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3 Writers Suing Self-Publisher Author Solutions

Author Solutions Inc - peoplewhowrite

Penguin acquired ASI in July 2012

There’s a difference between a “self-publishing service” and a “vanity press” and three authors  are suing Author Solutions for allegedly masquerading as the former when they are, in fact, the latter. Publishers Weekly quotes the filed complaint: “Defendants have marketed themselves as an independent publisher with a reputation for outstanding quality and impressive book sales. Instead, Defendants are not an independent publisher, but a print-on-demand vanity press.”

In the suit, plaintiffs Kelvin James, Jodi Foster, and Terry Hardy allege that Author Solutions (owned by Penguin) caused them to pay thousands for editing and marketing services that were either substandard or never happened. The authors also accuse the self-publisher of dubious royalty practices. Publishers Weekly explains, “The suit alleges that even authors listed as bestsellers on Amazon are told they have no reported sales, and, that it is difficult if not impossible to get a correct sales accounting. …The company’s true business is not publishing, the complaint stresses, but selling services to authors.”

Author Solutions has been among the biggest players in the rise of self-publishing with traditional publishers flocking to partner with them. Penguin acquired self-publishing start-up Author Solutions for $116 Million in July 2012, and soon after signed a first-look deal with Thruline Entertainment. Most recently, Simon & Schuster partnered with Author Solutions to form self-publishing imprint Archway Publishing. Publishers Weekly rightly points out the lawsuit, if it goes to court, could set a precedent. “[O]ne can certainly imagine a large contingent of similarly discontented self-published authors who would love a peek behind the self-publishing curtain.”



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