Update by user Mar 27
THIS REPORT RECEIVED FROM A STAFF MEMBER AT AUTHOR SOLUTIONS (AUTHOR HOUSE):- Please permit me to give you an overview of the sales and production process- the way I know it best. To be clear, let's start with a little bit of history.
Before it became as Author Solutions, it started as Xlibris Publishing as later acquired when Authorhouse and iUniverse merged and "transferred" some of their operations to the Philippines. When I first joined the team, some years ago, the hiring and recruitment was excellent to say the least. There were criteria that needed to be met before one will be considered as a candidate for production/sales/marketing/support position. Management and senior staff were directly involved in the training and development of the staff and morale was high.
The AIM at that stage really was to find books and help authors. It was a happy and content environment until the changes started. Changes in leadership took the company in a different direction and the mission moved from being a profitable avenue for authors to use, to being a scam to MAKE MONEY- NO MATTER THE COST. The order was to "make Author Solution look profitable at least on paper.
Two years later the company was acquired by Penguin Random House EVERYONE was pushed to sell. THE NEW MOTTO became SELL SELL SELL ! Publishing and marketing consultants were given sales targets to be met or be FIRED. This was the start of their FALL DIRTY TRICKS WERE EMPLOYED with TACIT APPROVAL from the management.
Those who could not stomach duping and lying to their authors were encouraged to leave the company. We were encouraged to “work with the author’s aspirations.” That means let the authors live his or her dream. It is a known fact that first time authors are gullible and want to have their egos boosted. They easily believe lies about the quality of their writing and can be duped to go beyond their personal budgets with just the right amount of flattery.
Sales agents and marketing consultants are trained and encouraged to capitalize on that mind set. We continuously hear of VALID complaints from the authors- from unpaid royalties, to overpriced books, to unfulfilled marketing material deliveries...TO USELESS AND WORTHLESS marketing packages. All at the expense of the author, by taking advantage of the level of vulnerability. It has been psychologically calculated and tested.
Instructions in training, is to “Get as much out of the author as you can. It’s easy pickings”.. These are instructions and given to staff in training. If they show signs of resistance or reluctance to become part of this fleecing process (for which they are well paid), they fail the training course and consequently will not be employed.
DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH IT COST TO PRINT BOOK? for a black and white book- it is just under 3USD ( 90- 900 pages softbound ) and we sell it for staggering 15USD- 23USD per book? Sales staff are instructed to sell printing deals to authors on the pretence that they will be distributed and marketed in the massive American market. But once the books are printed they go into storage and the irate author usually demands that the bo Now the sad part.
They are just hiring "sales people" even those who have no interest in books, or publishing and with no experience in the industry. They are good salespeople used by the evil management. BLAME it on the leaders. Some directors...try to talk to a director- and definitely- she will show you how in adept the knowledge is about publishing.
VP's left the company, directors, managers because they feel guilty.... Authorhouse, Trafford, X.Libris, iUniverse, Author Learning Center, WordClay, Balboa Press, - same thing...same people.
Original review posted by user Feb 25
On the subject of publishing, I wrote the following blog in August 2014, and bring it out every couple of months just so it keeps getting out there. I urge all my fellow authors looking for a publisher to read about my experience when I got suckered by a vanity publisher. It's an experience not worth having and will leave you as poor as a church mouse. This is a true story:-
Author House, Xibris, I.Universe and Partridge are all part of the Author Solutions stable and as a victim of their extortionist tactics and unethical business practices, I reserve the right to share my experience with authors on a global scale..
I was assisted in publishing my first book by Author House. I was mega impressed by the speed and efficiency with which the whole process came together. I had paid them a fee, which I considered fair and believed that I had received value.
It took some time for the dawn of reality to emerge and by then I had been suckered in like sheep to the slaughter. Reality being that a produced book is their access to your wallet.
Firstly, the ink was barely dry on the sample copies they mailed to me when I got a call from the "marketing" department telling me what a wonderful book I had written. They glowed over how their selection panel was "blown away" "This book is destined for best seller status" they said,"but like any new product, it needs promoting". I was given a glowing resume' of how they had helped emerging authors out of obscurity and into the spotlight of publishing fame. Skeptical I was, but when presented with what they had in mind, I had to admit that it sounded pretty damn good. It really sounded impressive.
I invested $ 5,000.00 in the package they offered me and received in return about $ 200.00 in value. What they delivered was so vastly different from the package I had signed up and paid for I had to query if we had even been on the same planet when the deal was agreed to. I was met with "where have we not met our obligations?" Between the fine print and the devious way in which they had structured the package, I was stymied. A long story too detailed for full disclosure here. But it gets worse
Shortly after agreeing to (and paying) the $5,000.00, I got a call from "Sales" department
"You have just invested in one of our most exciting marketing programmes" He said, "but to make that pay, we're going to need to have books in the stores. So you need to get some printed for distribution in the States. It will fly off the shelves and with the marketing programme you've invested in we will actively promote it, In our long and extensive experience in this, we anticipate your investment in the marketing and the printed books will turn over within 3 months with a calculated profit of 90 to 100%"... Yeah right!!.... I paid $ 9,500.00 to have 3,000 books printed and immediately the money left my account they went into silent mode. It took me 3 months after I had discovered the marketing fraud to get answers as to the status of the books and eventually established (I was told) that they were in a warehouse in Ohio awaiting orders from online booksellers .. No active promotion, no flying off shelves, no marketing plan and no intention to honour their undertaking.Just a straight down the line "we're sorry you're unhappy with our service. We really can't do any more for you but we are willing to meet you in court if you choose to go that route" . ... They knew damn well that was not going to happen. I'm in South Africa, their different sections are "autonomously" and strategically scattered around different countries so before you even figure out who you're going to sue, it's cost you more than your loss.
ROYATY TIME!!.. I received my first royalty statement against books that got sold via Amazon and B & N a month later than it was due, which understated sales that I was aware of by 52 books. When I queried that, I was told to provide evidence of the sales that I was claiming. But the account with online booksellers was in the name of Author House and I could not gain access to the records without the authority of the account holder...i.e Author House. Would Author House provide me with the required access?. No chance!
And the cheque for the royalties due against the understated sales?... "Oh that's in the post... We posted it on 30th May"... Well August is nearly over and I still don't have the cheque. The books that have been gathering dust in Ohio are now supposed to be shipped to me in South Africa, but they cannot find a carrier to handle the shipment. (30 boxes of books??,. C’mon!) only a half wit would believe that. I don't even know if the books were ever printed and I suspect not. After having demanded that they send them to me so that I could take control, one delay has followed another and after two months of wrangling I'm told they're on the way, but guess what?.. They can't find a copy of the waybill or any reference to the consignment. . They also keep ducking my request to provide evidence of their print run.. I wonder why?
Oh YES!!!... I'm angry. I reserve the right to be. I can categorically state without fear of reprisal that the Author Solutions group are publishing predators and crooks. They prey on the vulnerability and inexperience of first time authors who are duped into believing their falsehoods.
I urge anyone who is tempted to fall for the smooth (very efficient) sales pitch to tread very carefully. Steer very clear of any institution wanting money from you up front and NEVER deal with vanity publishers..
I wish I had known then what I know now. It would have saved me close on $20,000,
Subsequent to writing this (which was done in August 2014) I received the books in boxes marked "40 copies" on the outside of each box. When I counted them there were 32 copies in each box. I subsequently discovered that the book was being sold on the Author House website after I had explicitly given written instructions that the title should be withdrawn. That issue remains unsettled to this day.
Product or Service Mentioned: Authorhouse Publishing Service.
Reason of review: Gross abuse of trust and misrepresentation.
Monetary Loss: $20.
Preferred solution: See them put out of business.
Authorhouse Pros: Seemingly professional and expert approach, Courteous representatives.
Authorhouse Cons: Fact that they misled me, Company is attempting to scam its own customers, Being shorted royalties, Deceptive business practices.