iUniverse CEO Gives Aspiring Authors Advice

Susan Driscoll, the CEO of iUniverse, has a blog.  In her initial post, she says:

I’ve been CEO of iUniverse for almost three years and spent over twenty
years in traditional publishing before that. As such, I have a pretty
broad understanding of the publishing business and of the unique
concerns of self-published authors. Through this blog, I’ll share
relevant facts about the industry and provide perspective and advice to
aspiring authors. And, since there are many smart publishing people
that I’m lucky to call my friends, I’ll regularly call on those experts
to answer questions of general interest.

The last person any aspiring author should turn to for advice is the CEO of a vanity press. If she was really interested in helping aspiring authors, her first piece of advice to them would be not to pay a P.O.D. company $1100 to "publish" your novel.  It’s throwing your money away.  Just look at the stats: In 2004, out of 18,108 titles iUniverse published, only 83 titles sold more than 500 copies and only 14 titles were actually stocked in brick-and-mortar stores.

While I think going to a vanity press with your novel is a huge mistake, I don’t think the same is necessarily true for non-fiction work — especially if you are giving lots of seminars and  speeches and can sell your books at the events or are teaching a class where your book can be assigned as required reading.

I have several books "published" by iUniverse… my UNSOLD TV PILOTS books and my novel MY GUN HAS BULLETS. But I didn’t pay a nickel for it. All of books were previously published, out-of-print titles which were republished through special Authors Guild and Mystery Writers of America "back in print" programs.  I would never have reprinted MY GUN HAS BULLETS through iUniverse if there was a cost involved…nor would I ever recommend that anybody pay to have an original novel "published" by iUniverse. 

You can see for yourself how much … or rather, how little … I’ve made from these books by looking at some of my royalty statements.

3 thoughts on “iUniverse CEO Gives Aspiring Authors Advice”

  1. I think your points are valid, aspiring and absolutely amazing. I could listen to you for days…and yes I am an aspiring writer:)

  2. I’d be curious to know how many of those ‘top sellers’ were the kinds of books you’re talking about- nonfiction by people with a good platform or well-defined niche (i.e. Bill’s Guide to the Best Fishing Spots in the Tri-County Area, sold at Bill’s tackle shop, Bob’s general store and Betty’s Books, all within said area). My suspicion is that once you took out those, you would probably see the the market for self-published original fiction is basically non-existent.


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