PublishAmerica Wants Your Money

The latest scam from PublishAmerica is pretty ballsy — charging writers $99 to enter Amazon's FREE screenwriting contest. Yeah, you read right —  PublishAmerica is trying to convince authors that it makes sense to pay them to enter someone else's free contest. The frightening thing is, there are probably some suckers who will fall for it.  An incredulous, and outraged, P.N. Elrod broke the story on her blog over the weekend.  Here's the PublishAmerica pitch, with her boldfacing & annotations:


Dear Author: has done it again. Now they have started Amazon Studios, and they want to see if your book's manuscript is their (and Warner Bros. Pictures'!) next movie. 

Basically, Amazon is now also entering the movie business, and they are crowdsourcing it, shopping among original story tellers like yourself. They have given Warner Bros. the right of first refusal. 

From Tuesday's Amazon Studios announcement: 

"We are excited to introduce writers, filmmakers and movie lovers to Amazon Studios […]  It is the goal of Amazon Studios to produce new, full-budget theatrical films based on the best projects and it will give Warner Bros. Pictures first access to the projects Amazon Studios wishes to produce in cooperation with an outside studio."

The Amazon Studio deals include rights payments of $200,000 for winning submissions, and a $400,000 bonus "if the movie makes over $60 million at the U.S. box office". It also awards prizes of $20,000 for the two best scripts in a month even if they don't become a movie.

See for all details    (No, don't, please don't.)

Here's how it works: Together with you we'll rework your manuscript a little (That's a red flag, kids!), then we submit it to Amazon Studios for their contest, following their guidelines. They award prizes monthly. (And PA collects 99.00 courtesy of your high interest rate credit card.)

 Activate your entry for Amazon Studios today: go to, click Add to cart, (NO-NO-NO–DON'T!!!) choose a shipping option to start the activation. In the Ordering Instructions box be sure to mention the title of your book. If your book has not yet been released, add "Pre-release!"

By activating your book's submission to Amazon Studios you authorize PublishAmerica to act on your behalf and you agree that this constitutes your consent in writing. (NO-NO-NO-NO-NO!!!)

After we have received your activation you will be contacted about adding your book's list of characters and a film synopsis. 

See you in Hollywood!  (See you in hell first, PA.)

–PublishAmerica Bookstore


When she's done skewering PublishAmerica over their scam, she also takes Amazon to task for essentially hijacking the copyright on every script that's submitted. Which just goes to prove, nothing is ever really free.

6 thoughts on “PublishAmerica Wants Your Money”

  1. When studios purchase a script, they own the copyright, too. So Amazon is doing it instead. Big whoop. I remember how the late Budd Schulberg talked about how he and other writers who were there in the founding days of the Writers Guild tried to enable writers retain their copyright, to no avail.

  2. Peter,
    The difference here is that Amazon ISN’T purchasing the scripts. Merely submitting them to the contest gives Amazon those rights. From what I understand, they are regarding the submissions as, essentially, a free option on the material.

  3. I have deleted the discussion between “Betsy” and PN Elrod regarding grammar and whether or not I am a talentless hack with a blog that no one reads. As exciting and illuminating as that discussion was, it has nothing to do with the topic of this post.


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