Monday, March 04, 2013

Law Firm Investigates Author Solutions Inc.

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

The New York law firm of Giskan Solotaroff Anderson & Stewart LLP has opened an investigation of Author Solutions Inc. (ASI), alleging deceptive practices.
Authors using Author Solutions have complained of deceptive practices, including enticing authors to purchase promotional services that are not provided or are worthless, failing to pay royalties, and spamming authors and publishing blogs/sites with promotional material.
They're calling for contact from authors who believe they've been the victims of these and/or other deceptive practices. The contact form is here.

Giskan Solotaroff Anderson & Stewart specializes in, among other things, consumers and small businesses in class actions. Where possible, they enter into contingency fee arrangements--i.e., they take a percentage of the winnings rather than a fee. Given that Author Solutions is now owned by Pearson, there are some deep pockets here, which  may make a lawsuit more feasible than it has been in the past. (To my knowledge, no lawsuit has actually been filed; this is a preliminary investigation only.)

I've blogged about ASI and its questionable practices a good deal over the past few years. For background, here's a selection of my posts:

Pearson Buys Author Solutions (but questions about ASI's business practices remain open--will Pearson address them?)

A Partridge in a Penguin Tree (ASI expands into India).

Archway Publishing: Simon & Schuster Adds a Self-Publishing Division (outsourced to ASI, and it's eye-poppingly expensive).

Fake Jared And His Friends: Author Solutions' Misleading PR Strategies

Democratization or Disinformation? (ASI's misleading "white paper" on independent" publishing).

Posts by others:

Writer and editor Emily Suess is a relentless critic of ASI, and has exposed many of its business practices and collected many complaints from unhappy authors who've used its services.

Mick Rooney of The Independent Publishing Magazine has a long piece on the Giskan Solotaroff investigation and related matters.

Author and blogger David Gaughran deconstructs the ASI empire.

5 comments:

Marla Miller said...

thanks for tracking this ladies....Let's just say I'm not shocked to read this---
Marla Miller

Linda Welch said...

It's about time.

Jenny said...

The only issue here is the long, ugly history of law firms taking on these kinds of suits because they get a huge cut of the settlement while the people they are supposedly suing for get a token payment. Worse, these settlements don't stop the offending party from offending.

A good example was the suit against the Atkins people in the late 1990s for marketing supposedly "low carb" bars that were actually full of carbohydrate due to sleazy labeling. The firm got a bunch of money, the people who bought the bars got a refund--if they still had proof of purchase of the bars from 5 years earlier. And Atkins is still selling bars that use deceptive labeling to hide the fact they are full of substances that metabolize into carbohydrate.

So don't break out the champagne just yet. . .

M said...

Archway and Authors Solutions were at the San Francisco Writers Conference and I got a very bad vibe from them and the people representing them. I steered clear when they tried to sell me.

Mac said...

You've probably already seen this post about S&S pushing their new Archway (ASI) affiliate program at bloggers, too, then?