Shining a bright light into the dark corners of the shadow-world of literary scams, schemes, and pitfalls. Also providing advice for writers, industry news and commentary, and a focus on the weird and wacky things that happen at the fringes of the publishing world.

February 1, 2014

PublishAmerica Is Now America Star Books

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

PublishAmerica has a new name: America Star Books. The PublishAmerica URL ( now defaults to the America Star Books website.

The changeover is acknowledged on America Star's website, on the About Us page:
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.
The name change is recent: sometime after January 4, 2014, which is the last date the old PublishAmerica website was archived by the Internet Archive. The America Star Books URL is registered to PublishAmerica's co-founder, Willem Meiners; since I first put this post online, the registration has been anonymized, but here's how it originally looked:

Some of the material from the PA website has been ported over, such as the Facts and Figures page, but overall the new site is much leaner than the former one.

The business model also appears to have changed:
Not only do we continue to publish, for free, tens of thousands of American and Canadian authors, but to that we add a unique mission.

It is our mission to translate into English books that Americans have never heard of, from languages that most Americans don't speak. America Star Books gives foreign authors an English voice, and publishes their work in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain.
A Dutch self-publishing service called Free Musketeers appears to have already entered into an arrangement with America Star to publish English versions of its books. (The link is to the Google translation of the page, which is why the English is a bit wonky.)

For more information about PublishAmerica, see Writer Beware's Alert.


Anonymous said...

Who cares?

Anonymous said...

So they revamped their web page added "translation services" but pretty much remain the same.

Steve MC said...

Thanks for the tip. My cousin put out a book with PA, thinking it was an actual publisher and he was lucky to have his work accepted.

Richard C. White said...

I was wondering how PA was going to stay afloat with so many authors turning to self-publishing as it becomes easier and cheaper to produce the books for themselves, (and since PA books were not being distributed, they get the same distribution benefits doing themselves too).

However, I guess they found another untapped vein to try mining again. Trouble is, I hope they're not salting it for others who follow.

I'll be sure to update my workshop to include this new info, Victoria.

P. David Gardner said...

Hmm, put on a new coat, feel like a new person. But underneath, the same old same old.

widdershins said...

Cockroaches and PublishAmerica will be all that remains after the zombie apocalypse!

Anonymous said...

First of all, do you know how many books are published each day, month, YEAR??? Thousands and thousands!!! The chance that an unknown author is going to write a best-seller,is slim to none! Instead of blaming PA or America Star Books for your lack of sales, look in the mirror! That's where the blame should be. If you want to self-publish your book, feel free to do it. PA/AmericaStar Books does it for free. Do you honestly think that they make money, if your books don't sell? Of course not! You're all ridiculous!!!

Anonymous said...

Well, anonymous, there is a big deal about this warning. PA has been sued and LOST for terrible practices that were misleading and down right fraudulent. Such as, putting mistakes into their publications and then turning around and offering to sell editing services. (They wouldn't allow the author to edit the book without charging an enormous fee to do so.) They sold deals where they would send big celebs copies of books with the vague promises of blockbuster deals, then barely followed through after taking the money. They claim to be in Barnes and Noble, and no B&N store carries a scarp of PA works. Yes, they are creeps and they are only changing their names because they fouled up the last one so badly and want to continue suckering people into bad deals.

Tzivia at said...

Sheesh... I guess as long as there are newbie writers out there to be fleeced. :-(
Good thing there's a site like this. I've linked up to you from my blog so legit writers can steer clear of sketchy marketers of all kinds.
@widdershins, I'm with you on that zombie apocalypse thing.

Anthony Dorato said...

Publish America does not publish books for free. They charge money for the books especially to the authors. They have no distributor which is their down fall. Also, their contract is air tight for 7 years.

Anonymous said...

Check your facts and read your contracts. All PA and America Star authors are given a deadline to submit their final manuscripts. FINAL! It is up to the author to read over their work and correct any errors that they see. PA and ASB never claimed that they will edit your books. If an author isn't smart enough to read over their own work before submitting their final copy, then whose fault is that? Do unknown authors really think that their books are going to be the next best seller? Ridiculous! For all of you on here who want to bash this company, you're just mad because you didn't get everything for free. Would you run a business and give everything away for free? Of course not! Do you really expect them to publish your books for free AND go out and promote your book at a hundred venues? Your books aren't any good, which is why they don't sell. Just like any other business, this company has to make money too. The reason you don't get paid royalties is because, no matter how you calculate it, 8% of $0 is still $0. Also, I looked up the court rulings about this company and only once did PA lose a case. All other cases were thrown out, because they had no basis!

Jim Hartley said...

Back when I foolishly signed a book with RubbishAmerica, they didn't charge for editing, but simply said that editing delayed publishing by six months. This put the fear in the hearts of naive newbies that six months would give them a chance to cancel (Hah! Not bloody likely). And besides we really wanted to see our glorious books in our hot little hands.

Once the book was published, it was offered at an outrageously high price, just so they could offer huge discounts on sales to the authors, with really cheesy incentives (buy 14 copies at 50% off and we'll send 2 review copies to Oprah!!!!). Of course they never claimed Oprah was going to even look at those books ...

I finally paid their extortion fee to cancel the contract and get my rights back (the book is now published by a different publisher, a real publisher). Giving themselves a new name, and adding a translation scam, isn't going to change them even a tiny bit.

Anonymous said...

"Do you really expect them to publish your books for free AND go out and promote your book at a hundred venues?"

My publisher, Booktrope, is a micro press in Seattle and they do just that.

Anonymous said...

Jim Hartley, you are so right, but you get what you pay for. I paid nothing to get published and PA's service was nothing. They do no more than print the book for you. You must pay for any and everything else. They price the books so ridiculously that your own relatives won't purchase it. I bought and sold every single copy. I've written an second book and will look to someone else.

dugan06 said...

I've had a book published through Rubbish America only to find it a joke. It had errors all throughout the book that I did not put in there in the first place. I saved a copy of my manuscript and compared the two and it was not the same. They offered me editorial support but was charging $300 for the service. I told them that the errors did not exist in the first place and that no one should have changed the words around. The person replied that I signed a contract stating that I agree to the necessary changes if needed. Pretty much screwing me. Be careful of the new name change its the same trap. Anyone heard of this scam out there called "Maverick Money Makers"? run by one named Mack Michaels. Its like Mack changing his name to Mike Mackies. Don't be fooled by the wolf in sheep clothing!

john hund said...

Anonymous said...on 2/05/2014 5:50 PM
Should have posted as Publish America's Editor and Chief of rip-off. Clearly it is someone in house at Rubbish America. I know this because it is the only defense of P.A on all of the internet. Both of his post try to legitimize a the illegitimate. No name no credit! F-off.

wolfspeare said...

I submitted a book through PA in 2010 and found them rude and difficult to deal with, although luckily I didn't have some of the issues that other authors have complained of. I never fell for those bogus e-mails like having Oprah review my book. I just rolled my eyes and deleted the e-mails. So far I haven't spent a cent.

Recently, I have noticed that they've changed some of their policies. For instance, my children's biography was selling for the ridiculous price of $19.99 (only 75 pages) and they have dropped the price to $9.99. They told me I could purchase my own copies for $8.00 with free shipping. (They used to charge $4.95 for each book shipped!) The two people I have dealt with recently have been very pleasant and accommodating. For instance, they originally promised to make some changes in the final draft, then later told me they'd charge me for it. I refused to pay. Just in the last 6 months I talked to someone there who agreed to make the changes I had initially asked for at no charge, and that has happened.

Maybe my expectations weren't that high to begin with, and, perhaps they have become more agreeable and hired pleasant employees because of the lawsuit. I still wish I'd used Amazon or some other POD company, but at least things have improved since 2010.

Susan Ethridge said...

I too published a book threw PA many years ago. In fact being a silly uninformed person that I was I sent them another one, which I have gotten released from their grimy hands. Now, since I never got the fist one released, I keep receiving these email wanting to promote my book for pennies on the dollar. WHAT!?? I kept deleting the messages then a few days back I get this phone call from that company and found out they once was Publish America. I thanked the lady but said no thanks and cut the phone call short. I still keep getting these emails from them and I keep deleting them unread.

I have learned from my mistake with Publish America and have no intentions of making another one. I must admit I haven't written in several years due to my auto-immune reeking havoc with my thinking process. Things has gotten better now and after I have my knee replacement surgery I think I will try once again at writing. However, I will NOT submit to Star Books.

Keep writing for yourself and hopefully one day someone in the publishing world will want to publish your book, a real publisher.

RLL said...

Just done a blog post about vanity/subsidy presses.

PropUSN said...

Willem Meiners.
Look for that name on Facebook!!! Send that scum bag as many threats as you can. Get the rights to your books back! Let the world know that this bastard has been stealing from us authors for too long!
And to the one who 'praises' PA, I know for a fact that my two books, (I'm a two time loser with PA) have indeed sold.
PA and now America Star is reaping my royalties! They ARE making money off of you suckers!!!
I'll continue to spread the word about these crooks!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I am wondering if Anonymous realizes they have been sued and lost over just the way their contracts are written....I know I am one of those that sued and one...funny thing was they didn't even try to settle out of court (like they usually do)

Anonymous said...

PA, and now the new boss, same as the old a ripoff. I had six books published by PA, which was great for my ego, I guess, but the absurd high prices they put on them didn't work as a selling point. Their most recent contract sucks, too. With my first novel, I got six complimentary copies. For the last three, NONE and no royalties paid to the author until 45 copies are sold. I am making more money putting my books on Amazon for Kindles and other readers. Go there!

Anonymous said...

My books (NEW) are also appearing with other booksellers but no royalties are showing up in my mailbox. Where are they getting these copies if not from PA...or maybe Lightning Source is making money on the side. Glad I'm done with these crooks.

Victoria Strauss said...

Anonymouse 7:54: do you know of anyone who has actually bought those books? Most online vendor listings are digital listings only--the vendors don't have the book in stock. They wait for an order, and then get hold f a copy.

Jim Hartley said...

Wow, I thought the PA contract was bad when I did a book, "Teen Angel," with them in 2007 ... I got two free copies and token advance of ONE DOLLAR! Sounds like they have gotten a lot worse. And then they grossly overpriced this skinny paperback at $24.95!!!
Eventually I paid their extortion fee to terminate the contract early and get my rights back. Sent it to my e-book publisher where it is selling for $5.50. And they didn't want print rights, so I now have a CreateSpace paperback priced at $8.95 ... much more reasonable.

Jim Hartley said...

Victoria -

They must have sold a few copies of my book ... after it was published in 2007, I got royalties of $21.13 in 2007 and 2008. Then, nothing, absolutely nothing, until I cancelled in 2011 when they sent me $1.12 (!!!) to close out the account.

But I have been having fun with their corporate logo. Since I can't put pictures here, go to my blog at to see my versions of their logos ... both old and new.

LB said...

I had the misfortune of falling prey to Publish America with my first novel. After a couple of rejections, I found PA listed in the Writer's Digest Market guide and foolishly assumed that because it was in that venerable tomb it had been vetted and was accordingly a "legitimate" publisher. After all, it was listed right there along with the likes of Random House, Simon and Schuster, Tor, etc. Anyway, the long and the short of it was that PA accepted my novel without hesitation, and thus began a trek down the road to bitter disappointment.

First off, believing them to be a legitimate publisher (as they claimed), I thought my book would receive some serious editorial guidance. Much to my dismay, none was forthcoming. Nada. Zip. In fact PA basically boasted that they published a writer's work untouched--as if to suggest that editing ruined a work and distorted a writer's vision, typos and all. Suffice it to say, my first "published" work did not end up being the book I wanted it to be.

My misery was compounded by the fact that the novel was given an outrageous cover price. I would never have paid the price they were asking for a trade paperback, so I'm not surprised nobody else wanted to either. I spent a great deal of time promoting the work on line and in various other ways, but I could never overcome that mind-blowing sticker shock.

Of course, like many who were suckered by PA, I soon began to understand just how the business model for the enterprise worked. Basically it tapped into the vanity of would-be writers, ceaselessly cajoling "clients" with a plethora of e-mails that presented various schemes in which an author's work might be promoted. These almost always involved purchasing several copies of one's own book, and featured ridiculous and outlandish assertions, such as: buying a given number of copies of one's own work would assure representation at a major book fair, or accord one the opportunity to be read by Oprah, Tom Hanks, etc.

Needless to say, I was never insane enough to avail myself of any of these chicanery. And for those who say that an unknown writer shouldn't expect to get his/her work published for free and have it sell in book stores and the like (and actually make the author a reasonable income), I just have to wonder how much such people know about publishing. The fact is, I'm getting my next book published "for free," and it will be distributed in bookstores, and the publisher will actually promote it. Imagine that. Moreover, I'm being paid for this privilege, and have, indeed, received a respectable advance. Of course, this probably wouldn't have happened if I hadn't got myself a good agent, and I suppose in an indirect way I can thank PA for that. Had my experience with them not been so truly awful and crushing (to the point that I almost gave up writing), I'd not have learned some invaluable lessons--not least of which (as far as I'm concerned) is that you really need an agent if you hope to have an actual writing career. My agent has made me a much better writer in all respects, and without her I can honestly say I'd not have found a home for my second novel.

Sam said...

I submitted my novel to PA - they accepted and gave me a dollar for my efforts.
Several of my friends have purchased copies - hundreds - have I been compensated NOPE.
After being scammed for over $1,000, I'm now thinkinga bout PAYING $99 to have the privilage of getting my intellectual property back.
PA is a scam - trust me on that folks.
Whomever this "Anonymous" is that works for PA / America Star Books has a sad life indeed. Seriously, how bad does your life have to be when you are paid to scour the internet and defend scumbags like PA. I mean, when ya go to bed at night, realizing that your company preys on the hopes of writers then takes them for everything they ya look in the mirror and say, "Great Job, I made a difference today!"
Do everyone that is trying to create a good story a favor, send them far, far away from these crooks!

Anonymous said...

I submitted a book a few years ago, Book came out really nice. Just too expensive to buy and ship to Canada. Special online deals have stopped. Real scam, never any royalties and they keep saying no books have been sold in months, not true, I bought some even via Amazon. NEVER use them again

Don Davidson said...

They got my book almost 7 years ago. The contract finally runs out in July 2014. In all that time they've sold 3 copies, because I won't buy it myself. You can read my story, with complete documentation to back up everything I say, on the PublishAmerica page of my web site,

Dreamer24 said...

Everyone who says they are not renewing their contract or ended it prematurely, please read over your contract. Better yet, go to america star website and see if they are still selling your book. I think this clause means they have rights forever to your first edition print of the book: 19. Whereas this agreement refers to a First Edition of the said literary work, as designated, the
Publisher may produce as many editions thereof, consisting of as many copies as Publisher shall
deem advisable, at any time after it ceases to produce copies of the First Edition. On all such
subsequent editions that the Publisher may produce, the Author shall receive a return as specified
in Provision # 3 of this agreement of the sales price of every copy that may be sold and for which
the Publisher shall receive payment in money.... I hope I'm wrong. Can someone interpret this?

Jim Hartley said...

Well, they don't edit the books they publish for readability, why should they do any better for their contracts?

I don't know about non-renewable (I didn't let it get that far), but when I paid their extortion fee to cancel early, the letter I got clearly stated they would not produce any more copies of my book, but they did reserve the right to sell copies on hand (big laugh, it's a POD operation, anybody think they really have a warehouse full?). Of course I'm really worried, they were listing my book for $24.95, you can now buy an e-book for $5.50 or a CreateSpace paperback for $8.95 (and possibly discounted). Who would want to shell out $24.95 if they did have some left?

Anonymous said...

PA is the worst. I have a best selling novel with a ranking number under 10000 yet they told me I sold seven copies. I wonder how much money they have made off of every author through them. I never expected to get rich but it would be nice to receive more than one dollar for my effort. Thankfully I got picked up by a huge publisher that actually respects my work and pays me for my time. I will save you all time. Don't ever consider PA for a publisher you'll just spend more time and money trying to get rid of them.

Nonnie S said...

Publish America AKA America Star DOES make changes in your script for correction, and then tell you that you can get at most 15 mistakes changed free of charge. Any after that you have to pay for. Contrary to what I just read here, they leave you with nothing, but a downloaded manuscript that is covered and given to you as completed with their disclaimer on the second page. Their new contract is for 10 years of publishing rights opposed to 7 previously. I was one of those who was excitedly flim -flammed. If I die before the contract ends I have left in writing that I do not want to renew and hope my work can be redone correctly.

Robert said...

Do not trust this company. I did and was a pain to get my rights back. Write your book and Google: tools to publish a book, and use it for free. I do recommend to have a professional editor.

J.M. Poole said...

Independence Books, aka PubliSHAMErica, aka America Star Books should be avoided like the plague.

Traditional publishers my eye. I don't need to go into details. I was misinformed, like everyone else. I fell for their scam but was one of the lucky few to break out of their grip. How? I made myself a downright nuisance to them. Hourly calls, asking about unpaid royalties. Daily emails announcing I wouldn't be renewing my contract. I looked up the email addresses to everyone I could and fired off message after message, stating they were in violation of their precious contract.

Once I said that they fired back INSTANTLY, stating I was being rude and if I kept talking like that then I needed to get a lawyer. That didn't bother me. What upset me was knowing they have been in business for so long that they clearly knew how to write a solid contract.

I was screwed for 7 years. I switched tactics. I now demanded they return me my rights. I renewed my efforts and increased the phone calls. I copied & pasted emails. The end result?

After a year and a half of harassment, they returned my rights and told me "You have lost your status as a 'published author'. Your book is no longer available. Have a nice life."

I framed that letter. I have since released my book through Createspace, along with its sequels. Guess what? I'm making sales! I have accurate reporting at my fingertips. I have a responsive support staff waiting to help if I have any questions.

It was the difference between night and day. Someone had asked about publishing rights for first editions, thinking PubliSHAMErica retained the rights to sell it? Not for me. The only thing they told me was that I couldn't use the cover they created (it sucked - why would I want to??) and that their formatted text of my book's interior was theirs, meaning I couldn't leave the book's interior as they created it. Again, not a problem. A 4th grader could have done a better job.

Sorry for prattling on. I've sold thousands of my books and I did it as an Indie author. If I can do it, so can everyone else. Just do me a favor. Steer clear of those creeps in Maryland. If I can prevent another author from getting sucked into that hellhole then it would make my day.

Have any questions about self publishing? Look me up on Facebook. I'd be more than happy to give a helping hand.

J.M. Poole
Bakkian Chronicles trilogy
Tales of Lentari fantasy series

Jim Hartley said...

Gee, I wish I had known I could get shut of RubbishAmerica by just making a nuisance of myself. I ended up paying their Danegeld to cancel the contract. But you can be sure I tell everyone I know to stay away from them. Once I was free I managed to get my book published as an e-book by a small indie press who had done some of my other work, and then, since they left me the print rights, as a CreateSpace paperback.

LB said...

As a follow-up to an earlier comment I made, I'd like to suggest that anyone with a Publish America or America Star Books contract review it very carefully--particularly if you're approaching the termination date. Foolishly, I had not read mine since I signed it back in October of 2006 and had assumed that when the seven year term of the contract expired my rights would revert to me. Alas, it turns out that Publish America/America Star Books employs a version of what we in Canada used to refer to as "negative billing"--which is to say unless you notify PA/America Star Books(at least three months before the end of your contract) that you wish to terminate the relationship, you will automatically be renewed for seven more years.

As a consequence, I now find that my book remains in America Star Books' hands unless I fork over a larcenous $299 to reclaim my rights. I was informed of this after I recently received an e-mail from them suggesting I buy copies of my book (which I have never done). I replied that my contract had ended in October of 2013 and that I wanted them to strike my book from their catalog and all other listings. The response was an e-mail with a rather nasty and threatening undertone that told me the contract had been renewed and the only way I was getting my rights back was to fork over the dough. They implied they had invested considerable money in publishing my book and had a right to expect to recoup those costs. I have to assume this was a joke on their part because I can't see that they invested anything. No editing. No proof-reading. I did my own cover. I did my own back cover blurb. I wrote the announcement they were supposed to mail to people on a list I gave them--a service they maintained they provided but never actually did. I did all my own marketing.

The fact is, about the only thing PA did was format the book, and I could have done a better job of that than they did. Oh, and they listed on various sites, which must have taken someone all of a few minutes and cost them nothing.

Well, tough beans America Star. You can keep that book in your catalog. I hope you choke on it. Oh, and enjoy watching as the money doesn't roll in--since it never has. As for me, I've moved on to bigger and better things and that novel is a thing of the past. It was never what I wanted it to be (largely because I got no editorial guidance) and I couldn't care less if it sits gathering dust. I won't be paying an exorbitant fee to a bunch of scam artists to get back what is mine. I'll wait out the next six and half years.

Meanwhile I've signed a deal with Capstone Books, and instead of the one dollar advance PA gave me I'm getting a five figure one from Capstone. My book, Becoming Darkness, will be published through their new YA imprint, Switch Press, and should be available sometime in the latter half of 2015.

Even if you don't want to go the more traditional route of publishing (i.e. getting an agent and signing with a traditional publisher) there are so many better, safer, and more profitable ways by which to publish rather than getting sucked into the execrable black hole of America Star Books and falling victim to their odious practices. My advice to anyone who cares about his/her work is to steer well clear of this company.

Anonymous said...

Star America Books and Publish America whoever they call themselves treat their customers like crap. I don't care if it is a free service it doesn't mean that people should be treated like trash. I really hope this company goes down the drain. I really hope someone gets them out of business. If you are a person who loves to write and has a dream of being a author don't go with this company. There are so many other resources to choose from. Even if you have to pay a little it is better than being treated like crap.

God Child said...

It would appear you haven't dealt with this company. They DON'T do it for free. And no bookstore will carry books published by them for 2 reasons, they have a no return policy and they're overpriced. They also lie and say they're going to give your book to Oprah, big name magazines, state Dept.'s, and other companies, all who have never agreed to such a thing or haven't even heard of the company. They mislead people who are new to writing and want to get started with little or no money. Basically they rob the poor who are wanting to fulfill their dreams. They recently, after about 6 yes of no contact with them as I just said fug it, emailed me stating if I pay $99 now I can terminate my contract. Reducing their $299 termination fee they said. Problem is, I never signed a contract. And even after numerous emails requesting a copy of a contract I signed, I have no copy and they are still saying its legally binding.. really? Then show me what I'm blinded to. Send me a copy. And still nothing. They are rude, classless and unprofessional. They don't answer the phone and they don't use their names in emails. That's because they're crooks. And honest company has no issue using their names as employees. An honest company answers the phone. This company does nothing for free. They rob people that have a dream. I. Good though because my book was an autobiography and I decided against publishing it. So they can want a termination fee until this supposed contract is up...they won't get one from me. For all their wrong, God will make right. They won't be around too much longer. More and more people are self publishing. As a matter of fact, I have a cousin who does ebooks with amazon and another ebook site and she does very well. No publisher needed. Publish America can change their name but they're still the same crooks. Bankruptcy isn't far off for them....and many will be over joyed for the wrong they've done.

Anonymous said...

LM, does paragraph 23 in your contract contain the language that you authorize PA the right to re-assign the copyright to another publisher/name? If I look to the calendar, I see you should have signed your contract around the time where they did not include that clause. Guess what, it's bordering on copyright infringement if not. Let us know.

Anonymous said...

I live in the United Kingdom and finished my PhD in 2010. My PhD supervisor suggested that I get it published as soon as possible. Sadly I went with Publish America because I trusted their 'traditional methods' blurb on their website. How I deeply regret this move. I will not repeat grievances already stated on this site but suffice to say that email correspondence with them would be justifiable with court action in the UK. They were threatening/menacing and downright insulting! I tried hard not to let their aggressive and bullying approach tarnish my opinion of American citizens they certainly do not represent anything good about America and this is extremely sad. Glad that I have moved on and do not care what they do with my work as they will certainly not receive another penny from me.
Doubtless this posting will receive an anonymous and aggressive post from them - they are bullies and that label is a kindness to them.

Anonymous said...

All they do is print your book and then they expect you to buy it. They do nothing to promote it or assist with sales of your book. One of the stupidest thigs I ever did was to deal with them.

Anonymous said...

I published my first 2 books with PA but after a few years (and before my contract was up) I republished through CreatSpace whom I LOVE. I changed the cover and altered the title. I give not a hoot if they sue me....IF they had charged a reasonable price for the books it would not have mattered so much but who the heck wants to pay so much for a SOFT covered book? I totally agree that they are just legal crooks!

Ivan Bradley said...

I placed a book with PA over 2 years ago and it was the worst nightmare of my life. I was expecting probably too much but I was a first time author trying to get into the publishing arena. This book is called 'The Ole Candy Shoppe'. There were supposed to change the mistakes I saw in the printing. I sent them all the changes withing the time requirements but still they did not change the mistakes. Month after month they sent me emails to buy copies at 1 cent all the way up to 1.99 but the shipping costs made the books at 20.00 dollars apiece. The book can't sell at that price any where. Now I have found that they are selling my book on Amazon and other places. If I pay them $100.00 US I can buy the rights back. I have not done that and probably won't.

Anonymous said...

I too had a book published with PA....and what a fool I was. Some of you were lucky enough to receive 2 copies of your book. Wow, I was lucky enough to get one. And it was sent to the wrong address.

PA did nothing to promote my book. Nothing. I was forced to publish with errors THEY made as I did not want to pay the 250 bucks they wanted to charge me to fix THEIR mistakes.

I even tried to contact the CEO of the company and they flatly refused to do so. I asked for copies of the promotional material they reportedly sent out and received no answer. I was offered time and time again to have my book rights returned, with a varying rate between 100 and 250 dollars.

As for the emails ...yes, I got them to. They'll promote your book if you pay them to do so. That is NOT what their contract implies. They are liars. Period. The absolute worse publishing company on this planet.

I will patiently wait for my contract to expire and then republish my book. In the mean time, I am currently writing a second book and after this experience, I have learned to do some research before I choose a publisher next time.

When I received and email from Starbooks, I was hoping that PA had gone out of business or was sued so many times that they had to sale out. Pity it is still them. Thanks for the information on this company. I wrote to them to find out more about them, but they, like PA, never replied to my inquiries. Amazing.

Anonymous said...

There must be more than one "Anonymous" here because the remarks don't seem to match...but this is addressed to the one who seems to think the authors are to blame for being ripped off. PA is/was an "on demand" publisher, so it's not like they published 100's of books for each author... and every book was over priced so you were bound to fail... even though my books sold and had excellent reviews, it's like paying $100 for a carton of eggs. I think that particular "anonymous is a company snitch ...And to the later Anonymous (with the PHD) I would hope your education would have at least given you enough sense to not judge a whole country by a few scoundrels....pretty cheeky I dare say!!

Anonymous said...

Obvously you are employed by them. They are diseptive scam artists.

DaisyJane62 said...

PA published my first book in 1999, then the second in 2004. They fulfilled their contract about online posting. It was up to the author to do the publicity and marketing. Unfortunately, my subject does not lend itself to that.

America Star Books now offers lots of marketing services for very reasonable fees; most are between $25 and $75

Jim Hartley said...

I find it hard to believe that America Star Books (formerly Rubbish America) is doing ANYTHING reasonable. They brought out my book in 2007 at an outrageously high price (around $25 for a 170 page paperback), and then did nothing but send me offers to send review copies to Oprah, Steven King, or whoever if I would buy 14 copies at a 40% discount. Eventually I paid their $100 Danegeld to get my rights back and published elsewhere ... $5.50 as an e-book, $8.95 as a CreateSpace paperback ... MUCH more reasonable. My advice, don't ever go near that outfit!

Nicole Noffsinger said...

Let me tell you why you should care-why everyone should care. In 2009, I wrote a book and I was rather green and signed with Publish America. I was thrilled and it had been what seemed like a dream come true to me. I over looked the generic cover and began promoting my book to everyone. When I got my author's copy I was horrified. A perfect manuscript was chopped and put together as if someone had copied and pasted and done a poor job doing it. Whole sentences were cut in two or incomplete. Not only that but my books were priced so high, at 35.99 plus shipping that no one would buy them but lo, I did sell copies. I sold almost 4o copies of my book but when the royalty statement came in it had over half were ineligible for royalties due to they were held for promotion. I thought, okay well maybe that's a good thing? I began getting offers to participate for a fee to book fairs and what not and I nearly sent them $400 dollars only to find out (and I still have the phone bill to show the international calls that I made) that Publish America was not even listed as a vendor at the Frankfurt Book Fair or even the UCLA Book Expo and again at the AARP they were not listed as vendors or sponsors. When I inquired about it I was rudely (and I still have almost every E-Mail correspondence with them) told that I was lying and my facts were untrue and all I did was ask why they were not listed. I began to find sites like Writer's Beware and the Author's Den and it was astounding at just how many people had been with them for years and had sold books and still were not getting money. Some had paid into the offers that Publish America had flooded their inboxes with and all were like me-not making a dime and some didn't even renew their contracts but their books were still on the website. The books they showcased as being made into movies or made for television shows on channels such as Lifetime Network and The Hallmark Channel were fictitious. I contacted the BBB and the Attorney State's General and they all gave no help. Publish America knew their loopholes but a few years ago they made a huge mistake by offering for x amount of dollars having a book reviewed by JK Rowling at the Edinborough Book Fair in Scotland and then offering book reviews by Nora Roberts and James Patterson. JK Rowling came out swinging when she heard and it made the news. Nora Roberts publishing house along with James Patterson's Hatchet Books both refuted Publish America's claims and Hatchet even sent me free books since I had personally brought it to their attention. About a year ago a law firm sued Publish America in a class action suit and I was lucky enough to get my book and rights back. They still will not take my novel off Amazon even though I have sent them proof that Publish America no longer has ties to it but at least it is mine to do with and re-publish it through a reputable publisher or self publish-whichever comes first. These vanity presses have to be stopped and Publish America aka American Star Books is a predator in the publishing world. They don't want to make money for you-they want to make money OFF you. Don't fall for this and speak up because while you may not be an author-it is WRONG to do this to authors and consumers as well. Do not fall for the scam. Jim Hartley at least you got out with 100 dollars. They wanted $300 to get mine back. Luckily I got to be part of a class action law suit. That is when they closed shop but opened under a new name. The owner of this company uses your hard earned money to fund his own pocket. They hire a few temps to answer the phones and that is it. They have no experience whatsoever in the publishing world and if you sign with them you are signing a scam-a pyramid scheme that you may not ever get out of.

Anonymous said...

The fact that these bloodsuckers are still in business is beyond me. They abuse the hopes and dreams of writers and make other money off the backs of those they publish. I have been fighting these bastards for 6 years to get my rights back. Run away from this publisher as fast as you can.

Anonymous said...

I have sent a book to be published by America Star and until now they have been fair with me. The contrac is for 3 years and i don't expect to make money with my book, just to get it printed as a paper book. I accept that America Star makes money with my book as they take a lot of risks by publishing me and after all they must make money to survive as a business. I am happy if America Star publishes my book . If it doesn't sell, it will be my fault.If they ask me to pay money for editing, corrections or else, I will forget the subject, as I don't have money to spend on it.

Christine Tripp said...

>I accept that America Star makes money with my book as they take a lot of risks by publishing me and after all they must make money to survive as a business.<

If you aren't prepared to give them money for editing, cover, shipping books to Oprah, Obama, some other crazy idea they come up with, then you won't need to accept that they will make money on your book, because they won't. They don't sell your book unless it's copies to you. Their business survives by make money on selling the services and "special deals" to you, the writer and by selling your books to you. The only book you will ever see in your hands is the one you buy from them. You could have had one copy printed and bound at staples if it's all you truly wanted.

I suppose they decided it was getting too hard to overcome the bad press about them and North American Writers that hadn't heard of them were running low, so PA changed their name and turned their attentions to foreign writers. Those for whom English is a second language and who will not know there are spelling and grammar mistakes in their books translated into English. The risks are much less, being sued by foreign writers.
It's pretty much perfect for PA/ASB

Anonymous said...

Good deal, I just had a really bad conversation with someone there about 15 minutes ago. sent my book in 2 months ago to be revised. had a deadline to meet, August 9th. now they want to rip me off for charges to get it here before then, the lady was very rude and abrupt. I actually thought I was in the military instead of doing business with a book company. she was very nasty! and all of that she could think about was how she could rip me off by adding almost fees to get my book shipped. no remorse not apologetic are sympathetic. just plain rude. I got about 10 more books to publish but they won't get one. and I know out of those 10 I got six bestsellers. God has something for all nasty people! you can get my money but you can be a little bit more diplomatic and professional about it

Anonymous said...

everyone should report them to the Better Business Bureau! ASAP

Anonymous said...

Too late for me :-(

Anonymous said...

Still, I say customer service is horrible and unprofessional, and they are nasty to you when you want spend your money like they want you too. They have no comparison about time or deadlines. For what they have done to other's and myself, I want to see them out of business. They are cruel bulldogs in the business world of high class rip off artists!

Tommy Proffitt said...

I still don't know the out-come of the last class-action suit, Would somebody please let me know. I don't know if they still have a contract for my book. I haven't got a royalties statement for over two years.

Victoria Strauss said...


That lawsuit was settled out of court. See the addendum at the top of my post about the lawsuit.

Check your contract to see the effective date (on Page 1) and how long the contract extends (I've seen PA contracts for both seven and ten years). If you're still within that timeframe, then PA still has exclusive claim on your rights.

With PA, I'd never exclude the possibility of confusion and inefficiency--but I believe PA has a payment threshold for royalties. I.e., if your royalties are less than a stated amount, they don't issue a check or a statement. That could be why you haven't received a statement in so long.

Anonymous said...

I Have realized that these people are thieves that have robbed tons of authors as well as defamated their characters, for an author to receive their book(s) and to have run-on sentences, misspelled words etc is an embarrassment, gives them a poor reputation and it hinders them. They should be ashamed knowing these kinds of books are being published from their company, but they DON"T CARE all they'll do is change their name, just like they've done. What gets me the most is that I have bought about 7 of my own books to see hoe loyal they are when it came to royalty time, but GUESS WHAT!0 sold, that allowed me to know they have gotten RICH off us. What a shame. Can we contact ELLEN, Or Oprah, Perhaps THE NEWS in every CITY. Let's expose them world-wide.

RWMasters said...

I got tired of reading the same old, same old comments (with which I mostly agree. I have now published (paperbacks and far better quality than I received in the two books I allowed Publish America to 'publish') and it has cost me exactly NOTHING! I have my own artist do the covers (my wife) and they have been great. And my publisher, CreateSpace (subsidiary of Amazon) distributes and sells the books. Oh, yes, royalties are paid promptly and there is no jazz about selling 48 or so books before they send you the check. Service has been great and I even get to review the book (as it will look when printed) before giving them the go-ahead to print. Finally, I have had complaints from would-be readers that when they tried to order one of the two books PA had 'published' PA claimed they had never heard of me! Yes, I bought a carload of books at PA's 'discount prices' and sold them in shopping centers (you pay for a space and table in the central area and it works, folks!). I don't have to do that anymore, thank you CreateSpace and Amazon.

eNuminous and Archimedes said...

I have had much the same experience with PA (Now America Star Books) and my contract is up in about another year. I've recently had a series of emails from them that are, quite frankly, offensive and belligerent in tone. They have done nothing to promote my book, have not sent it to B&N or Ingram like they promised, have continued to try to get me to pay $99 to cancel the contract, and recently had the temerity to offer me my original PDF of the book for $500, when the PDF they generated was based on the PDF I originally sent them. I declined their typesetting and layout service, having done that work myself, and yet they claim that the book layout is theirs, and proprietary. How can a business charge money for something they did not originate? Here is a snippet of an email I just received:

"...the "long chain" of emails that you mention contain some of the most bizarre and wacky false accusations that we have encountered. All of it was reputed, and if impolitely, and rightly so. We never received an apology from you for the weird, wacky, false nonsense that you casually through our way.
So, you accuse us of wacky nonsense.
It is all refuted.
Then, you make no apology, like a child would do.
Then you're asking us for a favor, for advice, for legal reasons.
No, the world does not work that way.
Please pay your lawyer to answer your questions."

So, they're suggesting I hire a lawyer, and call me wacky in the same email? Probably a good idea.

People with complaints about this company need to band together and launch a formal class action suit, if only to be an annoyance to them. I refuse to be labelled a child, and wacky, by a company that insists on maintaining a contract with me to publish my book and yet not distribute it.

Good luck, everyone!

Matthew said...

I just received the following email from PA/ASB. Now, correct me if I am wrong, but isn't referring to a lawsuit against a third party a subtle way of attempting to intimidate and threaten me? I am posting this email in it's entirety to let people see what "tone" PA/ASB likes to take with their authors when they ask question/raise concerns:

We see (below) that you have posted statements on the internet that you know to be false. Your statements are also very easily proven false. You may be interested to know the facts concerning the former leader of that site's organization. He posted false statements on the internet that are very similar to yours. His statements were shown to be false, he was summoned to trial, his paychecks were garnished, and he paid thousands of dollars.

The one-man "leader" of the one-man, widely-mocked, Preditors & Editors "organization" lost credibility long ago, and was sued by PublishAmerica's attorney. He was served a summons to attend trial and testify, and a judgement was entered by a jury. What he said was found to be simply, plainly, false. He was ordered to pay $53,000 in damages. His paychecks were garnished. He has paid thousands of dollars so far.

Again, his paychecks were garnished.
He paid thousands of dollars so far.

We will expect your prompt apology.
We recommend you remove the false statements that you posted publicly.

>>People with complaints about this company need to
>>band together and launch a formal class action suit

They already did that.
A judge dismissed ALL CLAIMS because they had no validity.

>>They have done nothing to promote my book

No, that is false.
Yes, we did.

>>have not sent it to B&N

No, that is false.
Yes, we did.

>>or Ingram

No, that is false.
Yes, we did.

>>like they promised,

No, that is false.
We did not promise to do so.
We are not contractually bound to do so.
But, we did so anyway.

>>have continued to try to get me
>>to pay $99 to cancel the contract

No, we did not. As you know, rights purchases are our decision. As you know, if offered, you are under no obligation to purchase.

>>I declined their typesetting and layout service,
>>having done that work myself

No, as you know, that is false.
No, you did not "decline" it.
You happily accepted it.

As you know, all material presented must be re-typeset by our team of professionals due to proprietary formatting required by our printers. We refuted your false statement before. Yes, it was your design. But, it was our files, that were professionally created by our staff.

>>they claim that the book layout is theirs, and proprietary

No, as you know, that is false.
No, as you know, we did not claim any such thing.
As you know, the files are ours.
As you know, the design is yours.
You have the right to do as you please with your own work. You have rights to your own art, of course, in the form that it was in when you supplied it to us.

Joylene Rios said...

I published my book through them; biggest mistake of my life "The Joys and Disappointments of My Life So Far" by Joylene Miller-Rios is being sold around the world in different languages and I have not seen any royalties. On top of that, they are still trying to get money from me by trying to get me to pay them to put my book on Amazon, Barn&Noble, etc. despite the fact that they are already doing that. America Star Books are crooks.

Anonymous said...

I helped an author with his book and he used Publish America. We had no trouble with them. We were allowed and encouraged to edit the book. All we did was write and edit it. We did our own cover because they allowed us to do that. It ended up on No one is going to become a millionaire today in the book writing business, unless they get an upfront check for telling of their sleazy past. My author was satisfied with his results. The success was that he had a good story to tell, he told it in a very readable way, and people bought it. We had no problem with Publish America. I think people misunderstand that they can't possibly market it as one of the big publishing houses do. But another thing authors need to understand is that you have to be able to write so that your book isn't a chore to read. Your first page is important. If people pick up your book and check the first page and it doesn't interest them, they won't buy it. Good grammar counts, too.

Anonymous said...

I am a new author and I have a friend that had a book published with this company. We are fighting to get the rights to the book back now. What I've found online is unacceptable. This 'publisher' needs to be shut down. BBB has horrible ratings, 128 complaints, and when you Google them, what you find are mostly complaints. I think a class action lawsuit is in order and I will gladly handle this lawsuit if I can get enough of you to sign up and send me a narrative of your experience with this sham publisher. If you are interested in joining the class action lawsuit, please contact me at

Victoria Strauss said...


There've been two class actions against PA already. The first was dismissed, the second was settled. I've written about both of them. Do a search on this blog for PublishAmerica, and my posts should come up.

Apostle P.E.C said...

This company is bogus and God will deal with them I published a book with them in 2012 and have yet to get any funds and books did sale .But it's ok I have learneda valuable lessons just do my homework next time I allowed a pastor to trick me into thinking this was her publishing company until I sign the papers do to all the excitement and being young we make bad choices that we learn from ..But GOD "


wolfspeare said...

Can I get out from under the contract so I can publish on Amazon Kindle? Or, can I publish on Amazon using a different title and hope that America Star Books won't see it?
Has anyone tried either method?

Victoria Strauss said...


PublishAmerica/America Star will sometimes let writers out of their contracts if they pay a fee. Some writers have chosen to go that route.

As to changing the title and hoping no one notices...don't do it. Like other self-publishing platforms, KDP's Terms require you to warrant that you have the unencumbered right to publish--and you don't, unless PA, to which you've exclusively granted publishing rights, releases you.

Anonymous said...

I'm a publish America author and I want to be aware of what is taking place

Raven said...

Unfortunately I have many books with them, my latest book is not ready I got a call congratulationing me on my book, and America star books wanting to take my order for a book I haven't seen! They wouldn't give me a complimentary copy however wanted me to purchase in bulk. when I questioned the fact that I have paid for advertising on my other book with no success having lots ofpp my own books on had to what sell on a street corner? The congraulator lol became rude and angery. I told her that they wouldn't get another dime from me, asked her why I should keep spending money to support their book shows or pay for their hotel accommodations! She reminded me if a contract that I never did see or receive and that the have the rights to my book. My adulation was in telling her that maybe they do however it is in my best interest that no company will deal with them being a POD and they they are a shame not respected in any area and that they therefore have nothing, so nothing from nothing leaves nothing. I hung up the phone.minute later I received emails lol stating how much they have done for me and how no one wants my book is why its not selling. Lol my reply was hmmm could it be because my book lay at the boo boo end of the stick and no one know which end to touch! I haven't gotten anymore emails not even the bulk one losing about them visiting Disney or USA today or Oprah lol all emails have stopped. Guess there goes that movie deal with Pixar! Oh snap!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the warning. Publish America published two of my books before. I am one of those who got scammed by this publisher. Both my books publisher's contracts had reached the expiration period. Despite, without my permission they still continually producing and distributing copies of my books, which in violation to agreement stated in both contracts.

For those first time author, DO NOT submit your work to Publish America or America Stars Books (their new name). They shuttered my dream to be an author. I don't want that to happen to you.

If some of you worried how PA going to stay afloat if cheaper to self-publish your own, that's their problem. Use your judgment after you access this link

Linda Hays-Gibbs said...

Crooks ! Plain and simple ! Crooks do not let these monsters near your books ever !

Anonymous said...

I published with Publish America in 2007. My books are selling on Amazon and I have never received any royalties. I also am unable to reach anyone by phone

Daniel Zimmermann said...

I cannot comment on most of the criticisms, but PublishAmerica put both my poetry books on Barnes & Noble without me paying anything. In their favor, it is commendable that they publish poetry, even though they cannot expect to gain much from it.

H. McAlendin said...

PA now America Star is a company to stay away from unless you want your pocket book and soul sucked dry. They have had so many lawsuits against them I am surprised they are allowed to exist in any form. BBB complaints etc. My contract is now up with them and they still refuse to return my rights as they say I was auto renewed with America Star. Never gave anyone permission to do so and have in fact been fighting with them for 5 years to get out of my contract.
Do the research before you sign up with this sham of a publisher. They are using and abusing their authors.They force you buy your own work and then charge you as well if you want to leave. It's insane.

John said...

It IS a self-publish press. I got my book into and paid them no money. For a fee of $25 or so I got the ebook version also available on This was BEFORE amazon started their publishing offer. You expected to be a NY Times bestselling author through PA? You are idiots. It is what it is. I got published. That was my goal. My second book, I am going to a traditional publisher.

Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker (pen name) said...

Doesn't anyone else realize that America Star is using your books to make a profit and then telling authors there are zero sold?

They are pretty stupid if they think authors won't be contacted if the books are picked up by a TV or movie company who wants them.

What's America Star going to do? Extort money from authors if this happens so they can get in on the money? America Star's job is to publish. If they are a genuine publisher why does every single email have a price tag on some offer?

Anonymous said...

I don't get how people are still defending PA or AS as it's now called. (only needs one more S to be perfect!)
The only thing they do is pounce on the newbies and the uninformed. As for the name change - You can call a pile of dog crap a cookie, but it's still a pile of dog crap.

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