Author Solutions & iUniverse Complaints: The Complete Index

This index of Author Solutions and iUniverse complaints and consumer information is being updated regularly. It is presented in chronological order so that you can easily read through the entire story. Please check back for new additions.

Pearson PLC and Penguin Books Information Being Updated as of July 19, 2012

August 2011

When Book Reviews Attack!: The ludicrous request that started it all came from an iUniverse author (or, in hindsight, perhaps it was an Author Solutions/iUniverse employee Tweeting me on behalf of the writer–who knows anymore?).

My Thoughts on iUniverse: Kevin Gray of iUniverse visits the blog and I adress his comments about the self-publishing company’s integrity and workmanship. I encourage writers to understand the difference between iUniverse and similar companies and traditional publishing houses.

Apparently You Can’t Even Give iUniverse Titles Away: Kevin Gray of iUniverse comes back and tries to convince me that quality iUniverse books exist while simultaneously putting words in my mouth. I reject his offer to send me free titles based on the string of past book reviews I did on my blog.

April 2012

OMFG, iUniverse Authors!: A couple of iUniverse authors (or perhaps their PR reps?) irritate me, and renew my disgust for the company.

The iUniverse Rants: Coming Clean: Read about how my ex-husband and Keith Ogorek deceptively targeted my blog to get free reviews for authors publishing with iUniverse and other Author Solutions imprints. Don’t miss the comments. An anonymous employee reveals some disturbing company secrets.

May 2012

iUniverse Complaints: Interview with Author Lawrence Fisher: This interview with Lawrence Fisher, author of Kill Me Now!, explains how iUniverse failed to deliver services that Mr. Fisher paid for. Keith Ogorek, marketing VP at Author Solutions, takes a shot at damage control–don’t miss his posts in the comment thread.

iUniverse Complaints Draw Attention, Not Results: After Ogorek’s request for an interview, I explain why I will not be questioning him about Author Solutions, iUniverse or any of his company’s self-publishing imprints.

iUniverse Not Taking Customer Complaints Seriously: Would you believe that Keith Ogorek had the nerve to write Lawrence Fisher and suggest Fisher ask me to review his book? Given my past reviews, it was some of the worst advice a marketing professional could give a paying customer.

You Can Self-Publish Without iUniverse: This is an interview with self-published author, Rachel Lynn Brody, who offers self-publishing tips so others can avoid working with scam companies.

iUniverse Complaints: Interview with Joan Moran: This interview with iUniverse author Joan Moran explains how the company conned her out of an additional $150, and then refused to refund her money.

Author Solutions, Inc. Employee Cries ‘Scam’: After the anonymous Author Solutions employee comment on Suess’s Pieces, I felt it was important to bring attention to Angry at ASI’s accusation that Keith Ogorek keeps the worst self-published books in his office so he has something to laugh at. A horrible accusation on its own, it’s downright insulting to self-publishing customers that pay his salary.

iUniverse ‘Trifecta’ Book Review Services a Huge Ripoff: You have to read this post to believe how badly Author Solutions and its imprints are ripping off indie authors. This is a discussion of the announcement that iUniverse has partnered with Meredith Vieira Productions to take more money from hopeful writers.

iUniverse Complaints: Interview with Mark Thornton: Mark Thornton was one of iUniverse’s earliest customers. He self-published his book The Souls of Dumah in 2000 before the company was purchased by Author Solutions. Since the purchase, iUniverse’s reputation seems to be in a state of constant decline.

iUniverse Author Lawrence Fisher Gets Full Refund: A report on the first victory for the campaign against iUniverse and Author Solutions with an outline for future goals.

The Search for iUniverse Complaints: Just a quick post on iUniverse search times and how readers can help in the campaign to get iUniverse to refund Joan Moran’s money.

Want to See Me Do a Cartwheel?: To get the attention of iUniverse and Author Solutions we’re collecting retweets. 500 of each unlocks a video of me doing a cartwheel. Proof that I don’t mind humiliating myself if it’s for a good cause.

Even Employees Don’t Like iUniverse & Author Solutions: Unhappy employees have been talking about iUniverse and Author Solutions for years. Want the scoop on what happens behind closed doors before you give them your money to self-pub? Then you just have to know where to look. Start here.

Vanity Presses & Self-Publishing: Erin Lale talks to us about the definitions of self-publishing and vanity presses. Includes a brief discussion of iUniverse’s attempt to label itself as an “assisted self-publishing” company.

How to Self-Publish: An Interview with Hans V. von Maltzahn: Self-published author Hans V. von Maltzahn talks about print and e-book publishing his novel. If you want to learn more about self-publishing while avoiding vanity presses, this post is for you.

iUniverse Complaints: Interview with Philip J. Reed: From sales calls that make reps look like borderline stalkers to the most absurd editing process you’ve ever heard of, Philip J. Reed talks about publishing twice with iUniverse and explains why he’ll never self-publish again.

iUniverse Complaints: Interview with Jodi Foster: Jodi isn’t the only customer iUniverse has tried to keep quiet. They frequently admonish unhappy customers for choosing to make their complaints public despite the fact that iUniverse and Author Solutions reps leave them no alternative.

5 Ways Author Solutions, Inc. Limits Writers & Authors: A brief discussion of how ASI vanity presses limit writers by badgering customers into spending more, muddying the market with a laundry list of brands, providing poor customer service, inaccurately reporting royalties, and stigmatizing authors.

June 2012

More Author Solutions, iUniverse Scam Details Surface: Authors check your royalty reports and checks. We’ve learned of a few cases where these so-called self-publishing companies have breached the terms of their contracts with customers. Jodi Foster shares details of her continuing iUniverse complaints.

Let Me Fix That For You: iUniverse Mail: Ever wondered what sales emails look like from Author Solutions imprints like iUniverse? Here’s a sample email—only I’ve removed all the seizure-inducing random font colors and sizes. Thanks to Philip Reed for the submission.

Open Letter to Author Solutions Prezzy Kevin “Backdating” Weiss: Lettin’ my sarcasm flag fly in this open letter to the guy in charge at Author Solutions. Includes bonus Photoshopped mug shot for your amusement. Also contains information that may help authors at iUniverse get out of their contracts.

Open Letter to Author Solutions Veep Keith “Shiggles” Ogorek: This time I call Keith Ogorek out for ignoring the complaints of customers Joan Moran and Jodi Foster–two women who are still awaiting refunds from the company. Hysterical mug shot included for your amusement.

Jean Rikhoff Takes iUniverse & Author Solutions Complaints to Indiana Attorney General: iUniverse scams money from Jean Rikhoff, an octogenarian with some experience in the publishing industry. She has taken her complaints to the Indiana Attorney General and hopes that others will speak out too. Read the article for information on filing an online complaint.

iUniverse and Author Solutions AdWords Scam Discovered: Playwright Ian Walker discovers that Google is involved in iUniverse and Author Solutions shenanigans. Walker discovers an AdWords campaign for his book showing that, once again, someone else is pocketing the author’s cash.

One More Reason to Stay the Hell Away From iUniverse: In which I publish hate mail  illustrating that Author Solutions does not consult its authors when reaching out to potentially hostile reviewers (like me) for publicity. Also, you might want to steer clear of iUniverse just to avoid being lumped in with the author who penned this email masterpiece.

Is iUniverse a Reputable Publisher?*: If web searchers are any indication of what customers think of iUniverse, this post should be VERY illuminating. Includes summary information on previous iUniverse complaints.

iUniverse is a ‘Difficult’ and ‘Unworthy’ Publisher: Author Lawson Brooks III shares his experiences with iUniverse and explains why he is leaving them to publish on his own. It’s important to note how the iUniverse contract forces unhappy customers to pay a second time for the services they’ve ordered. He also discusses how the company’s editing system fleeces customers of even more money.

July 2012

iUniverse Complaints: Interview with Justin Nutt: Another author explains how his dealings with iUniverse and Author Solutions reps quickly went south. He details some disturbing conversations with client services manager Eugene Hopkins. Justin has pulled his book from the iUniverse bookstore and is working to organize a class action lawsuit against the company.

More Author Solutions Employee Reviews: Three more employees have left their reviews of the iUniverse parent company, Author Solutions, since I first wrote about the Glassdoor.com reviews. Pull up a chair, grab a cold beverage, and be prepared to gawk.

Author Solutions Tax Credits Followed By Outsourcing to Philippines: Employee confirms that iUniverse parent company Author Solutions received tax credits from the State of Indiana and Monroe County for “insourcing” jobs from China, then laid off dozens and moved jobs to Philippines.

Author Solutions Begs Employees for Nice Reviews: It appears that all of the negative reviews from current and past Author Solutions employees are finally getting to HR. They’ve asked employees to leave reviews at Glassdoor to combat my blog. I laugh at them, and then share a video of Kevin Weiss, Joe Steinbach and Bruce Bunner dancing with Filipino workers on the beach.

Author Solutions Denies Refund, Cites Contract They Breached: Once again, Joan Moran is denied a refund from iUniverse and Author Solutions. The customer service rep tells her that she can’t refund her money because it’s not in the contract. Read why that is so funny.

Pearson buys Vanity Press Conglomerate Author Solutions for $116M: Pearson announces its purchase of Author Solutions and plans to have Author Solutions activities managed by Penguin.

Penguin Books USA Briefly Acknowledges Blogger’s Existence: I reached out to Pearson and Penguin for comment on their recent acquisition of Author Solutions and received a very short non-response from Erica Glass, Media Relations Manager at Penguin Books USA.

Calling Bullshit: A Closer Look at the Author Solutions Press Release: I ask some pointed questions regarding Pearson’s purchase of Author Solutions and what it means for writers who consider themselves self-publishers.

Author Solutions Complaints: Interview with iUniverse Author Kathryn Maughan: iUniverse Author Kathryn Maughan shares her experience in publishing before and after iUniverse was purchased by Author Solutions (now a Penguin Books company).

August 2012

Penguin’s New Baby, Author Solutions, Adds Hacking to Laundry List of Poorly Delivered Services: What does a company do when a rogue blogger tries to tell the truth about their shady business practices? Why, they try intimidation by hacking. Sorry, boys. Not impressed.

Author Solutions Gets Not-So-Rave Reviews from Industry Pros: I’m not the only one writing about the whole Penguin / Author Solutions thing. I’ve linked up to a couple of other articles that take ASI to task.

You Decide: Is This Author Solutions Review Legit?: Taking a look at the latest employee review of Author Solutions on Glassdoor.com. Don’t miss the bonus reader poll at the end!

A PR Lesson from Author Solutions & Chick-Fil-A: Just when you thought the PR pros had learned from Chick-Fil-A’s mistake that it’s bad to use stock photos and fake people, Author Solutions comes along with “Jared.” Not only that, but of all the people he could follow, Jared picked me!

September 2012

Author Solutions & Jared Silverstone: Now With 99% More Bullshit: Author Solutions issues a statement regarding the Jared Silverstone accounts, forcing me to call bullshit once again.

Real-Life Horror: Author Solutions’ Book-to-Screen Prices: Taking a closer look at the Trafford imprint prices for Book-to-Screen packages. ASI charges as much as $16,000 for one package. BONUS: Visitor claiming to be a former freelance screenwriter shares how the book-to-screen scheme works.

November 2012

Sure You Don’t Want to Name it Simon & Schyster?: Pearson who owns Penguin who merged with Random House and owns Author Solutions Inc. is now working with their competitor, Simon & Schuster on another self-publishing brand. Yes, for real.

May 2013

Author Solutions Sued For Deceptive Practices: Three authors filed a lawsuit against self-publishing company Author Solutions citing deceptive practices. They seek $5 million in punitive damages.

July 2013

Author Solutions Rep to Skeptic: ‘All I Can Tell You Is The Facts’: Amusing defense of Author Solutions/iUniverse by an Author Solutions Publishing Consultant. He actually argues this: “I don’t expect you to believe me, all I can tell you is the facts.”