Today the Twitterverse and the Blogosphere and other worlds of the virtual universe are alive with activity about these stinky publisher politics toward authors. It’s bad for all unwary authors, but even more so for the emerging, fledgling self-publishing authors who don’t know the sharks from the dolphins (I know because I was this type of author once). This post is on an odd day, I know, but I couldn’t wait another minute.
What’s going on?
Penguin (one of the Big Six) just bought out the most evil self publishing (read: vanity) operations in all of Indieauthordom, Author Solutions, from its parent company Bertram Capital. Penguin must see this as publishing helter-skelter, but a lot of established self published authors in-the-know are saying this is a Manson Family Massacre or a Match-Made-in-Hell.
Here are a couple blog articles for you to whet your appetites that I found on Twitter and Digg, and there’s a lot of good stuff in the comments too! Digital Book World and IndieReader
Author Solutions for anyone who doesn’t know is the scummiest collection of companies I have ever had the unprivilege of working with (Xlibris branch). I know what these people are capable of firsthand, and I have found out about and learned about more horrible things since I left, but that’s a post for later.
Does Penguin really know what’s going on there and why they were able to rake in $100M in sales last year? I can tell you it’s not by great integrity or wonderful customer service. If so, this makes the whole thing even smellier. The only thing they must be seeing is dollar signs and a large base of authors who are being pillaged left and right. Penguin probably doesn’t know how much AS companies’ production levels suck or how overpriced they are in their offerings, or they simply don’t care. Will Penguin make their money back and then some or will they loose revenue
Also please note, dear friends, do not be fooled into thinking you’ll be getting a Penguin contract by publishing at and Author Solutions company! Author Solutions is 110% guaranteed to use this partnership to lure unsuspecting authors into the deathtrap. This could be a two-way exploitation. They use all kinds of misleading advertising to dupe unsuspecting authors, so why not? It will work the same way as Penguin’s “self publishing” company Book Country. I went to Book Country’s website and graded them with my quiz on “Does My Publisher Suck” post and BC scores a “Suck” on my and probably many other indie authors’ quiz from those I talked to. Publishing with BC doesn’t secure you a Penguin contract either. You’re better off going DIY or working with a reputable “hybrid” or POD publisher. Author Solutions and all of its imprints all suck too as far as I and many other authors are concerned.
I don’t hold a grudge against these people; I know their stinky practices, and I am a good, concerned neighbor wanting to warn others from getting ripped off.
So in other words a big commercial publisher has just purchased a self publishing giant that had been gobbling up other larger self publishing companies who have been gobbling up tons of authors. Authors and their readers are on the bottom of the food chain, folks. Stay away from these people. Penguin is creating “hybrid” publishers gone bad (another post for later). Could Penguin be doing this to get ahead of its five competitors in the publishing industry? Their reputation may have just been tarnished by buying up such a shady company.
Will AS prices go from ‘through the roof’ and into the stratosphere? Possibly. Indie authors and other publishing professionals, bloggers, and niche experts are watching.
Again, just stay away.