I got this email today:
Who the hell you are indeed!Happened to come across
your website and couldn’t believe all the crap you have written about
iuniverse. I did publish with them not because I had a choice, but
because none of the so called legitimate publishers would take a look
at anything that is written by a person like me.Why am
I bothering writing to you? Because, indirectly, you are raining on my
parade. And I do not like it!
It’s not my problem that you have a hard time facing the truth. iUniverse is a vanity press, pure and simple. iUniverse isn’t a publisher. They are a printer. They will print anything from anyone as long as the customer has a credit card. You still haven’t been published, you have merely gone to the online equivalent of Kinkos to have your manuscript printed in something resembling a paperback book.
Of course you "had a choice." When genuine publishers declined to publish your manuscript, you chose to pay to have it printed by an online printing company rather than rewrite it, or stick it in a drawer, or move on to something else.
The fact is, you still haven’t been published. You are deluding yourself if you think otherwise. In all likelihood, you will never get anything close to your investment back. That is the reality.
UPDATE: For the heck of it, I looked up the author’s POD book. Not only did she pay iUniverse to print it, she also paid bookreview.com to give her a positive review. How sad.
UPDATE 5-17-08: She wrote to me again. She wrote, in part:
What you are stating is from the point of view of
someone seeking recognition and making a living from writing. However, there are
people like me who do not share your ambitions. As long as my book gets in the
library, on the shelve of a bookstore, or is available through thousands of
retailers all over the world so people who share my concerns on particular
issues can buy my books, I have achieved my goal.
I replied, in part:
That’s the fallacy.
iUniverse books DON’T get into libraries, on the shelves of bookstores, or into
thousands of retailers all over the world. They have no distribution. They are not available in brick-and-mortar stores. Your book
can be found at web sites like iUniverse (and who shops there??) and Amazon, though even that will be ending soon, since they will stop carrying POD
titles that they don’t print themselves. The fact is, 99% of booksellers and libraries won’t touch a
print-on-demand, vanity press title.I am glad you are a happy
customer of iUniverse…that’s great. But that doesn’t negate any of the things
I have said about them or the vanity press industry…or how they prey on the
desperation and gullibility of aspiring authors, whether you want to make a
living as one or not.
She also wrote:
All that speculations about my personal circumstances are nothing more
than a demonstration of pointless arrogance. I did not sent you an email to
seek some sort of validation from you, to ask your advice or to open my eyes to
the "truth". It was the fact that in your obsessive–smart ass attitude
towards iuniverse–you forgot, or failed to make the distinction between the
institution and the people who benefit from its existence. It shows certain lack
of imagination when one can’t separate one from the other. Pissing on people’s
parade (I have been too generous in using the conventional metaphor) is not
the right way to get even with iuniverse or any other ‘vanity press’.Thank Goodness, we do not share the same perception of reality, for I do
not live in your bubble.