PublishAmerica - Publishing Parasites

I have to admit to being readily impressed by company names. Maybe it's an age thing. You see, I was around when we had nationalised industries here in Britain, you know, British Railways, British Gas, British Steel, British Road Services, etc., etc. Those companies may have been over-staffed and under-efficient but you always knew you could trust them, and a product marked "Made in Britain" had class - in those days. Even after they became privatised the word "British" in a company name still, in my subconscious at least, gave that firm a stamp of approval. Those were the heady days when we had some traditional industries and workers could rely upon union protection to prevent their jobs being shipped out to third world countries.

When a company called PublishAmerica ( agreed to publish my small collection of short stories, I was delighted. This wasn't a 'tuppence ha'penny' outfit but an organisation that boasted "America" in its title. I've never been to America but I have made some good "virtual" friends there and know how patriotic Americans are. How could you not feel safe doing business with a firm that so proudly flew the flag of that famous super power? When I checked out PublishAmerica's website, all red, white and blue with the slogan "We treat our authors the old-fashioned way - we pay them," I felt truly blessed. A publisher of high esteem (I believed the testimonials) recognised the reader-appeal of my stories and my potential as a writer.

Further encouragement came from the "Why PublishAmerica?" page where I was told "The majority of our books that are sold retail are sold in physical brick and mortar bookstores" and "PublishAmerica can remove the stigma of paying to be published. With PublishAmerica, you will have the very important distinction of having your book ACCEPTED BY A TRADITIONAL PUBLISHING COMPANY."

Yet something about the company name puzzled me. I mean, why not "The American Publishing Company" or similar? As it stands "PublishAmerica" could be interpreted as an ambition to publish anything and everything that was ever written in that country. Amazingly, that interpretation very much sums up their objectives.

In my enthusiasm I had been studying PA's Author's Message Board, following links to previously published author's websites and reading all the reviews and book excerpts I could find (not realising that authors with anything pertinent to say are instantly barred from posting). Then I read one of their books from cover to cover. Now, my own education at an orphanage school in the Highlands of Scotland was very basic, so my grasp of English Grammar left something to be desired. Nevertheless, convinced I had stories to tell and the ability to tell them, I had joined Internet critique groups to learn how to present them. When I read my first PublishAmerica book my feelings were a blend of embarrassment, anger and disbelief. The writer had obviously worked hard to put the story together and it had the makings of an entertaining read. It reminded me so much of my own first and only attempt at writing a novel - abundant clichés, suspect word selection, contrived scenes and wooden characters existing in a plot that lacked cohesion. It was in fact a story barely at the first draft stage, complete with spelling and grammatical errors. How could an ethical, self-respecting publishing house allow this to happen, I wondered?

PublishAmerica/ScamAmerica are most definitely NOT traditional publishers whatever their slogan implies. Recently interviewed by Steven Zeitchik of Publishers Weekly, PublishAmerica executive director Miranda N. Prather admits that her company DOES NOT EDIT FOR CONTENT, only for grammar and spelling. For readers and writers everywhere this has to be the most worrying statement ever made on behalf of a publisher. But it gets worse. Simultaneously Ms Prather announced the creation of an affiliation between PublishAmerica and Online Publishing Bookstore - Tome Toaster ( Quote "Authors that generate sales and create a track record showing that they are able to promote as well as write a book will be referred to PublishAmerica by Tome Toaster." So we have a situation where a writer's ability to self-promote supersedes everything, including the ability to pen a readable story.

I find it a frightening fact that PublishAmerica already have 10,000 published books in the marketplace (recent announcement). Since they don't edit for content it is safe to assume that the bulk of these are badly written at best. By choosing PublishAmerica, genuine AUTHORS who have worked hard at sharpening their writing and storytelling skills find their works irretrievably associated with some of the most inane rubbish ever written, for the period of their contract - SEVEN YEARS! Meanwhile READERS have the dilemma of finding a readable piece of fiction (or non-fiction) in an environment awash with literary garbage.

The scam is brilliant in its simplicity. Instead of asking for money up front, PublishAmerica solicit a list of up to 100 of the author's friends and family whom they bombard with pre-publication flyers offering discounted copies. The sting is in the book's cover price - anything from 25-50% above the going rate for a similar book - ensuring that the friends-and-family discount does not effect the publisher's profit. My own 136 page "tome" was originally priced at $19.95 then reduced to the still prohibitive cover price of $16.95 when I expressed my disgust. Print-on-demand format allows the publisher to recoup publishing costs almost immediately on just a few such sales which are followed up by a "special" bulk purchase offer, irresistible to the author who has received only two free copies for review purposes. I invested three to four hundred pounds sterling and countless frustrating hours that I could ill afford on a marketing project that was doomed to failure from the start. PublishAmerica's lack of author support, only answering phone calls for book orders and ignoring almost all email complaints, is legend, as is the nigh impossible task of finding a bookseller willing to stock PublishAmerica non-returnable titles.

PublishAmerica have a branch called PublishBritannica and I now realise how naïve I have been to believe that a company would necessarily show respect to the country whose name they cynically exploit. Maybe such business practices are par for the course in today's dog-eat-dog, winner-take-all world. I know there are "authors" prepared to buy huge quantities of their books then sell them on to sympathetic, unsuspecting acquaintances, mug gullible punters at book fairs and the like or just sell them to each other. I just enjoy writing stories, being neither a super salesman nor a confidence trickster. Is it too much to expect that a writer's work might succeed on merit rather than misrepresentation and deceit? If companies like PublishAmerica are allowed to legally flourish while exploiting new authors, deceiving the reading public and stifling writing talent, apart from GENUINE TRADITIONAL HOUSES, the book publishing industry will surely drown in a dumbed-down literary quagmire of its own making.

NOTE: Many authors who value their work and who have fallen victim to this disreputable company are campaigning to have the sole rights to their material restored. To those who threaten legal action PublishAmerica offer a release agreement containing a gagging clause. Authors who feel that they have been misled or defrauded by this company are advised to write to -

Office of the Attorney General
Consumer Protection Division-Beth Silverman
200 St. Paul Place
Baltimore, MD 21202


BBB of Greater Maryland
1414 Key Highway, Suite 100
Baltimore, MD 21230 -5189
Phone: (410)347-3992
Fax: (410)347-3936

Eddie Bruce © 29.11.2004.

About The Author

Eddie Bruce is retired and writes Scottish and English short fiction. A recovering alcoholic, his works reflect the ordinary man's eternal struggle to find a niche in life. Some of his acclaimed stories can be read at

In The News:

pen paper and inkwell

cat break through

Why Do We Publish?

WHY DO WE DO THIS?A major "character" in Mark Salzman's... Read More

7 Benefits Of Using Newsletter Templates

1. Time saver. To get going make a quick visit... Read More

You Can Develop An E-zine Even If You Dont Enjoy Writing!

Do you know that many business owners market their businesses... Read More

7 Ways You Can Make a Huge Impression With Your Ezine Welcome Message

Many times I receive a Welcome Message from someone after... Read More

8 Effective Ezine Publishing Tips To Put You Ahead Of The Game

1. Swap sponsor, feature, or solo ads with other ezine... Read More

10 Newsletter Ideas to Write Articles for Your Newsletter

Since you publish your newsletter on a regular basis, sometimes... Read More

The Five Deadly Fears of E-Newsletter Publishing

1. Fear Of Having Nothing To SayAs a small business... Read More

What Every Ezine Owner Should Know About Unsold Ad Space

The deadline approaches and your ad STILL has not sold.... Read More

Create Your Own Ezine Traffic Machine

How would you like to reach millions of people with... Read More

Getting Subscribers For Your Newsletter Is As Simple As This...

Having a newsletter is one thing but how many subscribers... Read More

Create An Immortal Ezine: Evergreen Newsletters

This article is particularly for those people who want to... Read More

Newsletter Software

Newsletter SoftwareWhat types of newsletter software can I use to... Read More

PublishAmerica - Publishing Parasites

I have to admit to being readily impressed by company... Read More

Internet Marketing Strategy: 9 Pragmatic Ways Increase Your E-zines Subscription

It is possible to increase the subscription to your e-zine... Read More

Five Solid Reasons To Publish Your Ezine In a Blog!

Get Your Ezine 'Out There'!Placing your ezine in a Blog... Read More

Work Less, Earn More As An Infoproduct Publisher

There's no doubt, publishing information products to sell online is... Read More

Understanding Ezine Publishing!

I can remember my first reaction to word "ezine". What... Read More

Review of Ezine Announcer

The most critical piece of software in my article submission... Read More

Ezines VS. Trade Journals

As many people know Industry Trade Journals in America have... Read More

7 Power Packed Tips To Increase Your Ezine Publishing Success

1. Use autoresponders to publish and promote your ezine.Autoresponders with... Read More

Increase Your Website Popularity with 500 Words

Are you looking to increase your relevancy in the search... Read More

Email Newsletter Format: HTML or Text

An email newsletter is probably the most effective way to... Read More

The Sticky Issue of E-zine Schedules

While many new e-zine publishers are anxious about developing good... Read More

The Disintermediation of Content

Are content brokers - publishers, distributors, and record companies -... Read More

Top 7 Techniques For Generating Subscribers To A Newsletter

Imagine you are sitting at home relaxing reading a book... Read More

Publish Anything: The Saga of a PublishAmerica Author

My story is that an author who'd done online writing... Read More

Why Arent You Writing Ezine Articles?

I'm amazed!Everywhere I go on the Web, people are desperately... Read More

How to turn your Newsletter into a Web 45 seconds!

Do you place back-issues of your Newsletter onyour website?There are... Read More

Should You Upgrade Your E-zine From Text to HTML?

A few years ago, when I first started seeing HTML... Read More

I Finally Discovered The Secret To FREE Content No One Else Has!

There are many tips and techniques to increase your search... Read More

5 Essential Online Tools for Writers and Publishers

Writing a newsletter or article can be very time consuming.First,... Read More

Convert Your Newsletters into Immediate Cash

One-Page Newsletters can do more than help you keep in... Read More

Ebook Rebranding - The New Ebook Marketing Power?

Well, it is definitely yes!In the early day of internet... Read More