AuthorHouse UK – Reviewed (Updated, March, 2010)

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Amazon.co.uk Titles – 50,000

Amazon.com Titles – 44,100

http://www.authorhouse.co.uk

AuthorHouse are one of the largest flagship author solution services with 50,000 plus titles available on Amazon UK. AuthorHouse was founded in 1997 and is owned by Author Solutions US who also own iUniverse and Wordclay. Further expansion in 2009 for Author Solutions has led to the acquisition of Trafford Publishing and Xlibris making them a real powerhouse conglomerate in the author solution service market.
There are a handful of books shown on their main webpage, but these books are linked to AuthorHouse’s packages available to authors. From the outset, it is clear that selling author services and directing perspective authors through these links is the primary drive of traffic. Anyone who has searched the Internet under the key words ‘self-publishing’ will have come across links to AuthorHouse. One of AuthorHouse’s strongest points is its corporate reach and primary placement in the author solutions market.
There is plenty of information provided on their website about their available packages and numerous add-on services, as well as their on line bookstore, the terms and conditions of their author contract and service order forms. There is also a secure password ‘Author Centre’ for registered authors intending publishing with them to follow the progress and production of their book and to monitor their royalties and account.
AuthorHouse make it very clear that they accept most books without any real detailed quality checks beyond the usual libellous and offensive material. The interior detail of your book will be published the way it is and the responsibility is on the author to utilise the available services for ‘pre-publication’ (editing and design) or have the manuscript as near to published standard when it is submitted to them.
AuthorHouse offer three basic packages for the self-publishing author to start with; Paperback & Hardback Publishing, Children’s & Colour Publishing, and Retail-Focused Publishing. The starting prices for these three packages range from £795 to £999. The Paperback & Hardback Publishing packages include the following:

Design consultation
Custom interior and exterior design
ISBN assignment
Ten black & white image insertions
Electronic proof
Online distribution
Bookstore availability
Marketing consultation
One author copy of book

To upgrade to hardback publication, the author will have to pay £1045, and for that, all that is extra is some back cover description, an author photograph and biography, and five hardback author copies of the book.

The Colour Package offers paperback publication offering much the same as the Paperback & Hardback Publication option, but with the addition of 50 images. Again, for back cover detail and five author copies, the author will have to stump up £1045. This kind of book is specifically tailored for a children’s colour illustrated book.
These two packages do include a custom covers, but many of the covers I have looked at give the appearance of AuthorHouse’s own stock art and I would suggest an author seriously consider using their own front cover image. It is authenticity and originality which separates a book out from many of the other stock art covers.
The Retail Focused Publishing Package is a service which includes what AuthorHouse describes as ‘Bookstore Positioning’ as well as expedited book production, US copyright registration, and a standard press release. The prices range from £999 to £2199 depending on whether the book is a standard paperback or colour book. Having a package called ‘Retailed Focused’ almost seems to me to be an acknowledgement that their other packages are not intended for the retail market.






“AuthorHouse shall send three advance copies of the Work to one of the following stores, to have guaranteed shelf space for 10 weeks.”

These are specific arrangements AuthorHouse have with a select list of Borders and Waterstones bookshops. On the whole, it is a promising addition to the basic packages, but authors would need to ensure the placement of books is with their local branches.
On face value the packages may seem competitive, but it should be remembered that there is no real standard editing or proofreading with these packages. To purchase a simple edit as an add-on service from AuthorHouse ,based on their rates, this could cost the author almost double what they might pay from an independent freelance service. Their author website domain name service is a perfect example of this. Similarly, their direct marketing material is way beyond the standard prices for business cards, bookmarks and postcards that other competitors offer with these deals. To print 1000 of each of the above will cost the author £875! For this price, the author could go and register with Lightning Source and have 200 copies of their book printed.
AuthorHouse says that royalties are in the hands of the author and they can set the percentage at between 5% and 50% for books sold through retailers and 10% to 50% for books sold through the AuthorHouse on line bookstore. Looking at AuthorHouse’s retail prices, authors would be advised to keep this royalty below 20% if they are to keep the book’s retail price in any way competitive.
AuthorHouse supply some guidance about royalties and author discounts. From the examples provided on their website, AuthorHouse make an addition profit by marking up books from the print cost. Even an author familiar with actual POD print costs and retailer discounts would struggle to glean a clear picture of what their profits per book would be so convoluted and muddied are the examples. There are so many variable here that one can only look at Amazon to get a guide retail price on a typical 200 page paperback book of between £11 and £13. A typical 200 to 300 page, perfect bound paperback from Lightning Source, the leading UK POD printer, costs between £2.90 and £3.50 to print. AuthorHouse’s retail prices are above some of their competitor’s prices, which makes it harder for their authors to market and sell books. Whatever way you look at it AuthorHouse are charging their authors well above the print costs for copies of their own books and the publishing profit far exceeds what the author makes by a minimum of three to one. Far more transparency is needed from AuthorHouse in this area so their authors can make clear and valued comparisons with competitor companies.





“As an AuthorHouse author, you can also purchase copies of your book from us at a discounted price. The exact discount is determined by your page count, book price, and the quantity of your order. Orders for quantities of 50 or more are considered volume orders and receive a greater discount determined by the total number of books ordered.”

In short, what you get from AuthorHouse can be got far cheaper by other author solution services. AuthorHouse are far too expensive for someone looking for a bargain or have humble and personal goals for seeing their book in print. They overcharge for additional add-on services to the nth degree. They engage in heavy direct marketing and promotion of their add-on services to authors. The brightest service they have is the Bookstore Positioning with Borders and Waterstones, but even these have their limitations and benefits for the additional costs to the author.
AuthorHouse claim they are ‘author-centric’, but if they put as much ingenuity into the authors who pay for their services, as they do into their own self promotion of their services, then their business would be far stronger and their reputation in self-publishing would be second to none. At best, AuthorHouse are may find a home for authors who are ‘green’ about self-publishing and find the nuts and bolts of publishing a book on their own daunting. I suspect, by the volume of authors and titles published by AuthorHouse, this is the case for many authors.
Having said that, you cannot argue with an author solutions service that boasts 50,000 titles on Amazon.co.uk. But as with all other companies in this area—it is very difficult to evaluate a company’s success and effectiveness regarding their promotional and marketing services unless we know what services the authors of their top-selling titles chose. On the whole—it strikes me that AuthorHouse is a successful and well-oiled machine, but much of its success is bringing in authors to their service rather than selling their author’s books.
RATING: 6.2/10

UPDATE: March, 2010.
Author Solutions announce their publishing brands will have all new books featured as Kindle titles.
Authors

23 Comments

  1. Rod H said:

    I have just discovered your posts and have begin reading through them – which will take me a while. They are very useful indeed. Thanks!

    • Peter baggott said:

      If you are considering using them as publishers don’t. I offered them my novel and accepted their package – they don’t read your novel before making you an offer, Why?
      Once the had looked at my novel they suggested areas that had to be changed or else. When challenged they stated the areas they had raised were cited in their exclusions which I have never been able to access, if I had I’d never have approached them. Their request based on what they claimed – which is rubbish (I can expand if you like?) was unacceptable as novel two a continuation wouldn’t work. I suggested that they cancel the contract because I wouldn’t make the dramatic change. Basically if they withdraw they have to pay the full refund. All I got was the runaround and having explained my reasons to five different people and supplied emails which were never forwarded and never kept up to date I asked to withdraw. That’s when the refunds department who won’t speak to you direct get involved and take what they like. Twice over nearly a month they claimed they had returned half my money, then stated two weeks ago they hadn’t sent it without explanation.
      Mine isn’t the only problem you will find numerous problems on various media and comparison websites.
      There are a lot better out there try some of the smaller publishers.
      Regards
      Peter Baggott

      • Mick Rooney said:

        Exactly, Peter. AuthorHouse is not a publisher. It is a pay-to-play publishing service, and a search through TIPM’s archives and thousands of words we have given to coverage of its parent Author Solutions will quickly reveal how placing and paying to have your work published with them is such a poor choice. Take a look at where TIPM rank AuthorHouse in our Publishing Index.

      • Alice-Rose said:

        Omg! Thank you the consultant is ringing me back tomorrow for an answer. The answer will be “no”. I am so sorry you had to experience all this with them. I hope you get every penny back. Alice

  2. Anonymous said:

    Hi there,
    I also just discovered this blogspot and it is very useful. After a year trying to get a collection of women’s writing accepted by traditional presses of books by women, I researched self- / subsidy-publishing companies. My choice was Outskirts Press. It is interesting to see that one ‘flaw’ you point out occurred to me as well–they say certain services are covered under certain packages when they really are not. I decided on the Diamond Package and they’re helping to design my own cover concept (but I’m no artist so….). The price tag went up and sent me to writin’ a fundraising letter for an event I have to have to offset the costs. I believe in the end though that their assistance will be worth it. Thanks for your research about this HUGE phenomenom of ‘new wave publishing.’

  3. Mick Rooney said:

    Glad to have you aboard, Anonymous.

    Your own experience is sadly all far too common. There is nothing more infuriating for an author to find themselves having to leap over financial hurdles after they have signed up with a subsidy publisher. This was actually a pretty hot topic on a writer’s forum I was on today with another well known US subsidy publisher.

    Hope your forthcoming book is a great success.

  4. Anonymous said:

    I thought it would be valuable for the readers of your blog to learn of my experience with AuthorHouse.

    The short version: A despicable company interested only in out and out exploitation of authors. Avoid them like the plague.

    The abridged version:

    I signed a contract with AuthorHouse in January this year (a big mistake!). Their service was exceptional – that is, for the time before I signed the contract….

    After submitting my manuscript and instructions on layout for the cover and galley, the ‘work’ they sent back to me left both myself and 2 professional designers in shock.

    The 2 front cover sketches they had done were extremely tacky, with some glaring errors. They were so slow about sending me something new that I worked together with my own designer and sent them my cover – how I would like it to be. They then changed it, adding a few errors! We modified it again, and resent it. Frustrating, amateurish, but possible to overlook.

    Then there was the galley… it was sent back to me with over 200 errors – some amazing things that were not present in the original document sent to Author House. When I called them (I was passed around between 3 different people), I was told that I would have to pay extra to have Author House correct their own mistakes!!

    This was the final straw. So I quoted AuthorHouse in breach of contract. Sent them a registered letter requesting my money back and a cancellation of contract. Emailed them with the same request. Called them (I’ve spoken with around 8 – 9 members of their staff about this).

    But all to no avail. Every time I email them asking for an update on my refund, they say that they will get back to me. They never do.

    The last time I heard from my contact person, she said it’s now out of her hands, and I need to speak to someone else about it.

    At present, I am down £952 and it’s looking like the only way I’ll get it back is by taking Author House to small claims court. The case is so cut and dry – with statements from 3rd party professional designers as well as plenty of evidence. And having me (and a lot of other authors) speaking the truth about AH surely has to be more damaging for them than giving me back my money. Well, we’ll see what happens.

    Bottom line. AVOID AUTHORHOUSE!!!!!

  5. Anonymous said:

    Hi
    I have just started looking into various ways to publish a childrens story but there is so much information out there! Seems as though the best way forward is through self publishing, however after reading various reviews, in particular about Authorhouse, I am not sure. Any tips for a new starter? :-) Many thanks

    • Mary Maria Modirzadeh - Papaoulakis said:

      Hello,

      I have an outstanding battle with Author House for 8 years now due to the fact I haven’t been paid since my book published.

      The book “Hades and Persephone” continues to distribute internationally for sale/rent to various resellers/publishers to more than 100 countries despite I cancelled the agreement late December 2007.

      Golden Fleece Australia Pty Ltd has assigned a government legal representative for claiming compensation on the basis 100,000 copies sold/rent per month minimum as the book is still active since 2007 – 2015.

  6. Mick Rooney said:

    Get a copy of the Writer & artists yearbook or similar and list out the publishers accepting unsolicited ms for children’s books. Publishers of Children’s books are often not as stringent as publishers in other genres.

    See what feedback you get if any and start from there. Never consider self-publishing until you have at least tried the traditional route.

  7. Anonymous said:

    Self publishing is what it is – you pay to publish and on the whole most of these companies do an excellent job for you. I’ve published with Authorhouse and Lulu and both were excellent and offered a comprehensive service – how else are we supposed to publish books unless we self publish.
    In a word go for it but make sure you can afford the costs but if you ask them they will give you a breakdown of charges so you know exactly what your dealing with.

  8. Anonymous said:

    I don’t know anything about “blogging so will probably do this wrong. My comment is: AuthorHouse is difficult to work with. It does not fulfil its contract to you as promised as the “author support” is just sadly muddled, causing endless more work for the author.I have seen it on the Internet described as an expensive pathetic scam and I would agree with that. I have paid £522 for nothing and will not submit my manuscript. I hope I can get my money back. Please read the experiences of others by putting “Authorhouse scam” into a Google search.It would seem that this form of deception has re-surfaced many times under different names. BE WARNED.

  9. Anonymous said:

    Stay clear – over promise at every stage, over charge, and when they have your money they are no longer interested at all. It’s been like pulling hens teeth trying to get the copies of my book that were promised to me months ago. How I wish I could turn back the clock!

  10. E.A. Bucchianeri said:

    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.

    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.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.

  11. seoteklogiq said:

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  12. Darren Hogan said:

    I learnt too late that AuthorHouse is toxic, and one of the nastiest scams I’ve dealt with in my life.
    My publishing hell with Authorhouse started on 24 May 2010 through a misleading website called findyourpublisher.com, which is a bogus fraud site funnelling unsuspecting authors towards AuthorHouse and their partner scams. My first mistake – I gave them my contact details. I was conned into paying them around $1000 to publish my first book which I was told would be available at Amazon. The result was a shoddy, poorly produced crappy book which no reader would waste their time with. The book is still not available at Amazon or anywhere – I just get excuses.
    Authorhouse is a scam, and they have stolen my dollars and succeeded in rubbishing of my work, that has left me deflated and completely disillusioned.
    AuthorHouse should change their name to AuthorScam. These fraudsters have turned fraud into an artform, and it’s time for government agencies to start taking a look at AuthorHouse and their partner companies, iUniverse, Trafford and Xlibris.
    If you’re a writer reading this: this is your wake up call. AUTHORHOUSE IS A HORRIFIC SCAM. DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND DO NOT GIVE THEM YOUR MONEY.

  13. Editor said:

    Darren,

    I wouldn’t consider AuthorHouse a scam, but neither would I consider them being anywhere near the best value for money. What I particularly don’t like about many of the companies run by ASI, including AuthorHouse, is that they are ‘package’ driven and of the additional services provided are overpriced or they author could do themselves for nothing.

    I do agree with you that governments and author bodies should be doing more to introduce some form of charter these companies should have to sign up to to operate self-publishing services.

  14. Anonymous said:

    Authorhouse is by far the most incompetent company I have experienced in my entire life. it may, perhaps may, have been set up with a genuine intention, but their biblical incompetency on so many levels means it is, in effect, a scam. I would love to speak to the CEO and ask him if he really knows what’s going on and if so, how he sleeps at night. It’s not just that the contracts are blatant lies, that their marketing is NON EXISTENT other than spamming their authors, their shipping is a shambles, that the only communication they ever have is to try to con more money and that every single time they are asked a question they become confused and unable to follow through.

    If you are tempted by Authorhouse it’s your heart speaking. Your head MUST tell you to go somewhere else, nothing is worse than Authorhouse.
    Ian

    Dear CEO email me at this address and find out more.

    doppelganger3@btinternet.com

  15. Vic Bennett said:

    Author house promises the whole ‘nine yards’ problem is every inch past the first yard they expect you to pay more than the going rate. I was foolish and inexperienced when I started out; I should have read websites like this one but hindsight is not available online. £420 later my book was ‘online’, I had already told them it was already ‘online’ and selling on Kindle; They promise to place your book in every book fair around the world £15000, they say they will place it before TV and film producers £500; They will place an advert in newspapers and magazines; £300 they will send you free copies? not true, free downloads for your friends; Not true, and all this is for a book that has been proof read and edited and complete with cover. Do not blame Author House they look for vanity blinded mugs and they found me. On a positive note the £420 has taught me well. I am still writing and still selling; victorbennettales.co.uk

  16. Paul Hernandez said:

    I almost made the mistake of publishing with Authorhouse. My name is Paul and I live in Oxford, England. From the above, I will try to publish with a reputable publishing company. To others BE WARNED. DON”T TOUCH A.H. with a barge pole!

  17. Pingback: Aspiring Authors Beware: Vanity Publishers – Rants of the Quiet

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