Monday, June 08, 2009

Victoria Strauss -- Another Interesting Promotion From AuthorHouse

Author Solutions, Inc., parent company of POD self-publishing services AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Xlibris, and Trafford, is nothing if not an inventive marketer.

Last year, ASI debuted "gift" publishing ("First-of-its-kind Service Allows Gift Buyers to Make Loved Ones' Dreams of Publishing a Book Reality"). Then, this past weekend, ASI hooked up with the AARP to offer publishing incentives to older people attending the AARP Life Festival in Chicago. Over-50 authors were eligible to "get their age in free books" just by agreeing to publish with AuthorHouse. The catch? Authors had to agree to buy one of AuthorHouse's more expensive Premium packages--and to talk to an ASI "publishing consultant." Based on the stories I've heard about ASI's hard-sell phone tactics, I wouldn't be surprised if many of the authors wound up buying more than just publishing.

What's next? Your weight in free books?

9 comments:

Lucy said...

I foresee Writer Beware working with the AARP in future--and a good thing it will be.


wordver: undept

Is that where your dept [debt] comes back to life?

Jenny said...

I hope you have contacted AARP and pointed out that this company is notorious for exploiting people who are naive.

Exploitation of Older Americans is a huge problem and one that AARP should be more on top of.

Rebecca said...

I Hope that people will knwo how dangerous these groups can be.

TK said...

That's tremendously sad. Most (but not all) of the people I've met who have vanity published their books have been older people. I'm not sure why that is.

And no one I've met who as vanity published, young or old, has seemed to have a clue about commercial publishing, i.e. made an informed choice.

Michael said...

Authoress from Miss Snark's First Victim suggested I contact you with the information I sent her. Here it is, for what it's worth...

It may be that Tracy Ravenelle at Objective Entertainment is working with Authorhouse as a "marketing" agent or something along that line. It's difficult to say, and I don't want to make any false accusations, but I sent a query to her recently, and she replied with an email indicating the possibility of self-publishing. She asked if she could pass my contact info along to a reputable self-publishing company. Perhaps she was trying to be helpful, but I received an email from Brad Tirey of Authorhouse today offering their services. This whole connection seems a bit strange to me. Just wanted to pass that info along.

Michael

Victoria Strauss said...

Michael, you aren't the only one to get this email from Ms. Ravenelle. See my blog post of a few months back. This appears to be standard practice for this agency with rejections.

Would you mind forwarding me the email you received from AuthorHouse? I'd love to see what kind of solicitation is resulting from Ms. Ravenelle's referrals. My email is beware@sfwa.org. Thanks!

christine tripp said...

Victoria, my post is not specifically about your recent blog posting but it's your own fault, after you brought up your January's post. I was caught up then on reading it, following links to AW and other forums in regards to OE sending people who have submitted query's, to AH.
It's very interesting (sadly so) and I have to really wonder, what WOULD the motive be, if not a commission, for an agency to send out reply after reply to rejected queries. Why would they not just say "no thank you", like other literary reps?
Strange case indeed.

Kevin A. Gray said...

Victoria,
First off, I take exeception with your characterization that AuthorHouse exploits naive authors. We have a long record of helping authors of every genre and background sucessfully bring their books to market. Not every author aspires to be traditionally published, many choose self publishing for the flexiblity it provides. For example this retired couple http://www.authorhouse.com/TateProfileVideo.aspx. Andy, a former investment banker and Bernice, an educator, are hardly naive. They've been quite successful with their self publishing venture.
Additionally, we've run several promotions that offer our more seasoned authors "their age in free books." One author, who was 94received 94 free copies of his completed book. We've provided a lot of authors, who've spent in some cases decades being rejected by the traditional houses, the chance to finally hold a published copy of their book.
I would encourage you to learn more about AuthorHouse by speaking with some of our authors. Many, expecially those who've actively engaged in marketing and promoting their books, are very happy with their publishing experiences.
Should you have any questions about AuthorHouse, please feel free to contact me through www.authorhouse.com.

Best regards,
Kevin A. Gray
AuthorHouse

Darren Hogan said...

I learnt too late that AuthorHouse is toxic, and one of the nastiest scams I've dealt with in my life.

My hell with Authorhouse started on 24 May 2010 through a misleading website called findyourpublisher.com, which is a bogus fraud site funnelling unsuspecting authors towards AuthorHouse and their partner scams. My first mistake - I gave them my contact details. I was conned into paying them around $1000 to publish my first book which I was told would be available at Amazon. The result was a shoddy, poorly produced crappy book which no reader would waste their time with. The book is still not available at Amazon or anywhere - I just get excuses.

Authorhouse is a scam, and they have stolen my dollars and succeeded in rubbishing of my work, that has left me deflated and completely disillusioned.

AuthorHouse should change their name to AuthorScam. These fraudsters have turned fraud into an artform, and it's time for government agencies to start taking a look at AuthorHouse and their partner companies, iUniverse, Trafford and Xlibris.

If you're a writer reading this: this is your wake up call. AUTHORHOUSE IS A HORRIFIC SCAM. DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND DO NOT GIVE THEM YOUR MONEY.