Have you been keeping track of the Author Solutions employee reviews on Glassdoor.com? Of course you haven’t, so let me give you the skinny. We start with one good review and wrap up with two more bad ones.
The Good Review
I’m glad to see that someone at the company decided to take my suggestion to heart. On May 22, I wrote: “one has to wonder where the loyal employees are hiding, if, in fact, there are any loyal employees to be found.” Then yesterday, I found a 5-star review from someone at the Fort Mitchell, KY offices* who claims that the company is growing so quickly a few hiccups are to be expected. You can read the review in its entirety here.
That Author Solutions review really tickles me. I mean on one hand, ZOMG! It’s so fast-paced you might not be able to hang. But on the other, there’s a three-month ramp up period to help you along, so you’re good. (Granted, I imagine it does take some time to master the art of pushing overpriced marketing services on people who have said repeatedly they don’t want them.)
I also love how the employee lauds what other employees have grudgingly identified as croneyism. Also, lookie! The review has bumped Kevin Weiss’s approval rating all the way up to a whopping 20%!
The Bad Reviews
That approval rating and the company rating of 1.6 would probably be higher, except that two other 1-star reviews have also been added. (I’ve posted excerpts for your convenience, but you can see the full reviews by clicking on the dates at the end of the quoted material.)
“Being owned by a private equity corporation, treatment of employees and client satisfaction are AuthorSolutions lowest priorities. The wages are low and the benefits are minimal. Discipline is maintained by regularly singling out employees for harsh treatment through intimidation, work overloads, artificial production goals and eliminating positions to transfer to their facilities in the Philippines. Management actively recruits employees to spy on other employees. On the job training is minimal and employees are expected to sink or swim on their own. Expertise and seniority are not valued and promotions are often based on obsequiousness to upper management, not skill. For these reasons, employee turnover is high and moral is low.” — June 21, 2012
and another from a Fort Mitchell, KY employee…
“Aside from the pay being significantly under normal expectations, shortly after starting to work there, they had the gall to actually pull a bait and switch on pay, by changing the CarrerBuilder advertisement from ‘base salary plus an aggressive commission structure’ to ‘draw against commission’ with net loss of $17,500/year in guaranteed income, plus they raised the minimum acceptable performance metrics level by 33% without discussion, comment, or any additional compensation in doing so.” — June 13, 2012
What it Means for iUniverse Customers
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: High employee turnover and dissatisfied employees are bad news for the customers of any of Author Solutions vanity presses, including iUniverse, Xlibris, Trafford, and Palibrio. Just to be safe, I’d stay away from Abbott Press (Writer’s Digest-branded line), Balboa (Hay House-branded line), WestBow (Thomas Nelson-branded line) and Inspiring Voices. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Plenty of customers have already warned you:
*Fort Mitchell, KY offices located at 228 Grandview Dr., Fort Mitchell, KY 41017 with phone number (859) 916-5741. I’m not sure what strategic reason they have to maintain offices here, unless they 1) want to split employees to break down communication and lessen solidarity or 2) found a way to get economic development tax credits from Indiana AND Kentucky.