On the subject of publishing, I wrote the following blog in August 2014, and bring it out every couple of months just so it keeps getting out there. I urge all my fellow authors looking for a publisher to read about my experience when I got suckered by a vanity publisher. It's an experience not worth having and will leave you as poor as a church mouse. This is a true story:-Author House, Xibris, I.Universe and Partridge are all part of the Author Solutions stable and as a victim of their extortionist tactics and unethical business practices, I reserve the right to share my experience with authors on a global scale..I was assisted in publishing my first book by Author House. I was mega impressed by the speed and efficiency with which the whole process came together. I had paid them a fee, which I considered fair and believed that I had received value.It took some time for the dawn of reality to emerge and by then I had been suckered in like sheep to the slaughter. Reality being that a produced book is their access to your wallet.Firstly, the ink was barely dry on the sample copies they mailed to me when I got a call from the "marketing" department telling me what a wonderful book I had written. They glowed over how their selection panel was "blown away" "This book is destined for best seller status" they said,"but like any new product, it needs promoting". I was given a glowing resume' of how they had helped emerging authors out of obscurity and into the spotlight of publishing fame. Skeptical I was, but when presented with what they had in mind, I had to admit that it sounded pretty damn good. It really sounded impressive.I invested $ 5,000.00 in the package they offered me and received in return about $ 200.00 in value. What they delivered was so vastly different from the package I had signed up and paid for I had to query if we had even been on the same planet when the deal was agreed to. I was met with "where have we not met our obligations?" Between the fine print and the devious way in which they had structured the package, I was stymied. A long story too detailed for full disclosure here. But it gets worseShortly after agreeing to (and paying) the $5,000.00, I got a call from "Sales" department"You have just invested in one of our most exciting marketing programmes" He said, "but to make that pay, we're going to need to have books in the stores. So you need to get some printed for distribution in the States. It will fly off the shelves and with the marketing programme you've invested in we will actively promote it, In our long and extensive experience in this, we anticipate your investment in the marketing and the printed books will turn over within 3 months with a calculated profit of 90 to 100%"... Yeah right!!.... I paid $ 9,500.00 to have 3,000 books printed and immediately the money left my account they went into silent mode. It took me 3 months after I had discovered the marketing fraud to get answers as to the status of the books and eventually established (I was told) that they were in a warehouse in Ohio awaiting orders from online booksellers .. No active promotion, no flying off shelves, no marketing plan and no intention to honour their undertaking.Just a straight down the line "we're sorry you're unhappy with our service. We really can't do any more for you but we are willing to meet you in court if you choose to go that route" . ... They knew damn well that was not going to happen. I'm in South Africa, their different sections are "autonomously" and strategically scattered around different countries so before you even figure out who you're going to sue, it's cost you more than your loss.ROYATY TIME!!.. I received my first royalty statement against books that got sold via Amazon and B & N a month later than it was due, which understated sales that I was aware of by 52 books. When I queried that, I was told to provide evidence of the sales that I was claiming. But the account with online booksellers was in the name of Author House and I could not gain access to the records without the authority of the account holder...i.e Author House. Would Author House provide me with the required access?. No chance!And the cheque for the royalties due against the understated sales?... "Oh that's in the post... We posted it on 30th May"... Well August is nearly over and I still don't have the cheque. The books that have been gathering dust in Ohio are now supposed to be shipped to me in South Africa, but they cannot find a carrier to handle the shipment. (30 boxes of books??,. C’mon!) only a half wit would believe that. I don't even know if the books were ever printed and I suspect not. After having demanded that they send them to me so that I could take control, one delay has followed another and after two months of wrangling I'm told they're on the way, but guess what?.. They can't find a copy of the waybill or any reference to the consignment. . They also keep ducking my request to provide evidence of their print run.. I wonder why?Oh YES!!!... I'm angry. I reserve the right to be. I can categorically state without fear of reprisal that the Author Solutions group are publishing predators and crooks. They prey on the vulnerability and inexperience of first time authors who are duped into believing their falsehoods.I urge anyone who is tempted to fall for the smooth (very efficient) sales pitch to tread very carefully. Steer very clear of any institution wanting money from you up front and NEVER deal with vanity publishers..I wish I had known then what I know now. It would have saved me close on $20,000,Subsequent to writing this (which was done in August 2014) I received the books in boxes marked "40 copies" on the outside of each box. When I counted them there were 32 copies in each box. I subsequently discovered that the book was being sold on the Author House website after I had explicitly given written instructions that the title should be withdrawn. That issue remains unsettled to this day.