Publishing Predator Update … Hello Author Solutions … Hello Class Action Lawsuit

The favorite sound of every publishing predator is: Cha-king … Cha-king … Cha-king

author solutions

Author Solutions tentacles are massive. AuthorHouse is its flagship brand. Then there is Xlibris and iUniverse and Trafford Publishing and Booktango and Palibrio and those expanding “strategic partnerships” with Balboa Press (Hay House) | Archway Publishing (Simon and Schuster) | WestBow Press (Thomas Nelson)| Abbott Press (Writers Digest) | Inspiring Voices (Guideposts) | LifeRich Publishing (Readers Digest) … stealthful relationships that most authors are clueless that they have engaged Author Solutions/House until the emails and calls start. AH

Cha-king … Cha-king … Cha-king is filtered through the DNA of those who work for the Author Solutions empire, now owned by the Penguin Group. I wonder if the money counters at Author Solutions, also AuthorHouse and a bunch of its other branded names, truly believe that the little people—the thousands of authors who have been misled, abused, assaulted and then had the soul of their author essence literally sucked away because the author just couldn’t take it anymore—wouldn’t start uniting … squawking … and finally take some action?

One whipped author confessed that they reason he finally “signed” with them because he just wanted to stop the phone calls. The AuthorHouse phone machine was bombarding him with calls throughout the day. Stop the noise … stop the hounding … I’ll do anything to make it stop.

Please go away … and still, they don’t. They won’t. Now the art of up-sale starts … you need this publicity package … it’s only $14,999 … What? … AuthorHouse sells stuff for 15 grand? Yes indeed … and it has a truckload of other services to seduce your ego or your ignorance as long as your credit card has an open line.

On the same day, two calls came in from authors who kissed off over $10,000. One woman was seduced by the allure of publishing with Hay House; she was a naïve author who flocked to Balboa Press because she truly believed that Hay House oversaw all things Balboa Press and ended up be dragged through the predator coals by the Author Solution organization.

Another was given a gift by someone close to her for a package with WestBow, not understanding that it was AuthorHouse who they would be dealing with, not Thomas Nelson. The mega amounts of money that she spent after the massive pitches are too awful to disclose, not to mention that they convinced her to print many, many thousands of books—far more than a typical print run a traditional publisher does today for most of its authors.

Many think that what they are getting is the “norm” … that’s because they didn’t know better—after all, if you are new to authoring and publishing, you may not know what “nice” is; what “professional” is. And heck, getting your book into the publishing arena ranges via Author House can start at their Foundation package for only $749 to their Pinnacle package to $2,299. The lower price won’t register your copyright but the higher price one will.

Enough is enough. A class action lawsuit was filed this spring.

From the website of the law firm of Giskan Solotaroff Anderson & Stewart LLP:

On April 26, 2013, Giskan Solotaroff Anderson & Stewart LLP filed a lawsuit against Author Solutions. Authors using Author Solutions have complained of deceptive practices, including enticing authors to purchase promotional services that are not provided or are worthless and failing to pay royalties.

If you have had any hiccups, I suggest you check into the class action suit that is building steam. Here’s the website: http://lnkd.in/KHAf2V

The lawsuit is over 30 pages. One section alleges (don’t you love that word!):

Author Solutions misrepresents itself, luring authors in with claims that its books can compete with “traditional publishers,” offering “greater speed, higher royalties, and more control for its authors.” The company then profits from “fraudulent” practices, the complaint alleges, including “delaying publication, publishing manuscripts with errors to generate fees, and selling worthless services, or services that fail to accomplish what they promise.”

It goes on to allege that Author Solutions fails to pay its authors the royalties they are due. A sentence that I’ve painfully heard multiple times.

And if you want to read the formal complaint, here’s the link for that gem: http://www.gslawny.com/files/stamped_complaint.pdf

If you feel that you have been duped or conned in dealings with any of the Author Solutions companies, speak up. If you know of anyone who has, contact them. Most people, no matter who they are, don’t. Whether it’s “I don’t want to get involved” or “I don’t want to let anyone know that I screwed up” or something in between, this isn’t a time to go silent. Silence condones bad behavior and bad business.

It’s shocking to me that authors continue to sign up with this group when there is so much out there. Author beware. Stay away.

JB Judith Briles is known as The Book Shepherd (www.TheBookShepherd.com), an author and book publishing expert and the Chief Visionary Officer and Founder of Author U (www.AuthorU.org), a membership organization created for the author who wants to be seriously successful. She’s been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the 80s. Judith is the author of 30 books. Her latest, Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms is just out. Join Judith live on Thursdays at 6 p.m. EST for Your Guide to Book publishing on the www.RockStarRadioNetwork.com. Follow @AuthorU and @MyBookShepherd on Twitter and do a “Like” at AuthorU and TheBookShepherd on Facebook.  If you want to create a book that has no regrets, contact her at Judith@Briles.com.

 

 

 

 

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16 Comments on Publishing Predator Update … Hello Author Solutions … Hello Class Action Lawsuit

  1. Thanks for the article. I was talking to Balboa and was thinking something didn’t seem right with them being able to set the price, but there packages were not so great and expensive on top of this. But now I am also aware how extensive this arm reaches.

    • Judith Briles says:

      Glad the article was helpful. I’ve seen some “oddball” pricing that was so anti-author … the only entity that was going to get money was the “publisher.” Think of these arms as that of an octopus. They get you coming and going.

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  3. Judith Briles says:

    Interesting … many comments are coming directly to my personal email… as if the authors DON’T want to visually post how they were taken. All … stay visible here … it you stay invisible, if you stay silent, your “silence” condones the behavior of the publishing predators … or anything else. Speak up, Speak out, Speak often. JB

  4. I’ll be running a link to this post in my SharingwithWriters newsletter.

    I know one author who was recently told she would be charged $195. for the house to remove her book from Amazon after the contract expired. I kid you not. Maybe it was because her book had been a pretty good seller. Maybe not. You should know that the publisher (yes, even the scoundrels!) is probably bound by contract to quit selling your book once you have no contract with them.

    Best,
    Carolyn Howard-Johnson
    Author of the multi award-winning The Frugal Book Promoter

  5. I believe Abbott Press is WRITER’S DIGEST, not READERS DIGEST. Thank you for publishing your website in Dan Poynter’s newsletter. I appreciate the information–and am not happy!

    • Judith Briles says:

      thanks for the correction… sometimes moving toooooooo fast!. Judith

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  7. I had called inspiring Voices hoping to get a book contract and was told that I’d have to buy a certain amount of books (approx. 10,000.00 worth) because traditional publishing is no longer traditional and writers had to share in the financial responsibility.
    Luckily for me I had a writer’s conference to go to the next month, so I put them off. Good thing I did! I found I could that traditional publishing is alive and well (if limited) and I have the option of self-publishing on createspace for FREE- and book stores like B&N would carry my book if I got the ISBN number from Bowker (the official ISBN site) and did not use the free ones on createspace. I think it was 250.00 for ten ISBN’s. MUCH better than ten grand- don’t you think?
    So if the traditional route doesn’t work, I can make my own books online for the cost of an ISBN number and have a listing on Amazon (they host createspace). Yes, I’d have to try to sell the books myself, but since we have to build a platform anyway, why not do it for a price I can afford?

    • Judith Briles says:

      You are the second person who has contacted me in the past month who was pitched the 10,000 print deal. She took it, unfortunately. You did–three cheers. There is so much fraud, under the guise of “legit”… and of course Author House, Author Solutions is smack in the middle of the majority.

  8. Devastated says:

    I have only learned the shocking extent to which I’ve been robbed by AuthorHouse the last few days. I have called the law firm mentioned in your article and asked to be added to their class action suit. I have found out that AH did not register my copyright, and the Library of Congress control # they put on the flyleaf page along with my copyright notice is invalid. I spent about 4 hours on the phone verifying just these facts, not to mention about 6 hours in searching their databases. The pay-off here is my copyright is being violated in MULTIPLE places on the internet and now I cannot defend my copyright because it. was. never. registered. I feel a kind of heavy sickness I am ill-equipped to articulate. And anger, lots and lots of anger. AH won’t return my calls, predictably. They refuse to be accountable for those services I paid for that they did not deliver. My book was actually published several years ago, just now learning the horrid truth. Feeling stupid just does not cover it.

    Another party bonus: someone ( not me, and I own ALL rights to my book) has listed my book for sale in quite a few online venues. At no time did I agree for my book to be listed with anyone but Amazon, where it sits right now. Amazon also took me OUT of their Kindle Select Edition program because I had “violated the exclusivity clause” in my agreement with them. I insisted I had not, so THEY sent me links to some of the places my book is being sold, without my authorization/permission. Needless to say, I have never gotten royalties from any of those sales and at this writing have no clue who listed my book on these various sites. AH has paid me a grand royalty total of app $50. over the years. My book got amazing reviews ( I didn’t buy them either) and is a good work I am deeply proud of. It just feels like all my hard work is….devalued now. I am heartsick and deeply discouraged and filled with impotent rage. ( there should be no doubt by now that I really am a writer :)
    It is very trying to have to wait for a lawsuit , esp a class action suit which typically drags on for years…..and I can’t use my name or book title here in this blog because those who’re violating my copyright could use it against me. Nice, eh ?? I’ve also learned if I tell someone to cease & desist using my book/excerpts and they lose income they’d been getting from it and my copyright isn’t wholly defensible, I CAN BE SUED !!!!!
    So welcome to the party, all you sad and angry AuthorHouse authors. It should be called AuthorHell.

    • Judith Briles says:

      You are in Author House Hell … and it doesn’t cool the fires when you know that so many are in it with you. If you will get your facts in a point by point and timing in, why don’t you call me and let’s see if I can help you with a strategy to go forward. email me directly so we can starting setting up a dialogue. And Devastated … formally join AuthorU.org … we work hard to keep our members from going over the cliff. Judith@Briles.com

    • Judith Briles says:

      Suggest you listen to the radio show Author U – Your Guide to Book Publishing .. the June 19th edition and June 26th… both cover publishing predators. YOu can find it by cliocking the On the Air icon on the AuthorU.org site and just scroll to the shows.

  9. Hi – I’m far enough along with my first book to start having a serious conversation with a publisher. Trying to decide whether to go the self-publishing route or try to get a traditional publisher signed on.
    Any advice?

    Rgds,
    Dr. J

    • Judith Briles says:

      I have a freebie of a 15 minute consult if you want to take advantage of that.. have your questions ready… email me at Judith@Briles.com to set up a time. Judith

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