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ALLi Watchdog: Latest On Author Solutions

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



“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



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!


Author: Orna Ross

Orna Ross is a bestselling and award-winning author of historical fiction and inspirational poetry, and a creativity facilitator. As founder-director of the Alliance of Independent Authors, she has been named one of The Bookseller’s Top 100 people in publishing. 


This Post Has 52 Comments
  1. As a new author I got hooked into the Author solution Xlibris. Even though I sent a written notice to cancel my contract within the correct time period, they didn’t refund my money. So, 2 years later, I made them uphold their end of the bargain. Their editing (which was part of my contract) was lousy but the formatting and cover did look nice (I had the cover done elsewhere) and paid the $58 shipping for the books I paid for. Over all, what I got for what I paid was nothing I couldn’t have done myself if had known how. (Which I do now) As For Author Central—total scam. I get more out of different blogs than I did them and had to fight them to cancel the subscription and to get them to pull my book so I could take it back. Over all, They kept almost $150 of royalties they owed me when I did that.

    Outskirts over charges but they are not into the pushy, scammy sales and were up front about what they offered and what their packages covered. If you wanted more, you go back and get it. They never called me to push products, so other than their prices, they do what they say they will do for publishing.

    Bottom line. Forget the vanity presses. You can do it yourself, use Ingram Spark for all books or Draft2Digital for paperback or KDP. They all do e-books. Friedlander has good templates for Ingram and KDP. D2D has built in templates for you to choose from via Vellum type of thing. Paying a copyeditor is cheaper than the vanity presses. After wasting $5000 between two two vanity presses above, I learned to self-publish without them and haven’t looked back.

  2. I’ve read so many horrid stories surrounding self-publishing, that I recommend authors to stick their heads out their novels for one second, and take a look at the services carefully and also take a course or two on the subject of writing and distribution. I hope this was helpful because that’s what I did. Now, after ten years of crystalizing my work and learning about the writing world, I have a clear idea of what I’m doing. I hope this was helpful.

    1. With the multitude of services on the Alli list, why pick one that’s questionable and linked to another outsourced questionable service?

    2. @Jamie – how was your experience with Archway? I was considering working with them but now I’m not too sure. What did you think from working with them?

  3. Hi to all…great to have some help sorting through the publishing scams…I’m new to this market with a children’s book script completed…looking for a bonafide publisher, agent, or self-publishing outlet that has good reputation and lives up to it… T

  4. I just had an encounter with Xlibris. I had just read one of their books from my local library: “The Stone Breakers: A Novel of the First Americans” by T.C. Kuhn, a retired archaeologist. Pretty good paleo fiction, nice cover, very few typos, &c. So I check out Xlibris and they spam my email. Then this salesman calls, and I kid you not, I haven’t been subjected to that sort of hard sell since a close encounter with a time share condo pitch back in the 80s. What a scam!

  5. If enough of us authors can file a petition to congress or the head attorney general about xlibris corporations expenses and losses for their contracted reasons of publishing we could close them down and receive through a law suit of all the authors for our entire amount of money paid to them though publishing contracts.How and when could we start? And we will then have a fair chance to publish with a legitimate contractor of books for publishing. Is it possible?It will take a process of time and paper work as well as serious authors like myself and a court to get it all in. I feel we need to try ..Craig Brouwer..artist,author.There are tens of thousands of authors who wish they never heard of xlibris.corporation.

    1. I want to sue Xlibris in a class action suit. Help me know how to join in with other authors. Additionally, I want to sue WestBow and Christian Faith Publishers.

      1. I took have had horror experiences with XLibris.

        From participation in supposedly book shows in California, NY, Florida and Chicago, to “press releases”, XLibris has succeeded only in the mastery of fleecing.

  6. I have six books published with xlibris and wish i never published with them.I have spent 5,900 dollars on the plans and marketing and gave 50 books to promote also and no success has ever been recovered it is awful to publish with people who have everything tied against the authors for a way to succeed in there goals.I to would like to know how to legally get some money back from that company and publish with good corespondants not money getters. Does any one have a way to terminate from them and get there money back? I had been to the attorney general as well and they told me i was contracted to their company for books and there is nothing they could do for me. I know the errors they have with authors are ridiculous it is not a beneficial comany to be published with.If you are a legal rights representative or some sort of attorney and KNOW A WAY TO RETRIEVE MY MONEY COULD YOU GIVE ME A CALL I am Craig Brouwer my phone # is 959.929.9247 Thank you I would appreciate it also…

    1. I have had a most horrendous experience with Xlibris. During the course of 9 months I ended up paying them almost $NZ90,000 for unnecessary marketing packages. I made frequent enquiries about royalties but got ‘fobbed off’ each time. Then I received a mysterious cheque – the bank doesn’t accept cheques anymore so I returned it with a SWIFT code for a direct credit. The cheque was only for $42.01 so I nearly didn’t bother. Xlibris now say that was my royalty cheque but has gone astray so I’ll need to wait a year for it to go stale. I have taken my publishing business to another company. I initially paid Xlibris about $6,000 to publish my second book, then changed my mind and asked for a refund. They refused to give a refund. I have now managed to get Xlibris to cancel my contract and hopefully my book “Dear Mr Len” will disappear from websites. Xlibris have cost me dearly and they need to be brought to justice.

      1. Hi, ¿Could you do something against Xlibris?
        Im stuck with them, I need to find a way out!!!!

        Did they have the copyright and isbn of your books? After terminating your contract? I hope you can help me with your experience.

      2. My husband signed with Xlibris a # of years ago. We got 2 yrs of $2. foreign income royalties & nothing since. This winter I’m getting phone calls from many companies wanting to republish hubby’s book. No contact for 5 years but lots now that he’s gone. I’ve talked to some new people, including Xlibris, about republishing but would have to get it away from Xlibris in order to deal with them. I have NO idea how to do this. Would I be jumping from the frying pan to the fire by going to 1 of these new companies?

    2. Hi, ¿Could you do something against Xlibris?
      Im stuck with them, I need to find a way out!!!!

      Did they have the copyright and isbn of your books? After terminating your contract? I hope you can help me with your experience.


  7. I published through iUniverse (Author Solutions) in 2010, and it was, first to last, a horrible, costly experience. I still have not made back the money I spent on their terrible editors and zero marketing, and super expensive book copies.

    How can I join the class action lawsuits against them?

  8. 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

    1. Dear Victor,

      Have you been published by a traditional publishing firm? If so, I would like to know the step you took to get your book published.

  9. 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.

    1. Oh man, I had to block this marketing hound dog from my phone. I kept rejecting his outlandish “book fairs”, (yah, $17,000; WTF)I sent him an e-mail on articles a few days ago on their “business practices” and BBB- complaints by Author Solutions (their parent company). Strangely, I haven’t heard back from him. Hmm, can’t image why?

  10. 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

  11. 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?

    1. 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

    2. 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

      1. Dear Nya-

        I was happy to hear something positive about IUniverse (Get Published LLC), whom I published my first book with. Since publishing I have looked at their BBB reviews and their rating with the alliance of independent authors, all pretty terrible, but perhaps they have heeded the reviews and changed their business model? The ALLi article above was dated 2015, I wish they would update it! The Have you cancelled your contract with them and moved on to, as you said, someone at the next level? If so, were there any problems in doing this?

        My main problem with them is that they receive as much or more per book sold than I do, even though they spend nothing on marketing and I spend thousands on it! Other self publishers take much less and give the authors sufficient royalties to help pay for marketing. I have purchased some of the IUniverse marketing plans with poor results so far. I felt they were 0% helpful through the publishing process but have now found two people in the company that are very helpful. My second book is a sequel so I’m torn between staying with them or moving on to greener pastures.

        Like you, I am selling the book myself, but in my opinion they charge way too much for the author to make some profit, if any. Were you able to negotiate a low enough price per book to make this work?

        Thanks for any help or comments that might assist me in dealing with this company.

        Douglas Hoff
        Honoring Anna

      2. Thank you, Nya. I was thinking the same thing. I never assumed the company would help me sell my book. I’m very specific about the products I want. I will not pay for anything more.

  12. 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

    1. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. 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

    1. 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?

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

      3. 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.

    2. 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.


      1. 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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