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.