to print their book, don't want to hear the truth.

I know something about the unrequited desire to get published. In fact, although I aspired for years, I never did manage to get published--myself. I'm a co-author, which is great fun, but without Mary where would I be?

Not paying iUniverse to print my books, that's for sure.

I had long since given up writing publishable fiction when Mary and I met. I was doing quite well selling articles and essays to magazines instead. That was a nice accomplishment. Not quite the accomplishment I considered selling fiction to be, but a real accomplishment. What satisifaction can anyone derive from merely pretending to achieve a goal? Companies like PublishAmerica and iUniverse are peddling pretense.

Years ago a friend of mine who was into running related to me how, one day, while he was in college, he and a fellow runner drove out into the country and measured off a flat, straight mile of blacktop on the car odometer. They intended to do some speedwork so the one fellow stationed himself at the designated finish line with a stopwatch and my friend sprinted off from the start. As he reached the finish his companion looked down at the stopwatch in disbelief. "Incredible! You've just broken the world record for the mile!"

I'm not sure how many milliseconds their elation lasted until they remembered how untrustworthy car odometers can be. Not many. So my friend told the story as a joke. He never claimed any record. If you want to get credit for the world record you have to run the same length of mile as real runners do. Same goes for getting credit for being published.

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