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Thread: Schiel & Denver Publishing

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Schiel & Denver Publishing

    What is the feeling about Schiel & Denver Publishing? I have been offered a contract for a novel and would like some feedback before signing.

    Dmack
    Last edited by CaoPaux; 11-26-2008 at 08:40 PM. Reason: reducing font size

  2. #2
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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  3. #3
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    What kind of terms are you being offered?

    From the website, it's a self-publisher posing as a "commercial and independent trade publisher." Here's the page of their website with all the familiar deceptive verbiage, including the famous "available in bookstores" claim.

    - Victoria
    Last edited by victoriastrauss; 11-26-2008 at 08:23 PM.

  4. #4
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    It appears to basically be a self-publishing outfit (on the basis that I can find no reference to authors being paid an advance, only aproportion of royalties), but slapped across its pages is the following:

    Schiel & Denver Website:
    In the current political climate, our editors wish to stress explicitly to the industry that we are not a "vanity", "subsidy", "author-originated" or "self publishing" house. We do not take any money from writers we represent and publish. We are a first class "no fee" commercial publishing house, offering a genuine international service for authors worthy of international publication, solely on the basis of literary merit.
    They're also aiming their services at an international audience and take pride in repeating that they will publish books in the 6 official UN translation languages. For a UK-based company, they're promoting the availability of books at US-based stores - i.e. Barnes & Noble and although they claim to make available in bricks and mortar stores, it could be suggested that this is in fact more likely to mean available to order through bricks and mortar stores.

    They've put up a news story saying they've engaged Harbottle & Lewis as legal counsel - they're a reputable law firm with solid publishing experience, so the fact that they're serious about getting their structures organised is a good sign.

    The company is a start up (incorporated April this year) and only has a handful of books listed on its website as being available to purchase. The company details claim experience in book marketing etc, but I can't find any details about the key people in the company or what their experience in the industry is. Disturbingly, they talk about trying to get reviews in the New York Times and other papers/journals, which (though not impossible) is likely to be difficult for a brand new start-up.

    Books listed for sale at the moment are pretty expensive for a UK paperback - cheapest is 8.99 (pricey for a book that's apparently under 300 pages) and most seem to be around 9.99 for upwards of 300 pages.

    Some of the packages seem a little weird to me - particularly the Mom-Royalties Programme, which left me scratching my head. I'm also bemused by the fact that they appear interested in marketing to agents, but without paying an advance I'm not sure what the advantage to an agent is of submitting books there.

    Royalties on the 'Fair To Writer's Program' and 'EducatorAdvance' are listed as:

    10% on the first 2000 copies
    12.5% on next 8000 copies
    14% on sales over 10000 copies.

    It seems to me that this is actually more disadvantageous than that offered by commercial publishers and some other outright self-publishing, POD operations. I'd query how many authors will make it over 2000 sales without an actual presence in stores.

    Royalties on Mom-Royalties Program are:

    12.5% on the first 2000 copies
    14% on next 8000 copies
    16% on sales over 10000 copies.

    Again - not that much more favourable than what a commercial/other self publishing/POD operator would give you.

    Personally, Dmack, I'd explore UK based literary agents and established commercial publishing houses first. If you want to self-publish, then take a look at Lulu and see if their terms are more favourable than this. At the very least, give this company a year to see what they do and how they're practicing.

    MM
    Last edited by Momento Mori; 11-26-2008 at 08:50 PM.

  5. #5
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Schiel & Denver

    Thanks. I agree that there is something a little off with this publisher. I just wanted feedback. I will take your advice and wait.

    Dmack

  6. #6
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    As an additional point, on further perusal of the website, I found the following:

    T. Reid-Kapo is the author of the book, My Autistic Waterlily (2008).

    He is also the Founder and CEO of Schiel & Denver International Publishing House.
    So basically, it looks like the founder set this up to self-publish their own books and is also looking to publish other people's. Now, they seem to be trying to go about it in a professional way (certainly from a business point of view), but I'm not seeing anything else on the site that suggests they've got the experience to back up some of their claims.

    My favourite line from their publishing brochure is the following on the page describing their publicity and marketing capability:

    Please note that Publishers Weekly and the New York Times require 4 months notice, and rarely review unpublished authors.
    Spot the reason why Publishers Weekly and the New York Times might not review an author who has not been published ...

    Finally, their Ebooks are being offered for sale at the same price as their printed books (i.e. 8.99 ot 9.99). I'm not terribly familiar with the Ebook market, but that seems to me to be v. expensive - although maybe someone with more experience in that industry can comment.

    MM
    Last edited by Momento Mori; 11-26-2008 at 10:26 PM.

  7. #7
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    I disagree about the professionalism. The site is replete with the kinds of deceptive or misleading statements found on the websites of so many amateur micropresses or stealth vanity publishers. A few examples:

    - "We can make your book available to sell at every major online and "brick and mortar" traditional bookseller (chain and indies), libraries, colleges and schools, in over 100 countries, across 4 continents."

    This might lead authors to conclude their books would be on bookstore shelves, but as we know, "available" means something different.

    - "Furthermore, when we developed our free commercial publishing programs, we incorporated into them the fair advantage of higher creator revenue returns (also known as book royalties) above the industry standard."

    "Free commercial publishing" is like "fiction novel." And the promise of revenues "above industry standard" is a typical amateur or vanity publisher claim--but the actual royalty percentages offered by S&D (see MM's post above) are not above industry standard. Moreover, because it's not clear whether they're paid on net or list (according to S&D's publishing brochure, they are paid on "sales price," which is meaningless), they could be considerably lower.

    - From the publishing brochures: "Schiel & Denver recommends that you should always copyright your work before you let anyone else read it."

    Copyright paranoia is common among inexperienced writers, but a professional publisher should not manifest it. Not so surprising here, perhaps, in view of the fact that S&D seems to be an outgrowth of a self-publishing endeavor.

    There are also numerous errors, not all of which look to me like typos--for instance:

    "Since we are based in the United Kingdom, as part of our lawful requirements, we will send your book for prosperity [sic--my bolding], at no extra cost to you, to the British Library in London, and Cambridge and Oxford University Libraries."

    The publishing brochure is also full of errors, such as the on-again, off-again apostrophe in the "Fair to Writers" program.

    - Victoria

  8. #8
    Decker Cybernaught's Avatar
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    It's funny that the only publishers who claim they are "traditional" and "non-fee" are in all actuality, vanity.

    Also, here's an example of artfully constructed verbiage:

    We can make your book available to sell at every major online and "brick and mortar" traditional bookseller (chain and indies), libraries, colleges and schools, in over 100 countries, across 4 continents.
    Available meaning that the bookstore can order it upon request.
    "How can we separate the dancer from the dance?" - W.B. Yeats.

    "Fool Me Once" in Hogglepot
    "The Sommelier" in Every Day Fiction
    "The Degenerate" in Black Denim Lit

  9. #9
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    I just two seconds ago got an email notifcation that Schiel & Denver is following me on Twitter. How surreal is that?

    I suspect they haven't seen this thread yet.

    - Victoria

  10. #10
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Schiel & Denver

    You guys are fantastic. I will be interested to see what the people from Schiel & Denver have to add once they find this thread. Thanks.

    Dmack

  11. #11
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    victoriastrauss:
    I disagree about the professionalism. The site is replete with the kinds of deceptive or misleading statements found on the websites of so many amateur micropresses or stealth vanity publishers.
    Yes, I should probably qualify my comment by saying it looked professional on first glance. It was only when I started sifting through it that I realised they're basically repeating the same "information" on each of their pages and that information isn't necessarily correct and of course, there are typographical errors.

    They do seem to be better organised than some start-up self-publishing outfits out there (in that they have at least engaged professional advisers), but otherwise I'm not seeing anything that gives me grounds to think anything other than well-intentioned but clueless amateurs.

    I should also point out that they seem open to accepting anything - non-fiction and fiction. It's usually more reassuring if a start-up has a particular focus (e.g. literary fiction or non-fiction only) because it means they're serious about building up contacts and distribution and know what that market is.

    MM

  12. #12
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    MM, what are the royalties based on? Because I've seen all sorts of odd ways of calculating royalties, and it's a pretty telling detail which can completely change the amounts received, regardless of how good those percentages first seem.

    (I'd download the information myself but my dial-up connection is feeling particularly weebly today.)

  13. #13
    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    I still can't find their genre preferences, unless it's burried in one of their links somewhere. I couldn't dowload their programs, since I came up with a 'damaged information' tag. It looks like non-fiction and fiction, but other than that, I didn't find exacting guidelines. It's a massive site, so I might be doing something wrong.

    Tri

  14. #14
    Bored Fanatic StevenJ's Avatar
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    I am learning a great deal from threads like this (and let's face it, I really need to learn).

    Quotes like this: "Since we are based in the United Kingdom, as part of our lawful requirements, we will send your book for prosperity [sic--my bolding], at no extra cost to you, to the British Library in London, and Cambridge and Oxford University Libraries."

    ...are making a virtue of the said 'legal requirement' - as far as I'm aware, a copy of every book published in the UK has to be sent to those institutions anyway...hardly a boon for any author, but that's how this company is attempting to portray it.

    On second thoughts, I'm not really in a position to criticise, so I'll go away now
    Last edited by StevenJ; 11-27-2008 at 06:15 PM.

  15. #15
    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    It almost seems like a lawyer wrote and designed the website. I don't think I've ever read mission statements, goals, requirements, and services with such technical bloviating before. Essentially they are providing the same thing as any other commercial pub outfit, but they sure take the long way around the mountain to state this. For instance, I don't think they need to pound their production, marketing, publicity, and services into the ground, when its pretty much implied. So help me, it does read like a vanity publisher, with virtually all of the bingo squares marked and waving like red flags, yet they go out of their way to deny any fees or costs. On one hand, the site is very professionally designed (except the typos) I'll give them that, but a bit excessive and confusing on the other.

    Could an author be in for some backend surprise once they are accepted? Hard to say.

    Tri

  16. #16
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    triceretops:
    I still can't find their genre preferences
    That's probably because they don't have any.

    The submission guidelines for the Fair To Writers Program state:

    Shiel & Denver Website (bolding mine):
    The Fair To Writers Program gives authors, from anywhere in the world, the opportunity to publish their book for free, in their own language, with the support of a professional publishing team. Schiel & Denver will publish any subject, fiction or non-fiction, in any of the six official United Nations language, and sell it worldwide on your behalf, at a profit.
    The submission guidelines for the Mom-Royalties Program state:

    Shiel & Denver Website:
    We will publish any mom writer, whose work is good enough to sell in bookshops, for free, in any of the six official United Nations languages
    and:

    Shiel & Denver Website:
    Whether it’s an intellectual sociology or maths text, a thrilling crime thriller, a useful gardening book or an interesting new look at parenting and good housekeeping, we are in search of good books.
    The EducatorAdvance Program does appear to be more slightly more specialised but only insofar as it appears aimed at the education market:

    Shiel & Denver Website:
    The EducatorAdvance Program is Schiel & Denver’s Academic/Educational branch, specializing in producing scholarly, intellectually relevant and authoritative academic and technical books in a range of subjects across the humanities and science, for college and higher education.
    When you click on this link it shows you precisely which subjects they're looking for books in, and from the look of it, they'll accept practically anything.

    Finally, they also have a children's/YA imprint called Heirloom but again, the submission guidelines indicate they'll accept practically anything aimed at 18 years and younger:

    Shiel & Denver Website:
    Heirloom is Schiel & Denver's Children & Teen Imprint, aiming to bring a range of constructive, fun, exciting and educational books to children of all ages; and all backgrounds; from babies through young adults.
    Old Hack:
    MM, what are the royalties based on?
    Apparently they're paid on "sales price," which, as Victoria pointed out, is meaningless. The only reference to how they're calculated in the Schiel & Denver publishing brochure states:

    Shiel & Denver Website:
    ... royalty percentages are based upon the regular edition sold in the USA and elsewhere, relevant to the first print run
    I have absolutely no idea what this means, although it suggests that if the cover price is increased on a second or third print run, then the author would still only get royalties based on the cover price of the first print run.

    Interestingly, the fact that they talk about print runs on the website suggests to me that this isn't a POD operation. I'd be interested in knowing how many books are printed per run and who stores them.

    MM

  17. #17
    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    Interestingly, the fact that they talk about print runs on the website suggests to me that this isn't a POD operation. I'd be interested in knowing how many books are printed per run and who stores them.

    I noticed that too. Also, it appears that their cover prices bear this out, but I'm a toad knowing what the British conversion rate is tabulated in U.S. dollars. It doesn't seem to be typical POD prices. I could be wrong.

    Tri

  18. #18
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    triceretops:
    Also, it appears that their cover prices bear this out, but I'm a toad knowing what the British conversion rate is tabulated in U.S. dollars.
    On the subject of cover prices, weirdly it looks like Schiel & Denver are charging more for some hard copy books on their website than what they're listing as the actual cover price. For example, their catalogue lists the cover price for Oh Emma! as 7.99, but the Shiel & Denver store is charging 8.99 plus a whopping 3.50 postage and packing.

    MM

  19. #19
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Hmm, I'm getting a 404 on the brochure today. I knew I shoulda kept a copy.
    ICAO
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  20. #20
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Momento Mori View Post
    Interestingly, the fact that they talk about print runs on the website suggests to me that this isn't a POD operation. I'd be interested in knowing how many books are printed per run and who stores them.
    Inexperienced publishers may not understand the meaning of "print run," and may assume it just means making a book available to print via POD. I've seen this before. So I wouldn't draw any conclusions from S&D's use of that term--especially since they also seem to be using "commercial and trade publisher" improperly.

    My guess about "sales price" is that, just as in the PublishAmerica contract, it means "net."

    I don't suspect that S&D is dishonest. To the contrary, I think they're probably very well intentioned. However, I think they are probably completely inexperienced, and despite their apparent ambitions, have little understanding of publishing. Which can wind up being just as bad for authors.

    MM, where did you find that they'd engaged professional advisers?

    - Victoria
    Last edited by victoriastrauss; 11-27-2008 at 08:45 PM.

  21. #21
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    victoriastrauss:
    MM, where did you find that they'd engaged professional advisers?
    From their news page, where they reported that they've appointed Harbottle & Lewis as legal counsel. Harbottle & Lewis are one of the most reputed media firms in the City and have solid publishing experience - they're also not cheap, which suggested that at least Schiel & Denver are prepared to go to the right people for advice.

    Unfortunately, I have to confess that I'd skim-read the news release, and having read it more carefully there is one thing that trouble me:

    Schiel & Denver Press Release:
    Senior partners at Harbottle will liaise with our editorial executives over matters of publishing and contract law, and work constructively to serve in the best interests of our authors, both domestically within the UK, and in all overseas rights territories.
    As a technical point, if Harbottle & Lewis are representing Schiel & Denver, then their mandate as solicitors is to act in the best interests and in accordance with the instructions of their client. Now, they may be instructed to prepare more author-friendly publishing contracts to offer to Schiel & Denver authors (and I have no reason to think that this is not the case), but as a starting point, they can't act for an author unless the author agrees (I'm speaking broadly - the Law Society has rules for when you can act for both sides on a transaction that are too complex and dull to go into here). I'm a little concerned that the wording of the press release could be used to infer that because H&L are acting for Schiel & Denver, then their contracts must be good for authors. The chances are that they will still require a degree of negotiation (if only because every contract can benefit from a little negotiation!)

    MM

  22. #22
    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    Hmm, I'm getting a 404 on the brochure today. I knew I shoulda kept a copy.

    I refreshed on the brochure and got that to come up. I just got a 'damaged file' message when I went to the application for submission, especially hitting the English version link.

    I did find a part where they said that advances were on a case by case basis with non-agented authors, and with agented authors, they nearly guaranteed an advance but gave no mention of its ranges.

    They give no precise name of their distributor, other than the normal internet/online channels.

    Since I couldn't see their application process/form, I emailed them a general question about it, and asked a few other things. I got receive/confirmation receipt back in Spanish. I think their webmaster has some work to do to straighten out some of these glitches.

    Tri

  23. #23
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    My questions are:

    Even if Schiel & Denver is a vanity press, why would anyone sign with them when you could just use Createspace, which also demands no upfront fees? Are they going to promote their product more agressively than Amazon does with Createspace? How are they going to promote the books other than through the blogging or community sites they are inviting their writers to join? Is it possible that they could pull this together and produce a quality product and generate some clout in the market?

    I am anxious to see what a Schiel & Denver representative has to say about all of the points that have been addressed in these threads.

  24. #24
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Dmack, you mentioned you'd been offered a contract. I'm very curious to know the terms, if you'd be willing to share that info with me. Please drop me a line at beware@sfwa.org. All correspondence with Writer Beware is held in confidence.

    - Victoria

  25. #25
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    triceretops:
    They give no precise name of their distributor, other than the normal internet/online channels.
    They mention Ingrams in their publishing brochure as being one of their "world class publishing partners".

    triceretops:
    I did find a part where they said that advances were on a case by case basis with non-agented authors, and with agented authors, they nearly guaranteed an advance but gave no mention of its ranges.
    Yes, I noticed that they say in their brochure that they'll work with agents "on traditional advance paying terms" (which they'd have to, in order to get any interest from agents), but that they are "keen to welcome previously unpublished writers into our free programs" (which I took to mean, they'd rather have the newbies who might not think to ask for an advance - certainly the description of their programs keeps quiet about it and focuses on the royalties instead).

    I also noticed that they seem to be a little confused on what an advance is:

    Schiel & Denver Publishing Brochure:
    our contracts are based on either present or future considerations - i.e. an upfront advance or payment on future royalties on the sale of your work.
    They also seem to think that they're the ones who give the author subsidiary rights, when in fact it's the other way around.

    MM

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