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August 9, 2006

AuthorHouse Found Guilty
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 10:48 AM * 100 comments

AuthorHouse, formerly 1st Books, is a notorious vanity publisher. As reported by Miss Snark, quoting from PW Daily:

PW reports: AuthorHouse Ordered to Pay Up
by Claire Kirch, PW Daily — 8/8/2006

The Kansas district judge presiding over the defamation lawsuit brought by romance writer Rebecca Brandewyne against AuthorHouse ordered Friday that the POD subsidy publisher pay Brandewyne $200,000 in punitive damages. Brandewyne’s co-plaintiffs in the suit, her parents, also were awarded punitive damages of $20,000 each.

This past May, a Wichita jury found AuthorHouse guilty of publishing a book, Paperback Poison, in November 2003 by Brandewyne’s ex-husband that libeled her. The jury awarded Brandewyne $230,000 in actual damages (PW Daily, May 16).

In his 14-page decision, Judge Jeff Goering asserted that AuthorHouse ‘acted towards the plaintiffs with wanton conduct,’ in publishing Paperback Poison, despite the fact that Gary Brock, the book’s author, had informed AuthorHouse during contract negotiations that iUniverse had rejected the manuscript on the grounds of possible libelous content.

Like many other vanity houses, AuthorHouse has never shown any evidence of actually reading the books they publish. Imagine their surprise when they discover they’re still liable for the contents. I do wonder how the suit against PublishAmerica, brought by folks who claim they were libeled in PA’s White Trash Tales of the Paranormal, is coming along.

Comments on AuthorHouse Found Guilty:
#1 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2006, 11:02 AM:

I hope that this is a cure for blinding greed.

#2 ::: AnimeJune ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2006, 11:46 AM:

God bless Miss Snark, and the folks at Writer Beware, because otherwise young whippersnapper writers like me would go broke. ^_^

#3 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2006, 01:29 PM:

Le mot juste might be liable as: AuthorHouse found liable.

#4 ::: colin roald ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2006, 02:39 PM:

If Brock had gone to Lulu, could they have been held liable?

#5 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2006, 02:42 PM:

where are the lines drawn for liability between publisher and author? I thought publishers were exempt from getting sued if their bomb-building book contained an incorrect formula and a reader blew their arm off. Did I miss something?

#6 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2006, 03:44 PM:

I'm sure that Patrick and Teresa can tell us more than anyone needs to know about the liability of US publishers for defamation, but it seems to me that Autrhorhouse walked right into this one, in what might almost be a Wile E. Coyote moment. Publishing a book the author tells you another publisher suspected of being libellous is like strapping JATO rockets to your roller skates.

#7 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2006, 04:06 PM:

Yup. We can't be sued for giving bad advice, as Greg London observes; but it's easy to make a case for libel. Cases have been successfully pursued when all the house did was send out a half-dozen copies of the manuscript to solicit advice about whether the contents were actionable.

The law hasn't yet gotten around to addressing the fact that it's now possible to publish a book without reading it. I don't believe printers and binders are liable for the content of the books they manufacture. I find it very amusing that the basis of AuthorHouse's liability (and possibly PA's as well) is their claim that they're real publishers.

#8 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2006, 05:17 PM:

Loath though I be to contradict our hostess (and willing though I be to contradict everybody else) one of the leading cases is Chilton - once upon a time Chilton Books as publisher advised using a screwdriver as a prybar to remove freeze plugs. Of course it was held out to be a book of expert advice by experts on how to do things with substantial puffery. Still I'd expect the precedent to be solid where applicable.

As I trust everyone knows a screwdriver should never be used as a prybar - ranks right up there with hitting one hammer face against another hammer face as hardened parts are more brittle. Chilton lost

See also Paladin Press on how to be sued for selling a book on how to be a hitman.

The Poor Man's James Bond is of course full of bad advice - I'm pretty sure the whole question of whether some authority sought to poison anarchists with the Anarchist's Cookbook has been discussed hereabouts.

#9 ::: Mike Kozlowski ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2006, 08:07 PM:

Man, talk about the best of all worlds. You get money for being the victim of libel, AND the libel is vanity-press published, so nobody's actually even seen it.

#10 ::: Firebug ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2006, 10:18 PM:

This is a bad precedent that threatens First Amendment rights.

You may not like vanity publishers. Still, if a publisher's business model is that they will print whatever someone wants as long as they get paid the materials cost, distribution cost, plus a profit, then shouldn't they be treated as a common carrier? Do you think an ISP should be able to get sued for libel because of statements made by one of its subscribers? I don't see how this is any different. The law should not encourage people to be spies, especially where it would have a chilling effect on free speech.

I'd just as soon junk libel laws entirely. It's so difficult to win a libel judgment in most cases that it's virtually a crap shoot. Rush Limbaugh has the dirtiest mouth on radio - how many times has he been sued for libel? Most libel cases I see involve rich and powerful people who want to shut up their critics.

#11 ::: RiceVermicelli ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2006, 10:27 PM:

Firebug, the business model you describe isn't publishing, it's printing. If AuthorHouse hadn't claimed to be a publisher, they wouldn't be liable for issues related to content. My understanding is that AuthorHouse's mistake (legally) was in purporting to be a publisher - i.e., to exercise some selection about the content printed - while behaving as a printer.

Rush Limbaugh hasn't been sued for libel because libel is only written slander.

I think that, so long as we have free speech, we have to allow people to seek redress for speech that is false and harmful.

#12 ::: Dave Kuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2006, 10:47 PM:

Many of those individuals do get sued for libel or slander as the case may be. Many of them lose or settle out of court. The problem is that the damage has already been done by the time the courts get involved. If there were no libel or slander laws, the media would be safe for virtually no one.

#13 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2006, 06:47 AM:

I love Ms. Brandewyne's name, it suggests whole realms of possible pen names. I shall be Gwathló Lune, or perhaps Ringló Morthond.

#14 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2006, 09:36 AM:

Niall McAuley: How about Tharbad Greyflood?

#16 ::: vlorbik ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2006, 12:26 PM:

/*I thought publishers were exempt from getting sued if their bomb-building book contained an incorrect formula and a reader blew their arm off. Did I miss something?

the hitman affair

#17 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2006, 04:00 PM:


When Teresa jests, keyboards die.

#18 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2006, 05:33 PM:

Martini deWinter
(Sophisticated tales of the poorly imagined rich, like "Footballers' Wives" but, you know, hot.)

Maxine Ginsling
(Exoticish-locale adventures featuring two-bit Bogarts, one-bit Bacalls, and debituated Lorres.)

Danvers* Fabrique-Chaudiere
(Decadent stories set, as the cover says, "on the very fin of the siècle," in a Paris as real as any in Nevada. Phantoms optional.)

Scrumpy Manderley
(Clean but honest peasants doing clean but honest things amid the manicured fiefs of the suburban Middle Ages. Magic depending on which way the wind is blowing.)

*pron. "Dahn-VAIR."

#19 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2006, 05:57 AM:

Nicole: Does this mean you hadn't heard of Tinfang Warble before?

#20 ::: A D.C. Author ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 06:15 AM:

AuthorHouse is nothing BUT a bunch of Predators and they deserve every lawsuit against them that anyone could EVER file. I had one book with them mistakingly once. They were TRULY all about getting the money. They lied to me about having read mine before publishing it, although mine contained nothing that would hurt anyone in a lawsuit, but it was selling just a FRACTION of what it sells now. Authorhouse cancelled my contract on a DIME, when I questioned them about my royalties in 2005. I had sold over 1,000 books this one week when a school ordered them. The books were $26.00 a pop, and Authorhouse sent me a check for only $98.00. When I asked them where was the REST of my money, their story was that Authorhouse was NOT set up to pay me what I was "supposed" to get when it was supposed to. They cancelled my contract, send me an additional $100.00, and I never heard from the assholes again. I am GLAD to hear that they lost $200,000.00 to that writer JUST last year. Happy for "everyone" who has the opportunity to sue this messed up place. They have hid under more names than the law allow. I have NEVER received the full royalty checks that I were due. I have a different Vendor that puts my books out there now, and I am making ten times the amount that I was with Authorhouse. I recommend these VAMPIRES to No One. As a matter of fact, I spend my days telling this story and advising everyone I come across NOT to utilize these people. That woman sued the right people. Sue them again, and bring their asses down!

#21 ::: Move on ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 08:11 PM:

Sounds as if the DC author did not understand the agreement. I have published with Authorhouse and they have been very dependable for me. ALL publishers are in business to make money. If not why would they still be in business?
At the end of the day you find that many authors on these sites that complain about their book NOT selling is typically because of 3 reasons:

1. The book is crap.
2. There is not a marketing plan in place.
3. Lack of funding for marketing.

Unless you are able to show you have a market for your book you will never receive substantial support of any publisher.
Also I hate it when folks say that Authorhouse is not a publisher, because it is and it is NOT a printer. If you look at the definition of both terms you would be pressed to define them as a printer.

I have not read the case notes from the judge....has anyone? I do know that Kansas has an odd tort law in place about libel. So if the case was not in Kansas would the outcome be different.

#22 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 08:57 PM:

Re. 21: You know how when you wash a bunch of socks and the number you take out of the dryer at the end is never equal to the number that went into the machine at the start?

I think I've figured out where they go.

In case Move on isn't some kind of footware, if condition 1 is the reason the book isn't selling, the publisher needs to hire a better editor either to reject the crap or to improve the manuscript before it becomes a book. In cases 2 and 3, they just aren't doing their job. So if we accept your assertion that AuthorHouse is a publisher, they clearly are not a very good one.

#23 ::: Tyler ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2008, 09:17 PM:

I agree with the last person, AuthorHouse is actually one of the few publishing houses that is not just a printer, they are run by authors, who understand the writing business.

#24 ::: Herema Onar ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2008, 05:59 PM:

This has been very interesting. I have not had experience with AuthorHouse, but have read about them. It is in the same boat as PublishAmerica, which I have dealt with in recent years. (Currently, they agreed to revert all rights back to me, the author)

A vanity publisher is a vanity publisher regardless what they claim to be. Self-publishing should never require an author to "sign away their rights" with an authentic publishing contract! Publishing Houses are not vanity publishers.

Preditors & Editors is a great source for learning the good, bad, and the ugly about publishers, editors, agents, etc. They give great advice and links to find your way around in the dark world of publishing.

After many hours (years actually) of researching while completing my novels, I have boiled the cabbage down to two options:

l) Seek an agent and thus if good enough, shoot for the stars (REAL Publishing Houses)

2) Become a publisher - pay a printer to print your book; retain all rights; learn how to market, sell and distribute your book. Spend all your time trying to sell the first novel and forget about ever having the time to write the next one.

(just a note on the second choice: better begin putting away every dime you can because it is NOT a cheap choice)

#25 ::: wtfmatey ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2008, 08:11 PM:

In response to comment #22- AuthorHouse is a SELF PUBLISHING COMPANY. They do not help authors improve their manuscript. They do not market the book. It's a publishing company for people who feel like actually doing the leg-work to make their book a success. So, in other words, if you're looking to partake in a get-rich-quick scheme and think "hmm, self publishing, that'll be easy" and slop together some awful children's book, thinking the public won't know the difference between a good children's book and garbage, then yeah. You'll hate AuthorHouse. If you've spent more than a month writing something you're proud of that can appeal to the public, know anything about marketing and can actually invest your time and money into marketing it, then you'll love this self-publishing company.

People just expect the publisher to carry them through the process and hold their hands until their book is a best seller. Some traditional publishers do. AuthorHouse doesn't. If you're not serious about actually devoting yourself to a quality book and to marketing, then do not choose a SELF PUBLISHING company.

#26 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2008, 10:47 PM:

WTF indeed, matey. No editing, no marketing, why on earth would you call that a publishing company? Writing is not so easy a job that I would advise people to take on marketing, proofreading, editing, and accounting as well, on the same book.

You may not realize it, but there are actual professional writers hanging out here; they know what publishing companies do, and it does not involve the publisher holding their hands and magically making it a best seller.

#27 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2008, 02:47 AM:

It's kind of suggestive how this ancient thread keeps drawing in pro-Authorhouse comments, explaining how it isn't a bunch of crooks.

Yes, self-publishing is a lot more work for the author, and there can be a bit of vanity in the author's motives. But self-publishing doesn't require you to do business with crooks.

I'm tempted to get a printed copy of my NaNoWriMo book, just because I can, but it'll be an honest print-on-demand deal, for printing something that I hope is half-way competent.

And the only way I'd want to touch Authorhouse with the proverbial ten-foot pole would be by dropping it from orbit.

#28 ::: anon ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2009, 04:58 AM:

I've had a contract with authorhouse for a while. Short and sweet advice for anyone looking at self-publishing: avoid AH!! They are fantastic before you sign your contract, but have the amazing skill of being hard to get in touch with once they have your money. The quality and attention to detail of their 'designers' is beyond a joke. Save your money. Go with Lulu or someone else instead!

#29 ::: Ladylinck ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 11:14 AM:

A lot of you have bad things to say about Author House, I'm glad I did my research before signing up with them. Can anyone give me some advice on where to actually go to get a children's book published? I have no illustrations at all. While I can write, I am not gifted in the art department.

#30 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 11:59 AM:

Can anyone give me some advice on where to actually go to get a children's book published?

Go to a bookstore. See all those books on the shelves? Find ones like yours. See who published them. Get those publishers' guidelines. Follow the guidelines to the letter. If the guidelines say "agented works only," find out who represented those books and submit your work to those agents, following the agents' guidelines to the letter.

I have no illustrations at all. While I can write, I am not gifted in the art department.

That's good, because usually the publisher wants to pick the artist. NOTE: You do not pay the artist, the publisher does.

Meanwhile, you might want to hook up with SCBWI, and you'll definitely want to start working on your next book.

#31 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 02:54 PM:

Can anyone give me some advice on where to actually go to get a children's book published?

In addition to what Jim posted (he's a published author, I'm not) your local library should have a copy of Writer's Market for recent years.

Check it out from the library - or buy a copy if you're so inclined - and you should find in it specific sections on a wide variety of genres, who publishes them, and how best to submit manuscripts to those publishers, including (I think) a section on children's books. You'll find that a much cheaper and more useful investment of time and money than getting pulled into a fraudulent vanity publishing house.

#32 ::: Ladylinck ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 10:10 AM:

Thanks guys, that's a great way to start. I have 2 books to be what I consider completed and am working on a third now. I've been writing them for my daughter and she loves them so I thought maybe other children would as well. Hopefully you'll see me on the shelves at some point!

#33 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 10:35 AM:

Remember, from an author's point of view, publishing is a long, slow, and frustrating process. Don't get discouraged.

#34 ::: clarence puckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 01:52 PM:

Is this site still alive ? I am with authorhouse now and have had a pretty good publishing experience with them; they took my manuscript totally apart and red-lined it, did not bother my pride at all, but it did produce a good book, very professionaly done end result, one problem only with them, they promised me five extra books
upon my commit to them, having a problem now getting them; word of mouth is not good business,
other than that, they have been pretty up on all
my contacts, I searched the net with a fervor until I found someone I could trust and put confidence in, my book is out and about the net and book stores even across the pond[ocean]if you are not a noted author, you just have to do your research, Lulu and PA I don't reccomend at all.

#35 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2009, 05:47 PM:

clarence puckett: this site is "still alive"

How much did your book cost? What would it have cost through Lulu.

How many copies has AH sold, to anyone but you?

#36 ::: Dave ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2009, 03:59 PM:

I Had a book Published at Authorhouse over 6yrs ago and I'm still waitng for them to make it,
When I think of the back money in royalties!

#37 ::: clarence puckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 03:21 PM:

My book has only been out since June the 24th this year[2009]I expect it to do well; optomistic,
I didn't bother with the other publishers, their names did it for me[lulu]PA, I am sure packages would have been about the same or there would have been additional add-ons and maybe poor quality, I have had nothing so far but good comments on the quality of my book, given away about twenty copies, no negative input so far, it is hard to break into #1 spot as a beginning author, but just maybe it will happen; it is on anywhere in the world that Amazon is and Australia
book stores,UK, Japan, Germany, France, Barnes and Nobles, Borders, trying to get Costco to carry it now and some Christian Book Stores, I have put it on all my websites and Twitter, Facebook, given half of my givaways to people in my church in hopes they will share it and tell others about it.

#38 ::: Pat McGrath ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2009, 01:30 PM:

Clarence Puckett is either very naive or working for authorhouse.

#39 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2009, 03:49 PM:

And isn't really on good terms with the Muse of Language, or at any rate the Muse of Punctuation.

#40 ::: clarence puckett ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 11:28 PM:

Sorry Fellows; I don't work for Authorhouse; what I have shared with you is truth; they have been fair to me and so far honest; I gave out about 20
of my free copies and all I have gotten back is good reports so far, I welcome any criticism, even yours, if you are looking for perfection, I'm
not your man, but I do try hard for getting things right, so far I have tracked my book all over the globe, in sixty days or so, it is #1 in some catagories, go to and click on apostasy and then last 90 days and up pops my book, and it is emerging out of the cracks and crevices other places, with hundreds of millions of books out in the market, it is dificult to have a winner, I want to believe it is yet to be a best seller, sure praying so.

#41 ::: clarence puckett ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 12:38 AM:

I hope you guys don't think I am amused at your
problem with Authorhouse, not at all, I retired from 43 years in the auto industry[parts sales,mgr.,new car-truck sales] excelled in the latter, but it was more professional than today's world and your word was your bond, if you promised something; then do it and lying ? I have no use for a liar.I was in the business of helping people, sadly in the nineties, problems began to mushroom in the auto industry, honesty was out, selling was no matter what, car business went to hell in a handbasket and now most of the conglomerates are reaping what they have sown and it is true with every other business in America today, I had a boss-owner who told all who worked for him; if you lie to a customer and I find it out, you are history, his name is Rick Hendrick,
owns Nascar teams, largest dealer in America, good Christian man, people trusted us and I haven't heard of any of his dealerships biting the dust, I came on here because I saw something
I wanted to further check out and verify, when I check for a hotel resort, one complaint makes me move on, I see that one as me, even if everybody else raves about it, I have been disapointed too many times in my life, I have stayed in million dollar condos before and door locks were broke and I raised hell about it, consumers deserve their disclaimers rectified, customers are getting to be a scarce commodity these days, how you treat someone will come home to you, sorry for the lengthly letter.
Clarence Puckett

#42 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 01:21 PM:

Various, Clarence Puckett

a) The folks in this forum have a very wide range of experiences, backgrounds, and vocations. Also, there are a lot of us here who have been acquainted in person for literally decades. Such things do make a difference as regards communications and weighting words, when one has some additional knowledge about someone, than what they have typed that shows on a display.
b) You have not given the name of you book or any pointers to descriptions of it-what it's about, who the intended audience is, etc. My vocatioal background involves math, science, engineering, and test engineering. When I see assertions, I expect there to be something evidential to bulwark the assertions. But without you saying anything about your book, even the name, beyond your assertions about it, I see no support for your claims....
c) "Good Christian" is neither a recommendation nor usually a detriment regarding a book. Someone can be a lousy Christian, or not Christian at all, and still be a good writer and popular author (Laurell K. Hamilton's books are quite popular, and she is a non-Christian. Deepak Chokra's books are popular, and he is not a Christian. And there are people who are wonderful people, whose books sell so poorly that they are commercially unviable as writers...) Being a good Christian has nothing to do with ability to write books which people find worthwhile buying/publishing/reading.

Almost anybody can write a book; whether the book is worth reading by other people, is a different issue-Atlanta Nights is a book, Atlanta Nights is an expansive piece of crap, written to be a piece of crap, and accepted for publication nonetheless despite the blank chapter and the repeated chapter, because the "publisher" accepting the book for publication, was an operation which was a scam perpetrated upon wannabee writers, and not a business with a business model based on publishing books which earned their publications by sales of the published book to the public (as opposed to the author paying the "publisher" for publication, the hallmark of a vanity press/author scam.)

#43 ::: clarence puckett ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2009, 03:15 PM:

Paula: the name of my book is: "Liberalization and Apostasy of America", if you google and yahoo it, you will see it has been given alot of hoopla,
on and it's foreign affiliates at the bottom of their page, it is on all but China. I have found it on Borders, Booksamillion, Barnes &
Nobles, and Australian and Ireland, Indian[India] and many others, all that said, selling is the next objective, there has to be an hundred million books out there to dig it out of,
audience would be all Americans[young and old]it is a call to all Americans to repent and turn back to the God of her Fathers, we have drifted from our spiritual moorings, we have all but told God he is not welcome in our country, that he brought us to and made us great, my audience could also be whosoever reads my book,I am seeing
quite abit of apologizing to foreign countries today for America, what a joke ! We don't owe anyone in the world an apology for all the blood we have shed and funds we gave for the world's freedom[I am a Korean vet myself]I don't recall
preaching in any of my articles above, I know there are many successful authors,whether you can call what they have written good is another issue;
my book is only ten chapters, 60 pages, about 13,000 words, but distinct to the point,I didn't
come on here to argue, fuss, fume, or fight, but to learn, I am hoping if my book is successful and
sells, my publisher will be honest with me, I am
likewise putting out feelers and inquirys also, even as a Christian, I have learned to be kinda
skeptical until I learn different, I want to trust people, but money seems to be a deviding line for trust today; I like what my favorite President said: Trust, but verify.[Ronald Reagan].

#44 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2009, 05:15 PM:

Any book with an ISBN will be listed at every on-line bookstore in the world.

Being "available" and selling to readers are two very different things.

#45 ::: Barbara White ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2009, 11:04 PM:

This is the first book I ever wrote, have read your input and found it very interesting. I'm a Parkinson patient and have problem at times with my short term memory and I have misplaced my contract. Bad Girl I know. I'm 76 years old and this was a way to keep my mind working. I sold about 2oo hundred copies they sold hardly any I have a following now and I've been ask to do a sequle They tell me my book is one of the best they have and it is on the web sight under Rainwater Legacy Barbara White. If it is so good why is their no money? Can you tell me the name of the judge and or the lawyers who did the great Deed, Thanks Barb

#46 ::: clarence puckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 12:49 AM:

What really is problematic with being an author and having a book published by a POD publisher is the lack of access to actual sales across the world, the publisher has that nailed down along with the seller, this seems to me a great opportunity between the two to harvest any and all
sales for themselves; with the ISBN# it looks like the author somehow could with password access
key in actual sales as well as the two; I wrote the govt agency who is watchdog over ISBN #'s and they told me; those two only had those numbers and the distributors, if you can afford to hire a lawyer, that would be the only other option.

#47 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 02:23 AM:

Barb, the reason there's no money is probably because next-to-no copies sold. The 200 you mentioned: Were they copies that you bought yourself and resold? If so, you wouldn't get royalties from them.

Who's asking you to write a sequel?

If you do (and only do so if it pleases you to do so), then I suggest you start looking at publishers that actually have books on the shelves in stores.

If you're asking me for the name of the judge and the lawyers who were involved in the suit against AuthorHouse, I'm afraid that I don't know.


Clarence: Check your contract. Do you have a clause allowing you to audit the publisher? If so, you'd probably have to hire your own accountant, but you should be able to find out the actual sales numbers.

But be advised that it's likely that the true sales, when the audit is done, will turn out to be very low.

#48 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2009, 11:16 AM:

In most self publishing houses, they screw you left right and center. I have never seen author house books on shelfs.
Self Publishing isn't a business it's for the weak minded and desperate. Real Publishers need to relax their guard and accept others.

#49 ::: Rick ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2010, 07:46 AM:

My last book with Authorhouse I sold over 5,000 copies and never got a penny. How I know is I was told by a clearencehouse.

#50 ::: Rick ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2010, 07:46 AM:

My last book with Authorhouse I sold over 5,000 copies and never got a penny. How I know is I was told by a clearencehouse.

#51 ::: Rick ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2010, 07:47 AM:

My last book with Authorhouse I sold over 5,000 copies and never got a penny. How I know is I was told by a clearencehouse.

#52 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2010, 08:58 AM:

Rick, which clearance house was that? Could you provide a few more details?

#53 ::: clarence puckett ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 11:11 PM:

My book is neither not selling or they[authorhouse] is not being completely honest with me; click on and books and key word apostasy and I come up in fourth place now in relevance; use to be out of 33,000 books; click on Canada at the bottom and do the same and I am #1 in relevance; I also put it on their Kindle for
sale[main US Store]it is all in people's faces and
all over the world; they keep contacting me to sell me more of my books and promotion pkgs. fourth qtr. is a disapointment also; zilch. I know being a new author is a downside also; I give away 25 books, half of which I bought; but will not invest anymore of my time and money until
I see sales taking off; I am beginning to believe you people had a proper beef; I continue to check
behind them and better not find out they are not upfront with me.

#54 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 03:10 AM:

Clarence Puckett @53:
I am beginning to believe you people had a proper beef

In many ways, I'm sorry that we do. I'm sorry that people do these things to aspiring authors.

Jim Macdonald's standard advice in this matter is to go now and write another, better book. It's very good advice.

#55 ::: Ted ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 09:40 AM:

I'm guilty and need some advice. I wish I had done my homework and searched the web to find out about these people. I sent two Mss. to Publish America. Before sending I e mailed specific questions one of which was. "Would I be welcome in all book stores for book signings and sales."
They lied. I am treated like a leper and told by one very well known chain to "please do not call us anymore as we don't do business with PA."
Same result with other book sellers. They have such a bad reputation I'm afraid it has rubbed off on me and my work.
I have signed the contract for the second mss. and have 15 days to edit it and return the revised mss. for print. They have the option to cancel the contract if I am late, which I doubt they will do. If I let the 15 days go by and not send the revised mss. why can't I cancel the contract or insist they do? From all the posts about this company they do not seem to let people go so easily and have resorted to coercion and threats of one kind or another. I can't afford a lawyer, being the starving artist that I am.
It is a shame when one contacts so many literary agencies and most do not reply or even read your query. To get ones work out where it can be read, hopefully, we must resort to dealing with low lifes in the business. What is my best course of action? I am still in a state of shock over the amount of e mails written defaming this company and the nightmares that some have gone through. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.

#56 ::: TEXAS ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2010, 10:10 PM:




#57 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2010, 10:21 PM:

Texas, I agree with your sentiments. Please don't shout.

#58 ::: Tanya Marie Lawson ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2010, 01:48 PM:

I am so glad I found this site and read all the advice.

I, like anyone else who has a dream to write and see it in print, have been trying to find the "right" way to start.

I really appreciate the common sense approach and advice.

I am a storyteller by heart, and love making children laugh. I want them to have that after I'm gone.

#59 ::: clarence puckett ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2010, 01:02 AM:

Tanya: it took me a good six months to find someone to trust; believe me there are editors and predators; stay away from contracts with firms; Print On Demand type books are popular now;
children's books is a good marketed book today; you could do well with your books; Authorhouse was
the only publisher I found, that I thought I could trust, and it may not be their fault even now; my book is hot on relevance; in your face like. It is on under books and click on apostasy and I am #4 out of about a thousand;
drop to the bottom of their page; click on Canada,
same info; #1 out of 7100 books and it is available around the globe; I took the extra editing pkg. and also ran mine on micro soft word
to sift out errors and have a valid record on hand; don't let other bad experiences you hear discourage you; buy the least expensive pkg plus the edit extra pkg; even if you think you are perfect; you're not; I think eventually mine will
kick it in gear and go; some have been on Amazon for years and now are selling; people buy names,
new authors have a boot camp they have to go through; I have spent about $1200 dollars so far;
I don't buy any extra pkgs. until I see my book
start to soar in sales; study about their offers;
think before you jump; I gave away about 25 total;
half they gave me, the other I paid for; but I am not buying more to give away; they are for sale;
Authorhouse will try to get you to buy a hundred
to give away; I don't, if it sells a million, I won't give anymore free ones; Good luck, God Bless
pray about it and if you feel led; do it within an
amount you can afford to lose if it happens; and just say; it was a good experience ! I don't regret it; remember Columbus took a chanch ! And
here we are !

#60 ::: clarence puckett ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2010, 01:09 AM:

I believe you can trust Authorhouse more than any
of the other POD Publishers; certainly not Publish America; I checked them all out for six months and it took me a year to write my book; Authorhouse did a good job; it is not a book I am ashamed of at all; people that slam them; well, they just have to face the facts; they may have had a no sale to begin with.

#61 ::: chel stultz ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2010, 01:37 PM:
I just recently started with Authorhouse. They have been very responsive so far. Do I think that they want me to be successful? Well, I would hope so, otherwise I will be posting some crap comment about them that in the end may stop one person from signing with them. But who knows? How will I ever know if I just sit here and write forever and never take an opportunity to atleast try. I am a realist. I just want to get my books out there. My thought is...and this comes from playing in a band for twelve you get what you put in. I don't have the money to get a literary agent to show my books to some big publishing company. I had to go with a viable and economic solution to spread my story. Do I have grand illusions about it being the biggest thing Do I believe that I will do everything in my power to make it a success...yes. So in the end, whoever you go with to publish your book be aware that it's not their blood and sweat that went into it, it's a business to them...just like the rest of the world. No one is going to care about it more than you and your mom. So do all the researching you can, but do you want it out there or do you just want to keep having your friends read it and tell you how great you are?

#62 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2010, 01:48 PM:

chel stultz @61:
I don't have the money to get a literary agent to show my books to some big publishing company.

You don't pay an agent to show your books to a publishing company. Agents—real agents, not scammers—make their money by taking a percentage of the money the publisher pays the author.

The author of this post, Jim Macdonald (a published author many times over), summarized this in a saying known as "Yog's law": in publishing, money always flows toward the author. Or, put another way, the only place the author should sign a check is on the back.

It's not uncommon for people who have put their money into this sort of scheme to come by and defend their choices. Unfortunately, because AuthorHouse makes its money from authors rather than readers (which is where real publishers get their income), it never ends with the author returning later to boast of the enormous income he's now enjoying.

I wish it did; I hate seeing people's dreams crushed. Which is why we post these warnings and stories on Making Light.

you get what you put in

You put your efforts into writing a great book, one people will want to buy and read. That's what gets results.

#63 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2010, 01:53 PM:

chel, what abi said, and also: the recording industry is kind of inside-out relative to publishing. In the recording industry, the small producers who take your money and give you copies give you a square deal, and the big recording companies try to rip you off. In publishing, the vanity presses are...well, some are legit and tell you just what you're getting for your money, but the ones who tell you you're being "published" or that you'll get on Amazon or into bookstores are scamming you.

I mention this because you're a musician, and may have had experiences that you think will apply to book publishing as well—they don't.

#64 ::: Larry ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2010, 05:18 PM:

'Mny lwys flws twrd th thr' Y rlz f crs tht th gy wh s crdtd wth hvng sd tht gt hs bk cntrct frm Tr Bks, prvryrs f th mst gdwfl sc-f crp n hstry.
Wrttn gd bk hv w? Thnk tht's wht t tks t gt 'trdtnl' cntrct. f t ws bt th qlty f th wrtng B&N wld b vry dffrnt plc. Fr n, y wldn't fnd BSTSLLNG bks by Pm ndrsn. D y thnk tht's bt qlty?
Th tr vnty n pblshng s thnkng th NY gnt-pblshr lp s hw gd wrtrs gt pblshd. Mny dsn't flw twrd th thr y fls. t flws twrd th mrktng. Yr rgmnt s tntmnt t syng f Bdwsr wsn't th wrld's bst br, t wldn't sll th mst, QD.
PS Yg, yr bk scks.

#65 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2010, 05:43 PM:

Almost a bingo in itself from factual errors (e.g. Macdonald has had contracts from several publishers), peculiar literary tastes (on the quality of Tor Books), errors in level (book contracts or book publishing? -- they are different), errors in logic (where does that QED come from?), and personal attack.

Had I editorial power here I would merely say, "The material you have submitted does not suit our present needs. We wish you the best of luck in your submissions elsewhere."

#66 ::: Xopher sees no reason why this stupid troll should keep his vowels ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2010, 06:11 PM:

"Larry" is here insulting a front-page poster, telling lies, and generally being a jerk. Just calling your attention to him in case you might want to take action. Personally I'd disemvowel him in a heartbeat, leaving his text just readable enough to embarrass him when he comes to his senses, but I'm not a mod here, and there's a reason for that!

#67 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2010, 06:30 PM:

Away the vowels! Percentage troll of fifty for really and also true!

#68 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2010, 07:03 PM:

Thanks, Avram! My hero!

#69 ::: Darren Hogan ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 04:20 PM:

I learnt too late that AuthorHouse is toxic, and one of the nastiest scams I've dealt with in my life.

My hell with Authorhouse started on 24 May 2010 through a misleading website called, 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 SCAM. DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND DO NOT GIVE THEM YOUR MONEY.

Close Down. Flush them down the toilet, AuthorHouse is truly excrement.

#70 ::: PM Sherdian ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 04:20 AM:

I'm so glad I took the time to read every comment.
I requested AuthorHouse's package years ago and never got involved because something just didn't feel right.

From what I'm reading none of th online publishers can be trusted. Lulu was mentioned as one you could trust, as I continued reading, they are not even recommended.

Does anyone out there have any good recommendations to share?

#71 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 10:52 AM:

PM Sherdian #70: Lulu et al don't get recommended as publishers, because they're not actual publishers... they're printers. If you hand them a text file, they will turn it into a book-shaped object, complete with pages. It works just like CafePress and such does with mugs and T-shirts, all they're doing is manufacturing an object to spec, and they do it pretty well.

If that's all you want, great! You can print up your grandpa's love letters and pass copies around to your family, or get a nicely-bound copy of your church's newsletters (after you type or scan either of those into the computer). What they don't do is... well, everything else that the publishing industry does:

Checking whether your book is something other people might be interested in. Going over it to fix typos, broken sentences, scenes or arguments that leave the reader blinking in confusion. Convincing bookstores to buy multiple copies, and setting aside money for you from what they paid. (The professionals here might have more items to list.)

That's the difference between a real publisher and a vanity publisher... and the difference between an honest vanity publisher, versus the scam artists, is that Lulu and such will tell you about those differences, instead of promising that your church newsletters are sure to be the next big hit on the bestseller lists.

#72 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 11:14 AM:

Ah, yes, That's all over Google Ads. No matter what you answer to their little quiz, it'll always tell you that your ideal publisher is one of the Authorhouse stable of vanity presses.

Generally speaking, any time you click on a Google Ad for any writing-related thing, what you'll find falls in the area between a Very Bad Idea and an out-and-out scam.

As far as Lulu goes ... I've never had any problems with them, but you have to look very carefully to find the links to the free options. They make it easy to find ways to get you to send them money.

Remember Yog's Law: Money flows toward the writer.

#73 ::: Les Davenport ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2011, 09:07 AM:

I'm in the process of taking AuthorHouse to court over book rights. They, in my opinion, are deceitful and care nothing about the authors who trust them. Also, in my opinion, they point-blankly lie to the authors who come to them. How they stay in business is beyond me. Their owners/management should be jailed!

#74 ::: Lis Carey ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2011, 05:52 PM:

I've just been asked to review a book, and when I saw the "publisher" was AuthorHouse something went ding ding ding. I'm entertained, on some level to see that this thread is still alive, and attracting new comments.

I think the book is just not going to fit into my current schedule.

#75 ::: Peter Goodman ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2012, 03:16 PM:

Many years before I wrote and completed my first novel, I was warned in a writers reference book to avoid vanity publishers. Sadly, I ignored that advice and in 2006 self-published with Authorhouse. My own vanity cost me over $2000. I think I sold about 10 books, though probably less. I have to say that I blame myself completely. Although I asked them sometime ago to delete all my personal info on their database, they have ignored me and continue to pester me to buy copies of my own book. I hope my own vanity serves as a warning to every budding author out there.

#76 ::: R.C. Beckom ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 03:21 AM:

I had my novel "It's Comin'/Trilogy in April 2005, I've invested my time and money with them and other outlets,Iget no reports on my progress from,It is now April 2012,the price of my novel is now higher, I still get no reports on the results of sales of my novel from them, I'm told that I now am responsible for all promotions on my own including the setting of my site to godaddy or it will all be in limbo, how do I make this come out right, I'm at a standstill

#77 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 07:41 AM:

Greetings, R.C.

What you do is:

1) You recognize that you gave your book to a vanity press (that is, you paid them money to not-sell your book). It's dead. Any money you spent it lost.

2) Take it away from them.

3) Write a new, different, better book.

4) Sell that new book to a legitimate publisher. That is, they give you money up front for the privilege to market your book.

#78 ::: elaine mcquown ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2012, 06:05 PM:

been with authorhouse since november, 2011. they have done everything they promised, and do stay in touch. i will use them again. my book; "the haunting of prescott hall". not scary. suspenseful, with a sweet love story woven in. better luck to the rest of you....

#79 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2012, 06:17 PM:

Hi, elaine. Have you made back the money you spent?

Better luck to you, too.

#80 ::: Sharon ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2012, 06:22 PM:

Authorhouse harbors criminal activity. I've sent this company several documents to prove my identity to get them to stop publishing a book that is a violation of my right to publicity. Some psycho used my name to print a poorly written book and makes me look like an idiot. Every time they send a check, they issue it to my name and SSN and send it to her address. She forges my signature and avoids reporting income to social security. Authorhouse will do nothing, and will continue sending checks issued to my SSN to some other woman to continue to cash.

#81 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2012, 06:29 PM:

Sharon, forgery is a serious crime. Report it to the Social Security people and your local police (and if you know where she is, her local police as well).

#82 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2012, 09:14 PM:

Sharon: Go here. Tell them what you just told us.

These folks also want to hear from you. If this person isn't reporting her income (and if AuthorHouse is telling the IRS that they're sending the money to you) you'll want to get this straightened out right away.

#83 ::: Judith ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2012, 11:55 AM:

Geez I have been researching where to publish my book when I complete it which will be very soon and there was a "Want to publish your book" on this site called "Arcamax" and it listed this place and I thought why not so I get emails from several places including "AuthorHouse" a nice lady calls me tells me what they do etc. and then tells me prices and I think I am going to do some research on this place and am glad I did cause I think now I am just going to do things the right way ya know study the markets, query places, etc. she told me they were sending me a packet to go over options and the only option I see now is no option except keep my money......thanks to all of you for the insight.

#84 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2012, 06:13 PM:

Judith, I'm sure Jim Macdonald will be pleased to know this helped someone!

Good luck with finding a proper publisher.

#85 ::: michael douglas bosc ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 07:09 PM:

who were the lawyers in this case?

#86 ::: Beebe Barksdale-Bruner ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2013, 10:49 AM:

I am looking into AuthorHouse but for an ebook, not print. Now, I am hesitant after reading here. Has anyone found an honest publisher? If you have names of reliable ones I'd like to know.

#87 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2013, 11:21 AM:

Beebe Barksdale-Bruner @86:

What you should do is find books like yours in terms of genre and length. Use the "look inside" feature, or download sample chapters, and look at the editing, formatting, and general quality. Figure out which publishers seem to be doing good work in your area.

Then go to Absolute Write's Bewares, Recommendations & Background Checks room and read the threads on your shortlist of publishers. Those threads are full of people who know the publishing industry, asking the awkward questions and checking the ins and outs of the various companies.

(Actually, I'd recommend Absolute Write as a useful resource for a lot of the questions that will come up as you go through the publication process. Full disclosure: I am a moderator there.)

#88 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2013, 12:35 PM:

#86 Beebe Barksdale-Bruner

Has anyone found an honest publisher?

An honest publisher pays you, not the other way around. (All of my publishers are honest.)

While this is about iUniverse rather than AuthorHouse, both are imprints of Author Solutions, and the problems are similar in both places (as well as at Author Solutions' other imprints: Xlibris, Trafford, West Bow, AuthorTree, Wordclay, DellArte Press, et al.).

Who publishes the e-books that you yourself read?

#89 ::: joel goodwin ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 12:20 PM:

I would like to suggest that we file a class action against Authorhouse.

#90 ::: joel goodwin ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 12:20 PM:

I would like to suggest that we file a class action against Authorhouse.

#91 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 12:25 PM:

Who are "we" and on what grounds? AuthorHouse strikes me as being closer to the Very Bad Idea end of the spectrum (as opposed to the Out And Out Scam end).

AuthorHouse is a vanity press; publishers that use their services thus become vanity presses themselves. But the vanity press, in itself, isn't illegal. Indeed, if vanity presses didn't exist we'd have to invent them.

#92 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2013, 07:49 PM:

This appears to be current and legitimate:

Investigation of Author Solutions’ Deceptive Practices

Giskan Solotaroff Anderson & Stewart LLP is currently investigating the practices of Author Solutions and all of its brands (AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Trafford, Xlibris, Inkubook, and Wordclay). Authors using Author Solutions have complained of deceptive practices, including enticing authors to purchase promotional services that are not provided or are worthless, failing to pay royalties, and spamming authors and publishing blogs/sites with promotional material.

If you have self-published with Author Solutions or any of its brands and have been the victim of deceptive practices, please fill out the form below.

#93 ::: Danielle K ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2013, 07:27 PM:

I was about to get sucked into the world of the
Author house and then she asked for my card details
over the phone and that got my back up.
They said themselves they didn't want this companies not on honest company will asked for money up front like that.

So I researched it and frankly I am shock at what I found out I have cut all ties with the huge scam. Considering the comments that I have seen I am glad. It was too good to be true.

* Thank goodness I refused to hand over money over the phone no matter how may times she called.* wipes brow with hand and lets out a deep sigh of relief. It is time for fighting back and to shut them down.

#94 ::: Lorna C ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 06:10 PM:

Whew,I am in talks with(or should I say, innundated by phone calls from)someone from Author house and Xlibris and was about to choose Author house, but thank goodness I found this site, I have been saved by the skin of my teeth. Thanks guys, if I come across any kind of scam going on with any of these companies, I will be posting it on here too. It is great when you can save even one person from a fate worse than death

#95 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 10:55 PM:

Lorna, congratulations on dodging that bullet!

#96 ::: Sebbie ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2014, 01:59 AM:

"Move on" is a sales rep from Author House trying t trick more victims into the scam. Author House aren't a publisher OR a print, they are a scam.

#97 ::: Sebbie ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2014, 02:00 AM:

"Move on" is a sales rep from Author House trying to trick more victims into the scam. Author House aren't a publisher OR a printer, they are a scam.

#98 ::: Sebbie ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2014, 02:02 AM:

#99 ::: Sebbie ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2014, 02:06 AM:

Jim Macdonald ::: you need to do a lot more research because if you did you'd find that Author House, Xlbiris and all of the Author Solutions branches are practising fraud on a very large scale. They are not simply a vanity press they delibrately set out to perpetuate numerous scams on their victims.

#100 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2014, 05:36 AM:

Sebbie, if you would do a little more research on this site alone, not to mention elseweb, you would realize that Jim Macdonald in particular is, to understate it completely, well aware just how fraudulent Author House et al. are.

Welcome to Making Light's comment section. The moderators are Avram Grumer, Jim Macdonald, Teresa & Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and Abi Sutherland. Abi is the moderator most frequently onsite. She's also the kindest. Teresa is the theoretician. Are you feeling lucky?

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