Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Author Scams

Writer Beware !

None of us wants to be told we’re acting childish.

Author Scams from Author Solutions

Image courtesy of Umut Kemal ~

Yet, how many times have you thrown caution to the wind, thrust your trust out front, and been sorely burned because you didn’t act in a completely mature manner?

I’m 68 and I still, occasionally, do that—though much less than in my fifties :-)

But, if you’ve spent years creating a novel and you’ve decided to not wait years for a possible contract with a traditional publisher and you’re sure you want to self-publish (and, you’ve been very adult in making the decision to self-publish), you might still be scammed by one of the shadiest companies on the planet.

One of the best people I know who’s been sniffing-out the tactics of this particular company is David Gaughran.

And, if you take that last link, do click on all the menu tabs at the top—he has some of the best advice for writers wanting to explore self-publishing

I’ve featured David in nine other posts ; but, his most recent post—The Case Against Author Solutions, Part 1: The Numbers—deserves a few excerpts to encourage you to go read it:

(What this scamming company does to find the people they dupe—bolding by me…)

As if that weren’t enough to make you act like a discerning adult, how about the “marketing packages” they push once they’ve hooked someone:

“Author Solutions uses high-pressure tactics and emotional button-pushing to sell these wholly unsuitable, completely ineffective, and hugely overpriced marketing services to these inexperienced writers. The papers filed in the class action suit mirror the hundreds of complaints that I’ve received and read in this regard also.”

And what about that traditional publisher who bought Author Solutions—Penguin Random House?

Here’s what the Chairman said when they merged:

“We spent time getting to know the people [at Author Solutions] and their sophisticated operation. They have skills that can help us at Penguin.”


If you’re considering having your book published, don’t let the innocence of your youthful spirit stunt your growth as an author—do, go read David’s full article (and, bookmark his site so you can read Part 2).
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Help! I’ve Been Scammed!!

scam It appears that, just as big banking can get away with anything they do, so can big publishing.

Consider this answer to a comment on David Gaughran‘s blog [bolding by me]:

“…Author Solutions has proved to be an expert at creating a veneer of legitimacy. Appearing at literary festivals…is just one small aspect of that grand plan (and it really doesn’t help when they are invited to speak onstage at events like BEA either).

“Think about that (faux) legitimacy for a second. They are owned by the largest publisher in the world – Penguin Random House. They have partnerships with HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Writers Digest, Hay House, Sony, Overdrive and Lulu – all respected companies. For example, if you go to the Sony Ebookstore and look for information on how you can publish there, you are sent to Author Solutions…and it’s the same with Overdrive.

“On top of that, they run a number of fake websites, purporting to be independent publishing information sites, that only recommend Author Solutions companies.

“The people they target aren’t experienced writers/self-publishers. They target those *without* experience (and the knowledge and instincts that come with experience). These people look at the companies partnering with them, look at the company that owns them, see the festivals they appear at, see their ads in places like the New York Times and the Bookseller and they think ‘these guys must be okay.’”

That rather lengthy quote was just one of the 38 comments on David Gaughran’s post, Author Solutions Takes Signing Scam To Miami Book Fair.

I’m glad I was poor when I got serious about getting published.

I didn’t have the thousands of dollars unsuspecting writers pay to companies like this

Some of David’s commenters claim that anyone spending thousands without investigating a deal deserves it; yet, Gaughran responds, “I really don’t blame anyone for falling for it.”

From the body of that blog post is revealed the sickening fact that Author Solutions made half a million dollars at the Miami Book Fair in 2012.

And, guess what? You can get scammed this year, too. Unless you heed the warnings, calm your fevered author’s heart, and do the hard work book promotion demands


Penguin Random House owns Author Solutions yet they have other operations like the $9,600 dollar scam offered through Simon & Schuster in that image.

And, they have a few other aliases they work under: AuthorHouse, Xlibris, iUniverse, Trafford, and Palibrio.

A couple of David’s commentors mentioned that an author could spend only $1,000 and have their own booth for the book fair.

Do you feel outrage at these companies or do you feel anyone paying them deserves what happens?

I published my latest book for $300 and I’m using my Sweat Equity to, slowly, encourage folks to read it—long haul promotion

There’s another good place to get info on author scams and I certainly hope my readers will share this kind of information, as widely as possible
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
* Google Author Page

GRAB A FREE COPY of Notes from An Alien

Select as many as you like:

How Can Writers Avoid Being Scammed?

A writer sheds blood, over many months or years, to finish a creative work.

They strive, for many more months or years, to attract a traditional publisher.

They finally grow weary and anxious and fall into a publishing scam

I feel lucky I avoided the years of attracting a traditional publisher by taking the non-traditional path sooner than many.

I was also lucky in finding a “publishing-aid company”, FastPencil, that’s reputable.

I like to think my Muse guided me to FastPencil since there are so many seemingly attractive “options” open to aspiring writers these days.

I discovered an article recently on the Accredited Online Colleges site called, 10 Common Self-Publishing Scams You Should Be Aware Of.

I’ll give you their list but be aware that each topic-heading in the article is hot-linked to another article on that particlular subject:

Excessively flattering offers
Promises that are too good to be true
Copyrighting tricks
Crazy contracts
Suspect marketing
Vanity publishing
Guaranteeing success
Promises to make your book “available”
Editor services and referrals
Offering discounts to authors for resale

I’ll also direct you toward a site run by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and sponsored by the Mystery Writers of America, WRITER BEWARE.

This site has been around quite awhile and is of help to aspiring authors even if they never go near the indicated genres :-)

And, to stay on the bleeding-edge of nefarious activity, they also have the Writer Beware Blog.

If you’ve heard about or been involved in any publishing scams, please share with us in the Comments
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

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