This today on David Gaughran’s “Let’s Get Digital.”
“Simon & Schuster has launched a self-publishing operation, Archway Publishing, contracting one of the most disreputable players in the business to run the show: Author Solutions.
We’ll get to that distasteful link-up in a second, but first let’s have a look at what Simon & Schuster are offering prospective customers (i.e. writers).
Fiction packages start at $1,999 and go up to $14,999. If you have written a business book, prices are saucier again: $2,999 to $24,999.
While the upper end of the pricing spectrum is obviously shocking, some of you might think that $1,999 isn’t too bad if you are getting a proper edit and a decent cover.
Not so fast.
That price tag doesn’t include any real editing, just an assessment which – according to their own website – is “not a replacement” for editorial services but “a preliminary diagnostic tool.”
But what if you need proper editing? Fear not! Simon & Schuster is here to help. For just $0.035 a word, you can have a thorough edit of your book. Which sounds cheap until you realize that a standard 80,000 word novel would cost you $2,800. So, in actual fact, the cheapest package, plus their edit, will set you back $4,799 for a standard length book.
As if that wasn’t enough, Simon & Schuster will also take half of your e-book royalties – after Amazon and the other retailers take their cut – and pay pennies for print sales.”
He goes on to talk of how Author Solutions has ripped off hundreds of thousands of authors:
“The formidable Emily Seuss has been covering Author Solutions for some time:
The short list of recurring issues includes: making formerly out-of-print works available for sale without the author’s consent, improperly reporting royalty information, non-payment of royalties, breach of contract, predatory and harassing sales calls, excessive markups on review and advertising services, failure to deliver marketing services as promised, telling customers their add-ons will only cost hundreds of dollars and then charging their credit cards thousands of dollars, ignoring customer complaints, shaming and banning customers who go public with their stories, and calling at least one customer a ‘fucking asshole.’”
Read the entire article here.
When I heard that Penguin joined with Author Solutions, to say I was gobmacked is an understatement. I wondered if Authors Solutions had finally got its act together and was offering valuable services, after all. I don’t think so. Apart from the outrageous costs of these services, Author Solutions doesn’t appear to have changed their marketing practices. There have been reports of them calling writers, with the opening question: “Would you like to be published by Penguin?” Oh dear. I doubt their business model will change for Simon and Schuster.
Author solutions is not in the business of selling books. It sells below-par services to authors. The big publishing houses MUST know of Author Solutions shady reputation. So why have two of the biggies hired them?
As it has been with Big Publishing for some time, it’s all about the money. While they do their best to discredit self-publishing, they can no longer deny self-publishers are making money, and they want a share of it.