…and other random things.
Back in March I had this 50% off coupon for LuLu’s conversion service. At the time, I hadn’t procured Calibre software and wasn’t making my own ePub editions–and I was curious about what it took to get my book into the iBookstore. It seemed worth a try since ‘Gadarene‘ the horror novel I wrote with cb Potts – is selling well on KINDLE. Print sales tanked because some jackass decided to post their e-book edition of Gadarene online –yep, 450 downloads in three months.
Each new graphic novel I wrote made Kindle sales grow for Gadarene, so I figured, what-the-hell-lets-try-this-lulu-conversion-thing. I sent my file, and MY ISBN [because I publish my work…not LuLu] mind you, I had to get a new ISBN for the Apple edition, because Apple insists that you cannot use a general ‘digital edition’ ISBN nor can you use the ‘print edition’ ISBN – it has to be an ISBN specific to an APPLE edition. [o_0] I know this because LuLu told me so, before converting my file for upload to iBookstore. I uploaded the file [with ISBN # as the file name] and sent it to LuLu. Got charged half price because of my coupon–[they charge about $87 to convert files to ePub–yes I know, they should wear masks when they take your money] and I waited.
In June I noticed that no sales were showing up in my ‘revenue’ box. I’ve an account at LuLu for my fan comics and novel doujinshi– it’s tiny so I never expect much. So I fire off an email asking ANYONE to update me on the status of Gadarene’s conversion. Nothing. I email twice more, and in the third email I demand a refund. I finally get a reply to that one [wow!] and they give me an APPLE ID# and tell me the book has been online since April.
So in July, I begin mildly promoting Gadarene at iBookstore–
In August I see there’s still no sales. KINDLE sales picked up for Gadarene because of the release of Loud Snow; they also sell a few print copies because I managed to get the pirated edition removed [I give up on print releases at this point because all who’ve read it for free are done with it]. iBookstore still has zero sales. I decide to check out the title myself on the iPad. I search for the title – NOTHING. I search for the subject [ ‘gay horror’] NOTHING. I search for my ISBN – NOTHING. I type in Tina Anderson – NOTHING. I type in the Apple ID # and— finally it shows up. My ISBN has been replaced by something LuLu owns, oh -and they’re listed as the publisher now. Not only have they effectively hobbled the ability to find my book, they also hijacked the book and slapped their own ISBN on there. Needless to say, I was peeved.
I emailed about this and I got a service rep that informed me that I needed to ‘start a new project’ for this title, and use my ISBN this time . Really? Are you kidding me? ISBNs aren’t cheap, and I buy them in bulk from Bowker–I used one for this edition because that’s what you told me to do. Now you want me to submit the same file so you can make a new ePub version of a book with this ‘NEW ISBN’ –the one that was sent to you back in March. What did you think those numbers were in the file that was sent to you? My weight in feathers? What about the title image and the summary and subject category info that was sent to you and registered with Bowker? You just ignored it and did what you wanted to do, right?
Fuck you LuLu.
If the book is selling at KINDLE and in print, but isn’t selling at iBookstore–what does that tell me? It tells me that YOU fucked up. I don’t want the book at iBookstore if no one can find it and your name is slapped all over it as publisher. This was the point of me assigning it an ISBN # from my own supply. Either fix what you did wrong – OR – remove the book and refund my money.
Let this be a warning kids, DO NOT GET ON iBOOKSTORE THROUGH LULU. The support service is poor, and they do what they want to do–not what you the publisher, tells them to do. I sent a final email today demanding a refund and my book be pulled because of this mess– I doubt I’ll see my money; I doubt they’ll fix the ISBN situation. I’m truly disappointed in the whole experience. I wish I could say – wow, my book sucks–I wont try that again…but it doesn’t suck. It’s selling everywhere else except the iBookstore. So I’m inclined to think that cb and I did a good job on the book…and LuLu just dropped the ball.