Saturday, January 03, 2009

iUniverse lost my sales data!

It didn’t take me long to figure out what to do on the Getting Lucky edits. iUniverse would charge me about as much as the original cost of publication, and I don’t see myself ever recovering the expense. So I will do them myself.

My first novel, When Pigs Fly, came out with iUniverse in November 2006 and has sold over 400 copies, including my purchases. To learn the exact number, I went to their website, which could identify only 123 of them. They show sales records beginning in January 2008 and ending in July 2008. When I told them their records were incomplete, they wanted me to give dates and quantities. No, that is their job. They’ve had problems with accurate numbers before, but I had naively thought they might have rectified the problem by now. They blame a change in databases, and most recently a change in “operating system.” 

Baloney. A database upgrade is supposed to fix problems, not cause them. Their old system maintained reasonably accurate records, but no longer. I guess I am partly to blame for not keeping my own separate records and for relying too heavily on iUniverse. With my new novel, I will keep my own records and keep after iUniverse to not screw theirs up any further.

I have always thought highly of iUniverse, but I’m unhappy with them now.


Carter said...

I'm sorry to hear about the requirement that you pay for their edit in order to be "editor's choice." Kind of not exactly a worthy attainment that way, is it?

Good luck with the self-edit!

Bob Sanchez said...

There is an alternative, which I intend to pursue: get two independent positive reviews after publication and submit them to iUniverse. That is what I did with When Pigs Fly, and it worked out fine.

In their defense, I’ll say that their editorial suggestions are good ones. They are a business, and their business is not to sell books but to extract money from authors. That doesn’t make them ripoff artists, in my opinion; it is just a direction I don’t care to go.

Editor’s Choice is not something my book has to have, anyway, just something that will give it cachet. How much do people even pay attention to that? Not much.

Christina E. Rodriguez said...

A friend of mine was hired by Beaver's Pond Press ( to illustrate an author's self-published book, which they produced, and the results were really great. I've seen the book for myself and can vouch for the quality. Both the author and illustrator are really satisfied with their work.

Ruth D~ said...

They offered "flinch" pricing, and you flinched. Good for you.

Anonymous said...

I have iUniverse books going back several years. When I asked about missing sales data, I was told the following in e-mail: "We no longer have the information that you have created. When we were still in Nebraska, a truck hit a light pole that created a surge and destroyed part of our server that held that historical information. Our
records for sales now only go back to 2008. Thank you for the inquiry!"

Anonymous said...

You're not alone in your disappointment Bob. I came across your post today in a search for iUniverse complaints. I've published two books through the company.

My last book, which was published in 2003, was recently deleted from their database without reason. We're talking no longer in their bookstore, no more royalty data, completely gone. The only place I can find the book is on Amazon.Com.

Numerous calls, and emails, to their customer support team have resulted in a big bunch of nothing. I've been told, several times, that they are looking into it. They promise to get back to me shortly but never do.

I recommend anyone who does business with this company print out and file all terms and conditions for future reference. I paid iUniverse to serve as a distributor of my book. Now that my book has gone MIA, they won't return phone calls, rarely return emails, won't credit me for any book sales, and can't seem to tell me what happened to the title.

I've yet to receive word that my data was lost because a "truck hit a light pole", but hey, it's good to hear someone out there received a response regarding their missing information.

In the past I would have recommended this company without hesitation. That's clearly no longer the case.