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Thread: North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc.

  1. #1
    figuring it all out cynrad22's Avatar
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    North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc.

    Can anybody give me any info on North Star Press?

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    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    URL? There're several pubs by that name, on both sides of the Atlantic.
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    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    Well, they've been a family business for decades. They've published over 300 books of every damn genre known to man, which gives me the shivers. Their books appear on Amazon.com and some of their numbers look okay--at least they're selling. They appear to be hardbacks, and priced about right or least competitively.

    But...scant info. A very sparse site. No reviews or news. No mention of contracts, royalties, advances, bookstore placement, staff bios, or real experience. No sub quidelines at all that I can see.

    What you need here is one of their authors. You might try googling them and see what you come up with.

    Someone else will have to weigh in on this one. I admit this place looks a little fishy to me. For as long as they've been in business, and with such a huge book inventory, I would have expected a much more elaborate site with more disclosure and info.

    Proceed with caution. My spider sense is tingling on this one, and I can't put my finger on it.

    Tri

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    figuring it all out cynrad22's Avatar
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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by CaoPaux View Post
    URL? There're several pubs by that name, on both sides of the Atlantic.
    They are in Minnessota i think? They want my book, but i dont know...after PA, i am skiddish. It is a 10% royalties and i would have to do a one time book buy, of around 200 copies. I have seen some of the stuff they have edited, and it looks very prof., but i need more info. Their web site doesnt give enough info. They will send it out to get reviewed and all good reviews will be put on the back cover of the book. If anyone would like to see what their contract looks like, let me know and i will PM it to you. I can use some help on this one.
    Thanks

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    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    i would have to do a one time book buy, of around 200 copies.
    Come on, you know the answer to this one. If you're going to buy your own books, publish them yourself and then you'll have some quality control.

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    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    Yea, Cao, at least that is the one I thought the OP meant.


    Where does the 200 book-buy come into the equation? I must have missed something.

    Tri

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    figuring it all out cynrad22's Avatar
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    Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by IceCreamEmpress View Post
    Come on, you know the answer to this one. If you're going to buy your own books, publish them yourself and then you'll have some quality control.
    The only thing that set this kind of weird for me was that she would take it out of my first royalties. So i thought...maybe, but i cant seem to find info on them.
    I dont want to have to buy my own books anymore. I bought 80 from PA when i first started out. I havent bought any since that time no matter how many "Spam" emails they send me trying to get me to buy. So i am learning. Thats why i thought to post about North Star to get some info from you all. Seems to me you all have been at this way longer than me and know things and links that i dont know about. I am very greatful for this forum.
    Thanks

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    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    Welcome aboard, Brandy. Knowledge will come with time and surfing this group. You will learn everything you need to know. Always check the Bewares area to find out about agents and editors.

    Tri

  10. #10
    Brian Boru brianm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brandy View Post
    The only thing that set this kind of weird for me was that she would take it out of my first royalties. So i thought...maybe, but i cant seem to find info on them.
    You are required to buy 200 copies but you don't pay up front 'cause it comes out of your royalties? Huh? What if no copies sell? Who pays for the 200 copies you are required to buy if there are no royalties?

    If you are required to buy copies you are paying to play and are being vanity published. It doesn't matter where, when, or how they get their money because in the end you are still paying for their services to print your book.

    Although this outfit has been around since the late 60's, it should be noted that the parents have passed away and the company is being run by the kids in a different state. Just because they are related doesn't mean they run things the same way their parents did.
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    figuring it all out cynrad22's Avatar
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    Lightbulb DUH

    True. It is up to me to sell the 200 copies to make back my money, then i am not required to buy anything else unless i want copies on hand...oh god as i type this i get it....never mind, still trying to come out of my PA coma...

  12. #12
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    north star

    I caught this conversation and thought I'd share what I've learned in teaching at the Loft, the largest writing center in the country, and in publishing my book. Keep in mind that as an author, you will want to have your books on hand at any signings you do, and often these are the ones you've brought along with you. North Star offers them at a 50% discount, much cheaper than any of the other publishers out there. The most discount other pubs offer is only 30%. I've known big-name authors at writer's conferences buy out their own books from what their publishers have on display because it's cheaper than what they have in their contracts.

    It's a writing reality that you will have to buy copies of your own book, it's up to you to decide on what terms work best for you.

    If you don't think you can sell 200 of your books, negotiate down what it is you buy up front. But, if you don't think you can sell 200 of your books, is this the book you want published under your name? Note that these are not publication costs they are asking you to cover.

    In the interest of full disclosure, my book Lost and Found: A Memoir of Mothers was just released by them. (It's about my birthmother finding me through my mom's obituary.) In two weeks I've sold everything I had to buy up front and ended up having to buy more, so I could have books on hand.

    Their books have received several awards, and a friend of mine who published her book there back in 1999 is still enjoying her book in print. It's been an honor and a pleasure to work with the people of North Star - who still live up in St. Cloud, where it was founded. Happy to answer any questions...
    Kate St. Vincent Vogl
    Lost and Found: A Memoir of Mothers (North Star 2009)
    www.katevogl.com

  13. #13
    What happened? ChristineR's Avatar
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    Hello Kate.

    Why is it a "writing reality" that you have to buy copies of your own book? Most commercially published authors get a fair number of author copies for their own use and are offered a discount if they want some more. Personally, I doubt I could sell 200 copies of my books, but I think a publisher could sell many, many more than 200 copies. Now if you really want to self-publish, you can do it for much less up front than the cost of 200 copies. Of course if you get them at half price and sell them off at full price, you come out ahead, but that's a lot of work, and it's not what writers do best.

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    aka Sadistic Mistress Mi-chan M.R.J. Le Blanc's Avatar
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    I've not yet heard any of our published authors here on this site ever mention buying their own books, except for any that were going out of print that their publisher had lying around. And even that was only once. So who are these big-name authors who are buying their own books, when all these other authors are getting a dozen or so more from their publisher - free? Also, it's my understanding that it is the publisher's obligation to provide books for signings, not the author's.

    Personally, as an author I don't want to sell 200 copies of my books. Not when publishers have runs well into the thousands. So no, I don't think I can sell 200 of my own books. That's why I plan on selling my books to publishers who can do far better for me.
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    I grow my own catnip JulieB's Avatar
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    I've never had to buy copies of my book to take to a signing. The bookstore always takes care of that.

    There are only two times I've bought my own books. Once was when I was out and about and realized I wanted to give a copy to someone. It was easier to drop in the bookstore than to go home and grab one. Second was when a book went out of print and the publisher offered me some at a deep discount. I bit on that one.

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    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kvogl View Post
    Keep in mind that as an author, you will want to have your books on hand at any signings you do, and often these are the ones you've brought along with you. North Star offers them at a 50% discount, much cheaper than any of the other publishers out there. The most discount other pubs offer is only 30%.
    Absolutely not true. Yes, many smaller publishers offer paltry discounts, but larger publishers offer better ones. 50% is by no means uncommon. However, books for signings should be provided by the publisher. Authors shouldn't have to bring (or buy) their own.

    It's generally only smaller publishers--whether because of tight budgets or for less salubrious reasons--that make authors buy their own books to bring to signings (often, such author purchases--especially where they're required by contract--are the publisher's main source of sales). In fact, many larger publishers prohibit authors from re-selling the books they buy at the author discount, because they don't want authors competing with the publisher's sales channels.

    If you don't think you can sell 200 of your books, negotiate down what it is you buy up front. But, if you don't think you can sell 200 of your books, is this the book you want published under your name? Note that these are not publication costs they are asking you to cover.
    Maybe not, but you still have to pay to see your book in print. No book purchase--no book contract. That's just back-end vanity publishing.

    It's a good idea for authors to help promote themselves and their books. But it's not an author's job to hand-sell books. That's what the publisher should be doing. Otherwise, why not just self-publish through Lulu, and keep most of your rights?

    I'm sorry, but I really hope this isn't what you're teaching your students.

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  17. #17
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    At signings I have been asked by the store for the ISBNs and details and they order the books, and I am with a very small press. On a few occassions I have opted to offer to bring copies on consignment, but I would not consider that the norm.
    Emily Veinglory

  18. #18
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I certainly can't speak for the big presses. However, I do know from being at the AWP writers conference and speaking with an author who won a prestigious McKnight fellowship and a Minnesota book award that she was buying up copies of her book there because getting it at a 30% discount was much better than what she got per her contract.

    I can also tell you that I've already personally sold much more than 200 copies of my book. I can't tell you the number of times I've been at a signing when the store didn't have enough copies and I had to run out to my car to get more. So, always have your books with you! It's what you do to get your books into the hands of readers.

    This approach has proved successful for me: my book is already going to a second printing. It's been reviewed and featured in the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press, the Akron Beacon Journal and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. I've spoken at a national conference and appeared on TV and radio with it.

    I think it's important for writers to know that small presses are an option. Small presses allow you flexibility that big presses don't. I would never have experienced the turn around time and the successes I've had this spring and summer if I went with a big press. And even if you go with a go with a large press, you still need to push your own work and be your own advocate.

    As writers we need to be aware of everything that's out there. Let's not shut folks off to the possibilities.

  19. #19
    practical experience, FTW rejectME's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kvogl View Post
    I certainly can't speak for the big presses. However, I do know from being at the AWP writers conference and speaking with an author who won a prestigious McKnight fellowship and a Minnesota book award that she was buying up copies of her book there because getting it at a 30% discount was much better than what she got per her contract.

    I can also tell you that I've already personally sold much more than 200 copies of my book. I can't tell you the number of times I've been at a signing when the store didn't have enough copies and I had to run out to my car to get more. So, always have your books with you! It's what you do to get your books into the hands of readers.

    This approach has proved successful for me: my book is already going to a second printing. It's been reviewed and featured in the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press, the Akron Beacon Journal and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. I've spoken at a national conference and appeared on TV and radio with it.

    I think it's important for writers to know that small presses are an option. Small presses allow you flexibility that big presses don't. I would never have experienced the turn around time and the successes I've had this spring and summer if I went with a big press. And even if you go with a go with a large press, you still need to push your own work and be your own advocate.

    As writers we need to be aware of everything that's out there. Let's not shut folks off to the possibilities.
    So are you saying that you published with this press and bought the 200 books up front?

    Was it a offset print run or POD? What the the print run #?

    What would have happend if the signings didn't go well? Does you press have a return policy or were you on consignment?

    How did they justify you having to buy your own books?

    Thanks, Jerry
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  20. #20
    aka Sadistic Mistress Mi-chan M.R.J. Le Blanc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kvogl View Post
    I certainly can't speak for the big presses. However, I do know from being at the AWP writers conference and speaking with an author who won a prestigious McKnight fellowship and a Minnesota book award that she was buying up copies of her book there because getting it at a 30% discount was much better than what she got per her contract.
    Perhaps you could explain this a little better. She was buying from the conference because it was a better deal than from her publisher? Why is she buying her own books in the first place?

    Quote Originally Posted by kvogl View Post
    I can also tell you that I've already personally sold much more than 200 copies of my book. I can't tell you the number of times I've been at a signing when the store didn't have enough copies and I had to run out to my car to get more. So, always have your books with you! It's what you do to get your books into the hands of readers.
    That's good that you've sold so many. Might I ask what your book is about?

    Quote Originally Posted by kvogl View Post
    I think it's important for writers to know that small presses are an option. Small presses allow you flexibility that big presses don't. I would never have experienced the turn around time and the successes I've had this spring and summer if I went with a big press. And even if you go with a go with a large press, you still need to push your own work and be your own advocate.

    As writers we need to be aware of everything that's out there. Let's not shut folks off to the possibilities.
    No one dismisses small presses here But what people here look for are effective presses. People who can get the job done.

    What flexibility are you referring to, however? What is it you think small presses give that big ones can't? And are you saying that you had a very small wait period between query and book release?
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    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    North Star Press Minnesota

    Hi, I realize that my reply trails by almost a year but stumbled on this thread and wanted to add to the discussion. The staff of North Star press pop up at various book events. When approached, they invite queries, request fulls and then you'll never hear from them again. After repeated attempts at communication, I finally reached someone who told me "we must have lost your manuscript." Yikes! I'd say beware.

  22. #22
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Considering North Star Press? This May Help.

    If you are considering North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc. as a publisher, then I suggest clicking on the following link and reading a blog post responding to all of the issues that have been raised here. It is excellent, is a response to all of these issues, and comes straight from one of the heads of North Star Press. http://www.bookmakingblog.com/2010/0...tar-press.html

    As far as the issue with marketing, social media, and the website, North Star Press has been a small publishing company from the beginning, being family owned and operated since 1969, consisting of 3 employees until 2011 when they decided to, and were able to, expand. North Star now has grown to 7 employees, including a marketing person that was brought on only this year. Up until this year North Star only focused on the books they published, which has been 50 per year until 2013 when it will be 70. Because of this and the small number of employees, North Star has had very limited marketing even down to marketing the company itself. That is changing this year with its new marketing person. The new, revamped website is a testimony to that. Check it out and see for your self the changes that have come to North Star www.northstarpress.com . Although there are many changes, North Star still takes pride in the quality of its books and the editing done to them, as well as its partnership with its authors. Please refer to the blog link to read all about how North Star views and feels about its work, authors, and relationship with them. Hope this helps!

  23. #23
    The King and Queen of Cheese BenPanced's Avatar
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    North Star Press is an award-winning press.
    Which awards? I'd want to work with somebody who's won Awards. I'd want to see them brag about the awards they've won and which work got them these coveted awards.
    North Star Press has helped hundreds of people realize their dream of being published come true by publishing over 700 books in our forty-year history.
    Oh, jeez. Not this line again.
    The books that were selling were the ones that the authors were heavily involved in marketing: they need to do signings, they need to do talks, they need to have websites and blogs, they need to be out there.
    That's not marketing. That's promotion. The two terms are not interchangeable.
    We have enough skills that, unlike other small press publishers, we do absolutely everything we can in house.
    Wow. Sweeping falsehood much? I, for one, can attest that my small press publisher has done everything -- from editing to cover design to formatting to, well, everything -- in house, and I think there might be several others here who can say the same thing.
    We focus on relationships with our authors
    That's not forging a business relationship. That's making friends. I don't want to make friends. I want a publisher.
    We provide them with lists of places to sell the books, contact information, mentors, and, above all, encouragement. This is the kind of inovative (sic) approach that makes us successful, even during tough economic times.
    And if I'm expected to do the marketing that my publisher is supposed to be doing, I'll look elsewhere.
    Last edited by BenPanced; 05-14-2013 at 10:38 PM.

  24. #24
    Evil, undead Chihuahua SuperModerator Haggis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JEhrnst View Post
    If you are considering North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc. as a publisher, then I suggest clicking on the following link and reading a blog post responding to all of the issues that have been raised here. It is excellent, is a response to all of these issues, and comes straight from one of the heads of North Star Press. http://www.bookmakingblog.com/2010/0...tar-press.html

    As far as the issue with marketing, social media, and the website, North Star Press has been a small publishing company from the beginning, being family owned and operated since 1969, consisting of 3 employees until 2011 when they decided to, and were able to, expand. North Star now has grown to 7 employees, including a marketing person that was brought on only this year. Up until this year North Star only focused on the books they published, which has been 50 per year until 2013 when it will be 70. Because of this and the small number of employees, North Star has had very limited marketing even down to marketing the company itself. That is changing this year with its new marketing person. The new, revamped website is a testimony to that. Check it out and see for your self the changes that have come to North Star www.northstarpress.com . Although there are many changes, North Star still takes pride in the quality of its books and the editing done to them, as well as its partnership with its authors. Please refer to the blog link to read all about how North Star views and feels about its work, authors, and relationship with them. Hope this helps!
    Hello, Jessica.

    It might have helped more if you'd identified yourself as the new marketing person at North Star. Because you seem to have skipped right over that in your post.
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  25. #25
    Just the facts, please
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    *facepalm*

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