Monday, 18 May 2015
Sunday, 10 May 2015
Author Solutions massive advertising budget, based on the necessity to capture new authors (an estimated 27000 in 2015) is roughly a $100 million a year and that gets an awful lot of Internet space; the snare is set further afield in conferences, book fairs and the printed media buying advertising space, which is then sold on to authors at a considerable mark-up.
Despairing of an alternative, worn down by the frequency of the name in every possible media, our newbie may well succumb and tumble into the ever open arms, bearing their cheque book or credit card.
Staring at the screen, looking for a way past a wall where every brick seems to have the same name chiselled on it may seem insurmountable, but patience and a little digging, (any wall can be tunnelled under) will get you where you want to be. Keep an eye on what writers and bloggers are commenting on and discussing. Gather what information you can and if you have a question, ask it.
There is only one stupid question; it's the one you didn't ask, and you went away without the answer that could have made the difference!
What is blindingly obvious to the time served Veteran may seem like the deepest intangible mystery to the newcomer, and we were all newcomers once.
Wednesday, 6 May 2015
- Non-payment of royalties
- Making out-of-print works available for sale without the author's consent
- Excessive mark-up on advertising and review services
- Failure to deliver marketing services as promised
- Breach of Contract
- Informing the customers that add-ons will cost hundreds of dollars and charging their credit cards thousands
- Shaming and banning customers who go public with their stories
Barnes and Noble have never openly disclosed the connection, but a screen shot of the agreement between Barnes and Noble reveals Nook Press Author Services' company address as 1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, Indiana; the same as Author Solutions.
The actions against Author Solutions moved on in March when documents relating to the first class action were released into the public domain as part of the discovery process here and here. The documents include extracts from depositions taken from staff at Author Solutions. Mick Rooney at The Independent Publishing Magazine takes up the story and unpacks the depositions in The Case Against Author Solutions, Part 2 and Part 3, working through a number of the exhibits in detail and highlighting the responses to questions in red. The action has completed the discovery stage and filed for class certification on 26 February 2015
The questioner in the depositions is Oren Giskan, of Giskan Solotaroff Anderson and Stewart on behalf of the plaintiffs and individual under oral deposition are identified at the beginning of each exhibit, including two of the plaintiff authors, Jodi Foster, who had bought publishing services from iUniverse, an ASI owned and operated imprint and Mary C. Simmons, who had obtained services from iUniverse and Xlibris, unaware they are both owned by Author Solutions. Their questioner is noted as Mr Karagheuzoff, acting counsel for Author Solutions.
The final thoughts offered by Mick Rooney at the conclusion of Part 3 deserve careful study, whatever you may think about the standards and practises of this company, and there are authors who will sing the praises of Author Solutions and those who will decry their very existence from the rooftops. He is convinced the judge will grant certification, and with more actions likely in the future the story could rumble on for years, but proving deception may not be straightforward. The evidence pointing to the operation as a telemarketing company is not proof of deception; that is the task ahead for the plaintiff's legal team.
A serious issue is the cloaking of identity, there are companies who openly flaunt the connection where the respectability of Penguin Random House is emblazoned across the header, but other partners don't. The veneer of respectability is cracked and tarnished by Penguin's international expansion in the self-publishing market using Author Solutions as the service provider.
When an author begins searching for a publisher the questions are straightforward, even simple. What do I do next, where do I turn? The obvious first question is Find/search/choose my/ your publisher. So ask it, Google it, but before the itch to click takes you any further, read through the entries at the head of page one, and if you click and go further read the whole page, or if your patience is being eroded by your eagerness to find a way to make your book public, go straight to the bottom of the page, and read the footer - very carefully!
Friday, 24 April 2015
Lynne Cantwell pulls together the loose ends and links in a resume post at Indies Unlimited, rounding off the #PublisherFoul series for the time being
The whole series generated a fascinating insight into the trials and tribulations of independent authorship and publishing in an ever changing world. Where the predators lurk behind the glossy adverts and enticing promises, sadly often without foundation, and grief and sorrow may be no more than a click away.
Sunday, 19 April 2015
Balboa Press , part of Hay House Publishing made the list in the International Partnerships in the previous post, They are not alone, any hope that Penguin would improve the reputation of Author Solutions disappeared when the three Partridge operations, Africa, India and Singapore were established, this was more of the same, and with the new parent's blessing.
Author Solutions do not always disclose the imprints they are partnered with making it difficult, even impossible for an author to make an informed choice. Westbow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan makes no mention of the connection with Author Solutions, who trumpet the link from their own site, alongside Simon & Schuster's Archway and Reader's Digest LifeRich. The partnership between Abbott Press and Writer's Digest was broken up in June 2014, and the connection with Author Solutions: Abbott Press operates out of the same Liberty drive, Bloomington, address as Author Solutions.
The complaint lodged at the U.S. District Court, District of Southern Indiana against Author Solutions cites the company's main source of revenues as the authors themselves and the claims made for commercial success in publishing with them as lacking any foundation, because the relevant analysis required to support and justify the claims have never been carried out. The PDF of the complaint available from the website of Giskan Solotaroff Anderson & Stewart ( the link is in 3/25/2015 update towards the bottom of the page, Author Solutions deceptive practices) lists; Unjust Enrichment, Fraud and additional counts under the Indiana Deceptive Consumer Sales Act; the Indiana Senior Consumer Protection Act; The California Business And Professions Code; The California Unfair Competition Law, (Unfair Business Acts and Practices) and The California Unfair Competition Law (Fraudulent Business Acts and Practices).
The details behind these counts are listed within the complaint, and makes sobering reading. Promise after promise lifting the hopes and dreams of the authors are left broken and mangled as the marketing consultants work to extract larger and larger sums on the basis of unfounded and unsupportable claims,
Their are only two plaintiffs named on the second class action against Author Solutions. However, the size of the class is staggering, in 2011 27,500 publishing packages were sold, each one a potential class member. The class period is cited from April 26 2007 to the present day, with two sub classes, California residents who bought a package and or services whose services have not been fulfilled since April 26 2009, and Senior Authors, at least sixty years of age who made purchases and the services have not been fulfilled since July 1, 2009.
Whether you are looking at the numbers represented by the class action or the figures involved in the claim itself, the numbers are huge, and this story is going to run! There is definitely more to come.
Saturday, 11 April 2015
In the not too distant past the giants of publishing held sway over the road to print and the way forward lay through the Gatekeepers of tradition, the literary agent.
Saturday, 4 April 2015
March is traditionally supposed to come in like a Lion, roaring with the wintry weather blasting out of February and slowly slip into April, quiet as a lamb.
Lynne Cantwell's response, It's what Indies do?
Whatever the endorsement or lack of it, that might suggest; the stories kept coming into the site at Indies Unlimited, and the referee can be seen on the blog on the 2nd of April when Lynne Cantwell discussed the results of the #PublishingFoul author survey, her post runs through some of the results. An colourful set of pie charts illuminate the proceedings and the results make interesting reading,
Not all the stories involved crashing and burning, some recalled burnt fingers as Jacqueline Hopkins tells her story, a spot of due diligence and timely advice sought from another author. An Anonymous contributor offers caution from an ongoing dispute with a publisher and the hope that one day the story can be told with the real names included.
The March Madness is over, but the #PublishingFoul hashtag will continue and the intention is to keep an eye on the scammers, and see where it goes from here.