iUniverse ‘Trifecta’ Book Review Services Huge Ripoff

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. In-mid April, Author Solutions—the company that owns iUniverse and several other vanity press imprints—announced that all book reviews conducted through their review partners between April and December 2012 would be “sent to Meredith Vieira Productions (MVP) as a means to evaluate the books for Film or TV development consideration.” (Read the full press release.)

So, essentially, the company is doing authors a huge solid…so long as they’re good little customers and they promise to pay for it…

…out the ass.

Book review packages through Author Solutions, Inc. are conducted by “partners” Kirkus Indie Reviews, ForeWord Clarion Reviews and BlueInk Reviews. The finished book reviews are then forwarded to MVP where they will be promptly discarded evaluated by one of MVP’s representatives.

Author Solutions, Inc. claims this parntership will “provide authors with greater opportunities to have their books optioned for film and TV show consideration.” Hahaha. Sure it will.

Let me break this down for you all by taking a look at the numbers. The “Trifecta Review Service” is offered through at least four Author Solutions imprints: Xlibris, iUniverse, Trafford and Author House. It includes three standard (as opposed to expedited) caveat emptor reviews from Kirkus, ForeWord and BlueInk, and Author Solutions sells the Trifecta package to writers for a whopping $3,000.

I’ll pause a moment to let you guys release your WTFs into the world, but don’t use them all up just yet—it gets waaaay better.

Kirkus Indie Reviews, ForeWord Clarion Reviews and BlueInk Reviews exist independently of iUniverse or Xlibris or any other Author Solutions vanity press imprint. That means that as an author with a published book, you can put your big girl panties on and approach these reviewers directly. The cost to purchase these book review services without the scammy middleman? Well, let’s have a look.

Yes, that chart says what you think it does. Author Solutions companies mark up the cost of reviews by nearly 160% and then dare to spin this as an “opportunity” for writers to be discovered and have their works optioned for film or TV. Look at that chart again, would you? If you wanted, you could even upgrade to expedited reviews from each of the review companies, and you’d still save $1,595!

The only question I have is how does someone like Meredith Vieira agree to let her name be uttered in the same sentence with Author Solutions? I reached out to MVP via the email on the company’s very limited website, but have so far received no response.

*All prices valid as of 5/10/2012. To my knowledge, ForeWord does not offer an expedited service. Standard price was used to calculate “Expedited” column total.

Suggested Reading

iUniverse Complaints Draw Attention, Not Results
iUniverse Not Taking Customer Complaints Seriously
Author Solutions, Inc. Employee Cries ‘Scam’
iUniverse ‘Trifecta’ Book Review Services Huge Ripoff

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0 thoughts on “iUniverse ‘Trifecta’ Book Review Services Huge Ripoff

  1. Lawrence says:

    Not at all surprising. What about setting up social media? They charge $700. Come-on. They gave it to me as compensation and with four of their setups, I got messages to say I was blacklisted. So I had to redo everything. It is OK to pay for something if it is done right!

    • I noticed that about the social media package too–the pricing is absurd. I agree that paying for a social media service is fine, but for $700 they ought to be doing a lot more than just setting up a few accounts that get blocked for spam. 

  2. Glenda Brower says:

    Hey there–I was intrigued by your notice on these dubious Book Review Sites–I ‘d like to add my proverbial two cents, if you please.

    If you are a writer, and you respect your good work, avoid KIRKUS INDIE REVIEWS like the Bubonic… as in Plague.

    I am currently in a dispute with them over the worst possible review my good work of literary fiction could ever cull from the very depths of Hell. Yep. I trusted like a fool, that a company of their repute would surely, and for the price of $575.00 ( I was in a rush to print), that I would, at least ,get a full read of the manuscript for that price. Well, that clearly did not happen. What I got was a formulaic schtick on what was a bare, scant assessment of the novel: the reviewer made sure to check correct spellings of character names, their basic role, any little characteristic to throw in to “show” that the reviewer “read” the work–and just took it from there.

    The so called “problems” with the narrative simply did not exist. There was a major aberration of the story arc as a whole and therefore, the reviewer just summed it all up the way he/she wanted to see it. After all, it doesn’t matter, not really. KIRKUS will cover him/her, under the shield of Anonymity and their motto: “World’s Toughest Critics”, regardless of what they do or say.

    When I tried to point out to them that I could prove that this reviewer didn’t really read my book, they ignored my simple suggestions: that they contact the reviewer in a live call and simply ask one or two definitive questions. Yet– they took my money. And they refuse a refund. Again, I am in dispute and it’s not completely over–but this is a scheme. A sham and a type of fraud cleverly wrapped up as a nice little package for the independent writer who is looking for some support. Partake at your PERIL!

    KIRKUS ended my pursuit without giving any of my considerations a try, or even offering to have another reviewer take a stab (actually, I wouldn’t trust another…) but they are hanging on to my money, protecting their reviewer while I must request that they bury the thing and walk away in absolute disgrace. That’s what you get when your vulnerable, and trust snakes like KIRKUS to save the day. They’re criminals. STAY AWAY.

    • I appreciate your commenting on paid reviews. Given Author Solutions reputation, it doesn’t surprise me at all that their review “partners” are also getting critical reviews.

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