Author Solutions Steps Up Global Expansion, Penguin Random House Integration

PRHGrupoASIPenguin Random House is speeding up the international expansion of its vanity press operations, while also seeking to integrate them more closely with the traditional side of the business – hoping to counteract flat growth for Author Solutions at a time when self-publishing is booming.

Author Solutions launches a new self-publishing service company for the Spanish market next Tuesday – MeGustaEscribir – which contains the usual mix of crappy publishing packages and ineffective, overpriced marketing services, as well as some extremely questionable practices such as reading fees (more on that below).

The way the Author Solutions scam typically operates is detailed exhaustively in this post, but here’s a brief summary.

How Author Solutions Squeezes Newbie Writers

Customers are captured through a variety of deceptive means – such as fake “independent” websites which purport to review all the self-publishing options available to writers (but only compare the various Author Solutions imprints); fake social media profiles pretending to be writers or “publishing consultants” (who only recommend Author Solutions companies); and, a “bounty” to various unscrupulous parties to deliver Author Solutions fresh blood.

Obviously, Author Solutions needs to use such deceptive measures because authors who have used its services aren’t recommending it to their fellow writers. Instead, they are warning them away.

Once Author Solutions has a writer’s contact details, it moves fast – endlessly harassing them by phone and email until they cave and purchase an overpriced publishing package. When the publishing process is almost complete, an Author Solutions sales rep then contacts the writer to let them know some exciting news: they have won a fake award – invented by Author Solutions.

The catch is this. To receive the award, the writer must purchase one of Author Solutions wholly unsuitable, completely ineffective, and crazily priced marketing packages. These include (quoting from my report in June):

  • A “web optimized” press release for $1,299.
  • Podcast interviews for $10,669.
  • Ads in Readers’ Digest for $143,990 (that’s not a typo).
  • A book signing appearance for $3,999.
  • YouTube ads for $5,499.
  • Hollywood Pitching for up to $14,999.
  • Infomercials on small, local stations for $10,699.

Using high-pressure sales tactics, and careful targeting of the most inexperienced and vulnerable writers, Author Solutions squeezes an average of over $5,000 out of its customers, who then go on to average sales of just 150 copies (from Author Solutions’ own figures) – obviously coming nowhere close to recouping that staggering outlay, despite the accompanying overblown promises from Author Solutions sales reps.

Closer Integration With Penguin Random House

This new Spanish imprint from Author Solutions also continues the trend of very close integration with the local Penguin Random House operation – one aspect of the merger and subsequent reorganization that doesn’t receive any attention in the trade press.

PRHGrupoMeGustaEscribir is being marketed as “the supported self-publishing platform of Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial” and the logo of Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial (PRH’s Spanish subsidiary) is all over the site.

This strategy of closer integration was flagged long in advance. When Penguin Random House Chairman John Makinson appointed company man Andrew Philips as CEO of Author Solutions in May 2013, he said that “a new chief executive from within Penguin would connect the business more closely to Penguin’s curated publishing activities.”

This shows how central Penguin Random House views author scamming to its future. Partridge India shares offices with Penguin Random House India, and touts its connections to its parent company all the time. The other two international imprints launched since the Penguin purchase – Partridge Singapore and Partridge Africa – are also keen to highlight the Penguin Random House connection. And all three Partridge imprints disingenuously dangle the possibility of a traditional publishing contract in front of newbie authors to get them to sign with Author Solutions.

The Return of Reading Fees

MeGustaEscribir goes one step beyond, firmly embracing an unethical practice which had been consigned to the dustbin of publishing history: reading fees.

PRHreferralHeavily touted on the MeGustaEscribir site is the Recognition Program – where customers will be recommended for review by an editor from Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial (that link is in Spanish, but Google Translate does a mostly reasonable job of getting the gist across).

Here’s the really shocking part. Consideration by a Penguin Random House editor is contingent on writers undergoing an Editorial Evaluation Report by MeGustaEscribir. The only publishing packages which contain this Evaluation Report are priced at 2,899 Euro (approx $3,600) and 3,999 Euro (approx $4,970).

Author Solutions always amazes me with new and shittier ways to screw writers, but I’m genuinely surprised that Penguin Random House is pimping out its own editors to gouge thousands of dollars in reading fees from newbie writers.

Andrew Philips (pictured right) was President and CEO of Penguin Books India when he AndrewPhillipsPicset up Partridge India. Here’s what he said when promoted to CEO of Author Solutions:

The launch of Partridge, the first Penguin Author Solutions partnership in India, gave me firsthand experience of the huge opportunities that exist both in developed and emerging markets.

Indeed.

But is there another reason why Penguin Random House is investing so much time, money, and effort into an aggressive international expansion?

Flat Growth For Author Solutions in the US

There is obviously a huge pool of potential victims in India, Africa, and the combined Spanish-language world, but I think something else is going on here. Namely, Author Solutions is running out of road in America, where a years-long campaign by writers is starting to take effect.

ISBNs are an imperfect measure of self-publishing because you don’t need an ISBN to publish with Amazon’s KDP, Apple, Barnes & Noble’s Nook Press, or Kobo Writing Life. However, Author Solutions is primarily focused on publishing packages which include an ISBN, so we can measure its growth.

Out of the 211,269 self-published titles tracked by Bowker in 2011, Author Solutions imprints accounted for 41,605 books while a (reputable) competitor like CreateSpace registered 57,602 titles.

Fast forward to 2013, and the self-publishing boom has taken full effect – for everyone except Author Solutions. Bowker tracked 458,564 self-published titles which had been assigned ISBNs. Virtually none of that growth went to Author Solutions, despite launching several new imprints, including a high profile vanity press partnership with Simon & Schuster (Archway Publishing).

Author Solutions’ total for 2013, despite the staggering growth in self-publishing during that two year period, was just 45,574 – a barely noticeable increase on 2011’s numbers. For comparison CreateSpace registered 186,926 ISBNs that year, and Smashwords came out of nowhere to register 85,000.

While the self-publishing market is booming in the US, Penguin Random House needs to pull out all the stops just to keep numbers flat. In other words, its market share is shrinking and the campaign against Author Solutions is finally having an effect.

The PublishAmerica Playbook

PublishAmerica faced the same conundrum recently – its name had become mud in the writing community, after a concerted campaign against its shady practices, and a search for it on Google turned up all sorts of reports of complaints, scamming, and legal actions.

Author Solutions now finds itself in the same situation (for much the same reasons). Googling its imprint names like Trafford, iUniverse, Xlibris, or AuthorHouse brings up a litany of abuses that Author Solutions has committed and all sorts of warnings from writers to stay away, as well as details of that class action for deceptive business practices.

PublishAmerica solved that problem in the manner of a con on the run – changing name and moving country. PublishAmerica’s new name is America Star Books and now explicitly targets foreign authors. It’s interesting to see Author Solutions follow the same template.

The launch of MeGustaEscribir has another feature worth noting, as Penguin Random House becomes increasingly sophisticated at adding Teflon to the scammy operations of Author Solutions. Like Partridge, it has chosen a fairly generic name that won’t easily pop to the top of Google searches.

Which is hilarious – it’s like negative SEO. Penguin Random House doesn’t want you to easily find information about the company through a Google search because it knows that those searches will soon become filled with customer complaints and detailed breakdowns of how the scam works. Having a generic name like MeGustaEscribir (translation: I Like Writing) or Partridge is much more effective for burying customer complaints than a unique name like Xlibris or iUniverse, and Author Solutions can still capture those customers through its heavy investment in Google ads (many of which lead to those faux-independent comparison sites mentioned above).

The BookCountry Trojan Horse

MeGustaEscribir also follows the BookCountry template of using an author community/social network as the Trojan Horse to gain the confidence of users before slapping on a vanity press to shake them down. MeGustaEscribir opened in 2008 as a community where authors could share manuscripts, before being re-tooled this month for next week’s launch.

(In case you are not up to speed with BookCountry’s development, it has since given up any pretence of being independent from Author Solutions and has now outsourced all customer service operations to Author Solutions – who is, in turn, using that channel to upsell all those scammy marketing packages to BookCountry users, with the blessing of Penguin Random House.)

This new vanity imprint has also received a publicity boost in the mainstream Spanish press – for example in El País. Once again, this follows a trend we have seen in the US and the UK, where media organizations like the New York Times, The Guardian, Publishers Weekly and The Bookseller continually give uncritical (and in some cases, glowing) coverage to Author Solutions, despite the unending stream of complaints from authors who have been scammed, and despite the class action that Author Solutions faces for deceptive practices.

Traditional Publishing Turns A Blind Eye

There is much heated debate about Amazon’s disruption of bookselling and publishing. What is spoken about a lot less is how Amazon (through KDP and CreateSpace) has disrupted the scammy vanity press industry, along with smaller platforms like Kobo and reputable distributors like Smashwords.

Author Solutions is on a shrinking piece of ice in the US, now it needs to find fresh victims in new markets. Meanwhile, traditional publishing has turned a blind eye to these unscrupulous practices – too busy profiting from them, I guess – and the trade press refuses to report the story, along with the rest of the media.

It sums up the hypocrisy which characterizes this industry when the loudest voices protesting Amazon become completely silent when it comes to Penguin Random House and Author Solutions.

The traditional end of the publishing industry seemed to react with stunned silence when Penguin purchased the company two years ago, and those that did speak publicly mostly restricted comments to hoping that Penguin would end the worst practices. But the opposite has happened and Penguin Random House has aggressively expanded operations around the world, without addressing any of the unending complaints against Author Solutions.

It really should have been no surprise. Once again, I’ll remind you of what Penguin Random House Chairman (and industry hero) John Makinson had to say when Penguin purchased Author Solutions in 2012.

“We spent time getting to know the people at Author Solutions and their sophisticated operation,” Makinson said. “They have skills that can help us at Penguin.”

ASIletterbox

About David Gaughran

David Gaughran is Irish, living in Prague, and the author of Mercenary, A Storm Hits Valparaiso, Let's Get Digital, Let's Get Visible, and this here blog.
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76 Responses to Author Solutions Steps Up Global Expansion, Penguin Random House Integration

  1. David,

    Have you heard about the rumor that Barnes & Noble’s new Nook Press Print (print on demand service) that doesn’t actually distribute to any retail channels and is more expensive than CreateSpace is affiliated with Author Solutions? I’ve heard this through word-of-mouth and that perhaps it was done to make Nook Press more attractive to buyers and signifies a forthcoming sale. I haven’t seen anything confirming this rumor on your blog, but since you cover Author Solutions I was curious if you could weigh in on this development.

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing such detailed posts about Author Solutions. When I first heard it was merging with PRH, I thought, Oh crap, they’re going to tell authors that self-publishing with AS means publishing with PRH. And in effect, they have. Aside from all the other issues you’ve pinpointed accurately, this by itself is deceptive.
    I’ve been a publishing consultant for 20 years and have long watched these types of companies take advantage of people who just don’t know any better. I can’t tell you the number of times a potential client has called for advice because they’re desperate to get out of these contracts. By then, they’ve invested thousands, sometimes $10,000 and more. The research they do after the fact tells them what a mistake they’ve made.
    So, research first. Your blog posts are helping authors steer clear of things that will only hurt them. And every author who is hurt enough to give up hurts our world.

  3. If Penguin is going to keep using bird names for these operations, perhaps Vulture would be more appropriate than Partridge.

  4. Alexis says:

    I adore that you continue to sign a light on the predatorial tactics of Author Solutions. “What is spoken about a lot less is how Amazon (through KDP and CreateSpace) has disrupted the scammy vanity press industry.” Nailed it.

  5. zanesachs says:

    Thanks for continuing the good fight, David

  6. Reblogged this on David VanDyke's Author Blog and commented:
    Aspiring authors, pay attention: Author Solutions (as with most vanity publishers) is a scam.

  7. geraldine says:

    David, you have my wholehearted admiration for the way you expose Author Solutions and the once-reputable traditional houses that are now profiting from their unscrupulous practises. If I worked for Penguin I would feel thoroughly ashamed to be part of their operation.

    Sharing and Reblogging on geraldineevansbooks.com.

  8. Reblogged. Thanks, David! You’re a shining light in the darkness.

    Okay, the twilight.

    Did I really say “Twilight?”

  9. patricefitz says:

    Thanks for this continuing coverage of such practices, David. I’m thinking we need to get a little social media push going, which actually would show up in Google searches. “NOMeGustaEscribir” would do it.

  10. geraldine says:

    Reblogged this on geraldineevansbooks and commented:
    If you’re thinking of signing a publishing contract with the once-reputable Penguin Random House publishing company, please read this warning first and save yourself a ton of money. Self-publishing without the ‘assistance’ of these scummy scam artists is really not that difficult. But if you find it so, you can pay for one-off formatting for a tiny fraction of the exhorbitant cost of these publishing packages. They will do nothing but cost you thousands and break your heart.

    They’re now particularly targeting authors in Spain, India and Africa, so if you’re an author in any of these countries, be very, very wary and DO NOT SIGN WITH THEM!

    • Publishing traditionally with the actual Penguin Random House (NOT through Author Solutions) is still legit, for those of use who have “hybrid” careers (both NY and selfpub books).

      The question to ask is “Are they *giving* me money (as an advance, them paying for the cost of their editorial services, and by paying for your book’s publicity, ie all costs come from publisher’s pocket) or are they *asking* for money (all costs come from author’s pocket)?” If a publisher isn’t giving you money (traditional publishing) but is instead asking for money, then they are a vanity publisher… or in this case, a vanity publishing arm of a traditional publisher.

      Penguin Random (and Simon & Schuster) etc and whichever other Big 5 NY publishers have separate self-publishing arms are still “reputable” in the industry and among traditionally-published authors – but the self-publishing arms are *not* and are very shady IMO.

      I have six books published with Simon & Schuster (traditionally) and they paid me advances and marketed me etc out of their own pocket, not mine (of course, they take a much larger percentage of royalties than if I had self-pubbed the books, but that’s the deal you make when you want the clout of a big publisher behind you).

      So…I guess my point is that personally, I wouldn’t warn people off from the traditional publishing houses, just the *vanity publishing* parts (in which case, yes, run!).

      • Although, I do also understand why many of the commenters here may feel that the traditional houses are ruining their reputation by trying to fleece new self-pub authors with a vanity press. I can see both sides of the coin.

      • The very fact that traditional publishing houses think there’s nothing wrong with scamming writers tells me I’m very happy not to be doing business with them. Between Author-Services dodges and unconsionable contracts, any ethical core they may once have been able to profess has long since crumbled, in my opinion.

      • Mick Rooney says:

        Shoshanna, I don’t think David is saying there is something scammy about publishers’ traditional business, if that is the path an author decides, rather the manner of the integration. For one, the integration of company logos deliberately give some authors the impression that they are being published by Penguin. Add that to the accounts I have heard about authors rejected by the traditional imprint being referred to the Author Solutions’ paid imprint. This is exploiting writers regardless of what publishing choice they make and using a poor publishing service solution for commercial gain at the expense of writers. You simply can’t divide the two. It’s like saying – “we’re a good company overall, because we just do bad things on weekends.”

      • That’s it exactly. I have no problem at all with someone deciding to publish with a traditional publisher in general, or with Penguin Random House specifically.

        However, I think that disingenuously dangling the prospect of a Penguin Random House contract to encourage newbie authors to sign with Author Solutions is terrible behavior. And throwing what is essentially reading fees through the back door is despicable. Writers groups like the Authors Guild *should* be hammering them for this practice, but it’s Penguin Random House, so they won’t. Same goes for the AAR.

        I also think Penguin’s purchase of Author Solutions has added a giant fig leaf to their shady practices. I think some authors are reluctant to speak out because Penguin Random House is the largest traditional publisher, and if that is the path they are pursuing, they might feel it unwise to be outspoken on this. (And that’s not a criticism of those individual authors at all. It’s people like the AG who should be speaking up.)

        It has also made it extremely difficult to get the trade press, and the news media in general, to cover this story. Author Solutions is essentially operating in the dark.

  11. I think the most important lesson to be learned from all of this is the one David has been preaching for a long time. How can you trust a company (like Penguin) who will stoop so low as to fleece authors out of their money? And this is not an ‘accidental’ fleecing, but a planned effort. It’s disgusting.

    • It’s like a self-learning machine, each iteration has a new slick (and shady) component to hoodwink authors. But authors are learning too. Those ISBN number tallies were a (pleasant) surprise.

  12. Pingback: Author Solutions Steps Up Global Expansion, Penguin Random House Integration | The Passive Voice | A Lawyer's Thoughts on Authors, Self-Publishing and Traditional Publishing

  13. It’s heartening to know they’re losing share in the US. Of course it only stands to reason that they’d spread their web wider, to where there’s more money to be made from writers who don’t know any better (yet). Thanks for shining the light as always, and I’m really looking forward to whatever you’re going to say next week.

  14. I had to reblog this. Nicely done.

    Every time I hear how Penguin is sticking it to “the little guy” I want to burn a tuxedo. That being said, it isn’t enough to crush the dreams of authors by tap-dancing on them with false promises, they have to gouge their eyes out too. It’s disgusting.

  15. Larry Kollar says:

    That logo. That logo… does it not look like fingers grabbing the pie?

  16. Reblogged this on Further Annotations and commented:
    ‘There is much heated debate about Amazon’s disruption of bookselling and publishing. What is spoken about a lot less is how Amazon (through KDP and CreateSpace) has disrupted the scammy vanity press industry…’

  17. Suzan Harden says:

    David, please add another name to your list of scammers: Publish Wholesale.

    I received an e-mail last night from them. $959 starting price for the print book, plus $200 for the e-book. I nearly fell out of my chair laughing. The logo and ad copy were terribly similar to AS, so it may be one of their new names.

  18. It’s all about money, which means that, if everyone boycotted Random Penguin and Simon & Schuster (and whomever else) until they divested themselves of Author Solutions, they would drop them so fast Author Solutions wouldn’t know what hit them.

    Unfortunately, that won’t happen. The amount of people who truly care about the whole “Author Solutions” thing is not very many compered to their total customer base. The best that we can do is keep warning the newbies and hope that it works.

    • I don’t think a boycott is the answer. I think exposing their behavior and putting it in the public domain is. I think we should also push back hard anytime a PRH exec spouts off nonsense about how they respect authors or nurture them. I think we should shame them with this stuff, as well as the long list of companies that partner with Author Solutions and profit from this misery.

      Most importantly, I think we need to keep spreading the word so that new authors aren’t taken in by this crap. That’s a campaign that has been going on for years and it’s great to see some indication on a macro level that it’s actually having an effect.

  19. jakeescholl says:

    As someone who spent no where near the amounts Author Solutions charges to publish my first book, I think its sad people are still falling for their scams.

  20. Reblogged this on Timothy L. Cerepaka's Blog and commented:
    For any Spanish authors reading this blog, this post by David Gaughran is a must-read if you don’t want to be conned out of thousands of euros (literally).

  21. Karl Keating says:

    I’m just glad that Bennett Cerf (founder of Random House and shown to be, by his appearances on “What’s My Line?” and in his autobiography “At Random,” an authentic gentleman) isn’t around to see what has become of RH.

  22. Pingback: Penguin Random House Launches New Vanity Press in Spain - The Digital Reader

  23. Data Guy says:

    The Author Earnings data also indicates that books published under these vanity imprints of the Big Five publishers sell extremely poorly.

    Combining the sales of Author Solutions, iUniverse, Trafford, Xlibris, and Archway, despite the tens of thousands of print books a year these imprints “publish” we only can find:

    46 print books that are selling a single copy or more a day
    3 print books that are selling 10 or more copies a day

    Amazingly, the sales of the e-books published by these vanity imprints are even worse:

    19 ebooks that are selling a single copy or more a day
    3 ebooks that are selling 10 or more copies a day

    I think the numbers speak for themselves.

  24. Jim Self says:

    I just hope the folks in other countries are skeptical enough that they aren’t scammed like writers here have been.

  25. Interesting article. One thing that I wonder why no one ever addresses is BookTango. I know they are part of Author Solutions/Penguin, but on the face of it their offer seems too good to resist: They will distribute ebooks to all major outlets for no fee whatsoever. Does anyone know what the catch is, if any? I’m curious because I’m about to upload my novel to KDP and Createspace, and am considering Booktango for the other ebook formats, as they don’t charge, unlike Smashwords.

    • Any time a deal from Author Solutions sounds good, there is always a catch.

      The last time I checked into BookTango, it turned out that it wasn’t so free after all. BookTango was claiming that they charged no fees and that they paid 100% royalties. As with everything to do with Author Solutions, you have to check the fine print very carefully.

      BookTango has now hidden the terms behind a password protected version of the site (after severe criticism) but before they did so you could see that the 100%/no fee claim was bogus. Authors only actually received something like 50% of the cover price for sales on Amazon and B&N, as opposed to 70% from going direct.

      On top of that, All Author Solutions imprints are terrible at handling metadata – meaning your book will end up in the wrong category on Amazon, or in a useless generic top-level category like “Fiction” (as opposed to something specific and granular like “Fiction > Thrillers > Political Thrillers”).

      Finally, your problems won’t stop there. Author Solutions will endlessly harass you to purchase one of their marketing packages, making all sorts of false promises as to their effectiveness. You might think you are impervious to that kind of upselling, but these guys are experts at it. And, to be frank, if you are considering using BookTango, then you are half-way to being a victim already.

      Here’s what you should do instead:

      1. Use CreateSpace for paperbacks (but your primary focus should be e-books).

      2. Upload directly to KDP. You should never EVER use a third party to distribute to Amazon.

      3. It’s always better to upload directly to retailers where possible. So, upload directly to Kobo, B&N, and Apple… if possible. Kobo allows anyone to upload. B&N only allows self-publishers in the UK and US (and I think they have recently extended that to a couple more European countries). Apple allows anyone, but you need a Mac.

      4. I don’t have a Mac, and B&N doesn’t let me upload directly, so I need to use a third party to reach those stores. The only two distributors I recommend are Smashwords and Draft2Digital. DO NOT USE BOOKTANGO. You will actually make a lot more per sale via Smashwords or Draft2Digital, once BookTango takes their hidden cut.

      Here’s a post comparing Smashwords and D2D (I use both, but lean more towards D2D at the moment): https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2013/08/27/choosing-the-right-distributor-smashwords-vs-draft2digital/

  26. Reblogged this on Danielle Lenee Davis and commented:
    Writer beware. Don’t be the next victim!

  27. Susan DeBeeson says:

    What happened to ethics? Thank you for exposing these practices.

  28. Deanmcsmith says:

    Reblogged this on Pilcrows & Cedillas and commented:
    Another great piece by David Gaughran. Shame no-one at Bookseller can be bothered to get this out there.

  29. Pingback: Grow Poor Publishing With Author Solutions, iUniverse, Trafford, Xlibris, and Archway | Bill Peschel

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  32. JJ Bach says:

    I wonder if any of this American English (Irish too) article and commentary is making its way into the languages of the writers who are at risk?

  33. barryknister says:

    David– Is there any way those of us who follow you on this issue can bring pressure to bear on the mainstream press to do its job? Clearly, Author Solutions/Penguin should be exposed. I would think an especially useful angle would be to show how they are positioning themselves to exploit third-world people. It’s one thing to dupe an American who should know better, something different to con people who lack lots of opportunities to know better.

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  35. Pingback: Author Solutions: new and shittier ways to screw writers « Surviving Beijing since 1980

  36. gvkbj says:

    I put the article on Twitter, Facebook etc. And also blogged about it: “Author Solutions: new and shittier ways to screw writers” http://blog.strategy4china.com/?p=5746

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  38. Pingback: david gaughran on author solutions and traps for newbie writers - nealumphred.comnealumphred.com

  39. The trend of “mainstream” publishers creating these shady self-publishing divisions is probably a sign that they’re running scared. I’m astounded that so many authors are drawn into this system. In my day job as a publicist, I have been doing marketing for an author who “self-published” her book through Westbow, a division of Thomas Nelson. She paid them somewhere around $10,000 to “help” her self-publish and promote her book. Then, when their marketing proved to be pretty much non-existent, she hired two publicists to help her promote the book and her business. The sad thing is that with her professional credentials, she could certainly have gotten a small university press to publish the book at little or no cost to herself. Or she could have truly self-published at little or no expense – I’d have been happy to advise her on how to do it, but she didn’t come to me until after the contract was signed and the money spent.

    Too many people hire someone like Author Solutions or Westbow simply because they are in a big hurry to get their work out there and they don’t want to take the time to submit to an appropriate small press or to learn how to do all the nuts and bolts work of really self-publishing.

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  41. mrschmoe says:

    Oh Dear crap.
    Thanks for the heads up Dave. It all comes down to making a quick buck and scamming aspiring authors. Common sense dictates that to treat those money grubbing bastards such as Author Solutions with extreme caution and to warn others. So no one else would be victimized.
    Being Canadian, I would stick with draft2digital and regular KDP, I dunno about Kobo though.

  42. It’s sad that companies like AuthorHouse are still in business. I publish both traditionally and indie (with my own imprint) and I’m also a freelance editor. Every person I’ve ever talked to who has signed with AuthorHouse or one of the other imprints has been unhappy. And poorer. Even when someone is warned, they will still take the plunge. I guess the drive/need to have a book published and someone validate your work will sometimes override common sense. Draft2Digital just sent me one of your books, so I’m interested in reading it! I’ve been working on an online marketing book to act as a guide for indie writers looking for promotion solutions (when BookBub turns you down… haha). I hit the USA Today list last February with a self-published box set… learned a ton about how those lists work. Don’t know if I’ll attempt it again–it took over my life for about 2 months🙂

    Maybe the answer to AuthorSolutions is a new crop of self-publishing presses who are legit and fair-minded. If there was a list somewhere, I’d love to refer my clients there. As of now, I just have a list of various freelancers to hand over, such as cover designers, typesetters, editors, etc. But I realize that many people follow their “dream” of writing a book when they are retired. 90% of my clients who are doing that barely even email, let alone know how to format a standard submission in MS Word. They want someone to do it all. They ask me a question, I explain it, then they contact their son or daughter to ask what they think too. I can see how this group of people who are overwhelmed by the constantly changing online world would throw up their hands and sign with a vanity press. I’ve had a couple of clients who won’t email, but only fax–they don’t trust the internet. Or they will call to ask questions instead of emailing or texting. This is fine, but you can see that the leap to self-publishing electronically is taking them too far out of their comfort zone.

    • barryknister says:

      Heather– You are not wrong about older writers. Although I do a lot of email, have made good connections for editorial help, cover design and formatting, I am still unable to “crack the code” for how to approach marketing a book under current conditions. The day a reliable marketer for people like me comes along, I’ll be more than willing to pull my weight and do what I’m told. But that day hasn’t arrived.

  43. C.G. says:

    I just came across another incarnation of Author Solutions (it occurs to me that their acronym could be A.S.s.) called Partridge Publishing, based out of Singapore and Malaysia. They are kindly offering to help people self publish a book, and will send more information if the gentle reader would provide all contact info and agree to receive telephone consultations. /s

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  45. Laura C says:

    Reblogged this on Writings from Otherworld and commented:
    Really disappointing to see Penguin Random House making this move. It’s not making the big publishers any more appealing…

  46. Jen Nifer says:

    Reblogged this on Blissful Pages.

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  49. Pingback: Do You Need Professional Help to Self-Publish? | J W Manus

  50. Pingback: Author Solutions and Friends: The Inside Story | David Gaughran

  51. Immortal~ says:

    Thank you for such an insightful blog. I would really appreciate your help. I was contacted by a Publishing Consultant from Partridge Singapore – A Penguin Random House company for my first book. First, Should I trust these people with my very first book? Second, Can you suggest me any good publication house that I can trust???

    I am based in Dubai at present and may move to India very soon

  52. OWOSENI. IVIE JOYCE says:

    Hi I am Joyce Owoseni from Nigeria. I just started a contract with Partridge Africa for the publications of two of my books ,but the reports about them have been negative. How do I get about $2000 paid through debit card from them? I am getting very skeptical .please recommend honest publishers that could publish and market my books.

  53. Pingback: FYI: Penguin Random House Is Still In The Vanity Business | David Gaughran

  54. More like “we have skill to help us scam authors at Penguin.”

  55. Pingback: Daberechi Jackson – Author Solutions – Writers Beware!

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