Iuniverse, where art thou?

I have encountered my first problem with Iuniverse.  This comes months after starting the process and two months after my book went to print, or “live.”  I’m not saying this is a common problem or isolated case, and can not yet tell you the outcome as it is unresolved at this time.

problem: Billed incorrectly for author purchased books

I was told, as part of the special promo going in June, that I would receive free soft covers depending on how many books I ordered.  I was also told I would be given a discount of some hardcover books.  What I received were my purchased books plus the softcovers that were free.  No hardcover books were in my delivered order.  I was also billed for the “free” softcovers at 35% discount, and billed for my 150 books at 40% discount.  It made no sense to me and so I’m not sure how it made any sense to the person punching in the oder and numbers.

Problem: I sent an email and was told someone would respond to me within 48hrs.  That was on June 26, 2012. I’m a nice person so I gave them a cushion for response. None.

So I sent out another email last night asking for a full refund on the softcover books they sent that were supposed to be free.  I also said I no longer needed the hardcovers since my book selling dates have all passed, except one this Sunday and I’m sure the books would not be here by then.

I have yet to receive a response.  This is my only complaint so far. I have enjoyed their service.  It is great but not fantastic and they do tend to get pushy on the sales end for selling extra parts of a package.  But overall I have loved their work.  My best advice would to have an outsider do your editing.  My book was edited 3 times and still has mistakes I would think a lay editor would find.  Also, don’t rely on their artwork. Send in the cover as you want it unless you absolutely have no choice but to use them, and in that case be very specific about what you want.

They have come through with everything they say they will on my end, but I wouldn’t call of it five star quality work.  They deliver, but if you want complete quality you have to be the one to demand it and go over everything with a fine toothed comb. Do not add extras you can do yourself for cheaper.

Would I recommend Iuniverse at this point? Yes, but with the cautions I have stated above. I have yet to see a royalty statement or book sales tally, so I can not comment there. Do I love my book? Yes.  Would I do it different? Yes. I would have hired an outside editor to do a final review.

I will let you know the outcome of the book charges and incorrect book order when I hear something from them. Soon, I hope.

You can find my book published by Iuniverse at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Also available on Nook, Kindle, and Itunes bookstore.  “Be Still,” by Tania L Ramos is a second novel.

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8 responses to “Iuniverse, where art thou?

  1. Thank you so much for the update and I’m sorry for all of your troubles. It is good to get an accounting of all of the Indie Publishers out there as there are many. We are never sure when we sign up with an Indie what the experience will be unless people like you give a fair and balanced report on the good, the bad (and, though not in this case, sometimes the ugly). It would be good for authors to have a site, much like an Amazon customer review, that delineates all factors in their experience with each Indie Publisher. If you don’t start one, let me know and I’ll try to do so. Just an idea that may or may not float. Thanks again for your fair-minded review. And congratulations on going live!

    • My entire reason for starting this blog was to give a fair review of Iuniverse. I knew they wouldn’t be perfect but went in with a fair point of view, despite some horror reviews I had read. I researched all the indie companies out there that I could find and found this one to be the less of the indie house evils. I also realized that many people writing reviews were writing out of anger at something not going their way. Many reviews were very biased and dripping with emotion. I am trying to refrain from that here and give only the facts, which is why I am giving them the benefit of the doubt…but so far it is not going in their favor by their own hand.
      As for having a indie publishing review, that sounds like a great idea. I would love to work on something like that. Maybe we can bounce ideas off each other and try to work on it. Having a format in mind and good hosting site would be in order.

  2. That’s not good! Could you maybe try calling them? The first iUniverse person I talked with is always available, and she’s had no trouble answering my questions so far. Even if the person you call isn’t in charge of billing, they might be able to direct you to someone who is!

    • Because of our (Iuniverse and myself) time difference and my bizarre work hours, it has been difficult to establish telephone contact. I am off Friday and will try then if I haven’t heard anything yet, BUT, most of my correspondence has been via email, and I have to say, they have always responded to everything else within 24 hours. In this case, I received an email June 27th that said someone would contact me within 48 hours, but it never happened. I’m hoping people were on vacation or it accidentally went forgotten. In any case, my only expectation is that it get resolved. I’m not looking for a long heated battle. I hate confrontation, and I understand that problems do happen. What I respect in people and companies is when they acknowledge a problem and fix it. But I think that is something many people can appreciate…although we all know those people that expect everything to be perfect every time or demand someone be fired (I work with people like that…I hate it).
      Where are you in your process now?

      • I’m about to submit my manuscript – just need my author photo and permission from my cover artist to use his design before I send in the submission package. I could probably submit without those things, but I like to be thorough 🙂

        And I definitely get what you mean. If a company makes a mistake and fixes it, then no harm, no foul. If there IS harm, then I expect a little something extra to make up for it. But it sounds like your problem with iUniverse is financial, so hypothetically if they just refund you, then the problem should be solved, right?

  3. This IS discouraging, Tania–I hope it gets resolved to your full satisfaction.

  4. I’ve been following your story for a while, and I can’t say I’m surprised to hear you start expressing reservations about iUniverse. I’ve been interviewing authors and exposing the company for a couple of months. Topcomplaints from almost EVERY customer? Pushy sales, NO response from customer service, undelivered services, failure to report royalties on time (in some cases at all), and failure to pay all royalties. (Their royalty system is a shambles.) The last two things are actually breaches of their own contract. So if there’s ever a point where you do want to pull out, use that info to get out without paying the $150-$700 “bye-bye” fee as I call it.

    Best of luck to you.

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