Los Angeles, CA
Lulu.com fucked up. Actually, someone named Zac royally fucked up.
I heard plenty of bad beat stories about Lulu.com, but I went ahead with them as the main publisher for Lost Vegas. Wil Wheaton and Martin Harris had decent experiences with them, so I trusted their judgement. From the onset, I realized that all the horror stories about Lulu's support were true. I had a few problems that went unanswered. Luckily I got in contact with someone named Arrie (I assume it's a female), who hooked me up. I've been blessed with having someone to help me out on the inside. She (or he) has been amazing in helping me out with bulk orders. Too bad that I can't deal with Arrie all the time.
almost two months ago, I paid Lulu to create an ePub version of Lost Vegas so it could be viewed on iPads and iPods and other Apple products. I paid $99 for this service. It kept getting delayed. I felt embarrassed the first time when I realized it would not be ready by 10-10-10, or the date that I intended to release the e-books (in both PDF and ePub versions). Only the PDF was ready because frankly, I created it myself. I should have taken Falstaff's advice and hired his buddy to create the file for me for half the price. He would have done it inside of a week and it would have been ready to go on 10-10-10. Alas, I decided to stick with Lulu. That was a mistake.
I also paid Lulu to have my book on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. They said it would take 6-8 weeks. I'm still waiting for that process to happen.
I finally got contacted by someone at Lulu named Zac S. They said that they created the project for me and that I had to review it and (get this) purchase a galley copy. I was confused at first because it should have been a simple ePub file. Maybe they were talking about the book for Amazon? If that was the case, then I was excited. Amazon distribution is huge, especially with the holidays coming up. So I asked them to mail me a copy. Instead, I got an email telling me to order/purchase a galley. I did so but was worried that my book went from 249 to 330 pages. I figured that the project was the conversion to an ePub file -- since the book layout looks different for e-readers. Fine, I thought. So I purchased the galley, even though I thought that was weird. If it's an ePub, shouldn't he be sending me the file?
I was suspicious, so I checked my page on Lulu. It said that Lost Vegas was 330 pages. This couldn't be right. I was miffed. I noticed that the entire file was different. Did he mistakenly upload the ePub to the print book instead? I decided to buy a copy of the e-book in PDF format to figure out what the fuck was going on. I was astonished when I discovered that Zac S. uploaded the wrong file. Instead of Lost Vegas, I got a book called "Nicotine: The Drug That Never Was" by Chris Holmes. No offense to Mr. Holmes, but when someone is going to buy Lost Vegas, I expect Lulu to send them Lost Vegas and not a book about Nicotine.
Obviously, I was livid when I discovered this major fuck up. If I was not in a public place, I might have put my fist through a wall -- that's how pissed off I was. Instead, I was at Crystal Casino covering a poker tournament and should have been working. Instead, I scrambled because the book that was being sold on Lulu was NOT MY BOOK. I quickly erased the new file that Zac S uploaded to my account. I re-installed my old files and re-did my cover in record speed. It usually takes a few hours to do this, but I managed to save face in about 60-90 minutes. I purchased another copy of the e-book -- and I was relieved when I saw the original manuscript.
Whew. I fixed Zac's fuck up faster than they could. I expected them to string me a long for a week or so with their horrible customer service, so I went ahead and took matters in my own hands and fixed it myself.
The sad thing is that I have no idea when exactly he switched over to the wrong manuscript -- could be as many as three or four days. I sold at least a dozen books and e-books in that time frame.
If by chance you purchased a copy of Lost Vegas since 11-14-10, please inspect your copy carefully. If you bought a copy of the e-book and it's not Lost Vegas, please contact both me and Lulu immediately. Demand a refund and demand that they give you Lost Vegas for free. Same thing goes for a hard copy. If you discover that they mailed you the wrong book (please check inside -- the cover might be Lost Vegas, but the innards might be a different text), I suggest you contact Lulu ASAP and demand a full refund and demand a free copy of Lost Vegas. Please contact me as well. If by chance you were one of the people who got shipped a wrong copy, I want to make this up to you. Send me an email and we can discuss a "I'm sorry that Lulu fucked up" care package.
Obviously, this experience is making me question if I want to use Lulu to publish future books. My goal is to crank out 1 book a year for the next five years, so suffice to say, Lulu is going to lose out big time. I generated them several thousand dollars in income already. Just imagine how much more money they can make off my future books and residual sales for Lost Vegas?
Man, Lulu really dropped the ball. I sent them a list of demands and I wonder if they will make things right. I also contacted my only friend on the inside, Arrie. Maybe Arrie can help rectify this situation.
Suffice to say, this is the worst bad beat I've taken with Lulu. This is just a warning to everyone else out there -- be careful with who you deal with. I want to continue a relationship with Lulu, and if they see the value in our partnership, they will go out of their way to fix this massive problem.
And yes, to date, even though I paid for the services almost two months ago -- I have yet to get my book on Amazon.com. I'm also waiting for my ePub file to be created.
If anyone at Lulu is reading this, can someone competent in your company assist me?
Oh, and don't worry -- you can purchase a copy of Lost Vegas right now and all should be fine. I fixed any problems.