My jumping off point today is an article called PublishAmerica a Real Publisher by Rebecca Benson. Short excepts are quoted here for the purpose of analysis and commentary only.
"Some people are afraid of progress ... there are those who would rather eat sewage than to see someone succeed by using new methods of doing business."
Let us think about this. Are there really lots of people out there who hate progress and will go to any lengths to make sure creative artists will fail just out of a fiendish desire to ensure our culture stagnates? No, there aren't. People disagree, they disagree vemently and sometimes irrationally. But each has strong, postive, ideological reasons for their own position. Some people disagree with self-publishing, and others only with dishonest business practices--like publishers that lie about being self-publishers, like publishers that threaten people who discuss them online with lawsuits.
"Many people out there are under the mistaken impression that PublishAmerica is either a vanity press or some form of self-publishing."
PublishAmerica is a self-publishing provider. They happen to make their profit through a cut from the cover-price not an up-front fee. What is wrong with PublishAmerica (and there are many things wrong with PublishAmerica) is not that they provide self-publishing services, it is that they lie about it. Writers should go into self-publishing with their eyes open, as a conscious choice and the best way to acheive their goals.
"...I am defending PublishAmerica against accusations of not being a “real” publisher, I have absolutely no problem with someone using a vanity publisher or even self-publishing."
Read that one again: "Defending" against "accusations" that PublishAmerica is something "I have absolutely no problem with".
"For the sake of being decent to one another, I would just ask that readers not place so much emphasis on where the book came from."
Absolutely, and that is what this blog is about. But once a writer has looked at their options and decided they either cannot publish with a third-party press or do not care too, there are many self-publishing options out there including large service providers. I for one am in favor of honest self-publishing and honest self-publishers. There are many websites that compare these services and allow the writer to sellect the service that best suits their needs.
We need to cultivate a nuanced perspective. I support any writer who chooses to self-publish. I support and will happily review a PublishAmerica book without in anyway being influenced by the writer's choice of publisher. But I do not support PublishAmerica because they pretend to be something they are not. They pretend to be a third-party publisher. And all that does is undermine the place self-publishing--honest, open and overt self-publishing has in this industry and the service it provides to writers and readers alike.