Author Solutions’ Deceptive Practices

Giskan Solotaroff Anderson & Stewart has filed a class action suit against Author Solutions, a major self-publishing house owned by Penguin Random House. Unlike every other traditional publisher, Author Solutions seeks to make money FROM authors not FOR them.

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.

Author Solutions runs a number of imprints, including iUniverse, AuthorHouse, Trafford, and Xlibris, but each imprint essentially offers the same deceptive services.

Author Solutions also contracts with several traditional publishers (or “partners”) to create additional imprints, as listed below. This gives authors inflated hopes of being discovered by a traditional publisher, even though the services offered are the very same useless services performed by Author Solutions, only at a higher price. Many of the partners do not disclose Author Solutions’s participation in the partnership.

The partners and their imprints are:

Thomas NelsonWestBow
Hay HouseBalboa Press
Simon & SchusterArchway
Reader’s DigestLifeRich
Writer’s DigestAbbott Press
GuidepostsInspiring Voices

Author Solutions deceptively markets its service in a number of ways. For instance, Authors Solutions has never analyzed whether these expensive “marketing services” help an author’s book sales. Second, it calls its team of telemarketers, largely based at a call center in the Philippines, “Publishing Consultants,” “Marketing Consultants,” or “Book Consultants” to give the impression that these employees have publishing or marketing experience and will guide the author through the process. In reality, these “consultants” are simply commissioned salespeople. None of this is disclosed to authors.

The services themselves are often worthless. Author Solutions offers a number of “Hollywood Book-to Screen Packages” that are marketed to authors who dream of optioning their books for TV or film. Authors Solutions bombards authors with offers for this service through email and telephone calls but fails to disclose that authors have almost no chance of having their book optioned through this process. In fact, at most, only one book has ever actually been optioned through the purchase of an expensive Author Solutions Hollywood service.

To understand the actual value of these services it might be wise to look at the experience of someone who knows the system well. Author Solutions’s own Editorial Services Manager has published seven books with Author Solutions. Although he was certainly interested in book sales, he did not purchase a single marketing service from AS. Not a single one.

Author Solutions exploits the hopes and dreams of aspiring authors who Authors Solutions knows will never recoup the money they pay to Author Solutions.

UPDATE 3/24/2015: New class action complaint filed against Author Solutions. To see the complaint, please click here.

To follow the case, please check back on our website for updates. If you have self-published with Author Solutions or any of its brands, please fill out the form below to describe your experience, whether positive or negative.

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