Author Solutions Denies Refund, Cites Contract They Breached

Remember author Joan Moran? She’s been fighting for months to get a $150 refund from vanity publisher iUniverse. She called, she emailed, she Tweeted. But the self-publishing imprint’s parent company, Author Solutions, wouldn’t even bother to respond to her. While they tracked down Lawrence Fisher on his blog to give him a refund, they simply ignored Joan. For months Author Solutions denies the refund.

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Until today, that is. They finally broke their silence on the issue after Joan Moran emailed CEO Kevin Weiss last week. He, of course, passed her complaint off to someone else. There were some apologies and “we can’t help yous” followed by a, “let me check with my boss and get back to you” when it became apparent that Joan wasn’t going to relent. Earlier today, Joan received this:

Hello Ms. Moran,

I have discussed the situation with my supervisor and we are unable to offer you a full refund at this time for the proofs that you purchased. We fulfilled the service you requested in purchasing your files and as outlined in your publishing agreement. If I can assist you further, then please do let me know.

I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.


Desirée Acosta
Production Manager

1663 Liberty Drive
Bloomington, IN 47403

It’s polite, I’ll grant that. But don’t you just love how the representative cites the publishing agreement as a reason why they can’t give Joan her money back? From a consumer standpoint, it’s reprehensible. This is precisely why authors keep working to organize a class action lawsuit.

iUniverse and Author Solutions willfully breach the contract’s royalty provisions every quarter for every customer. In fact, they still haven’t posted items that should have been reported April 30. And yet, somehow, they just can’t issue a refund for misleading a customer into purchasing a document twice because it’s not in the contract.

Joan paid them to create this text file of her book when she bought the original package, but they charged her another $150 to email the PDF to her when she wanted to leave. The customer service rep led her to believe that she would be able to edit the document once she had it. Then later told her that everyone knows you can’t really edit a PDF.


So no, Author Solutions says. You can’t have your $150! Our hands are tied, can’t you see?

Funny they don’t have a problem ignoring their contract when the company stands to profit from it.

I guess that’s one way to keep the books looking good for a financial suitor.

Author Solutions and iUniverse Complaints Index

Business Writing for Beginners: 5 Types of Business Writing You Need to Master

By Sherri Ledbetter

Business writing. When I was a fledgling writer, the term business writing was new and scary to me. BUSINESS. Business was important; business was BIG right? I wondered, what is business writing anyway?

In general, most writing for business is geared toward informing and persuading the customer. For non-profits, it may mean writing in a compelling way to obtain donations or funding.

The main goal in business writing is to get the message across in a clear, accurate and simple manner. Below you’ll find 5 types of business writing you need to master as a freelance writer in this niche.

1. Website Content: Trading Paper for Bullets

The hottest form of writing is for company websites and blogs. Web writing often includes the additional requirement of establishing a good rapport with your online audience. Web writing is more casual, with a more relaxed language and attitude.

Because computer screens are harder to read than printed paper, it’s a good idea to…

  • Break paragraphs into chunks; 3 to 4 sentences at the most.
  • If you have a series of items, use bullet points to save readers’ time.
  • Boldface important words and phrases so readers can quickly see key points.

2. Press Releases: What’s the Company Up To?

Press releases, sometimes called news releases, are written to inform the news media of a company’s new product or service, award, promotion or other recent event. The goal is to attract media attention and generate publicity.

3. Technical writing: No Jargon Please.

Technical writing requires communicating about technical or specialized topics, such as:

  • Software
  • Hardware
  • Medical procedures
  • Environmental regulations

Technical writers provide detailed, how-to instructions. Examples of technical documents include: user guides, installation guides, tutorials and E-learning modules.

4. Grant Writing: Show Me the (Free) Money.

Structure, attention to detail, concise persuasive writing, and the ability to follow guidelines are skills needed as a grant writer. Grant writing involves writing proposals or completing applications in order to apply for funds. Companies requiring grant writing skills include non-profits and educational institutions.

5. Commercial White Papers: My Stuff is Better Than Their Stuff.

Commercial white papers are marketing documents written to emphasize the benefits of a particular product, technology or method. The goal is to convince the customer that the company’s product is the best choice. Commercial white papers are often used to generate sales leads and educate customers. The three main types of commercial white papers are:

  • Business Benefits: Stating a case for a certain technology or methodology.
  • Technical: Describing in detail how a certain technology works.
  • Hybrid: Combining the two types above in a single document.

These five types of business writing are just the tip of the iceberg. How about speech writing, game writing, resume writing or book reviews? The list goes on and on. Which type of business writing do you think you would enjoy doing the most?

Sherri Ledbetter is an Oklahoma freelance writer, editor and food blogger. Visit her online at Sherri Ledbetter Writes    

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