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