Self Publishers: Avoid Autharium

Over at The Passive Voice, there’s an important discussion about Autharium.

On the surface, this looks like the typical aggregating service for self publishers. They take your book and put it on a whole bunch of retailer sites, consolodate all that sales info, and pay it all in one lump sum, all for a small cut of royalties.

While Autharium apparently does those things (and adds some bells and whistles) there is something rather insideous in their terms of service. They say on the surface in various plain-english explanations that they don’t own your copyright, behind the scenes their terms grant them exclusive and perpetual licensed rights to exploit your uploaded content basically forever, even if you remove the story from their site. So, you write the next Fifty Shades or WOOL and suddenly trade publishers are courting you–sorry, those rights are not yours to exploit–they’ll apparently have to negotiate with Autharium.

This is not a self-publishing assist. This is a trade publisher, and a terrible one. Avoid Autharium.

Stick with the tried-and-true Smashwords or the new kid on the block Draft2Digital.

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3 thoughts on “Self Publishers: Avoid Autharium

  1. And the word “publisher” drops to yet another, even lower, level of respect in my vocabulary. At what point does “screw the writer” become an official part of the word’s definition?

  2. I always like to do my own research and when I reviewed the post at The Passive Voice and dug into the detail further two things struck me. 1. It appeared to be riddled with spam promoting a new service called Draft2Digital, who coincidentally just a month before had a PR focused post on The Passive Voice – I would question the integrity of a newbie who goes about promotion by underhand means. 2. The terms and conditions quoted appeared to be incorrect. I looked at the Autharium site and most of the statements made were about terms that aren’t on the Autharium website. 3. Those guys appear to be a UK company so as much as a US legal view on ‘fabricated terms’ is of little value, the opinions are even less relevant as the Passive Voice is not qualified in UK law. Just my 2 cents.

  3. Sorry for the delay in approving your post, David, and thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    1. I don’t read the TPV comments religiously, but I did skim them based on your concerns and I don’t see any spam from Draft2Digital. (My guess is that the comments there are moderated closely enough to keep it virtually spam free.) I don’t see D2D’s public face (Aaron Pogue) has posted at all in that thread. I do see a few unaffilated authors questioning whether D2D has similar “gotcha” language but to this point it appears D2D’s terms have survived scrutiny. Could you clarify what you consider “underhanded means” and by whom? I don’t see anything shady at all occurring. 2. As of March 10, 2012 when this was posted on TPV the quotes were accurate (to my memory) as I reviewed the source document. It appears they may have been changed after that date (perhaps in a manner beneficial to authors (?) and perhaps due to the public scrutiny (?) which would be good news but I have not parsed the details of the theoretically revised wording. It’s perhaps time to do that and give credit where/if credit is due.) 3. Despite the occupation of the author ot TPV, TPV is opinion, not legal advice, and so due diligence and all regardless…

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