Jump to content



Author Solutions - The spread of predatory publishing

  • Please log in to reply
5 replies to this topic

#1 Midnight Whimsy

Midnight Whimsy

    Indie Author

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,025 posts
  • Literary Status:self-published
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:Self-published, Amazon Top 100 YA Author

Posted 29 April 2015 - 10:10 PM




Despite Author Solutions’ mounting legal troubles, and an unending stream of complaints against the company from both its own customers and a whole host of writers’ organizations and campaigners, companies are still queuing up to partner with Author Solutions.


Penguin Random House – its corporate parent – has shown no inclination towards reforming any of the deceptive and misleading practices of Author Solutions, or addressing any of the long-standing issues its customers face, handily summarized by Emily Suess as:

  • improperly reporting royalty information
  • non-payment of royalties
  • breach of contract
  • predatory and harassing sales calls
  • excessive markups on review and advertising services
  • failure to deliver marketing services as promised
  • telling customers their add-ons will only cost hundreds of dollars and then charging their credit cards thousands of dollars
  • ignoring customer complaints
  • shaming and banning customers who go public with their stories.



Below is a partial list of the publishing companies which have partnered with Author Solutions to create their own in-house “self-publishing service,” but it gives you an idea of just how many supposedly respectable publishers are willing to profit from exploiting inexperienced writers.


The name of the respective service – or what Author Solutions refers to as a “Partner Imprint” – is in brackets.

  • Simon & Schuster (Archway Publishing)
  • Lulu
  • Harlequin (DelleArte Press) – partnership terminated 2015
  • Hay House (Balboa US, Balboa Australia)
  • Barnes & Noble (Nook Press Author Services)
  • Crossbooks (LifeWay) – partnership terminated 2014
  • Penguin (Partridge India, Partridge Singapore, Partridge Africa)
  • HarperCollins/Thomas Nelson/Zondervan (Westbow Press)
  • Random House (MeGustaEscribir)
  • Writer’s Digest (Abbott Press) – partnership terminated 2014

Some of these companies go to great lengths to hide the Author Solutions connection (Lulu, Barnes & Noble, and Crossbooks being pretty famous examples), and customers of these platforms often aren’t aware that services are being fulfilled by Author Solutions – yet another reason, if one is needed, why victims shouldn’t be blamed.



The spread of Author Solutions is scary stuff.



#2 K.M. Hanson

K.M. Hanson

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 70 posts
  • Literary Status:self-published
  • LocationUS Southeast
  • Publishing Experience:One book, self-published... many more on the way. All E-Pubs.

Posted 03 June 2015 - 01:01 PM

I am soooooo lost on the whole publishing front. Right now Abbott Press is trying to woo me over to them, but I keep seeing contradictory info on whether or not use them. Some call them a vanity press, so what exactly does that mean? 


This person had a good experience, I guess, and nobody slammer her for using them: http://agentquerycon...=+abbott +press


Here it sounds like they are being slammed. http://agentquerycon...ess#entry153853


Holy heck... what you pay for sounds impressive when they market it to you, but everyone makes it sound like a scam. So is it?



I would like to thank R.A. Salvatore and Robert Jordan for raising me in their fantastic worlds.




#3 J. Lea Lopez

J. Lea Lopez


  • Group Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,043 posts
  • Literary Status:self-published, unagented
  • LocationUS Midwest
  • Publishing Experience:My work first appeared in Divine Dirt Quarterly and Oysters&Chocolate. Sadly, these are both out of print now. More recently, my short stories have appeared in two anthologies (The Spring and The Fall) from Elephant's Bookshelf Press. I have self published two novels and a short story collection.

Posted 04 June 2015 - 07:53 AM

I suppose it's possible to not have a horrible experience with a vanity publisher, but that doesn't make it ideal either. If you look at TL's book rank on Amazon (not a sole indicator of how something is selling, but a decent one to give you just an idea of it) it's not so great. So, if not sales, what has she gotten from Abbott Press? How has she benefitted? And she's still looking for a traditional deal. I took a look at Abbott's packages (and your question inspired me to write this blog post http://www.fromthewr...nt-be-vain.html ) and my gut says to drop that like a hot rock. If you want to self publish, do it. But not through them. You'll pay a minimum of $999, and that doesn't even include editing, which is the most important part of publishing. Not to mention shipping costs for all of those free copies of things they offer you. AND they still take a cut of your sales. For what? This is not a good deal for you.

#4 David Nees

David Nees

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 40 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, emerging, published, self-published
  • LocationUS Southeast
  • Publishing Experience:"After the Fall: Jason's Story", is a full length novel in a post-apocalyptic time in Appalachian Mountains. It is now up on Amazon.

    The sequel to "Jason's Tale", After the Fall: "Catherine's Tale, Part 1" and "Part 2" are on Amazon for pre-release; to be released in May, 2017 and June, 2017

    Published in the following on-line journals:
    "Dead Guns Press"
    "A Thousand and One Stories"
    "Opening Line Literary 'Zine"

Posted 09 October 2015 - 11:17 AM

I'm also still trying to figure this out.  From what I've gleaned so far, someone looking to self publish would be well served by using Smashwords or CreateSpace.  It seems you can do much of the work yourself (they try to sell you services to make it easier).  CreateSpace allows you to market anywhere (I think), but they are owned by Amazon, so you can get on their market right away.


I have a friend who published a non-fiction book through Westbow.  He was not happy at all with the results after spending a lot of money (more than paying for some of the Smashwords/CreateSpace services).

David Nees                        ATF-FINAL.jpg   

Visit my website               After the Fall: Jason's Tale

My Amazon author page




#5 mwsinclair


    Elephant with a trunk full of novels

  • Group Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,772 posts
  • Literary Status:published, unagented, media
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:Journalist covering U.S. nonprofits, foundations, and life in general. President and Chief Elephant Officer of Elephant's Bookshelf Press, LLC. Since establishing the company in 2012, we have published more than a dozen books, including several short story anthologies and debut novels by several AQC authors including "ScubaSteve" Carman and R.S. Mellette. Midway through 2018, we've already published our first nonfiction title, "Which the Days Never Know," and are putting together an omnibus collection of the Seasons Series of anthologies, with launch expected by the Christmas season. And in 2019, there will be much more, with news to come soon!

Posted 09 October 2015 - 01:56 PM

I've used Smashwords and CreateSpace as well as directly on Kindle. The hassle with Smashwords is the design. Ultimately, anywhere you publish will require work on the marketing end. As writers, it's not our bread and butter, usually. But it's worth learning (and I've been increasing my homework all year) if you intend to keep publishing.


For what it's worth, a long time ago on a blog far, far away, I posted this: http://www.fromthewr...about-self.html which might help your current situation.

#6 Andrea Lambert

Andrea Lambert

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 122 posts
  • Literary Status:published, unagented
  • LocationUS West Coast
  • Publishing Experience:My first book, JET SET DESOLATE, was published by Future Fiction London in 2009. My second, a book of poetry called LORAZEPAM & THE VALLEY OF SKIN, was published by valeveil in 2009. Lost Angelene published my chapbook, G(U)ILT, in 2011. My poetry has been anthologized in HAUNTING MUSES, WRITING THE WALLS DOWN: A CONVERGENCE OF LGBTQ VOICES, OFF THE ROCKS #16: AN ANTHOLOGY OF GLBT WRITING, THE L.A. TELEPHONE BOOK VOL. 1, YOU’VE PROBABLY READ THIS BEFORE, and CHRONOMETRY. My work has been published in 3:AM Magazine, The Fanzine, Entropy, HTMLGiant, ENCLAVE, Queer Mental Health, Five:2:One Magazine and elsewhere.

Posted 08 February 2016 - 03:32 PM

I don't want to self-publish mainly because I don't want to pay for it. It's hella expensive.


At least with a small press even if they don't pay you they always cover the cost of producing the book so at least you're not gaining or losing money there, just getting precious precious exposure and publication credits.


I am frightened by these predatory pay-to-publish outfits, they seem like they feed on ego and dreams and hand you a bill in the end. No, thanks. But if that's working out for you, godspeed, right on. I know some people are very happy with the freedom of self-publishing. You definitely don't have to have all of the myriad gatekeeper that there are in the traditional publishing world.

Website: https://andreaklambert.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndreaLamber


GoodReads Author bio: https://www.goodread....Andrea_Lambert


Amazon author bio: https://www.amazon.c...ine_cont_book_1
JET SET DESOLATE from Future Fiction London on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co...t/dp/0578016257


LORAZEPAM & THE VALLEY OF SKIN: EXTRAPOLATIONS ON LOS ANGELES from valeveil: http://www.valeveil.se/posts/196

HAUNTING MUSES from Bedazzled Ink on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co...e/dp/194383752X


WRITING THE WALLS DOWN: A CONVERGENCE OF LGBTQ VOICES from Trans-Genre Press: http://trans-genre.n...the-walls-down/
THE L.A. TELEPHONE BOOK, VOL. 1 from ARRAS.NET: http://www.arras.net/?page_id=658



0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users