Shame on you, Publish America

by | Feb 24, 2010 | Book Marketing Basics

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I wondered at first if this was a joke. PublishAmerica sending your book to Random House? While this may seem like a good idea to some, the truth is it’s likely a scam. Here’s the deal. Random House has enough unsolicited submissions to last them a lifetime and unless PublishAmerica has gotten into some special arrangement with RH (which I doubt) – then this major NY house won’t give PublishAmerica’s books the time of day, especially if they’re submitted en masse as it seems to indicate from this blog post.

Here’s the truth: do your homework authors. Don’t buy into something just because someone is throwing a “big name” at you. If it looks too good to be true, it likely is.

And frankly, this is the kind of thing that gives self-publishing a bad name.

Here is the stream on Twitter


  1. Lisa Pelto

    Holy POD, Batman. Wow. Good call-out Penny. In our battle against the publishing scams, it’s good to know you’re a Captain! 🙂

  2. Penny

    Thanks Lisa – it’s really such a scam. Unreal… I have more scoop on this, will dish it shortly… 🙂

  3. Fight Publish America

    Authors victimized by Publish America must UNITE!

    Authors, if you’ve been victimized by Publish America and in addition to feeling violated, misled, cheated, bullied, ignored, taken for granted, exploited, and/or approached with extortion, and you feel powerless to right the wrong perpetrated against you, take heart. You are not alone!

    Bullies are cowards who prey upon the unsuspecting, timid, and weak. They also operate in the dark. TOGETHER, WE will aggressively and unrelentingly take the fight to them. WE will expose them, individually and severally, very publicly and ultimately kick their ass! Refuse to be their victim! Become soldiers in the army against the Publish Americas victimization of yourself and aspiring authors everywhere!!!

    Following is a step by step approach to unite victimized authors and to involve powerful agencies for their assistance and enforcement. Many of these agencies are already aware of Publish America, their rotten reputation, their negative press, and how they prey upon the unsuspecting. It is very important that you do everything outlined below and name the deceiving Publish America individuals that you dealt with. Follow up with each organization to your satisfaction. VERY IMPORTANT – copy/paste this letter to Publish America related blogs and websites all over the www.

    1. Call, write, email, and fax Publish America daily, expressing your issues with them. They can be reached at: 111 E. Church Street – Frederick, MD 21705, P.O. Box 151 – Frederick, MD 21705, 4510 Metropolitan Court , Frederick – MD 21701, Phone – 301.695.1707, Fax – 301.874.4793, and emails –,,,,,,,,,,

    2. File complaint with Maryland’s Attorney General Doug Ganzler at 410.576.6300.

    3. File complaint with Maryland’s Senators Ben Cardin at 410.962.4436 and Barbara Mikulski at 410.962.4510.

    4. File complaint with Maryland’s Congressman Roscoe Bartlett at 301.694.3030. Fax – 301.694.6674. Seek out Ashley Collier who will coordinate with the Frederick MD police, as well as with the local FBI.

    5. File complaint with Maryland’s BBB at 410 347.3990

    6. File complaint with Maryland’s Governor Martin O’Malley at

    7. File complaint with Maryland’s Mayor Randy McClement at 301.694.1380.

    8. File complaint with Maryland’s Assistant City Attorney Rachel Depo at 301.600.1391.

    9. File complaint with Frederick, Maryland’s police Sergeant DeGrange at 301.600.2118

    10. File complaint with your own states Senator.

    11. File complaint with Maryland’s Volunteer Lawyer Service at 800.510.0050

    12. File complaint with Frederick County’s Bar Association vs. Publish Americas attorneys at 310.663.1139.

    13. File complaint with Maryland’s local network television news crime tips, crime watchers, and investigative teams.

    14. File complaint with Baltimore, MD FBI at They are aware of Publish America and want victims to post their stories and complaints on their site.

    15. File complaint with the Maryland State Police at 301.600.4151.

    16. File complaint with Maryland’s State Attorneys office at 301.600.1523, 301.600.2026, and 301.600.2993.

    17. File complaint with the US Attorney General at 950 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC 20530-0009. 202.353.1555?.

    18. File complaint with the FBI at Federal Bureau of Investigation – J. Edgar Hoover Building –

    935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20535-0001. 202.324.3000.

    19. File complaint with ISBN at 908.219.0274.

    20. File complaint with Ingram Book Wholesalers at 800.937.8200 and 615.793.5000.

    21. File complaint with Baker & Taylor Book Wholesalers at 800.775.1800 or 908.541.7000. Ask for publisher relations.

    22. File complaint with Brodart Book Wholesalers at 570.326.2461. Ask for Jim Bobak in acquisitions or email Mindy Engel at

    23. File complaint with

    24. File complaint with at 734.477.1941 or 734.477.1100. Ask for someone in acquisitions, publisher relations, etc.

    25. File complaint with the federal BBB at 202.393.8000.

    25. File complaint with Maryland’s FBI at 410.265.8080.

    27. File complaint with the Attorney general in your home state.

    28. Put your thinking cap on and come up with additional ways to FIGHT Publish America. Share these ideas via blogs, newsletters, websites, etc

    See. You are not powerless. It is critical, however, that you do all of the above, follow up with the agencies, and keep the heat turned up fully on Publish America and it’s complicit co conspirators. The might of our right will crush their wrong!!!

  4. Gayle


    My book has been on Amazon since the first of February of this year. People have been ordering but no books have been shipped. Amazon says that PA is refusing to ship my book. PA says they are changing wholesalers and there is a short delay. The delay is seven weeks. Amazon is telling people to cancel their order for my book.

    It’s been a nightmare from the minute I signed with PA.


  5. charlie

    I wish I never signed with them. I was new-almost neive what to do-I wasn;t sure what to research when looking for apublisher. Then I stumbled upon publishamerica, signed up, been a not good experience like they said. Its been a couple years now and I write all the time. I learned alot through the years. Of all the publishers I could have stumbled on, why was it them? now, I know better. I changed my pen name and never mention my book published by them. They are a setback and look really bad on my query/cover letters.

    Anyway, I have so much to say but I think Imay have started this letter a bit early and without my coffee.

  6. revrichard

    Publish America is the biggest scam in the publishing industry! This Publish on demand (POD) company has been misleading authors for years. They claim to be traditional publishers, which is a total LIE. This company has made bundles of money off new gullible authors by publishing their books and selling them back at discounted rates to the authors. They do no conduct any promotions or distributions, even if the authors facilitate it. The alleged promotions are paid for by the authors when they buy their own books. No one will actually ever know if these promotions have actually taken place. PA’s representatives are only addressed by first name or anonymously as “Publish America support.” It takes miracle for them to get back to you with the simplest question. Most book stores will not carry Publish America books, because they equate PA to any other self-publishing house or worse. It also takes over two months to receive a book after you order it from Publish America.

    Their royalty statements are vague and inaccurate. You will never know how many books your book has sold, unless you hire a private investigator. They can basically do whatever they want. This is an unethical and integrity free company. You are better off being unpublished than being stuck with this alleged publisher. Review the innumerable complaints against this company on the internet. It is truly a publishing mill that will publish anything they receive. They actually have an electronic editor that will keep your book filled with mistakes. You better hire an editor before you approve your final transcript assuming that you will decide to go with this scandalous company. Ironically, their representatives are taught to defend their scams, and they pretend to have pride and ethics. Publish America is truly the biggest scam in publishing history! It’s so big that many other scam artists have started their own POD publishing houses.

    Beware!!! Research this publisher before you submit your transcript.

  7. Donna

    I asked a simple question about my cover desgin being the same as another book with just the background color changed and they have blocked me off the messageboards and refused to return my emails. My book still isn’t back up online, becoming very frustrated.

  8. Jody Offen

    Publish America DON’T BE FOOLED

    I’m going to tell you all about how PublishAmerica sells you a dream…to yourself. They use clever marketing to draw you the unsuspecting new author to their web site. It looks enticing and you quickly think that maybe this is the one that will accept your manuscipt after all they boast of over 40,000 authors. Well, I was one of the many who was suckered in by hopes that maybe someone out there was interested in my story. Maybe this was the publishing company that would put my book on the brick and mortar shelf (there words) and see it selling from sea to shining sea (also their words) Wow let me tell you all about PublishAmerica and the scam that they are. They want to sell books alright my email box can attest to that, they solicit me daily to buy my own books. They are however not in the market to sell your books to anyone but you and the people whose addresses you provide to them, they will be more than happy to send them an order form.

    They send you a confirmation telling you that they are going to “give your book the chance it deserves” WHAT A JOKE! and it’s really a shame because here you are so happy that you’ve been accepted by what you think is a real publishing company, that you are now a real published author in the traditional sense of the word. NOT… you are what anyone could be- a printed author. anyone can go to a printers and say here is a story and a cover design, please run me off 20 copies and here is a check for the cost. That is what you have just accomplished. Ha! and probably for less than PublishAmerica would charge you.

    PublishAmerica leads you on to believe that they will do all this marketing for you. NOT…read that contract real well. It’s you who are expected to do all the marketing. PublishAmerica commits to absolutely NOTHING! Have a lawyer look it over if you don’t believe me. They commit to doing NOTHING!!!! They don’t even have to list your book at any online web sites which is exactly what they have done to me. My books been printed big deal. They won’t list it any where but on their web site where they charge $32.95 plus $3.99 shipping. It’s a paper back romance! You can buy a romance book written by a New York Times best selling author for $7.99 but when I complained to PA about the price they tried to play me off as if I were stupid and told me that if the customer wanted the content they would pay the price. Then they also give you the apple and oranges lecture. Anyone published through them is only an orange and we should never confuse ourselves with being an apple (an established writer) I wonder how many beginning James Patterson’s or Nora Roberts have slipped through their fingers just getting their start and had the horrible luck of falling into the nasty web of PA? So when I asked why on earth would they think that an orange (an unknown author) could sell a romance book priced at $32.95 + $3.99 shipping? After 3 unanswered emails Carri emailed back and told me that anyone who has ever had a business, been in business or new anything about business new exactly what they were doing and they were in the business to turn a profit.

    So the way I see it is if they boast 50,000 authors if the going rate is basically $19.95 – $32.95 + 3.99 shipping and then they give you what they calla great discount of WOW lets say 50% you are still paying about $15.00 a book. Yeah try and make a profit off that if you’re planning on selling them. But…Publishamerica knows you aren’t going to be selling those books to anyone because you’re an orange. They’re figuring that you’re going to buy enough to pass out to your friends and family and keep some on hand just so you can whip one out if need be and show someone that you wrote a book. Publishamerica is only counting on the sales from the names and addresses that you supply them. They call it your announcement list. DON’T be fooled they aren’t really announcements like you would think, they are order forms clear and simple. They really don’t expect to hear from you again because you will realize that you are an orange and your books aren’t seeling nobody wnats them, the stores won’t stock them…boo-hoo you get on with life and forget about your dream of being an author. PublishAmerica forgot about you after they cashed your last check.

    Have you looked at PublishAmerica’s office photos? Go to their website and look at their office pics. There just has to be something wrong with that. All those photos and all you ever see is someones back. Only one person a guy shows his face in one pic. I have never in my life seen office pictures where you only see peoples backs. Gee I wonder why they feel the need to hide like their in the wittness protection program? I don’t know about you but that sure has all my red flags waving like crazy. I’m thinking guilty people do this…or was that just what I learned in abnormal psych?

    Another red flag that you need to be warned about with PA. You will NEVER get a last name. I swear it’s like you’re dealing with criminials because they don’t want you to know who they are. I wouldn’t be surprised if I got an email back from them one day that just said “Daves not here.” But then that would probably make me happy because usually I get no response to my emails.

    Okay the emails I have to address their generic standard run of the mill recycled emails! OMG they piss me off. They have drafted several emails for numerous complaints they receive and they just send out the same email with Have A Nice Day and then their first name. They rarely answer your questions you always get the blow off and the standard be patient or thanks your being understanding email.

    They have been up loading their 40,000 titles to Taylor Baker for a year now and that excuss is getting old as a delay for anything. I told them I could have done it by hand now. Come on, in the day of computers how long do you really think it would take to up load 40,000 titles to a new computer system? certainly not a year. It has been 13 months and my book has still not been listed as available at Amazon. It is listed as “notify me when this book becomes available”. I have been asking PA for a year to fix this. All I’ve gotten is the run around and recycled generic emails and ulcers. I have been asking to get out of contract for the last 2 months. I get the same standard refusal emails. They’ll let me out of my contract if I purchase 50 of my books at 60% off. I figure that’s about $1,000.00 I’m not paying them a grand for a romance book they won’t even list at any online stores that they want to charge $32.95 + $3.99 shipping for. And they won’t let me out of my contract because they are in it to make a profit? Whatever. To them I say good luck with that.

    Here is one of Publishamericas soliciting emails that the sent to me that just pisses me off. I got this email this the end of July 2010. I get them ever day and they are always finding new ways to try and get you to buy your own books but these top the cake.

    Dear author:

    We will send your book to actor/governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for his consideration as a movie script. Arnold is term limited as California’s governor. After November’s elections he is expected to return to Hollywood, where he is a more powerful voice now than ever before.

    Arnold Schwarzenegger remains one of the most successful movie actors since the 1980s even as he interrupted his career to run for governor in 2003. He has been known to regularly read books for their potential as a movie script, as most top actors do. He wrote several books himself.

    Let’s send Arnold a copy of your book, together with a ringing endorsement from PublishAmerica.

    Here’s how we do it:
    Go to, find your softcover, use this discount coupon: Arnold50. We’ll pay half: your discount is a whopping 50 pct. Minimum purchase volume is only 5 copies, one of which we will submit to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office while we’ll ship the others to you. Use the coupon on your softcover only. All non-softcover orders under this coupon will not be processed, so you’d be wasting your money if you tried.
    For orders of 9 or more copies, use the Arnold60 even-deeper-discount coupon, and we will actually submit two of your copies to Arnold so he can share one.

    We will immediately contact you as soon as Arnold Schwarzenegger or his office indicate his interest in your book!

    Thank you,
    –PublishAmerica Bookstore

    Isn’t it illegal to solicit an elected official in office? I wonder what Arnold thinks about this? I wonder if he actually got any books? They want you to buy at least 5 books at a 50% discount wow how generous of Publish america that they are going halvsies with you on this one. Lets see since my books like $32.95 and $3.99 each for shipping that would cost me like close to a $100.00 to send my book to Arnold. I would love to hear if anyone ever heard back from Arnolds office.

    This is the funny email I got from PA on July 26th 2010
    Dear author:

    We will send you a hardcover copy of The Search by top author Nora Roberts for FREE. Her book was released just days ago.

    Living in next-door Boonsboro, Maryland, Nora Roberts is virtually PublishAmerica’s neighbor. And you know what? We will knock on her door and see if she is willing to sign your copy!

    Nora’s latest blockbuster, already a New York Times #3 bestseller, is critiqued as one of her best and one of her most riveting romance novels ever. It is our gift to you.

    Here’s how:

    Go to, find your softcover, add to cart, use this discount coupon: NoraRoberts50. Use it on your softcover only. All non-softcover orders under this coupon will not be processed, so you’ll be wasting your money if you try. Minimum purchase volume is only 6 copies. Your discount is 50 pct, and your shipment will include Nora Roberts’s book, our gift to you.

    In the Ordering Instructions box write “Nora Roberts Yes” if you want us to ask her to sign your copy.

    Offer valid three days only.

    Thank you.
    –PublishAmerica Bookstore

    What a fricken crack up! It would cost me about $120.00 to get them to send me Nora Roberts new romance book and I would bet my ass that it came unsigned. And while they were onver there knocking in Nora’s door I sure as hell hope she asked them why in the hell Publish America is charging $32.95 plus $3.99 shipping for a romance book when hers only costs $7.99 and then she should slam her damn door in their face because that’s just unethical.

    I have lots more to say but I think I’m just going to write a book about them instead.

    The bottom line: BEWARE of publishAmerica.


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