Author Solutions / Author House / Et Cetera. . . .

This review is about Author Solutions, a conglomerate of numerous smaller publishing houses all located at the same physical address in Bloomington, Indiana.

Author House is a subsidiary of Get Published LLC also located at the same physical address, and also with a location in Delaware. Get Published LLC operates as a Foreign Limited Liability Company with business ID 728272.

Get Published LLC includes Author Solutions, which, in turn, includes iUniverse, Author House, Xlibris, Book Tango, Trafford Publishing, and Palibrio.

Author Solutions has partnerships with Archway (Simon & Schuster), West Bow (Thomas Nelson), Balboa Press (Hay House), Guideposts (Inspiring Voices), and Writer’s Digest (Abbott Press).

I have been talking with several self publishing houses with the hope of finding one that I can work with and trust. Considering the numerous businesses listed, it’s almost an impossible task. However, after talking with one of their pitch men, Dustin Davis and not knowing they were associated with Author Solutions, I had the bad luck to choose iUniverse.

Dustin was quite the pitchman and knows exactly when to listen, when to talk, and how to stroke a person’s ego, even an average ego. After talking with him over an hour, I thought I had all the info I needed to make a decision. Dustin sent a copy of the contract for me to “e-sign” and send back.

Error #1: On Feb 23, before getting the contract, I gave Dustin my credit card info and verbally agreed to “enter an agreement.” I paid 50% of the cost up front.

After hanging up the phone, I opened the email containing the contract, and what I found caused me to immediately cancel the contract. Cancelling the contract was easy; getting my money refunded was not so easy.

This is what I read in paragraph 3 of section 1, in the Services and Distribution greement:

Our Work Product includes the book design, book cover design, graphics, Illustrations (as defined below), and other content that We or Our Contractors create in the process of fulfilling the Services (with the exception of the text of the Work).  Our Property includes Our imprint logos, imprint names, trademarks, barcodes, and ISBN's. We remain the sole and exclusive owner of all right, title and interest, including copyright, in and to Our Work Product and Our Property.

It’s the last sentence of the above paragraph, and the ninth paragraph that I really take exception to, where it refers to Our Work Product and tells me they will grant me a license to use product that I paid them to make for me. Based on the wording, I have to assume that includes any graphics they might create inside the book.

It doesn’t work that way! If I pay someone to make something for me, I OWN IT! And there are self publishing houses out there that really do understand that aspect of the business.

So, what it boils down to is this: If I go with iUniverse, or a similarly operated publisher, the ONLY part I own is the manuscript. The ISBN is issued through that publisher; I don’t own the ISBN. Of course, there are other considerations of doing business with publishers such as iUniverse—the only part of the final product that I have a right to is the manuscript. The contract makes it clear that everything else is “Our Work Product” owned by the publisher.

That might be okay with a traditional publisher that is paying for production of the book, but it’s not okay with me when I am paying someone to publish my work.

After nearly three weeks, and only after a complaint to the Central Indiana BBB, and sending iUniverse a copy of the small claims court petition I was ready to file, did iUniverse even consider refunding my money. Initially, they only refunded 80%. Then they realized there was no contract, and I was ready to take it to court, and they refunded the reaining 20%. It took them about 20 minutes to charge my credit card; it took me three weeks and a BIG FREAKIN' HASSLE to get all the money back.

iUniverse (and all the others associated with Author Solutions):

1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403

What are the best and worst self-publishing services? Take a look at this list from the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) and decide for yourself. Note that Author Solutions and their subs are NOT recommended.

Take a peek at the synopsis of my novel: The Girl at the Rest Stop