There was surprise in the publishing world when Penguin Group bought Author Solutions Inc. ASI had a long history of complaints of unfair dealing from writers--would Penguin put an end to that?
Apparently not, if the recent experience of a number of writers is anything to go by.
As usual, I'm indebted to the "Writer Beware" blog for additional information on this. They mention that there is a class action suit against ASI and Penguin for breach of contract and unjust enrichment, among other issues.
They also cite one author's nightmare experiences trying to get her illustrated book published by Balboa Press, the self-publishing division of Hay House, which outsources to Author Solutions Inc.
It was a children's book and she says the illustrations she got were dark and depressing. Among other things, an ancient woman was drawn as a bald old man. Keep in mind she paid $3400 for "intricate design."
When she complained the Balboa rep said, "the illustrator is sensitive, he's young, he draws like that."
Maybe taking into consideration this is a light children's book they could have given the assignment to an illustrator who is less sensitive and doesn't draw like that.
Also, the sales rep told her she'd be in contact with the illustrator directly; once she'd paid, the coordinator told her no, they have to be the intermediary, authors are not allowed direct contact with their illustrator.
The litany of things that were misrepresented or went wrong with this project is very long. You can read the author's first-hand account here.
Hay House itself as a good reputation as a publisher of books about healing, spirituality, and self-help, so it would be reasonable to assume that the values of Hay House and its founder, Louise Hay, would apply to any of its divisions or subsidiaries. Also that they would be transparent about their relationship with Author Solutions. However, you have to dig very deep on the Balboa site to discover that it is connected to Author Solutions.
AND THE MORAL OF THE STORY IS...
If in doubt, always do a web search about any publisher, agent, manager, or other service provider you are considering. Go past the first page of search results. Usually the truth is out there if you take the time to look for it.