Review of AuthorHouse in The Fine Print of Self-Publishing
Below is part of the actual review from The Fine Print of Self-Publishing about Authorhouse. Please note that some of the services and fees may have changed since the section on AuthorHouse was written for this 2011 edition of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing.
The portions of the review that break down AuthorHouse’s printing fees, royalty payouts, contract terms, and overall rating are included in the book (which you can buy now).
FORMAT OF BOOK: Ebook, hardcover, and paperback
GENRES ACCEPTED: All
PUBLISHING FEES: AuthorHouse offers a variety of publishing packages, including children's books and poetry, but only the standard paperback and hardcover packages are discussed here. (Visit http://www .authorhouse.com/ServicesStore/ChoosePackage.asp for details.)
Foundation Package: This package costs $599 and includes:
• Custom-designed, full-color cover
• Custom interior design
• Electronic proof
• One copy of the book
• Ebook in PDF format
• Listing with online booksellers (i.e., Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble .com, and Borders.com)
• Professional marketing consultation
• Bookstore availability (meaning that a bookstore could order a copy—this doesn't mean that a bookstore will have a copy)
Legacy Package: This package costs $799 and includes everything in the Foundation Package, plus:
• Ten image insertions
• Copyright and Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN)
• Five complimentary copies
Legacy Hardcover Package: This package costs $1,099 and includes everything above, plus:
• Personalized back cover
• Ten complimentary paperbacks
• Five complimentary hardcovers
Discovery Package: This package costs $1,399 and includes everything above, plus:
• Book-buyer's preview and Barnes & Noble's "See Inside the Book"
• Marketing kit, including bookmarks, postcards, and business cards
• Submission to Google Book Search and Amazon Search Inside! programs
• Fifteen complimentary paperbacks
• Ten complimentary hardcovers
Pinnacle Package: This package costs $1,999 and includes everything in the packages listed previously, plus:
• Booksellers return program
• Book-signing kit
• Forty complimentary paperbacks
• Twenty complimentary hardcovers
OTHER SERVICES OF INTEREST: AuthorHouse offers a host of optional services, including everything from copyright registration to editing and marketing services, but at a higher price than you'll find elsewhere. For a complete list of services, see http://www.authorhouse .com/Services/default.aspx. For the sake of comparison, here are a few of the services:
Line Editing: Includes grammar, syntax, and spelling for $0.029 per word. This is about double the going rate for this level of editing by an experienced editor.
Developmental Editing: Includes grammar, syntax, and spelling, plus an in-depth review of the work's character development, content, and flow. The editor works closely with the author during the course of the editing process. This service costs $0.064 per word, which is about 50 percent higher than you can find elsewhere.
Custom Cover Illustration: The author works with a design consultant and illustrator to create original artwork for the book's front and back cover. Up to twenty-five changes are included.
Stock Art Placement: $12 per image
Image Scanning: $5 for black-and-white images Image Insertion: $5 per image
Library of Congress Control Number: $75 (The LCCN registration is free and takes about five minutes to do. You are simply paying for the service of having it done for you.)
U.S. Copyright Office Registration: At $170, this is overly expensive. Also, the sales rep emailed my researcher and implied that AuthorHouse can register a copyright faster than one could on his own. That is absolutely false. The rep stated that if you register a copyright on your own, "it can take up to one year! AuthorHouse is able to do this as we publish your book project, which can be as fast as ninety days or even thirty days with our Rapid Release service." Since an expedited registration from the U.S. Copyright Office costs $760 per work filed, I doubt AuthorHouse is expediting registration and charging only $170 for it. AuthorHouse cannot make the process go faster, unless they (or you) are paying the $760 to expedite the copyright filing.
Rapid Release: For an extra $500, AuthorHouse promises to have your book in your hands within thirty days.
Hardcover: For $350, you can add an embossed spine and dust jacket.
Author Website: For an initial $399 and $29 per month, AuthorHouse will set up and host your website. The publisher wouldn't provide any information with regard to whether or not this fee entitles the author to ownership of the website and/or the domain name. I emailed the same question to AmericanAuthor .com, the company that provides this service for AuthorHouse. The rep from AmericanAuthor.com responded quickly and told me that the author always owns the content on the site, but doesn't own the website layout. So long as the author continues to pay $29 per month for hosting, the author can continue to use the layout. Also, the author can supply his or her own domain name. The $29 per month for hosting is expensive. You can get hosting for $5—$10 per month. However, the best part of my experience dealing with AuthorHouse was the response of its third-party website provider.
RETURN OF DIGITAL COVER AND INTERIOR FILES: The AuthorHouse contract states: "You acknowledge that you may not utilize the formatted Work, International Standard Book Number (ISBN), and cover with any other publisher." When asked whether a departing author could pay a fee for the files, the AuthorHouse representative said, "We will not be able to release any sort of master file of the book to you."
If an author leaves to seek a more affordable and profitable self-publishing alternative, then the author will have to pay to have everything recreated, even though he or she has already paid AuthorHouse to create these files.
RETAIL PRICE OF AUTHOR'S BOOK: AuthorHouse does not publish the exact pricing chart for its books, although it has a sample structure here:http://www.authorhouse.com/GetPublished/BookSales.aspx.
AuthorHouse allows its authors to set the royalty for their books at 5—15 percent for books sold via retailers like Amazon.com, and 5—50 percent for books sold via AuthorHouse's online bookstore—books will be priced accordingly. AuthorHouse has a minimum price scale and, obviously, a low-priced book equals a low royalty.
Although the sample chart shows slightly different page-count increments, an AuthorHouse representative quoted me the retail price spread for a 178—271-page paperback book sold on AuthorHouse.com. The retail prices ranged from $9.90 for a 5 percent royalty to $18.70 for a 50 percent royalty. (One should also note that AuthorHouse's online bookstore doesn't publish the page count of its books!) While a 50 percent royalty sounds great, it's doubtful that a 200-page paperback will sell for $18.70, especially one written by an unknown author.
To read more about how much AuthorHouse’s printing fees, royalty structure, contract terms, and “Author-Friendly” rating, buy The Fine Print now.