Random Penguin Kicks Author Solutions to the Curb

ASI no longer Random PenguinWell, that didn’t take long. Just three years and change after buying Author Solutions (ASI) from venture capital firm Bertram Capital, Penguin Random House has sold the company to an affiliate of Najafi Companies, another venture capital firm. In 2012, Penguin’s then-owner, Pearson, paid $116 million for Author Solutions, not long before Penguin merged with Random House. Terms of the most recent deal were not disclosed. The sale was finalized December 31st and was announced earlier this week.

I hope we’re all familiar by now with Author Solutions’ schtick: the reassuring websites of its many, many imprints; the claims that you, too, can be a successful author by publishing your book with them; the high initial costs, the constant upselling, the disastrous “editing,” and the boxes and boxes of books in the garage that the hapless author will never be able to unload. Continue reading “Random Penguin Kicks Author Solutions to the Curb”

FOULED!: Update on Indie Writer Support

#PublishingFoul Logo Indies UnlimitedA couple of years ago, Lin Robinson told us about some shady activity on LinkedIn by one Korede Abayome, who runs Indie Writer Support and ParaDon Publishing , among other things.

According to his bio, Abayome was born in Lagos, Nigeria, and raised in California. He goes by a number of different aliases, including Celina Marka (acquisitions editor for ParaDon), Judd Miller (ParaDon’s webmaster), and Artis Reed (which appears to be a pen name of Abayome’s). He sells publishing services to would-be writers, but his customers say he pockets the payments and never provides the services. One of these iffy services is a $250 “Elite Membership” to Indie Writers Support, which claims it has “raised a few authors to the NY Times best sellers list.” Of course, it doesn’t say which authors it has helped to get on the list. ParaDon also claims to have struck a deal recently with BookBub; as you might have guessed, BookBub says it has never done business with ParaDon. Continue reading “FOULED!: Update on Indie Writer Support”

FOULED!: Tate Publishing

#PublishingFoul Logo Indies Unlimited

You know that when a businessman calls himself a religious man, he’s okay, right? He’s not going to scam you, right? And “family owned and operated” is another indicator of a wholesome, honest business model. Right?

Let me introduce you to Tate Publishing and Enterprises.

Headquartered in Mustang, Oklahoma, the company publishes both books and music. Their website says the firm was founded by Richard and Rita Tate, who were moved to start a publishing house after losing control of their own work to an unnamed “traditional, mainline royalty publishing company.” The current president and CEO is their son, Ryan Tate, who turns up pretty regularly on Fox News as a commentator on anything and everything except publishing. No, really. Check out the Press Room tab on the Tate Publishing site, where you’ll find links to the guy’s appearances. I didn’t see a single one that was even remotely related to publishing. Continue reading “FOULED!: Tate Publishing”

How we almost got hooked…line and sinker… by Publish America

#PublishingFoul Logo Indies UnlimitedGuest Post
by Jacqueline Hopkins

Back in 2010, I was living in Alaska, and editing my niece’s book. Shana Gentry told me she had a publisher and they were waiting for her to finish it. I asked her who it was. Proudly, she said, “Why it’s Publish America, of course.” I had never heard of them. Back when I’d tried to get my novel published, I’d gone the traditional route – and Publish America wasn’t one of them. After all the rejections I received, I got discouraged and quit writing, shelving over a dozen books I had started.

In any case, I asked Shana about PA and she said she’d found them online and had already signed a contract with them. When she first contacted them, their response and interest in her book was immediate and very over the top, telling her she had a bestseller and that they would make her a famous author. PA was very prompt in their responses; however, their contract spoke of many charges to come out of her pocket. In fact, she wouldn’t see a profit from sales until they recouped their costs. Only then would get any royalties. Shana also told me she was to pay them around $200 for startup fees and contact placement in the company, and for a front cover and back panel of the book. They also told her an editor would call her and keep in touch with her as she wrote, and that she didn’t need to seek the copyrights as they handled that as well. She told me she had her doubts right away and stopped correspondence with them after about two weeks of back and forth emails and harassing phones calls, pushing her to send the manuscript. Continue reading “How we almost got hooked…line and sinker… by Publish America”