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Thread: [Publisher] AbandonedNovel.com / Teton River Productions

  1. #1
    emerging from the writing cave Feathers's Avatar
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    Question [Publisher] AbandonedNovel.com / Teton River Productions

    I first heard of this contest on a blog. One of the other readers had commented saying that they didn't think it looked real, mostly because it was based out of a website-design company. I checked this out. He was right. The company is "Teton River Productions, Inc." I checked out their website. It has nothing to do with publishing, writers, or anything that suggest the contest is being run by someone worthwhile.

    The contest sounds really cool - you send them the first few chapters of your unfinished novel, and the winners will be published in an anthology. They mention some kind of reward but no prize.

    Does anyone have any clue how to check if these guys are legit?

    -Feathers
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  2. #2
    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    Well, it's really strange. I've never heard of an anthology of unfinished work before. I can't understand how they would make money on this, much less how it could help your career. Having "unpublishednovel" in my credit bio would not be very helpful, even if I did win.

    Tri

  3. #3
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    http://www.tetonriverproductions.com/media.html

    TRP consists of three divisions. Our internet services division provides web design and hosting services. Our internet content division delivers web content via hosted sites, as well as through internet messaging tools. Finally, our multimedia division produces original video, audio and print materials. We are based in Choteau, Montana.

    Our Multimedia Division has produced one finished video, "This is Futsal" for the Futsal Association of South Texas. This is Futsal is a 15 minute promotional video.

    We also own certain original audio productions which are not currently available.

    Our newest venture, Abandoned Novel, will be our first print publication. We will consider print media for hard copy and e-publication on a case by case basis.
    Erm...I can't fathom what market they see for this project (beyond the authors, that is).
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  4. #4
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin lisanevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feathers View Post

    The contest sounds really cool - you send them the first few chapters of your unfinished novel, and the winners will be published in an anthology. They mention some kind of reward but no prize.

    Does anyone have any clue how to check if these guys are legit?

    -Feathers
    Sounds like one of those poetry scams where they publish you, then if you must buy a copy if you want a copy. A way for them to make money.
    Lisa
    www.lisanevin.com
    lisanevin.blogspot.com
    Author: Into This Mind

  5. #5
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Some of their Terms and Conditions are a wee bit problematic: Once a work is submitted, it cannot be submitted or published anywhere else for three years, and it gives TRP the right to publish your work on their website for free. Also, they can change their Terms and Conditions anytime simply by changing that webpage, and it's up to you to keep tabs on it, as those changes will apply to retroactively to your submissions unless you notify them by certified mail within 20 days of their posting the new terms that you don't agree to be bound by the changes.

    3.

  6. #6
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    What the heck is Futsal?

    - Victoria

  7. #7
    Shiny! SuperModerator Dawno's Avatar
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    I was wondering the same thing!

    From Wikipedia:

    Futsal is an indoor version of association football. Its name is derived from the Portuguese futebol de salão and the Spanish fútbol sala/de salón, which can be translated as 'indoor football'.[1]

    Futsal is played between two teams of five players, one of whom is the goalkeeper. In addition each team may have 7 substitutes. Unlike some other forms of indoor football, the court is delimited by lines, and not walls or boards that players can use to rebound the ball. Futsal is played with a smaller ball with less bounce than a football.[1] The emphasis is on improvisation, creativity and technique.[2]

  8. #8
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Oh, that explains everything...!

    This is definitely one I'm going to pass on.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unimportant View Post
    Also, they can change their Terms and Conditions anytime simply by changing that webpage, and it's up to you to keep tabs on it, as those changes will apply to retroactively to your submissions unless you notify them by certified mail within 20 days of their posting the new terms that you don't agree to be bound by the changes.
    I've always wondered how enforcable those types of Ts&Cs are.

    After all, there is no agreement to the conditions if you don't know what the conditions are.

    For example, theoretically they could change the Ts&Cs to say that you will agree to purchase 100 copies, or will donate money to their trip to the Bahamas.

    OK - an extreme example, but what do those kind of 'I can change our agreement at any time and I will assume you agree too .. even though I have no reason to believe that you even know that I've changed the agreement' agreements really mean ?

    A quick check gives Douglas v. US District Court ex rel Talk America, No. 06-75424 (9th Cir. July 18, 2007) which explains that:

    'Parties to a contract have no obligation to check the terms on a periodic basis to learn whether they have been changed by the other side. Indeed, a party can’t
    unilaterally change the terms of a contract; it must obtain the other party’s consent
    before doing so.
    However, it seems incredibly unethical of Teton River Productions to try and pretend that they can unilaterally change the terms of a contract - especially when they are targeting people who, by definition, haven't met with success in finding a home for their novels.

    I wonder if they are trying to foist this unenforcable clause on people out of ignorance of the law.
    The interesting thing is that the only two names on the press release for Teton River Productions are Kyle M. Jones & Scott Placek

    Both of those names are listed as attorneys working for http://www.arnoldplacek.com/jones.html.

    Just a bizarre coincidence ? A quick whois check and googling gives photos for both Scott Placeks .. they look like the same person. (Scott mentions that he has holiday home at the 'AbandonedNovel' address, and his own interest in soccer makes the Futsal doco make sense)

    It is worrying that attorneys who understand the law are foisting agreements that they KNOW aren't enforcable on people.

    Is it unethical for an attorney to do that ?

    Mac
    Last edited by Mac H.; 05-01-2008 at 12:37 PM.

  10. #10
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Hi everyone- I'm Kyle Jones, mentioned above. I'm happy to answer questions and address any concerns people have, and didn't even realize you were discussing our site until it popped up on a vanity google search.

    Where to start?

    Yes, we're two lawyers (and off-and-on aspiring writers) who work together in Texas. No, we're not scammers trying to take money from aspiring writers. No, we're not intending to get people to sign up and then change the terms and conditions to steal intellectual property from people who have submitted their unfinished novels.


    Here's the deal- Scott and I are good friends and coworkers who have both written fiction extensively, but never published any works and have many unfinished novels. Talking about this over lunch one day we discussed how reading through our old stuff, we realized that there were really good stories in there, but we'd lost our motivation for one reason or another. That led to further discussion that if we had such works, there had to be many more authors out there (more talented than ourselves) who were in the same boat. And if we could find the best of those unfinished stories, then we could publish an anthology that would be unique and compelling. Would everyone like it? Surely not. But we would be interested in reading such a compilation and, I can tell your from reading the submissions we've already received, it's very interesting reading the very beginnings of an unfamiliar story.

    Thus, we came up with the website- wrote out the terms and conditions and sent out initial releases with our information. We've been very happy with the response so far, but we understand some people are skeptical. So here's some information about us:

    1) This is our first foray into publishing. Our goal is to generate interest in a unique idea to generate interest in the book. Hopefully there will be a large enough interest and we can explore a large print run. Nobody is trying to hide anything. If we were, we wouldn't have even mentioned Teton River Productions or used our real names. We're two guys with an idea we think is good. We're pursuing it.

    2) We're not seeking any money from people who submit works. I don't know what the "poetry scams" are, but I want to make clear- we won't charge anyone submitting stories any fees whatsoever. There will be no reading fees, editing fees or requirements that the published authors or submitters buy copies of the book. In fact, all authors published in the anthology will be receiving copies of the book at no expense. There is not going to be a minimum sales requirement under the guise of a cost of recovery, and the royalty contract will pay off from the sale of the first book. The bottom line is this- we're assuming all the financial risk and asking no one to share in it. We think that a reputable publishing company bears all the risk of loss and does not try to foist it off on the authors.

    3) The option period is intended to give us the ability to use submissions in future anthologies, if the first is successful. From responses already received, we anticipate that there will be "genre-specific" anthologies in the future (assuming we can make a go of this). Also, this is for abandoned novels-- not for works in progress. We want people to submit the book that they stopped working on several years ago-- not actually writing something just for our site. If you have a work in progress that you are currently writing with the intent to publish, don't submit it and give us a three year option to publish it. What we're asking is that if you have an abandoned novel, submit it to us for consideration.

    4) As for publishing the material on the website- this is something we're contemplating as a way to generate interest in the project, and nothing more. We're considering taking some of the ideas and posting them up for comments or consideration. Maybe having polls for consideration of two or more good beginnings.

    Okay, it seems I've written a novella in trying to respond to everyone's questions. I'm more than happy to answer more. Either post them here and I'll make sure to check back, or IM them to me and I'll answer promptly.

  11. #11
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Kyle, thanks for visiting AW and providing us with some answers. We really appreciate it.

    Here's my concern: apart from any other issues (and I'm really worried about your lack of publishing experience), that lengthy option period makes your project a no-go, in my opinion.

    It's completely unreasonable to ask writers for a three-year exclusive option in order to preserve your own option to possibly publish at some future date. Most publishers that demand exclusive submission demand it only until a work is rejected or accepted (something they try to accomplish within a few weks or months). There's nothing wrong with scheduling books far in advance of publication--but if you're going to do that, you need to make a publishing commitment to the authors, not just demand that the authors make a submission commitment to you. Either sign them up, or let them go.

    - Victoria

  12. #12
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss View Post
    Here's my concern: apart from any other issues (and I'm really worried about your lack of publishing experience), that lengthy option period makes your project a no-go, in my opinion.

    It's completely unreasonable to ask writers for a three-year exclusive option in order to preserve your own option to possibly publish at some future date. Most publishers that demand exclusive submission demand it only until a work is rejected or accepted (something they try to accomplish within a few weks or months). There's nothing wrong with scheduling books far in advance of publication--but if you're going to do that, you need to make a publishing commitment to the authors, not just demand that the authors make a submission commitment to you. Either sign them up, or let them go.

    - Victoria
    I hear exactly what you're saying, Victoria. The bottom line for us is that we didn't even consider this as an issue. When we first talked about the idea-- getting submissions of novels that people have given up on finishing-- we didn't think the option period would be a concern simply because the work is unfinished. For works that are currently in progress, I certainly see the concern, but for abandoned works it didn't even occur to us. Again, I'll reiterate that our only reason in doing that is that we're overly optimistic about succeeding in this idea and would like it to continue in additional publications.

    That being said, if this is a concern or a deal-breaker for someone that is going to submit something, contact me at media@abandonednovel.com and we can figure out another arrangement. Quite frankly, if this is a no-go issue for a lot of people, then we'll change the TaC to address those concerns. We're just looking at putting out an interesting book.

  13. #13
    emerging from the writing cave Feathers's Avatar
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    Kyle, thanks for the response. It's nice to hear from a person behind the scenes. And lisanevin is right...unfinished stories never quite let you go. Even if it's only a fantasy, you still think about finishing them.

    -Feathers
    Mirrorpass - YA SF
    Status: currently on submission

    Shutterbug Meets (Invisible) Girl
    Status: 65,000 / 85,000

    The First Reader
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  14. #14
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info and clarifications, KJones. "From the horse's mouth" is always appreciated.

  15. #15
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by lisanevin View Post
    Kyle, I do so hope you change your submission policy. Unfinished work or not, many authors go back to those works on the back burner.

    Good luck to you!
    We're getting input from a lot of people and talking about it this week. I'll post up about any changes we make. And for what it's worth, if an author has an unfinished work they intend to go back and finish eventually, then that's probably not the right work to submit for consideration. We're not looking to take anyone's Great American Novel that might take a lifetime to finish, but is their grand opus. We're looking for authentically abandoned works that we might be able to breath new life into by publishing in the anthology.

    I really appreciate everyone's input.
    Last edited by KJones; 05-02-2008 at 08:41 PM. Reason: spelling correction

  16. #16
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Just an update for everyone that had questions. We're getting a bunch of submissions in and still talking about what tweaks to make on the terms of service. When we make a final decision, I'll let everyone know.

  17. #17
    Requiescat In Pace Requiescat In Pace
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    I'm still puzzled...

    >>We're looking for authentically abandoned works that we might be able to breath new life into by publishing in the anthology.<<

    To what end? I really don't understand what the point of this is. Are you hoping that, in the end, authors will hook up with other authors who will want to finish the unpublished work?

    I have the first 15 chapters of a novel I abandoned years ago...it had basic structural flaws that I was never able to solve. I bought out of the book, and I've been too busy with other projects ever since then to go back to it.

    Sounds ideal for your "project" but why would people want to read a chunk of an unpublished s.f. novel that ends on a cliffhanger and has basic inherent plot problems?

    Color me puzzled.

    -Ann C. Crispin
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  18. #18
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AC Crispin View Post
    Sounds ideal for your "project" but why would people want to read a chunk of an unpublished s.f. novel that ends on a cliffhanger and has basic inherent plot problems?
    Perhaps Rupert Holmes will write a musical based on it (as he did with Dickens's unfinished The Mystery of Edwin Drood)?

  19. #19
    Resident Curmudgeon Requiescat In Pace ResearchGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feathers View Post
    . . .

    Does anyone have any clue how to check if these guys are legit?

    -Feathers
    Irrespective of whether the individuals are "legit," the proposition you outlined is ludicrous on its face. Run screaming the other direction.

    My opinion, FWIW.

    --Ken
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    [/FONT][URL="http://www.amazon.com/Theres-Street-Colorful-Origins-Sparks/dp/1937123073/"][FONT=Franklin Gothic Medium][I]There's No Lake on Lake Street![/I] by James D. Umbach[/FONT][/URL]
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  20. #20
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Again, I think this has been addressed, but we think that it would make an interesting anthology that people will want to read. Will it appeal to everyone? Certainly not, but then nothing does.

    And to clarify, Ken, we're assuming the risk and not asking the contributing authors to pay any fees or other costs. We pay everything. Authors will get paid with the sale of the first book. I respect your opinion that you don't dig the idea, but considering the number of submissions we've received and positive feedback, there's also some that do.

  21. #21
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Question Confused: What does this mean?

    Hi, I'm submitting something to this writing contest, and this is in the submission guidelines:
    All submissions should include a cover page clearly identifying the title of the work, the name, address and contact information of the author. Submit only your own work. The cover page must contain your copyright as an affirmation of your ownership of the work submitted
    http://www.abandonednovel.com/submit/form.html

    What does that last part about the copyright mean? I mean, what am I supposed to put on the cover letter as an affirmation of my copyright?
    Thanks for any help
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  22. #22
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I would strongly encourage you to read the complete Terms and Conditions listed on that website before submitting your work. This does not appear to be a "writing contest."
    http://www.abandonednovel.com/terms.html

  23. #23
    Fish Whisperer aka eraser's Avatar
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    I stopped reading here:

    4.You agree that by submitting the work to us, you grant us a three year option to enter into an agreement with you to publish the work. During that time, you will not submit the work to any other publisher, nor will you self-publish or display the work in any public forum.

    It's definitely not a contest. More like a last resort for an as-yet-unsalable work.

    By putting your name on the manuscript you're asserting copyright. If they're total amateurs, they may want you to use the copyright symbol (©) on it as well. (You can make that symbol by holding down your alt key while pressing 0169 on your number pad.)
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  24. #24
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Writer Beware has blogged about this venture: http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2008/0...dnovelcom.html
    ICAO
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    Censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates in the end the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. -- Henry Steele Commager
    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:

  25. #25
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Update:
    We regret to inform you that as a result of the current economic conditions, two investors in this project have declined to move forward with funding of the first run. As a result, we are terminating this project and releasing all submitters from any obligations associated with the terms and conditions of submission.

    We appreciate your interest and enthusiasm in this project, and we wish you all the best in your writing careers. We received many strong submissions, and only regret that we will not be able to move forward in showcasing your work.
    ICAO
    ---------

    Censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates in the end the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. -- Henry Steele Commager
    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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