Oh iUniverse…really?

For reasons unknown, iUniverse continues to keep me on their spam listserv.  I really should pull all my books from them and move to CreateSpace, but I am super lazy, so I will most likely never get around to this.  Anyway, today, this gem appeared in my inbox.  I was grabbed, of course, by seeing the title of one of my books in the subject line.  I opened to read below:

Think your book would make a great movie or television series? Hollywood Coverage—the industry-standard tool used for identifying viable new material—is a cost-effective* way to find out.

Once your Hollywood Coverage is complete, we will submit it to our first-look Hollywood partner, Thruline Entertainment, who will review your work as a potential adaptation for film and television. Thruline Entertainment is a Hollywood management and production company whose clients include Academy Award Nominated screenwriters, Emmy Award winners and numerous A-list Hollywood actors.

*a mere $849!

Actually, I don’t think you tried at all.

There is more, of course, but this whole endeavor makes me sad.  There are people out there who think their book would be perfect to adapt to screen.  I am one of them.  However, having worked in the entertainment industry for a few years, I highly doubt this technique as a legit way to the screen.  The briefest of searches online shows that iUniverse is not the only self publishing company Thruline is partnering with.  Strike one.  Actually, that fact plus the cost is enough for me to run away.  Additionally, I’m lucky enough to have friends still in the industry and can get actual ‘Hollywood’ coverage whenever I want.  These are favors I don’t take lightly and as of yet, do not feel my manuscripts are ready to be reviewed by professionals.  Finally, as I already have a producer interested in my work, I’m not going to run off and write a check to a company who has done little to nothing for me.

I guess I am the most sad that some poor author out there is going to sacrifice hard earned money to this scam.  While they may get coverage, they are certainly not going to get a movie or television deal.

What about you, dear reader, have you had an experience (good or bad) with any of the ‘publicity’ iUniverse offerings?

31 thoughts on “Oh iUniverse…really?

  1. I, too, would like the iUniverse ‘marketing team’ to go away. They are simply selling services — a little piece of information every iUniverse author should know. Thanks for this. I hope that other authors read it.

  2. I too was approached by iUniverse re: Hollywood Coverage. I said, “No” at first and then when they dropped the price by 50% I went with it. What a sad, disappointing affair it has been.
    They sent me my package last week. It was basically a synopsis of my book – something I have done many times already for publishers and then a rating of the storyline, characters and their opinion of the chance of it being used in film or TV.
    My original impression based on what they had told me was that they were going to paint my book in the best possible light. They were supposed to pitch it so someone, somewhere would be interested – after all I can get negative comments for free from publishers. Instead they basically said the book would need to have humour added if it was ever be taken on as a film. Really?! Funnier?! I suspect no one at iUniverse read my book otherwise they would have already known about its style and content. Its “Coverage” makes my book look like a total waste of time. No one would be interested based on what they have written about it. It isn’t as if I expected a rush of offers just a positive take on my book. If they didn’t think they could do that then they shouldn’t have suggested the option. Of course, this was all about money.
    The bottom line here is they took my money, paid someone to write a synopsis and give their opinion and now it will lie rotting in some file somewhere.
    I must admit to feeling foolish at even entering into this agreement with them. I have responded to their package and told them I would never recommend this “service” to another writer. I am not bitter- just angry at myself for being so gullible and them for misrepresenting what they were selling – false dreams.

    1. Pauline, I’m very sorry to hear that. Having worked in the entertainment industry for awhile, I knew that coverage was essentially a synopsis, and something I could do myself. Furthermore, if a studio was interested in any of my works, they would order their own coverage.

      I hope your book is doing well otherwise and thanks for sharing your story.

  3. Thank you P J Parsons to all who have helped me not make a fool of myself again. YES, Xlibris just sells services though not exactly what you want to buy in packages.
    If I didn’t believe in my book “The Queen’s Own Ulster Soldier” becoming a movie or mini series, I wouldn’t have sent it to print for exposure in the first place.
    Xlibris thinks it is doing me a favor by pressing me to pay them for a “treatment’ among other paying services they perform. They are masters in massaging our brains and our pockets to see what will float their way.
    They deserve respect so be on your guard when dealing with them, ‘a fool and his money are soon parted’, is their motto.
    I asked for the same respect with being privy to the correspondence that was supposed to be going on behind the scenes and I got back basically the same line, ‘must be highly confidential and any correspondence can only be kept within the company’. How come as the author, I can’t be trusted to know who wants to make my book into a movie? How can I trust them? The answer is I am a big girl now and I don’t need mothering, wish they would let my book be let to hover until I write the 8 page synopsis myself.

    Before tonight, I thought I was the only one out there who just wanted a fair go and value for money. One thing for sure, we have learned a lot about the way some publishing houses operate currently. ie Penguin gets first look at all the material of self publishers through Author Solutions (Xlibris) without agents, managers and paying royalties, AND Trueline Entertainment gets first look at material, nicely presented and ready for them to pick over without paying and competition from other film companies.
    Now why wouldn’t you love to run a company that has control of material, is guaranteed first choice with books for print and screen-written material AND all paid for by the self publishing authors?
    Don’t be bitter or angry with your selves, just keep objecting in internet complaints to being manipulated by these master marketeers with Filipino English names.
    As I said before, my book “The Queen’s Own Ulster Soldier” will be a movies one day,

      1. Please dear self publishing authors, don’t waste another dollar or pound on these rip off companies. You can not buy a film maker’s attention the way Xlibris are selling.
        You are right PJ about the harassment, it never seems to stop. I don’t think the so called numerous marketing consultants sued on to me in a 48 hour time slot, know what is going on. Check out a scam connection with the laundering of withholding royalty money owed to self publishers going through Nigeria – country code 978 from your ISBN book number and JP Morgan Bank in America. There is a US lawyer who is putting up a class action for Americans who have been ripped off, as well as avoiding the collection of TAX money. No one outside or even perhaps, the US seem to be getting the exemptions.
        I wish I had something positive to say about Xlibris but there so many layers of other companies that the research has taken me to, I have had to stop wasting my time.
        Maybe it is timely for the legitimate film industry to consider restructuring their own negotiating with self publishers instead of through the old, tired and now corrupt publishing links.
        I will be definitely reading your book as it sounds like we do our research thoroughly. I hope you do the same by reading mine and send me your comments.

  4. Thank you so much for your comments. I-Universe called me a month ago and asked me to pay them $1800 to have my book, Emperor’s Eyes, displayed at the Frankfurt Book Exposition in the fall. I just got off the phone with them about this Holloywood movie deal. so glad I read your comments. thanks again!

  5. I just got a marketing call from iUniverse suggesting my book “Dark Side of the Looking Glass” is the perfect kind of book for the film industry. And they would suggest a “Hollywood Treatment” package for only $2500, a retail value of $3749!) This available only for a limited time. Or, I could really get serious and go for the “Full Hollywood Screenplay Option” at a discounted price of only $9000.00 (a $16,299 value!) IUniverse has already siphoned several thousand from me, so I’m saying “no” and only wish I had seen all these revealing comments about them sooner. But better late than never! Thanks, all. Vernon D. Harris

    1. RUN! Ann as fast as you can. Lazy will cost you too much sorrow, it is not worth the pain.

      I, like thousands of others out there get the same “genuine” call of ‘just a few thousand pounds/dollars and they can get you up in “Lights”. There is no such thing as a free ride to stardom for writers, can you name any?

      If you want to write for screen, learn how to convert your book yourself and offer it direct to TV/film studio via a paid up contract etc. Otherwise, your work will be interrupted by a Pilipino or some other country where your English becomes a horror movie or worse still, you are thought of as illiterate by your friends.

      Sorry that I am so cynical but you really should protect your intellectual property better. I didn’t and I am still paying for it because no one will tell you in case they hurt your feelings.

      Good luck with the learning curve of publishing with genuine people

      – Try InHouse Publishing, they haven’t let me down so far. I think Ocean Reeve might give you some free advise about marketing to the right people if you want something other than a printed book.

      – Best of luck

      – Carmel JOYCE Charlson

      1. Thank you for hammering this home again! Too many vulnerable people like me out there. These places are rolling in the dough!

  6. Universe sent me a note with my first and mysteriously last royalty check say I.g they are withholding money til I send them a tax form….My book The Loneliest Muse did attract a celebrity who wants to play a part though small but pivotal….until Disney calls….I will keep writing…btw…check out Smashwords…legit but you be the judge…

  7. Just got off the phone with an i/Universe Rep. He assures me that my book The Whippanini Man, has all the elements needed to make a movie (maybe i should subtitle it The Thriller From Mania…it would be a shoo in!) Most of us complain about these Authorhouse gangsters but no one has come up with a plan to unshackle the poor Self Publisher from their greedy little grasp! (I’m working on something…stay tuned).
    If everyone could be guided by the adage “There’s no such thing as a free lunch”, then you would know there’s no such thing as a free or simple access to Hollywood! Do the work…do the marketing…reap the rewards. (I’ve been checking out LuLu of late…anyone have any experience with them?)

    1. Just had another call today from iUniverse almost guaranteeing (but not, of course) that if I’ll just buy their service to submit it to Kirkus Reviews (They’ve already reviewed it for me — for a price of course!) to be distributed by them to their “people” that I’ll be on track to sell tons of books making it a best seller!

      Can anyone tell me why (as I’ve them) that if they think it’s so great, why don’t they want a piece of this pie by investing a little of their own on the author’s behalf? The answer’s obvious: They are just trying to sell services and not your book.

  8. Thank you all. Your comments have really helped me not to get into the Hollywood deal through self-publishers. I published my book with iuniverse. I think my book has all that is required for a movie. I keep dreaming about it and one day I know it will be on the screen… but after having read your comments, it will be through my own independent research of legitimate companies that will look at my work, it will not be iuniverse or Xilbris.

  9. Thanks. I was taking a final look at the Thruline “deal,” and I was about to go for it. I have since emailed him back, telling them that i couldn’t make the phone call. You saved me a bunch of money and probably a broken heart.

    1. Yeah it’s all a scam. If you want to get published write your own script and go directly to the producers in person. You will get a lot of people turning you down but all it takes is 1 yes. You have no change with paying $3,000 to a company who doesn’t know your story. You know your story best and you have the vision of how you want it to be told. Do it yourself.

  10. They’re still at it. I just got the “movie deal” e-mail from iUniverse, but having been burned on one of their so-called promotions before, I’m not even going to reply to it. It’s a shame how they milk people’s dreams.

    1. It really is. I’m sorry to hear they are still trying to sell these types of services. I wonder if they’ve had any ‘movie deals’ since they started offering. Thanks for the update!

      1. They say they have had movie deals but I highly doubt it. It’s just all a scam to get peoples money. People naturally get excited when their work is published and some will purchase all kinds of stuff to get exposure. It’s nest to expose your story yourself. You get much further and more out of it by self promoting.

      2. I agree! I’ve also had interest in one of my books to be adapted to screen. Sounds like you’ve got a good take on this whole situation — thanks for your comments!

      3. They have not had any movie deals. They lie and say they have. I am the author of “Back Up On Skis” and “When I Saw Heaven.” I have been approached many times by these types of services and every time I turn them down. Recently, I was approached by an actual company who wants to start working with me for free to get my name out there then as time goes on and I get more notice, I should get paid. No one should ever have to pay. If you want your story out there then make sure that you never have to put a cent down. If a company really wants you they will work with you at no charge to you. Either they pay you or they offer to put you in a magazine or on a show with no pay to you but also no charge to you. Never, ever fall for these types of scams that promise you exposure into Hollywood. They are just money taking thieves. A true company will never want anything from you except your story.

    2. I’m glad I published through them because I have gotten tons of exposure but that exposure came from people who read my book! I never used a service of iuniverse. I did my own promotion and it’s been good going at it alone.

      I get calls all the time from the thruline wanting to make a movie and I play with their heads because I know it’s a scam. It’s fun to play along.

    3. They will tell you that you have a great story and that they want to make your story into a movie. I can tell you that anyone who wants you to pay is a scam. Don’t do it. I have been approached by both scam artists and people who really are interested in making my story a movie. Today, I am in the process of talking to actual producers but they approached me and asked for nothing down. If it is real and not a scam you will never be asked for money. They will either want you to talk to them for free and publish your work in papers and magazines at no cost to you or they will want to pay you to have your story told. Never, ever pay a company. It does take time and it is a process. All I can say is just keep promoting yourself and keep at it. One day someone will notice you and want to help you get further along. It is not an easy business and it takes years to get noticed but just keep at it. Don’t fall for the scam.

      Iuniverse is good and they have been wonderful to me but don’t fall for their hollywood scam.

  11. I published several books. One was through Iuniverse and the other was from a different company. Both of my books sell a lot! Well, a funny story which makes me know that all these annoying calls from thruline is just a scam to tell.

    Today, I got another call from thruline entertainment. I have gotten so many calls from them and I usually ignore it. The reason I didn’t this time is because they kept calling.

    They promised that my book through iuniverse will become a movie but all I have to do is pay $3,000. I already know the process because I’ve done my research and I have friends in Hollywood who know the process too.

    Well, I naturally declined their services and when they asked why I said I need to ask my husband first. The man had the nerve to ask me if my husband would be on board and I could just not talk to him and just sign up for the service. Of course I have to talk to my husband first! No questions asked the spouse gets talked to about something like this. The man was not happy that I wanted to talk to my husband and he kept pushing me to just give him the money.

    I find it entertaining that these people try so hard to scam you and when they get nowhere they get flustered. It’s kind of fun to play with their minds a little and make them think you are actually interested. By doing so you waste their time so no one actually gets scammed and forks over the money!

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