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A hundred copies is a pittance, by the way. There are around 8,000 bookstores in the US, and perhaps 15,000 outlets that sell books. 100 copies is a tiny fraction of one percent of those. If any commercial publisher only managed to pre-sell 100 copies, they'd cancel the book.
Strategic puts up a pre-order website, from which the book can be pre-sold (authors must pay $150 for "administrative fees" to set up the website). Actual cash must be in hand. If, within 6 months, fewer than 100 copies have been sold, the author can either buy the balance him/herself, or cancel the deal. Any bets on how many authors wind up dipping into their own pockets?
Here's how it works--this is from a "publication offer" from Strategic/Eloquent in December 2010.
A. Publisher will, at no charge to author, create a selling website to take pre-orders for the Work. Publisher will decide the look and feel of the website and price of the book which will be based on the number of pages, competitive analysis, and publisher’s experience with similar books. Author will approve the price in writing.
B. A monthly sales report will be given to the Author. When 100 sales are achieved the Work will be placed into production for publishing.
C. The Work will be published at no cost to author unless the author requests special services beyond the scope of this agreement which would be mutually agreed upon in writing.
D. If 100 sales are not achieved within 6 months from the date the web site is operational, the author will have the option to purchase the remainder of the 100 books at the retail price on the website, or to cancel the program in which case the Publisher will return the funds to the buyers and no payments will be made to the author. The author agrees to pay a one time fee of $150 to the Publisher upon signing of this agreement to cover the administrative fees associated with the website, setup, and if needed, cancellation. If the Author reaches 100 sales, the $150 will be credited back to the author.
"Credited back to the author." Not "Paid back to the author."
And this violated Yog's Law all to heck and back.
Authors don't pay publishers $150 for anything, regardless of the pretext. And authors don't agree to buy however many of their own books (at full retail!), regardless of the pretext.
Publishers send advances to authors, and provide a case of books, gratis, too.
Selling books to strangers is the publisher's job. If they can't manage that....
Thanks James and Victoria!
Strategic Book Group just made some money!
No, not by selling books to the public.
According to this press release, "over twenty-five" Strategic authors will be attending BEA this year, and appearing in the Strategic Booth. Since they must pay $899 for the privilege, that's a cool $22,475 for Strategic! And that's probably just the start. I'm guessing that self-purchased books and various display options add considerably to that figure.
Nice going, Strategic.
After I did my BEA autographing of The Price of Freedom (published by Disney Editions) Victoria and I strolled around the BEA. We walked past the aisle where the Strategic authors were, sitting at little tables with their books and hopeful expressions. Not many people in the aisle, and nobody lined up for autographs. It was really sad. I felt so sorry for them.
-Ann C. Crispin
Chair, Writer Beware
I just received an acceptance letter from Strategic Book Publishing & Rights Agency this morning. Just like one of the previous posters said - I did not act desperate and immediately send in my manuscript. I instead took my time, did some research and instantly found NUMEROUS negative comments referring to SBPRA.
What I do not understand now is - if this company has been known for its scamming ways for all these years then why are they still able to be up and running without the true publishing world forcing them to shut down?
This is not my first run in with a bad publishing company. My first run in was in 2006/2007 with Publish America who I did fall into desperation with without doing my research first. Luckily, I just didn't fall into this one head first. But now with my second bad experience under my belt, I am choosing my representation wisely and I am aiming for a very reputable literary agent. For me, its going to be ALL or NOTHING at all!
I am so glad I ran across you guys. I was contacted by
strategic saying they "wanted to take me to the next step" - I sent them a draft of three chapters and then I thought something sounded fishy. So I ran them through the web and saw the information about the DA in Miami and your comments. I immediately sent Strategic a message telling them I was withdrawing my manuscript and not to contact me again. Thank you.
Good for you for doing your research! Good luck with your work, you'll find the right publisher.