Four of the Five Major Publishers Have a Relationship with ASI, Inc. 2

Major publishers and ASI, Inc., (Author Solutions) sadly seem to go hand in hand. When I write about the pitfalls in this industry, and publishing seems to have as many wolves in sheep’s clothing as Carter’s has pills, my remarks generally aren’t wild ravings but tales based on my own mistakes. However, it’s understandable when a writer might eschew my advice and pay an ASI imprint a ridiculous sum. And especially when the imprint offering editing, marketing, and publicity is presented under the umbrella of Random House or Penguin.  [Please note that since my original post in January of 2015, Random House has severed its relationship with its foreign affiliate that sponsored ASI.]

Still, today, four of the Big 5 publishers have a direct relationship with Author Solutions, Inc. In my little mind, this is despicable from the perspective of the “instant” credibility this provides ASI. (Didn’t I just discuss this sort of “implied relationship” at length involving Kirkus Media?) In my opinion, here’s an excellent article that ties all of the ASI mess together. Written by David Gaughran, it contains a lot of side notes by Emily Suess. Mr. Gaughran does as good a job as anyone I’m aware of at ferreting out the facts and not whitewashing anything. And Ms. Suess has substantial experience with many of the alligators in the publishing industry.

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2 thoughts on “Four of the Five Major Publishers Have a Relationship with ASI, Inc.

  • S.J. Dunn

    I find it appalling that the four have allied with Author Solutions. Even though many people and companies do bad things in order to survive, one would think that the big publishers would be above that sort of thing. I wonder what their cut is of ASI’s fees?

    • Rob Bacon Post author

      What’s I find particularly galling is the way the ASI involvement is so carefully orchestrated that much of the lay public is unaware of the relationship. Specifically fueling this monster is the labyrinth encompassing the corporate environment. Bertelsmann in Germany owns Pearson U.K., which owns Random House which merged with Penguin, and the British megagiant Pearson now has 100-percent ownership of AuthorSolutions, Inc. Only Lagardere via its ownership of Hachette has remained steadfast and decried the actions of the other four members of what is now the Big Five. As I’ve analyzed what I consider a wholesale metamorphosis in publishers’ attitudes, respected agents offering editing services seemed to open the floodgates, as soon afterward major publishing imprints followed suit. Yes, I might have this “chicken or the egg” scenario reversed, but this is the way the timing shook out for me. Regardless of which begat which, why shouldn’t an eager (read “callow” like all of us when we start out) author believe that a book edited under a publisher’s logo, however far removed, wouldn’t produce anything less than publication by one of the imprints operating under the parent company’s umbrella? My take is that this “author assistance” amounts to the fox guarding the hen house, and I can’t see it any other way.