It's a good thing for AuthorHouse that I waited a while to write this because my initial reaction was to blast the company. I would say that, since it's all over, I am mildly pissed about my experience with them. It would have been worse except that I now realize the type of company this is, and I was lured in to expect too much. Before I totally leave the Authorhouse orbit, I want to pass along my experiences for the benefit of those considering self-publishing and AuthorHouse. These things may not happen to you, but then again, I didn't expect them to happen to me.
I chose AuthorHouse based on its reputation as a leader in the industry, a good promotional price, and the assurances by the staff that they know what they're doing. So I was in, all happy and hopeful. Was I in for a surprise!
I'll start by saying something nice. In fairness, ultimately the book I had published by the company looked good, and I was happy with that.
However, getting it into proper form was one of the worst experiences I ever had with any service company, and left me feeling like I was dealing with a lot of amateurs. Some of the details were horrific. I can go on for a long time about what happened, but since brevity is a byproduct of vigor I'll provide just the lowlights.
I specifically and emphatically asked that the artwork be done in the USA, not the Philippines, and this was acknowledged and accepted. But then AuthorHouse disregarded my request, had it done overseas, didn't tell me until I detected it (then rejected it), and everyone had to start over. Wonderful. I had thought they would provide several graphic design options to choose from. After waiting weeks, they gave me one selection, take it or leave it. I left it. Exasperated, I finally selected the photos that went on the covers and basically said, here, do this. I was disappointed and felt cheated (after all, I assumed that this "expertise" was factored into the price I paid).
There were unbelievable amounts of errors made in the galleys and proofs, despite specific instructions provided on their own forms in writing. Very sloppy - and if YOU are not on top of this, you will suffer the consequences. Read everything - and I mean, everything, and reread it again, both before you submit it and after it is returned. I even had captions switched under photos I provided -- I provided these correctly and clearly, but it would have come out reversed had I not caught this(resulting in embarrassment for myself and AuthorHouse). How could this even have happened?
The printing/binding was a horror show at times - including key photos getting cut off on the cover, and especially that another author's book was inside my book covers at a retail store (someone I knew purchased it and alerted me)!!! Authorhouse told me this hardly/rarely ever happens - but it happened to me immediately after my book was published. Hmmmm....I could only hope that the situation has been corrected, for the sake of myself and the other author(s).
Then there was the "marketing" program at additional cost(and not cheap). Forget about it. Numerous mistakes which I had to correct often (seemed very careless at times), and totally ineffective - A WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY! I was very disappointed and frustrated with this. Supervisor intervention helped, but it should not have come to that.
I had books shipped to me. More mistakes. Instructions not follwed. More supervisors needed to get involved despite a seemingly simple request that was agreed to. Unbelievable!
I questioned the amount of royalties. AH then puts this on you to prove that their numbers are not correct. I just wanted the backup wtih detail, you know, basic information such as how many were sold by location by each retailer there. As yet no answer. They have to have this - and you should definitely ask for this verification. You can buy a service from Nielsen that verifies their numbers based on scanned UPC codes (check into this). I will keep digging on this one, and alerting whomever needs to know about it. Maybe they're right...and maybe not.
Other situations were also unacceptable at times. Communications with Customer Service in the Philippines was often difficult. Very nice people who tried hard, BUT often misunderstood my requests, didn't communicate them properly, and/or didn't do them. I was often asking for the supervisors, and this was helpful much of the time!. I felt treated like a number a lot, and said so". In fairness, some of the people there were very helpful and caring, but too few and often too late..
Beware of buying the additional packages before your book is published when your enthusiasm is highest - if you're disappointed in the end with the sales/royalties, that money is already gone,. At least in my experience, the additonal marketing program was a bad spend and I would not buy any other packages from them based on this experience!.
Although my book was published, and is in major bookstores, my overall enthusiasm was dampened because of the incredible amount of mistakes, tracking down necessary, and often amateurish flubs made by AuthorHouse.. Often times they picked up their own fumbles and made good, but these errors should definitely not have happened in the first place/. There was also a lot of turnover of reps in nearly every major department I dealt with, which could have contributed to the mess:.
It's a good thing there are forums such as this to alert others who are considering self-publishing, including AuthorHouse and their subsidiaries/affiliates (make sure you know who they are, e.g., via online search, so that you're not getting the potential evil-twin without realizing it). Now that AuthroHouse has recently been purchased by mainstream publisher Penguin Books, perhaps there is an opportunity to call Penguin about any concerns, and maybe the self-publishing industry will have more scrutiny from the regulators if needed.
In the end, I had high hopes and enthusiasm for my book, but after this whole experience I would not go through it again -except with a more reliable publisher. I would totally do my homework ahead of time.
Finally, while this was a 'House' of Horrors in some cases, overall I feel that I escaped with minimal damage - but I have now definitely left the building and am moving on from this company except when I absolutely have to deal with them. Just my opinion overall, but maybe you can learn from it.
May the "farce" NOT be with you if you go with AuthorHouse. 30f29d4