Adventures in Self-Publishing Part Four: Words are Flowing Out…Across the iUniverse (Apologies JL & PM)

The old adage of “you get what you pay for” rings true with anything, and self-publishing is no exception. When I made the choice to go with iUniverse I knew that the bills could get pretty hefty. So I told myself that although the returns may not be promising, I knew I was giving my novel Raincloud the opportunity to be the best it could be. Short term pain for long term gain? Perhaps. But definitely not for those prone to “buyer’s regret”. 

 After paying the inital start-up fee to iUniverse I submitted my manuscript, bio, cover photo and headshot. Within a couple of days I received a personal phone call from my Publishing Assistant, whose name was Michael. He seemed to take a genuine interest in making my book into something special and always returned calls and emails with promptness and courtesy. Big thumbs up for Michael!

Everything was off to a great start and I waited anxiously for the results of my Editorial Evaluation, which was included in the Premier Package I purchased. And to my delight, the evaluation turned out to be pretty good. They provided me with grades for different areas such as title relevance, characterization, structure, plot, pace, dialogue and spelling and grammar. One thing though – although the editors were generally impressed with my manuscript they highly recommended I purchase their Developmental Editing package for a mere .053 cents a word.

Sound reasonable? If you have a manuscript, do the math on .053 cents and decide for yourself. Like I said, short term pain. But if you’re going to do it, do it right. So I gave them more money and waited again, this time for the Developmental Edit to be completed.

Again, I was duly impressed. I received my document back with all the suggested edits and changes, leaving me with the power to accept or decline each one. And when I was done, I can honestly say that Raincloud was much, much better than before. As I’ve said previously, you won’t be sorry if you invest in preproduction.

It was almost like watching a child develop and grow, which although rewarding can also become dangerous. Getting too emotionally invested can lead you to the poorhouse. I read somewhere about a man who bought virtually every service (production, marketing, and otherwise) his self-publisher had to offer. His final bill: a whopping $35,000! This is all well and good if you can go without that new car or believe in spending your way to success. But I think for most of us, investing this much of your money in a self-published novel is somewhat excessive. Don’t get confused and keep your eye on your budget, unless you plan on living in the box your first shipment of books come in.

Of course this sage advice is all in hindsight. I did wind up purchasing a few more levels of editing (Line and Content Editing and Proofreading) but none of the marketing services (to be discussed in a future blog). And was it all worth it? From strictly a financial standpoint, no. From virtually every other standpoint, most certainly. Raincloud has been garnering some great reviews which it wouldn’t otherwise have. You can link to some of these reviews on the Events & Testimonials page at .

Tip of the Week: It’s your story and no one can change it but you. But keep an open mind when it comes to editing suggestions. That fresh set of professional eyes will see things that you may have missed. Honestly, do you think even James Patterson’s work goes straight from his hard drive to you local retail bookshelf?

During the course of production I was disappointed that Michael, my PA, had been moved to another project. I was assigned a new PA, and from there iUniverse’s high level of customer service began to level off, and by the time I was on my fourth PA (yes, fourth) it had taken a serious nosedive. More about that in my next installment.

Coming soon: Adventures in Self-Publishing Part Five: How My PA Got Me Really PO’d

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Author: Richard S. Todd

Pro copywriter. Expressive voice artist. Award-winning public speaker.

4 thoughts on “Adventures in Self-Publishing Part Four: Words are Flowing Out…Across the iUniverse (Apologies JL & PM)”

  1. Good stuff, Richard. Thank you. Interesting, useful, and believable. I have been studying the self-publishing options for about three months. This post is enlightening and confirming in many ways. My book of fiction will be ready for release when the editing is done–a process that has been going on for two years and has at least three months to go. I have looked at iUniverse, Lulu, Instant Publisher, Book Surge, Author House and set up discussions with most of them. I’ll use an agent if I can find one, if not I’ll pick a POD outfit. In either case, I think that if we do have a good product, the most important task and maybe the most expensive and time consuming is marketing. That’s where my time is going right now and for the next nine months and I am not convinced that the POD people can help much. Mac

  2. Thanks for your note Mac. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I agree that book marketing is a time-consuming activity in which the POD outfits are sorely lacking in affordable and targeted support. However, there are many ways to market your upcoming book for free. I’ll be discussing them in a future post.

  3. I’m hearing more self-publishing authors are making the investment in pre-production and I can’t agree more with you on how important having a good product is. I also agree that few POD companies have good resources to help authors promote books.

    Part of your investment as a new author is building your platform – your credibility and audience. All the promotion you do both online and offline will add to your platform. The key, however, is not just promoting your book, but running a complete book promotion campaign. Social Media is the first place to start and then once your foundation is built, hitting your local bookstores is next.

    In any case, good luck with your book.

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