iUniverse By The Numbers – The Goldberg Edition

A week or so back, I published some sobering statistics from Publisher’s Weekly about the sales performance and brick-and-mortar-store distribution of  iUniverse titles. Today, I got my quarterly royalty statement on my iUniverse titles — several out-of-print books republished at no charge to me through  Authors Guild and Mystery Writers of America programs. One great thing about iUniverse is that they pay royalties promptly and their clear, easy-to-read statements are posted online for you to view at any time.

I’ve gathered my statements for the last twelve months (2/04-2/05) and have posted them below so you can judge the performance for yourself. Some caveats — these books are reprints of previous published titles, so they have the benefit of the publicity and awareness that came from being in print before.  In addition, these "Back in Print" titles have been in release with iUniverse now for over four years.

Unsold TV Pilots  List Price:  $13.95  Royalty: 30%
Copies Sold            Total Sales             My Royalty

84                                  $780.69                   $234,23

Unsold Television Pilots Vol. 1 List Price: $26.95  Royalty: 25%
Copies Sold            Total Sales              My Royalty

15                                  $258.75                     $64.69
Unsold Television Pilots Vol 2 List Price: $24.95  Royalty 25%
Copies Sold                Total Sales                  My Royalty
15                                   $239.55                     $59.88

Total Sales: $1278.99
Total Royalty:  $358.80

iUniverse CEO Susan Driscoll and I have been trading friendly emails for the last few days. I’ve invited her to post her view on the PW stats and asked if she’d allow me to follow up a little later with a Q&A interview. She’s agreed… so look for her post here in the very near future.

6 thoughts on “iUniverse By The Numbers – The Goldberg Edition”

  1. Interesting. It seems that these numbers would directly correlate with your amazon ranking, as I’m assuming that most–if not all–sales would be coming from them. Lynn Viehl reported that based on her recent royalty statement, Internet sales comprised a very small percentage of her total sales. What this all means, I’m not sure. Maybe that if your books are being carried in brick-and-mortar stores, checking on your amazon numbers may be a total waste of time.

  2. I thought BackinPrint.com was 20%. What gives?
    Is this a better alternative than a university press reprint, say? Why or why not?

  3. Ah Lee, the iUniverse deal. My first book, Catfish Guru, was published by iUniverse. It’s two crime novellas. The reason I went with them is a little odd. I had a novel, Blood Secrets, coming out from Write Way Publishing, Inc., featuring Dr. Theo MacGreggor. As a way to promote the book, I set up a website, wrote a 12-chapter novella as a prequel, and was serializing it a chapter at a time for a year leading up to publication. Then around chapter 6, Write Way went bankrupt. Right around the same time, MWA had a deal with iUniverse where we could get a book published at no cost. What the hell, it’s not like there’s much of a market for novellas, so I wrote another one and had them both published by iUniverse. Nice book. Lovely cover art. Sold, oh, overall, maybe 150 copies or so, I’m not really sure. It’s a seriously uphill battle with iUniverse. Bookstores don’t want to deal with them because of their no-returns policy, among other things.
    Luckily, I’ve moved on to more normal publishers and recently signed a 2-book contract with Midnight Ink/Llewellyn. I wouldn’t recommend people go the pod route, although in the case of out of print books, I suppose it’s one way of making a few bucks on them.
    Mark Terry

  4. Two positive things being published by iU did for me were: 1) It got Shadows Fall into some form of print for my parents and some other older relatives to see. They were thrilled, and since a couple of them have now passed on, I’m relieved they got to have that thrill. 2) I began at that point, after five unsold manuscripts, to finally learn something about the publishing world. Before then, I thought all I had to do was write a good manuscript and sell it to an agent or publisher. Talk about naive.
    But I’m disgusted every time I open a writer’s magazine and see a full page ad from a POD subsidy publisher. There seem to be more scams taking advantage of aspiring writers than genuine publishing opportunities, and it fills me with suppressed rage. Don’t worry, I’ll find a constructive way to use it–in my fiction.

  5. Personally, I don’t think it matters who publishes a book, it’s the content that will drive the sales. If books don’t sell well you can blame the publishers, but I don’t think it’s their fault, be it POD or ‘traditional’ houses. Upcoming bands create grassroots efforts to get their music out to the world without big companies distributing their music, indie filmakers do the same with home grown cameras and a dream. To me POD does the same with authors. Sure not every book is going to be great, but look at all the books that get published by traditional methods. You can’t tell me all of those books are considered quality. POD’s get a bad wrap, but in the end, there’s a place for them and not all are scams. Again, it’s the content that drives something to sucess when it comes to writing, not a publisher POD or otherwise.

  6. Found Money

    It used to be that once a book fell out of print, and the rights reverted back to the author, that was pretty much the end of the line for that particular title. That changed several years back when the Authors Guild teamed up with iUniverse to launch…


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