Category Archives: Iuniverse experience

This is my on-going experience with, self-publishing, and my review of their services

Starring in Her 1st Professional Interview

Back in January I wrote that someone from Iuniverse contacted me about doing an interview. They said I did a lot of social media work, really worked up the book, and made myself known across different platforms. Well, that’s what us indie’s do, right? Of course I agreed to do the interview. How amazing is that? In the world of indie authors, that’s a pretty stinkin’ big deal.

A month or so later, I did the interview. It was all very nicely done, and the interviewer was a real sweetheart. Once it was wrapped up there was nothing to do but wait. And wait. And wait. Okay, just so you all know–and maybe it’s just me–but when I have to wait for something more than a minute, I assume something is wrong.

OH MY GOD!!! The interview sucked! I sucked! I looked hideous and they just couldn’t put that for people to see. I sounded dumb, or made no sense. They decided nobody wanted to hear my story. The lighting was wrong. Did I have a huge zit on my nose? Did I just mortify them to the point that my interview was laying on some editing room floor?

Eventually, I simply repressed the memory of any interview ever happening. Yet, a piece of my soul was shattered (cue dramatic clutching of the chest). Then, Sunday night, I was searching the pages of Iuniverse to find some info, and when I landed on one page I saw a video clip and thought, “Hmm, that girl looks like me.” The name was wrong (Tonia Ramon), it was close but oh so very not me. I took a closer look and yelped. It was me. What I found was that they didn’t just make one video about using Iuniverse, but turned it into two videos with the other about the importance of editing. Worry? Who me? Pshhhhaw. I knew it would be awesome.

So, please watch my videos; show some love and support, leave a comment on YouTube and let Iuniverse know that I’m kind of a big deal. ūüėÄ Thank you all.

Tania L Ramos, RN and Author with 3 Minutes of Fame

Be Still by Tania L Ramos available on ebooks, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon
Life by Chance coming this holiday season


1st Professional Interview

Yesterday was the big day! A videographer contracted by Iuniverse came to my home today (my clean home), and did a professional interview. It was a lot easier than I expected, and much more fun than anticipated. There were a few snags: barking dogs, tap dancing six year olds, fire engines roaring by, and ringing house phones.

It was fun doing takes and having to clap because the scene sign didn’t have the clapping thingy. Wow! Shows how much I know about all this stuff. I answered some pretty standard questions about the book, about being somewhat indie, and of course about using Iuniverse. What I loved best was being able to tell why I chose to use Lou Gehrig’s Disease as the disease my main character has.

Running a close second in excitement was being able to bring my daughter in on some of the action for B-roll footage. Yes, I now know what B-roll footage is. Heck, I’m practically on the Hollywood inner circle. ūüėČ

All-in-all, this was a fun day. The make-up, the light checks, the mic checks, and the B-roll footage scenes. Matt was very professional, and made me feel very comfortable. Let’s do it again!

Thanks to Iuniverse for affording me this great opportunity. By the way, I had already created my own author interview awhile back using an HD GoPro cam and Windows Movie maker. If you haven’t created your own interview, you should. It is a great tool in your box.

Tania L Ramos, RN and Author Celebrating her Fifteen Seconds

The interview look was purple

The interview look was purple

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Video Interview Surprise

A few days ago a had a very low point in my life. Not the lowest, but one that had me on the blue end of the color spectrum. As I’ve said recently, I haven’t done a whole lot of marketing these past few months. I’ve been in a slump. The worst came when I wasn’t able to take a business trip to Tampa, FL next week. Someone told me to use a credit card, but I’ve resolved not to use credit any more. I chose to stick by my guns, but felt very much like the old adage of¬†the good guy never wins.

No Tampa for me. Life looked glum. But at least I stuck to my guns.

In the process, I had one of the best blogging and Facebook days I’ve had. I finished editing¬†Life by Chance and sent it in for my first round of professional editing. Then I received an email by Iuniverse, and figured it was some kind of marketing or promotion add on request. First let me say this: I rarely received any kind of add on requests from them. Not much in the way of trying to sell me more services. So I opened this email to a wonderful surprise: they asked to do a professional video interview with me that will play on their website and medias, and can be posted to mine . . . completely at their expense.

My spirits are renewed, and I feel that by sticking to my guns maybe this good guy (girl) did win. Excited! Time to act normal . . .

Tania L Ramos, RN and Author Awaiting an Interview
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Iuniverse Fails Royalty Report Card

First of all I’d like to thank everyone for making¬†Epic Ode to Pinkie Toe¬†the most viewed and liked post on my blog. I suppose every once and a while we all need a good laugh.

On to bigger topics. . .where is my royalty? Okay, since I started using Iunivierse, oh way back in 2012, my royalties were sort of paid on time.  The first one was paid to the date, the second was paid out a day late, the third about a day late. This year, the first quarter was almost a week late, now this second quarter is twenty days late.

It’s not like my life hangs in the balance of my payout. Lord knows I haven’t done any real promoting of the book over the summer so I could take a hiatus from social media a bit, but it goes without saying that as an author I’m pretty darn curious about my sales. Wouldn’t you be? The only way I know what I sell is to see my royalty sales figures and I wanna know.

My best guess was that I’d be using Iuniverse again for Life by Chance,¬†since I have zero or less time to jump on and put my book up to every site out there. And if you’ve read my rants about Amazon then you know I won’t go the KDP route or Create Space route. Heck, I’m still waiting on them to post my book on my author’s page so I can see ranks & sales, etc. I digress, it’s a learning experience.

I never had any real problems with Iuniverse. They were polite, friendly, not overbearing, and did a fantastic and professional job with my book. They placed it on every market from Nook, and Kindle, to Kobo and iBook. It’s on every platform and bookstore for purchase worldwide. Their potential to be so strong is so huge, but it fails when it comes to payouts and reporting monthly royalties in a timely manner.

If I were selling books by the droves I know I would want my payout in a timely manner. On the iUniverse report card for reporting royalties in a timely manner they get an¬†F. ¬†Sorry Iuniverse, this area has become worse as time goes on. I’m sure I’m not the only person to rant about this.

Tania L Ramos, Author Waiting and Waiting and Waiting

Quarter 1, Iuniverse

So I received my first quarter sales/royalty report from Iuniverse yesterday–only one week late, but who’s counting. It was among one of the lowest payouts I have had, thusly, I proceeded to pout and continue to put on my nursing uniform, with heavy disappointment.

doves cry

I now know what it sounds like when doves cry. *cough*

However, when I was able to download the actual reports today, I gotta say that as far as payouts goes, I’m not buying me a new car just yet, nor have I hit the pinnacle $100 sales (short .50cents) via royalty generated through Iuniverse (although I’ve made ten times that amount in out-of-the-trunk-of-my-car sales), but the actual¬†sales¬† were the second largest I’ve had. ¬†All sales, minus one, were e-books, which reflects on why the royalties were so low, because the payout is only about $1.00 per book. ¬†There was one physical book purchased, and with the payout rate, I’m going to assume it was through Barnes and Noble because Amazon payout on physical books is half that.

All-in-all the 1st Quarter was okay. ¬†I’m not sure how the 2nd Quarter will look because I haven’t been promoting too much. ¬†Not that I gave up, but I did get tired of all the social media time hoarding and too be honest, I just needed a bit of a break to enjoy my free time. ¬†I am a writer not a marketer! I may just make t-shirt that says that. ¬†Over all sales have been fabulous, but again, the majority of books sold have been physical copies I carry with me. And starting in July, I will hit the active marketing scene again.

I was told if you sell (for profit) ten books to people you don’t know, you did nice.

Sell fifty books (for profit) to people you don’t know, you did good.

Sell one hundred books (for profit) to people you don’t know, you did great.

Sell more than one hundred books (for profit) to people you don’t know, you have surpassed the average sales of the indie author.

I’m happy to report that I am well over the one hundred mark in paid sales and have been since last October and pushing 200 this summer. ¬†But feel free to put more icing on my cake! Amazon, the best $3.79 you’ll ever spend¬†also available on Kindle, Sony readers, Kobo, and iBook.

****Want to know more about Iuniverse royalties, check out my other link here to show the exact breakdown*****

Tania L Ramos, Author Still Putting Up The Numbers

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iUniverse Royalty Payout Breakdown

Last night I received a royalty check from iUniverse. ¬†It was an actual, physical check, which is not what I signed up for, because I don’t want to be charged a fee, and I don’t want to wait until I make $25 or more before receiving payment. I like instant gratification, and the free kind is best. ¬†I am subscribed for direct deposit so I pay no fees and get my payment no matter how small it may be.

I said, I would report anything I learned about iUniverse and try to be as unbiased as possible.  As such, I will only state the facts about this account for Be Still, since I have thus far received two royalty payments.  Keep in mind, the first installment I had just put the book out and only had a little over a month in that sales quarter.

Here are the results:

2nd quarter:

Books Sold: 12

Net sales: $62.68

Payable to me: $17.34

What I actually received: $12.29

3rd quarter

Books sold: 27

Net Sales: 112.59

Payable to me: $36.65

What I actually received: $26.49

I called iUniverse today to ask whyy my net payable is less than what I am receiving. I was told that I had not filled out my tax info, so a standard 28% was being withheld.  Okay, maybe that was my fault. I immediately went on the website and fixed that.

moneyI only post to this for those authors who are thinking of using iUniverse to publish. I have stated that I liked them due to the fact that I didn’t have to do any of the work myself, and as a very busy single mother and employed as a full-time nurse, this was an area I didn’t have time to spend in. I have heard complaints about royalties not being paid, etc. In my opinion, my numbers look correct. I know I have about 20 more Kindle sales at the end of the 3rd quarter, but I also know they may not have been reported yet, so i’ll have to keep an eye out there.

All-in-all, the royalty pay out is crappy at best, but I haven’t encountered a problem in the numbers being wrong. I may have to look into small publishing houses for my next book, but we’ll see. I’m not thrilled with the idea of being paid nearly 40%, when I already paid out a small fortune to publish. I know they have to make their profit somewhere, because they are a business after all. I am grateful to all I have learned from this experience, but I work my behind off for this book, and would like to see a better return on my investment. Not sure I will use them again, but only because I’d like to see a better spending to profit margin.

Kirkus Review is Absolute Fail

While publishing my book¬†Be Still, I was advised to purchase a trifecta package of reviews which was Kirkus, Blue Ink, and the last one I just don’t recall, but their big players. ¬†Or so I am told. So I paid $1500 for all three reviews, and after six months I finally received my final review, which was from Kirkus, which in my opinion was an absolute fail, but I’ll get back to that.

First, my opinion on these high profile review houses: They aren’t worth the cost. seriously, I received better reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble from readers. Now, I’m not saying because they all left 5 star reviews, because some left less than that. God bless the world that everyone is able to have an opinion, and diverse ones at that. ¬†I’m saying that the reviews left by John Q. Public were far more poignant–whether good or bad–than any three of the review houses I dished out for.

Second, being somewhat wet behind the ear as far as reviews went, i was under the impression that getting a good review from Kirkus, Blue Ink, or the other was going to send my career skyrocketing.  Not so.  In fact, Blue Ink and the other gave me wonderful reviews and I was very happy.  But they really do nothing to boost sales.  What I have discovered is that John Q. Public looks at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads.  As do I.

Third, if I am going to dole out a small fortune, the least Kirkus can do is cite the correct book. ¬†Their review states: Tania Ramos (not Tania L Ramos) author of¬†When I Thought I was Tough 2011, writes about…. blah blah blah. And the review unfolds. ¬†My vice: if I am paying you a month of my son’s tuition for school the least you can do is cite the correct book you are reviewing. For example, instead of speaking of¬†When I Thought I Was Tough, 2011 you can cite the book you actually reviewed,¬†Be Still, 2011. Am I wrong?

And my final rant about paid reviews: They spend an entire page giving a synopsis of the book (which is on the back of the book or inside jackets, by the way), and write a one sentenced opinion at the very end. ¬†And sometimes the opinion is that of a fifth grader, “Two thumbs up.” Hmmmm. I paid for two thumbs up? Holy moly, that’s like $350 a word between three review houses.

Okay fellow readers and authors, this is what I ask of you: if you read a book, please leave a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Goodreads or anywhere else. ¬†You all do a much better job at reviews than the paid for reviews. So what did Kirkus say? Well, after citing the incorrect book, they did a synopsis, and closed with “a heartfelt novel weighed down by melodrama.”

kirkus reviewLike I said, I don’t mind the review not being the best, but that was a lot of money for a one sentence bottom-line review. ¬†I will never pay for another big name review again. Opinions on this? Is there really a reason to pay for these big reviews?