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Even though it’s part of Random House and Penguin, don’t do business with Author Solutions

July 29, 2013

This blog post is solely the opinion of me, its author. Standard disclaimers apply.

On more than one occasion, this blog has espoused the generosity of writers and others in the publishing industry. You see it in action every fall at the Florida Writers Conference. But, if you’re like me–unpublished–you really want to change that. I mean you really, really want to be published. And for every generous author or industry insider, there’s someone willing to use your desire to take money from you for not much of anything.

In a totally, um, unrelated matter, last summer Penguin bought Author Solutions. And with Penguin and Random House making up one big publishing company, Author Solutions is now a part of both publishing names.

And according to at least one blog, it has wasted no time using its owners’ name as part of its pitch to writers. Apparently, AuthorHouse publishing, part of the Author Solutions dysfunctional family of companies, is trading on the names of its new owners. For just $3,400 AuthorHouse will…well, it’s not entirely clear what they will do, but it involves your book and YouTube, with the promise that the package will “put your work DIRECTLY IN FRONT of key decision makers in the publishing industry – traditional publishers, media, librarians, book store owners, literary agents and book buyers.” Apparently, key decision makers in the industry will see your material on YouTube while they’re screwing off between meetings and looking for something with adorable kittens in it.

(With the exception of the font, all the other stylish flourishes, the bold, italics, and the caps are from the original text. Ironically, Jennifer Barr the senior marketing consultant who wrote this may also be a Zairian prince with 1.5 million Great British Pounds (Sterling) to give me, at least based on how she writes online copy.)

The same blog also helpfully deconstructed the Author Solutions web of companies, which includes iUniverse, AuthorHouse, Xlibris, Trafford, Palibrio, FuseFrame, PitchFest, Author Learning Center, BookTango, Archway, and Partridge.

David Gaughran is the author of both of these blog posts. He’s actually responded to blog posts here before, when we referenced him reacting to Scott Turow’s opposition to the Department of Justice’s actions against Apple and five of the big six.

Gaughran credits Suess for “documenting this racket for some years now,” which is a valuable thing indeed. In fact, Gaughran wrote the majority of the second blog post I linked to above.

And in case that wasn’t enough to sour you on Author Solutions, it’s the target of a class action lawsuit. Penguin and Author Solutions have recently asked to have the class action thrown out, arguing that the suits should go forward individually. They also asked to have Penguin removed from the suit. Apparently, the suit was not thrown out because Judge Denise Cote gave the plaintiffs until July 19 to file the suit and gave Author Solutions until August 23 to respond. Judge Cote also heard the collusion case against Apple and five of the big six.

Author Solutions is good at what it does. One of the people quoted in the second piece I linked to–the one written by Emily Suess, said the Author Solutions website seemed impressive to her and that it was at the top of her list. She sent them an e-mail but eventually found out about their reputation. It excels at getting you to step into their parlor.

We’ve said this before, but it merits repeating: No matter who you decide to do business with, research them first. It doesn’t matter who they are. Look them up. Check out Preditors and Editors and Writer Beware. Follow Writer Beware on Facebook. Check out David Gaughran’s blog. (Full disclosure: I can’t recommend Emily Suess’s blog because McAfee suggested I might not want to go there. That said, she seems legit–both Gaughran and Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware give her high marks for her efforts about ASI. If you want to find her blog, please Google it yourself. I have followed her on Facebook.)

 

4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 29, 2013 12:50 pm

    Thanks for the reminder, and the warning!

  2. July 30, 2013 6:23 pm

    Thanks again Chris for keeping us informed.

  3. August 14, 2013 1:29 pm

    I made contact with Author Solutions 2 days ago, accordingly I am applying caveat emptor. Still in the opening e-mail that requires some thought and will apply to a reputable publisher. Thanks to those who have posted on this site and sighted others

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