Thursday, January 08, 2009

Victoria Strauss -- Author Solutions Acquires Xlibris

The Author Solutions juggernaut continues to balloon. The company, owner of POD self-publishing service AuthorHouse, acquired rival POD service iUniverse in 2007. Now the New York Times reports that it has acquired another competitor, Xlibris.

According to the NYT, "Terms of the deal were not disclosed."

When iUniverse--then one of the most cost-effective and reliable of the POD self-publishing services--was gobbled up by Author Solutions, I worried that service would deteriorate. Writer Beware receives a steady trickle of complaints about AuthorHouse--the only large POD service of which that was true prior to the iUniverse acquisition. Googling AuthorHouse brings up a multitude of unhappy stories (although it must be acknowledged that at least some of the unhappiness results from unrealistic expectations on the authors' part). I also have some semi-personal experience--my uncle, who chose AuthorHouse to publish the collections of short stories he wrote after he retired, had endless problems with mistakes, lost material, and ignorant and unhelpful customer service reps. His books did finally get published, but each one was a struggle.

It appears that my concerns were not unfounded. Comments on my post about the merger, and on Ann's post about iUniverse's Premier Plus program, as well as complaints we've received, suggest that at least some iUniverse authors are now experiencing the same kinds of problems that have plagued AuthorHouse. In fact, we're now getting more complaints about iUniverse than about AuthorHouse.

It doesn't seem like a stretch to presume that Xlibris--pre-acquisition, among the largest of the POD self-pub services, and one about which there currently seems to be minimal customer dissatisfaction--will go the same way.

This new merger is not good news for authors in another sense: it reduces the field of choice. As choices decrease, so does the pressure to compete, and decreased competition does not benefit consumers. While Writer Beware doesn't generally recommend the use of POD self-publishing services, except in certain specific circumstances (see our Print on Demand Self-Publishing Services page for a discussion), we feel that writers who do choose to self-publish are best-served by having the widest possible range of options, in a robustly competitive environment.

48 comments:

Victoria Strauss said...

The official press release.

Jill Elaine Hughes said...

Interesting to see Author Solutions' parent company is a hedge fund with no direct publishing ties.

Doing POD is a bad enough idea as it is. Now it'll just get worse. I think the only reasonable choice left is Lulu.

Molly Daniels said...

I pubbed with iUniverse the first time and was not impressed. I went with AuthorHouse the second time and had a better experience! Yes, I got what I paid for at iUniverse (fee was only $160 at the time) and while the A/H fees were considerably higher, I was more confident the second time around and will actually make some sort of profit this year.

Will I do POD in the future? No; I'm trying the e-pubb route. But going POD got my foot in the door and has given me valuable experience with promoting my work.

Rae said...

I was wondering if you could answer a question for me. I'm trying to publish one of my books (not for the first time) but I've never quite mastered query letters and synopses and such. Of course, I've researched these but I've found something confusing -- sometimes agents seem to ask for queries with SASEs AND a synopsis. I had always thought queries and synopses were separate things, but this confused me.

Anyhow, my question is, is the synopsis just considered a part of the query or a separate element? If you do have the answer I would greatly appreciate it. My email is r_harber@hotmail.com.

Victoria Strauss said...

Rae,

The query and the synopsis are two separate things. The query letter is a one-page letter you send an agent or publisher, providing a brief "teaser" for your book (similar to the blurbs you find on the back of paperback novels), as well as describing the book's genre, word count, and any writing credits or relevant life experience you have. The goal of the query is to hook the agent's interest, so she'll ask to read chapters or even a full manuscript. A synopsis is a written description of your book from start to finish, highlighting the main characters, plot points, themes, etc.

Check the sidebar on the blog's front page--you'll find a link to The Query Project, in which writers post their query letters that sold books. And have a look at Ann's post on how to write a synopsis.

I also recommend checking out the Absolute Write Water Cooler, a very active writers' forum with a ton of resources, including a Share Your Work section where you can post your query letter for advice and feedback.

ALC said...

Molly, foot in what door? And, why e-pub? Why not just hammer out a killer query letter & devote your non-writing time to finding an agent to sell your work for you?

I just don't get the appeal of self-publishing.

BTW, most agents accept email queries now so you wouldn't have to spend a dime on postage or printing.

The list of agents on Preditors & Editors is an invaluable tool. I recommend using it in conjunction with agentquery.com.

firsttimeauthoress said...

You people just love lording it around. You take delight in making publishing seem impossible to rub it in that you got published while most people don't. to you, everyone is a scammer, a crook, a thief. You say writer's digest is a joke but then admit that you've contributed. You ruin the reputations of good, hardworking people just out of sheer sadistic delight. 99% of what your right has no legal foundation at all. Your blogs arer sprinkled with 'may have to pay' 'might be liable to pay damages.' etc but nothing ever comes of it all. My blog shows that we don't all need to follow your corrupt paths. there are peopleout there willing to help. fisttimeauthoress.blogspot.com

Molly Daniels said...

My POD experience, combined with the fact we finally 'got with the program' and had internet accessability, provided me with the networking I needed. A/H is in my home state, and sponsored a writer's workshop in my area. I attended three times and gained valuable insight as to what was wrong with my query efforts and my MS in general.

Last year, one of the authors in my group encouraged me to join her online group, and through her I was encouraged to not only set up my website, but to network with authors all over the world. We encourage each other; critique each other's work; and swap promotional ideas.

I'll admit; I love to hold a book in my hand, but at the same time, the E-books are cheaper to purchase, and I don't have to wait for Amazon to deliver them or drive an hour to a good bookstore.

I should hear sometime in the next week whether or not my first contemporary romance book will be e-published.

I did have an agent at one time; however, this was before Internet, and the only thing he DID do for me was to point me to iUniverse. After I pubbed, I discovered he was a fraud (Thank you P&E!). I added my name to the complaint and now get the infrequent restitution checks (thank god I was only out $350) and am a lot wiser as to which agents are more reputable.

Yes, I continue to send queries to agents; so far nothing has turned up. But through some of the rejections, I've gained valuable advise on improving my MS.

I also have a good relationship with the bookstore managers who have set up signings for me and indicate they want me back when the next one is available. Same thing with the craft fair coordinators in my area.

Anonymous said...

I notice that you don't have the courage to respond to my challenge. YOU are the scammer, you creep! Why not answer my challenge and provide a few names. You just love to lord around that YOU are published and that no one else can ever be. You are so stuck up. MGR is a great agent, better than anything you ever came up with. SHE personally requested my novel, that's what bugs you. Brioen, hang in there! Notew that most of the posts supporting these 'bloggers' are anonymous or posted by flunkeys, fuly paid up flunkeys! This woman destroys good reputations ju8st for the fun of it.

Victoria Strauss said...

Hey, Firsttimeauthoress/Anonymous. I've got your number. Stay tuned.

ALC said...

Whoa! Checked out your "blog" firsttimeauthoress. I, personally, have to assume that ONLY a scammer agent would request a MS from you. Your blog was riddled with grammatical & spelling errors. However, you must be commended for your charming flair for malapropism.

firsttimeauthoress said...

Hey, ALC. You treat me like the Scooter Libby of the publishing world. When I wrote that blog I was choked with emotion at having received my hefty check because of someone who worked hard to get me to where I am now. Gratitude, not grammar, was the first thing on my mind. The people here at this blog delight in telling you how NOT to get published. They just love to tell you how hard it is and rub it in your face that they got published but you never will. They ruin the reputation of hard-working people without a qualm. It makes my blood boil that they get away with this, all their hate-filled messages. Look at me, they don't even know who I am, but since I disagree with them they immediately turn to sarcasm, ridicule and doubt. Yes, they tell you how NOT to get published. I say, find someone who can tell you how TO get published - like I did. That is the difference between a negative person who delights in seeing others fail and a hard working person who delights in seeing her people succeed. I rest my case.

ALC said...

Well, rest in peace then dimwit. I'll take just a moment to point out why this ninny has to be MGR.

1. A real writer who'd just signed a publishing deal would be shouting her OWN name from the rooftops. She would be telling everyone the name of her book, the publisher that was handling it AND either her own name or at least the pen-name she was being published under.

2. A real writer would NEVER publish an error riddled blog no matter how "choked" with emotion he or she happened to be at the time.

3. A real writer would know whether they had written an action-packed SF novel or a sweet romance. Or, did your amazing agent get you two separate book deals? You claim to have only completed one book. - And, before you claim that you only wrote ONE of those blogs and that the other was written by someone else you should know that even an inexperienced writer/reader can usually identify matching writing styles - especially when they both contain the same types of errors.

I'm guessing that you dropped your current blogs because I left comments on each pointing out all of this information in great detail.

Rae said...

Thank you very much Victoria! I'm still a little concerned that the information I've found is contradicting itself, but I have some more-current info now that should help.

Dennis said...

Pod is a term that is confusing to many these days. I feel POD publishers are only different from traditional publishers as there is a quicker time period to become published. POD technology is something that many publishers now use. This reduces their costs of inventory by printing books only when firm orders are generated.

From my perspective POD technology offers a greater choice and potential for new authors to get published.

Anonymous said...

I used Xlibris & found their services to be as promised. However, post-production I have been incessantly hounded by their sales staff wanting me to buy add-on services - more than 40 calls to date, after repeatedly telling them never to call - if they had anything to tell me, they could email. So, writer, never give Xlibris your correct phone number!

Anonymous said...

I used Xlibris and post-production, I too am hounded about buying extras, i.e. thousands of dollars for being in the Library Journal, the book fair at UCLA, etc. Also, after the final product was finished, I found that the word "brake" in a car had been changed twice to "break" on one page. I did not make that change and did not look for it in the final copy I approved. It was fine when I wrote it. I had it spelled correctly. Someone else either didn't have command of the English language or did it on purpose because its $172+ per correction. I have contacted Xlibris to no avail and the e-mails I have received are insulting and hateful. Remember, each time one thing is revised, you must re-read the entire manuscript looking for a word like poor that has been changed to pore or pour - which, according to Xlibris will be your fault!! And it will be costly! Maybe it's how Xlibris continues to make money off of people desperate to get published. You're never really finished paying these people and once they have the initial few thousand of your money, their attitudes change toward you.

Joe said...

Hey, writers. Before I begin, I need to say up front that I am an author seeking to publish his first book. I've been doing a lot of research about publishing. I have always been the careful one, the one who researches something thoroughly before diving in. I am still in that research phase, but I did learn a few things. The first thing I learned is "Get an agent". The second thing I learned is "Authors should never ever pay a fee for publishing". Those are the most important things I learned. i did a few online queries and started to receive email responses and one phone call. Armed with the knowledge, I've gained, I am better equipped to spot the scams and bad advice. Here is the best piece of advice I can give you: Read the book, "Immediate Fiction: A Complete Writing Course", by Jerry Cleaver. While you already know how to write and Jerry Cleaver's book is full of misspellings and grammar errors, his book's last chapter is worth reading because he tells you how to get published. I think perhaps 4 to 5 pages in that chapter gave me more valuable information and advice than I received from any other source. I downloaded the book onto my Kindle, but I think it is on paper as well. One final thing I have to say is that if you're diving into this publishing world without thoroughly researching it, finding out how it works, not knowing what a query is, and having trouble writing a synopsis, you are making a big mistake and probably should not be publishing.

Anonymous said...

Beware of AuthorSolutions, iUniverse, Vlibris. The VC group that owns them is positioning the company to be sold at some point in the future (economy be damned). That could mean the whole organization is bought by a large publisher or gobbled up by who knows what poorly managed company (not that the current AuthorHouse management has a clue).

Anonymous said...

I am currently on the inside of ASI and know that their goal is to sell. They are planning on buying more companies and becoming affiliated with larger named companies. They do outsource, or let me rephrase insource to the Philippines while all of the employees fear for their jobs. It is a horrible company to work for the pay, to the high demands and the horrible health insurance. Unfortunately, there isn't another option for me at this time otherwise I would quit. I am watching my co-workers be fired or quitting because they are standing up for what is right, or disagreeing with the CEO, the man that was fired from McAfee for stock option/embezzlement.

I feel sorry for the authors. The employees try to help them out, but with the CEO pushing us to get "titles live", hiking prices to pay for all of these companies they're acquiring, etc . . ., it is difficult anymore to care. The CEO told the investors an inaccurate number and because of that, the employees of all brands are pushing the authors to get through production so we can keep our job for one more day.

The morale at ASI is so low. The employees are like abused dogs. It's really quite sad. People were receiving 'final warnings' although they were never given any prior warnings. The reason why? To avoid pay raises.

It's a bad company, and I've only been there five months.

Victoria Strauss said...

Anonymous, thanks for your message. What you say about the push to get titles "live" fits with the complaints I've gotten/seen about AS's high-pressure sales tactics.

Anonymous said...

The Author Solutions (Authorhouse, iUniverserse, XLibris and Trafford) model is all the same. High pressure sales to get the initial contract, reformat the book in the Philippines, high pressure to buy books, high pressure to buy marketing, then on to the next. There is zero concern for the author, the design or the book. It is a factory. Author Solutions wants to consolidate self publishing to raise prices and decrease the foreign service delivery costs. Then sell the company to another financial buyer who will continue that model. LuLu or one of the remaining independent publishers is a better choice if you must self publish.

Karen said...

OMG author house is a total rip off! They treat you horribly once they take your money! I wish I would have known how they were before I was scammed over $3,000! I finally wised up and went with Xulon Press. They were so accomodating. I understand that it is self-publishing and you do have to pay for every service you get and do all of it yourself but Xulon is so good to work with! I also heard that Author Solutions owns and operates Xlibris and I universe and other companies out there. BEWARE

Alexandra said...

Greetings, I´m writing from Venezuela and I want to warn authors about Xlibris. Do not trust them with your manuscript, they´ll take your money and put you through hell. You will get better sense of customer service at a Mc Donald´s counter than dealing with these crooks. I wish someone had warned me... Good luck with your manuscript elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Hi, my name is Frank. Didn't have time to look up my barely used Google account info to leave a proper name heading, but I didn't want to leave it as Anonymous, either.

I got a mysterious phone call last night on my cell phone from 610-915-5214, but for some reason I didn't hear the phone ring (I was watching Castle).

They didn't leave a message, but I looked up the number and it came from Xlibris. I'm kind of upset that I was getting a call from them so late and on my cell. So I was clicking around and seeing some of the complaints from people not even interested in Self Publishing that were getting calls from them. Then I came across your blog.

I am a book designer and I print my client's POD books through Lightning Source per their request. There you pay only for what you order and I am awaiting the second order to compare to the first order for any change in quality.

There are just a few charges that I've experienced with LS in terms of listing in catalogs, ranging from $60-70 for the digital catalog (I assume that means online, the author told me to purchase it) and the printed copy which I think was about $200.

You are automatically listed on Amazon as soon as the book is approved for printing. I haven't checked, but Barnes & Noble is supposed to be included, too. Since the last book I did for them, LS, owned by Ingram, is now open for easy worldwide distribution if you wish.

I saw some outrageous looking fees for Xlibris books, but I figured that would just about equal my fee anyway ($1500 for about 100-200 hours of work, mostly in painstaking editing and tweaking), but the author gets the files if they want them and I confer every little change and adjustment with them. So far, this book has only one "error" on the back cover art that only I notice. So far no type or layout errors have been caught in the published edition (yay!)

After the set up charges (I think it was about $80 for book and cover) the book printing charges are only for per copy which is based on size and binding. There is no longer a minimum purchase quantity, if all you want is one, then that's it. So a 5.5x8 perfect bound book at 162 pages is $3.14 per copy. Shipping can raise the per copy cost, so it's better in this case to purchase a whole carton of 52 for around $180 with the cheapest shipping costs. It then comes to about $3.50 each with this quantity.

My author has had an agent and has had books published by a real publisher, and her income from that was $1 per copy. Not really a lot for the time and effort put into a book unless she's able to sell 100,000 copies. Through LS (and the standard 40% discount to book stores), she earns about $4 per copy on the $12 book. Amazon has it easy because they just list the book. If someone buys the book, the author has to pay the printing costs. They get $4 basically for doing nothing (except convenience for the author to distribute).

www.russelwayne.page.tl said...

hi I'm Russel Wayne, we shared the same experience with the unsatisfactory results of publishing books with them, I'm not an author but I'm an illustrator who worked with different children's book authors in layout and illustrations, I once had a client I helped with the process and it's too annoying to collaborate with unproffesional agents from that company. hope everybody gets an idea how they get your money and leave you without a clear understanding of the process and strategies they offer that require thousands of dollars before you bother to talk to one of their marketings agents.

russel
www.russelwayne.page.tl

Anonymous said...

Here are some things you might be interested to know...

1. Xlibris promises "to work at the author's pace", no deadlines, no pressure. But that is the furthest thing from the truth, because as soon as you have signed up with them, you will be hounded with phone calls and emails pressuring you to get things done asap. Of course, with the target to release at least 700 books each month, there really is no taking your sweet time. Needless to say, most of the work is half baked.

2. The target of 700 fresh titles a month is distributed amongst 20 representatives or so, which means that ONE employee is tasked to complete at least 35 books each month... Or, they can kiss their jobs goodbye.

3.On average, one employee is assigned 60-80 authors each month. All of whom they are required to contact at least once every 5 days. So if you are hounded with phone calls and bombarded with emails from your representative, now you know why.

4. If you're surprised to be getting a call from your rep on a Saturday, don't be. Employees work 6 days a week, on most weeks.

5. For being worked like a dog, employees are paid a flat rate of about 900 Philippine Pesos per day, or a measly US $19 and some change. YES, that is PER DAY.

6. To make up for the time difference, employees work the night shift, and yet they do not receive a night differential on top of the basic salary. There is no food/transportation allowance either.

These poor working conditions might explain why service is so bad.

I don't know why the Philippine Department of Labor & Employment has not yet shut this operation down. It is definitely something to look into.

Anonymous said...

As a former Marketing Consultant, here's a few things anyone considering any of the ASI companies should know.:

1) Most of the actual production work is "insourced" to the Philippines, with commensurate "quality."

2) Before a book even goes live, you WILL be contacted by a Marketing Consultant, and the pressure to create a marketing plan composed of expensive "services" with dubious potential begins. When I was there, a Marketing Consultant (really a glorified salesman) had to bring in at least $50,000 per month to keep their job.

In my opinion, authors should stay far away from all ASI companies...

Vinod Luthra said...

 I have been cheated by Xlibris Publishing Company.
 Their email marketing Campaign of Ten Million emails is a scam, which was sold to me for $2500.00, ended up producing Zero Sales of my book.
 I was hounded to purchase the email marketing campaign which according their statistics should have result in a sales of 100,000 books.
I self published my book ‘Masala Chai’ Id # 68559 with Xlibris Publishing Company which is one of the brand names of a company called Author Solutions.
At the time of publishing I was told that Xlibris operations of are based in Indiana USA.
After the book was published, I was approached by Miguel Guzman of their marketing services who made tall claims about their 10 million marketing email campaign for $2500.00. He hounded me till I yielded because of his unconditional Guarantee for results and he sent me an email to that effect in which he projected book sales of 1% of 10,000,000 which results in sale of 100,000 books.
Xlibris marketing staff told that campaign was successfully carried out and for almost one month I could not get any straight answer for book sales
Now I found out that not a single book has been sold!

My Name is Rob said...

In March 2010 I went forward with a deal to pay in three installments to have my book published using the Custom Service. It was on sale as a part of a "monthly special."

I worked for about a week finalizing details over the phone with a great salesman, no sarcasm implied. However, I ran into a snag.

The day after I paid my first installment, my vehicle craps out needing $1,200 in repairs...right at the sale amount of the Custom package I was purchasing. I called the next day and explained my situation, asked to cancel the deal and get the money refunded.

I was told, to my surprise, that it would take 4-6 weeks to process a refund. I immediately smelled a scam, called my bank, found the charge had already gone through, and began an fraud investigation, and was refunded a temporary amount while the bank investigated.

Today is May 25. I got a letter from the company Friday saying they'd tried "multiple times" to call me at my home number. I've had no voice mails from them whatsoever. I called the lady listed on the letter. She called me back two hours later, telling me she'd tried to email me several times. I asked her to wait while I looked in my email inbox, trash, spam, etc. and the last email I had from the company was March 14. She, of course, had no explanation as to why I had no copy of her many emails. Except that it had probably gone into the spam. So I asked her why the salesman's emails had come to my email inbox and not gone into spam, but her emails had supposedly gone into the spam folder. She didn't know. Obviously she was lying about the voicemails and emails because I had nothing to show for either claim.

She asked why I wanted a refund. I answered that my reply should be in her notes. She read through them and repeated my reply that I was having financial trouble at the time and needed to cancel.

We get all the way down to the refund deal, confirm my wife's card was used to purchase the deal, and then I'm informed I would be refunded everything minus $30 for the non-refundable payment installment plan.

I asked why this was being withheld since the deal never went through. I explained that it's unethical to charge me $30 for a product I never really paid for in full. She said it was their policy. (And after working for three corporations, I've created an acrostic for this: CRAP, translated Corporate Regulated Ambiguous Policies.)

She asked if I would bring my book back to Xlibris in the future. I said "of course not" because of the bad customer service. I explained that we are here over two months out from the original request for refund and I still have no refund.

She replied again about the voicemails and emails, even though we established that I didn't get any of either. She said she'd refer my complaint about the additioanl $30 over to the finance department and that they'd get back with me "within a week or so" and have it "expedited."

I asked what that meant..."expedited"...since that's the term the salesman used back in March about getting the refund. She replied that a refund just simply could not be processed, but that it would have to be confirmed. I responded that I have never done business with any other vendor, company or agency (except for credit card companies of course) who couldn't process a refund within a day or two of my original purchase. They are now officially the only company I know.

She blah-blah-blah'd me to death again. Then she said expedite meant she'd process the refund TODAY, and the amount would show up in my bank in 3-5 days. That was reasonable. So I had her repeat it twice, then email it to me and my wife for confirmation.

Dang. Don't do business with these guys. This is unprofessional, unreasonable, and just plain retarded.

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone. I was considering to self-publish my dark-fantasy novel but should I choose Xlibris or Lulu?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,Xlibris and Lulu are owned by one owner,So it does not matter which one and both companys are operating in the Philippines.

Anonymous said...

It's untrue that (as a previous contributor said)
'Xlibris and Lulu are owned by one owner,So it does not matter which one and both companys are operating in the Philippines.'
I have published books through Lulu - the books are produced in the USA and are high quality. They just produce the books - I buy them and I sell them. They have no connection with xlibris.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous FYI- Babbleglass philippines INC = LuLu.com

Anonymous said...

I signed up with Xlibris and published a story collection. They never could get the mistakes someone else made. i did not hire anyone to do editing. Then they calaim i had no sales. Thats funny because devery crook I know got money from the book.You never get to talk to anyone unless it s from overseas. Quite frankly I don't believe them.

roomera said...

I am about to sign up with Xlibris, but after reading all the bad comments I am no sure if I should.
They already have my first installment even when I have not yet sign the agreements.This is my first book so can somebody point me to the right direction???

Victoria Strauss said...

roomera, if you've already sent your payment, it may be too late to renege (though I think it would be wortwhile asking for a refund, if you decide you don't want to go forward). However, on the Self-Publishing page of Writer Beware there's a full discussion of the challenges of self-publishing through services like Xlibris, as well as links to online resources that may help you shop for a more appropriate self-pub service.

My Name is Rob said...

Roomera, if you want your refund, work it, and work it hard. I got mine. Don't give up. Anyone who does business WITHOUT a 100% moneyback guarantee is a scammer...in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I would echo the warnings about Xlibris. My father published a book through them. He has been hounded for marketing rip-offs. I now handle his affairs and picked up a message from them this week (after I'd already requested he be taken off their call list) marked "urgent" about getting his book to Hollywood producers. Of course, they had a $800 deal that would crate the package to do just that.

Fortunately, I know the publishing world well enough to know that it is a rip-off and told them again that we had no interest in marketing the book and please take him off their list.

roomera said...

After reading your coments, I think I might just go for an Ebook. Can anybody help me get started? I'm a first timer.

Victoria Strauss said...

Roomera, the best way to get started is to learn something about publishing, so that you'll have a better idea of what options there are, and also get a sense of how they might fit your goals. No matter which path you choose, publishing is complicated--and like any complicated profession, it's really best to educate yourself a bit before diving in.

See my blog post, Learning the Ropes, for suggestions on how to get started.

roomera said...

I have a question, can you tell anything about bookpal publisher that I should know about to help make my decision?.

Anonymous said...

what i can say is STAY AWAY FROM ASI CORP(XLIBRIS,AUTHOR HOUSE,IUNIVERSE,TRAFFORD...)and dont ever ever pay for their marketing services,it will just cost you a lot a lot of money without any result..

leejcaroll said...

My book, A PAINED LIFE, a chronic pain journey, was published by Xlibris in 2003. I still get sales and it is nice to get that (small) royalty check every quarter. I only market using my official signature on emails, posting, and some business cards. The book is also my avatar (think that is right word)) If I made the effort I could get some decent sized sales.
It is up to me to do the marketing but that is true with traditional publishing unless you are a Stephen King.
I went with Xlibris when they were still in Phila, Pa. At that time I had some issues with them but for the most part would recommend them. I can no longer do that.
As for traditional pub and agents: my book got an excellent unsolicited review from a NYTimes magazine writer "Fascnating story, courageously lived, honestly told." Steven Hall. and he suggested I write a query letter to his agent. Unfortunately it is true - you only get one chance to make a first good impression.
I did not know a query meant more then sending a question. I wrote her. 'Your client suggested I contact you. I wrote a book. Would you be interested in reading the manuscript?' No surprise, she was not.
I learned what a query was and sent one out to many other publishers. I received terse "not One editor was interested but asked for changes. I took some time to make them and then resubmitted the manuscript. By then she was gone. Her successor replied "not for us." Fed up I checked out Xlibris. I went to the office to make sure they really existed and it was not a scam.
It took me a long time, even after published with Xlibris, to decide that P.O.D. is a legit way to get your book out. Short turnaround time, better royalties, control over content. The problem is I am no longer sure you can trust any of the companies since they are becoming one big merger.
It is, to me, a legitimate way to get your book out to the public: I think I have a good product and am happy with the book.
Deciding on which company to use however is a much bigger problem then it used to be. Then you could more easily tell who was scamming or just plain bad and which company, if any, you could trust.

Romeo said...

I went with Xlibis last October and all they did was stole my money, my friends helped me by emailing Xlibis with a message "give him back his money", all I got so far was less than half of it.

Annie Anomy said...

Hi again, its me Annie at it again with these Self-Publishing companies. I saw a blog in regards to Authorhouse and Xlibris employees. The post is in regards to how their management team located in Cebu, Philippines are treating their consultants! You might find the blog interesting since Author Solutions is affiliated with both companies mentioned. Thank you again everyone.

King said...

Great....I got a call back from someone for Lulu.com. it had authors solutions on the caller id. So they own Xlibris AND lulu.com....the supposed good pod publisher everyone was claiming are the "good guys"?

Guess you're screwed either way no matter who you go with.

Anonymous said...

How can a self published author obtain correct and accurate sales figures from Xlibris when they continue to provide wrong figures, and this is known as fact. Their figures from other distributors are also very inaccurate, how can we insist on accuracy and transparency please. Thank you