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Following Tendrils of Warning

We're all clear on the scam-status of Author Services, yes?  We've looked at the Writer Beware warnings.  We tell new writers to stay away.  We even extend a helping hand to writers who have been duped and are ready to move on.

But we don't really want to talk about the fact that Author Services is:
1)  owned and directed by Penguin,
2)  used by Simon & Schuster to run its own vanity press,
3)  used by Harper-Collins for its vanity "Christian" press, West Bow,
4)  used by Harlequin for its Horizons vanity press,
5)  Used by Lulu for "author support services."

For details, check out this.

And all these connections have resulted in more cricket song than outcry from professional organizations.

Calling any of the Author Solution operations a "writer supportive" form of self-publishing is like letting Cosby convince us chocolate cake is healthy breakfast food for kids.  Also be aware that some agents are "partnering" with these and similar services, ensuring that the writer not only pays exorbitant fees to "self-publish," but will be paying an ongoing sales commission to the agent as well.

It's the newest of the new writers that most concern me.  Think of how hard it's been to get the word out when Author Services didn't have the clout of major publishers behind them.  But now?  Not even the current lawsuit seems to have deterred them.

Really, I'd love to know the publishers' true reasoning.  I just can't buy the official line of wanting to be part of self-publishing, to choosing Author Services because they are a "recognized leader."  Can't buy it--mainly because I don't think upper management can know so little about Author Solutions' history, reputation, and practices.

And if the obvious answer is true--it's all about the money--then I really don't want to hear another peep from them about how great lit is being threatened by FIll-In-the-Blank undermining large-scale publishing.

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Blair MacGregor
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