Friends Don’t Let Friends Hire Author Solutions

David Gaughran has marshalled the facts, lined them up, and had them open fire on the Author Solutions scam, and its enablers Penguin Random House, Publisher’s Weekly, The New York Times, the New York Review of Books, Reader’s Digest and other publications, book festivals, and organizations, such as the AARP (which, you would think, would be reluctant to expose its membership to scammers).

Author Solutions' International Sales Staff, Christmas Party, 2013.

Author Solutions’ International Sales Staff, Christmas Party, 2013.

In short, Author Solutions makes its money off selling services to you. It has no stake in how many books you sell, it does not care about the quality of the work it gives you, since few authors ever use them twice.

It’s a long, detailed post. David and his allies have culled the testimony from the various class action suits and detailed how Author Solutions scams its customers, using high-pressure sales tactics, and at the same time underserving authors by not delivering what was promised, delivering shoddy products, delivering incomplete and inaccurate royalty reports, and reselling services at enormous markups from their partners.

For example, the cost of their “web optimized” press releases is $1,299. Do you know how much it costs to send a release through services such as PRWeb? FREE. At their high end, their premium service, will set you back only $369.

Author Solutions uses hundreds of “consultants” (read salespeople), most of them in the Philippines, who have to meet insane monthly quotas, from $20,000 a month if they’re working for AS’s “core imprints” to $60,000 and $75,000 if they’re selling on behalf of the partner imprints (those are the New York publishers).

Yes, Penguin Random House is scamming authors. So are Simon & Schuster, Lulu, Hay House, Barnes & Noble, HarperCollins, and Random House’s MeGusaLibros imprint.

Companies such as Writer’s Digest, Harlequin and Crossbooks terminated their partnerships in 2014.

Imagine a job where you’d have to sell crap like book review packages from Kirkus for $6,000, Publishers Weekly ad packages for $10,000, and Hollywood pitching services for $17,999. (If you want to see what you get, one of AS’s “core imprints” Trafford Publishing, lists four services: Hollywood Gatekeeper ($859), Hollywood Audition ($2,149), Hollywood Storyteller ($3,749), and Hollywood Topliner ($16,299, but you must buy the Storyteller package, so the cost is $20,048). What they don’t list is a single sale from anyone using these services.

That alone tells you how worthless Author Solutions’ “Hollywood” package is, because if someone had spent $20,000 to get a movie/TV deal, you’d bet they’d be crowing about it (yes, I Googled this first).

So, if you’re considering dealing with Author Solutions, its core imprints (iUniverse, Trafford, Palibrio, AuthorHouse, BookTango, WordClay, and Xlibris), or if you’re talking to a major publisher and they offer to sell you “services,” my advice is to take your money and run. There are plenty of resources out there, plenty of nice people and websites (such as The Passive Voice) to ask about how to get your book edited, how to write a cover letter, how to deal with agents. There are writers’ groups and organizations such as Pennwriters (I’m a member), who are happy to help. Heck, get in touch with me and I’ll try to help.

Anyone, in fact, but Author Solutions.