You Decide: Is This Author Solutions Review Legit?

There’s another Author Solutions employee review up on GlassDoor.com. And I don’t really know what to say about it, except that it’s weird. It’s written like the person moved on to greener pastures, but then the reviewer describes him/herself as a “Current Anonymous Employee in Indianapolis, IN.”

My favorite line is this:

“Wish the upper management would’ve been more personable, with the exception of the CEO.”

Based on the rest of the review, I assume the writer meant that Kevin Weiss was perfectly personable and his behavior required no modification. But what comes out is a little ambiguous, leaving room for the suggestion that maybe Kev was a little too personable. If you know what I mean. Wink, wink.

With this review and rating, Author Solutions rises to 2.1 stars out 5 for employee satisfaction, and Kevin Weiss’s approval rating jumps to a whopping 36%.

I’m on the fence about the legitimacy of this review, though. So I leave you with a weekend poll.

[poll id=”6″]

 

Self-Publishing Directory Listings

I’ve been tweeting about it for more than a week now, but in case you haven’t heard: I’m going to host and publish a directory for businesses who provide services to self-published authors as a part of Writers’ Week 2012.

I started out saying, “IT’S FREE!” But as the list grows, I realize I need to qualify that statement. Submitting your business to the directory is free…FOR NOW.

I will continue to accept directory submissions at no charge through the end of August. And as long as you beat the deadline, it’ll never cost you a penny. However, starting September 1, 2012, if you want to be added to the list, it’ll be $3 a pop.

I’m not looking to rip anyone off, and I want to make this directory accessible for freelancers as well as larger companies. But I really don’t want to find myself updating the thing every day for the rest of my life without receiving anything for my time.

I’m also hoping the price jump will encourage people to submit well before Writers’ Week kicks off. That makes the list more useful to the Writers’ Week audience, and it gives me time to work out any of the formatting bugs ahead of publication.

Author Solutions, Inc. and its brands will not be be given a listing for obvious reasons. However! If they refund Joan Moran’s $150, I’ll take back one or two of the nasty things I said about them.

I’m pretty sure you all understand the reason for the new price tag, but I wanted to preclude any whining about it later. You have been warned.

 


Free entries are no longer accepted. To add your business to the directory, you must purchase a listing. The directory will be published on September 10, 2012.

Author Solutions Gets Not-So-Rave Reviews from Industry Pros

It’s been a month since the announcement of the big sale of Author Solutions. To commemorate Penguin’s refusal to respond to questions about how Author Solutions does business, I thought I’d round up a few of the web’s best critiques on the subject, you don’t have to take my word for it; Author Solutions gets crappy reviews everywhere.

This post was imported from Suess's Pieces and may contain broken links and missing images

In every case, the entire article is worth a read. Don’t just browse the little excerpts I’ve posted here, click through and then put on your critical thinking caps. Digest everything these bloggers are saying, particularly if you or someone you know has an interest in self-publishing.

How a Traditional Publisher Could Harm a Writer’s Career: Mark Coker of Smashwords writes, “Does Pearson think that Author Solutions represents the future of indie publishing?  Author Solutions is one of the companies that put the “V” in vanity.  Author Solutions earn 2/3 or more of their income selling services and books to authors, not selling authors’ books to readers.”

Penguin’s New Business Model: Exploiting Writers: At Indie Reader, David Gaughran writes, “Penguin isn’t purchasing a company which provides real value to writers. They are purchasing an operation skilled at milking writers.” Thinking about the stacks of complaints collected on this blog, I’d say Gaughran’s summary is on point. But read the whole article. Customers have outed Author Solutions brand iUniverse for published their e-books without permission.

Pearson Buys Author Solutions: It’s no secret that Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware has an opinion of Author Solutions, and it’s not a good one. Blogging about the sale of the company to Pearson/Penguin, she writes, “Despite ASI’s claims about customer satisfaction, the comments threads of my posts about ASI’s acquisition of Xlibris, Trafford, etc. … are replete with complaints from unhappy authors, and I receive many more via email.”

Author Solutions and iUniverse Complaints Index

Quick Note On Writers' Week 2012

Just a few housekeeping points to make regarding Writers’ Week. It’s going to be here before you know it.

  • Writers’ Week will be September 10 – 14, 2012. Mark your calendars.
  • There will be another writing contest, much like the one last year.
  • I am looking for volunteers for contest judging. Contact me if you’re interested.
  • The theme this year is self-publishing. I have room for one more guest writer. If you’ve got a post idea you’d like to pitch, contact me.
  • I’m compiling a directory of services for writers who want to self-publish. If you offer proofreading, substantive editing, cover design, layout design, consulting, marketing, or any other service that’s valuable to a self-publishing author, you can list your business in the directory.

Penguin's New Baby, Author Solutions, Adds Hacking to Laundry List of Poorly Delivered Services

Author Solutions adds hacking to its lineup. It’s Friday night July 27, and I’m dreaming:

Kevin Weiss is line dancing on a beach in the Philippines with his cheap Cebu City laborers when his cell phone rings. He looks at the caller ID and sees it’s his new boss. “Hey, Johnny!” he answers. “You should totes be here, man.”

This post was imported from Suess's Pieces and may contain broken links and missing images

Uninterested,  Penguin CEO John Makinson immediately changes the subject. “You need to solve this problem.” He removes his glasses and spits into the receiver, “I want this Suess girl to stop writing about Author Solutions. My picture hasn’t been Photoshopped yet, and I’d like to keep it that way.” Makinson pauses, and then the white-haired executive adds, “Make it go away.”

“But, boss….”

It’s too late. Makinson has already hung up. Weiss takes a swig of his San Miguel and turns to his employees, “Any of you guys know how to hack a website?” The music stops and the partygoers go silent. Weiss pulls a dollar bill from a condom-filled wallet and waves George Washington’s face at the crowd.

A 12-year-old boy wearing a Level 1 Hackx0r T-shirt steps forward.

“Hellzyeah!” Weiss puts his arm around the kid. “Let’s shut this bitch down!”

 ***

On Saturday morning, July 28, I turned on my laptop and checked my email. Waiting in my inbox were thousands of messages. The first one was from Twitter, informing me that they received a request to reset the password for my account. The next email was from my own WordPress blog. It said, “Someone requested that the password be reset for your account.”

The remaining 15,455 emails all came from someone named rtertdfg;lrtprot using the email address erteto@yahoo.com. The messages, submitted automatically via my Contact Form, contained nothing but random keystrokes.

Could it be? I wondered.

I loaded my traffic stats and laughed heartily. The first thing I noticed was that someone from Cebu City, Philippines (home of more than 1,200 Author Solutions employees) had attempted to access the login URL for my blog. The hacker didn’t guess the URL right the first time, so my stat software logged a 404-error for the misses. When he did eventually figure out the correct URL, he was probably irritated to find I had Login Lockdown installed.

So my cutsey-wootsey Hackx0r-wackx0r decided to scare me by clicking the “Lost your password?” link. And let me tell you, folks. Nothing says internet bully like a fucking password reset notification in your inbox. I mean, I couldn’t get to sleep until, like, 9:30 p.m. that night.

That same person, from the same IP, hit my Contact Page repeatedly that morning. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Author Solutions was involved in trying to take down my site, bury me in spam, and hijack my Twitter account.

Still, I decided to verify a few facts with my host, Name.com, just for fun. The great people at customer service wrote:

Hi Emily,

Thank you for your email today. I’ve done some pouring through logs and it looks like the first IP you advised, 112.207.186.80, was indeed hitting your contact form very hard. I see 19,835 entries for that IP address in the logs from this month. [emphasis mine]

Like a good little site owner, I changed my contact form, added a Captcha, and waited. As I had hoped, this little hack of a hacker was apparently so angered by my Author Solutions and iUniverse reporting that he came back today! Guess he thought I deserved another dozen manually submitted spam messages about Mitt Romney. My favorite one merely says “Mitt for president…..” a couple dozen times.

Oh, you guys!

It wasn’t long before the password reset notifications came pouring in again, both for WordPress and Twitter.

Seriously? Who made this call, and why does he still have a job? Who at Penguin or Author Solutions thought that harassing me was in the best interest of the company’s customers and stockholders?

Oops. There I go asking questions again.

Author Solutions and iUniverse Complaints Index

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