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ALLi Watchdog: Latest On Author Solutions

Recent news from ALLi Watchdog Victoria Strauss about a second class action being taken out against Author Solutions, the umbrella firm for many imprints that provide “self-publishing services” that fail to deliver for authors, has been followed up by two great pieces of analysis by David Gaughran and Mick Rooney.

David Gaughran

 

DAVID GAUGHRAN:

“You may not have heard about this second class action as most of the media felt it wasn’t worth reporting, says David.  “Even the trade press like Publishers Weekly and The Bookseller.

You can read David’s excellent article here. It’s a long piece and every word is worth reading. It also provides a nutshell quote which explains why savvy author-publishers fight shy of ASI:

Author Solutions operates more like a telemarketing company whose customer base is the authors themselves. In other words, unlike a traditional publisher, Author Solutions makes money from its Authors, not for them. It does so by selling books back to its authors, not to a general readership, and by selling its authors expensive publishing, editing, and marketing services that are effectively worthless.

(Note: the lawyers representing the plaintiffs in both class actions are still looking to hear from anyone who has published with Author Solutions. You can do that here. And find details of  the second complaint here.

David, and indeed ALLi, has spoken to a number of ASI’s Partners about their promotion/partnership with this troubling organisation. “Only one – The Bookseller – decided to take action and terminate its relationship with Author Solutions. The rest either refused to comment, or defended their partnership.”

David’s latest post examines these connections in detail and is worth reading in full. It makes illuminating reading for anyone who cares about authors.

Mick Rooney

ALLi Advisor Mick Rooney

 

MICK ROONEY:

Equally illuminating is the work of Mick Rooney, over at The Independent Publishing Magazine (TIPM), who highlighted that Author Solutions was the company behind many of the services offered by Barnes & Nobel’s print service for authors, Nook Press.

Mick has also been analysing the depositions in the first class action complaint filed by Giskan Solotaroff Anderson & Stewart (GSAS) against Author Solutions in the Southern District Court of New York, which is expected to progress to full litigation later this year.

The depositions (sworn statements) and request for class action certification “provide a illuminating view into the world of Author Solutions imprints and in the coming days and weeks I want to take a closer look at these documents”, says Mick.

That is what he has done, here and here and here.

Another quotable quote is provided by GSAS which accuses Author Solutions of deceptive practices (via the GSAS website).

Author Solutions preys upon the dreams of authors by selling them expensive services that sound exciting but do not actually sell any books. Their defense: They aren’t being deceptive because they aren’t trying to sell books. Of course, for nearly 200,000 authors who have paid thousands (if not tens of thousands) of dollars to buy expensive services that promised to promote their books, Author Solutions’s indifference to book sales comes as more than a bit of a surprise.

Again, Mick’s analysis is necessarily a long read but worth the effort.

Thank you for the work, gentlemen!

 

23 Responses to ALLi Watchdog: Latest On Author Solutions

  1. Banjo November 3, 2018 at 8:58 am #

    It’s a relief to find somenoe who can explain things so well

  2. Victor Sasson June 16, 2018 at 6:28 pm #

    Hi Everyone!

    I am a biblical scholar, specialist in Hebrew and Aramaic epigraphy/archaeological texts,
    with extensive publications in major scholarly journals.

    My first keen interest was (and still is) English Lit. At the same time as I was learning English as a youngster, I was an avid reader of literary works in English. Later on in my career, having earned
    academic degrees, I taught college composition.

    Let me get to the point. Self publishing is not for everybody. Since 2004 I have published ten
    (10) books with iUniverse. There were all sorts of problems, mainly the incompetent young
    employees. But nobody tried hard to sell me anything. Then at one time I decided to try BookSurge (later became CreateSpace, owned by Amazon), and here again I had a girl’s voice
    telling me in an insulting tone of voice, ‘This is a self-published book!’ Since then
    I have had nothing to do with this company. That was in 2009.
    I do not understand why ALLi recommends CreateSpace.

    Self-publishing companies are in the business of selling services. I myself do not need them.
    I submit a manuscript after many revisions and, if possible, some unbiased comments from one or more friends or acquaintances.

    I hope this will be of help to some persons.

    Victor Sasson

  3. Linda Ralph April 11, 2018 at 2:46 am #

    I have been communicating, paying large sums of money to Xlibris, and now have gone into Authors Learning Centre, with the recommendation for knowledge and to watch the sales process, recommended by the Xlibris Marketing Manager I have been communicating with over a large period of months.
    I am feeling sickened at present and terrified.
    My belief and hope is shattered.

  4. Lisa March 20, 2018 at 7:46 pm #

    Wondering if Minstir Media Publishing company is a reputable company, They are the third one I have spoken to and they sound great , but so did the last 2 and they are in your caution category, Thanks

  5. Ric DeVan February 24, 2018 at 1:45 am #

    On this very day I got a call from iUniverse, another Author House sub. I’ve been looking for several months now, and nothing. I even looked through the Alli list and found some ‘help’ but not an actual publisher. Am I missing something?

    I’m still wading through the contract trying to decipher it, but I did give them 50% payment on a 50% off ‘deal’. Should I canx it? I previously passed on Author House, Balboa Press, Xlibris, and another. I got suspicious when I saw the mailing addresses were all the same. They provide names of successful books/authors they have handled; are these bogus?

  6. MeriLee Testa February 23, 2018 at 6:37 am #

    Here is my comment to Tony Powell

    • MeriLee Testa February 23, 2018 at 6:43 am #

      Tony, Do not use Life Rich Publishing. they are a scam. I spoke with one of their supposedly Senior consultants on thursday night. He was very pushy about getting me to agree to sign up with their publishing company. He offered me a supposed deal, that is only good till this Saturday. My husband was very leery about paying money up front. We had decided to do a payment plan of a down payment and then 3 payment after that.
      I am just very glad that I had sense to check them out from the Better business Bureau ‘s website. They are listed in a list of those vanity presses that offer their services but are owned by a well respected larger publisher. The name that you know,does not mean its one that you should trust.
      If you have paid them any money. Try to get it back. They could care less if you sell any books. They make their money by selling worthless stuff,ie. marketing packages.
      I hope that this helps.
      Meri Lee Testa- Monroe,GA

    • Nya B October 3, 2018 at 3:08 am #

      I have published two books through iUniverse and I haven’t has any problems. Tell them what you want and they will deliver. When you self publish, it’s up to the author to sell books, they just publish it. I do not get the editorial packages or marketing, I do that all myself. I published my book to tell my story, and I didnt intend to make money. However, after putting together after my own book tours and selling my book myself, I have caught the attention of some who can take my book to the next level. Its all about your expectations and why you’re writing in the first place. Hope this helps

  7. john quayle December 16, 2017 at 10:33 pm #

    Just about to have my first book published with them diet, die without the t. Feeling very nervous, about the out come know.

  8. Darrell harris October 18, 2017 at 10:30 pm #

    I was just contacted by Author House about publishing my book….but the internet has gotten so shady…I always look to see where a company is rated before I go any further…thank God for your service

  9. http://www.thegreateasternwhiteout.net/ April 23, 2017 at 8:07 pm #

    I agree with pretty much all you said in your post, especially at the end of your article. Thank you, this info is very valuable as always. Keep up the good work! You’ve got +1 more reader of your blog:) Isabella.

    • John N. Garns August 8, 2017 at 1:46 am #

      I recently had my book published by AuthorHouse. I sent in my manuscript and it came back looking nothing like what I sent in; full of grammatical errors as well as structural errors. I had to send it back 5 times for corrections. It wasn’t until I threatened a lawsuit did they start to shape up. The last copy looked better than any of them. ALMOST just like I sent in. I haven’t seen the finished product yet and I must admit I’m scared to see it. What should I do if they screwed it up again? I want a decent copy but not sure that I will get it with AuthorHouse. I’ll admit I’m a little scared!

  10. Stewart Parkinson April 3, 2017 at 5:42 pm #

    i have recently self-published through Authorhouse. This has been a bad experience; very keen to sell you all kinds of services except the book! Its probably cost me £3000 with very few sales.

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  12. Tony Spence October 7, 2016 at 7:12 pm #

    what can you tell me about LifeRich Publishers through Readers Digest. I was about to sign up with them but if there’s something wrong. I need to know. Thanks

    • Tony Powell February 1, 2018 at 4:00 pm #

      Tony, I just entered into a contract with Life Rich and now I am seeing these posts. Did you publish with them, How was your experience?
      thanks

      • Meri Lee Testa February 23, 2018 at 6:34 am #

        Hi Tony Powell, I did not sew up the deal with Life Rich, the senior consultant that I spoke with was very nice of course, but became very pushy when I told him that money was tight with us and my husband wanted to know if the supposed deal , that they were offering thru tomorrow for a down payment and then four installment payments could be offered still with the supposed deal, of like $1300 would be good if we wanted to sign with them in April of this year. No, I can not offer you that he said. Then , he put me on hold. acted like he was speaking with his manager. then came back and said that he could do this, Pay the down payment of $375.00 now and then the next 3 payments could be moved further out, so the next payment of $300.00 could be paid to them at the beginning of april, vs March. He again seemed even more pushy, Obviously thought he was going to lose the sale. I left it, that this senior consultant could contact me today, Friday, the 23 of Feb. We were planning to use a $200.00 debit card and then put the balance of the down payment on a regular credit card. Thank goodness, after I got off the phone with him on Thurs. night, I googled the Better Business Bureau’s site. Again, so glad ,I did. It states that any service that is owned by a larger publisher, there is a very good chance that it is a Scam. They list a partial list and bingo, yes, LifeRich Publishing is on the list. Of course you are aware that LifeRich is owned by Readers Digest operated by Author Solutions. As stated in this article, the name you know, is often the name you can not trust. Vanity presses , which is what LifeRich is, makes their money from selling you stuff. They don’t care if you sell books or not, because they make their money by selling you on their worthless marketing packages. And the list goes on and on. It is really sad that the BBB doesn’t shut them down, but of course their cover is that they are owned by Readers Digest. What else can I say.
        This senior consultant that will be calling exactly at 10 am on Friday, Feb 23rd will be in for a rude awakening, when I tell him, so sorry,but my husband started looking at the bills we owe and no sorry, we can afford your marketing package right now. Not going to make mention that I read this eye opening information. Sir, your service is a scam. No, Just going to tell him,thank you for your time. I will contact you in a few months. If he gives me a hard time about not buying the package NOW to get my manuscript published. Just going to say it again, we can not afford it right now. thank you, but I will call you, please do not call me.

      • Pat Smith September 11, 2018 at 5:02 pm #

        I have a friend who has used Life Rich twice. She SWEARS by them. Of course, they do take a sizable profit, but she’s worked up to 40% profit margin. I am VERY impressed with the quality of her books, but as I’ve watched, I’ve noticed that she STILL has to do all of the marketing. My book is in the hands of my editor, as well as 5 friends who have agreed to write book reviews and possibly the Foreword. If I’m going to have to market the book anyway, I figure I’d better get it printed at the least price with the highest quality. My book cover drafts will be submitted to a graphic arts gentleman and everything should be completed in time for the holiday sales! Life Rich has some high prices, but my friend was very pleased, and she very adamantly said I should use a publisher. This is why we each should do as much homework as we can. This site gives a thumbs down on many companies I have considered. It also seems to slant towards a few others.

      • carol neal September 19, 2018 at 6:34 pm #

        Tony Powell,
        Same here, just entered a contract with them. I would appreciate knowing anything you have found out. I just finished a phone call with a Marketing Consultant. Will have a return call next week.
        Thanks,

    • MeriLee Testa February 23, 2018 at 6:52 am #

      Here is my comment to Tony
      spence, I hope , since your post was from 2 year ago,that you did not waste your money with Life Rich Publishing,they are a scam. Again, I am very glad that I had sense to google the Better Business Bureau site and found out that Life Rich is on their list of vanity presses that pose to want to help you get your manuscript published into a book. NOT. All they want is your money and to do that they sell you worthless stuff, i.e marketing packages.

      M.Testa
      Monroe,Ga

      • Thomas Caulfield September 9, 2018 at 10:02 pm #

        Hello All,
        I am abashed at the negative opinions of Life Rich Publishing. I have gone through their [rpcess twiice and have successfullly self published two books which are very dear to my heart. they are a business. Live with it. They have expenses, just like you. In my opinion they are definitely not a scam. Their association with Reader’s Digest gve me the confidence that they would not scam me, and thankfully that is what I experienced. Sure there wee problems with carrying out the publishing process, but that’s part of the learning experience. I found the various people I worked with to be courteou and professional. I wrote the books not to make money, but as a labor of love. I was happy with the results.

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