All Roads Lead to the Same Place–and it isn’t Rome


Looking for a publisher should be simple, right? How hard can it be? Do a Google search and surely pages of publishers will pop out. I decided to try doing just that. I even found pages of websites willing to help me find exactly the right publisher for my book.

I started through the first few of these “helpful” websites, and the first one on the list was: “Publishers List – Find Book Publishers That Can Help” and I followed the link A click through reveals the fact they are more interested in selling services than in publishing. 

 Another website, begins by asking what your budget is for publication. Ooops, that sounds like they have a list of wolf publishers waiting in sheep’s clothing for an unwary author.

On to the next listing: “Find A Book Publisher Now – Stop Searching For A Publisher” links to In the fine print at the bottom of the page: Copyright 2014. Powered by Author Solutions, LLC Not only does Author Solutions accept anything that comes through the door, it charges money for services, overprices the resulting books, and gives the author very little if by some miracle books do sell.

Moving on to another listing, “Seeking a Book Publisher?” The link is to a website and guess what? Surprise! The exact same Copyright notice as

If you start typing Author Solutions in your Google search bar, the first thing that comes up in the autocomplete is: Author Solutions lawsuit. Another result, by the way, in spite of the gazillion bad reviews floating around the internet, Penguin (a publisher I have always admired for putting out good yet affordable books) now owns Author Solutions and has no intention of changing the business practices.

Next time: Researching a prospective publisher 





Wolf as Sheep

Publishers often separate their books into different imprints. Amazon itself has over a dozen imprints, each with a specialized focus. See for the list and descriptions.

My previous post listed many of the imprints that are owned by the Big Six. Oops, the Big Five. Penguin and Random House are now Penguin Random House. Being published by a subsidiary imprint is not necessarily a bad thing. After all, most of the imprints are still very much a part of traditional publishing—but not all of them. What I am particularly interested in today is the relatively new phenomenon of self-publishing imprints owned by traditional publishers.

Just as you have to look to find the wolf in the picture, the down side of publication through these imprints is not apparent at first glance. Although these imprints tout their connection to their parent companies, according to Writer Beware, ( the parent company doesn’t even run the operations. Who runs them? Author Solutions—and who owns Author Solutions? Penguin Random House.

The evidence of this is not hard to find. A simple Google search of Author Solutions Imprints yields “Bloomsbury Seeks Deal With Author Solutions” and “Author Solutions Creates Imprint with Hay House” and a Huffington Post article “Author Solutions Creates Self-Publishing Imprints with Hay House, Harlequin and Nelson” (

If you type Author Solutions into the Google search bar, the first item that comes up in the autocomplete is Author Solutions Lawsuit, followed by Author Solutions Reviews. Looking through the reviews gives you an idea of why there is a lawsuit.

Author Solutions lists its “leading self-publishing imprints” as AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Palibrio, Trafford Publishing and Xlibris.,27.htm It neglects to mention the imprints that it operates for traditional publishers.

An article in Forbes, “Penguin and Author Solutions Sued for Deceptive Practices” is well worth reading. The article points out that Author Solutions has “dozens of self-publishing brands.” It also operates Archway, a self-publishing imprint that is actually owned by Simon & Schuster.

Photo by Pierre Tourigny Creative Commons Attribution License

Coming Soon: All Roads Lead to the Same Place, and it isn’t Rome

Traditional Publishers: Who are they, and why are the gates closed?

gate closedTraditional Publishers are considered the Gold Standard, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for any author. And they are usually just as elusive as the legendary pot of gold.
The short answer to why the gatekeepers are so fierce is that there are really only six of them and gazillions of us trying to get in through those gates. No, that can’t be right. There must be more than six, right?
Wrong. There are many, many more than six imprints, but many of them are just other faces of the big six. The following is taken from a list that I found in How to Get a Literary Agent by Michael Larsen. It was published in 2006 and is clearly outdated, but the concept remains that in spite of the many names of publishers, they all boil down to the basic few who dominate the industry and dictate their own terms. There are even more imprints since the book was written, and the Big Six is now the Big Five (Penguin Group and Random House are now Penguin Random House).

The big six:
1. Hatchette Livre USA – owns Bulfinch Press, Warner Books, and Little Brown & Co.
2. HarperCollins a subsidiary of News Corporation that includes Avon, Collins, HarperCollins, HarperSanFrancisco, ReganBooks, Smithsonian, and HarperMorrow. Controlled by Rupert Murdoch. (of 20th Century Fox, Fox TV, and UPN.
3. Holtzbrinck Publishers – includes Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Henry Hold, St. Martin’s Press, Picador, Palgrave Macmillan, and Tor Books.
4. Penguin Group – includes Berkley Books, Dorling Kindersley, Dutton, Gotham Books, Jeremy P. Tarcher, NAL, Penguin, Portfolio, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, Riverhead Books, and Viking.
5. Random House – the largest English-language publisher in the world is a division of the German Bertelsmann Book Group. Imprints include Ballentine, Bantam Dell, Clarkson Potter, Crown Publishing Group, Delacorte Press, Doubleday Broadway, Fodor’s Travel Publications, Alfred Knopf, Nan A. Talese, Pantheon Books, Random House Information Group, Random House Trade Books (also called Little Random), Villard Books, and Vintage & Anchor Publishing.
6. Simon & Schuster is owned by Viacom. Its imprints include Atria, Fireside Books, Free Press, Pocket Books, Scribner, and Touchstone.

Many of these imprints are niche publishers, while others are less innocuous. Watch for our next post:

Not all imprints are created equal – A Cautionary Tale

Small publisher & Happy authors (an introduction)


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For those who are just discovering S & H Publishing, this is a little bit about us and what we do.

S & H Publishing was formed with one goal in mind—providing quality books for our readers. We want to attract a following of devoted readers who depend on us to bring them good books that are well written and well edited. Today’s book market is more alive than ever. The advent of ebooks and print-on-demand technology has opened the door for new talented writers who are bursting with great stories and fresh enthusiasm. We want to bring these talented writers to our readers.

Everyone associated with S & H is an avid reader, and we understand the disappointment of picking up a book that sounds interesting only to have it marred by poor writing, poor editing, or poor proofreading. Unfortunately, sometimes new writers have more enthusiasm than craftsmanship. That’s where our expertise comes into play. We edit, proofread, and help our authors realize the full potential of their writing. We cannot guarantee perfection, but we continually strive for it.

Visit our website for a look at what we have gathered for you.

Visit our online store, find links to ebooks of all kinds on our book pages. Read about our talented authors, connect with them through their own blogs, and let them know how much you enjoy their books.

Try our books, and Happy Reading!