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AuthorHouse Review

AuthorHouse Self Publishing Book Company AuthorHouse is one of the best known, and most widely-used, print on demand self-publishers, but it did not begin so auspiciously.  It was started in 1997 as 1st Books by an author who was fed up with rejections.  Unfortunately, 1st Books was met with a barrage of complaints about the service – including print quality and being overly-charged at an hourly rate for services.  In 2001, 1st Books got a facelift and changed its name to AuthorHouse.  Since that point, it has grown steadily and hasn’t been targeted with the same type of complaints as 1st Books – which some call a scam, some call growing pains.

I would side with the latter, as AuthorHouse has become one of the central subsidy publishers, along with iUniverse, which is owned by the same corporation, Author Solutions.  This is due to the quality of AuthorHouse’s books.  It is used frequently by authors who are more serious about the quality and marketability of their books – unlike a service like Lulu, which is used by anyone and everyone, and are often published using the same pre-designed templates.

AuthorHouse has three main packages, starting at $598 to $1298.  The $598 package has everything you need, and the premium packages do not offer a lot more for the much heftier price tag: nearly $400 more for the next level package.  The Essential package includes:

  • One on one support – work with the designers to get input on the direction of your book’s cover.  By all accounts, AuthorHouse actually does take its author input seriously.
  • Custom cover/interior design, including interior images – AuthorHouse generally has higher-quality book covers
  • ISBN
  • Galley copies to check quality
  • Online distribution
  • Marketing consultation (basically amounts to them selling you extra marketing services, but nice that the consultation is gratis)

That’s a pretty good list of features for the low level package – the same price as iUniverse’s basic package.  The next level up offers ebook publishing and distribution, which you could handle yourself, plus a book buyer’s preview, which is nice, but doesn’t quite seem worth $400.  The Premier program will also send you 10 copies of your book, which could save you $150 and up, depending on the length of your book.

The top tier Premium package offers an author photo on the back of the book.  Really, ebook distribution and author photo should be included regardless, so this seems like an oversight.  The more expensive packages should include more-advanced book design and marketing, as is the case with other subsidy publishers like Outskirts and Mill City Press.  As with other self-publishers, there are a number of other add-ons available: custom cover illustration, online and offline marketing, editorial services, and the like, which are decently priced.  Some of these can be fairly expensive for the most-extensive programs: the Premium Publicist program, for example, costs $9,999.

For someone who wants a hands-off self-publishing experience, in which someone else is handling most of the work – and you’ve got money to pay for more-extensive marketing – AuthorHouse is a good choice.

Update 7/11/13: This post was written before the Kindle/ebook revolution when hiring a print on demand firm was more viable. It was also written before many of the problems with Author Solutions had come to light. Leaving the post up for all of the comments from writers below.

About Henry Baum

Avatar of Henry Baum
Author of The American Book of the Dead, which won Best Fiction at the DIY Book Festival and the Gold IPPY Award for Visionary Fiction. Largehearted Boy says it's "reminiscent of Philip K. Dick and Haruki Murakami, a book that boldly explores the future and defies genre." Also the author of North of Sunset, winner of the Hollywood Book Festival Grand Prize, and The Golden Calf - first published by Soft Skull Press, with editions in the U.K. (Rebel Inc.) and France (Hachette Littératures). He was a finalist along with Alan Moore and Dr. Brooke Magnanti for his novel " God's Wife" for Best Writer at The Erotic Awards London UK in 2013. He lives with his wife Cate Baum in Los Angeles. He's the founder of SPR.

204 comments

  1. Authorhouse is a joke from cover to cover. Don’t waste your time, your money or your sanity. It would take me ten pages to summarise their EXTENSIVE list of screw ups… and don’t think for a minute that I’m the only one.. the only thing Authorhouse does well is keeping their competition in business. From broken promises and outright lies– from preposterously overpriced and useless advertising to voluminous formatting errors and total disregard for privacy, count yourslef lucky if you get to complain to the same person twice. They run the business like a shell game– once they have your money in pocket — its gone, and so is their effort. Above all things, if you choose to self publish, remember that authorhouse doesn’t give a rip whether or not you sell books– its unlikely that they even read what they publish– resulting in their total disregard for the end product. If you have written and edited and edited and edited and edited a book until it is polished and perfect– be prepared to edit it another eight times once they get their hands on it!!!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 8

    • I can’t believe this. I signed with them in june and haven’t had too many problems yet. They kept charging my account and my bank made them give it back.
      We need to keep in touch .

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 7

    • Avatar of Val

      I work with Authorhouse as a Publishing Consultant and I think your post here is quite unfair. I had to defend my company since we worked hard to give our authors the best. If you have complaints, you can always call your Author Assistant and they are always there for you. In case you forgot Sir, we also need your collaboration on every stage of the publishing process, we wont change anything on your manuscript unless we have your approval. Here’s the overview of the process:

      Complete and Sign AuthorHouse Contract
      You’ll begin the book publishing process by speaking with a Publishing Consultant to discuss your project goals. From copy editing to promotional press releases, you have the flexibility to create a custom project plan for the submission, production and promotion of your self-published book.

      Submit Your Materials
      Once you have completed an AuthorHouse contract, you will submit your materials for self-publishing. A Check-in Coordinator will contact you two to three business days after you sign your contract to discuss where and in what format to send your materials. Your CIC will work with you directly until we have all the materials we need to create the initial copy of your cover and galley. Your CIC will also send you a Submission Information Form where you will indicate any specifications you have for the design of your cover and interior.

      Review Initial Book Cover & Interior Design
      After the Check-in Coordinator has received all of your materials, he or she will assign your book to a Design Team and the design process for your cover and galley will begin. Within 10 to 15 business days (two to three business days for Rapid Release customers), you will receive the completed initial cover and galley.

      Participate in Review Call with Your Design Consultant
      After sending your cover and galley for review, your Design Consultant will call you within two to three business days to discuss any changes (if any) you want made to the design of your book. If more in-depth conversation is needed, a time will be set up for you to discuss your concerns with your Cover Designer or Book Designer in more detail.

      Approve Your Cover and Galley
      When the layout of your book is complete and you’re comfortable with how everything looks, you will approve your cover and interior galley. Before your book is sent to the printer, you’ll choose your royalty percentage and set the selling p

      For all of you here, don’t just believe on every posts, some of those who post nasty comments here belong to our competitors. Do your research, be informed, check on reliable websites. For more reliable feedback, check our Better Business Bureau rating, we are rated A+ by the BBB, which means we conduct in good faith with our business. Here’s our BBB rating: http://www.bbb.org/indianapolis/business-reviews/publishers-book/author-solutions-inc-in-bloomington-in-32002554/

      To our authors who has complaints, or you want to know more on the publishing process, call me or email me. I can answer your questions. I can assure you that we are not the ones projected here. If you want to publish a book, you can contact me at 877-820-5393 my extension is 5880, look for Val Seno, my business hours is 12 noon to 9 pm EST, Mondays to Fridays. I can explain to you the whole process. I will not be selling you right away our services, instead it’a a consultative process. We will be asking you your needs and your goals and we recommend you solutions. Looking forward to hear from you soon, I’m here to help you and assist you with every questions.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 13

      • Whoever the apologist within Authorhouse may be, one sentence negates everything this person says: “To our authors who HAS complaints…” Who HAS complaints? What brand of English is that? It’s To our authors who HAVE complaints!! That alone is enough to make smart people scurry away from this fraud-ridden company–who also own iUniverse and Xlibris.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 8

        • I asked them if they were affiliated with Xlibris who took my BF for a lot of $$$. They outright lied and said they weren’t. They made everything sound good but yet I’m seeing a rerun of Xlibris. They have so overpriced my book that it won’t sell. I hate being lied to while they take vacations on my money. They act so offended when I call them out on things. Lately I can’t even post on Twitter or FB without them reading my tweets or status reports. I plan to take them to court, I have a winning lawyer. I need people with proof that Author Solutions aka AH has srewed them over to join me.

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        • Whoever “Val” is, I agree with Ron that the post is riddled with errors. I now understand why I’m in possession of a book I purchased that has excellent content, but where the lack of editing detracts substantially from the enjoyment of reading it. This book was published 02/20/2014. I will never again trust the name of “authorHouse” when purchasing any book. The book I purchased is filled with spelling and grammar errors such as those found in Val’s post. One wonders whether authorHouse actually retypes the entire book, adding their own typos and uneducated form of English, prior to publishing. I did experience this situation when working years ago for a company that ordered printed books from China. As the author, I was horrified to find that my original, correct content was bastardized to the point of incomprehension. If I were attempting to publish a book, I would avoid this company like the plague. Thankfully, I’ve never used them, myself.

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      • You wrote a commercial for Author House. I guess that happens when you work FOR them. The procedures that you wrote about can be found in the website advertisement. Your verbose and lenghthly rambling did not contribute anything to the discussion. One can but wonder did you write your “review” while you were on Author House’s time clock.

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      • Yes, Val, what you have posted here rings somewhat accurate. Except, you forgot to mention that AuthorHouse also steals authors’ royalties and commits Tax Fraud! AuthorHouse takes it upon itself to sell the Intellectual Property of an author in e-book format, without the written permission of the author and without ever consulting with the author (the rightful owner of the property) what the “Royalties” amount would be! AuthorHouse simply moves forward with the property of others, and then pockets what royalties are gained from this fraudulent move! Be honest, Val, your employer is a crook, and you know it but you need your job and therefore you look the other way!

        Authors beware: Currently, this company is a Goliath, in tax fraud and money laundering/stealing authors’ royalties, making Madoff, and the crime that he committed, look like a peon next to these bigwigs.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

    • I have experienced all these horrific experiences with authourhouse. I did the layout and editing and on to my5 rep in the phillipines and no changes. I am in now for 2 years and no book. My boyfriend agreed its a shell game. I want to start a class action suit or do we know if one exists. Please contact me if you would like to be part of a class action suit. Or call the state attorneys office. There is also a lawfirm in chicago who is familiar with this company.

      And to the employee of authourhouse who posted earlier. I wonder if u r still employed there considering their turnover rate

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

    • I so wish I had found your post before I signed with them. I went with Balboa Press because they are supposed to be a sub-division of Hay House. Only to find out later it is really Author House. I can’t even begin to tell you what a horrible experience it has been. They are a nightmare. I spent thousands of dollars having it flawlessly edited and formatted and this company has made so many mistake with it is unbelievable. Literally a tragedy. The quality of the work is so poor I can’t even comprehend how it could be so bad. I really think Hay House should be completely ashamed of themselves for affiliating with this company.

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    • Daniel Francisco O'Brien-Kelley

      I publihed with Authorhouse and found them to be first rate. Like dealing with a law firm, I suppose a lot has to do with who handles you. I continue to deal with their Richard Pascual who could not be more attentive when it comes to customer service.

      O’Brien-Kelley

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    • Last year, Penguin purchased self-publishing conglomerate Author Solutions. Author Solutions are regarded as the dominant player in the self-publishing services market – via their subsidiaries Author House, Xlibris, Trafford, and iUniverse. They also have business links with Abbott Press, Archway Publishing, West Bow Press, Harlequin Horizons, Balboa Press, Writers Digest, and Lulu.
      Money talks and Author Solutions has around $100m in annual revenue. Roughly two-thirds of that money comes from the sale of services to writers, and only one-third from the royalties generated by the sale of their books. So, Penguin did not purchase a company which provides real value to writers. They purchased an operation skilled at milking writers.

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  2. I don’t get how this jibes with the rest of what you wrote:

    “If you have written and edited and edited and edited and edited a book until it is polished and perfect– be prepared to edit it another eight times once they get their hands on it!!!”

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    • I not only edited my book ad infinitum over the year and half it took to write it, but with 30 years behind me as a newspaper writer I thought nothing could go wrong, that my book would be formatted exactly as I wrote it. Wrong. Now after 9 months of correcting mistakes that were not in the original manuscript, only to have it come back with new mistakes, I gave up and accepted the mess. At my age I don’t want to waste anymore time arguing with their so-called “professionals.” I’m embarrassed to have anyone read it and so I won’t be marketing it. It’s going to family only and even there I’m compelled to tell them that all the mistakes they’ll see are not mine. Every time I asked for corrections, they added on charges. The result is that Author House was a $2,000 mistake I’ll never live down. One last caveat – I never saw my contract until I insisted on it. Then they emailed me 3 pages of blurry text that were unreadable. If you haven’t yet decided on a self-publisher, save your time and your money. In my experience, Author House was a big bust.

      PS: They also listed my book on Amazon and Barnes months (yes, months) before it was ready to be seen, resulting in sales I’ll never be able to find out about because they refuse to tell me.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 3

      • I spent three months formatting my book to their specs. I get what they came up with and well my formatting was out the window. The editor (J Swing) who took so many days off wanted to scream! He reformatted my book to its original state said it looked better that way. He made other deliberate mistakes which I demanded correcting. I asked that they bring down the inflated price and they ignored me. My book went from 392 pages to 697 pages so they could charge more. I’m in purgatory, their so called media champaign sends you to web castors, late night radio shows and people who arent book reviewers let alone interested. I wish I’d done way more research.

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    • If I may? : ) Whenever you make corrections, it is on an old fashioned “form” on your computer. You go line by line by line putting page number, paragraph number, old content or mistake, and the replacement text. After a few hundred more dollars, Authorhouse will make the “corrections–” without ever looking at your book. Just going by the form. It is quite archaic and inaccurate. The text needs to be read to see if changes have created problems with gender, number, tense, etc.. Only the human eye can do this. Is this kind of what you were asking?

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  3. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 9

    • Jessica, I am nervous! I have not really had any problems with them. Christopher has always called me back. I do not want to go a step further until I know what’s up. After reading all the bad things it’s good to see the good come out from someone. I keep looking at Bernice and Andy Tate. I am trying to reach them. They have published several books with Authorhouse and they are doing good. But my husband is upset because of the reviews. I spent my last of savings on this book.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

      • so did I. I have a whole different team working with me. They take vacations a lot. Wonder why we can’t? Don’t give them another dime!

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    • Jessica, your book is being advertised on a Home Depot website. I hope that you did not pay Author House an advertising fee.

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  4. Feeling Cheated

    I disagree with Mr. Baum. AuthorHouse is not a good choice. AuthorHouse makes most its money from its authors, not from sales to readers—which are very few, at least in my case (3 books). It makes money off the author during the publishing process and makes most the profit when a book is sold. And most of the books sold are those sold to the author, not to the buying public. I have a paperback novel with AuthorHouse that sells for $20. I earn about a dollar per book.

    Part of the problem is that AuthorHouse makes so much money from production that the books are priced beyond what customers will pay for them, such as $20 for a paperback. If the author wishes to sell the book for less than the recommended price, he makes little or nothing. The result is the books don’t sell. But AuthorHouse doesn’t care because, as I said, it makes its money from the author: from high production profits, books sold to the author, and lots of other expensive options and services. Also, AuthorHouse keeps the rights to the final PDF format of the book and the cover art—even though in my case I selected the designs for my books. Thus if you want to go to a different publisher, you have to start the entire process all over again.

    I published three books with AuthorHouse for over $10,000 (much more if the costs of the books I bought is included) and have earned about a $100–that right one hundred dollars. It’s not unusual to receive a royalty check for just a few dollars—even less than two dollars—for a book you devoted a couple years to writing. So why did I keep publishing with AuthorHouse? Because I was uninformed and just assumed that self-published authors can’t expect to make money—though I always hoped I would at least make some money. Also, I became used to the publishing process at AuthorHouse and didn’t want to have to learn a new procedure.

    To be fair to AuthorHouse it puts out an attractive product—if the author is willing to stay very much involved the publishing process, including editing and cover design, because a lot of formatting and correction errors occur at AuthorHouse’s end. Still, if no one reads your book, then what’s the point? Certainly, the satisfaction of writing a book is important, but after paying thousands of dollars for all the bells and whistles it’s disappointing to sell less than a dozen copies of your books.

    So how did I wise up? In the process of finding a new publisher, I read Mark Levine’s The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, which reviews most of the larger self-publishing publishers. I admit to being totally depressed when I read that AuthorHouse falls into Mr. Levine’s PUBLISHERS TO AVOID category and realized that now I can do little about AuthorHouse having my books. I certainly can’t afford to republish them. I wish I had read Mr. Levine’s book earlier, but it came after I had published my books with AuthorHouse. Nevertheless, better late than never for my next book and for those of you who are interested in self-publishing, which I believe can be a terrific experience.

    So don’t take Mr. Baum’s word about AuthorHouse. Read Mr. Levine’s books. I published three books with AuthorHouse and agree with Mr. Levine.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

    • Who would you suggest to publish with? Cost per book is very important. Thanks. Ann

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      • Avatar of Henry Baum

        Createspace or Lightning Source.

        Re: the above comment. “My word” about AuthorHouse is that it’s not ideal, but it’s convenient if you keep the cost low by not buying a bunch of other needless services besides printing. I don’t know how you managed to spend $10,000 on three books. And it’s not AuthorHouse’s fault that your book didn’t sell. That’s always what I maintain – AuthorHouse=not ideal. Authors=do your homework.

        Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7

        • It is ‘authorhouse’ who are supposed to promote and sell the book, at least place it in the right avenues. They do nothing. Be aware that they pay ‘stooges’ to write on this site[and other sites] singing their praises.
          There are literally 1000′s of disgruntled authors and they hide behind a multi paged contract in legal jibberish.
          Believe me, their day is coming.
          Keep away from ‘Authorhouse’.

          Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

      • here’s my view, i published my first book with createspace not doing well at all and limited to advertising I mostly have to do all the marketing myself. alot of work, so this time i want to try author house. because of the retail channels i can get….so i am hoping it isn’t a disaster because i have done my homework if any one you have other feedback please feel free to send me an email.

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        • I am in the same boat as you are.

          What alternatives have you found?

          Thanks,
          Zoe

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          • I reply on this ‘authorhouse’ sponsored site !!! The only thing you will get from AH is the book printed, for this you will pay a great deal of money for publishing, which will not happen. In fact as soon as you have paid your money you will be told to sell the book yourself. When you pay people to Publish that is what they should do. It is the publishers responsibility to ensure the book is shown to the right audience group. AH do not do this. Once you sign their complicated multi page contract they then allow other outlets to print and sell your book , and you have no control over this. If you are an author which only sells less that 50 copies, [94% of books] then you may think that is fine, if you have a good book which is appealing and in demand then AH still make the money,[or their nominated agents.] and this continues as long as the book sells. I cancelled my contract with AH nearly 2 years ago. Copies of my book are still being sold at outlets in the world and the profit is still going to them. When I queried this I was informed that it is allowable in the contract !. I told AH that when you enter into a contract you dont expect to be cheated by slick and underhand wording hidden in a contract, but that is exactly what happens.
            I have re published my book myself and now have a ‘bone fide ‘ publisher who pays me for publishing my book. Believe me – do not trust AH, they are there to scam you and they hide this fact in ‘contract jargon’. If you have a genuine complaint then do not bring it to an authorised AH site, where they set up stooges to say what aAH want them to say. Go to other genuine comsumer sites who are unbiased and non manipulative. There is a huge movement out there which is gaining much momentum against what is percieved as a scam by AH. Get your facts right and join them.

            Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

            • Hi Tony Liddicoat,

              My name is Connie, about to publish my 1st book with AH but i have read ur review and the rest, i’m scared….Please who is the bone fide publisher that re-published ur book? I took a loan with interest to publish my book, i don’t want to fail……please help…thanks.

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        • Wanted to check with you as I have my book being published by AuthorHouse and it should be ready by 1/2011. I bought the Pinnacle pkg and now they want to sell me a 9K publicist and social media assistance for the first 6 weeks.

          Where are you with your book and have you considered how you plan to market our book?

          Any feedback appreciated.

          First book written,

          Carol

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          • Is your book published? I’m considering author house for my book but I’m hearing conflicting things. If your book is published, are you satisfied?

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      • I would go to Booklocker.com. They are very ethical. I was with Authorhouse, then learned my lesson the hard way. Booklocker is selective about the books they publish, so you’ll have to pitch your book to them first. They also have a special discounted price for authors who are disgruntled with their current self-publisher.

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      • Just wondered who you finally went with in publishing, as I am in the process of having AuthorHouse publish my first book.

        Thanks,

        Carol

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      • I use Createspace…love it! I have total control. I published my children’s picture book and the quality is fantastic.

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    • You can afford to republish them. Pedernales Publishing will produce a hardcover, softcover, and various ebook formats for you for a single, flat, fixed $650 (no hidden costs), plus you get all your cover, interior and ebook files when completed, and they give you a money back guarantee. You keep all royalties and rights. http://www.pedernalespublishing.com. Very responsive and straight shoots.

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    • That would explain why I am having so much trouble buying a book through Authorhouse. I am a real living reader and I am trying to buy two books.

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  5. “AuthorHouse makes most its money from its authors, not from sales to readers.” This is true of all subsidy publishers, not just AuthorHouse – Lulu, iUniverse, whatever. They make their money in printing, and so the books are very expensive. That’s the main problem with subsidy publishers, so you can’t blame AuthorHouse for this – nor can you blame them for your book not selling. I don’t know if you bought a marketing package with them – but for a place that releases nice-looking books for a reasonable price (compared to hiring a designer and editor on your own) AuthorHouse is good.

    It sounds as if you have a problem with how your book was marketed, which isn’t AuthorHouse’s problem. They’re not your publisher, they’re your printer. It’s up to you, mostly, to handle the marketing of your book, unless you outsource PR. But even then, it’s hard to sell self-published books, no matter how good book might be. But don’t confuse that with the deficiency of who’s producing the book.

    A better way to save on printing costs is to go with Lightning Source – but then you’ll be responsible for book design and editing, which can be more than an AuthorHouse package. I don’t think AuthorHouse is something to avoid if you want an easier self-publishing package. But nowhere would I ever make the claim that any subsidy publisher is a guaranteed way to sell books. That’s just not how they work.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

    • this sounds like good advice. I can see how folks get all caught up with the idea that they will make millions. AH and Iuniverse are printers not publishers.

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    • Henry’s comments are right on point. I got my first book “printed” when they were called 1stBooks, and they sent a packet with the agreement in the mail. It is very important to read and understand all the information they send you before you sign an agreement with them. They were very clear in their intentions. True, they get most of the money, but you keep your rights to your story. You do get an ISBN and your book do list on amazon.com.

      But anything extra you need for them to do, i.e. marketing, editing, you will pay extra for it. This is a self-publishing company, meaning “you” the author is handling most of the publishing costs. They are simply as Henry put it a printing service. I had to edit my own work, and I read over EVERYTHING they sent back including my manuscript again, and I gave them the okay to print or not to print. I gave them instructions on what I wanted the cover to look like, and they got it done.

      The key to self-publishing is to realize that you pay for everything. Nothing is truly free in self-publishing. If you want to get paid, submit your work to a bonafide publishing house. Keep submitting, even after you’ve been rejected each time. If you’re serious about your work and YOU want to get paid instead of you paying them, then a real publisher is the way. Just because a wall is there from the big publishing houses, doesn’t mean you can’t tear it down.

      Read the agreements AuthorHouse sends you. Read everything and be prepared to self publish and pay!

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  6. I’m not one to be difficult, but I have to warn aspiring self publishers to be very aware of authorhouse as I feel cheated and abused! I wish I had this information before I got involved with this dubious publisher… NO support, NO contact and an ever revolving door of ‘assistants’ who never seem to get your mail and just plain LIE!!

    I recently published my book Anthills of Despair with them. I got called almost 3 times a day by Gail Warren when trying to get my account. But alas, once the money was in the bank, i was left on my own to rot! My book came out with more typos than you can imagine, i asked why and was told i did not pay for an editing service…i almost tore my hair out! No one even offered that!

    After several months of unanswered emails and lies (that my mails were not receive) i had to pdf the emails and send them to who was supposed to be the CEO! They came back to me, requesting pay for what is known as a retech- a reprint with corrections. I paid.

    Now the kicker…the reprint came back, all typos correct and when i got the book, an entire page had a different font! Guess what, i was told by the publishing assistant that this was my fault as i failed to spot this in the galley and so would need to pay (again) for another retech!!!! Scandalous!

    I have never come across such blatant exploitation in my life…and i come from Africa!

    Authorhouse gives capitalism a bad name and makes all cheats look good. They take no share of the responsibility and only want to collect your cash. Shameful people!

    Most authors have a passion for the work they do and just want to have their voice in print, so it is an exceptionally low company that exploits this and has the audacity be trading this day and age.

    What a disgrace and since my word is my power, i’ll make sure that all future authors are at least AWARE of who they are dealing with when they sign up to authorhouse.

    goodluck all and may you have better luck than i did!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 3

  7. OK, not to be difficult either, but a lot of what you’re saying sounds reasonable on their part. It’s not their job to fix typos, so you shouldn’t have expected that. And if there’s a problem with fonts that you didn’t notice, that’s not entirely their fault either. The font problem shouldn’t have happened, but it’s the writer’s job to make sure everything’s clean and ready to print. Self-publishing is left on the back of the writer. You’ve got to be thorough – both before you shell out money to understand what you’re going to receive and once you have a galley to make sure everything’s in place. I’m not saying they did everything perfectly, but a lot of the criticism of these services seems to be from writers who are expecting something that’s just not in the contract – as if a self-publishing service is an actual publisher and not just a printer.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

    • Interesting comments, but I totally agree that you MUST be an informed purchaser before you buy anything and understand how the process works. A lot of people want to write books, but they are ignorant of the business aspect of the process. You need to do your homework, folks. I signed with Xlibris, and if you read the print you see they don’t edit and the responsibility is on you, as an author, to edit, read the galley prints, sign off, etc. Xlibris has always taken responsibility for errors made on their part in the 3 books I’ve released through them. Fact is, you write the book. They make the book available for POD, and put it into the distribution channels. Most of the complaints about these services are because people have gone into the relationship with blinders on with misguided expectations and making uneducated choices. They are not scamming people. It’s in the print – you just need to read and understand before you buy. Ask questions. Be an informed author – an informed purchaser, and you won’t feel taken. The only complaint I have with these types of services is that I put a heck of a lot of trust in them to get my royalties correct and sales information. I don’t like being blindsided on that portion of the process and have come into some distrust with Xlibris due to eBook sales not appearing in my account. But I’m not sitting by. I’m pushing on them to audit the account, and if they don’t do so successfully, I’m off to my attorney. It’s as simple as that.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  8. I agree that authors should be very aware of what they are geting involved in…but if you pay an agency, you should get some guidance. Even if its offered at a cost. But to leave new authors to make mistakes and line your pocket is just not on. Charge by all means, but let it be that you want the authors to suceede as well.

    …offer the support and dont be deceptive about your tactics. Most artistes like me dont beleive money is everything and actually assume that publishers value the work they put out and would like their name to be on a good work of art…to be enjoyed and respected. My experience has shown me that its a cruel game indeed.

    Whatever the case, information is power. As long as people know what to expect, all will be rosy.

    I know i’m much wiser now, even if rather poorer.

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  9. Angela Christian

    Well Henry, you clearly work for Authorhouse or have obviously NOT been one of their victims! Please stop standing up for them, your defense of them is actually making me sick.
    They are no better than thieves!
    Authorhouse do absolutely nothing for the disgusting amount of money they charge you. They are also imcompetent liars. I really am at a loss to know how what they do is legal.
    Also Henry, I refer to your comment “it’s not their job to fix typos” – well what EXACTLY is there job Henry? What EXACTLY do they do for the £1,000 (basic package) they charge? All they did was print and bind my book and list it amazon. THAT’S IT!
    I have a friend who self publishers with Lulu for £70 – that’s right, just £70 and you can publish whenever you like, not wait for 8 weeks for the process (What the HELL are they doing in that eight week anyway?). And guess what else? She has sold more books than me!
    Please Henry, please stop this shameless marketing of these scam artists. It really is disgusting.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3

    • Wow! This is tripping me out. My husband will not send in his illustrations after reading all of these blogs. There are more bad reviews than good. I know you have to pay for editing services and they don’t do a good job at that. My editor re edited the book and found some errors from their editing department. I guess my husband and I will have to go up to Authorhouse and give them a visit, before we do anything else.

      Thank you

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

      • Here’s the Real Deal with Self-Publishing. I too have one book published through AuthorHouse. 1st: you should set a budget. 2nd: I designed my own book cover on my computer at home and set it to them [authourhouse] for layout. You can make a PDF file on your computer at home. 3rd: Edits, a good book has to be edited, copywritten, proofread after that and go over by you again, and again. I have gone over my 2nd book [not in production yet] many, many times. I also read it and add to it. 4th: You have to pick and choose what services you’re going to use with AuthorHouse. Period. My daughter was my publicist. She had the voice and professional deamenor to get me into the Chicago Sun-Times. I did before my daughter; hire a lady [from online research] from Atlanta that got me into Jet Magazine. One of the most pretigous mags in the US. 5th: It’s up to you to sell your own book. I only made approx $50 through AuthorHouse but I did book signings outside of AuthorHouse. I traveled and set up a table at book fairs and churches etc. etc. AuthorHouse has great services and packages but once you get the book how you want it—you sell it. Self publishing means just that “self.”

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

        • So, if your daughter was not a publicist, would you recommend using AuthorHouse’s media publicist and social media publicist they offer for appx 9K for the first 6 weeks?

          My book is being published by AuthorHouse and should be ready by 1/2011, but they are now offering the publicist packages. What do you recommend. I have a back ground in sales and marketing and a lot of contacts. But, like everyone else my book should truly appeal to the Oprah show, Joy Behar, Wendy Williams type of programs – but do I need a publicist to get my book in front of those types?

          Any feedback appreciated,

          Carol

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          • Carol ~
            I have not read all the comments in this Blog. But, those that I HAVE read, I can pretty much agree, 100%. I don’t have the time to go into the countless times I felt like getting into my vehicle & “Introducing them to my little ‘friend.’” It was the most exasperating exercise in futility that I have ever engaged in. Everything from customer service (yes…it’s a revolving door), to lay-out & design (found out that they “hire” local High School students that want to make that their “life’s ambition”…so they OJT on OUR books!!!). Big surprise that they have trouble following the easiest A-B-C, 1-2-3 diagragmed instructions!!!
            Furthermore, AuthorHouse does not actually PRINT the books. They out-source the work to a tiny print-shop in TN. Now…If only I / we could find out who THEY are, I / we could bypass the whole “step” known as AuthorHouse!!
            Needless to say ~ I have changed publishers. And, the difference is like night & day! Although the folks that dialogue with you in e*mails & phone conversations are most noteably “foreigners,” they are, to a fault, MOST polite (almost sickenly so), and return phone-calls, e*mails, eyc., VERY promptly!! Unlike AuthorHouse, they seem to actually CARE about the author & to see his product succeed. The “Contract” is very clear, up-front, in B/W, and INCLUDES a whole lot of things that AuthorHouse makes you pay extra for (through the nose). “Marketing” is ALSO included in that package…
            And, like one of the previous “reviewers,” I sent them the concept of the cover that I designed on my computer. After only about 2-3 iterations, it was beyond perfect (the whole process of which was only about two weeks!!).
            I’m certain that the actual “working-up” of the book itself will be more laborious, but, I already take comfort in the fact that they SEEM genuinely caring.
            Last thing: Price. Their pricing is even lower than AuthorHouse!! AND, if you’re fortunate enough to catch one of their specials (like I was!!), you can get a Holiday Special for 50% (or MORE!!) Off!! I received the Deluxe Package for what the bare minimums would have cost with AuthorHouse.
            Best thing? Not being required to pay everything “up-front!!” Was able to break my package up into 3 agreeable / feasible payments.
            IF a book can be judged by its cover (especially one like MY covers!), I’m expecting VERY great things with my new self-published publishing house.
            Hope some of this helps someone…..
            IF I might be of additional assistance, shoot me an e*mail at:

            stevensdr@hotmail.com.

            Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

        • I have to agree. I too used authorhouse and my experience was nothing like that which has been previously shared. My experience was actually good. I had a consultant who held myhand and walked me through the process step by step.

          I had someone to edit my work, do my cover and the only thing that authorhouse had to do was publish and print. I will say that I have been a little dissappointed in my royalty checks. Too many people have told me personally that they purchased my book online and i am yet to see the funds. As stated before, do your homework carefully before publishing your work.

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    • check your contract and for goodness sakes, check the website for what you’re paying for..design and distribution of your book..if you want publicity, marketing and what not, those come as add-on services, which you have to pay extra for. quality of the book is superb.. lulu, though admittedly cheaper doesn’t have that good of a quality. My suggestion..get someone to print the books POD, low book price, 20% up to 50% royalty, customised cover and interior and distribution to ingram, betrams and gardners..hmmm…wait, isnt that the same company you’re complaining about? that is what you paid a thousand quids for, sir…next time, ask all the questions you can before paying..just my two cents..or two pence..

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    • Its good to see that others are beginning to see through the thinly veiled stooges placed on here to give credability to AH. Their time is shortly up and myself and the many hundreds of other scammed authors would like our money from the royalties from the 1000′s of scam sales. You heard it here first.Do not use AH and tell everyone you know.

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      • Tony:

        I lost $2,100 to Author House and have a book I’m not proud of and can’t promote. I reported them to the Better Business Bureau in Indiana and they replied with a pack of lies, i.e, that they gave me many services and books without charging me. I went online to see my statement which was always available to me and found that they’ve removed it, so I won’t be able to prove what I paid if I should ever go to court. I can always go to my credit card company and ask for the record of money paid out to them, of course.

        With so many os us who have been duped by this company, I wonder if we might have a class action. I live in Florida and haven’t been able to find anyone who wants to take a case to an Indiana court. If anyone who feels as strongly as I are interested and lives in Indiana and/or knows an attorney who would be willing to take it on, let me know. I’m definitely in.

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        • I too would love to take them on, but I live in Massachusetts. They are scandulous, and trying to scam me out of $706.00 for a charge posted, or rather declned in February of 2009. They are just finding their accounting errors now. I plan on calling the Better Business Bureau of Indiana and the FCC, but not much I can do from MA.in regard to a class action suit.

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  10. I’m not shilling for anyone. I’m pointing out (again and again) that writers have to do their research. There’s nothing in Authorhouse’s packages that mention copyediting:

    http://www.authorhouse.com/ServicesStore/ChoosePackage.asp

    It’s up to you to figure that out before shelling out $1000. For my most recent book I just paid $400 for an editor, which is actually cheaper than most. If you add in the book designer, that’s more $ than an Authorhouse package. It’s not a bad idea to go with Authorhouse’s cheapest package, plus an independent editor, which would run $700-$800. That way you can save on book cover design, which is more expensive when doing it independently.

    I’ve advocated on this site people going to Lulu to save money. But if your friend only paid 70 pounds that means she didn’t hire an editor or a book cover designer, so the typo issue isn’t going to go away unless she got someone to do it for free. Authorhouse may have problems with customer support and other issues, but don’t get angry at them (and me) for not doing something they weren’t hired to do.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

    • I’m sorry Mr. Baum, but they do offer editing services. You are absolutely right. We should have researched this whole thing. I’m going down with a fight. We do have consumer rights. It is too many complaints against them.

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      • 20-30 complaints against 50,000 plus happy clients..that’s a reasonable margin I believe…check the BBB..

        if that ratio goes higher for the worse..then that might be a problem..

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  11. Angela Christian

    Henry I was well aware I wasn’t going to get editing with my package, well aware. The editing was a further £400+ on top of the massive £600 charge for the basic package + all the extras (which in my case came to a total of about £1,100). My issue is WHAT DO THEY DO FOR THE MONEY? A big fat nothing!
    And even though they were supposed to design my cover, I had to hire a designer because the cover options they gave me were so terrible! So not only did I have to pay those arseholes for DOING NOTHING I also had to hire a cover designer on top of that. As for the editing, I did that myself. I certainly wasn’t going to give them more money! For the amount I paid that should have been part of the package.
    As I have said, my friend published through Lulu for less than 10% of what I paid. Her cover doesn’t like quite as professional as mine but so what? Her books are well written and the content speaks for itself.
    What really gets me is the £400 they charge for “rapid release” – which is a “very fast turnaround” of 8 weeks. Rapid release WHAT A JOKE! Lulu’s books are published the moment you upload them to their site!
    So don’t you dare tell me Henry that I got my money’s worth, or that I knew what I was in for! These scamming bastards prey on naive, vulnerable people who know nothing about the industry and think Authorhouse are going to make their dreams come true.
    Don’t you DARE try to defend these low lifes! You are coming across as no better than them!

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    • yup..lulu does seem to be a “practical” solution….70 quid..wow..I’ve just checked their website, I don’t see no 70 quid there.. you’re right, content speaks millions…but wait, how can they check the content if all they’ll see is the cover?? amazon search inside, you think?? i think that’s what she paid 70 quid for..

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  12. All I’m saying is that people shouldn’t be naive and know what they’re getting into. If people get ripped off, it’s not always the fault of the scam artist, it’s people not using common sense (I’m not calling Authorhouse a scam artist, just an example). You spent too much money and now you feel bad about it. I’m sorry about that – and I agree that a lot of what they propose probably doesn’t amount to much – like “professional marketing consultation.” They are, it’s true, relying on getting the business of people who don’t know any better. But to say “For the amount I paid that should have been part of the package” is not really a criticism of Authorhouse, is it? It’s a case of you assuming you were getting something that wasn’t a part of the package. I never said you got your money’s worth – I actually said the opposite. There are much better ways to spend $1100. I just don’t think that people should go blaming a business when customers are also at fault for not doing the research. Most of the people I’ve talked to (outside this thread) have said, yeah, I didn’t do enough research ahead of time.

    I’m not just defending Authorhouse, but subsidy publishers in general that get blamed for this problem. I just think authors share some of the blame – and I’m a person who spends his time defending authors’ rights. I mean, that’s why I advocate self-publishing, because it gives authors more control. Read this post for more on this issue: http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/2009/07/02/do-self-publishing-services-take-advantage-of-writers/

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    • My book is being published by AH right now, but do I need the publicist and social media publicist package as well?

      So, far everything is going well – I read what I would be getting, but perhaps I should wait until I actually have the book in hand before deciding about hiring a publicist? Any opinion on this subject?

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  13. Angela Christian

    Preying on naive people who don’t know anything about the publishing business is what Authorhouse do best. And that is what makes them scam artists.
    I don’t like your attitude to blame the victim here. What happened to morals? I don’t go around ripping people because I have morals, and therefore I expect the same in return.
    And Henry, I don’t feel bad about it, I feel bad that there are so many arseholes out there willing to take advantage of vulnerable, honest people who always see the best in others.
    And for your information, Authorhouse made quite a few errors on my manuscript (their errors, not mine), they promised to give me a cover and they did not deliver that, and their “marketing package” was a bunch of useless postcards and bookmarks with THEIR name written all over it. Dean, their representative, also lied about the royalties – quite a big lie at that.
    Make no mistake, Henry, these people are professional scam artists, and whilst I am well aware that I have myself partly to blame, my big mistake was to always see the good in people/companies before seeing the bad. I don’t think that’s a trait to feel guilty about. The staff at Authorhouse, on the other hand, well I don’t know how they can look at themselves in the mirror.
    But I sit smug in the fact that they will get their karma.

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  14. I’m not solely blaming the victim, but call me callous, any writer who thinks that self-publishing will make their “dreams come true” is just waiting to be taken advantage of. And, yes, Authorhouse and every other subsidy publisher relies on these people’s business. I just wish people could be a little smarter, just like I wish people could write better books. The world of self-publishing is overrun by newbies who don’t put enough thought into the process. That bothers me. A lot of what you say is valid though – if they’re truly misrepresenting their services, then that’s a real issue.

    My main premise was that if you don’t want to do a lot of the work or spend a lot of money, then a $400 package is reasonable. It’s a good method for someone who doesn’t want to hunt around for a book cover designer or upload files – a person who wants to be hands-off. All the other add-ons aren’t that necessary and there are better ways to spend your money.

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    • Received an offer for publishing my book. $1.999.00
      Wonder how many add ones can I expect>
      Just cutious.
      Good deal? Bad Deal?

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      • I’m sorry, Mr. Stern; I’m not familiar with this site, and thought the thumbs were for answering, not rating, your question.
        Boy, did I feel stoopid when I suddenly noticed each post had them, regardless of if it included a question. :^(

        Anyway, that price looks pretty steep, especially if it’s a basic package.

        And any company set up like this makes much of its revenue in add ons upon add ons upon add ons. Wait ’til the exact package you want, not paying for features you don’t want, is there with a final price tag, in writing, before you sign anything or hand over your money.

        Speaking of add ons, it’s probably best if any company like this doesn’t have its hands on any of your credit or debit cards. Certified cashier’s check, bank transfer, whatever it takes, but don’t let them have your numbers or you’ll still be finding random charges years down the road.

        PODs and other publishing forms all have their pluses and minuses. You’ll want to decide what you want out of this: a small run for family, friends, colleagues, etc.; a New York Times bestseller, or somewhere in between.

        That information, combined with your budget, will help you decide which publishing type is best, and how much of the budget you should spend on printing the book; marketing; legal fund for copyright filing/defending, looking at contracts, etc.

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      • Whoops, just realized this says 2009 – very late to the party. :^(

        Never mind, sorry!

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  15. Having worked at AuthorHouse and iUniverse, I can tell you the following:

    1) Yes, they have aggressive sales people who go after the naive. In fact, Sales (selling packages to YOU, not selling your book) is the biggest focus of the company. Once they have your money, its anyone’s guess where it goes (it sure as hell doesn’t go to the employees). Their attitude seems to be that what you are paying for is “the experience of being a published author.” I’ve seen some “published authors” have some pretty miserable experiences.

    2) Your book WILL be sent to India or the Philippines to be designed, regardless of what your “DC” or “PSA” says about “talking to your designer.” Your “designer’s” job is to manage the flow of outsourcing. And to listen to DCs and PSAs get yelled at on the phone.

    3) Yes, your DC and PSA will do anything they can to avoid talking to you, but in most cases, its honestly not their fault. In most cases, they are having as hard a time getting the information as you are in getting it from them. It’s just a very poorly run company. These people aren’t evil. Okay, so the people who RUN the company are. But not the people who work with you or on your book.

    4) ASI, or AuthorSolutions International, is the parent company of AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Xlibris, and Trafford) If you buy a package from any one of these companies, your book will be handled by the same people. In fact, aside from Xlibris (which is in the Phillipines) all the rest of these “companies” share the same office, and work across brands. Nice folks, most of ‘em. But it’s only a matter of time before Sales is the only thing that isn’t outsourced.

    5) The pay-for-corrections business is a scam, of sorts. Your text revisions are mostly outsourced, and it is unlikely that anyone will check them to make sure they are done properly. Until you see them, and then you have to pay again. The bottom line is that the longer the production process takes, the more likely you will feel like you’ve already invested so much, you might as well stick it out. They know this. This is how they make money.

    6) Now, a great deal of the frustration I have seen comes from authors who have been pressured to submit their manuscript before it was ready. In fact, when business sucked back in March, there was a company-wide push to call authors and get them to submit their manuscripts before they were ready. The result was that the production process took forever, because many authors were still trying to rewrite their books through the revisions process, which takes a lot of time and a lot of money. So, my advice would be that if you really want to self-publish consider the following:

    - Their marketing services are useless. If your book is going to sell, you have to do it yourself anyway, so don’t waste money on this.

    - Use your own editor and cover designer. Cover design is not outsourced (yet) but they are limited to stock photography.

    - Make sure that your book is DONE before sending it to them. Certainly, mistakes get made on their end, but I have seen a lot of authors who think they have everything perfect, only to find that they did not. And I have seen too many authors try to keep writing their book while its in production.

    - Understand that even though you paid $1000, and that’s a lot of money to you, some people pay up to $50,000, and you and they will be treated accordingly. I’m not defending this, but it is true.

    - Finally, and most importantly, they make their money by getting you to fork it over by getting you all excited about how great it would be to be a “published author.” But you know what? If you pay someone $1000 to print your book after you do all the work, you are not a published author. Your time and money would be better spent finding avenues to do it yourself, or find a real publishing company who will publish your work for real.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

    • Michelle Clinton

      Outstanding, thank you for your honesty and comments.

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    • I wish “I Worked There” would pass the message on to the Better Business Bureau. I’ve finally had to do it after pouring $2,100 into a doomed project. My book is embarassingly bad. Yes, I sent the cover. Yes, I edited it many times. A friend who also is a writer edited it. After 30 years in the newspaper business I know how to write and edit. I asked them at one point if the work was being done by people with English as the second language and of course they said “no.” I asked if the work was being done by interns. Again, the answer was “no.”
      I want to encourage everyone who has had a bad experience with AH to report it to the Better Business Bureau. If you look at the list of complaints you’ll see that some of them got a refund.

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  16. Angela Christian

    Thanks “I worked there”. All these comments, further reiterate the fact that Authorhouse are scam artists. And, yes as you say, maybe some of the employees aren’ t so bad, but as a whole, this is a big arsehole of a company, no better than those big pyramid schemes organised by professional crooks.

    I beg everyone to skip Authorhouse and any other vanity publisher. Go with Lulu.com. Authorhouse do NOTHING for the money you pay them, NOTHING! And don’t let them tell you they do!

    Learn the mistakes from people who have been there.

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  17. I am in dispute at the moment with Authorhouse as I have been digusted with their unproffesional services and amount of money they charged for doing nothing! The layout of my book can only be descibed as child like and unproffesional beyond words! for example my illustrations lopsided, the text out of line, illustration layout looked like it had been thrown together by a child, . so I have asked for a refund . I had to pay for my fees upfront, even my marketing fees otherwise they would not carry out any work. I thought I would be getting a proffesional service so I paid it, 3000-00 in total in good faith.
    Authorhouse have refused to refund my marketing fees (£1000-00) eventhough though I have not used the service! plus refused to refund my 2000-00 for publishing fees which I have not been satisfied with. They ignore all emails and dont want to know.

    Authorhouse are a complete rip off !! and I would advise anyone to keep well AWAY!!! I have since found an advisor on publishing and will only go to a UK publisher who has been recommended t I will continue to persue my money and NOT GIVING IN!! why should a company get away with a shoddy service like this who does not really care for it customers only their money. Once they have your money they will do little else for you and not be interested if you are not satisfied. Please save your money and go else where.

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  18. Beverley I feel for you as I have been there too. I’m sorry to say but there is no way they will not give you any money back. Unless the government does something about regulating this industry, people like you and me will continue getting ripped off and getting our dreams crushed in the process.
    The scumbags still send me emails trying to sell more of their services.
    Every time I see their names in my inbox its like rubbing salt into a wound. I have decided that I will reply to the next email I receive from them and they will get the ear-bashing of a life time.
    If I could tell every self publishing author in the world to keep away from these low-lifes I would.

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  19. I can only say thank you for giving me, a brand new writer,some very informative information about these self-publishing houses. You have saved me not only my hard earned money, but my sanity! I am so glad I came upon this site. I wish there was more information out there about where to go to safely put your words in print.

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  20. Thanks on your warnings! who do you recommend –it is my first book!

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  21. Kathie, personally I do not recommend self-publishing companies at all! To hear (or read) the promotional materials of such companies, you would get the impression that the new, modern, with-it way of breaking into publication is to pay for it yourself. No, this is not true. While anybody can get a title listed on Amazon, the books most people buy (and the books you see at bookstores) come from REAL publishers, publishers whose acquisitions editors actually reject the majority of manuscripts and proposals they receive and choose books they have good reason to believe will be a financial asset to their company. The authors of those books do not pay a dime to the publisher; the publisher pays them. That’s how the business is supposed to work.

    Think about why authors feel it is such an accomplishment to be published. Is it just because a book looks really cool in its binding? No. It’s because it is an achievement to be chosen for publication. To be chosen means there must be the realistic possibility and even probability of rejection. It means that someone more objective than the author him/herself must decide that the book is worth an investment of other people’s money, that there is reason to believe enough people will want not only to read but to buy the book to justify all this effort.

    When you seek to be chosen, there are rules to follow. I suggest that you go to your library and check out three years’ worth of Writers’ Market and Writer’s Guide to Literary Agents. If there is a Writer’s Market specific to the genre in which you write (short stories, novels, nonfiction, etc.), then check that out, too. Read the articles. Follow their advice about things like writing query letters to agents and formatting book proposals. Prepare yourself for rejection, lots of it. There are no shortcuts, not even if you are willing to pay your life’s savings for them.

    If you do have a book that you do not intend to sell in any real commercial sense (say, a set of stories you’d just like to give to your family and friends for Christmas), you can have it professionally printed and even bound by a good PRINTER, not a PUBLISHER. This will be cheaper, and you will be honest with yourself about the fact that the only person who chose this book was you.

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  22. Well said Gina, but this message is for Kathie: if you really do not have the time or the inclination for rejections by mainstream publishing companies then try Lulu.com. If you’ve never heard of them its because they don’t advertise much. My friend has published three books with them and has been very pleased. They charge £70 and you get a free ISBN with that and your book is published as soon as you want it to be.
    They don’t make any promises except to bind your book, make it presentable and put it out there. So basically the same thing as what scam artists like Authorhouse do for £1,000.
    If you want to try a mainstream publishing house or literary agent check out The Writer’s Yearbook, which you can get from bookstores, on-line or probably the library. Warning though: this is a huge book and you may be overwhelmed by the information.
    Just stay away from those vanity publishers at all costs!

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  23. I have asked friends and family around the country to buy my book and hold onto the reciepts until Sept. ends. If my Dec. check doesn’t reflect my real sales, I’m going to nail authorhouse!

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  24. I highly suggest that every author who published with authorhouse do the same thing!!!

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  25. I am a writer and illustrator, and friend of mine have used Authorhouse. They are so very disgusted with the communication and feedback. They mentioned that even the best psychics in the world would not even be able to contact the living thjere, even by remote viewing. Stay TOTALLY AWAY from Authorhouse.The only thing that gets respected most efficiently is the fees by authorhouse. They dash emerging authors like disposable entities and have the gaul to continue to sell you products and services to you. These places need Regulating “Urgently”.

    Steve

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  26. May l suggest to anyone that has undertaken services from Authourhouse write to the following regaarding “Regulating” such entities as Authorhouse. to: Traiding Standards. The CEO of Authorhouse is Brian Smith who recently lost a litigation case in America on libal over an authors book. I am looking at how authors who receive such poor services can their money back. Authorhouse cover themselves in frugal way by informing authors that you are in control of the pocess of self publication. They do not honour the initial commitment to services to authors, verbally or otherwise.

    If anyone wishes to contact me regarding wishing to be an author and services for illustrating, l being a writer and illustrator of which l am not selling my services here at all you can reach me at the following:

    stevenupton@uptonenterprises.com

    I will be pleased to help AT NO COST to help anyone that has fallen foul of such services, where authors dreams have been bannished to some galley refuse bin in cyber space. When l conclude on authors can get their hard earned funds back l will let you know. I am currently working with the House of Commons on the issue to be raised as an item, then to be minuted in Hnsaed, so watch this space.

    Kind Regards.

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  27. Hello Steve,
    Thank you for your excellent advice and you will be definitely hearing from me.
    I hope other people also take the initiative to contact you. What this scamming company needs is an army of people against it.
    Speak to you soon.

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  28. Hi Henry, i just got a call from Gail, the sales lady from Aurthorhouse who encouraged me to use their services. She was unhappy that i used her name in the write up of my authorhouse experience. She has asked that i ask you to delete her name. Since i can’t edit a post, can you kindly take her name out as she beleives its production that let me down not- sales- and it may affect her career in future to have her name in the context of a complaint.

    Its interesting to know that aurthorhouse does get to see the comments about them, maybe they may do a ‘retech’ of their services and some good will come out of our bad experiences and future authors won’t feel swindled!

    But considerring the track record with 1st Books… methinks ‘stale wine in a new bottle’.

    PS:
    Did i hear a rumor that a TV channel was doing an undercover documentary on self publishing rip-offs. Has anyone picked this up or has more information, please share.

    Many thanks.

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  29. Angela Christian

    I hope they are reading our comments. They might now realise people are on to them and they can’t continue their scam forever.
    What is this TV show? I’d like to know more.

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  30. I understand that both Channel 4 and the BBC are quite enlightened on the subject of publishing houses, maybe it could be either of them or both. I have a friend in the BBC and there has been discussions.

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  31. Hi everyone,

    I’m a new writer and was at a loss what to do about publishing my novel, that was until I discovered this page.
    I had a call from someone at authorhouse yesterday (God knows where they got my number) the guy seemed a tad pushy, offering all sorts of discounts that someone appearing to be the tiniest bit gullable would gobble up quickly, when I told him that I was going to do some research on the net about self-publishing and vanity publishing he again offered his services. Probably hoping to steer me away from here.
    I’m indebted to you all for ‘showing me the light’ and hope against hope that other people avoid getting conned by this and other companies like them.
    Guess I’ll have to carry on receiving the rejection slips, still if that was good enough for J K Rowling it’s certainly good enough for little ol’ me.

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    • Hello Mel, I’m a new writer as well. In doing my research to find the proper publisher to fit what i’m looking for , i came across Authorhouse and ask for some info. from them. I recieved my info and like feel they are a little pushy for me to agree to publish with them. I told them i wasn’t quite ready to make a comittment with them and wanted to do more research. They wanted to know what they can do to make me join them , I feel that i am in controll and i plan on doing more reseach for the right publisher that fits my needs and want to do this in my own time , The gentleman i talked to then wants to contact me the very next day, red fags did go up , they do seem pushy. I didn’t have anything published with Authorhouse , so i can’t say if they are good or not , but i definately will still be doing more researching. Trust me : you’r not alone…

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  32. I received a phone call from Author House last night. I couldn’t figure out how th hell they knew my name. It turns out I had inquired with them back in the 90′s when they were First Books. Anyway, the guy on the phone was very hard to understand. Nice enough guy, `But eet be very deeficult to oondarstand zactly vutt he be say at me—to me, I mean.’ He wasn’t a Hoosier, I’ll promise you that. So I called the number back, hoping to talk to someone else—who could answer a few pertinent questions, and I got trapped on their LAME push-button robot phone service. I finally spoke with a gal who gave me another number to call. I never called it because…by that time, I was out of strength. No, actually I didn’t call because I figured, why bother? it’s not gonna get any better than that. So I don’t know what the hell to do now. I’ve self-published before. And like many others out there now, I have a site and the whole nine yards. Anyway, I was hoping Author House would take the reigns when it came to the sales aspect. They sure made it sound like they wanted to do it that way. I guess in order to catch a break in this business, you have to pull an editor’s kid from a burning building. Then it’s still a big maybe. I’m still never gonna quit, though…I’ve come way too far for that.

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  33. I am currently in a dispute with AuthorHouse. I wrote a simple 32 page childrens book and I had to send 3 CD’s on 3 different occasions because 3 different representatives told me to format my pages 3 different ways.

    Their one on one support only kicks in after they have everything. Before that you speak to a half a dozen different people.
    My biggest problem is their book pricing. For months I asked what the cost of the book would be to me, and they danced around the answer telling me that we need to wait till its all approved by the graphics dept to get a price.

    Well after it was approved the price was ridiculously high. It has been explained to me that their book prices are high because they outsource their print jobs. I assume they are making a profit on each book before the sale and after it.

    If something isn’t resolved financially, I will be complaining to the attorney generals office and the Better Business Bureua.

    I am currently looking at other resources to help me produce by book.

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  34. Dan, they lied to me about the book price too. They told me it would cost me £3 to produce each book, but after it was published and ready to go it turned out it was actually about £6.70, or down to £6 if I bought in bulk. I was absolutely gutted. As many paperback books sell for £7 or less I considered this to be nothing less than a loss. Not that it matters anyway, because without marketing you won’t even sell one book.

    They are liars and scam artists and I can’t wait until they go down.

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  35. To Angela and Dan:

    Absolutely 100% correct. Author House cares nothing about you or your book. They want $$$$$$$$

    About three years ago I went with Morris Publishing out of Kearney, Nebraska. Back then, it was between $1200 and $1400 to have a 320-page novel published. It took about 60 days, and they sent me 200 copies. Plus, I had to buy the runoff copies, which was 20 books…10% runoff is common.Morris really doesn’t care what you write, as long as it isn’t hate-literature or goofy stuff like that, and I think they have a sales program—I can’t remember, I didn’t care at the time. But I’m going to go it alone and to sell them myself anyway? What else can you really do? I remember reading about writers who have been accepted by the big-boys who end up getting mid-listed.From what I read, that means stuck in limbo. They quit advertising your book because it didn’t do all that well. Then you have to write letter after letter and make phone call after phone call to try and get it out of limbo. That doesn’t sound too fun to mel. Actually, it gave me the butterflies when I read that. But who’s to say Author House or any other substidy publisher won’t stick our books on some kind of mid-list if they aren’t turning a profit. Then what?

    For my next one, I’m going with Morris again.I have some marketing ideas of my own.
    It can’t hurt to look them up. They’re good people and they do awesome work.
    Go to MorrisPublishing.com

    Just trying to help

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  36. Why waste your time self-publishing, go to authonomy.com, it is part of Harper Collins. You meet other like minded people who give you honest feedback about your book without you having to pay out a penny, yes it’s free!
    There is also the opportunity of landing on the editor’s desk and being offered a genuine publishing deal.
    Come on give it a try, look me up when you’re registered.

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  37. TriggerStep:

    I think your post shows exactly the kind of confusion that Author House is not only counting on, but actually works hard to create. You are picturing that Author House and, for example, Random House are in the same business, publishing. When you ask whether an Author House writer is apt to be “mid-listed”, you assume that they are playing the same game as what you call the “big boys” by roughly the same rules. They’re not.

    Author House is not a “little” version of the “big boys”. It’s HUGE, for what it is: a vanity press. Not a commercial publisher. A vanity press. They make their money from authors, who buy their own books in hopes of selling them. Commercial publishers like Random House, Simon and Schuster, TOR, etc. make their money from readers, who buy books to read them. Author House and other vanity presses do not particularly care how well your book is “selling”, because they have already made a profit off of you, the author, before a single book comes off the press. You are in no danger of being “mid-listed”, because that just doesn’t exist for them. You are also in very, very little danger of making any commercial bestseller list.

    Might an author, especially a first-timer, end up on the mid-list after selling a novel to a commercial publisher? Sure. Happens all the time. But you know what? They didn’t have to pay the publisher a dime to see their book in print. In fact, the publisher paid them an advance (admittedly probably a modest one), which they will never, ever have to pay back. Even if they never sell another book, they can always say that they are a published author. No one can take that distinction away from them. Sure, it would be great to be a huge financial success, too. But even if the book’s a total flop, they have achieved something. Paid professionals with experience in the publishing industry decided to take a chance on their manuscript. If the gamble didn’t pay off, well, it wasn’t the author’s money being wagered.

    There’s an old joke: What do you call the guy who graduated at the bottom of his medical school class? DOCTOR!

    What do you call an author whose work wound up on the mid-list at a commercial publishing house? A PUBLISHED PROFESSIONAL AUTHOR!

    I know this is a harsh thing to say, and it’s not what people want to hear, but repeat it to yourself three times while looking into the mirror: “If I am only published through a vanity press, then I am not published at all. If I am only published through a vanity press, then I am not published at all. If I am only published . . . ” Well, you get the idea.

    Sometimes, people can only take a dose of reality if they deliver it to themselves.

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  38. This is sorta silly: “Even if they never sell another book, they can always say that they are a published author. No one can take that distinction away from them.”

    As if that’s the main goal of writing and publishing – to be able to say, “I’m published,” rather than be able to find readers. If you’ve got a free blogspot blog and write about current events, you can’t really consider yourself a “journalist,” but so what? The goal is to be read, not to be able to have a special title.

    So where I agree with you that self-publishing is not like trad publishing, the idea of whether or not to call myself “published” is the least of my worries.

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  39. Henry, I’m glad that works for you, but an awful lot of people DO care about having their work recognized as worthwhile by someone less biased than themselves and their own mother, and for many of them, it is symbolized by being “published”. That is, by being CHOSEN for publication. Vanity presses are quick to play on that.

    And a commercial publisher is still a better vehicle for getting your book into the hands of readers, IF you can get your book chosen by one. People need to be honest with themselves about why that isn’t happening. Is it really true that their work is so cutting edge that commercial businesses won’t touch it? Is it really true that it fits into a niche so small that there’s no commercial press handling that kind of material? Or (far more likely) is it poorly written? Or in some sad cases, has the author not even TRIED to sell it to a real publisher, because they believed the promotional nonsense for companies like Author House?

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  40. Guys,

    this was most useful. Henry clearly works for Authorhouse and is doing a good job putting forward their case but the personal experiences are universally appalling. Gina’s right – vanity publishing is so-called for a reason.

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  41. I don’t work for Authorhouse. My stance:

    1. A $600 package is reasonable compared to hiring a book designer independently.

    2. It’s cheaper ultimately to go directly to Lightning Source because books are cheaper, but Authorhouse is more convenient and you pay for that convenience. You pay for it with “free” self-publishing through Lulu b/c the books are also more expensive.

    3. Me? I have an independent designer for my book, an independent editor, and I’m publishing through Lightning Source. AuthorHouse would never be my first choice.

    4. Obviously AH has some problems, or it wouldn’t be getting these kinds of complaints. But you could also gather together a group of who were satisfied with the experience. Critics are always more vocal.

    5. Many complaints about subsidy services are by those who thought the service would help sell books. No, they’re mainly just a printer.

    This isn’t really the place to debate the merits of self-publishing. Plenty of that on the site already.

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  42. Henry,
    First it seems odd that no one commenting on this topic is “pro” AuthorHouse. It seems if they were reputable, someone would come to their defense.

    Second, have you, personally, published, or attempted to publish through AuthorHouse? If not, then its likely you cannot contest to what those of us who have worked with experienced.

    Dan

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  43. People don’t troll the web looking to defend someone’s honor. The web is often a place to spout negativity, whatever the subject.

    You’re right, I haven’t published with Authorhouse. My comments are more general about subsidy publishing and seeing how people have been naive about what a subsidy publisher can achieve and then get angry when it doesn’t happen. A lot of what people say here is troubling to me – but I also don’t like being called a shill when I’m just trying to offer some balance by saying Authorhouse might not suck completely.

    Author John Lacombe seems happy with his book: http://www.authorjohnlacombe.com. One of the criticisms that Peter Bowerman makes – http://editorunleashed.com/2009/10/19/looking-for-money-in-the-slush-pile/#comment-3758 – is that AH books look bad, so don’t bother. I don’t think you could say that about Lacombe’s book. I could try to get Lacombe to write a piece about his experience.

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  44. Henry, Please don’t take offense to what I said. I enjoy reading your articles, but this one hit close to home.

    Perhaps the entire comment thread could have been avoided if the article wasn’t title “AuthorHouse Review”. The word “review” is what I am referring to. I am certain that you understand the process of publication, and would surely agree that something this process oriented couldn’t be reviewed without usage. I can’t review restaurants if I don’t visit them, right? I can look at a menu, and see the prices and say, “This looks good.”. The weight of my comments would not be as strong as someone who ate the food, hated it, and had to pay for it.

    It is unfortunate that your article has become the location for people to speak out against AuthorHouse, but perhaps you can spin this into another article, siting some of us, regarding experiences with AuthorHouse, LuLu.com, and CreateSpace.com. Turn the negative, into a positive.

    Dan

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  45. The Views so far shared here l hope AuthorHouse review internally. Sales are not the priority focus. Emerging and establihed authors have had some severe experiences with them that sadly will give AuthorHouse their due Karma within the publishing world globally. Sadly l feel that some sales and design staff are just undertaking a sales mantra for fear of not reaching fiscal targets at the expense of “truly” supporting authors with professional integrity.

    I hope that the human component develops in AuthorHouse, but te watch dog will uncover the subversive sales tactics currently used, or it may well be happening already.

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  46. Henry, your attitude is rather appalling and I am shocked that you can actually say anything positive about this shoddy company or any other vanity publisher.
    Actually $600 is NOT Reasonable for a publishing package. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Lulu.com charge just £70 and you get EXACTLY the same thing!! Do their books cost more? Maybe about 50p or so – but that isn’t a lot when you compare to the THOUSANDS that Authorhouse charge just to get your book in print!! Not only that but Authorhouse books are NOT cheap for the author and don’t let anyone tell you they are! Dean, my consultant/salesman told me that my book would cost me £4 each to print……and that if I sold it at £7 that would a nice little £3/book profit.
    LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE! Actually the books cost £6.50 to print!! Or if I bought a 100 or more they would drop down to £6.07 each.
    My friend has now published 4 books with Lulu. If anyone wants to see the quality of these books go to Amazon.co.uk and look up her name: Karen Mason. Her latest I am reading at the moment, Winner Takes All. It has a fantastic glossy cover and looks every bit as good as the books published by the low life vanity publishers.
    If anyone wants an HONEST testimony from a published Lulu author (Karen Mason) then let me know on this thread and I’ll get her to get in touch with you.
    I am not trying to sell Lulu – I have never published with them and have no loyalty to them whatsoever. All I know is that I cannot bear the thought of anyone going through the heartache of getting ripped off by lying theiving scumbags like Authorhouse and any other vanity publisher. If you want your book published and you don’t want to have to shell out a chunk of cash then approach Lulu. Its as simple as that.

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  47. Personally I prefer the cover of Winter Games, linked above, to the generic quality of the covers by Karen Mason.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_ss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Karen+Mason&x=11&y=21

    I have published with Lulu. I hired a designer for $300 who was totally ill-equipped for the project. Lulu does have a better template generator now, but if you’re really serious about having a good quality book, you’re not going to self-design a book or it’s going to have the quality of a blogspot template.

    When I think of Authorhouse, I think of someone like my dad. He has unpublished books in his desk. Doesn’t have a blog. Doesn’t want to bother with templates. Wants someone else to do it – through a package so he doesn’t have to hunt around for a book designer. For him, Authorhouse makes sense b/c it’s convenient, and as I said, you pay for the convenience.

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  48. I fully concur with the views of Dan and Angela and et al others with their feedback on the miserable trials with Authorhouse. As mentioned their financial mantra will be their downfall. Customer relations is void at Authorhouse. People abdicate their original intentions with authors. May Authorhouse please look beyond your sales pitch mantra and look at the glaring failings, otherwise like real estate, you will certainly crash into liquidation, if not already in the abyiss.

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  49. Hello Everyone,

    I have two self published books through Xlibris company. If you want to talk about a shady company, this is one to talk about! Absolutely TERRIBLE SERVICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now, I am not going to go into a lot of detail, but what I will say, I just signed up with Authorhouse, I have spent, I can not tell you how many hours of research, on self published companies. The thing is, I have my own designer, editor, marketing team etc. I just really needed sombody to publish/print the book and make it available for sale. I am doing all the marketing writing developing etc. for my book.

    If people would really research and look at examples of books in print, through self published companies, you would automatically know THEY SUCK @ ILLUSTRATING, MARKETING, ETC. Also, what I might add is this, ALL SELF PUBLISHING COMPANIES have GOOD AND BAD REPUTATION!!!!!! READ THE FINE PRINT PEOPLE! I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT I AM GETTING INTO. ALSO, ANOTHER GOOD IDEA IS TO EMAIL OR WRITE THE PRESENT AUTHORS THROUGH DIFFERENT SELF PUBLISHING COMPANIES AND SEE WHAT THEY SAY. PEOPLE NEED TO READ IN DETAIL, DO MORE RESEARCH, READ THE FINE PRINT, AND BE SMART ABOUT IT! SERIOUSLY.

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  50. Henry, Karen’s latest book Winner Takes All is obviously not available through Amazon just yet. I have it as I am a friend of hers. Also you can probably get it from the lulu website. Please don’t make any assumptions about Karen’s books. Unless you have seen them in the flesh you really do not have the right to pass judgement.
    Do let me know when you have seen Winner Takes All in the flesh and then feel free to leave a negative comment. Until then, keep your insults to yourself.

    You want to see a crap book cover you should have seen what Authorhouse were trying to suggest for mine. Absolutely laughable at what they charged. Instead, I hired my own illustrator at a cost of £125. Yes another cost that I paid on top of the £1,000 to those con artists Authorhouse.

    Sure if people don’t want to do anything in regard to actually publishing their book, by all means, go to a vanity publisher. But if you can spare an extra 20 minutes to research the internet, read some blogs, talk to other published authors then why would you want to waste hundreds or thousands of dollars/pounds on “the easy way” out? I can assure you, when it’s all done and dusted you won’t feel like it was “easy”. Actually, you’ll feel more like a victim. You’ll know what it feels like to have months of your blood, sweat and tears be turned into nothing but a joke that makes money for everyone but you. Nothing easy about that.

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