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Saturday, 4 April 2015

Weathering the storms!

March is traditionally supposed to come in like a Lion, roaring with the wintry weather blasting out of February and slowly slip into April, quiet as a lamb.

Indies Unlimited kicked off March Madness with a roar and the storm continued; pain, disappointment and anger has run with the thread through the month and shows no sign of abating, either at Indies Unlimited or further afield as the month draws to a close.

Lynne Cantwell posted about suing the Scammy Publisher and linked in the comments to a mention on David Gaughran's facebook page of a second class action being filed against Author Solutions, the post at Writer's Beware  gives an introduction and a brief summary of a 39 page complaint filed at Distict Court of Southern Indiana that can be downloaded. The summary is damnation enough, the detail may be worse. (I have downloaded the document but not yet had time to read it!)

The referee on the right hand sidebar takes you to the posts directly linked to #PulbisherFoul and posted since the madness began.

Two particular threads emerged from the catalogue of misadventures and mayhem wreaked by the Vanity Press; one positive and the other quite puzzling.

The positive; an author who had turned to Indies Unlimited for help and advice commented. You don't know me, why are you helping me?
Lynne Cantwell's response, It's what Indies do?

The second thread is why? I thought about the same point in my post Here Be Monsters, and RJ Crayton similarly considered it in Do Some Vanity Authors suffer From Stockholm Syndrome . Whatever the whys and wherefores of signing up and promoting the predators, I have yet to come across a more apposite descriptionof how many of the Vanity Presses work than in the summary of the complaint at Writer's Beware (see the link above).

The Law firm of Giskan Solotaroff Anderson and Stewart filed the first action against Author Solutions in April 2013  at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York and survived various motions to dismiss (Penguin was dismissed from involvement in the complaint) and in February 2015 completed the process of Discovery and filed for Class Certification.

Author Solutions is now a subsidiary of Penguin Random House, Penguin was discharged from any involvement in the complaint, but the historic tendencies of the Vanity Press have not been restrained by the Penguin acquisition, rather the contrary. Expansion in the "self-publishing" area has been the order of the day.

Girkan Solotaroff  have a contact form on their website. The website explains the claim filed against Author Solutions and revealingly comments on the Editorial Services Manager at Author Solutions, who has published seven books through the company, but without buying a single marketing service from them! Not exactly a resounding vote of confidence is it?

Whatever the endorsement or lack of it, that might suggest; the stories kept coming into the site at Indies Unlimited, and the referee can be seen on the blog on the 2nd of April when Lynne Cantwell discussed the results of the #PublishingFoul author survey, her post runs through some of the results. An colourful set of pie charts illuminate the proceedings and the results make interesting reading,

Not all the stories involved crashing and burning, some recalled burnt fingers as Jacqueline Hopkins tells her story, a spot of due diligence and timely advice sought from another author. An Anonymous contributor offers caution from an ongoing dispute with a publisher and the hope that one day the story can be told with the real names included.

The March Madness is over, but the #PublishingFoul hashtag will continue and the intention is to keep an eye on the scammers, and see where it goes from here.



  1. Thank you for sharing this. It's timely and important for witters - especially newbies.

    1. You're welcome Yvonne; if passing it on helps a newbie make a better choice, that has to be a bonus.

  2. Martyn, thanks for the great plug for our series! :)

    Just to clarify, the new class-action suit against Author Solutions was filed in U.S. District Court in southern Indiana, where Author Solutions is located. The complaint is harrowing reading. The two named plaintiffs are both elderly, and they both gave these scammers thousands of dollars to "promote" their books.

  3. Thanks for the update Lynne, and for the effort you and the team at Indies Unlimited put into the #PublishingFoul event. Your post on the survey information made interesting reading.

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