Liberty, Justice, and Willem

1413790968PublishAmerica CEO Willem Meiners has written a book entitled PUBLISH AMERICA: THE INSIDE STORY OF AN UNDERDOG WITH A BITE, which he describes as telling the story of "the most captivating pioneers in today’s traditional
publishing industry and their victorious legions of authors." 

The book also promises to reveal "everything you always wanted to know about book
publishing, and about its real heroes: PublishAmerica’s authors" and why "PublishAmerica’s success was inevitable and
unstoppable." That can be summed up in name. Anne Frank.

"I was born just blocks from where Anne Frank hid, where she was betrayed and
arrested, and from where she was deported to die in a Nazi death camp. She was
not allowed to breathe, to speak, to write. When you read her diary and you see
her describe the houses and the streets that were your own childhood’s setting,
when you learn from your parents that this was in fact the real girl next door,
believe me, it gets your attention. It makes you want to fight for equal rights
for everyone."

Oh, so that’s what PublishAmerica is doing. That’s why Willem’s  got Michealangelo’s David wrapped in the American flag on his book cover. They’re fighting for freedom. Signing a publishing contract with them is like signing the Declaration of Independance.  And in a true show of equality, Willem has given himself a book cover every bit as hideous, cheapo and amateurish as those he gives his customers, er, authors.

Of course, you won’t find this book, or any PA book, in your local book store. But that is all part of Willem’s heartfelt, patriotic, unbelievably noble plan for revolutionizing publishing in the spirit of Anne Frank.

How much of a help is a bookstore anyway these days? There are roughly fifteen
thousand such stores from sea to shining sea, one bookstore for every 20,000
Americans. But only 6,000 of them have visited a bookstore in the past five
years, and 14,000 have not. Only 30 percent of all people go to a bookstore now
and then; 70 percent of all Americans can not remember the last time they did

Yeah, who needs bookstores? Or 7-11s? Or airports? Or any other place books are sold besides PA’s website?  I’m sure all those PA authors would spit at  B&N or Borders for even asking to stock their books.  Anne Frank would. You know she would.  Traditional Publishers and retail bookstores are no different than Nazis. 

History has always known elites, and it has always dealt with them in only one
way: they disappeared, and always under the pressure of irresistable change.
Historically, all elites have been replaced by majority rule, and where this has
not happened yet, it will over time, inevitably. As soon as an excluded majority
senses that empowerment is within reach, they will grab it. Authors who have
always been refused and denied the opportunity to see their book in print unless
they paid for it now have an equal opportunity to be in the exact same league as
the elite, and they will, by their sheer number, bring an end to the elite’s

PublishAmerica is going to free us all. For liberty. For equality. For Anne.

UPDATE 6-10-05: Pod-dy Mouth reports that Willem has sent a mailing to all his PA "authors" offering them a special discount on his book….hand-in-hand with a solicitation to buy more copies of their own books.

Wow. What a great
deal. Nothing like asking you to buy a $25 book/promo kit for the company, and
hey, while you’re at it, buy some of your own books so we can make more

Oh, and uh, Mr. Meiners and Mr. Clopper: if you
have a hard time selling your book, here is a great idea: make a list of 100
friends, acquaintances and family members you could market it to and submit the
list to yourselves

30 thoughts on “Liberty, Justice, and Willem”

  1. I’m not going to read the book to find out, but I just don’t get how Anne Frank figures into this story … unless, of course, Willem Meiners is simply using her name. Not to mention that that cover is crass.

  2. My God, this should really make Anne cry:
    “Authors who have always been refused and denied the opportunity to see their book in print unless they paid for it now have an equal opportunity to be in the exact same league as the elite,”
    Really? Joe Blow from Kokomo on PA vs. elites like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling? Joe can’t sell enough books to challenge university poets, much less the “elites.”

  3. Even though I’m likkered-up I still can’t suspend my disbelief that anyone with an IQ higher than an empty bottle of Guinness can’t/wont understand the difference between printing and publishing.
    And WTF!? The name of Ann Frank invoked in a rant containing this type of crapola; “..victorious legions..” and “History has always known elites, and it has always dealt with them in only one way: they disappeared, and always under the pressure of irresistable change.” Ann Frank didn’t die because she couldn’t get a book deal; she died partly because this kind of diversionary double talking bullshit allowed people to substitute cyanide for showers.
    I’d piss on Mr. Meiners shoes–but even used beer deserves a better fate.

  4. That is about the most crap-ass ugly cover I’ve seen in a very long time. Too bad we aficionados of kitsch will never see it close up…

  5. I totally got a Matthew Lesko/Irwin Schiff vibe from looking at that cover, the vibe of an extended proclamation, that’s too good to be true because it is, posing as a book.
    I think literature and publishing’s got serious issues currently, not to mention in the coming years, with things like a variety of declining numbers, and I don’t think printers like PublishAmerica are the answer.

  6. My wife and I were never “refused and denied the opportunity to see their book in print unless they paid for it”. I guess we must’ve been among the “elite” and didn’t know it. Of course it took us about a decade of work to finally find a small publisher who recognized us for the privleged pair we are. Maybe PublishAmerica authors ought to try harder. Some might even find out they’re elite too.

  7. This is absolute crap. Meiners is a fool and/or charlaton. But Lee, you’re taking the wrong approach with iUniverse, XLibris, PublishAmerica, etc. When pcs got cheap enough that anyone who wanted to could type up 250 pages, something had to happen or agents and legitimate publishers would be flooded with 10s of thousands of these so-called books. These self-publishing POD outfits serve a critical role – they sop up all these manuscripts. Instead of deriding these outfits, you should be encouraging their use, after all they keep their customers from causing any real damage and filling up the mailrooms of legitimate presses.

  8. Dave that’s a cliched assertion. Never a good idea. Legitimate presses accept first time authors all the time. Vanity presses spread the myth they don’t. Look, this Meiners is an international crook. You should hear the number he pulled on the first bunch of writers. They’re still reeling from it. I haven’t been trying to put this guy out of business for nothing. He deserves it.
    Victim profile David. My field research backs up what I say.

  9. Mark, I’m not saying publisher’s don’t, but it doesn’t change the fact that one of the byproducts of cheap pcs is 10s of thousands of pretty lousy books being written, and these outfits serve the purpose of getting these books off the street.

  10. If you just glance at that cover without really focusing — like out of the corner of your eye while you’re reading the entry — it kind of looks like the Easter bunny with a flag.

  11. This is getting really tiresome. How blatant does a scam have to be to become obvious to anyone in possession of their rational faculties? Anyone who has taken the time and made the effort to write an entire book-length manuscript can discover PA’s true colors as well as the pitfalls of self-publishing and POD in at most, one hour and in many cases far less time with online research.
    If they still decide to use PA, then no amount of anti-PA warnings will deter them.
    There are stupid, credulous or deluded people who cannot be disabused of their fantasies. Stop spending valuable energy trying to protect them. If PA doesn’t get them, some other vanity press will. As Calvera (Eli Wallach) says in The Magnificent Seven, “God made them sheep so that they could be shorn.”
    Years ago, Philip Wylie wrote of the principle of opposites as visually represented by the mandala. All sorts of things cannot exist in isolation. They only become perceptible when contrasted to their opposite quality. Without suckers, there would be no con men, and vice versa.

  12. He’s from The Netherlands. My source there told me nobody’s heard of him. They have in England, Iceland and here; now anyway.
    Well Kitty that’s good. Condolences for you card. It’s the wrong guild for me. There are exceptions to every rule. The rule still stands. You may be just window shopping and are late to the game. After three years I’ve got a pretty good handle on the profile. There was little press on them in 2001. The authors fought criticism like Moonies. Many are waking up now thanks to great efforts from author advocates and writers.

  13. How tragic and ironic is it that they appeal to the memory of Anne Frank when their methodology more closely resembes that of the propaganda machine that led to her murder?

  14. They might be a little crooked, but I’d hardly call them Nazis! Let’s face it, the worst that PA does is take advantage of the gullible and naive. Granted, that doesn’t make them the nicest bunch of people in the world, but let’s have a little perspective here.

  15. You know, I’ve always fancied becoming a brain surgeon, but the elite medical world has always denied me my right to practice surgery, demanding that I have “qualifications”, and knowledge of “anatomy” – well pardon me if I don’t know where to cut first! I guess I’m just too “dumb” to be a brain surgeon, eh? Thankfully, I’ve found a company that will provide me with a fake medical license, so I can carve people up like I know I was always meant to. Sure, lots of them will die, but at least we will have broken free of the shackles of the “rules” and “regulations” of all these so called medical professionals! Who’s with me??

  16. Godwin’s Law: David loses automatically.
    As a biologist myself, albeit not in a medical profession I can attest that writing isn’t quite the same thing technically. There’s no license to be a journalist, or novelist but qualifications, such as a degrees and published clips still apply. Not everyone is automatically qualified from the job. Somehow they think they are. I don’t get that.

  17. From your link, Mark:
    “Many people have extended Godwin’s law to imply that the invoking of the Nazis as a debating tactic (in any argument not directly related to World War II or the Holocaust) automatically loses the argument, simply because the nature of these events is such that any comparison to any event less serious than genocide, ethnic cleansing or extinction is invalid and in poor taste.”
    1. Anne Frank was killed by the Nazis, and her name was used by PublishAmerica, who clearly are exploiting the Nazi connection with that name to further their propaganda by appealing to the natural emotions the Nazis evoke. Therefore David didn’t bring up the Nazis: PublishAmerica did.
    2. The Nazi propaganda machine (like many propaganda machines) used certain distortions and diversions to get people to believe and do what the Nazis wanted. I saw a parallel and pointed it out. David responded with his opinion as he is entitled to do. There is no debate on this matter, and so no one can win or lose. Godwin’s Law is not relevent in this case.
    3. If I gave offense to anyone with my post, I sincerely apologize.
    I now return to my lurking…

  18. Are they the ones who were running that TV ad where the guy stood up in a lecture hall and started declaiming about how everyone had the right to be published, like the first amendment guaranteed them a book contract or something? Because I really hated those ads.

  19. Yeah, I’m really testing Godwin here, I know, but that type of thing is what makes threads interesting eh Watson? It’s a three-way. I was just spoofing with David really since he entered the word “Nazi.” My hope is the Meiners will lose the ultimate argument and go to jail. He loses any he enters online.

  20. Get this – this book is obviously marketed at PA’s own authors, the truly faithful of the PAvidian cult. Meiners’ tome even has a list of every PA author in the back in order to further induce them to buy his garbage.
    I will give Larry, Moe-randa, and Curlem this – they know no shame when it comes to milking a buck out of the unsuspecting…

  21. Does “moderated” really mean you do not allow anyone to dissent or provide a balance for the current biased dialogue? My comment is in defense of the authors who might actually have something of value to say. If PA is really guilty as charged, they should be chastised; however, you should not snobbishly
    insult all authors who have submitted manuscripts to PA. And how do we know all of these accusations are true? PA authors are not the only naive writers out there. Apparently, there are a few naive bloggers as well who are either deliberately or inadvertently being used to trash PA. This kind of biased blogging merely reinforces PA’s point that there exists a mob of snobs who think they are superior to the poor naive PA authors. If PA is guilty, give them a chance to correct their mistakes before you send them, along with some good-but-lacking-business-savvy authors, to the abyss.


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