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.
“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.
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.
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!