I was shopping around for online businesses that help authors self-publish. I had questions related to: print on demand, ISBNs, text formatting services, book cover design, etc.
Many sites showed in my search results and in particular Authorhouse.com. I went to their website and they offered to send a free starter guide if I fill in my information. No harm there. I fill my information: name, email and phone number.
After I filled the form, I received the PDF file. That PDF was really nothing more a flyer containing the services they offer. Not as much tips as they promised. Anyway, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Let me continue with my story.
So the next day, I get a phone call from an individual by the name of “Eric Lundy”, a senior author consultant. He seemed friendly on the phone. He was in a hurry while delivering his “we don’t need you, you need us” pitch. He also made sure he gets off the phone as soon as he can while telling me to continue the conversation by email if I have more questions.
In fact, I had questions already and I needed real answers. I did not really benefit much from his generic sales pitch:
- I asked him: “Are you in a hurry? I mean you are on the phone and I have the questions now. Can you answer me?”
- E.L: “Yes, I can”.
- Me: “So, I said I am looking for the self-publishing experience and I was wondering if I can buy services from you.”
- E.L: “Yes sure.”
- Me: “So, do you have text formatting service?”
- E.L: “Yes, we will format the document and send it back to you for review.”
- Me: “Great. So, I would to get this service and go my own way afterwards.”
- E.L: “No, you have to order the books from us.”
I was puzzled here.
- Me: “What do you mean? I paid you for your service and now I don’t want anything to do with AuthorHouse”
- E.L: “No, we put all the hard work. You have to order the books from us.”
- Me: “But I paid you for your services. What more do you want?”
Here, I can start to see his ANGRY and AGGRESSIVE tone starting to build up. I was never disrespectful at all, I had genuine questions. After all, he’s a “Senior Author Consultant”. His job is to be professional, conduct himself properly since he represents his company and answer all questions.
- Me: “So what does it take to keep the ownership of my book and just use your services.”
- E.L: “Well, you have to buy your own ISBN so we remove our name from your book.”
- Me: “But you did not tell me you will put the AuthorHouse name / brand on the book. I don’t want that. I am looking for the self-publishing experience. How can we go about that?”
- E.L: “You know what!”, he said in a more angry tone. “I don’t think we are good for you. I am going to hang up on you.”
Notice how he did not answer me and avoided that questions. The more I ask, the more I expose things he was not willing to tell me.
- Me: “Hey, take it easy there. Why the aggressive tone? We are talking here. Take it easy.”
His aggressiveness seemed to be coming out of nowhere. Only later I learned why he was getting pissed off, so it is not inexplicable after all. Let me finish this account and I will explain what happens when you eat the bait and work with Authorhouse.
He replied with even more aggressiveness but I cannot recall what he said because the whole conversation became so tense. At that point, I could no longer take his aggressiveness, so I said to him:
- Me: “You know what?! I agree with you. Let’s just hang up.”
That phone conversation left a bitter taste in my mouth. I was really pissed off at his manners or their lack thereof. I decided to search the internet and see if I am the only person who had a negative experience with AuthorHouse. Lo and behold. There are lots of negative accounts about the shady, dishonest and misleading practices lead by this company.
That Eric person was getting angry because I was asking the right questions and I was not a gullible client that he could easily hook. The more important questions I asked, the less comfortable and angry he became.
After all, what is the need of a scammer to waste his time if the victim is not going to take the bait?
I emailed their firstname.lastname@example.org complaining about their “senior” consultant’s behavior. I received a phone call the next business day and they apologized. They wanted to have another more mannered consultant contact me again, but unfortunately I refused, especially after I researched more about the company and found more negative reviews than positive reviews.
Negative reviews from the web
To my surprise, there’s a complete Blog site by an ex-employee dedicated to exposing the scams committed by AuthorHouse.com:
Here’s an excerpt from Marcus’ WFHW blog about their dishonest business conduct:
Here’s how it works…
You are the author of a book and want it published, you choose a package and will pay the publishing house to take all the necessary steps on your behalf. They register the book in their name because, unfortunately, that’s what you have paid them to do.
Now since they own the ISBN they can give this out to any store that they see fit and make money from your hard work. Naturally just doing this would definitely seem to be a complete rip-off but the promise of receiving royalties on your publication doesn’t usually sound any alarm bells.
As to the exact amount of sales you are going to make…nobody knows except for the publishing house because they are not going to reveal the real figures. All they have to do is pay a minimum amount every quarter.
Let me quote some experiences from pissed consumers:
Before Author House merged with iUniverse I chose iUniverse, not knowing this was going to be the future of this company. I regret choosing iUniverse now, as I’ve had problems with them and fear that if they do ever get a book done I won’t get paid from sales, as others are complaining about. The number of times this company has contradicted itself and changed personnel it has just not gone well and I’d never use them again or recommend them. Also, their editing was amateur, definitely not worth what I paid for it. I could’ve done it myself better but thought by paying them I was saving myself time. Wrong! Redoing their job was very time consuming. It has made me suspicious of the entire self publishing industry.
Here’s another one:
Author House keeps the royalties (in which I’m now gathering receipts from some buyers) and they also have the problem of losing everything including a royalty check from a year ago. They won’t re-issue it because they have said for months it’s still live. I told them to cancel the check and just issue another one. They avoid answering that with blaming the post office to even me. They motto is “We didn’t do it – you did.” I’m still waiting for the check for the 4th quarter of 2011. The stupid part about it is the check is only $7.26. We are fighting over chump change. Do they need money that bad? The losing of items, began the first few months when they lost a picture. Then checks from me to them with tracking devices on them.
And another one:
The Dark Connection Between PublishAmerica and The AuthorHouse Publishing ScamVanity Press, PublishAmerica, has been provably receiving illegal down payments from AuthorHouse to underwrite some of the exposure the company would have otherwise received from angry writers who have had their royalties stolen by the AuthorHouse Publishing Scam. This blog tells the story of AuthorHouse, a publishing scam based in Bloomington Indiana that is riddled with corporate corruption and faces a pending Wall Street SEC investigation for securities fraud.
And another one:
The rogue, predatory, fraudulent publishing company called Author House based in Indiana will steal your money and not publish your work. Please, do not deal with them for your peace of mind., They collected money from me and refused to honor the contract and all I did is contact the Indiana Attorney Generals Office (The Consumer Protection Division) – 1800-382-5516. They refunded my money in full. I wonder wow or why these thieves continue to stay in business in a lawful country like the US. It is terrible. I am willing to join anyone to file a class action suit.
And another one:
I’ve discovered some interesting things about my books in the meantime: one of my publications was being advertised (and possibly distributed) by Authorhouse with a cover I never authorized, while covers I did authorise were sold on other sites. Ho couls this be when we must okay all covers before they are released? Could this be proof of thier own unauthorized pirate copies being sold without my knowledge? Like I said, Possibly!
I also found out Authorhouse was operating their own cut rate Marketplace seller on Amazon called “Adelightfulbook”, selling books for half the price on Amazon! I repeat, they were selling practically all their authors’ books for half the price for a couple of years before this “seller” mysteriously disppeared offline a few months before I lodged this complaint. How where they paying us authors and Amazon at the same time? Not possible I say, another way to cut us authors out without us knowing by using a front shop on the Internet. They could be doing this again, but there is no way of knowing unless they slip and give the name out on their private statements like they did in my case.
Stay away from Authorhouse!
What other pissed consumers are saying:
- AuthorHouse – fraud
- Author House – Terrible experience
- Author House – scam and fraud
- AuthorHouse – AuthorHouse–Self-Publishing Rip Off
- AuthorHouse – Authors not being paid for all sales
- AuthorHouse – unprofessionalism
- AuthorHouse – Poetry Book
- AuthorHouse – Rip off publishing compnay
- AuthorHouse – Book Shipment
- Author House – Lack of royalties and lose everything
- Is Authorhouse a scam?
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