To All Authors: What I learned about self-publishing with Xlibris. The author must have nerves of steel.
People write for many reasons, and some take the next step and publish what they have written. I like to write children’s stories, and those close to me convinced me to publish them. It is nice to hold a printed book and see vibrant illustrations. The characters finally come to life!
All authors have the desire that readers will like their book and hold the hope that they will fly off bookshelves like hotcakes. I am not that naïve; I know the limits of self-publishing.
Self-publishing companies come to the rescue of authors who want to see their work published. They promise to publish books in a few months, and it sounds realistic and believable. After all, how long could it possibly take to make a decent children’s book with a dozen illustrations? Not that long, I was told when I originally researched self-publishing companies.
I read some negative reviews too. I thought these bad reviews were written by disgruntled people, authors who didn’t want to be involved in their projects. Publishers are not mind readers, and the authors must tell them how they envision their book. Little did I know that I would become one of those people—an author who would write an article, this article, because of a bad experience with a self-publishing company.
I’ve never considered myself a complainer, nor am I a quitter. I thought I could handle anything, until I started working with Xlibris’ representatives.
In January 2011, I decided to publish some of my stories, and after researching self-publishing companies, I contacted Xlibris. Their representative, who was a very good salesperson, convinced me to try Xlibris. Everything he said sounded promising, and after more research, I agreed and submitted my two manuscripts.
The first representative spoke with knowledge and confidence. I asked him to read my stories and give me an idea which package would be the most helpful. They were my first books, and as a beginner in the book business, I needed all the help I could get. In my wildest dreams, I would never have believed a self-publishing company could cause such nightmares and leave such a bad taste about publishing that I must share my experience with the public.
All my life I’ve run businesses, including my own, and for many years I’ve worked with the public. I am all business when it comes to making a good product. I think any self-respecting businessman or woman would do the same. The rules are the same—you give your customers satisfactory service and they come back for more. Business is business, and no matter what kind of customers you serve, you want the same result: to keep your customers happy. If you are lucky, they will spread the word about the quality services you provide, and with that comes success and recognition. It is as simple as that.
I am not sure if Xlibris’ representative read my stories, but he advised me to buy one of their most expensive packages, which he said would cover all my needs. I took his advice under consideration, and in January 2011 I purchased their Executive package for two children’s books of 44 pages each, including illustrations and marketing services, for $ 9,300.00.
In the beginning I felt broke but relieved. I naively thought the publishing process would be taken care of. I was dealing with professionals! That was when I learned that money does not buy happiness. The Executive package was to cover all services: editing my manuscript, creating illustrations, then marketing would kick in, and everything would run smoothly and peacefully. At that time, it sounded promising and encouraging. I could take off my shoes, sit back, and enjoy the ride.
By nature, I am a businessperson. I always take care of things and oversee the products I make. I pay attention to details that are important to customers and me, especially when it comes to children. I would never cheat little customers. My final product must look like one I would buy for myself. If I am not attracted to my product, then why should anyone else buy it?
Shortly thereafter, my manuscripts were edited. When I received the manuscripts back, I found notes with a few corrections and a release form attached.
“A few commas, a few wrong words, and so few suggestions. Not bad for a foreigner,” I thought proudly. English is one of the few languages I speak, and I relied heavily on the professional team to help me with editing.
“That’s how a manuscript should look?” I asked my representative.
“We have the best people in the publishing field. If you sign a release form, the manuscript will be ready for the next stage, and we will quickly move to layout,” he replied.
One day my daughter, who is a math teacher, read my edited manuscripts and found many grammar mistakes that had been missed. I quickly realized how poorly my manuscript had been edited and how many mistakes had been overlooked.
“A math teacher against a professional team? Unfair! Not an even battle,” I thought. I wrote a complaint, and their representative promised me they would correct the grammar mistakes that their editor had missed.
I honestly believed they would correct their errors, and I concentrated on the illustrations. Things became progressively worse when I received the first sketches for the characters in my book. They were done horribly, as if a small child had drawn them. I kindly explained to the representative that they should come up with better choices for illustrations. They did, but they still looked immature, and none of them presented my story accurately.
I rolled up my sleeves and went on the Internet. For weeks, I searched for art samples and pictures, spending many hours emailing, describing how I envisioned the mouse that was the main character of my book. I sent many instructions on how to draw his face, his clothes, his whiskers, but the artists still missed his whiskers on a few illustrations.
“To heck with whiskers,” I thought. “Children wouldn’t notice them anyway.” I tossed in bed night after night. I could not sleep for months.
“A mouse without whiskers? Insane!” I changed my mind.
In the end, Carlo the mouse came out really cute … after many sleepless nights, after searching for samples, pictures, drawings, sketches, and after switching illustrators and representatives. I finally complained to customer service and threatened to withdraw my projects.
When illustrator Juli Hasegawa came in to the picture and saved my illustrations, she was by far the best illustrator I’d worked with and came closest to what I had envisioned for my book.
My first book, Carlo the Mouse on Vacation, slowly moved ahead. The illustrations were colored and the book went to the production stage. As I mentioned previously, I am a foreigner, and I heavily relied on the competence of Xlibris’ professional team. That was why I bought a complete package. Correcting English grammar is not my cup of tea.
After Xlibris sent me a galley to look at and approve, I found that the production team had made more mistakes than I could imagine. After layout, their correction team did not bother to check pages or text. Illustrations were cut on each side, and words were smashed or ran into each other. I made note of the corrections and sent them back to Xlibris, but in the process of their corrections on the galley, they made more mistakes. The galley went back and forth for months, but the correction team apparently never reread what they corrected and sent the galley back with additional mistakes.
After months of struggling to get a clean, corrected galley, I wrote another complaint, but there was no answer. Customer service at Xlibris never took the time to call or had the courtesy to answer my concerns. I wrote a letter to the CEO, Kevin Weiss, but it seems he ignored my problems as well.
In the fall, we eventually reached the final galley stage, but after a math teacher had found so many mistakes in the galley, I did not trust Xlibris with grammar, and asked to check the manuscript once more time. They said they would.
Before I signed the release form, I noticed additional mistakes they had made, ones which I had previously directed them to correct. I asked the production team to be sure there would be no grammar mistakes in the galley and to be certain they used the final galley for printing. The representative promised there would be no problem with the galley.
After reading my story so many times, I had it memorized and could see it in my dreams. At that point, I should have given up, but I was determined to finish this project. Xlibris would not break my will and cause me to quit. I was almost there. I could smell my printed book. I wanted the adorable Carlo the mouse to see the world. I had created that funny mouse and I wanted children to meet him. Let the children judge and decide whether Carlo would live or not. I signed the release form and got congratulations from my Xlibris representative.
Finally, my first book was going to see the world. My picture was printed on the back of the book, just as I had dreamed. Great! I’m officially an author! Who would have believed it? I wrote the book in English! Carlo the mouse will meet the kids!
The holidays arrived … too soon. Santa wasn’t ready. Holding my first book, I suddenly noticed sticky tape on each corner. I quickly flipped through the book and found that the production team never took off the tape that held the pages. They printed my first book with tape on each page corner.
Angry, I wrote another book about Carlo the mouse struggling to survive a publishing company. This time the tape marks fit, because the poor animals had to create the book themselves after their struggles with Xlibris. Maybe Xlibris would be interested in publishing this book for free, but for now I decided to concentrate on my first two books and let them finish my projects.
All my pride and glory vanished when I saw that the illustrations were cut on each side again and appeared too large. Someone in the design department had messed up the size of the book, which should have been 8.5 by 11 inches. The pages were uneven and not centered. I was stunned at how sloppily the book was printed, fuzzy and unclear. The grammar mistakes that they had promised to fix had not been corrected. The design team had messed up the galley and let it go to printing without additional checking. After complaining, I received an explanation from my representative: “You owe us money to fix the tape marks.”
I stopped breathing and turned blue! Previously, many times on the phone, I had reminded the Xlibris representative to remove these tape marks.
“We would never print the book with the tape marks,” they reassured me.
If I could cry, I would, but I was in such a state of shock that I had forgotten how to do so. I wanted to howl like a wolf during the full moon…
“Did I place them there?” I asked.
“You signed a release form,” was their answer.
Once again, Carlo the mouse was in jeopardy. I happened to like my adventurous mouse and did not want him to disappear forever. I swallowed my pride and wrote another complaint. Carlo the Mouse on Vacation was my first book. I had worked so hard to give life to this funny, adorable mouse.
I contacted top management and the book was sent back to the production team, but I had lost my trust in Xlibris and hired my own editor, who did a great job by editing a new galley. Xlibris removed the tape and did a new layout for an additional $300.00.
Meanwhile, the marketing team lunched press and newswire releases, but the book was not available for sale. What was the point of advertising something that wasn’t available for sale? What a waste of money and time. The website wasn’t created either, and links that had been advertised went nowhere. Oh, Xlibris!
The marketing team had little knowledge of how the technical side of the Internet works. I hired my own website expert to deal with the Xlibris Internet marketing team, and for months, he directed them how to create a simple website, while he was working on my own website.
I don’t blame the representative. I didn’t know much about the Internet myself. The difference is that I don’t work for Xlibris! That’s why I bought an Executive package for almost $10,000.00. What is Xlibris’ excuse? They claim to be professionals, but have so little to offer. It took over two months and many emails to get a new galley redone.
After more than a year of working with Xlibris on my book Carlo the Mouse on Vacation, my adventure with Xlibris is finally over. The end of my suffering … Carlo the mouse will live! Now I can celebrate my first published book, Carlo the Mouse on Vacation, which by the way looks amazing, bursting with color and fun. My nieces and nephews love Carlo! They inspired me to write a series of ten adventures of Carlo the mouse inside the hospital.
The first version of Carlo the Mouse on Vacation is available in print on Amazon and Barnes & Noble and on most e-devices. I did not trust Xlibris with the e-book, which they had promised to convert for free, and had it done by EbookIt, which turned out to be an excellent company.
Hooray for Carlo the Mouse on Vacation! I hope my little readers will like this tricky little mouse. One thing I can promise Xlibris: Carlo the mouse will live and travel the world. I will make sure, because he deserves to be heard and seen.
After a year of fighting for cute Carlo the mouse, I have grown a very thick skin and have fought hard for my second book, The Trees Have Hearts, which has a special place in my heart. While working on TheTrees Have Hearts, I oversaw every word and every stroke in each illustration. No more mistakes!
For many months, I worked hard, but Xlibris was the best school I have ever attended. The experience I had with Xlibris taught me a great lesson: I learned how to make good books.
Now Xlibris has finally published my second book, The Trees Have Hearts, which looks amazing, bursting with vibrant colors and printed on quality paper. Once again, special thanks to Juli Hasegawa, a talented Filipina artist, who saved my two books.
I have been more than patient over the last year, but after struggling with Xlibris, I had no other option than to write this blog post and explain everything that has happened in my interactions with this company. If I can help at least one author to avoid my mistakes, it was well worth it to write this post. I am right here, one e-mail away.
Although I was exasperated, I would not give up before my project was completed to my satisfaction. I am not a nightmare—I do not go away.
What have I learned about the publishing process with Xlibris?
1. I wrote another children’s book.
2. Xlibris taught me how to make my own book.
3. Xlibris can hire me as a consultant if they wish.
4. Now I know what not to do and can help others.
Authors are not mean people. They write books, and most of the time they are harmless and depend too much on self-publishing companies, which promise to help and to create a good product. Authors pay them for their services and have the right to expect professionals who care.
I would like the folks at Xlibris to open their eyes and see what’s happening. They can compete with other book publishing companies if they are willing to pay attention, listen to customers, and learn from their mistakes. They produced two great books for me, Carlo the Mouse on Vacation and The Trees Have Hearts, which can easily compete with any publishing house. Our names are written next to each other, and now we can both be proud of the product we created. I am not a complainer, or God forbid, a quitter. I just like to write children’s stories and quality books.
Here is what I learned after working with Xlibris for almost a year:
1) Xlibris could be a capable company if its teams learn how to communicate with each other and the writer.
2) Xlibris could do much better if it hired qualified, well-trained, caring professional workers.
3) Xlibris has talented people, but they are lost between representatives and authors.
4) Xlibris could provide a higher quality product if it did not use cheap labor.
5) Xlibris could print vibrant books if it used good printing subcontractors.
6) Xlibris could stand up to any publisher if it provided the services it promises.
7) Xlibris must learn to provide help for the author, not the other way around.
8) Xlibris must take an interest in selling books and have a better marketing department.
9) Xlibris must learn how to direct authors, not make them do all the work for their representatives.
10) Xlibris could produce the best books if it reads its bad reviews and learns from them.
Authors, take note! Never give up, do your homework, and don’t be afraid to stand up to your publisher. Remember, they work for you. You pay them your hard-earned money. I am a beginning author, but I am not a beginner in business. People shop with their eyes. The product that looks the best sells the best, and both parties benefit.
But what do I know? I am just another author. www.mrsdbooks.net
31 likes ·   •  243 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on April 19, 2013 11:33 • 55,966 views • Tags: books, indie-authors, publishing, self-published-authors, self-publishing, xlibris
Comments (showing 1-50 of 243) (243 new)    post a comment »

message 1: by Amanda (last edited Aug 15, 2013 02:08AM) (new)

Amanda Howard For Goodness sakes Mrs D. WHY don't you ever try getting a contract with a REAL publisher? One whose business is selling book (not selling "packages" to wannabes) and providing royalties. You still haven't learned the lesson that REAL publishers DO NOT CHARGE AUTHORS ONE PENNY!!!


message 2: by Reuben (new)

Reuben Dunn I notice that your concern with the poor level of service,and professionalism didn't detrimental you from using them for your other books.


message 3: by Mrs. (last edited Jun 19, 2013 07:10PM) (new)

Mrs. D. Thank you for your comment, Reuben. As I explained in my post,I purchased the Executive package from Xlibris for two books at the same time. In January 2011 Xlibris started working on my both books at the same time, but because they changed illustrators and representatives several times and provided very low quality work, both books were published months apart. They are still maintaining my website, which was part of my package. It is very hard to make them update it with new information. Unfortunately, I stuck with a company who does not care about their costumers until they write complaints. It was a bad decision to purchase all services in one package. As I mentioned in my post, Xlibris can make a good product when pushed to do so, but at what cost? Now I am working with Dog Ear on three new books, one is already published and two are coming soon. Great publisher to work with and I can highly recommend this company to anyone. They provide excellent services and take pride in the product they make. I will continue to work with them on my new books in the future as well. Thank you for reading my post.


message 4: by Amanda (last edited Jun 20, 2013 01:31AM) (new)

Amanda Howard Reuben I notice you can't even speak English and you work for Xlbiris. That's rather shocking.
(FYI you don't use the word "detrimental" in that way. It makes you sound stupid.)


message 5: by Mrs. (new)

Mrs. D. Amanda wrote: "For Goodness sakes Mrs D. WHY don't you ever try getting a contract with a REAL publisher? One whose business is selling book (not selling "packages" to wannabes) and providing royalties. You still..."
Thank you for your posts, Amanda. I wish that traditional publishing was as easy as we think. It is easier said then done. As a first time author, it is almost impossible to get children's books published by a traditional publisher. There are many books to chose from and they will only accept a manuscript if you have an agent and are well-known and have some connections. If accepted, the author has very little control over the input for the artwork, final editing and how the book will appear to the reader. These days, the author must do most of the marketing as does a self published author. I felt that I had a better chance to be noticed by readers as a self published author and not waste years knocking on closed doors.
PS.I also noticed "detrimental" in "Reuben's" post. I wonder if he is the same "Rueben" I refused to work with at Xlibris?? Thank you again Amanda.


message 6: by Karen (new)

Karen Please log onto

https://www.bbb.org/consumer-complain...

from anywhere in the world, to lodge a complaint about Xlibris ripping authors off by not releasing correct sales figures from distributors. The more of us that lodge complaints, the more chance of matters being corrected.


message 7: by Joanne (new)

Joanne Mazzotta Mrs. D. wrote: "Thank you for your comment, Reuben. As I explained in my post,I purchased the Executive package from Xlibris for two books at the same time. In January 2011 Xlibris started working on my both book..."

Mrs D, two books is more than Xlibris can handle. They have a huge language problem and some don't know the difference between him and her. Shameless group they are.

They trick you often with corrections. They correct something, you sign off on it and they print it incorrect, then charge you for another correction because you signed off. They broke me for over 20K and still spelled my name wrong on the cover. God forgive them for touting professionalism. It doesn't exist at Xlibris.


message 8: by Joanne (new)

Joanne Mazzotta Xlibris made spelling errors on their own copy. The Promotional they wrote had several errors and for the life of me I couldn't get them to correct them. They pasted their own words on Amazon with those misspellings and nothing on God's green could get them to remove it. It was more than embarrassing because I didn't write it. They sent me book marks with someone else's work printed on it and that took a month to correct because I contacted the CEO of Author Solutions threatening to pull out of the contract and demand a full refund. They drove me nuts.

Beware of Xlibris.
I am now pulling out of my contract and have published with Createspace for free. Good grief!


message 9: by Joanne (new)

Joanne Mazzotta Reuben wrote: "I notice that your concern with the poor level of service,and professionalism didn't detrimental you from using them for your other books."

Are you the person at Xlibris who called my son a "she?" And called me a "He?" That was a battle from hell to get corrected. My book was a memoir about the death of my son. The emotional labor I put into that book was painful and Xlibris made is more painful. I hate Xlibris with a burning passion. They belong in jail for ripping off innocent people and not standing up to their promises. False advertising is a crime.


Shell The Belle Thank God I found this post!! I have just received a phone call and subsequent email from Xlibris, and yes, although the rep sounded foreign and kept referring to me as Ms Shelley instead of just Shelley or by my surname, other than that he gave a very good speel and sales pitch.

Obviously I googled the company and hence found this post.

I wont be using them. Thanks so much for the heads up!!!


Shell The Belle Joanne wrote: "Reuben wrote: "I notice that your concern with the poor level of service,and professionalism didn't detrimental you from using them for your other books."

Are you the person at Xlibris who called ..."


So sorry to hear of your loss of your Son. Hope things with your book worked out in the end xxx


message 12: by Noeleen (new)

Noeleen Delamore-smith I am so pleased I found this post as I was thinking of using Xlibris for my upcoming book. Not a chance now.


message 13: by Joe L. (new)

Joe L. Evans Shell The Belle wrote: "Thank God I found this post!! I have just received a phone call and subsequent email from Xlibris, and yes, although the rep sounded foreign and kept referring to me as Ms Shelley instead of just S..."

Hey, I just got a call today with a follow up email. I'm glad I googled and found this post. I sure won't be pursuing these folks as an option.


message 14: by Mrs. (new)

Mrs. D. Jo wrote: "OMG. This sounds very similar to the experience I have just had. Thank God for my husband, who doesn't take crap from anyone, and his willingness to take over my phone call and give Xlibris what-..."

Thank you for your comment. In my post I described my experience with Xlibris. I did not receive the results I expected from their marketing, but some authors may have different experiences. I do a lot of marketing on my own, but this can be very costly. Facebook, Twitter and GoodReads may help, but you must know your target. Good luck with your project, and I wish you the best.


message 15: by Mrs. (new)

Mrs. D. Joanne wrote: "Reuben wrote: "I notice that your concern with the poor level of service,and professionalism didn't detrimental you from using them for your other books."

Are you the person at Xlibris who called ..."


I am very sorry for your loss, Joanne. I hope your book is out and doing great, and the memories of your son will live forever. God bless.


message 16: by Jo (new)

Jo Hyland Thanks for the kind wishes, and may we all be immortalized by our books, especially your son, Joanne. Very sorry for your loss.


message 17: by Susiep (new)

Susiep WOW!
Thank you, for all your time writing this out! You have helped me.. I received a call last nite, also. Oddly, I found your blog, through a Google search. My caller, Rhea said, "they", were from Random House and "they" (said multiple times),.. are from Penguin and "they" were just bought by Random House.. - 'not true, obviously, -UGH!
Fortunately, I ask for a break down email. When I opened the email today, it.. said Xlibris..?? 'and no where did the email say, Random House or Penguin. RED Flag..
Luckily, too, my finished book is about Christmas. I made it clear that my aim is for next year, and every time I mentioned it, she just didn't get it or had selective hearing. I kept repeating, the fact that, I am submitting my book to publishers for next year's season.. 'this is when I stopped and ask for an email.
'RED Flag for future writers.. 'how do they get our numbers..? The only self publisher, I contacted was Digipod, last Spring??

Your labor is not in vain, Mrs. D.. You have helped me, and you can read, that you are helping so many future published authors.. my heart goes out to you, for your time lost.. but, it sounds like you went to the school of "hard knocks" and that is better than any course.
Thank God, it was you, because, you tediously took the time to spell out all that you encountered, and the first part is almost exactly what I was being sold.. scary!!
You are an accomplished writer, in more ways than one. Tonight, you are a hero.. in my BOOK!
'happy writing to you my new friend! Susie


message 18: by Balázs (new)

Balázs Pataki Joanne wrote: I am now pulling out of my contract and have published with Createspace for free

I really can't understand why would anyone pay for all these packages by AH, xL and all those scammers when any self-respecting author should be able do everything by him/herself. I mean, you can publish an ebook or paperback with zero production costs if using CreateSpace. CS is maybe not the best but definitely the easiest solution.

Sure, there's a few things authors usually can't do on their own, like illustrations and cover art. But it's clear that AH & Co aren't much of a help. So if you have to pay anyway, why spend money for shitty service if you can do it in a way that leaves you in charge?

Let's see some inevitable expenses for a 60 000 words novel:
Beta readers: $70-100
proofreader/editor: can be expensive but let's calculate with $700-1000
Cover art: $400
Professional ebook text conversion: $70-150
One month advertisement campaign on Facebook: depends on the size of the target group, let's say $250
Sponsored reviews in literary blogs: $50-100

So, let's say below the line it's $2000 which is in line with what you'd have to pay for an entry-level or intermediate package BUT:
- you pick the people working for you and stay in charge of all the process.
- you will keep a clear overview of your budget - no risk of being ripped off.
- you divide the risks - if one part of the process is problematic, like the artist not delivering your cover art on time, you only have to deal with that single issue, separately from the rest, unlike you'd have to with a package deal.

Of course, authors have to do a lot of research and correspondence to find and deal with all the betas, editors, artists and all but this way we can ensure that our money is well spent - unlike with package deals.

Just my two cents.


message 19: by Val (new)

Val Taylor Thank you for this insightful review. I was casting around for publishers and XLibris contacted me. As soon as the rep started throwing out comments about Hollywood taking on my story within the first 5 minutes of talking to me, I was very wary. She also kept mentioning Random House and I'm sure the idea was for me to jump on board straight away. I thanked her and said I was considering several companies and I would contact them if I decided to go ahead. After reading your review, I will most certainly NOT be doing so.
I was an English and ESL teacher for many years, so have been able to check and proof-read my manuscript very thoroughly. The thought that a company would get hold of my work and mangle it is very disturbing. I am almost certain that I will go the way of the last commentator and use Create Space so I can keep control of everything.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to write your review. It's been most helpful.


Shell The Belle Balázs wrote: "Joanne wrote: I am now pulling out of my contract and have published with Createspace for free

I really can't understand why would anyone pay for all these packages by AH, xL and all those scammer..."


THank you for this Info, Balazs, I have copied this and pasted it to my notes for future reference. Great info, thanks again!!


message 21: by Susiep (new)

Susiep Susiep wrote: "WOW!
Thank you, for all your time writing this out! You have helped me.. I received a call last nite, also. Oddly, I found your blog, through a Google search. My caller, Rhea said, "they", were fr..."


'again, Thank you, (for all the time and research loaned to the post).. to you, Balazs

'this is enlightening and thoughtful! I will check out the avenues you suggested and totally agree, that, if I am going to spend that much money, I should have more control in the process. Also, the profits come back, 'instead of such a large portion going to this type of publisher.

'enjoy your day!


message 22: by Sebastian (new)

Sebastian Listen Random House and Penguin have merged. I know it's very confusing for people because these are the BIGGEST publisher in the world. It now is the biggest publisher in the world and their real clients who come through agents are some of the biggest names in the world. HOWEVER Xlibris is a VANITY PRESS they bought as a sideline to make money during 2008 recession. And that is all it is a sideline to make money and the people who actually run Xlbiris are scammers. If you pay out money upfront you DO NOT have a real publishign deal. You are going to get scammed. You are a joke to Xlbiris, and to Random House and Penguin who only care about their real publishing and real clients and could care less about the vanity scam side operation that funds the real publishing. . http://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/20...

If you don't want to get scammed you don't pay. You can either try real agents or you can use Smashwords or Createspace for free if you feel you need to self publish


message 23: by Sebastian (new)

Sebastian Just because Penguin owns this scam vanity press doesn't mean that any book by an Xlibris author will ever be anything other than a joke to the real publisher. The real Penguin press and Random House people only publish and make successful people that come to their real press through agents they do not look at any of the Xlbiris stuff that any boob can pay a small fortune to have printed up badly by Xlbiris. In fact if you pay for an Xlbiris scam package you can guarentee that you will be laughed at by Penguin and Random House as a joke. It's not the way they do things with their real clients at all. Their real clients don't pay to be published. they come through an agent vetted as being high quality work that will actually sell in book shops very different from the Xlbiris scam.


message 24: by Susiep (new)

Susiep 'thank you, again posters!
'just received another call from them.. so I was ready..
'and said that they are reputable!! .. and to go to BBB .. 'so I did, 'while she waited.. but, I made her give me her real company name.. 'there are over 300 reports for "Author Solutions", (which is the correct company they fall under).. Oh, she says, they are all satisfied.. and I relied, .. Let me compared your company to a reputable publisher.. do you think they also have "300!!" complaints? - so, she wants to email me something real quick for me to read..
I ask the caller, why she kept saying she was Radom House, last week??.. she said, maybe, You (meaning, me) have read a Bad Blog.. and .. I will send you an email.. she did..
Well, it was a very long email (so it was ready ahead) with information about "bad blogs".. (that must be us :)!)
So, good work, "Bad Bloggers", that might be the best name, I've been called in a while.. Beats the heck out of "Sucker!"


message 25: by Estella (new)

Estella I am grateful to all who have posted their comments/experiences with Xlibris. Like Susiep, I decided to Google Xlibris to find additional information on the company. Thankfully, I found Mrs. D's blog and went on to read it, along with the posts! I contacted Xlibris online a few days ago, just to get some information and direction. Since then, I receive at least two phone calls a day (I attend daytime classes, I do not check my phone until evening), as well as numerous email contacts (the only one I read contained grammatical errors). That, in and of itself, prompted me to do further research before replying. I am sure glad I did! I have absolutely no idea how to go about writing/publishing a book. What I do know...is, I have a story that needs to be told. I was hoping to get basic information so I could determine what my next step would be. With all that being said...thank you all for taking time to post, I certainly learned a lot!


Shell The Belle Susiep wrote: "'thank you, again posters!
'just received another call from them.. so I was ready..
'and said that they are reputable!! .. and to go to BBB .. 'so I did, 'while she waited.. but, I made her give ..."


Ha ha good for you - "So, good work, "Bad Bloggers", that might be the best name, I've been called in a while.. Beats the heck out of "Sucker!" " sure does girl !! That's just classic LOOL Thank goodness for bad blogs, if they are so concerned about them they should improve their services so they dont end up on them then!!


message 27: by Estella (new)

Estella I absolutely agree! I could get on a soapbox, but I will save everyone. I will say this though...if businesses/companies would show more interest in their customers/clients, by LISTENING and paying ATTENTION...I think they would find, they wouldn't have to be so concerned with their bottom line.


message 28: by Susiep (new)

Susiep Estella wrote: "I am grateful to all who have posted their comments/experiences with Xlibris. Like Susiep, I decided to Google Xlibris to find additional information on the company. Thankfully, I found Mrs. D's bl..."

.. back to "writing and publishing" ..
Estella, I liked your line - "What I do know...is, I have a story that needs to be told"..
, I say, "EXACTLY!".. 'that sums up how a first time author gets the bug to write, you may have never thought of writing or publishing before, without a situation or story to tell. So, gone is the notion, that you have to cut corners or hurry publishing, for me, at least. Hopefully for anyone who reads Mrs. D's blog, they will take the gift of her blog and move in the right direction. If your story is worth telling, then give it a viable start, with (like Balazs suggests in message #19) a free or reputable solution/company.


message 29: by Estella (new)

Estella I wrote poetry when I was younger, and toyed with the idea of "maybe someday". Then came marriage and kids... and well, here I am. I never really considered writing a BOOK, until recently. The past few years I have been thinking more and more about writing, it almost seems like a compulsion.
I noticed Createspace was mentioned, which will be included in my research. I am thankful to have found this information, it proved to be so helpful. Otherwise, I might have stumbled my way into a nightmare!


message 30: by Marlene (last edited Nov 18, 2013 02:58PM) (new)

Marlene Potoura Thankyou for this. I got an email from a guy and then half an hour later he called me. He said Xlibris was interested in my Novel...his accent sounded strange and he kept on saying wow...wow ..wow...so i decided to Google Xlibris and found this. I am thankful...this is my first Novel to be published and I got 4 more to go...


message 31: by Susiep (new)

Susiep 'great news, Marlene!
Mrs. D's blog, has not only saved me from a horrible publisher.. it has a wealth of knowledge.. Also, your library should have quite a few self-publishing books- mine did!


message 32: by Marlene (new)

Marlene Potoura That's right Susiep ....I Googled Dog ear and it looks excellent. Any comments on this?


message 33: by Gary (new)

Gary Hi, Mrs. D,

I've just been reading the above posts. And agree that these people CAN put out a great product. But you do have to stand your ground. I've published two books with Xlibris and my third will be out soon. As far as I can read, your biggest mistake was buying the most expensive package.

They are a hard headed bunch of folks. My problem with them mainly comes from post production. For a year I received books with high gloss pages and then my first order this year came in mat finish. When I complained, they said that my books had been out sourced to another printer in another state who only did Mat finish. If I wanted high gloss then I would have to specify each time I ordered. That worked for awhile.Then I ordered a shipment of hardbacks, I was excited to get them because I had lucked up and found a market within the county library system and was selling them like hotcakes. But when I opened the box, I found a hot mess. I couldn't use any of them. Ever who worked in printing and assembly screwed up. They were lopsided and placed crooked within the cover. One side was higher than the other when you stood them up. The covers overlapped or under lapped. It was just a mess. When I complained, I was told to send in my authors copy ( which was perfect BTW) for comparison. Then there would be a committee set up to review the flaws. I lost it and refused to send in my only decent copy. I pitched such a fit that they called and had UPS to pick them up. I finally received another set of books. These were perfect. My latest problem is out sourcing printers again. My books are suppose to be printed in NJ. But they recently bought a printer in California and out sourced me. Now I think that I have that fixed. So you have to stay on their ass, so to speak.

I too have had to research online to find examples of what I wanted my illustrations to look like. This third book has been the toughest. This is a three book set and the main three characters in the first book show up in the other two. Finally got it right after two months. It has been a headache, but I'm eventually getting what I want.

The real secret to the spending part is knowing what your goal is. Knowing your target audience and how you want to market them. If you don't, these people will try and sell you the moon in services that you don't need.

Seriously, I would have went somewhere else long ago if these three books weren't a series and I wanted to keep a certain amount of continuity and thought changing in mid stream would mess that up.

I would like to find another publisher though and have looked briefly into DogEar publishing. They seem to have great prices but I don't think they have and art department. I will definitely need a company that does, as I have problems with stick figures. Other than printing services, I don't think I will be publishing anymore books with them.


message 34: by Mrs. (new)

Mrs. D. Thank you for your great comments everyone. I am glad my post helped some authors make the right decisions. Most important it helped to avoid my mistakes. Since then, I published three new books, illustrated ten more, and wrote a six book series on Carlo the Mouse. I am happy to share great news, two of my books The Trees Have Hearts and Good Morning, World! were awarded the Mom's Choice Awards. By the way, Xlibris published one of them, The Trees Have Hearts. As I said before, when pushed to the limit, Xlibris can make a good product, but it will cost the author a lot of money, time and sleepless nights. Luckily, I found a great publisher, Dog Ear Publishing. Unfortunately, they do not have the illustrating department, but it works for me because I like to work with the illustrator one on one. As always, I am involved and oversee every stage of my book. To make a good quality book, the author must have a vision of the book, know how to direct the illustrator, and must have a well-prepared file for the publisher. When making books I learned one thing, no matter how good the publisher is there will still be some bumps during the publishing process. Publishing will go faster and easier if the author has a professionally edited manuscript. Dog Ear does not offer the illustrations, but their packages include the cover, title, and text pages. They will create a wonderful galley, but the authors must know what they want. I include my own illustrations, created by illustrators I hire independently for work. To make a book flow, illustrators I work with create the front illustration for the cover, title page, text page design, and of course the illustrations, which I direct where to place in the galley. This is how I work. However, you may have a different style. For more information about the people I work with please visit my blog:
http://mrsdbooks.blogspot.com/2013/02...


message 35: by Mrs. (new)

Mrs. D. Gary wrote: "Hi, Mrs. D,

I've just been reading the above posts. And agree that these people CAN put out a great product. But you do have to stand your ground. I've published two books with Xlibris and my thir..."


Dear Gary,
Thank you for sharing your experience. You comment about the library system intrigues me. How did you approach the library system? Would you be willing to share this knowledge with other authors? Thank you for your great post. Much appreciated.


message 36: by Gary (last edited Nov 19, 2013 12:36AM) (new)

Gary Well I write on a writer's site call FanStory. You can post poetry, short stories, essays and almost anything you like for review by other writers. They also sponsor contests and it was during one of these contests that my first children's book was born. Shortly after completing the story, my computer died so I'd go to my local library and use theirs. I would research the WEB for different companies and chose Xlibris. When I received my information and contract packet, I started getting things organized and put together and in this process, I would ask the children's librarian for her thoughts and ideas on different aspects of the book and the process as a whole. Long story short, She and the other staff members were very interested in the book and suggested that I come and do a story time with them when it came out.

Well it did come out March 2012. I did a story time there that summer. They ended up buying a copy for checkout at this particular library, which gave me an idea to expand through the library system. In Georgia this system is set up in districts of 1 to 6 counties. I called or visited in person these children's librarians in the central libraries within these districts for story times and book signings. Now I have the second book in the series and have done 26 speaking engagements so far this year and many of the libraries in these districts are also buying the hardbacks for checkout in their respective libraries. I have 32 of Georgia's 159 counties on board at this time. Though I have a few copies spread out in independent book stores, on a commission type bases within my surrounding area, the library system has been a viable option for me. But I know my target audience and my books have a specific topic and message.

The series itself is geared toward children between 6 and 8, but younger and older children are finding something useful in them. The books are cute but carry the message that being different is a good thing. Using little dragons to promote a positive self image in those children who would be victimized by bullying. These books have provided a great anti-bullying platform for which to speak.

If your interested in giving my books a look see, they are titled "PJ The Water Breathing Dragon," and "Petey The Flipper-Toed Dragon". The third with be "Tailless Joe." The first two can be Googled.


message 37: by Fay (last edited Nov 29, 2013 09:26PM) (new)

Fay Green While I applaud most of this article. I have a problem with the line "self publishing companies come to the rescue of authors" Xlbiris is just one of dozens of different names the giant multinational scam company Author Solutions runs.

Author Solutions bought up all the little companies so that virtually NONE of them are honest any more. They are all under the scam company which is rumored to be a money laundering scheme for the Italian Mafia in America. That may sound crazy but just go read the multiple complaints of every Author Solutions branch on rip off report.

Some of the names of the scam brands, iuniverse, trafford, author house, author solutions, xlibirs, balboa press they all have the exact same complaints because it is all fraud on the most massive unbelivable sale. None of it is accidental it's delibrate fraud. Even Lulu that used to be the go to place for free self publishing has now done a deal with Author Solutions to scam people for "packages" What happens is all the big legitimate publishers like Penguin have done "deals" with Author Solutions to hand over all the authors they don't want and aren't interested in and they just leave Author Solutions to do what they will with them and the Author Solutions companies scam them.

Penguin is involved in Xlbiris only in that they bought Xlbiris and money from Xlbiris goes to them to fund the legitimate comapny but they are not involved at all in the actual scamming they just leave Xlbirs/Author Solutions to do whatever it wants and passively take the money. All the other big publishing companies are doing this too like Simon and Shuster will refer all the losers whose books they don't want to go self publish with their scam Archway Press which is also run by Author Solutions and is just another branch of the scam company.

Harlequin the Romance Publisher will suggest to it's rejects they go pay DelArte self publishing which again is owned by giant scam company Author Solutions. Google the youtube video Xlbirs No! Xlibirs Never! Xlibirs R Awful for a video report from another woman on how she was scammed. These companies are not coming to the rescue of anyone. Writers who cannot get published even by small publishers or e publishers can still be published for free on Smashwords though so no one acually need be tempted by these horrendous scams if they are at all knowledgeable. Ring the phone company and report Xlibirs harassment.

This is fraud on a massive scale and the Feds should go in and investigate but they have been asked many times and do not. Possibly they do not even understand what is going on and just brush it off as minor. But it isn't minor it is fraud on a massive international scale.


The Author Solutions compnaies protect themselves by belittling and making fun of all their clients, using the stigma of self publishing to their advantage by saying their millions of customers around the world are all kooks who had unrealistic dreams.


message 38: by Norma (new)

Norma Holt Great post. I started with XLibris earlier this year and then read some nasty reports, such as this one by Mrs D so I pulled out. They refunded my money after 2 weeks less $150 for set-up charges. I actually did not mind that as I was grateful to get the bulk of it back. Today they have tried again after many emails by phoning me and promising they will do a great package. That's what brought me back here. I will not be doing business with them and thank you everyone who has given insight into what this Company is like. I have read adverse reports on Penquin now as the vanity press is pulling them down.
Their persistence in coming back and then back again even when one says no is frustrating. Guess that is how they rope so many people in.


message 39: by Susiep (new)

Susiep Norma wrote: "Great post. I started with XLibris earlier this year and then read some nasty reports, such as this one by Mrs D so I pulled out. They refunded my money after 2 weeks less $150 for set-up charges. ..."

Yes.. Norma and sorry that you lost $150.00, but it sounds like you have the right attitude. 'just wanted to add.. 'my phone still rings about every other day! -'even though, I have clearly said, No thanks.. and that I had read the over 300 BBB complaints about Author Solutions (which is them)..

'enjoy your holiday!


message 40: by Marlene (new)

Marlene Potoura Same here Susiep. My phone still rings every other day, even though I have not signed their form, that they emailed to me. I am thankful for all these posts.


message 41: by Fay (last edited Nov 29, 2013 09:24PM) (new)

Fay Green My 82 yr old father asked for the refund rather than go through with it. They said they would give him a refund minus admin fee, but they never gave it to him, they just said they would and pretended they did and kept his $5000 for absolutely nothing and never gave it back and blocked his phone number from their office when he kept asking for it and blocked my phone number too. He got no book, no refund nothing they just stole.


message 42: by Fay (new)

Fay Green People you can ring the phone company and make a complaint about the harassing calls, or even your local police station.


message 43: by Mrs. (new)

Mrs. D. Gary wrote: "Well I write on a writer's site call FanStory. You can post poetry, short stories, essays and almost anything you like for review by other writers. They also sponsor contests and it was during one ..."
Thank you for sharing your experience, Gary.Good luck with your books! Happy Holidays!!


message 44: by Darlene (new)

Darlene Moede Thank you, I also am trying to drop out of xlibris after they keep asking me for money and they don't even have my manuscript yet! We just figured out that something was not right. So we just blocked our account. But they still tried to get the money after we told them to cancel everything. We too still have been getting more calls. The lady is young and very kind and only doing her job. I feel sorry for her. She just needs the job. Thanks again for the best insights.


message 45: by Darlene (new)

Darlene Moede Thank you, I also am trying to drop out of xlibris after they keep asking me for money and they don't even have my manuscript yet! We just figured out that something was not right. So we just blocked our account. But they still tried to get the money after we told them to cancel everything. We too still have been getting more calls. The lady is young and very kind and only doing her job. I feel sorry for her. She just needs the job. Thanks again for the best insights.


message 46: by Norma (new)

Norma Holt Darlene wrote: "Thank you, I also am trying to drop out of xlibris after they keep asking me for money and they don't even have my manuscript yet! We just figured out that something was not right. So we just bloc..."
You have to put pressure on them if you want your money back. Don't feel sorry for the 'young lady'. They know what they are doing and how bad the Co is.


message 47: by Norma (new)

Norma Holt Gary wrote: "Hi, Mrs. D,

I've just been reading the above posts. And agree that these people CAN put out a great product. But you do have to stand your ground. I've published two books with Xlibris and my thir..."


Hi Gary,I checked out Dog Ear and Zulu and they are not much better,if at all. Just published a book on Smashwords and looking forward to how that goes. At least you don't have to pay them so one is not losing anything if it doesn't work out. They send you book to several market places including Kindle, Barnes and Nobel, etc. If anyone is interest give them a try and they have people who can formulate the book and design covers for a very reasonable price.


message 48: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Leo I just published my first book with xlibris. i spent a fortune and i also have a book with spelling mistakes. im unhappy with their service and i want to take it all back.


message 49: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Leo Im going through the same troubles. Can i get my money back from what xlibris took from me?


message 50: by Alan (new)

Alan N. I am so grateful to all of you, for putting your time in to vent and to help others. I too am looking to publish a couple books my newspaper editor suggested I write. I have had a successful column in a newspaper for several years but knew nothing of getting a book published. Xlibris and Author House have contacted me with much polite pressure. I needed to hear your stories to get me past my too easy to trust attitude. Too bad for them!


« previous 1 3 4 5
back to top