Author Solutions AKA AuthorHouse Gets The Chop

Author Solutions Gets The Chop

This article is now dated but remains online for reference value.

Penguin Random House has booted Author Solutions.

Media reports have confirmed the sale of Author Solutions by Penguin Random House.

It will abandon its venture into expensive self-publishing and concentrate on traditional publishing in the future.

Author Solutions is infamous

For those who may not know, Author Solutions is the parent company of vanity publishing companies and imprints including AuthorHouseiUniverseTrafford PublishingXlibris, Palibrio, and Booktango.

The following article in the Financial Times explains the reasons for the sale.

Penguin Random exits self-publishing

The world’s largest publisher has withdrawn from the self-publishing business, in effect admitting defeat in its controversial attempt to compete with Amazon’s own platform.

Penguin Random House said on Tuesday that it had sold Author Solutions, which allowed writers direct access to publishing tools, to an unnamed affiliate of US private equity firm, Najafi Companies. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but analysts said the price was likely to be a fraction of the $116m that Penguin paid for Author Solutions in 2012.

Penguin, owned by Pearson, merged with Random House, owned by German media group Bertelsmann, in 2013. Pearson sold the Financial Times in November.

Self-publishing has been growing rapidly, with more authors designing and selling their books without the backing of a traditional publishing house. Author Solutions has sought to capitalise by offering a variety of services to independent authors, including “web-optimised” press releases for $1,299 each.

The company was subject to frequent complaints from authors. Two class action lawsuits against Author Solutions were settled last September without the company admitting responsibility.

Orna Ross, the founder of the Alliance of Independent Authors, said that Author Solutions’ business practices were “problematic,” contrasting them with those of Amazon-owned CreateSpace. “The lesson for publishers is to be more author-centric, rather than trying to sell expensive and unnecessary services,” she said.

Author Solutions says it has worked with “more than 200,000 authors, helping them publish more than 250,000 titles” — suggesting that few customers use its services more than once. Its best-selling books to date include Andrea Perron’s ebook House of Darkness House of Light and Don Failla’s print title The 45 Second Presentation That Will Change Your Life.

Penguin Random House will limit itself to traditional publishing. “With this sale, we reaffirm our focus on consumer book publishing through our 250 imprints worldwide,” its chief executive Markus Dohle said.

It is no surprise that Author Solutions, aka Author House, has been sold off.

Their business model has often been called into question, and from my own experience, they used high-pressure selling techniques.

 

Annoying business practices

On three occasions, a representative from AuthorHouse pestered me for weeks on end, by phone and email, trying to get me to pay to publish my books with them.

At around $4,000 per book, why would I bother?

Even when I explained that it cost me nothing to self-publish my books, so I had no need for their services, they still continued to hound me.

All I can say after reading that Penguin Random House has shed Author Solutions is goodbye and good riddance.

Why spend, and waste, thousands of dollars for something that you can now by yourself, for free.

Never confuse vanity publishing with self-publishing.

For more information regarding AuthorHouse and Author Solutions, you may want to read our newer article about vanity publishers.

Note: While this article is now a little aged, it is still a timely warning to new authors to avoid vanity publishers such as AuthorHouse.

Derek Haines

A Cambridge CELTA English teacher and author with a passion for writing and all forms of publishing. My days are spent teaching English and writing, as well as testing and taming new technology.

9 thoughts on “Author Solutions AKA AuthorHouse Gets The Chop

  • September 27, 2020 at 10:42 am
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    I just recieved a cold call from Author Solutions today and then the email below. I XXX the man’s name out. I was wondering if this was legit and did a search and found your article here and I am glad I did!

    Hi Robert Deloyd,
    Are you still interested to publish your book with Xlibris Publishing?
    Thanks,
    xxxxxxxxx
    MANAGER
    Author Solutions

    Reply
  • September 2, 2020 at 9:23 am
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    Greetings Derek,

    The first extensive article above is mine, and I completely agree with the comments of other comment providers that came before. The Vanity Press is a needed feature in our society but they most be ,kept honest with contributors who are their bread and butter, Thanks for your reportage on this subject that has been neglected for a very long time.

    Reply
  • September 2, 2020 at 4:39 am
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    Greetings Writers and the Public;

    In 2011, after review of several vanity press publishers noted AuthorHouse was rated as number two, as being recommended as a publisher, so I contacted them from my home on Batam Island, Indonesia and signed for a package. Within a few weeks I submitted my bio work, Rogue Journey, Asia, 1935-1975. After submission it took a couple of months of correspondence over errors I and they had made in spelling, etc. which were not extensive, but never completely corrected by the House but was charged quite a bit for their haphazard editing.
    I believe I spent nearly $2000 to have the work published with still a dozen plus errors appearing in the book. I avoided any pressure on purchasing additional assistance. Some of it appeared ridiculous, i. e. completely editing the volume for six cents a word. So, I sat back and published. Was surprised the book was published and printed in the U. K. first as I waited for a couple of months and received a few royalties, $36, $50, and I believe $69.oo and then over the next severa quarters peanuts and then it stopped and silence. I inquired, was told it was early and must have patience, Shortly with a busy schedule I forgot about the book hoping and trusting for the best, but the best never came; yet, the book was appearing in second-hand outlets and am certain consistently while on Amazon Kindle. I wrote again, and again ,and then dropped my limited campaign thinking well I have published a book foe the world to see and it was enough and had a few copies not realizing the book lived on. Finally after years I realized the book’s title would sell more or less by itself, and made other inquiries, Actually it’s a darn good archive work of personal experience covering Japan, Korea, the U. S. and ten years with my family in Vietnam. Still There was No adequate feedback from the House.

    I withdrew the book from AuthorHouse in 2016 after making inquiries in the U, S. and U.K. Was told by the outlets (2-3) that by agreement they could not furnish the volume of its sales per the agreement with AuthorHouse, by then Author Solutions, and later incorporated with a couple dozen other vanity publishers, taking them over and forming a profitable monopoly of the entire vanity publishing industry. (There are rumors of Mafia interests, only rumors?)

    (It’ a very profitable business folks, when authors sleep)

    I wrote again, and complained asking what are the sales figures of the book, and got a firm letter with no explanation for my question. The figures? No explanation at all, So, the figures for sales are known only to the corporate organization, realizing negligent naive people, non-professional writers like me, and grandmas writing about their children and family matters have and would forget about their work submitted in good faith, of which many did. But, the sales continued with no reporting of the sales or royalties due to agreements with outlets, and perhaps on the internet with corporations like the giants Amazon, B & N, and individual outlets as in foreign countries, U.K, Canada, etc, Amazon must have made a significant amount of money by keeping quiet and I assume was cooperative with the House and others, but ignored the inquiries and complaints received by folks like me the undersigned. Amazon was along with the U, K. branch of Author Solutions may be culpable.

    A few of my complaints and threats are on Pissed Off Consumer, and with the BBB in Indiana which sided with the House in 2015-16, (Very early-on the AuthorHouses corporation was awarded a commendation for their services to the Bloomington community. (Nice building) By letting this matter go, I in probability have lost thousands of dollars over the years just like the other folks. I can name names of course because I have a few email letters in my files including the Terns and Agreement but these are underlying staff and not the executives.

    I a year ago phoned an attorney but when questioned, he asked me how many copies of the book were printed and I said initially I think 1,ooo or so, Well with that was enough he lost interest as too small a case for recovery, but I neglected to mention the internet, and telling him it could have been thousands more printed and unknown to me, (I was with them for nearly six years)

    Join a class action suit,…certainly, That’s my regrettable story, and am sticking to it.

    Ron Miller.

    PS: JUST TWO MONTHS AGO I REPUBLISHED ROGUE JOURNEY WORK ON AMAZON, I BELIEVE ONE CAN CAPTURE IT FOR ABOUT TEN DOLLARS OR LESS ON THE NET. I HAVE NOT SEEN IT BECAUSE IT IS PROHIBITED FROM APPEARING IN MOSLEM COUNTRIES DUE TO CONTENT, HAVE NOT HELD A COPY OF IT EITHER ALTHOUGH IT MAY APPEAR LATER AS A PAPERBACK. AMATEUR WRITERS DON’T GET STARY EYED ABOUT AMAZON EITHER, THE OWNER DURING A CONGRESSIONAL INVERVIEW STATED ON THE NET AMAZON GETS 70% OF THE FEE FOR READINGS THE AVERAGE, UNNEGOTIATED BOOK AND THE AUTHOR AND AGENTS INVOLVED SIMILAR TO THE HOUSE, ETC SPLIT THE 30%. I ASSUME THAT OKAY, AT LEAST IT’S SOMETHING.

    Reply
  • May 5, 2020 at 10:57 pm
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    Author House debiting me £810 for publishing, then a week later phoned wanting another £810 for marketing! When will it end?

    Reply
  • May 16, 2019 at 11:22 pm
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    I paid, I get no royalties, I finished the manuscript and then they created all types of road blocks from their Manila outsourced call center. $7,000 and NO SUPPORT no follow up. Even the President and his Operations person just ignores my certified letters asking for response. This is my 2nd NOVEL and I can not even get it published. The first novel after I paid to get it published, they sent me a check for $10.00 after 1,000 sold through wholesalers.

    Reply
    • May 20, 2020 at 10:10 pm
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      Sir, I had the same experience as my sales weren’t posted by Author Solutions. How did you find out your sales record. I’m already aware of Amazon so please don’t send Amazon ranking record.

      Reply
  • June 7, 2018 at 11:41 pm
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    Author Ripoff is most suitable for the so called company I am a victim as many others not getting any royaties for our book after paying Authorhouse thousands of pounds May they reap what they sow……

    Reply
    • May 20, 2020 at 10:12 pm
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      Let’s start another class action lawsuit, please.

      Reply
      • October 9, 2020 at 5:01 pm
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        Agree that should like to see clear up of Author House and share of damages.. Spent too much for my title “Plotting to stop the British Slave Trade: James Bruce and his secret mission in Africa.” I hurried to finish it while I was ill and able to keep a check on proofing proceedings and fulfilment of marketing.
        I am sure that they should be proven illegal on at least ground that they claim to have a London branch but do not. They have no office here — and cannot even digitally follow British usage and spelling conventions.
        If anyone is still trying joint law suit I’d be glad to support, discuss, help.

        Reply

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