Review : Author House – Self Publishing

Disclaimer: I just want to say for starters, this is a first time review. That is, I’m picking over the site for the first time right now. I’m also looking at this site as A) a fiction writer with a novel to publish B) a way to accomplish my own goals or one day getting national bookstore distribution.

So this is

Starting at $599 with a long list of services. With one big exception – Print on Demand (they don’t do that)

AuthorHouse is only a self publish service*

They offer ISBN, Color Cover, ‘Online Distribution’ & ‘bookstore availability’ and a complimentary author copy, for your 600 bucks.

Initial Reaction: No Interest

So let’s break it down.

This is a money making business that preys on people’s dreams. It’s vanity press. The packages are not designed to get you out on bookshelves, or even on kindels, but to relieve you of your money.

While I am intrigued with their Booksellers Return Program – in which unbought books are returned and the bookstores get their investment back – without the demand, you’re just out another $700. And that’s annual.

So all in all – there’s no way I’d look any further in to putting my Novel ‘Gone’ out with these guys. They claim to have put out 60,000 titles since 97. Can you name one you’ve bought? seen on the shelf at Borders? unless you’re the author, I’m doubting it. On a whim I just put this in to google ‘authorhouse scam’ and these are the immediate results. So you decide!

Here are some other people’s thoughts – Again, not my words, I haven’t verified their statements

Let me know what companies you’d like me to review in the comments below

* they do also offer a eBook service starting at $149, or included in the ‘foundation’ package deal


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12 Responses to “Review : Author House – Self Publishing”

  1. John Lacey Says:

    I follow the progress of one particular author who was thinking about publishing a poetry collection through Lulu. Not being particularly tech savvy she didn’t feel she could produce her document to their (at times quite exacting) standards. Infact her reaction intrigued me so much that I did some of my own research and I didn’t think they were that bad (especially for anyone with word processing/graphics software experience). They even let you register the ISBN for the book for free and (if you choose the option) will get it listed in Amazon.

    I’m curious to see what you think of it.

  2. Aaron Waltke Says:

    Sorry Author House didn’t work out, Sam. I wasn’t sure if they were for you or not, but I figured my friend could at least give you a straight forward point-of-view on their business and how the vanity press business works in general.

    • samproof Says:

      Totally Aaron,

      Thanks – I appreciate everyone taking an interest in helping this novel along. I also want to make it available to as many people as possible.

      I’ll find the right match!

  3. anythingforsasuke Says:

    Hello Sam,

    I’m glad I surfed upon your blog today (wow, surfed…I actually haven’t heard that term used in years).

    I was doing some research into self publishing and I heard some good reviews for Lulu, with the only problems with them being something about the ISBN numbers and that they price the books too high. Lulu does seem to be doing big things as a self publishing company, but I think a lot of people feel that they price the books too high which discourages customers from buying them (It’s already hard to take a chance on a self published novel).

    Createspace is another self publishing place that gets pretty good reviews. I think it’s cheaper to create your book there and cheaper to get copies of your own work, only problem is they are not as popular as Lulu.

    What I do is, I search the message boards of these places. If the company doesn’t have a message board (with at least a few hundred different people on it…honestly…. I’ve seen online scam companies do some desperate things), I wouldn’t take a chance on that company. The message boards are very informative and you can hear peoples opinions of these places and get the down low on some tricks and tips to maneuvering the self publishing biz.

    One idea I got from the message boards is to self publish your novel with different places. For instance, I can publish with createspace, fixed my novel and get personal copies for cheaper. Then when my book is *PERFECTED*, I can publish it on Lulu as well and use their popularity! That’s my backup plan. I’m querying agents right now but If I can’t get anything but a NO damn right I’m going to self publish!

    There’s another company, Iuniverse or something like that, that was also good for distribution. So maybe Createspace=Iuniverse(or whatever)=Lulu. That might be something that you can try, the legit self publishing companies have different strong points. Nothing wrong with us writers for trying to use all their advantages.

  4. anythingforsasuke Says:

    Sorry, I think the POD place I meant was Lightening Source, NOT Iuniverse. I’m not sure what Iuniverse is about.
    But lightening source is another one I hear is legit, they have some advantages and disadvantages on Lulu and createspace though.

  5. E.A. Bucchianeri Says:

    I agree, stay away from Authorhouse if you don’t wish to get burned. Here is my experince:

    To my utter misfortune, I became acquainted and started to use the services offered by 1stBooks publishers now known as Authorhouse, and published my first two books in 2003. At the time, I detected no problem with their services and accepted that being my work was academic, would not sell many copies. I decided to publish my third book with them, a large 2 volume edition in 2008, and due to the reviews and publicity received, and the professors that contacted me personally, I became fully aware of the university libraries and public libraries who processed my work into their establishments, or were interested in my work.

    However, I noticed the first major discrepancy in their promises was that if I turned my manuscript in within a certain time frame, I would receive fourteen free copies of my work when it was printed.
    I e-mailed my text, and mailed my contract via snail-mail two weeks before the deadline, I know it arrived on time—I live in Europe, and mail does not take longer than 4 to 8 days to arrive in the US, however, they could not honour the free copy agreement as they hadn’t received the contracts on time. They never mentioned the agreement included receiving the contracts, just the manuscript. I received just my usual free review copy of each volume. I decided to let the matter go.

    Then, they have a very careless attitude with other aspects of their services. For example, their Press Wire program that sends your Press Release electronically to 14,000 media outlets. Where did I find my academic books being promoted? In the financial sections of these media outlets, and not to my target audience found in the academic, history, biography, or even literature, areas.
    (I also discovered my university level academic book on classical music categorised as a “children’s book”.)

    However, the major problems developed with royalty accounting. I began keeping a record of the copies available of my new two-volume work at Amazon US, UK, Canada, and their Marketplace vendors. (This is practically the only way you can discern how many books may be selling in the public domain.) Considering this is Print On Demand, when a number of available copies drops, you can expect it to be a sale since stores have no reason to keep raising and dropping the numbers unless they make a sale and then re-list the book. (For the record, I withdrew all my publications from Authorhouse June 14th 2010.)

    Authorhouse’s numbers were way below the daily tallies I kept from the Amazon numbers, they only reported between 10% and maybe up to 20% of the sales on any given quarter. Today for example, I received the worst report yet: they reported only 1 copy of Volume One sold in the second quarter (April 1 to June 14th, the time I withdrew my publications from them), and only 3 copies for Volume 2. According to my numbers from the Amazon rankings and marketplace sellers in the US, Canada and UK: 28 copies of Volume 1 sold, and 27 of Volume 2. Therefore they have reported only 4% of the sales, and they obviously are pocketing the rest. And this does not include other sales that may have been made through other sellers like Barnes and Noble, etc.

    However, there is no way to be compensated for these discrepancies, Authorhouse demands you provide receipts of all sales as proof of your claim—how on earth do you track such receipts? Authorhouse knows it’s an impossibility. Of course, Nielsen Book Scan offers sales report services, but you cannot use them to reclaim royalties, or display or disclose your sales report to any third party as Nielsen deems such action a breach of trademark confidentiality and would possible incur a lawsuit.

    The simplest answer would be to cancel all contracts with Authourhouse, but this is not as easy as they make it out to be. To date, they continue to reassure me my books are no longer in print, but as I have discovered today (September 7), they are still listed with UK wholesale distributors as available within 5 days as Print on Demand, so they are technically still available by Authorhouse illegally.

    1st Books / Authorhouse in my estimation is the most disreputable company allowed to carry on a business offering a sham service to the public, robbing authors of the fruits of their labours. Surely they are required to have a business license to operate as all other businesses? How can any state issue a license and continue to allow such a rogue business like this to continue? They are operating on such a large scale, and if they are doing this to every author, then one must consider the possibility they are committing grand larceny on a massive scale. They claim to have thousands of authors with their company.

    Authors Beware: if you are considering publishing your book using Print On Demand, stay well away from this company. Even if they paid all the royalties, they do little or nothing to help promote your work, but expect you to pay additional hundreds and even thousands for various promotion packages that provide little if no results. For those of you poor authors who now hold a contract with Authorhouse publishing your work, my sympathies go out to all of you.

  6. sandra Knott Says:

    I have just signed up with Author House.As yet nothing has been handed over,only because I couldnt get into the program they sent me.
    I am paying my fee in over three payments.
    I entered this mine field by accident ( fraud etc ) it has frightened me to death.
    Can I stop any further dealings with them. They have my bank details.

    A very worried Author

  7. kassie wright Says:

    I just puublished my first book. I live in canada and i asked them at authorhouse if this would be a problem getting my books across the border. i receive my authors copy, but it was sent out last wed and it is being help at the canadian border. 40 others are free but i dont want to run into the same border prob. i also have 100+ orders locally so i need books. how do i get them past the can border? any insight would be appreciated.

  8. Anton Says:

    Thank you, dear colleagues-authors! I am Russian and one authorhouse represantative called me and offered to publish. I was very happy but one thing confused me: he did not ask me to send my story, the talk was only for money. Then I promised to agree, but wrote some other questions – and he did not reply.
    You advise not to publish with self-publishing, do you?

  9. Anton Says:

    What to do to get our books available and us to see our hard and honestly earned money?

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