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Thread: DNA Press (Nartea Publishing, Acen Press)

  1. #1
    Moderator In Name Only AW Moderator Roger J Carlson's Avatar
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    DNA Press (Nartea Publishing, Acen Press)

    A few years ago, I submitted my novel (actually it was the first draft, but that's another story) to DNA Press. I received a call from Alexander Kuklin from that publisher who liked my story. He said DNA was a small press so he didn't pay advances, but he paid 40% royalites. (I don't know if it was net, gross, wholesale, or retail -- I was too green to ask.) However, he never asked for any up-front payments.

    Anyway, the deal fell through and I forgot about it. But yesterday I received a letter from him again. He remembered my book and thought he would be interested in publishing it. Of course, he has changed his business model. Now, in addition to traditional publishing, he has added subsidy publishing where I (or a sponsor (?)) could pay $3800 to have the book published. Naturally he was offering me the latter. It sounds like another small publisher gone over to the Dark Side.

    After a few months here, I'm not even tempted to do this, but I wonder if anyone else has dealt with them or know anything about them. Also, I don't see anything about them on Preditors & Editors or Writer Beware.

    Their website http://www.dnapress.com does seem to have published titles.
    --Roger J. Carlson

  2. #2
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Not to be confused with another small press: DNA Publications

    http://www.dnapublications.com/

  3. #3
    Moderator In Name Only AW Moderator Roger J Carlson's Avatar
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    I found the entire message. Here it is. It might prove instructive. How many red flags can you find?

    --------------
    Dear Roger:
    It has been sometime since you submitted your work to us. How are you? I
    searched amazon.com for and I did not see your name or title “Tony DeSoto
    and the Crystal Egg” there so I assume that your work has not been
    published. As stated in my earlier correspondence I did like the book and it
    does fit our criteria. The big problem for us is that we are a very small
    publisher and our budget is allocated to titles that have a defined market
    in terms of academic sales or a broader market for trade books. The margin
    on children’s book is very small too. Additionally, new authors’ works are
    rarely selected by the buyers of Borders, Barnes&Noble, and other stores to
    be on the bookshelves. Even with hyped marketing it is very difficult in
    this crowded world of books. The big bookstores like to have published
    authors.
    We develop a new program that you may be interested in. We started dealing
    with manuscripts in three ways:
    - We reject the bad ones
    - We accept those based on merit, and publish then within our budget
    - We help authors of good work to find a way and see their work published.
    Your manuscript fits the third category. We hate to see good work not being
    taken care of because of our budgetary constraints.
    To get your book published we need to ask for help from a sponsor or from
    you to share the risks of publication. Your book (with such length and type)
    should be published as cloth (dust jacket) at first and priced at $14.95
    (may be our distributor IPG will advise us for $12.95 – paperback). Our
    distributor takes 40% commission. With royalties for you (8% for the first
    10,000 copies; 10% for the next 10,000; and 12% thereafter) we are left with
    very little monetary profit. I hope you understand the brutality of the
    publishing business. Everyone is looking for the next Harry Potter but this
    is a lottery game.

    We can consider your book for publication and include it in the Spring 2006
    catalog or later (we work 1 year ahead). However, we need US$3,800
    commitment from a sponsor for your book or yourself. We will supply the
    rest: $8,000. With this we can schedule the book and we need your decision
    as soon as possible (so we can schedule the book cover to be submitted to
    IPG and major databases).

    You may consider contacting a company that sells products related to the
    audience of your book. They can talk to us, too. You might mention a product
    in your text somehow (think about the movie Jurassic Park and all the
    product placements) or they could have a page at the end.
    Please check our website www.dnapress.com for more information on the kids
    books. Please see www.ipgbook.com and familiarize yourself with our
    distributor. You may request the most recent catalog.
    Please let us know what your decision is.
    Thank you again!
    Sincerely,
    Alexander Kuklin, Ph.D.
    Managing Editor
    -------------
    --Roger J. Carlson

  4. #4
    Moderator In Name Only AW Moderator Roger J Carlson's Avatar
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    Question for Dave or Victoria

    Is this the kind of thing you want to see in Preditors and Editors or Writer Beware? If so, can you get the details here or should I submit it to each site?
    --Roger J. Carlson

  5. #5
    Preditors & Editors Requiescat In Pace DaveKuzminski's Avatar
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    I can get it from here, thank you.
    When it comes to PA, the royalty check and the reality check arrive in the same envelope.

    Remember to be kind to writers who step in PA. They really don't know how bad it smells.

    The difference between PA and WLA? None. Both have the stench of dead and dying books emanating from their doorways.


  6. #6
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Roger, could you forward the e-mail, with headers, to me at beware@sfwa.org? Thanks.

    - Victoria

  7. #7
    Moderator In Name Only AW Moderator Roger J Carlson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss
    Roger, could you forward the e-mail, with headers, to me at beware@sfwa.org? Thanks.

    - Victoria
    Can and will. Thanks.
    --Roger J. Carlson

  8. #8
    Moderator In Name Only AW Moderator Roger J Carlson's Avatar
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    Here are some of the things I found disturbing about this letter:

    ...Additionally, new authors’ works are rarely selected by the buyers of Borders, Barnes&Noble, and other stores to be on the bookshelves. ... The big bookstores like to have published authors.
    This can't be right. New authors are published all the time.

    We develop a new program that you may be interested in. We started dealing ith manuscripts in three ways:
    - We reject the bad ones
    - We accept those based on merit, and publish then within our budget
    - We help authors of good work to find a way and see their work published.
    Why should anything but the best be published? I'd also like to see how many they published based on "merit" and how many they actually rejected.

    ...priced at $14.95 ... royalties for you (8% for the first 10,000 copies; 10% for the next 10,000; and 12% thereafter) ... we need US $3,800 ... We will supply the rest: $8,000.
    Let's do the math. At $14.95 and 8%, that gives me a royalty of $1.20 per book sold. This means 3167 books have to sell before I break even. Now, if the distributor takes 40% and I get 8%, that leaves 52% for the publisher. On the same 3167 copies sold, he makes $24,620 gross. Subtract the $8,000 and he's left with $16,620. He only needs to sell 1029 to break even (assuming he's actually putting in the amount he says he is.) But at this point, I'm still $1230 in the hole.

    Everyone is looking for the next Harry Potter but this is a lottery game.
    Really? A lottery? Publishers, booksellers, and the public simply pick books out of a hat at random? Success isn't based on merit but on chance? Why then does he publish ANY on "merit?"

    You may consider contacting a company that sells products related to the audience of your book.
    I thought this was the publisher's job. I wonder if I'll be expected to hire an artist to produce the cover and later contact booksellers to place books...

    Well, I sent him a note that said this:

    "Thank you for your interest. No, my book has not yet sold, but I have decided that if someone won't pay me to publish it, then it probably shouldn't be published. --Roger Carlson"

    He replied:

    "Let me see if I can do something next year. It is a tough world!"

    Just the sort of enthusiasm I'm looking for in a publisher!
    --Roger J. Carlson

  9. #9
    Doogie
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    DNA Press

    Does anyone know about this company? I heard that a friend of mine who got published said the sales figures were suspicious.

  10. #10
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    This one? http://www.dnapress.com/

    If your friend has concerns regarding royalties due, s/he will need to discuss them with agent, publisher, and/or industry lawyer.
    ICAO
    ---------
    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

  11. #11
    Editors Team
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    The DNA Press publishing house sells exclusively through a distributor. Any questions can be always reviewed because a third party is involved. The Publishing House is actually doing a lot of promotions for its authors but if the title is not selling no one can help. Many authors like to blame the publisher for the failure of their titles. Have you ever thought about the scenario when the title is placed in a major book distribution chain by the publisher and no one buys the book? The publisher loses a lot of money. We never see this discussion. We encounter this all the time. Who is to blame? The publisher or the author? Why was the book not picked up by the person visiting the book store? The book is on the shelf. The publishers did their best to have it there. Then what. May be it is the work?
    Any concerns about the House should be addressed directly. An honest dialogue is better than gossip.

  12. #12
    Megalops Erectus Silver King's Avatar
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    Some companies must have radars aimed at this site; and when the first sign of trouble crops up, a prepared statement appears like the one above.

  13. #13
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Are we 100% sure that the original friend-of-a-friend comment wasn't about this DNA Press?

    http://www.dnapublications.com/

  14. #14
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Editors Team
    The DNA Press publishing house sells exclusively through a distributor.
    If we are indeed talking about this DNA Press, it does have a distributor that carries some of its books: Independent Publishers Group.

    I don't know about the rest of DNA Press, but the Nartea imprint is a vanity publisher. Writers are asked to pay fees of up to $3,800. I've gotten a complaint of irregular royalty payments--I wasn't able to figure out exactly what was going on, but it looked to me as if the publisher was manipulating expenses to cancel out any royalties due.

    - Victoria

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Editors Team
    Have you ever thought about the scenario when the title is placed in a major book distribution chain by the publisher and no one buys the book?
    Most of the discussion that populates this board is about finding publishers who get their books distributed in the first place. If a publisher is getting national distribution for their titles the presumption is that there are sales. Some of the ingredients that go into those sales are major trade reviews and author promotion in their hometowns.

    Sure, there's always a chance a book won't sell. It happens. But the responsibility lies with the submissions team to choose their titles wisely. Alas, there are no guarantees in life, so, sure, it's all a risk. You might have a couple titles that bomb, but you also have ten that do incredbily well.


    The publisher loses a lot of money. We never see this discussion. We encounter this all the time. Who is to blame? The publisher or the author?
    Ah, you're talking returns - the bane of our existence and the devil that picks our pockets. The reason you don't necessarily see this discussion is because this is a publisher's concern, not the author's. Authors have zero control over returns. They've written the book, and you and your submissions team determined you could sell it. It bombed. Who's to blame? Beats me. No one can read the minds of John Q. Reader. All a publisher can do is surround themselves with savvy minds, a smell for stories they believe they can sell, and a great sales team. Brainstorming about how best to promote a title is vital. Author promotion is key. Knowing your advertising budget and using it wisely is your best friend.

    But do I believe that an author is responsible for a title bombing? Absolutely not.

    Why was the book not picked up by the person visiting the book store? The book is on the shelf. The publishers did their best to have it there. Then what. May be it is the work?
    Hmm. Just because the book is on the shelf is no guarantee that it will sell. We're given about an eight week window before titles undergo the sink or swim scenario. If a title is selling, they'll keep it and order more. If they're gathering dust, they're sent back to make room for someone else.

    Your blaming the work is just plain ignorant. You're the one who bought the rights to publish, so if there's any blame to be had it's with your submissions committee. The author should never be blamed. Ever. If a writer writes poorly or doesn't fit your guidelines, there's a dandy little device: the rejection notice. It sounds as though you reject poorly.

    Cover art is a big deal in getting someone to pick a book off the shelf - especially for little spuds like us. I've gone into several stores and found our books sitting face out. You kidding? We didn't pay to have them face out. When I've asked (and thanked) the manager about it, they've all smiled and told me they really loved our covers.

    Promotion is also key to getting that book sitting on the shelf into a buyer's hands. How many times do I hear "Oh, yeah, I heard about this guy on the radio," or, "I saw her last month at a signing."

    Producing a book is nothing in comparison to getting into a reader's hands, and your missive sounds way too defensive. Pointing the finger at your authors will do nothing but garner disdain. I'll say it again - In the end, it's never the author's fault. Ever.

    Sorry this is so long, but this post was like walking on crackers with sunburned feet.
    Last edited by priceless1; 01-20-2007 at 02:11 AM.

  16. #16
    I Heart Mac Absolute Sage Lauri B's Avatar
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    I think this is an interesting conversation, but people seem to be jumping a little too quickly. There could be many reasons that the sales figures/royalty statements aren't what an author expects (really, are they ever?). No one's posts implied anyone was cheating anyone else, or questioning anyone's integrity or even accounting practices.

    There are lots of reasons books don't sell, and sometimes there aren't any reasons why books don't sell. Sometimes really terrific books are just sales duds--read any issue of Publishers Weekly and there's usually some book that everyone was talking about at BEA but just didn't sell through like people thought it would. It happens.

    I don't think anyone was blaming the author for poor sales of a book in this particular thread. My reading of that post was that Editorial Team was suggesting that the book wasn't selling itself on the shelf. That certainly happens, too.

    I agree with Lynn that a publisher certainly can't blame an author if the book doesn't sell, and I doubt many do. But I also believe that authors can and should help promote their books as much as possible by playing to their strengths, writing more books, participating in industry events as best they can, and keeping their name out there. It helps everyone.

  17. #17
    A bit of a wallflower absitinvidia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doogie
    Does anyone know about this company? I heard that a friend of mine who got published said the sales figures were suspicious.

    You heard that your friend said? Did you ask your friend?

  18. #18
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    This may be the DNA Publications that the OP meant:

    http://webnews.sff.net/read?cmd=xove...tions&from=-10

  19. #19
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Vanessak's Avatar
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    I looked into this publisher and don't see evidence of vanity issues. has anyone had more recent contact with them?

  20. #20
    Grr. Argh. Thedrellum's Avatar
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    I can't say anything about the vanity aspect, but I saw two grammatical errors on their "Submit Manuscript" page that would make me leery of, well, submitting to them.

    1. "a very convinving marketing plan"
    2. "we are always looking forbook touching scientific issues"

    Assuming no vanity-press associations, I still wouldn't have confidence in a press that presents itself in this light to prospective authors.

  21. #21
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Their "New Releases" page hasn't been updated since '09, the latest on Amazon is from '11, and they're no longer listed as a client of IPG.
    ICAO
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    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

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