New PublishAmerica sock puppet America Star Books wants to pull its wool over your eyes

The Writer Beware blog has posted a tipoff about a new identity for Author Solutions-style self-publishing vanity press operation PublishAmerica, which, like Author Solutions, spawns a succession of new names and sub-identities to disguise its basic focus of providing overpriced and often unnecessary services to aspiring self-publishing novices. This time, the new identity is America Star Books, the new destination for the publishamerica.com URL with a special eye to non-American writers.

“Our mission is to change the landscape of book publishing all over the world,” declares the America Star Books website. “If your book is written in English, we publish it for free. If your book is written in a foreign language, we translate it into English for free, and then we publish it in America, also for free. Your book, your voice, now has a home in America.”

And just in case there’s any doubt, the site also adds – far less prominently – “America Star Books used to be known as PublishAmerica, the no-nonsense, hard driving pioneer that changed the American publishing landscape for good when in 1999 it forced an opening for tens of thousands of American authors to join what was until then an elite status of being published for free.”

Unfortunately, you can also find bad press about PublishAmerica dating back at least as early as 2005, as well as class actions and other lawsuits. One of the latest, from early 2013, states that PublishAmerica executives: “shamelessly prey on ambitious first time authors and those who have faced significant personal hardships, luring them into exploitatively long contracts, often as long as ten years — that can only be broken for a high fee.” It also includes the frankly astonishing allegations that PublishAmerica deliberately introduces errors into its client authors’ texts, which it then charges to correction, and uses overpricing and other tactics to sabotage sales prospects for its authors – who it then milks for marketing services to correct the low sales that it has engineered.

There doesn’t seem much chance that America Star Books has cleaned up is act with the name change. Perhaps the founders’ hope is that foreign authors won’t have heard about all the bad press for PublishAmerica. Caveat scriptor.

12 Comments on New PublishAmerica sock puppet America Star Books wants to pull its wool over your eyes

  1. Sadly there will always be people who are more interested in exploiting the naive or confused.

    Authors, like everyone else, should remember the old adage. If It Seems To Good To Be True It Probably Is.

    Doing a little diligence is all it really takes to pull the sheep jacket off the wolf.

  2. Thank you, Paul. I just shared this on Facebook and Twitter, and will also be posting a link in next week’s issue of WritersWeekly.

  3. Thanks for the post. It would be nearly impossible to keep track of all Author Solutions’ borderline scam operations if not for helpful bloggers like you.

  4. Why don’t you write on the fact that most of the books that were accepted by PublishAmerica were books that no other publishing companies would accept, because the books were awful to begin with. I love it how unknown authors all think that they’ve written the next best seller. Seriously? Nobody cares about your life, but you. Stop writing books about what happened in your past. Although, the memories may be special to you, there not to anyone else. For the writer’s of other genres, if your book was really that great, why did everyone else reject you? Stop blaming PublishAmerica and America Star books for your failures. They’re not there to re-write your book. If you submit a book with errors, because you don’t know how to use spell check or read over your own precious work, then that’s on you. Get real people!!!!

  5. @Lisa, a big part of the issue with PublishAmerica is that they have been accused of introducing errors so they could then charge to fix the errors. And charging for marketing services they didn’t deliver on. And lots more. There’s a long history of bad behavior and numerous lawsuits. http://www.sfwa.org/2013/03/another-class-action-suit-launched-against-publishamerica/

  6. PublishAmerica has become the biggest rip-off this century. They published three of my first books, well printed but then constantly besieged me with solicitations for money after money for every thing involved in the marketing and distribution including probably the lunches of those sending all the emails. I refused to be drawn into that money pit. Now they have informed my I’m to pay for my publishing rights and when I received the voicemail, it was so garbaged’ I could not determine the caller’s name or the return number. My emails to Publish America and AmericaStar books, the new proxy to avoid litigations have gone unanswered. Thank you

  7. They are doing scam on authors here in Brazil!
    http://blog.clubedeautores.com.br/2014/02/nota-importante-sobre-america-star-books.html

    The messages on this website are all in Portuguese language but in short, they have tried to get money from the authors by offering “fanciful opportunities”. From me they tried to take $199 to put my book in the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, telling that it would be a chance for my book be seen by a great movie maker and turn into a Hollywood movie. I didn’t accept because, as I told them, that was not fair since my book would jump the translation line ’cause I would pay for that. After that, I felt suspicious and started investigating them and found all their shit!
    They did the same fanciful offering for other authors as can be seen on the link I put there.
    Thank you for your article.
    Sean

  8. They also try to cheat past employees out of their final paychecks. I know this firsthand.

  9. Free or not they shouldn’t treat customers like trash. We get that we may not be the best authors but some of us just have the dream of simply getting our work into someone’s hands even if it is just one person. In 2012 I published my book through Publish America which is now known as ” Star America Books.” I was very excited it was my first book. I started getting other people involved to get the word out there that I was about to publish my very first book. I knew it wasn’t a best selling book but it was a book that had to do with my faith. I was publishing it to inspire someone out there they may have wanted to give up not to make millions of it. I just recently decided to just write another book and even try to market the book I published through Publish America. I contacted them and here was the response I got after I told them that I was considering working with another company and I also told them I felt like I was scammed. I got the email from Star America Books stating this:
    No, if you pay money, then you are being scammed. You will find that you will pay hundreds of dollars for the same services that we perform for free. That is a scam. We will not transfer publication rights to vanity publishers.

    If a legitimate publisher should express interest in your work, which is doubtful, please let us know, and we will be happy to arrange a rights transfer. Remember:

    No other publishers wanted your book.
    No other publishers would give you anything at all.
    No other publishers would publish your book free of charge.
    We gave you what no other publisher would give you.

    If you want more free stuff, please do some research and let us know what other publishing company will give it to you.

    Can you find one?

    and this after I told them they had horrible customer service:

    Yes, thank you; we’re proud of our customer service. We actually tell the truth. Just as we thought; we were right, no other publisher wanted your book, and now you’re going to pay someone to publish your book. Someone who cares because YOU pay them.

    And, no, we do NOT have “a lot of law suits[sic].”
    And, no, we have not had “a lot of law suits[sic].”
    In fact, we don’t have ANY!

    Would you please let us know how much you’re paying?
    We’d like to tell you what you would get from us for that amount.

    I would be afraid to ever work with this company again…their creditability doesn’t exist. If you have the dream of putting your book out in the public’s eye don’t use this company. Do your research first . There are other companies out there that will take your book…it may take some time to do research but it is better than being treated poorly and being scammed. Even if you have to pay a little to get it published it will be worth it…I wouldn’t submit anything to this company even if it is 100% free…I am hoping that there would be enough people to complain about this company that it goes out of business. Sooner than later.

  10. Lisa must be a employee…and an angry one at that!

  11. I have published many books (like 9 ) with publish America or America star books. Although they do bombard me with marketing offers daily, which I rarely read unless one just sparks my eye, I haven’t found them to not do what they claimed they would. I knew going in that the marketing was entirely up to me and haven’t had any problems with false promises. They gave me a chance to proofread my manuscript a final time before it went to press and I did. They never charged me to make corrections if I did so at that time. I guess I may not expect a whole lot for free as I felt I was responsible to edit it before I sent it to them. I guess what I’m stating is they haven’t treated me unfairly and have always been pleasant and helpful when I had a question. Yeah they charge for additional items but so does everyone else. I don’t feel like they’ve treated me unfairly. But again I’m just one customer. Too each their own.

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