PublishAmerica changes name to America Star Books

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Per Writer Beware:

Writer Beware said:
The name switch is recent: sometime after January 4, 2014, which is the last date the old PublishAmerica website was archived by the Internet Archive. Some of the old material has been ported over, such as the Facts and Figures page, but overall the new site is much leaner and cleaner than the clunky, cluttered old one...the better to highlight America Star/PublishAmerica's new gimmick: translations. That's right--America Star Books will turn your foreign-language book into an English-language masterpiece!

See: America Star Books: PublishAmerica Plays the Name Change Game
 

Chris P

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I just did a Google search for America Star Books, and half of the relevant hits link to Writer Beware and other watchdog sites, the other half are to ASB.
 

thothguard51

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I am just surprised it has taken PublishAmerica this long to change their name. $$$ must have come to a trickle...

It might help if we put a link to the other PA threads here...
 

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One of the really interesting things about this sudden rebranding is the deliberate 'patriotic' (stars, a red-white-and-blue colorway) imagery, along with the blatant choice in name (America Star).

Pair that with the ad copy noted by Writer Beware: "...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." (My bolding).

I have only a casual interest in linguistic markers and the psychology of advertising. Even so, I can see how this package redesign appears crafted to appeal to domestic US and expatriate authors of a certain age, demographic group, and political background: the Tea Party, certain libertarian mindsets, ultra-religious Dominionists, conspiracy theory devotees, and other fringe groups. This imagery/word combination seems tailored to attract authors who show distrust toward mainstream commercial media and publishing. Moreover, these may be authors more inclined to accept arguments from authority and affinity fraud.

This is the loose demographic already heavily targeted by smaller subsidy/vanity publishers like Tate.

Together with America Star's push toward attracting non-English-speaking authors, this could be a renaissance move for what was PA.
 

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One of the really interesting things about this sudden rebranding is the deliberate 'patriotic' (stars, a red-white-and-blue colorway) imagery, along with the blatant choice in name (America Star).

That was always there to some extent but, as you point out, it's far more overt now; interesting.

I'm also fascinated by the 'we will translate your book for free' aspect. How is this going to work in their business model? Because PA clearly never spent a lot of time and money editing, and that is the sort of thing that you'd expect to be easier and less obvious to cut corners on than translating into foreign languages. Are they going to try to properly sublicense translation rights, or have they just discovered Google Translate? Only time will tell.
 

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I've never paid attention to PublishAmerica (America Star)--except as a laugh line--and maybe this has been said many times before, but PA was founded before digital self-publishing took off, with wannabes seeing it as the only way to get their masterpieces in print. Today, anybody can put out an e-book, and as a result the glow of PA has dimmed.

The translation gimmick probably just indicates that PA's supply of gullibles who write in English has shrunk.

Companies make name changes when the old brands don't bring in the bucks anymore.
 

victoriastrauss

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I think they're just going to use Google Translate: it's free, and PA/AS has never really shown a commitment toward high-quality (or any) editing before.
That would be my guess. And it's the perfect scheme, because the authors--unless they are competent English speakers--will never know.

America Star seems to be collaborating heavily with a Dutch self-publishing service called Free Musketeers, which appears to be shoveling all of its books down the America Star maw. The list of things Free Musketeers tells its translated authors to expect is hilarious, in a kind of horrifying way (I link to a Google-translated version of it in my post). One of the best lines: "Expect changes. They are expected especially where you least expect them!"

The growth market for publishing schemes is overseas. SBPRA knows that, and so does Author Solutions. Now PA has jumped on the bandwagon. Ugh.

- Victoria
 
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thothguard51

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I wonder if they will have a similar contract, especially the parts about, at the Publisher discretion and all arbitration will be done in Maryland...
 

Chris P

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Pair that with the ad copy noted by Writer Beware: "...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." (My bolding).

I have only a casual interest in linguistic markers and the psychology of advertising. Even so, I can see how this package redesign appears crafted to appeal to domestic US and expatriate authors of a certain age, demographic group, and political background: the Tea Party, certain libertarian mindsets, ultra-religious Dominionists, conspiracy theory devotees, and other fringe groups. This imagery/word combination seems tailored to attract authors who show distrust toward mainstream commercial media and publishing. Moreover, these may be authors more inclined to accept arguments from authority and affinity fraud.

Interesting; I hadn't thought of it that way. To me, it appeals to all the writers who are frustrated by their 30 or 50 or 100 rejections by agents/publishers and want nothing more than someone to stick up for them. The bolded language says to me "These folks will fight for me!" PublishAmerica has let authors think that for 15 years, and laughed all the way to the bank.

I wonder if they will have a similar contract, especially the parts about, at the Publisher discretion and all arbitration will be done in Maryland...

Paragraph 26 of my contract states that the contract is binding on the successors or assigns [etc.] of the author as well as on "the successors and assigns of Publisher." [bolding mine]. Not a lawyer here, but it's a cinch that every word of the contract I sighed with Publish America is in force under the America Star Books banner.

A Dutch friend of mine is all excited that her brother found a publisher for his book. I am hoping, oh, so hoping, it's not what I'm afraid it is. My father and I are PA authors, and my nephew fell into Tate. It's the family curse, this is.
 

aliceshortcake

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The mind boggles at what Google Translate will come up with. I foresee an avalanche of books rich in unintentional humour - and as Victoria pointed out, unless the authors are already well-versed in English (in which case they wouldn't use this service in the first place) they won't realize how badly their work has been mangled by Google Translate. Of course, the end result will be the same as it is with the old PA - only a few people, most of them personally known to the author, will buy the book anyway.
 

Albedo

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To get an impression of how this translation can turn out, I went to Google, and then in English, Macedonian, and then used to turn this post into Bengali.
 

Marian Perera

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America Star Books deleted two "You're PublishAmerica, aren't you?" comments on its Facebook page. Today, another one.

You book prices are rather high, not sure that anyone would pay that price for a book. So I think I will look else where for a publisher. Thanks.

This is publish America. Run, as far as you can! Seriously!
 

WilRadcliffe

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I was just contacted by an America Star Books representative last night via email. They wanted a copy of one of my books to promote at an upcoming library conference in Boston. They said it would cost me nothing, only that they wanted to put me on their mailing list (which I could unsubscribe from at any time.) I did a bit of research on them and discovered their history as PublishAmerica. Consequently, I politely declined.
 

Maryn

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Good move on your part. But sad to say, we all know writers who'd be so pleased at such an offer they wouldn't do any research at all.

Maryn, with a sigh
 

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I feel I've actually arrived. For nearly eleven years, I've seen AW talk about Publish America/America Star Books, but have only ever been on the sidelines of the discussion.

Now they've noticed me and have asked to promote my book at the ALA Winter Institute.

How lucky am I?
 

JulieB

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I feel I've actually arrived. For nearly eleven years, I've seen AW talk about Publish America/America Star Books, but have only ever been on the sidelines of the discussion.

Now they've noticed me and have asked to promote my book at the ALA Winter Institute.

How lucky am I?

Congratulations! I'm sure you'll give them the answer they deserve. ;-)
 

Elizabeth George's book Write Away