Victoria Strauss writes for ‘Writer Beware”, a blog who warns us writers who not to work with, where the bad guys sit and how to avoid being screwed over by the many foul eggs in the new publishing world. In particular to us new writer’s this is very important and I therefore recommend to read this and many others of her posts.
Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware
I don’t think there’s much dispute that the many “imprints” under the Author Solutions umbrella are among the most negatively regarded of all the author services companies.
From the predatory business practices that gave rise to two class action lawsuits, to the huge number of customer complaints, to the relentless sales calls and deceptive recruitment methods, to the dubious and overpriced “marketing” services that are one of the company’s main profit sources, AS’s poor reputation is widely known. Along with other factors, such as the competition from free and low-cost self-publishing platforms, this has pushed AS in recent years into steady decline.
Unfortunately, whatever gap AS’s contraction has created has been filled by a slew of imitators. Why not, when hoodwinking authors is as easy as setting up a website and opening an account with Ingram? In some cases, the imitators have first-hand experience: they’ve been founded and/or staffed by former employees of AS’s call centers in the Philippines.
Like AS, the clones rely on misleading hype, hard-sell sales tactics, and a lucrative catalog of junk marketing services. Even if authors actually receive the services they’ve paid for (and judging by the complaints I’ve gotten, there’s no guarantee of that), they are getting stiffed. These are not businesses operating in good faith, but greedy opportunists seeking to profit from writers’ inexperience, ignorance, and hunger for recognition. They are exploitative, dishonest, and predatory.
CLONESIGN: HOW TO SUSS THEM OUT
On the surface, the clones don’t look that different from other, not necessarily disreputable author services companies offering publishing packages and marketing add-ons. However, they share a distinctive cluster of characteristics that can help you identify them…
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