A recent inquiry in a group I belong to prompted me to do some investigating into Authoright, a company with offices in both the U.S. and U.K, which offers publishing and marketing services to Indie writers and authors.
My first stop was to their website. They listed the services they offer, from various levels of editing, book covers and web design to marketing package choices that range from regional to international (North America and the U.K.). The first red flag for me was that they did not publish any prices on the site.
Next, I searched Amazon.com for the books they list on the site. The covers are, for the most part, original, although a little simplistic for my taste. From the “look inside”, the books that had that feature appeared to be well edited and produced. However, of the books listed on their site that I pulled up, only half utilized the “look inside” feature. Since that feature is so easy to get and is a good way to garner sales, this was another red flag for me.
Authoright has been in business for seven years. I tried to find references to them on the internet and could find nothing of consequence – good or bad. An inquiry via LinkedIn produced no results. My research hit a wall.
So I went undercover, into the lion’s den, so to speak. I filled out their online request for a personal consultation. I received a reply within 24 hours requesting to speak to me by telephone. I sent him my number. (The things I do for the cause.) In my reply I also asked for a price list. To his credit, “Ed” sent the price list almost immediately and we set a time to speak.
The list gave me sticker shock. Here are a few examples: proofread (light polish) – $15.00 per 1000 words; copy edit – $25 per 1000 words; publisher’s edit (full) – $37 per 1000 words; cover design – $850; press release (U. S. or U.K. only) – $850; social media campaign (Facebook and Twitter – with their “expert” techniques) – $1600. And it goes up from there for larger marketing packages. The “Atlantic Publicist” – their two continent package – is $6000, a book trailer – $2000. Need I go on?
In my e-mail I was honest, insofar as I included all my links – to my website, Facebook, Amazon, etc. I was also up-front about my lack of funds.
Ed was prompt and affable. We spoke mainly about their marketing packages as the publishing ones were fairly standard and easy to gauge. He neatly dodged the only pointed question I tried to press him on. I asked what the odds were of my making back my money if I bought one of their packages. As I expected, he told me that varied with each author and could not be predicted. When I tried to press a bit on averages or stats he simply repeated his earlier answer. I do understand that it is not possible to tell me whether I would be successful, but I had hoped for some indicator, such as a percentage of clients that made money – anything at all. I know it’s a tricky question because my chance of success has no relationship to anyone else’s, but surely they can provide some statistics after seven years in business.
By chance, one person I reached out to remembered touching base with Victoria Strauss (of Writer Beware) about her experience with Authoright. I contacted Victoria and she was kind enough to allow me to quote her as follows:
“This was about a year ago, and it was for LitFactor, Authoright’s agent-matching service. To test it, I signed up as an agent (which I’m not) and they accepted me without questions or background checks. LitFactor was live as of last October, but I just checked and it’s now a placeholder page. So I guess that didn’t work out too well.
In addition to LitFactor, Authoright runs something called The International Author Fair series, which appears to have been established in 2013 or 2014 to run author events in various cities. They did a London Author Fair in early 2014 (http://www.londonauthorfair.com/ ) but the New York Author Fair, scheduled for September 2014, doesn’t appear to have come off; its URL (http://www.newyorkauthorfair.com ) defaults to London Author Fair.”
Authoright’s current publishing arm “Clink Street Publishing” shows only 14 books in its catalog – another red flag.
With the lack of negative reviews and only one personal story, I really cannot pass judgment on the quality of the work or the satisfaction level of their customers. However, I find their prices exorbitant and their bookstore lacking in numbers. With no stats to back up their claims of success I would have to say that this is yet another questionable enterprise. Buyer beware.
23 thoughts on “Authoright – Authorwrong?”
Well researched, Yvonne.
These “services” smell rotten from the first link to the last. Unfortunately, desperate writers who believe they can buy their way to success are in larger number than those with a good nose.
Excellent undercover work, Yvonne. Just another questionable “publishing service” to be avoided. Thanks for the head’s up.
You’re welcome. 🙂
Wowza!! You went above and beyond, thank you. It is amazing they keep coming out of the walls. Truthfully, some comments and questions on threads lead me to believe these companies are perusing and rubbing their hands together. “Hey Sam I got another one, reel them in.”
lol Thanks Aron. That’s about the size of it, I think.
I love it when these muppets sell you a ‘social media campaign’ and they have fewer twitter followers/Fb likes etc than you do. And a website with an Alexa below a million! Sadly, people do pay them. It seems that these sellers of services to writers have spotted a gap in the new market, easy money, certainly easier than writing stuff. Thanks for going under cover to confirm the initial suspicions, with any luck people Googling them in future will pull up your article Yvonne. 🙂
Thanks, Carolyn. I hope it helps. some poor newbies.
A good piece of work, Yvonne. There are so many of these enterprises out there just looking to prey on the unwary would be author who knows little or nothing about the publishing business. These days there is so much good advice available, IU being a prominent source, with lots of reputable contacts willing to share advice, knowledge and experience for no charge, that any would be author only has to do a little homework to get all the help they need.
Sadly people are still gullible and pariahs still flourish, this lot among them. Authors could save themselves a lot of trouble by trawling back number postings of Indies Unlimited.
You’re right, Ian. When I was a newbie I got caught by one of these. Unless you know where to look for help the choices become overwhelming. It’s hard to know who to trust.
Thanks so much for once again going beyond the call for information and help. As I’ve alays said, the “author exploitation” sharks are out waiting for the kill. So many writers are naive in this area and don’t believe they should earn from their writing. Thank G-d for IU contributing experts for being on the ball!
Thank you ester. We try. It’s what IU is all about.
Great undercover work. $850 for a cover? Outrageous. Unless Ansel Adams has come back from the dead to design book covers.
Thank you Ester. We try. It’s what IU is all about.
Well … that didn’t work well did it?
I don’t know what the going rate is for book covers but I know I got a great one for $250.00. The editing costs are crazy, too.
Don’t you just hate it when they won’t give you any idea of their prices unless they get to phone you? And phone you, and phone you…
I do hate it when that happens. I have to give them their due, though. Ed sent me the price list by e-mail prior to our talk. That said, I think the prices ought to be on their website.
Thanks for taking one for the team, Yvonne. I agree with your assessment of these people, and I hope your email inbox doesn’t break under the strain of their spam. 😀
So far so good. Thanks Lynne.
Well done, Yvonne; unfortunately, as long as they get a bite these sharks will keep turning up in our waters.
This came from David Gaughran while the site was in transition. He asked me to add it to the comments. Thanks so much Dave. This is wonderful information that I was unable to unearth.
“The chairman of Authoright is a guy called Tim Davies, the former head of AuthorHouse UK (an Author Solutions company), and, as if that wasn’t enough, Tim Davies also founded his own crappy vanity press in the UK called Swift Publishing: http://www.swiftpublishing.co.uk/index.php
To complete the shady circle, Swift Publishing recommends Authoright’s marketing services (with no mention of the conflict of interest): http://www.swiftpublishing.co.uk/content.php?id=12.”
Why am I not surprised? Thanks for the additional info, Dave.
Great article. I actually went to the London Author Fair earlier this year and it was really enjoyable. However, I work for a gentleman who has used their services to help produce and market his novel. I’ve also worked on said novel and I haven’t been at all impressed by Authoright. They could barely do a proper line edit without making errors, their marketing consisted of getting some poorly read blogs to host a ‘book tour’ (i.e. regurgitating the blurb), and the press release I saw was absolutely amateur – not targeted at any publication in particular, and lacking in style. Not one person there has read the book, or has any idea what it’s about. One lady was trying to get a journalist to write an article about it, with an incredibly tangential angle. Unsurprisingly, nothing came of that. From what I’ve seen, I’d certainly suggest steering clear.
Thank you so much for commenting, Holly. It means so much more from someone who’s “been there”. That sounds a lot like the experience I had in 2009 with iUniverse.
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