Penguin Random House has sold Author Solutions


Author Solutions is one of the most hated companies in the self-publishing space because it preys on new writers and sells them packages ranging from $3,000 to $12,000. Their promise is to get your book sold, and authors have reported that their telemarketers harass them daily trying to get them to spend more money. The animosity was so great that many writers sued them, but ended up settling out of court. The negative press prompted Penguin Random House to sell Author Solutions to a subsidiary of Najafi Companies, an Arizona-based private investment firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Penguin bought Author Solutions in 2012 for $116 million. They bought the company because they wanted a system that would monetize self-published authors and in case one of them was successful, they could be offered a traditional publishing deal.

The Author Solutions brand was very toxic even before Penguin bought them. In order to circumvent this problem, they launched a number of vanity press impressions, as well as consultation websites to help authors find a suitable publisher; only, all publishers to which websites correspond to authors belong to Author Solutions and, by default, to Penguin. Some of the footprint authors are made to include Trafford, AuthorHouse, Xlibris, and iUniverse.

In a note to staff, Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle said: “We thank the entire Author Solutions team for their hard work and dedication during their time at Penguin Random House, and we wish them all the best and much success under new ownership. With this sale, we reaffirm our focus on publishing books for the general public through our 250 publishers worldwide, and our commitment to connecting our authors and their works to readers around the world.

Lola R. McClure