Home » Big Publishing, David Gaughran » Authors Guild Dumps Author Solutions (And Pretends It Was All A Bad Dream)

Authors Guild Dumps Author Solutions (And Pretends It Was All A Bad Dream)

30 May 2015

From David Gaughran:

The Authors Guild – which bills itself as America’s leading writers’ organization – has terminated its partnership with Author Solutions.

The Authors Guild joins companies like Bowker, Writers’ Digest, and Crossbooks in cutting links to Author Solutions – a company which has faced a sustained campaign from writers targeting its deceptive and exploitative practices, as well as multiple class actions which are still working their way through the courts.

. . . .

The announcement was made yesterday at Book Expo America, but the Authors Guild decided to bury its own lede. No mention is made of Author Solutions, just a brief mention of the subsidiary which the Authors Guild was partnered with: iUniverse. If I hadn’t been waiting for this announcement, I would have missed it.

It’s almost as if the Authors Guild is trying to airbrush its partnership with Author Solutions from the history books. As if it was all just a bad dream.

. . . .

None of this stopped the Authors Guild renewing its partnership with Author Solutions in 2008, and again in 2011. As an organization purporting to represent its members best interests, surely it would have been aware of the terrible reputation of Author Solutions companies, and how much service levels at iUniverse had deteriorated. Was there another reason why the Authors Guild was so reluctant to terminate this partnership?

. . . .

If you want to verify any of this information, it has all now been wiped from the Authors Guild’s BackInPrint.com website… but the internet never forgets.

. . . .

Things get more bizarre the more you look around. BackInPrint.com had a humorous eligibility requirement. It would only publish work by Authors’ Guild members (understandable), and

Only books that have been previously published by an established U.S. publishing house (no vanity presses or self-published) are eligible.

Wut? That makes no sense at all! It’s like an Irish pub with a “No Irish” sign in the window.

. . . .

I could go on and on about how terrible a publishing option this was – how metadata was routinely screwed up, how the books were overpriced and in the wrong categories, how crappy the covers were because members could only choose between three colors, how Author Solutions’ sales reps attempted to upsell worthless marketing packages, how iUniverse published digital editions of members’ books without permission – but the key point is that publishing with iUniverse was the only self-publishing method recommended by the Authors Guild.

. . . .

I could go on and on about how terrible a publishing option this was – how metadata was routinely screwed up, how the books were overpriced and in the wrong categories, how crappy the covers were because members could only choose between three colors, how Author Solutions’ sales reps attempted to upsell worthless marketing packages, how iUniverse published digital editions of members’ books without permission – but the key point is that publishing with iUniverse was the only self-publishing method recommended by the Authors Guild.

Link to the rest at Let’s Get Digital

Here’s a link to David Gaughran’s books

Big Publishing, David Gaughran

13 Comments to “Authors Guild Dumps Author Solutions (And Pretends It Was All A Bad Dream)”

  1. Saw this yesterday and had to laugh. Hard to claim you’re ‘for’ authors if you’re buddy-buddy with ASI.

    The real question is; are they really cleaning up their act — or did they find an even worse (for writers) thing to team up with?

    • They’re recommending their members use Open Road Media, a legitimate company.

      • For the moment, yes. I just wonder though how much/what it took for them to finally change their tune, and how little it might take to have them ‘not’ having authors’ best interest at heart again. (not that I’m sure they have anyone’s best interest than their own at heart as it is …)

        • Yeah, considering the AS deal had to be lucrative for them, you have to wonder how much pressure from members it took for them to ditch it.

        • I just wonder though how much/what it took for them to finally change their tune

          David Gaughran reported that iUniverse kicked back 10% of the take to Author’s Guild. I don’t know, but my guess is that Open Road agreed to kick back more.

          Follow the money.

      • I wonder how much they were paid for the endorsement. I assume they had to be, because otherwise they could recommend a number of valuable services to their members, including self-publishing. If they were in the business of helping authors, that is.

        • Perhaps the publishers paid AG better to point those authors the publishers didn’t want/need at things like ASI …

          (and then they found themselves unmasked and the wheels coming off — or the publishers have stopped paying …)

  2. David Gaughran has done yeoman’s work on this important subject. Thanks to Dave and to PG for boosting the signal. We need to let future marks… ahem… newb writers know about this scam… I mean, scheme.

  3. I vaguely recall a time when, pre-ASI partnership, iUniverse was actually considered… not great, but about on par with Lulu (in fact, had a better reputation than Lulu at the time). Had a friend (who I’ve since lost contact with) publish a book through them in November of 2003 (I went and checked the date) and his experiences were generally positive at the time.

    Now. in that day, the self-publishing stigma was somewhat deserved, and there wasn’t much difference between self-publishing through a “reputable” POD service and a vanity press (outside of a few fewer boxes of books molding in your garage). But even in those pre-ASI days, a few of the things my friend said his iUniverse representatives were telling him sounded an awful lot like the ASI propaganda machine at work.

    It’s amazing that the reputation of self-publishing has risen to the level it has, when companies like iUniverse were at the forefront of the technological advancements that have made it viable, today.

  4. Heheheheheheheh!

  5. Anyone remember Sally Watson?

    She wrote marvelous historical fiction for younger readers. I discovered her in fifth grade (1970-1971) when I read Lark and Linnet from the library. Some of my favorite books ever.

    I’d forgotten all about her for decades, when something brought Lark to my mind. I wanted to read it again, so I went looking.

    Given that I didn’t remember either the title or the author (really!), it took me a while, but I did eventually succeed. I bought used copies of both Lark and Linnet, re-read them, and enjoyed them tremendously.

    Then I started seeking out her other titles. She’d written quite a few. (As a 10-year-old, it had never occurred to me that she might have written books not carried by the local library! Yes, I was naive and ill-informed!)

    I soon discovered that although her older books were out of print, she’d written some new ones. Wow! What a find! There they were on Amazon, so I ordered them.

    And read them when they arrived. And enjoyed them. She was every bit as good as she’d ever been.

    BUT, but, but

    Those later works were “published” by iUniverse. It made me so sad that one of my favorite authors had gotten caught by that rapacious organism.

    Publication dates of 2006 (The Outrageous Oriel), 2007 (The Delicate Pioneer), and 2008 (The Missing Queen), so it’s the more egregious years of iUniverse that Gaughran describes.

    I haven’t looked lately to see if Sally Watson is in better hands, but I sure hope so. I wonder if the Author’s Guild steered her to iUniverse.

    She’s a magnificent writer and storyteller and she deserves far, far better than iUniverse/ASI.

  6. Author Solutions? Who Author Solutions?

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