As any publishing professional will tell you - "A really bad book with good marketing will outsell a really good one with bad marketing".
In iUniverse's case, their marketing department is beyond bad. They are the sole reason I am considering recommending against iUniverse.
Their follies have included:
- Promotional materials delivered with misspelled words, incomplete sentences, etc.
- Two awful cover designs. Genuinely bad, with flaws even a complete novice would (and several did) remark upon. One portrayed starting a business with the visual metaphor of casting a piggybank into the water - literally throwing money away. The other emphasized the two words "Making Bad" out of the rest of the original title. I am beggared for words.
- My first marketing rep went 1-for-7 in calling back on-time. These are appointments when he picked the time & day. Bonus points for no apologies, and also for lying (yes really) to his boss about when he'd contacted me.
- My second marketing rep was hard pressed to understand English on a higher-than-high-school level. For instance, after 30 minutes of explanations on the phone, she was unable to understand the difference between "I want to pay for and receive a book review and then decide how much I want to spend marketing my book" from "I will only pay for any marketing program if you guarantee I will get a good book review". She just couldn't get her mind around the idea that I wanted to make an informed marketing investment.
- My third marketing rep was so addicted to his script that he ended up speaking this sentence: "I
understand, Mr Evarts, that you don't want to be portrayed as 'the
expert' on this subject, but the way we're going to market this book is
by marketing you as the expert." Seriously. At that point I said
"Please don't call me again". He ignored that request and contacted me
three more times. I asked to speak to his manager the last time. He
promised the manager would call me back. No contact from either of them
- None of the marketing or promotional materials used the
recommendations I'd secured from both a well-known entrepreneurial
author and a director of military.com. The guy's an E-10 for goodness'
sake. His words carry weight with my target audience. Nor, of course,
did they get any of their own.
- Virtually none of the marketing and promotional materials were correct on the first delivery. Certainly, if taken as a whole, they were not worth the money I paid for them.
It is possible that such a service not available because it would cut down on marketing revenues. The marketing folks at iUniverse work on commission and have no stake in the sale of your book. It's in their best interests to sell you a $30,000 quarterly plan for selling your book "300 incorrect ways my daughter has tried to spell Welsh place-names" (i.e., something that will not have a wide audience) even though this will be a complete waste of your money as an author.
Professional and Affordable
The front page at iUniverse.com says:
Let our expertise work for youiUniverse has helped more than 35,000 authors publish their books professionally and affordably.
(bold in original text, not added)Unfortunately my experience puts a lie in those words- the image I would have had at their hands would have been both unprofessional and very very costly.