Is a scam?

Following on from my original review of Dorrance Publishing, there was a comment made by a Mr. Keith Johnson:

“Having made the mistake of using Authorhouse, how do I stop them representing me at the book stores. I wish to totally disassociate myself from this company, how do I do that?”

That comment made me think and take a further look once again into these types of publishing sites.

It doesn’t take long to find complaints from authors who have put their trust in such publishing websites. The problem with these companies such as is that they are aimed at the unwary.

They quote how easy it is to publish your book and make sales, but what they don’t tell you is that you do not own the rights to that book.

The reason for this is that they register the ISBN (International Standard Book Number), and can then distribute your book to whoever they want to.

Here’s how it works…

You are the author of a book and want it published, you choose a package and will pay the publishing house to take all the necessary steps on your behalf. They register the book in their name because that’s what you have paid them to do.

Now since they own the ISBN they can give this out to any store that they see fit and make money from your hard work.

Naturally just doing this would definitely seem to be a complete rip-off but the promise of receiving royalties on your publication doesn’t usually sound any alarm bells.

As to the exact amount of sales you are going to make…nobody knows except for the publishing house because they are not obliged to reveal the real figures. All they have to do is pay a minimum amount every quarter.

Unfortunately, these types of companies very rarely give you all the facts about what is really going to happen.…now to answer Mr. Keith Johnson – “Is there anything I can do?”

In all honesty, I expect this is very easy to do. Just tell them via letter that you wish to cancel your contract. But don’t forget that they own your book because they registered it under their name. They own the ISBN and without this, there isn’t anything you can do.

Plus you are going to have to keep an eye on Authorhouse to make sure they remove this copy of your book from being on sale. We do not have proof that they wouldn’t do this, but it is in your best interest to observe the situation.

What you have to do next is re-register your book under your own ISBN.

For the US go here

For the UK go here

And click on the link Important Information for Publishers because this will give you a 12 page PDF explaining everything you need to know.

Have a new cover and internal layout recreated because Authorhouse more than likely will not allow you to use the one that they had created.

After several hours of continuous researching, I really can see why authors do fall foul of so many sites offering this and that, then giving nothing in return.

Is a scam?

Well, I can only add that it’s one to avoid because of the misleading information that is provided.

For publishing houses in general, be wary of what you are giving in return for such large fees because as I mentioned in my review of Dorrance Publishing, overall costs should be minimal.

Neil – WFHW

Leave a Comment


  • RUN,RUN,RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN from Author House. They could care a less about books, only sell, sell, sell and rush,rush,rush. They sent me a “finished” product and wanted me to approve it before I had even talked to anyone to tell them what I wanted. They acted mad I wouldn’t approve it.
    They downright lied to me about the cost of the book in the beginning, which I deliberately inquired about. The real price they end up charging makes the book not even markable. It was a constant battle with them the whole time. The cover quality was ok, ( I had my own illustrations) but the inside looks like computer paper!!
    I really didn’t care about making a bunch of money, but wanted a good quality book. Again….my advise…RUN!!!!

    • Hi Leslie,

      Your views are consistent with those of others who report that Authorhouse view authors as a transaction, or potentially, a series of transactions.

      I am sorry to hear that you have had such a negative experience and wish you all the best with future publications.

      All the best,

      Marcus – WFHW

  • I published my book with them and it has cost me thousands and I mean thousands. All I have received is about 100 pounds back, I got so fed up with their promises I told them I know longer want to deal with them yet they are still showing my book I have the follow up book that I have never published they have broken me to the point I trust know one.

    • Hi Linda,

      I’m really sorry to hear that you feel this way after your experiences with Authorhouse.

      I would imagine that you will think twice about publishing your follow up book with them?

      I wish you every success with future publications.

      All the best,

      Marcus – WFHW

  • I had my book: Hand in Hand published by Authorhouse. They are thieves and will offer you promotional packages which they do not deliver and keep pressing you to buy more in hopes that you will not be able to make payments. Then they will insist on payment for services they didn’t deliver! When they say, “Trust me,” and they will–don’t! My book has been in bookstores and now used copies are being offered on Amazon when I’ve received no payment whatever, only promises.

    • Hi Russell,

      Sorry to hear about your experiences with Authorhouse, and thanks for taking the time your story and advice with my visitors.

      All the best,

      Marcus – WFHW

  • Hi Rodolfo,

    Thanks so much for sharing your Authorhouse experiences with my visitors.

    I am so shocked that you find yourself in this position, and I can really sense how stressful it must be for you.

    On the face of it I have to agree that appears you have been taken advantage of with your book, and that’s very distressing considering the stature of the company.

    I also have to mention that I have received a number of comments from others who have also been offered the chance to turn their book into a film. I’m sure many people would love to see their name “up in lights” and can imagine how appealing that would be. But if there’s a risky financial investment involved…you have to question how likely it is to actually happen.

    Wherever life takes you from this point on, Rodolfo, I wish you every success in whatever you do.

    All the best,

    Marcus – WFHW

  • I got scammed by this company as well. They rushed me into signing up and took £186.00. I then came across your comment just in time. So neither did they get a copy of my work nor did I sign the contract. I asked for a refund and they gave me back only £61.00 they are liars. The conditions say that they give you £105.00

    • Hi Verity,

      Sorry to hear about your experience with Authorhouse. Thankfully you were able to get some money back and avoid entering into a contract with them. But as you say…you didn’t get back what you were promised and that is just plain wrong.

      Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with my visitors.

      All the best,

      Marcus – WFHW

  • I recently received a phone call from Authorhouse after an ebook I published for free pretty much blew up overnight on ibooks.

    Wanted to check them out and found this site… very informative!

    I used Smashwords to publish my first book, and again to publish a series I recently finished. They give you pretty much everything you need to self-publish and only profit from your sales. They even provide third party recommendations for editing services and cover design, as well as distribution to most ebook retailers excluding Amazon(until you reach a certain amount in sales).

    I highly suggest going this route for first-time authors as a way to build your platform and gain the interest of reputable agents and publishing houses.

    Plus, if you do it right, the margins are actually pretty good.

    • Hi April,

      Glad to have been some help.

      Thanks for sharing your experiences with Smashwords. I’ll definitely take a look at it for review, but in the meantime I’m sure my visitors will appreciate your thoughts on their service.

      All the best,

      Marcus – WFHW

  • Wow! this is incredible how slick AuthorHouse is. Oh I stand corrected I mean how vile AuthorScammingHouse is. I just received an email from them yesterday. The same garden-variety rope-in method, that they have some incredible discount offer that will end in few days. I have been getting random calls and emails from them for the past one year.

    I was always thinking to myself how come this publishing house actually runs after authors. Whereas in other cases authors have to chase publishing houses. How come they are so desperate for people to sign up with them. And where ever I read it seems publishing is an effort in itself but AuthorScammingHouse made it sound unbelievably easy. That fired my radar up. I searched and found this wonderful website. I feel relieved now that I didn’t fall for their scam. And i genuinely feel sorry for those that have been taken advantage of, for all their efforts for all their hard work. This is terrible. This scamming house should be brought to justice.

    • Hi Aias,

      You raise a great point about why THEY have to chase authors? As you rightly point out, it’s almost always the other way around.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. They are very much appreciated!

      All the best,

      Marcus – WFHW

  • I am glad to be reading these comments. I was originally considering self publishing but I currently have a publisher interested in my work. I may stick to this route for now!

    • You are welcome, Karl, and I wish you every success with your publication.

      Best wishes,

      Marcus – WFHW

  • I was scammed from Authorhouse as well, $3500 for my novel and $3500 for my children’s book. I did not sign off on my children’s book but made the mistake of signing off on my novel. I told them to take my novel off their website and Barnes and Noble but they have not done so to date. I am now in the process of trying to get a literary agent and a traditional publishing deal…not easy!!! I don’t know what more to do to get Authorhouse to remove my novel from their site and B&N unless I hire a lawyer. Also, I never received a penny to date either.

    • So sorry to hear about this, Ann.

      It amazes me how much control these businesses have over people like you who have worked hard to bring your hard work to life. I hope you are able to salvage something from this situation and I wish you every success with future publications.

      Best wishes,

      Marcus – WFHW

  • I published my first book with Authorhouse and was very disappointed, I was told it would be on the shelves at Waterstones Book shop, but when I went to look it was not on the shelf where it should have been, but in a miscellaneous section. I receive insulting amounts of royalties, all they want is your money. DON’T touch them! I spent around 2,000 for nothing, I am doing better on Amazon.

    • Hi Linda,

      I’m sorry to hear about your negative experience with and thanks for sharing your story here on my website.

      Wishing you the best of luck with all future sales on Amazon.

      Marcus – WFHW

      • I am dismayed to discover that these scandalous people contacted my 91 year old father. He has a published book. They promised him a “Hollywood Treatment”. He was scammed out of nearly $3000. I am going to the Attorney General if they do not immediately return his monies. They are predator type.

        • Hi Kamala,

          Really sorry to hear about your father’s experience with Yes, that is completely wrong and I hope you are able to get his money back.

          All the best,

          Marcus – WFHW

  • Hello, Marcus.

    It’s 30th April, and I received an e-mail from Authorhouse this morning, from a person other than the one I had dealing with.
    I didn’t and won’t open any e-mails from this company.
    Why don’t they get into their thick heads, I don’t want them to publish my book. (If they offered to do it for free, I would not let them do it.) (The Cheeky ——-)

  • Thank you so much for replying to e-mail regarding Authorhouse.
    I have received communication from the site I first got to know about this firm, and told them of my experiences, and they have replied to say that are going to report the matter to Google.
    With regards to the person who made contact with me. I will not disclose this to anyone, but she fell into the trap I set for her.
    I have every e-mail stored on a SanDisk and if you would like a copy of the whole saga, you are welcome. To finish I wish to tell you I come from a place where only the true Queen’s English is spoken!
    None other than LIVERPOOL, and anyone clashing with a ‘Scouser’ better watch out!!!!!

  • Tony, thank so much for sharing details of your exchanges with Authorhouse.

    I too would be concerned about what I believe is a lack of professionalism from Authorhouse during your discussions. Note that I am not referring to the individual who dealt with you, but Authorhouse themselves. With so mo much money at stake, the service that they provide needs to be 100% spot on and should not concern the author in any way at all.

    If Authorhouse do read posts and comments like these on my website, they can by all means contact me personally by using the comment box below. I think it would be beneficial for both them and any potential customers to hear their side of things.

    Thanks again Tony for sharing your story with me and my visitors. I’m pleased to hear that you feel you have avoided losing a lot of money.

    Best wishes,


  • Is Authorhouse a scam?
    I wanted to find out.
    I have found out.
    In the past three weeks I have been in contact by e-mails and telephone with Authorhouse, and recorded every e-mail.
    If you are interested in hearing what conclusions I’ve come to, please e-mail me and I will send them to you.
    I am certain they will be a big help to anyone interested in having their work published.
    How do I get it to you???

  • Hi,
    An Authorhouse PC had been on my back after I visited their site months ago. His call were getting too regular so I just looked them up. I’ve read so many terrible things, I empathize with you guys. Thanks for sharing your stories or we would be stuck too. I’m not doing anything online w/o checking up first, Thank you and God bless you all with a more prosperous future that does not include Authorhouse………..
    P.s. Don’t be discouraged………….. Write on!

    • Thanks for your comments, Chrysta-lou!

      It always pays to check these companies out first before committing to them, so I am pleased to hear that you found our review in time.

      Best wishes for now,

      WFHW founder

  • I need help to reclaim my work from Authorhouse. I had a childrens book published with them in May 2011. Since then I have received less than $10 in royalties, and I know for a fact just by friends and family alone telling me what they have purchased, and their friends telling them they’ve purchased copies, that there have been much higer sales. The frustrating part is that I don’t know what those are, but I’m certain they exist. I recently did a search online for my book and found it for sale all over the internet.

    I designed ALL artwork for the book and did the layout exactly how I wanted it. I did the cover, the design, everything, because I wanted it to be the way I wanted it to be. They really dind’t have to do anything, although I paid $900 for their publishign services overall. Now that I”m reading that since they registered the ISBN number, they have the rights to the books and I do not, I need help. How do I cancel my relationship with them? I have all of the artwork, etc, to create this boook again myself – afterall I did all the work in the first place! The cover shown is entirely mine. Help? This is so frustrating,

    • Sorry to hear about your issues with Authorhouse.

      Yes in theory you can create another version of the book yourself but legally I really don’t know where you would stand.

      Sorry I can’t bring you any real positive news, Tara, but I wish you the best of luck with this. It would be great if you could let us know the outcome.

      Best wishes,

      WFHW Team

  • Hi Marcus

    Thanks for the kind words and prompt response. After doing some checking, my case sounds remarkably like that of Chloe (June 4 2013), whereby I sent my stories on spec just for some feedback. I then get roped into some ‘amazing deal which ends tomoprrow’ (I even thought how lame that sounded at the time) – funnily enough after checking their website it seems that the same fantastic deal now ends 29th November (it’s a bit like the DFS closing down sale). I have checked everything I have been sent and can confirm that I have no contract (at least not one I can lay my hands on) and I have definitely signed nothing. My book has been assigned an in-house 6 digit code, so I can safely say that this is not an ISBN number. I have an agent on the phone every day asking when a) I can make my second payment and b) when I am going to send my manuscript, so I think they may even have misplaced my stories. So basically, I have made an initial payment on a product and now wish to end my association with them. Is there not a ‘cooling off’ period like in other transactions or am I just being naive? Is there any chance of me retrieving my deposit or is it just an expensive lesson I have to learn? Still, I am determined they will not be getting their hands on any more of my money, even if it means switching bank accounts. I see you have listed a number in your response to Chloe – is this the one I need to ring to break the sad news? Once again, thanks for your help


    • Hi Stephen,

      Pleased to here that you are not under contract with Authorhouse. Do check the T&C’s thoroughly for any mentioned of them being able to get you under contract without a signature – you just never know!

      A cooling off period should be standard to be honest, but if the best you can hope for is losing your initial payment it might just be the best outcome for you. Yes, give that number a ring and if you don’t mind, please let us know how things go!

      Marcus – WFHW Founder

  • Hello

    Isn’t it ironic how you only seem to discover these sites after it’s too late? I too have been submitting my manuscript to various publishing houses and came across Authorhouse who seemed pretty genuine – too good to be true, almost. I received an email praising my work to the hilt and replied that I would expect them to say that as they’re a business who want my money. I then got an indignant reply saying that they had their good name to protect and wouldn’t publish any old rubbish and that any business needed a small amount of capital to start up. After an hour on the phone with an agent 3 days ago, I caved in and made an initial payment on a package of £363 (which I can ill afford) and have since received a couple of emails, including one from a consultant who has been assigned to me. The book has been given a unique ID to be used in communication between us (no mention of an ISBN number) and I am expected to make 2 further payments of £333 in the next 2 months. I have already been told if I attempt to cancel the transaction there will be a further £150 fee to pay. Basically, what I’m wondering is do I have any rights here? Can I reclaim my initiial deposit? Can I get away without paying a redmption fee? And perhaps most importantly, does my work still belong to me? I sent 2 volumes of short stories and I was planning on publishing 2 stories (out of 30 submitted – children’s stories with illustrations – which have yet to be sent) as part of a 2 book deal, although there has yet to be any discussion of which 2 stories would be selected. Any advice would be gratefully received

    Stephen Cooke

    • Hi Stephen,

      Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with Authorhouse.

      I think the most important thing here is the contract that you have agreed with Authorhouse. This will cover penalties for unpaid fees, plus details of the consequences if you pull out of the deal. I say that…it SHOULD cover these points (and in detail).

      My biggest concern for you is the ISBN number. In our experience this is put in place when you agree to the contract, so it’s vital that you establish the facts on this. Again, this should be detailed within your contract.

      I wish you the best of luck with this, Stephen, and please stop by and let us know how things go.

      Marcus – WFHW Founder

  • I contacted authorhouse and was given all the sales pitches and had numerous calls. I agreed to go forward with publishing my book before discovering all the bad vibes that go with them.
    I am making the payment in 3 parts, the final being due on the 16 Nov. They will not publish or go into print before that final payment is made. Is there any way out of this and getting the first 2 payments back?

    • Hi Paul,

      Sorry to hear about your issues with Authorhouse.

      It is my understanding that if you cancel before making the final payment, they will hit you with a further charge for canceling. Regarding your initial 2 payments, you will have to check your contract with them to understand if this is possible. My guess is that it won’t be, or it will at least be made difficult to retrieve what you have already paid out.

      Sorry I can’t bring you more positive news, Paul, but I wish you the best of luck with this. It would be great if you could let us know the outcome.

      Best wishes,

      Marcus – WFHW Founder

  • Just had an hour on the phone with a guy from AuthorHouse in Indiana. He started off with smaller figures but kept talking and in the end he got up to around £6000 GBP, telling me just how successful my book would be. What concerned me was that he didn’t really seem interested in my book at all – except for its length. He just kept reassuring me that whatever the quality of my work, it would be marketable. All this seemed too good to be true, and so I googled “Author House scam” while he was still rabbiting on – I couldn’t stop him! Glad I found your site. Thanks. I just feel for all those people who have put lots of work in only to be ripped off. At least you’ve managed to warn off someone else. I just want to see a few copies of my book print. I’ve done this before with a non-fiction work and sold a few of hundred. It didn’t cost so much. I have my own ISBN and the book is still selling used copies through Amazon!

    • Trevor we are glad that our article was helpful for you. We never want to see anyone be deceived of their hard work and or money.

      All the best to you on the publication of your book.

      WFHW Team

  • Hi,

    I am very worried and would very much appreciate any help anyone on this site can give me.

    I purchased a package with Author House (UK). They have a copy of my manuscript, but it has not gone further than this. They have not given my book an ISBN number. I have signed no contract with them about my royalties etc. All I have done is purchased a package and sent a copy of my manuscript. Since it has not gone further than this, how do I protect myself? Can they still dispute my book even though I have not filled out a submissions form? I want to stop all dealings with them and wish I had found this site first. How can I protect myself and my manuscript at this stage? Even if I can’t recoup any of my money, it is more my manuscript I am worried about. Please help.


    • Hi Chloe,

      This depends on how long ago you purchased your package because in the UK we have The Distance Selling Regulations
      which covers you for any products or services purchased online.
      If you are unhappy or as you say have not received anything then you are within your rights to get your manuscript back and
      possibly a refund.
      Remain calm when contacting them.
      This is their telephone number – 0800 197 4150



  • I see my book advertised in 14 countries…. commission?. oh yes, under $10.00 to date .(.being over a year now )…. hmmm we’re looking for any group WHO ARE TAKING UP SOME AFFIRMATIVE LEGAL ACTION AS REGARDS THIS SIMILAR SITUATION BOB G

    • Hi Bob,

      I have seen so many times problems like this, it just infuriates me that author’s like yourself are consistently being
      exploited by these publishing houses.



  • Greetings People:

    I had my book published by Authorhouse a little over one year ago. The illustrator did a great job with the cover. The content was pretty well done. All of that lulled me to think everything would be fine. I have known for some time now that they had to be knocking down on any Royalties to me. The last check that covered a 90 day period was $1.44 .Then, they notified me that my web site would be taken down if I didn’t submit another $99 for one more year. I submitted the money for the web site 9 days before it was suppose to come down. They took the site down anyway. When I called them yesterday, they gave me some utterly lame excuse that even though it’s been 5 weeks since they took it down and, even though I paid them for renewe. 9 days ahead of time, it will take at least another week to get it back on line. I decided to quit wasting time with them. They are liars! I will try to get control of my book and hopefully republish some where else.

    • Hi Michael,

      Thank you for your comment.
      Don’t forget to send a letter in writing to Authorhouse saying that you want to cancel the contract and to remove your book from sale.



  • My experience with AuthorHouse was a costly nightmare. As a matter of policy, AuthorHouse won’t disclose the royalty rate it will pay authors or the estimated publication cost of a book, even when asked directly. Royalty rates can’t be found on their website and employees wouldn’t disclose them when I asked. I was told by AuthorHouse that this type of basic information cannot be provided until after your book is formatted. HERE IS THE CATCH: buried in Schedule A of the AuthorHouse contract is a cancellation policy that says the author is responsible for 75% of the publishing package you signed up for once formatting STARTS! Only after the formatting began was I told the royalty rate was LESS than 10% (for comparison, this is not even half of what CreateSpace offers) and the book’s price (which AuthorHouse sets) was so much higher than its competitors it made the book unmarketable. Other publishing companies will provide you an estimated price and an estimated royalty BEFORE you sign up. AuthorHouse, on the other hand. requires you commit to 75% of the deal before telling you the bad–and costly–news.

    • Hi Chas,

      Thank you for your comment.
      It really is shocking what you don’t get when signing up to these publishers.
      I hope you were able to get your publication back.

      All the best


    • Im so grateful for this site. Authorhouse guy rang me after i had clicked on their ad which appeared on Amazon!!! He was 1hr and 30 mins on the phone!!! I know a hard sell when i hear one…so i checked him out…and found this site….thanks very much everyone…they wanted £10007 for a classic package, im 61 and this is a lot of money to me. Thanks for helping me not to have wasted

      • Hi Mrs Lever,

        Thank you for your comment.
        We are very pleased that you found our site and did not procede with Authorhouse.

        All the best


  • I also have a book published with authorhouse my story had been on world news popular talk shows etc. I have received like $200 from authorhouse I was contacted by a attorney saying that there was a investigation going on my book selling worldwide they pocket all profits they even told me they were putting my book in ebook for free is there anything we can like getting a group lawsuit I have over $25000 invested in this book and they have made $100000 of thousands my money.

    • Hi Mike,

      If you have allowed Authorhouse to assign the ISBN then you no longer have any rights to ownwership as they can do what they want.
      You are going to have to check out the Contract that you would have signed.


  • I have gone with author house and found them worthless. It has been three years and have probably receive five dollars in royalties. I had given them extra money to make my book eBook published and have yet to see it. My question is’ do they have the right to sell it to a film production?

    • Hi Rose,
      Unfortunately if they registered the ISBN then they can do what they want with it.
      It all depends on how long your contract with them is, then you can cancel and ask them to remove your book.

      All the best

  • I would definitely warn all writers against getting involved with Authorhouse. They have no business ethics and will take you (and your money) for a ride, and deliver nothing or very little of what is promised.

    My nightmare started when I contracted with them to publish my Children’s Storybook, and paid them their up-front $599 fee. Nothing happened for months. Lots of excuses but no action. Everything I requested was either “Not Available” or “can’t be done” or “not Part of the Contract”. After fighting with them for three years and dealing with maybe 10 different agents, I finally got some action, and settled on getting what I could out of my investment. I eventually got my PROOF Copy. By the time that happened, I had located another printer who was willing to do it my way, and comply with my every desire (for a price, of course). I immediately contacted Authorhouse and Cancelled my “contract” ordering them to Cease & Desist, Close the Account and informed them that I would NOT be ordering any books from them.

    That was nearly 10 months ago, and now I find that my book is being distributed, BY Authorhouse on Amazon, Barns & Nobel, your website, and at least 6 other sites, without my authorization!! If they are selling any, I do not know, since I have not received any cheques. I say they are a Scam outfit, with a Capital “C”. Do a search for “authorhouse scam” for more reports.

    • Gordon thanks for stopping by. We are sorry to hear about your misfortune with Authorhouse. We appreciate you sharing your experience as it’s sure to help other authors to avoid being mislead by Authorhouse.

      We wish you all the best with your future writing endeavors.