Could Authorhouse be a Scam?

jennyjofay By jennyjofay, 3rd Feb 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Tips

Could AuthorHouse be a Scam? Are all these publishing places out to just get our hard earned money? What are we to do, when we know if we don't end up self publishing our work is going to end up in the slush pile.

Could Authorhouse be a scam?

Could Authorhouse be a scam? I am wondering this. Earlier last year, I finished editing my first mystery novel. Then I decided in February to go self publish. Maybe I didn't do enough research before committing.

I then called up Authorhouse and got the ball rolling. And while I was at it, I decided to self publish two of my paper doll sets too. $700 a pop to publish resulting in somewhere over $2000 bucks for all three.

It took several months before the process was done and my stuff could go live. I did my own cover for Black Roses which is still online at Barnes and Noble, Amazon and other places. At the end of March they went live. In the mean time, I got roped into a basic advertising package. Add an extra $5000 for that roughly.

The advertiser said it was crucial to have an advertising package, so I bought into it.

I passed on buying 200 copies of my book. I got lots of free postcards, bookmarks and business cards and flyers of my stuff in the mail. Kind of neat. At first I didn't know what to do with it all and then I learned quick to stand outside of Borders Books and pass them out.

And then, I got sucked into paying for a trip to go out to California for a PitchToFest for all the authors. 150 of us. We all got to pitch our book to movie producers. 7. We had three minutes to do it. And two lucky authors were going to get a big chance to pitch it to a big time movie producer. And other authors would also get deals.

I ended up not being one of the chosen. Add another $1500 plus plane fare to get there roughly, taxis etc.... I am kind of glad I went to that though. It was a learning experience and it was lots of fun getting to meet other authors. We all had a fun time, regardless. It was a trip, kind of like a vacation. And it was the first time I had travelled alone on an airplane. I made it there and back in one piece.

But, the advertising package ended up doing nothing for me. They told me I could be on tv in September in South Carolina. Which meant I also had to drive there and pay for a hotel. Which I didn't end up getting a refund for the hotel as I went through Expedia.

I was all set to go. And I was kind of excited about the five week advertising campaign that was going to reach lots of people. I got updates along the way.

Well, finally about three weeks before the air date for tv, I got walluped with my first royalty check. I almost felt like throwing it on the floor and I tried to do a double take on it. $25 was staring me in the face. And I was like how? I kept seeing my books being sold on Barnes and Noble and Amazon and twelve to fourteen people were reselling my books back on the sites.

It ended up, I don't even think I got 50% or even very much at all. Immediately, I cancelled the air date and trip and told the employee for Authorhouse that I was disgusted with the royalty check after I spent thousands of dollars on publishing, hoping to earn a little more in my pocket. Then the guy said, maybe they could have given me a publicist. Well, guess what? That cost extra too.

Basically the advertising did nothing for me. It generated twenty people inquiring and none of them ended up following up. I got some good feedback, but nothing more. And I wasn't overly impressed with my paid book review. Book reviewers get paid to write anything they want. Luckily, I had the option for the book review to not go live. Thank god. And it was just one person's opinion.

Well a few months later, I got the next royalty check, which I wondered if I should even attempt to cash. $2.47. Diddly squat.

So, now I am wondering if Authorhouse is a scam. Some other authors had later on told me they had heard bad things from them. So I am wondering if they are on the up and up.

And another hard truth about the publishing industry is that it is a hard one to get into and break through the masses.

But are some of these self publishing companies just at the mercy of getting our money and then not really helping us? We tend to be at their mercy with wanting to be published and we have to pay for it, or else we see ourselves in the slush pile forever. You know, blindly sending our stuff out to publishing companies and then getting the rejection letters in the mail or sometimes our stuff never even returned.

All those photocopies out the door.

But when we see our books in print, it is great. That part alone is worth it. I would pay someone again to publish my book, but the next time around I don't think I want to fork over thousands of dollars for advertising when I have a feeling it is going to get me zilch.

I have been told that CreateSpace is much cheaper, so when I am ready to publish again I am thinking of going with them. I like the idea of getting my books in print and buying copies for each of my kids to have someday. That would be a nice legacy.

Just would like to know people's thoughts on the publishing experiences and would like to know what to watch out for.

I don't want alot of my money gone again like that.

Thinking of this too with my paper doll website that has been up for three months and nothing yet. But Vistaprint is only $29 a month, so it's a lower level. But still a cut when there is no profit in return. I might rethink that one again in six months and then go to sell on my free Blogger Blogs instead. Just wouldn't know how to do the buy it now buttons on that site.

Jennifer Jo Fay

Copyrighted February 3, 2012


Publish, Publishers, Publishing, Publishing My Book, Scams

Meet the author

author avatar jennyjofay
I am a mother of four children, two boys and two girls. I am a paperdoll artist and a writer. I have published my first mystery novel, Black Roses and it is online at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc.. I like to write fiction, poetry, recipes and oth...(more)

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
5th Feb 2012 (#)

Sad outcome, Jenny. I also want to know whether any of these self-publishing places reward the authors at all. We have to believe in the ad gimmicks in the absence of feedbacks from authors. I can understand your feelings after putting so much faith in them - siva

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author avatar jennyjofay
7th Feb 2012 (#)

thanks, it was a learning experience though all the same and will learn what not to do next time.

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author avatar Delicia Powers
10th Feb 2012 (#)

Important article, thank you for this information, a very hard lesson and thoughtful article....

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author avatar Richard
10th Feb 2012 (#)

My experience with Authorhouse is very similar . I know it has sold reasonably well because it has had good ratings on Amazon and I have had emails from all over the world but Authorhouse have sent cheques for two laughable amounts and when I queried those claimed there was a fault with their acoounting systems. Smells like fraud to me.

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author avatar Chas Winston
3rd Jan 2013 (#)

My experience with AuthorHouse was a costly nightmare. As a matter of policy, AuthorHouse won't disclose the royalty rate it will pay authors or the estimated publication cost of a book, even when asked directly. Royalty rates can't be found on their website and employees wouldn't disclose them when I asked. I was told by AuthorHouse that this type of basic information cannot be provided until after your book is formatted. HERE IS THE CATCH: buried in Schedule A of the AuthorHouse contract is a cancellation policy that says the author is responsible for 75% of the publishing package you signed up for once formatting STARTS! Only after the formatting began was I told the royalty rate was LESS than 10% (for comparison, this is not even half of what CreateSpace offers) and the book's price (which AuthorHouse sets) was so much higher than its competitors it made the book unmarketable. Other publishing companies will provide you an estimated price and an estimated royalty BEFORE you sign up. AuthorHouse, on the other hand. requires you commit to 75% of the deal before telling you the bad--and costly--news.

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author avatar Madam Sky
29th Jan 2013 (#)

Last year I almost signed up with Author house, for a deal that would have cost me an arm and a leg. Fortunately for me when it comes to these types of finances I like to take my time. Thank you for sharing your story. It has really come in handy with making my decision.

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author avatar Suzan
18th Apr 2013 (#)

I just learnt too late that Author House is contaminated and venomous, and awful and terrible scam. My first hell started the moment I gave them my contact details. I was conned into paying them around $1000 to publish which I was promised uncountable benefits which never happen till now a year later. With smooth talk and flattery, they toiled 24/7 to deceive people’s minds with stupid fabrications. Author House is formed to take advantage of people and imperceptibly fuck up their money. It is like sparkling washed tombs which appear stunning on the outer part while within are occupied with useless dead men’s skeletons. Anyway, we all know that the devil often works in smart slyness habits; he acts as an angel of the light while his motive is just to deceive. They fail to realize that they have become victims of the devil one. I will do whatever it takes to make sure the world knows about this hell scam.

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author avatar Ali Kigongo
6th Jun 2013 (#)

Oh Me God, and where should one get the best self publishers who are not scam

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author avatar Jeani Rector
28th Sep 2013 (#)

Please see my Beware Page on AuthorHouse here:

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author avatar Kyle R Sullivan
1st May 2017 (#)

Until now, I had a positive vibe about AuthorHouse. I signed on with them 2 years ago. My total earnings are laughable, as many have mentioned but to some extent, I must accept some responsibility for that. I Didn't know much about publishing and did little about marketing myself so nothing was gained in return. This weekend I'm heading to Pitchfest, and I also bought a few marketing Packages with Authorhouse. I'm hoping against all, that I don't end up experiencing the things I'm reading here. The thing that really bothers me with them is their extremely aggressive marketing staff (probably on commission) and their overblown pricing. I would use them again to get my book next published, but I recommend doing the research on hiring a good agent for the marketing part of the project. So far, an EXTREME amount of my finances has been invested and I don't plan on spending another dime until I see SOME sort of results. For now I'm going to withhold judgment and post my adventure (failed or successful) here on my page.

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