That’s today’s non-trick question. And the answer? Because roaches check in, they don’t check out.

Thus the motto at Author Solutions, if Helen Sedwick is to be believed. Thanks also to David Gaughran for unearthing and sharing this, but I thought it important enough for some potential Author Solutions clients to share it on.

In her latest blog post, Helen Sedwick outlines some mostly ignored but highly important clauses in the standard Author Solutions contracts that also crop up in agreements with its daughter entities, including AuthorHouse, Trafford, and Xlibris. And as she parses them, these forms of agreement essentially give the Author Solutions entities the “non-exclusive, worldwide right to continue to print, publish and sell your book for a year in print, digital, audio or any other medium,” even if you terminate any agreement with them. And what’s more, that one-year limit doesn’t really apply, because, according to Helen Sedwick, even after that period, they can continue to sell the book and you can’t stop them, only collect royalties on your sales.

So it’s total lock-in. If there is some remedy to get out of the contract, Helen Sedwick hasn’t been able to find it. And as she adds, such an arrangement could kill your chances of ever finding another (i.e. a real) publisher for the same book. Also, she concludes, “I do not know of any other self-publishing service company that has such a provision in its contract.” Most others she does identify give a maximum 30-day termination time to stop sales.

Sounds to me like one of the few cases on record where the vermin have taken over management of the roach motel …

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Paul St John Mackintosh is a British poet, writer of dark fiction, and media pro with a love of e-reading. His gadgets range from a $50 Kindle Fire to his trusty Vodafone Smart Grand 6. Paul was educated at public school and Trinity College, Cambridge, but modern technology saved him from the Hugh Grant trap. His acclaimed first poetry collection, The Golden Age, was published in 1997, and reissued on Kindle in 2013, and his second poetry collection, The Musical Box of Wonders, was published in 2011.


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