It wasn't until years later that I learned that the Wizard was merely an illusion. When Dorothy's dog Toto opened a curtain, it became obvious that the Wizard was an ordinary man with an amplified voice and animation machinery.
Today I am emulating Toto, opening the curtains to reveal the operator of two deceptive Wizard-ish websites.
At Self-Publishing Book Expo, marketing director Joe Bayern told me that ASI's best editors work on Xlibris titles. The 'best' is often not good enough. Xlibris publishes some dreadful books.
Author Solutions is guilty of other illusions.
- It invented the phony "Jared Silverstone" (with a purchased stock photo) to hype the company in social media. Jason was deactivated after being exposed as an illusion. Emily Suess played the part of Toto.
- It co-opted the term "indie publishing" to replace what used to be called vanity publishing and what its competitors call self-publishing. For many years "indie" described small publishing companies who were not part of the "Big Six" (now five). Author Solutions was recently purchased by the parent of Penguin -- one of the Five -- for $116 million. That doesn't seem very indie to me.
- The websites of the Author Solutions brands promise "free" or "complimentary" books to authors. The books are free only if you ignore the payment of as much as $15,249 to get published. (Authors have to pay a fee for shipping and handling of the free books, by the way.)
- After being offered hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax benefits by its home state of Indiana, the company has fired American employees and is building up its staff in the Philippines.