The “swindling tactics” of Author Solutions

My (first) book, Toxic Capitalism, was published through AuthorHouse UK, which, as I found out later, is part of the global book publishing company, Author Solutions (AS).
In 2012 Pearson (who owns Penguin) bought Author Solutions, the parent company of dozens of self-publishing brands including iUniverse, AuthorHouse, Xlibris, Trafford and Palibrio as well as media companies FuseFrame, PitchFest, Author Learning Center and BookTango. Add to the club: Archway, Partridge, etc.
So, when I opted for AuthorHouse UK, I was simply falling into the scam trap of Author Solutions.
I was lucky to get this link:
http://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2013/02/19/penguins-solution-for-authors-one-racket-to-rule-them-all/
The excellent overview is highly critical of all those AS self-publishing companies. “Author Solutions’ modus operandi is pretty despicable, and they’ve been badgering, swindling and confusing writers out of money—and lots of it—for years.”. “Author Solutions is incapable of handling day-to-day operations for their current customers. Erroneous royalty reports and non-payment of royalties are frequent complaints given by authors”. And so on, reads the review.

My personal major complaints:

-  Services they offer to “promote and market” the book are misleading, overpriced and largely useless;
-  The media promotions they announce are simply opening accounts at Facebook, Twitter etc. and making e-mail address. That’s all. Anyone can do that.
-  The editing work was somehow reasonable but far from being perfect; I agree that my book is difficult because of the specialized vocabulary.
-  The transition from the approved manuscript to the publishing version was a disaster: they built in far over 100 mistakes that I failed to see at first; most were removed in the e-book version.
-  I have to pay IRS tax for books that are not even that much sold in the USA; they are printed and shipped from the UK; were they not a UK company?
- They still pay by CHECK, who still uses that in the 21st  century? An send them by snail mail to China. Result: you get nearly nothing left of the royalties. As the sales lady made the mistake to promise me by e-mail payment by electronic transfer, they are now a bit in a bind; as for now payments are on hold.
- Their reports on sales/royalties are slow. Still waiting for their 4Q 2012 report.
- Overall the major problem is the lack of coordination. A writer has no single contact person who can guide him through the different departments. Instead, we are sent from one person to another, each time for a different reason or step in the process. Each new individual has no idea about the writer’s background and previous discussions.
- AS always asks us to call. As people like me are on the other side of the world, that is very inconvenient time wise, always troublesome to call internationally. E-mail addresses are mostly general, so one does not know whom to contact. It is like walking in the dark.
-  Any payments need to be done through the phone. This is so-called for “security reasons”. Seems Amazon and others are more advanced and you can simply execute the payments online. Once again, AS has not yet entered the 21st century.

So, be warned. Don’t fall for their trap.
I will have to look around for other options if I have a new book.

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