When did vanity POD AuthorHouse start giving out million-dollar advances?
AuthorHouse is a “self-publishing” service:
For a modest financial investment you can choose what you want for your book. Our products and services vary in price and can be tailored to your specific needs.
Authors pay up front (that “modest investment” is generally in the mid-three-figure to low-four-figure range) to get their books set up for Print-on-Demand publication. AuthorHouse doesn’t mention advances anywhere on their web page because … they don’t give them. Instead of the natural order of things, where money flows from the publisher to the author, at AuthorHouse money flows from the author to the publisher.
The last time AuthorHouse hit the news for giving big money to an author was in August of 2006, when they were forced to pay $200,000 in punitive damages to Rebecca Brandewyne.
The judge acknowledged that, based on its business model of dealing in volume, AuthorHouse “cannot read every book cover to cover,” and that the company, to a certain extent, is entitled to hold authors responsible for the content of their work.
Now comes a news story, widely reprinted, about how 93-year-old Lorna Page published her novel through AuthorHouse (it came out on 12 July 2008) and has bought a $600,000 house on the advance, into which she intends to move her friends to save them from the horrors of nursing homes.
Sun Aug 10, 8:51 PM ET
LONDON (AFP) - A 93-year-old debut novelist has used the proceeds from her book to move her friends out of nursing homes and into her new country house, she said in British newspaper reports on Monday.
When Lorna Page hit the jackpot with “A Dangerous Weakness”, a raunchy thriller set in the Alps, she traded in her flat for a 310,000-pound (400,000-euro, 600,000-dollar) five-bedroom house in picturesque Devon, southwest England, and invited her contemporaries to move in with her.
The touching story continues with details of how the old lady’s daughter-in-law found the manuscript in a suitcase, sent it off to a publisher, and to her great joy got an acceptance. That she got an acceptance isn’t a surprise: With any vanity the only question on the publisher’s mind is whether the author’s check will clear. This says nothing about the quality of the book: A vanity press will print a good book as fast as it’ll print a bad one. But the good book’s author should expect the same sales as the bad book’s: 75-150 copies, depending on how many friends and how big a family the author has.
The book has not been reviewed anywhere that I can discover. The paperback version is currently out of stock at Amazon.uk, while the hardcover version has a 8-11 day wait for delivery. This is typical for POD books, which by their nature can’t handle volume sales, far less best-seller volumes.
My thoughts: There was no “significant advance” for this book. Even if the book was selling gangbusters, even if AuthorHouse paid royalties monthly, even if it sold a ton of copies, there’s no way that a book that came out a month ago on 10 July (hardcover) and 12 July (paperback) would have delivered a check in time to put a down-payment on a house and for the author to move in.