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iUniversepoor customer service

I signed on with iUniverse with my eyes wide open: I had my cover professionally designed by another source, I utilized an outside proofreader, and paid extra for the "express" Premiere Pro package to ensure my book went to press in a timely fashion.

As a result, my book was completed quickly and looks excellent.

My complaint with iUniverse is regarding their atrocious customer service and all the details they don't tell you on their website. Here's a "writer beware" list of everything that has happened since the publication of my book:

1) iUniverse is unreachable by phone, without exception. I've been forced to leave multiple messages, which are only occasionally returned via email.

2) When I send a specific question to their general support email (don't even think you'll ever get a direct contact at this company), I receive a nonspecific response 24 hours later that doesn't even come close to addressing my question. BONUS: when I resubmitted the same question three different times, I received three entirely different responses from three different people.

3) While their Booksellers Return Program is valuable and useful to get your book in stores, what they do not tell you is that is takes up to 60 days for it to go into effect.

4) Customer Service will tell you that it takes 45 days after your publication date to list your book with Books in Print. This is inaccurate - Books in Print takes 5 business days to list new titles when they're submitted. The delay comes from iUniverse, who will not submit your book to BIP until after you have received your contracted promotional copies, and you won't receive those until after you have reviewed your test copy. In my case, I still haven't received my promotional copies, because the "Book Sales Consultant" that was assigned to me quit his job, and lied to me about sending the copies. It took two weeks for anyone to even get back to me about my lack of review copies, and I'm still not listed in Books in Print.

5) Your "Marketing Consultant" will not offer you valuable marketing suggestions. Mine only tried to upsell me outrageously priced publicity services and ad rates in their partner magazines. THIS IS UNNECESSARY. You can do everything they do and more to market your book yourself - just do your homework to find out how.

6) Beware of inappropriate behavior. I copied several of the "Publishing Services Associates" I'd worked with on an email to Customer Service begging for assistance. One PSA happened to click "reply all" and unwittingly copied me on a not-so-nice reply about whiny authors.

7) If you purchase the "see inside" Barnes & Noble feature, be aware that it can take B&N several months to post it. iUniverse will not tell you this up front.

That's my story to date. While I have absolutely no complaints about the quality of my book, I cannot abide by the shoddy customer service I have received post production. It is unconscionable.

Should you decide to publish with iUniverse, be prepared to do EVERYTHING yourself, and expect no help along the way.


  • Ap
    appalachianemmitt Oct 14, 2009

    Another unsatisfied customer, and I agree
    I was a military recruiter, so I know everything about sales. In my line of business, success depends on honesty, putting all the cards on the table and be willing to accept rejection.
    In any sales promotion, these are the attributes I look for; honesty, spell everything out and discuss the needs of the client.
    There can't be any communication if a real person can't be contacted. All sales is driven by quotas, not in being honesty. This is very frustrating when sales persons are so unwilling to compromise or understand that sales involves so much more than quotas.
    I had an incredible experience with IUniverse up to the point of marketing and customer service.
    As a military recruiter, I am having to retrain these sales people the correct way to sell in an economy where even spending $100.00 in a promotional project is way too much. But still they persist in offering promotions over the $5000.00 mark.
    In writing a book as in gambling, know when to quit and just break even. You are a lot smarter than these guys, so negotiate to the point to where they want to quit. An if they quit, Oh Well! If you want something done right, do it yourself.
    John W. McSherry

    0 Votes
  • Kl
    KLPhair Jan 07, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I was a past published author of iUniverse in 2000 and 2001. My book is still in print and I am doign another book underneath my own company this time. I am grateful fo the iUniverse experience because I thought they would handle publicity etc. for my book but then in those days they did not have abook return policy or any of the things they have now. Still, I managed to get pbulicity, sold enough books to get agood sales ranking and even ddi book signings when other iUniverse authors could not even do that. I am grateful for doing all of the work because these two books helped me set up distribution for my owntitltes that my own company will publish.

    I agree, if you are about to publish with ANY company like iUniverse take these things into consideration.

    1) Bookstores may not take you aeriosuyl because ANYONE can be published these days as long as they pay afee.
    2)It costs me an average of $2.20 a book to self publish a hard copy book that I would receive $1-$2 royalties on from going through a company like iUniverse and I could sell that same book for $10 and even after discounts for astore to sel it I am still profiting $ a book and it is published underneath my own companies name.
    3) The $500-$1, 000 it costs you to publish through iUniverse, you could hae set up abusiness license and made copies of your own book.
    4)IYou do nto need to eb a big name to get a book published independently. (Through my research I foudn authors who sold 6, 000-10, 000 copes a year self publishing under their own company that they profit anywhere from $6-$10 a copy.) My books will be distributed through iBooks (for my eBooks), Amazon, as well as Barnes and Noble.
    5)Do your research and you will put money out to do it yourself but will get way more in return. I am startign off making aeBook which ony costs about $300 to format and then with the money being made form that I will apply it to coming out with the hard copy later.
    6)You're making them rich off of your book. you're better ff making aeBook and making more money with that.
    7)You're just anohter person publishing underneath a "vanity" publisher. People will not most likely look at your work as professional and will most likely look at you as being published because you paid for it.
    8)Publish underneath your own company and no one will know. There are so many publishers they will think you are published with a real publisher and will not count you as one of the many who go through these companies that willpublish nayone who pays the fee.

    Hope this helps and as self publishing i not easy I have found that you will make tons more money. I have dealt with iUniverse and they are like all he others, just trying to get abuck in sellign you a dream that you will be the next Stephen King or Stephanie Meyers. If that were the case then why are there not many or any best sellers form these vanity companies?

    0 Votes

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