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Simon & Schuster Now Recruiting Affiliates/Co-Conspirators for Vanity Press Archway

Here’s a story which isn’t getting the attention it deserves.

April Hamilton reported last night over at Publitariat that she had received a recruitment email from Simon & Schuster. They are trying to get her to become an affiliate for S&S Archway, the scam vanity press that S&S launched last fall:

.. We believe Archway is a unique new service for authors, and would be valued by your readers. The Archway Affiliate Program enables partners to earn a $100 bounty for each author they refer who publishes with Archway*. Click here to learn more about the affiliate program. In addition, we’d like to extend to your audience a 10% discount off any Archway package, when referred though affiliate links on your site. We can also create contests, webinars, and creative for your site, or discuss other ways to work together.

April turned them down, of course. She feels much the same way as I do about operations like Archway. She declined their offer and was more polite about it (I would have told them to go piss up a rope):

I have always advised indie authors to avoid vanity publishers, and AuthorHouse is one of the most notorious among them. The reputation of AuthorHouse as an overpriced, under-performing scam agency far precedes its name. I have warned many a writer away from AH in the past, and will continue to do so in the future.

I am very disappointed to see such an august and respected publisher as S&S moving into this new, arguably predatory market area: pairing up a respected publisher with a vanity press to offer desperate would-be authors various, fee-based "services"—any of which the writer could retain him- or herself from freelancers at a fraction of the cost—and/or a publishing contract offering terms that virtually ensure the publisher will turn a profit, but the author will not. Surely the strongly negative reaction to (sic) HarperCollins' Hydra imprint hasn’t escaped your notice?

FYI: Archway is an S&S owned company that is run by Author Solutions (aka AuthorHouse), a vanity press with a long history of business practices ranging from questionable to outright scams. I would never recommend them or any service they offer for no other reason than the prices are terrible; like April wrote above any self-published author could find the services they need at a lower cost elsewhere.

And then there is the fact that Author Solutions is being investigated by a law firm looking to bring a class-action lawsuit. While that is not always a sign of wrongdoing, in this case it is.

Finally, if you start seeing someone promoting Archway or even suggesting it as a viable option, you might want to check to see if they have a financial motive. My advice when it comes to Author Solutions and their many brands is "Run Away! Run Away!" And I’m not sure you would find many in the self-published community who would disagree.

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Will Entrekin March 7, 2013 um 7:50 pm

"My advice when it comes to Author Solutions and their many brands is “Run Away! Run Away!” And I’m not sure you would find many in the self-published community who would disagree."

So when you say "their many brands," do you mean Simon & Schuster, Penguin, and Random House? The mergers and acquisitions are doing a good job of masking the major players and preventing much brand damage to the corporations behind these scams.

Nate Hoffelder March 7, 2013 um 7:59 pm

Also Harlequin.

And there’s a reason why I now refer to Archway and the like by attaching the name of their corporate parent. I’m not going to let them claim ignorance of what is done on their behalf.

Arthur Klause March 11, 2013 um 11:59 am

Hydra is a Random House project, not a HarperCollins one.
Even if you are quoting verbatim, a [sic] would be appropriate.

Nate Hoffelder March 11, 2013 um 12:09 pm

TBH I missed that. Thank you for the correction.

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