As readers may remember, in February David Gaughran reported that UK book trade bible The Bookseller had severed its advertising links with Penguin Random House vanity press powerhouse Author Solutions, and would no longer accept advertising from any of its brands. Gaughran has now followed up with dramatic news that U.S. writer support and services platform Writer’s Digest is also cutting its ties with Abbott Press, the joint venture it launched with Author Solutions to considerable criticism in TeleRead and elsewhere.
As can be verified on the Abbott Press website, the company no longer carries any logo or other information specifically linking it to Writer’s Digest. There is also no mention of Writer’s Digest in the current version of its history, which simply reads: “Launched in January 2011, Abbott Press is dedicated to helping writers get their work into print, learn about the publishing business and improve their craft.” However, if you dig far enough into the website, you will find in its c.2010 press release file, a news alert where Sara Domville, president of Writer’s Digest parent F+W Media, says:
Fully supported by the trusted experts at Writer’s Digest, Abbott Press brings the same respectability, integrity, and commitment to editorial excellence as our Writer’s Digest brand, while maintaining a unique identity of its own, for the benefit of our authors.
Clearly F+W Media later thought better of the deal. According to Gaughran, Writer’s Digest has declined comment. And, although, as he asserts, “this is a huge partner for Author Solutions to lose – the biggest so far by some stretch,” he also points out that Writer’s Digest still has a lot to do to restore its reputation. For one thing, Author Solutions brands continue to advertise in Writer’s Digest, and to take booths at its conferences, so it seems their money is still too good to refuse – for now – and Writer’s Digest has a far less clean bill of health than The Bookseller.