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iUniverse / scam

1 United States Review updated:
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I signed up with iUniverse Publishing last 8th of July 2008 to get my manuscript get edited, and published professionally, affordably, and fast (per Get Published! Professionally, Affordable, Fast - a book written by Ms. Susan Driscoll, Author, President and CEOof iUniverse). My manuscript was submitted and accepted by iUniverse, Inc. after payment of the required fee and was assigned two personnel by the name of Liesl Shapker, my appointed Publishing Services Associated and Amy He, my appointed Publishing Consultant.

I was informed that my manuscript would have to go through several stages, under 4 different authors, one author responsible for correcting grammar and spelling, one author responsible for ensuring it is in the right format, etc.

After over 3 months has passed, I kept sending emails to Liesl Schapker on the status of my book. Then about the first week of Oct. 2008, I received a telephone call from one Eugene Hopskins that he was canceling my contract with iUniverse and get the money I paid for, be refunded. According to Eugene Hopkins, (He is the client services manager per Liesl Schapker) my manuscript was not the kind of story they would publish. I asked him why it took him over 3 months to decide and tell me that. Eugene was apologetic and
said, 'I'm sorry.'

As per several e-mails from my assigned PSA, Liesl Schapker, the amount of $899.00 will be refunded. I have checked my bank for electronic transfer but there was no record of any transaction coming from iUniverse Publisher.

iUniverse wasted my time for over 3 months and delayed my going over to another able and capable publishing company. It was a mental anguish for me to wait over 3 months and to be told that my manuscript was not the kind of story they wanted to publish.

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  • Ez
      21st of Jan, 2009
    0 Votes

    I was considering going to IUniverse to publish some stories I wrote from my young daughter, but after reading all these complaints I won't bother. So, how does one go about getting published?

  • Gu
      24th of Apr, 2009
    0 Votes

    I read this exact complaint, word for word (save the names) against Publish America. After reading this, I wish I had saved the webpage. This person is a liar and has something against self-publishing.

  • Be
      6th of May, 2009
    +1 Votes

    IUniverse published my title last spring. They are amazing to deal with. I literally had no issues with them. They were great even through the move from one state to another, they made my book publishing process seamless. There must have been an issue with the guy that complained. I totally recommend IUniverse. I am the author of I Want What Mamma Wants! I have signed on again with IUniverse for my second title that I am presently working on.


  • Bu
      23rd of Jul, 2018
    0 Votes

    @Berrygirl13 I, too had an amazing experience with publishing in 2009. I have a couple that I am working on, to publish this year. I truly suggest them! Very good experience!

  • Me
      7th of May, 2009
    +2 Votes

    I would like to use iUniverse. I guess the biggest fear for me is them taking my idea or scamming me. I love my story so far and I really want it out there, the problem is, I need a good place to start with. I've had a teacher read it over, and he recommended using iUniverse, so thats where I'm aiming. Is it a good idea?

  • Gi
      28th of May, 2009
    0 Votes

    Go to, listen to episode 952: Shine a Light to find out why no one should ever deal with those idiots at iUniverse.

  • Ke
      17th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    If you go with iUniverse...expect to use your credit card a lot. For my novel, Time Stood Still, which was published recently, the process started off fine. I had it edited twice, then submitted it. With iUniverse, the package I bought allowed for an edit. I was told I needed another line edit which was $2000.
    I paid the fee and assumed that it would come back perfect, but it didn't. The book was released and behold, there were a few more errors no one noticed. I had to pay another couple hundred dollars to fix those errors that the line editor made, not me. Next, I was called by the "marketing exec" and told I needed to give them another $2000 or more for marketing... This is where I drew the line. With iUniverse, you only get 20% of royalties. You would think they would pitch in to help sell books since the are making money. Everyone wins if that would happen, but apparently not. The best advice I can give is to have your book edited to death before you send it in. Pay someone the couple hundred dollars to save yourself the thousands with iUniverse. And buy my novel, Time Stood Still, by Kenny Rials. :)

  • Ro
      10th of Sep, 2009
    0 Votes

    I have had two novels published by IUniverse and have had only one complaint, which was the cover design. Otherwise the transactions were completely satisfactory. I intend to use them again to publish my forthcoming novel.

    All I can say about this complaint is that this must have been some book; one that most publishers wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole.

    Robert F. DeBurgh
    Author: "Riders of the Wind" and "Winds of Fate."

  • Ra
      21st of Oct, 2009
    0 Votes

    The business model of AuthorHouse and iUniverse is that of a middle-man in the distribution and production channels and adds little or no value to your publication. All their "services" are available to you ether free or at low cost, elsewhere. Except for the objection to content, I had a very similar experience as the complaint and with the one of the same names. I ended up firing them for incompetence, plain and simple. I basically told those bozo's that my three dead cats could publish my book better and faster than they could, and they did! I formed my own publishing company, named after my three dead cats, got my own LCCN and ISBNs and learned Adobe. The marketing and web processes they sell are simply resold at steep mark-ups from the same direct vendors you can go to. I am pleased to inform you that what they do at iUniverse, ain't rocket science. They are selling buggy whips in the space age. I do however have some suggested motto's they could use. "iUniverse, where you can buy better, but you can't pay more" and "iUniverse---yesterday's technology, at tomorrow's prices, TODAY" or how about. "iUniverse, the little red and white engine that said iThink, iCan't, iThink, iCan't" People need jobs, so I wish them luck with their flawed business model that focuses on themselves rather than customers, but if they are in business 5 years from now, I will be surprised. But maybe they will be, PT Barnum said it best, "There is a sucker born every minute." (somewhere in the universe) Good Luck with that, iU.

  • I0
      29th of Oct, 2009
    0 Votes


  • Le
      1st of Feb, 2017
    0 Votes

    @i'm going to kill them! They are doing the same thing to me right now, I saw a royalty payment from an email request I submitted. The email says this is the amount that we paid you, and I have never seen the payment amount, nor does any of my bank statements reflect this or show any amount paid, and when I called questioning iuniverse about the amount they said the IRS took taxes out of it. So the amount the email says was paid, then the guy on phone said another amount was paid because of the IRS. Clearly a scam, you don't order a large pizza, get the pizza and 4 slices are missing and then say the driver ate them, because he was hungry on the way over. I will take legal action because I have the hard copy proof, if this isn't fixed, but I will NEVER go with IUNIVERSE again. This is just one problem I've had with this company there are more!

  • Bo
      20th of Nov, 2009
    0 Votes

    Helpful advice for those who have never worked in a corporate bookstore…
    Hi, I worked in bookstores for years. The store has to be modeled for the book before it goes on the shelves. That is what a publisher like Harper Collins does, not iUniverse. iUniverse is paid to publish your books and the better edit, marketing, and so on that you desire you have to pay for. Everything is based on how many words are in the book, the type of book, if you want it to able to be ordered in bookstores, and so on. Lots of people think, when they read, that when their book can be ordered in the store, because it is ‘returnable, ’ it will be in store if they walk into a store looking for their book. These people are mislead and unfortunately don’t know the business. There are two ways a book gets into a bookstore. One, the publisher pays to place it in there, no self-publisher can or will do that. Two, if you have promoted your book to the point that the stores are getting enough orders for it that it would be in the stores best interest if they modeled them self for your book. For mom and pop stories (ie indie bookstores) there is a third, they might place your book on the shelf if you are a regular or ask them to help out a local author. Everyone needs to research something before they spend thousands… yes, thousands. When all is said and done I will have placed near $10, 000 into my book, but I studied this before I went here. I saved up. I knew what was going to happen and what was not going to happen. If you chose a self-published place please be prepared. You will market your books. It might take 4 months it might take 9 months to get your book out there. That still beats waiting to find an agent, waiting for your agent to find an editor and publisher, and waiting for everything else in-between… that is all worth the wait but if you take that road your book might only last of 2 to 9 months in the bookstore (if memory serves that is the average life span for an unknown author’s fiction book). Both roads have bumps and both roads can be enjoyable. I’ve met many authors who have said it took them forever to get their book out there. At least with a self-publisher you know a good timeframe and you do not have to hear the unexpected, “I’m sorry but your book is going out of print.” Because the books lifespan is up to you.
    Good luck to all that try and I hope this little bit of information help everyone!

  • Br
      26th of Jun, 2018
    0 Votes

    @boomshanka Ya, I am calling bs on everything you just said bookstores do not have to be modeled for any book as that's impossible given the numerous types of books they contain! Self publishers can get their books featured in bookstores, there's absolutely no reason why they can not. Everything you have said is bs

  • Ji
      5th of Jan, 2010
    0 Votes

    I published with I Universe and I am sorry I did. They do not send you a Galley to review which is typical of most publishers. They send you a PDF file. There were many errors and type o's I missed by reading on line. I have bad eyes and cannot be on a back lit screen for too long. Now to change it, it will cost me almost 300.00 more. They are supposede to have an on line service to see how many books have sold and what amount your next royality check is supposed to be. This has never worked and I have to make repeated calls to eventually get an answer. I don't mind the cost but the service is outragious and I wished I had gone elsewhere. I most certainly will for my next book. On the good side, they have always eventually taken care of most things for me, it just takes them a long time to get around doing it.

  • Ac
      21st of Jan, 2010
    0 Votes

    Here's the deal with iUniverse:

    I used them to publish a book - and their business is not a scam.

    iUniverse will not steal your royalties. They offer a complete explanation of how royalties are calculated and distributed on their web site. You just need to take time to seek it out, and read everything carefully.

    Royalty checks are mailed 60 days after the end of a quarter. Monthly sales figures are calculated and posted 45 days after the last day of the month. This info is available on the web site.

    That being said, I do believe that customer support at iUniverse is abysmal, and they definitely won't be upfront about the finer details of some additional services you may purchase. That's why reading their web site carefully is crucial - you'll learn more there than a customer service rep will tell you.

    They also overcharge for basic services - particularly in the marketing department.

    They are a business, though, and the same can be said for many larger corporations out there. (My cell phone provider comes to mind.)

    However, this should not deter anyone from publishing with iUniverse. You simply need to go into the process having thoroughly read about and considered all aspects self publishing.

    It will cost money to produce a quality product - but this doesn't have to all go to iUniverse. I hired an outside editor and graphic designer and saved myself a ton of cash and time... and couldn't be happier with my completed book.

  • Ag
      2nd of Apr, 2010
    +1 Votes

    I do not know what these authors expect. I published with iUniverse years ago and the process was so smooth, I could not believe it. those days you paid just a hundred to get your book published. The sent me the book in a form to do the editing myself, typosm etc. They published my book with their own idea of what the cover artwork should look like. It was amazing. They sent me my royalty checks which I never cashed, forty dollar at the end of two quarters, Look, do you guys realize that without these publishers we would never see our name in print. LIKE THE GUY WHO LEARNED TO PUBLSIH HIS OWN BOOK, GO THAT ROUTE AND YOU WOULD HAVE NOTHING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT. IF YOU fiendishly PROMOTE YOUR BOOK AND GET A ground swell, believe me a high profile agent would be calling. But none of us have the time nor will to do that so we complain when things didn't work out the way we imagined. Some peopel complain about everything!

  • Br
      26th of Jun, 2018
    0 Votes

    @ago Perhaps what they PAID for, not to be fleeced for as much as could be gotten from them, and to be treated with some decency, seems like a reasonable expectation to me

  • Ch
      21st of Apr, 2010
    0 Votes

    I have published thirteen books over the past eight years through iUniverse and each and every time the process went as smooth as silk. I have no complaints with iUniverse and highly recommend them. In fact, later this year I will be publishing my fourteenth book and it will again be through iUniverse. I do not believe you can get a better endorsement than that.

  • Pa
      10th of May, 2010
    0 Votes

    I've self-published four whodunits through iuniverse and have no serious complaints. Would I rather use a traditional publisher? Yes... Problem is, I can't even find an agent much less a publisher. I like to think it's a matter of luck rather than writing ability, but what ever it is iuniverse fills the void.
    Patrick O'Donnell

  • Ph
      22nd of May, 2010
    0 Votes

    I published a book with iuniverse a few years ago. I finally received a tiny royalty check, but this check did not in any way match the sales of the people I know who ordered the book online, or the numerous sales rankings, and best selling order logarithm rankings of numerous online sellers and companies (including
    I did all my own proof reading and editing, so I did not involve iuniverse in that side of the process. However, I did pay a huge sum of money and have received nothing from this company. When I started noticing that royalties were not being declared in iuniverse’s sales reports, I contacted them, first by email. I had to email them several times before they finally replied. I was fobbed off with weak excuses, such as did the people who said they bought my book, really do so? Yes, because they discussed the plot and characters with me and liars don’t stay my friends for very long! They said that the sales rankings and bestselling orders were meaningless and did not reflect sales. (I see). I phoned them and I was fobbed off again. I tried several consumer watchdogs, all to no avail. I contacted online sellers directly. Most wouldn’t reply to me or said that I should contact my publisher. When I asked the same questions in a clever, different way, several replied and confirmed that the rankings and bestselling or popularity ranking logarithms did indeed reflect sales. But I got nowhere and I became depressed and I could not cope with trying to get my book’s true sales figures anymore. Hardly anyone seemed to be reporting complaints about iuniverse at this time and what I felt to be their scam code of business. I felt alone and isolated in my quest. Suddenly I find that more and more people are reporting iuniverse and I want to step back into the fray and join forces with other unhappy writers to get back what I believe is rightfully ours. iuniverse and other POD companies need to be fully investigated in all of their activities. We writers need legal redress.
    I agree with writers who talk about an investigation, but we can only achieve things if we work together. Could we achieve payment for our true royalties if we stand together? I have some ideas about how we could go about this. If anyone agrees with this, could they please so say so on this complaints board site. Thank you.

  • Wi
      18th of Jun, 2010
    0 Votes

    I'm using IUniverse for my memoir which is coming out in a few weeks. Let me just say first that everyone there has been A++ stellar, from the sales guy to the check in-coordinator to the PSA and everyone in between. One thing to keep in mind is that most of their services are optional (unless they are part of a package you've bought - they are automatically in there) but there are tons of services that are OPTIONAL. I would imagine if you want someone to do line edits and such, yeah that might make yr. credit card bill kind of high but I guess in my case, I would prefer to read over it 10 times and have some trusted proof reading friends go through it as well.

    I've written three compliment letters to supervisors at Iuniverse for different ppl I've dealt with. As I said, everyone has been timely, professional, extremely knowledgeable and just great all around. Nice, considering I spent weeks trying to find the right company to do this. So I'm never going to use anyone else as far as I'm concerned.

  • Be
      8th of Jul, 2010
    0 Votes

    Hi, i have been talking with iuniverse to publish my book and we are almost done with talking but reading some of these comments is giving me food for thought. should i go on or should i not? we are at a stage where i am to make payment by tomorow and the sales executive says there is room for instalmental payments which i will do thru him by giving him my card details which he will run with the accounts dept and the subsequent two payments will be taken on preceeding this safe? is it a scam? will i make other payments apart from that which is on their website as the total package? sSomebody Please help me. NOW . thank you


  • Ar
      23rd of Oct, 2018
    0 Votes

    @Beautiful74 IUniverse and about 20 other publishers now belong to Author House which is the world;s biggest scam. As such, services have skyrocketed in cost and the main goal of Iuniverse is to sell you useless publicity packages. They can sometimes put out a quality book, but with my last one, it became a drawn-out nightmare. They used to have excellent cover artists, but use stick photos and clip art now and they all suck. Shop around. Trafford is less expensive and faster and you get the same packages. Quality at both is the same and the turnaround at Trafford is lightning fast and so far, they haven't tried to sell me publicity packages.

  • Pa
      22nd of Jul, 2010
    0 Votes

    My book, “The Power of Transformation” was published by Iuniverse in February of this year, 2010. I researched a few companies, and decided to go with Iunivere, because a friend of mine told me that she was publishing her book through them. I later found out however, that she did not publish with Iuniverse. I like certain things about Iuniverse. They are professional with responsive customer service. My frustration with them is the way in which they actually publish the book with several typos.
    I personally feel that any reputable publisher would have certain standards about the quality of the books they represent. I am in the process right now of negotiating a cost to return the book once more for corrections. I self-edited and also hired outside editors. As often as I have had to send the book back for correction, I am thinking that it would have been better to purchase their editing service from the beginning. I have had to pay hundreds of dollars for correction each time I return it for correction.
    They also send the book back to me in a PDF format, which made it difficult for me to do the corrections.
    My Book can be purchased from Barnes and Noble and Amazon, because that service was included in my package. Any further marketing I desire, I will have to pay. I was quoted a ridiculously $10, 000.00 marketing package initially. During this almost six months period I received many calls and emails from Iuniverse offering to market the book for me, but of course at a hefty cost. From my experience in doing business this company, I would say, Iuniverse is not a scam, but a very costly venture.
    On a scale of 1 to 10, they score a 10 for the design of my book cover. I am very pleased with it. I told them what I wanted and they gave me exactly what I asked for. The cover is absolutely beautiful.

  • Sn
      6th of Aug, 2010
    0 Votes

    I published with iUniverse. They were very competent until they moved from Nebraska to Indiana. The once flag ship of the vanity press/self publishing industry has degenerated into nickle and dime money grubbing poltroons. Many of their new employees lack experience. Many of the old hands resigned and iUniverse has not recovered from that blow. My advice: If you must publish a vanity/self publishing house book, go with one that has a sterling reputation. Like iUniverse once had.

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