Author Solutions Rep to Skeptic: ‘All I Can Tell You Is The Facts’

Author Solutions Penguin: Liar, LiarGot an email today from an author, Kevin, who had an entertaining exchange with an Author Solutions rep calling himself Eric Emlinger.

Now, Kevin was pitched by iUniverse back in the day, but decided not sign on the dotted line because they failed to answer all of his questions satisfactorily. Basically, Kevin sensed something sleazy was afoot and walked away.

Well, he recently received another email from Author Solutions. It was their typical spiel.

Read Author Solutions' Email Pitch

Kevin,

Thank you for requesting publishing information from iUniverse, one of the most established and respected brands in the independent publishing industry. In a recent study, iUniverse sold twice as many books in the retail channel as other leading self-publishing brands.

iUniverse offers the most extensive variety of publishing services to help individuals publish, market, and sell fiction, poetry, and nonfiction books. Our company utilizes print-on-demand technology, and is one of the largest self-publishing companies in the United States, publishing more than 5,000 new titles each year.

This link will help you with information and details about our Publishing Packages – click here —> [LINK REMOVED]

The iUniverse management team has extensive editorial and managerial experience with traditional publishers such as HarperCollins, Putnam, Simon & Schuster and Holtzbrinck. iUniverse partners with industry leading author organizations, including the Authors Guild, the Harlem Writers Guild, and the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) to bring innovative programs to their members. iUniverse has strategic alliances with Barnes & Noble, Inc. in the U.S. and Chapters Indigo in Canada and has offices in New York City and Bloomington, IN.

iUniverse was created to be as similar to a traditional publishing experience as possible, while permitting the author to maintain all rights and control of the process.

Another iUniverse author gets a book deal! [LINK REMOVED]

“iUniverse has a thorough process to identify promising new writers, and then invests real dollars in promoting their books. Their editorial review process greatly enhances the quality of the books they publish. The iUniverse Star Program is a great opportunity to discover new authors and bring them to market.” – Barnes and Noble CEO Steve Riggio.

Through our recognition programs and awards, we make real investments to support titles that demonstrate a high level of editorial quality and marketability. These programs open the door to more opportunities for retail presentation and placement. This is the only self-publishing series of its kind established to identify, celebrate and support authors. Our recognition programs include:

The Star Program books are republished free of charge under the Star imprint, presented to Barnes & Noble for in-store placement, and offered to booksellers with attractive retail terms and returnable status.

Rising Star is the only program of its kind to guarantee titles will be presented by a commissioned sales force to national, regional and local booksellers. Each Rising Star title is featured in the Rising Star Special Collections boutique on Barnes & Noble.com.

iUniverse chooses only those titles that have the essential qualities of a professionally published book to be part of our Editor’s Choice program. Books that receive a positive Editorial Evaluation are sent to our Editorial Board for careful consideration.

Editorial excellence is important, but so are book sales. The iUniverse Reader’s Choice designation recognizes authors who have achieved both editorial excellence and sales success.

No other self publishing organization offers the unique and successful iUniverse Author Recognition and Marketing Programs.

First, I would like to know more about you, your book and your motivation to publish. To help me better understand your needs, I have outlined a few questions that I hope you will answer in detail for me:

-What type of book have you written?
-Who is your target audience?
-Are you finished writing the book?
-What computer program did you use to write your book?
-Will your book have images on the interior pages or text only?
-Do you plan to publish those images in color, or black and white?
-How many pages do you estimate that your book will have?
-Would you like to have your book published in softcover or hardcover?
-When would you like to be holding your very first copy?

Author Solutions, the parent company of iUniverse, is now a member of the Penguin Group. Read full press release here.

[LINK REMOVED]

I look forward to speaking with you.

Sincerely,

Eric Emlinger
PUBLISHING CONSULTANT

1663 Liberty Drive
Bloomington, IN 47403
US Toll Free: (800) 288-4677 Ext. 5377
Fax: (812) 349-0747
[LINK REMOVED]

Author Solutions, the parent company of iUniverse, is a Penguin Random House Company.

iUniverse authors win Independent Publisher Book Awards: [LINK REMOVED]

A few points about their first email:

  • Notice how they’re humping that Penguin-Random House association to add an air of legitimacy the Author Solutions name can’t conjure on its own.

  • Notice what B&N’s CEO is quoted as saying about the Author Solutions/iUniverse editorial review process. (So that’s why my B&N closed! Now I get it.)

  • Don’t miss the rest of their corporate name dropping. Plenty of brands to be leery of including: HarperCollins, Putnam, Simon & Schuster and Holtzbrinck, Authors Guild, the Harlem Writers Guild, and the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), Barnes & Noble, Inc. and Chapters Indigo.

  • Be sure you laugh at the part where they say iUniverse is designed to be “as similar to a traditional publishing experience as possible.” (Where to begin with this…)

  • And finally, check out this line: “No other self publishing organization offers the unique and successful iUniverse Author Recognition and Marketing Programs.” (Except Xlibris, AuthorHouse, Trafford, et al because they’re owned by Author Solutions too.)

At any rate, Kevin picked up on what was going on, and shot an email back to Eric:

Ugh, I didn’t realize this was iUniverse under another name.  I’ll pass thanks.  I’ve heard nothing but horror stories about how little authors get and how you people upsell for next to nothing in return.

To which Eric responded with this gem:

Hello Kevin,

Such horror stories are from websites that are being sued for racketeering, their [sic] essentially hiring people to write bad reviews about big companies. I don’t expect you to believe me, all I can tell you is the facts. We’ve been in business for 15 years, published over 91,000 books, we have an A with the Better Business Bureau, we are regulated by the FCC, and our company is a part of the Penguin Random House group. Many of my authors have even returned in recent months to publish their second and third book. I hope we hear from you again.

Sincerely,

Eric Emlinger
PUBLISHING CONSULTANT

Oh. My. God. That’s so delicious. Racketeering? You wouldn’t be making shit up now, would you Eric?

‘Cause, umm, who’s suing whom?

About Emily Suess

Emily Suess is a technical marketing writer by day and a freelance copywriter by night. And, no, she's not related to Dr. Seuss.