Skip to main content

Lulu Signs Deal With the Devil – Now Partnered with Author Solutions

LuluLogo[1]Oh how the mighty have fallen.

The POD and self-pub service Lulu announced earlier this week that they were launching a new suite of marketing and publishing services. Authors can now choose one of several overpriced bundles of services (starting at $999) or authors can overpay for individual service. For more information, visit the Lulu website.

Here’s what Lulu VP Kathy Hensgen had to say about the deal: “We listened to our community, and they wanted enhanced options in services. As author needs evolve, Lulu continues to innovate with a deeper range of multi-media solutions for its customers as well as an even keener focus on personal attention”.

But there’s one important detail that Lulu isn’t sharing, and that is who is actually providing these services. I’m still waiting for Lulu to get back to me, but sources say that Lulu has signed a deal with Author Solutions. All the new services are actually provided by ASI, not Lulu, though Lulu is getting a commission on the revenue generated via their website.

Update: The news has been confirmed by Lulu.

Folks, the packages offered by Lulu are virtually identical to the ones offered by Simon & Schuster’s vanity press, S&S Archway. They are just as much of a bad deal, though I am unfortunately the only one to come out and say that about Lulu.

To put it simply, any service that you find via Author Solutions or one of their partners (like Lulu, S&S, Harlequin, or Penguin India) is overpriced of for no other reason than Author Solutions' profit margin has to come from somewhere, and that goes double when there is a partner involved.

And even if the services weren’t overpriced, there is a cloud hanging over the head of Author Solutions. They are being investigated by at least one law firm that could be looking to file a class action lawsuit on behalf of authors. ASI is infamous for deceptive practices, failing to pay royalties, and other misdeeds. Do you really want to join their pool of victims?

P.S. I have contacted Lulu and asked for confirmation. If they respond (there is a first time for everything) I will post an update.

Similar Articles


Bob Mayer March 8, 2013 um 7:33 pm

Based on this, Hydra, Alibi, Scalzi’s blog and the reaction from both SFWA and RWA one would think we’ve got several of the horsemen of the apocalypse riding.

Frankly, the more companies like Random House, S&S, Lulu, etc. impale themselves on thinking their audience is making money off authors and not readers, the sooner they will implode.

I take a lot of this as indication of desperation from an industry that was not prepared for the digital age.

Randall Wood March 8, 2013 um 9:13 pm

Well said Bob,

I cant help but think someone at Lulu sees what is coming and chose to cash in now for as much as they could. Lulu has been headed for the door for some time in my opinion. I feel this will just speed up the process.

Mark Coker March 11, 2013 um 7:51 pm

Very sad. Yes, either desperation or a cynical misjudgement of where publishing is headed. I thought better of Lulu than to hitch their wagon to these guys.

Any scoundrel that would pitch $10,000 and $15,000 publishing packages to widows, orphans and other clueless newbies deserves to be tossed in jail. At that price, I’d expect editing from a professional editor at Penguin (ASI parent) or S&S (Archway parent), but these prices don’t even include editing. They include an "editorial assessment," which I can only assume will lead to a sales pitch for an editing package.

Oh, and Archway, the S&S front for ASI, offers a $25,000 package for businesspeople with money to burn:

How do those in bed with ASI sleep at night?

the rodent March 8, 2013 um 10:46 pm

Hmmm. I’ve always used Lulu for printing, not for any of their packages. Hopefully they’ll still provide that basic service without setup charges, but maybe I should start looking for a non-Devil replacement… We’ll see.

KarlB March 9, 2013 um 9:38 am

This is becoming like a gold rush, with publishers all yelling "There’s gullible writers with more money than brains in them thar hills!" One can only hope that they all die horrible Donner-party-style deaths.

fjtorres March 9, 2013 um 11:46 am

Actually, I’m thinking this may be a good thing in the long haul…

At this point in time, the BPHs (and entrenched wannabes) have very little to offer a newcomer (that the can’t get elsewhere a lot cheaper) other than their imprints' "seal of approval". Essentially validation by branding. 🙂
(Pun intentional.)

As traditional publishers tie their fate to scams and ripoffs schemes, sooner or later (I expect sooner) the word will get out to every corner that they are not to be trusted and out to exploit the unwary. So, the more they tie themselves to the scams, the less value will remain to their validation and eventually even the rawest of newcomers will understand they are predators to be avoided like the plague.

The vanity press "gold rush" is them cashing in their reputation and credibility for a few nuggets of iron pyrite. If they’re willing to sell it that cheap, we ought to help things along by passing out the word, right? Which is what Scalzi and the SFWA and now the RWA among many, many others, are doing.

This is going to be fun to watch as it plays out.
Especially watching the traditionalists try to defend the indefensible.

KarlB March 10, 2013 um 2:44 pm

That’s a really good point. These publishers are selling their names and their reputations, but the very act of putting those things up for sale makes them worthless.

Shirley Mitchell January 13, 2015 um 5:55 pm

This is so true l have experience the deceptive practices of Author House.
And I pull the plug on LuLu because of their affiliation with Author Solutions.

Nate Hoffelder March 9, 2013 um 1:40 pm

I finally got the press release. Here’s something interesting:

To provide these expanded services, Lulu is partnering with Author Solutions. The combination brings together two pioneers in their respective fields. Lulu has been a preferred choice for independent-minded authors since its founding in 2002. Author Solutions is a widely recognized leader in author support services.

Apparently drug use is rampant at Lulu.

Nancy Anderson March 14, 2013 um 10:56 am

I self published with Lulu a couple of years ago. Since they are going this route, I sure can’t afford to go with them again if I intend to publish another book. Are there any self-publishers who are reputable? They all seem to want to sell you a bill of goods that no one can afford.

fjtorres March 14, 2013 um 11:38 am

There are a few small ones out there.
First question you need to decide is what you need them to do for you that you can’t do yourself (via KDP, Pubit, Smashwords or the like) or hire a freelancer to do for you.
That’ll at least give you a starting point to decide what their support is worth to you.

Nancy Anderson March 14, 2013 um 1:43 pm

Thanks so much!

Dyson Logos November 1, 2013 um 4:19 pm

You can still self-publish through Lulu at no cost to yourself. The partnering with the devil is only for those schmucks who insist that they need more support (ie: aren’t willing to do their own marketing & promotional work).

And there are such schmucks REGULARLY posting on the lulu forums. People who want sales handed to them instead of actually doing their own legwork.

Ken Umbach May 2, 2014 um 12:12 pm

The only SELF-publisher is the author himself or herself (owning the ISBN). Any company claiming to be a "self-publishing company" is lying. You cannot "self-publish" on someone else’s behalf.

Writer Wednesday | creative barbwire (or the many lives of a creator) March 27, 2013 um 4:08 am

[…] also have to open that CreateSpace account, as Lulu partners with Author Solutions now. Hopefully this won’t affect the old titles, but shame on them. I never paid for any of their […]

Ann May 3, 2013 um 12:30 pm

I monitor my account with Lulu daily and in the month of April, 2013, the revenue page showed that I sold 4 books, but by the end of April it said that I had only sold 1 book. What’s going on? I’m being robbed of my royalties. It started in March 2013 when they changed their revenue sytem.

Dyson Logos November 1, 2013 um 4:21 pm

You are not being robbed of your royalties.

Check the revenue page again. When you log into the page, it shows you your sales & revenue for the last 30 days. Thus if you don’t change the dates on that page, it will look like sales are "disappearing" when in fact they aren’t, they just are no longer in your reporting period.

(I sell roughly 20 or so books a month through the lulu site, and this is something people complain about a lot on the forums – just change your reporting period and your sales are still there)

The Author Exploitation Business | David Gaughran May 4, 2013 um 12:04 pm

[…] That’s right. Lulu made a deal with the devil. […]

Beware These Scummy Vanity Presses | Theo Fenraven May 4, 2013 um 12:32 pm

[…] That’s right. Lulu made a deal with the devil. […]

Writer Wednesday | creative barbwire (or the many lives of a creator) June 19, 2013 um 5:51 am

[…] new to this blog and have landed here from GR, you might want to check those posts about Lulu and Author’s Solutions or Dean Wesley Smith on this brand new world of publishing. I relented and tried it, because I know […]

Richard S. Hartmetz August 23, 2013 um 9:40 am

This is, unfortunately another sign that corporate greed rules in this country. But, fortunately there are still affordable solutions. Starry Night Publishing.Com offers proofreading, cover design, ISBN, copyright, formatting for paperback, file conversion for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iPad, promotion, distribution on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online retailers, CD, DVD, and a whole bunch of other services for one low price, with no additional hidden costs ever. And they normally get your book out for sale within 48 hours, depending on how much work it needs.

Darlene September 8, 2014 um 7:13 pm

I nearly published with Starry Night. Thankfully I checked out some of the author’s books via Amazon’s "Look Inside" feature. The formatting is way too substandard no matter how "cheap" it is in comparison to other companies.
Oh, I see now, the promoter here is actually Richard–the owner of Starry Night. Makes sense I suppose

Dyson Logos November 1, 2013 um 4:25 pm

Starry Night Publishing also appears to have one of the ugliest websites in the history of the internet. Not to mention a loud intro video that autostarts when you open the page. ICK.

And how is $700 (on sale for $500) a "low price" for softcover + ebook release?

Publishing to Other Markets | Story Arcs January 29, 2014 um 2:02 pm

[…] (Aside here, I believe Lulu does this too but Lulu is now partnered with AuthorSolutions, so fuck them) The benefits to this are suppose to be ease distribution, not having to go to each and every […] – Barnes & Noble’s Dirty Little Secret: Author Solutions and Nook Press March 3, 2015 um 8:46 pm

[…] It’s not hard to figure out why Barnes & Noble has gone to such great lengths to hide its partnership with Author Solutions – following the exact playbook when Lulu struck a deal with Author Solutions in March 2013. […]

A Victory Against Author Solutions | David Gaughran April 29, 2015 um 12:53 pm

[…] in July 2012 is that Author Solutions has aggressively expanded operations (see here, here, here, here and […]

Top 10 Questions from New Writers: Answers to Your Most Burning Questions – Anne R. Allen's Blog… with Ruth Harris December 4, 2015 um 10:15 pm

[…] Smashwords for ebooks and Lulu for paper (but avoid Lulu’s more expensive packages, which are operated by AuthorSolutions.) […]

How NOT to Self-Publish: 12 Things for New Indies to Avoid – Anne R. Allen's Blog… with Ruth Harris December 4, 2015 um 10:21 pm

[…] in the US) Lulu is good too, but beware their more expensive packages—those have gone over to the Author Solutions dark side, […]

Author Solutions Rep Claims Its Critics Are Being Sued for Racketeering, Insists the Company is Regulated by FCC | The Digital Reader January 5, 2016 um 2:05 pm

[…] think; this is the company that has signed deals with Lulu, F&W Media (Abbot Press), Simon & Schuster (Archway), Penguin India (Partridge), and […]

Indie behind-the-scenes: ISBNs – Lyssa Chiavari, Author July 25, 2016 um 1:10 pm

[…] Ingram is the only reputable POD printer who does hardcover books (I know Lulu does them, too, but you may not want to work with Lulu for reasons), so if you want your book to be in hardcover, you’re going to have to buy the […]

Barnes & Noble’s Dirty Little Secret: Author Solutions and Nook Press | David Gaughran February 14, 2018 um 12:56 pm

[…] It’s not hard to figure out why Barnes & Noble has gone to such great lengths to hide its partnership with Author Solutions – following the exact playbook when Lulu struck a deal with Author Solutions in March 2013. […]

Amazon Opens Dutch Kindle Store, B&N Moves Into Author Services | David Gaughran February 14, 2018 um 12:57 pm

[…] Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader has noted that the packages look very similar to some of those offered by Author Solutions. And a commenter there has also pointed out that these packages are similar to those provided by Lulu – who began partnering with Author Solutions in March 2013. […]

Write a Comment