Author Solutions is well-known in the self-publishing world for being a scam and scourge, suckering desperate authors into paying hundreds and thousands of dollars for a dream of riches and fame. There have been so many complaints about Author Solutions and its associated publishers that web sites and blogs have been created just to warn authors about Author Solutions and its associated publishers.
Author Solutions (AS) was purchased by the Penguin Group (Random House is part of PG) in 2012 and, according to a blogger and this blogger, AS continues to scam authors to this day.
How many authors are scammed by Author Solutions? According to a recent Bowker report – which analyzed data from 2013 – there are lots of authors still being scammed by AS and their associated publishers.Who are these ‘associated publishers’? The following list of publishing companies associated with Author Solutions (owned by Penquin) is provided by Bowker, and lists print books – not ebooks – by publisher in 2013:
Xlibris (Div. of Author Solutions) – 9,3191
AuthorHouse (Div. of Author Solutions) – 7,498
iUniverse (Div. of Author Solutions) – 3,147
Trafford (Div. of Author Solutions) – 2,463
WestBow Press (imprint of Author Solutions) – 2,362
Palibrio (Div. of Author Solutions) – 1,441
Balboa Press (imprint of Author Solutions) – 1,036
Abbott Press (imprint of Author Solutions) – 328
PartridgeIndia (imprint of Author Solutions) – 279
Inspiring Voices (imprint of Author Solutions) – 178
CrossBooks (imprint of Author Solutions) – 5
Booktango (Div. of Author Solutions) – 2
DellArte Press (imprint of Author Solutions) – 2
*These same companies also provide ebook services for a fee – and are also featured on blogs such as Writer Beware as scamming ebook authors with exorbitant fees for service.
The above list of scammer publishers of print books is not complete. It is only the list of one publishing company, Author Solutions – now owned by Penquin Group of companies.There a more scammers out there, some of whom are failed authors who learned the real money in self-publishing is made not from writing but from scamming other newbie authors.
The job of a scammer is simple; promise a newbie book author a world of riches and fame, provide a list of uncheckable and unverifiable examples of how wonderful and great and profitable your service is/has been for newbie authors, take their money, ask for more money, take that money, ask for more money, take that money, and repeat until newbie runs of out money or smartens up and gets wise to your scam.
Some book publishing scammers may have actually had one or two authors who made money using their service. Using such mistakes to their advantage, the book publishing scammer will promote/market information about this successful author as proof of how wonderful and valuable is the services provided by the scummy scammer.
There is the possibility the one or two authors promoted as being successful had their works ghosted by someone else, or they worked for Author Solutions and got a great discount and extra promotion/marketing in order to become successful, or out of the hundreds of thousands of books published by Author Solutions et al during the years those one or two books actually sold enough to recover the original costs and a bit more.It’s not uncommon for an unsuspecting author to pay $1,000 or more to Author Solutions for services which usually return little or none of the original fee.
Author Solutions earns millions of dollars a year scamming authors, yet even in 2013 there are thousands of desperate authors eager to spend their hard earned money chasing a pipe dream fueled by Author Solutions. Anyone thinking of publishing a book or an ebook, and everyone who knows someone who is thinking of publishing a book or ebook, take a moment to burn the above list of scammers into your brain. Be scared. Be very scared. You don’t want to be the next sucker.
Is it the same in the ebook publishing world?
Yes. The same scammers stalk the ebook publishing world. So who can an author trust for publishing ebooks? The Bowker report states Smashwords continues to be the leading publisher of ebooks, publishing almost 3 times as many ebooks as second place Lulu. Smashwords has a earned a reputation for working hard on behalf of self-publishing authors, evidenced by their being the number one ebook publisher since 2010 – according to the Bowker report below.
Draft2Digital publishing, sometimes erroneously called Direct2Digital on Kindle boards or other forums, a company kicked out of Amazon by Amazon in 2014, didn’t even make the list. Draft2Digital may have been included in the ‘small publishers’ grouping of companies having 10 or less ISBN ebooks published. Draft2Digital may still be around, but alarm bells should ring in the head of any author when a company has been kicked out of Amazon – even if Amazon later allows them to return. After all, if the company was run badly enough to get kicked out of Amazon in the first place and the same players are still involved with the company, wouldn’t you be hesitant to trust them?
The full report by Bowker is available here.