March 13, 2013

A Writer's Worst Nightmare by T. L. Wiens

I recently agreed to swap reviews of my books with another author. I’m not sure what made me even consider it but I was committed to read the two books I received in an email.

I don’t know what I expected but I got a menu guide to all the restaurants in the area where her books are set as she described in detail every meal eaten by her main characters. The plots were cliché and predictable.

This author can describe menus and settings so she must have some writing skills. So what happened that she published these books that are amongst the poorest I have ever read? Judging by who published her book, I’d say she was a victim of bad publishing, poor editing and well meaning friends of family not being honest with the quality of her manuscripts. She was published by Publish America.

Here’s what the Preditors and Editors site had to say about Publish America: “PublishAmerica (aka PA, aka AmErica House): Conflict of interest. Also runs literary agency. A vanity press with a poor contract. Numerous writer complaints. Author mill and plagiarist. Strongly not recommended. Rated F by the BBB.”

A simple search turned up a lot of complaints about this publishing house.

The lure to publish can be so strong and if you don’t know anything about publishing, it’s easy to fall prey to the promise of your words in print. After reading these books, I am reminded just how wrong things can go without checking things out. And it can be so daunting. I’ve been going through my “2012 Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market.” Even with this resource, I’m overwhelmed. Thank goodness I have years worth of experience only one email message away.

Inscribe is a wonderful place for authors. If only the author of these books would have had a group like this to turn to when she began her journey into publishing. We can share with one another and ask the questions that need asking. We’ve all made mistakes. We’ve all stuck the wrong word in the wrong place at some point in our careers. As fellow authors, we have so much we can do for each other and there’s no fear of looking silly. It is truly a blessing to be part of such a wonderful group.


  1. I've run into a similar pickle a time or two when I've offered to review books. I now ALWAYS caveat my agreement to review a book with: if I don't like it I won't finish it; if I can't give it at least three stars I won't publish my review (and even then, I will contact the author privately before posting less than 4 star reviews unless I feel strongly that it is a case of 'reader beware')

  2. That's good advice.
    I think I'll stay away from reviewing books though. The editor in me is too strong.
    I did contact this lady before posting a review. She went crazy--kind of like when bad singers think they're good and someone tells them the truth.

  3. What a frustrating experience! I review books, but like Tracy, I only post positive reviews. If I feel a negative critique is warranted, I do it privately for the author.

  4. Is this a good thing to only post positive reviews? I feel bad for anyone purchasing this woman's books.


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