The other day I knocked off work early, went home and watched a Dr. Phil re-run. The story was about a mother and daughter feuding over publishing rights to a book. The mother claimed that the daughter took her real-life story and was planning to publish it as if it were her own, and was refusing to share the expected $3 million royalty. The daughter said that her publisher was initially very excited about the book and thought it would be a best-seller, but had now declined to publish the book due to the conflict with the mother. The publisher had a rep in the audience and got to put in her two-cents worth—along the lines of, yes, we would have published it, but not with this battle going on concerning ownership of the rights.
This is all very sad, but not my point.
My point is: the "publisher" was Publish America.
And everyone, including Dr. Phil, was talking about them like they were a REAL PUBLISHER!
I was shocked!
Publish America is not a real publisher. They are a vanity press. They do very little editing, no marketing, they print on demand (which isn't all bad, but...), their books are overpriced, bookstores won't stock them, and if you ever, ever try to use them as a credential with a real publisher, they will laugh you out of their office!
Two other companies that frequently show up as credentials in queries I receive are Author House (at least they admit they're a vanity press) and BookSurge (owned by Amazon).These are not real publishers either. Do not use them as credentials when approaching a real publisher unless you've sold over 2,000 copies of your book. 9And in that case, don't mention that you "published" through these companies, just say that you self-published and your book sold X number of copies. This will tell the publisher that 1) you wrote well enough to sell to more than your circle of family and friends, and 2) that you know how to market yourself and your book.)
I know how hard it is to have a good novel and receive rejection after rejection. Companies like this play on that heartache, promise you the moon, but they do not deliver. Stay away from them. Like the plague. Like a very bad plague with a 99.9% mortality rate.
Once again, I want to remind everyone of a wonderful site, Preditors and Editors. If you've found a publisher via the Internet (rather than a legit Writer's Guide), do your research before signing up with them.