I hold a copy of my first novel, Pippy, The Miracle of a Dream in my hand. It was recently published and it is a great feeling to see my story in print. Pippy, The Miracle of a Dream is a 136 page novel targeted at youth and adults ages 8 and up and I received my copies in December! Overall, I am more than happy with the quality of the final product and the experience with the publisher.

Only problem is I skipped the whole find-a-traditional-publisher experience and self-published the book. I believe it was the right decision in my case.

I waited to publish this novel until I retired from my real-world career. After reading numerous articles and blogs on getting a manuscript into print, I was slightly confused and fully disheartened. Almost every article and blog I read told of rejection after rejection after rejection. There were a few positives in the mix but very few.

I am a member of an online writers group, “The Next Big Writer,” and read numerous truly excellent stories by aspiring authors who are having little luck in the main stream publishing world. Reading their works sadly contributed to my general discouragement. If they couldn’t get published how could I?

A couple peers suggested self-publishing as an option. Several articles on this course of action denounce this option as complete vanity and associated works would and more importantly, should be snubbed by anyone in the main stream world of writers.

There were also several articles about how this process could turn out positive.

Self-Publishing is often called vanity publishing because the author skips the review and acceptance process of finding a publisher willing to publish your work of art. Self-Published books are looked down upon by those in the publishing industry; some with good cause.

As I delved deeper into the world of publishing and self-publishing, I decided I wanted my book published sooner rather than later and wasn’t willing to wait month after month for a traditional publisher to accept my work. I also discovered that self-published stories are sometimes picked up by publishers later. That would be my objective!

My rationale for choosing self-publishing rather than submitting my manuscript for review involved these reasons:

*I wanted to get my book published quickly

*I was willing to spend the money

*I believed my book was good enough to get good reviews and a possible following allowing me to recoup the costs I expended.

*I would submit my manuscript to a traditional publisher understanding that I would lose all of my investment.

I checked into several self-publishers and chose IUniverse due to overall reviews on the net, their website and their staffs’ professionalism. This company has some negative reviews too and I will touch on that! The costs of publishing your book can be substantial with options ranging from $600 for their basic package to $4199 for their Book Launch Premier Pro. They had a special (I am sure this happens regularly) for half off of these prices.

Other self-publishing companies offer similar and possibly better deals but I chose IUniverse and can only comment on their services.

From day one of working with the staff at IUniverse I was very pleased with their assistance, courtesy and guidance.

Editorial Evaluation

My package included an editorial evaluation and this is where I begin to have complaints with the company.

The editorial evaluation was done by a person independent of IUniverse and I received a filled out form with a list of canned questions regarding my manuscript and their general recommendation. I was NOT allowed to talk to this person. A representative of IUniverse said she received much more detailed notes from the person doing the independent evaluation. For the cost of this, I wanted to pick the evaluator’s brain!


The IUniverse representative, called my editorial consultant, advised me that my book was eligible for the Editor’s Choice Designation which, according to her, is very prestigious and only a small percentage of books get this designation. It would also greatly help sales of my book.

But to get this designation I would need to pay in excess of $1000 to hire an independent reviewer to go over it and recommend changes. This service is by the word and my book is short, only 27,000 words, so if I had a full length novel, say 80,000 words, this same service would cost closer to $3000 to $4000 or more.

The IUniverse representative tantalized me with the Editor’s Choice designation saying that it would help my book to thrive in retail sales. I thought about it seriously and then came to the opinion that it was equivalent to many gimmicks used by car salespersons to entice you to buy a more loaded model. I had been baited in for a fairly reasonable amount and now was being enticed into spending much more money. I wondered if it would stop there….

I declined even against the very passionate pleas of the IUniverse representative. I am sure that many people are susceptible to this pitch as every author wants his or her novel to do well.

After passing this stage everything went smooth and very fast.


My goal was to have my cover designed by a local artist and I employed a local young lady who excelled at art to complete my vision. I also had another young lady draw several sketches for the interior of the book. Both of these steps were incorporated by the IUniverse staff easily and professionally.


Once the manuscript was sent to the printer, I received one final review before printing began. I had to make a few changes but these were done promptly and the next thing I knew, MY BOOK WAS IN PRINT and available online at Barnes and Noble, Amazon and other retailers!

My book is available in the hardbound, softbound, and as an e-book. The price for the e-book is standard at IUniverse for $3.99. The softbound, being 136 pages, retails for $11.95 while the hardbound is $10 more than the soft. Of course both Amazon and Barnes and Noble sell the book at reduced prices.


The softbound and hardbound copies of Pippy, The Miracle of a Dream are quality books. There is nothing that suggests a cheap route on the book. I would have to give that department an “A”.


I had the choice of receiving a twenty percent cut of each sale or ten percent. The ten percent cut allowed retailers to sell the book at even greater savings. I chose that, hoping for sales rather than profit!!!


Once my book was in print I received several phone calls from an IUniverse representative tasked with being my marketing consultant. He said that for me to get the ultimate potential sales, I needed to hire a promoter for my book-someone who could get Pippy mentioned in the New York Times blogs; an expert who could use the digital and social media to promote my book.

Of course this cost a pretty penny, starting at just over three thousand dollars. I didn’t really have a choice in this matter…I didn’t have the money available to invest so I had to decline! I would have declined either way as to recoup the three thousand dollars would take almost five thousand book sales if part of them were e-books.


Overall I am happy with the service IUniverse provided for me. I am more than pleased with the book, happy with its availability online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other retailers.

I would highly recommend this route IF an author wants his book published and has been turned down or in my case, doesn’t want to take the time to receive a publishing contract. IUniverse is a quality company and their work and assistance was top notch-only be aware that they will try to sell you other services that will cost much more than your original investment.