Author Solutions is one of the largest company offering publishing services specifically focused on the self-publishing segment of the industry. It has had a rather complex and somewhat rocky history. According to an article on DigitalBookWorld.com in 2012:
Author Solutions was founded in April 1996 by Tim Jacobs and David Hilliard as 1stBooks and was initially meant to be an e-book company. The company was acquired in 2002 by Gazelle Tech Ventures, an Indiana-based venture capital firm. Bertram Capital purchased the company from Gazelle Tech Ventures in 2007.
What is missing from this history is a lack of any connection to traditional book publishing. The company seemed to operate solely to take advantage of the growth in self-publishing and had little connection with the book industry. That appeared to change with the sale of Author Solutions to Pearson Publishing's Penguin Books in 2012. It was widely reported that the CEO of Penguin saw this as a "stamp of approval" on the self-publishing industry. Apparently, Penguin became disenchanted with Author Solutions and sold it to a private equity group on January 2016. The lawsuits filed against Author Solutions by angry authors and widespread distrust of Author Solutions' tactics and lack of publishing expertise probably contributed to Penguin's decision to divest Author Solutions.
- Overly aggressive sales techniques
- Lack of objective editorial evaluations
- Poor quality of editorial and design services
- Excessive cost of marketing services
- High cost of books to author
- Lack of transparency in distribution process
Author Solutions does provide the services it agrees to provide to the author. However, we believe that there are better quality and more cost effective alternatives.
Author Solutions operates a number of "imprints" directly. These imprints are just variations on the basic services offered to authors by all of the divisions of Author Solutions. We object to referring to them as "imprints", since this implies that they are actually traditional publishers. We will refer to them as "divisions".
In addition to offering their services through their various divisions, Author Solutions also operates "partner imprints" for well-known traditional publishers. The services offered through these partners are the same as offered through its own imprints, just at a higher price and with different names. Although the partners infer that an author using these services might be offered a publishing contract by the "parent" publisher, it is not clear that any such offer is a direct result of using a particular service and we see no benefit to the author from this relationship.