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Thread: A Better Be Write Publisher Inc. / A-Argus Better Book Publishers

  1. #26
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    and yes they said before i submitted it they would make me and offer and either charge me an investment of 1400 dollars or absorb all the costs...they sort of did in between so i'm puzzled by that. and no, as far as their submission policy goes its no different than your average independent publisher
    Waid Harbison
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  2. #27
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    Does A-Argus provide all copies of the books for these signings at no cost to the author?
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  3. #28
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    no cost to the author. oh, in the agreement they also agree to refund all money upon the sale of 1,000 books. they also have the investment making an 8% interest rate every year for the autor when and if the money is returned
    Waid Harbison
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  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by waidharbison View Post
    We also enter your book in the Barnes & Noble search for the Next Great Author contest (which is not open to self-publishers) and to the Amazon Booksellers contest for best seller, also not open to self-publishers.
    I've never heard of these contests. Why would a publisher be entering your book into a contest? That makes no sense to me.

    Special efforts are made by our sales staff to introdue your book to all of the local booksellers in your area. This includes telephone, email and personal visits to the buyers at the various stores.
    I'd want further clarification of "special efforts." I'd want to know if my book will sit on the shelves of Borders and B&N across the country, just like if I pubbed with Tor or HQ or Random House.

    The fact that our organization is a standard publisher gives us additional weight with those stores, and of course, we provide their inventory at our expense.
    He answered my earlier question, but the fact that he calls himself a "standard publisher" at all is a warning sign.

    Vanity publishers require you fund the entire cost of publishing a book, which is often in the four to five thousand dollar range, and require that you do ALL of the work.
    He may be trying to distinguish himself from vanity publishers (which are not the same as self-publishing) with the "entire cost" thing, but if he requires money from you, it's still vanity publishing. Legit publishers do not ask you for money. Period.
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    The public doesn't trust them. The government wants to control them. Being a superhero has never been this hard, especially for Tempest.--Coming April 22, 2013 from Pocket Star.

  5. #30
    Mata Hari GirlWithPoisonPen's Avatar
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    They aren't quite self-publishers, but they aren't a standard publishing house either.

    How did you find them? Did you go through an agent?

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by waidharbison View Post
    no cost to the author. oh, in the agreement they also agree to refund all money upon the sale of 1,000 books. they also have the investment making an 8% interest rate every year for the autor when and if the money is returned
    Sound like a good deal. What I would do is email their current list of authors and ask how many of them have sold that magical 1000 books and recooped their money, plus interest.
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    "Holy f*ck!" --Yummy Men & Kick Ass Chicks, on CHANGELING.

    The public doesn't trust them. The government wants to control them. Being a superhero has never been this hard, especially for Tempest.--Coming April 22, 2013 from Pocket Star.

  7. #32
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    ok, say we talk it out and he doesn't ask for any money. should i still go with them? i'm positive i'm among the first from their publishing house to be charged a fine: which is very strange. in fact, some of their author's have gotten very nice advances before. so, this is what leaves me questioning them: of every author they've published before, no fees. either they've made a recent change to vanity publishing or i just don't know.
    Waid Harbison
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  8. #33
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    It's ultimately up to you.

    My advice is that, if you believe in your book and its marketability, go elsewhere. Start querying agents, legit agents who can get your book read by the big houses. The ones that offer advances and never ask for "fines" up front (or use badly photoshopped covers).
    Blog: Organized Chaos | Pinterest | Facebook | Website | Twitter

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    The public doesn't trust them. The government wants to control them. Being a superhero has never been this hard, especially for Tempest.--Coming April 22, 2013 from Pocket Star.

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChaosTitan View Post
    It's ultimately up to you.

    My advice is that, if you believe in your book and its marketability, go elsewhere. Start querying agents, legit agents who can get your book read by the big houses. The ones that offer advances and never ask for "fines" up front (or use badly photoshopped covers).

    yes that would be nice. i'm going to see how he responds to me by objecting the fees before i decide. i've also emailed some of their authors so i'm going to see what they have to say as well.
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  10. #35
    aka Sadistic Mistress Mi-chan M.R.J. Le Blanc's Avatar
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    Personally, I wouldn't even bother waiting for what he says. I'd withdrawl my ms from them and start looking elsewhere. That's one too many red flags for me no matter what they say.
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  11. #36
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waidharbison View Post
    ok, say we talk it out and he doesn't ask for any money. should i still go with them?
    Have you ever read any of their books? Has anyone you know ever read any of their books? Have you ever seen any of their books shelved in a bookstore?


    i'm positive i'm among the first from their publishing house to be charged a fine: which is very strange. in fact, some of their author's have gotten very nice advances before. so, this is what leaves me questioning them: of every author they've published before, no fees. either they've made a recent change to vanity publishing or i just don't know.

    A fine? What the heck?

    Listen: They pay you, or no deal. If they want your book, they can send you a check for $1,400 in advance. Authors do not pay publishers. Period.

  12. #37
    practical experience, FTW Khazarkhum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waidharbison View Post
    The standard rate that professional editors charge us is $2.00 per page. To develop a custom front and rear cover averages over $500.00. Proof copies cost between $30.00 and $50.00 each, including postage and shipping. It is only when the number of copies printed reach 1,000 does the costs become reasonable. When you add in the cost of marketing, you can easily see that the heaviest part of publishing a book falls on our shoulders.Hoping this gives you what you're looking for, we are

    Respectfully,
    William J. Connor, Jr.Managing Director
    Of course the publisher shoulders the costs. It's called an investment.

    The publisher should be buying your book with the expectation that the $1400 it costs to print the book will be earned back, and then some.

    I'd pass.

  13. #38
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    If a publisher asks you for money in any form in order to publish your book, then it's almost certainly a vanity publisher and you should avoid them.

    I'd not even consider using them. But then, I like to earn money from my writing, and see my books on bookshop shelves. I'm funny that way.

  14. #39
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waidharbison View Post
    Originally, the offer was to be an investment, of mine, of around 1400 dollars, but they made an offer to me of around 600. I told them I wouldn't pay the fee, and I am in the works of negotiating with them, but now I'm having second thoughts. They shouldn't have asked for a fee in the first place, and even if I end up not having to pay it, it makes me wonder.
    It should. A publisher that wants to charge you a fee of any kind--whether cash upfront or in the form of purchases you have to make--is either a vanity publisher or a self-publishing endeavor. Since A-Argus so strenuously denies being a self-publishing service, that leaves vanity publisher.

    Vanity publishing is never a good idea for writers.

    I've seen a copy of A-Argus's contract. It levies a fee of less than $1,000 (don't want to say exactly how much in case it identifies the person who sent it to me), with reimbursement promised after the sale of 1,000 copies. Given this publisher's apparently minimal marketing and distribution capacity, I'd say the odds of achieving this level of sales is pretty slim--especially since, unusually, A-Argus prohibits the re-sale of author-purchased copies. Making author purchases less attractive is likely to put the 1,000 reimbursement threshold even farther out of reach.

    The contract is an all-rights contract, even though there's no evidence that A-Argus has any mechanisms in place to sell, license, or exploit the subrights it wants to keep. It's also a life-of-copyright contract, with inadequate reversion provisions (there is no definition of when or how the work is to be taken out of print). Royalties are paid on "net price," without any definition of what "net price" actually means. The author must deliver the work "in final form," (which looks to me to mean "ready for print," which would suggest that the publisher does no editing), and the publisher has up to 3 years in which to publish (much too long--12 or 18 months is more standard).

    As to A-Argus's email to Waid--

    They claim to mail out review copies. This is all very well, but not very useful if they can't command enough notice to actually get reviews. Check their website listings for their books, the authors' websites if they have them, and the listings for their books on Amazon. Can you find any reviews? If they aren't successful in getting their other books reviewed, it's not very likely they'll get yours reviewed either.

    As far as I know there is no such thing as either a "Barnes & Noble search for the Next Great Author contest," or an "Amazon Booksellers contest for best seller." Barnes & Noble does have a Discover Great New Writers Award, so perhaps this is what they mean. And Amazon has a Breakthrough Novel Award, but it's for unpublished manuscripts, not published books, and you can enter it yourself.

    Ingram and Baker & Taylor are wholesalers, not distributors. Wholesalers provide warehousing and fulfillment services for publishers--i.e., they have the books in stock, or print them to order if the publisher is using digital technology, and ship them in response to orders. Distributors also stock and ship--plus, they have a sales staff to sell the books directly into stores. Without that direct sales component, it's unlikely that stores will even know your book exists, much less stock it on their shelves. While a lot of books are bought online, for volume sales you need a balance of online and offline availability, so shelf presence is extremely important.

    One of the ways that stealth vanity publishers (as opposed to straightforward ones that simply quote you a fee) do to divert your attention from the fact that you're being asked to pay is to tell you that they're not a vanity publisher because vanity publishers "charge several thousand dollars." This is nonsense. A fee is a fee, whether it's $10,000 or $500.

    In my opinion, you'd be better off with Lulu or a similar self-publishing service than with an amateurish vanity publisher that wants you to believe it's not a vanity publisher--you'll probably pay less, you'll definitely get a better contract, you'll likely receive more reliable service, and you'll experience about the same level of marketing and distribution. Plus, you won't get a lot of crap about how they aren't actually what your gut instinct tells you they are.

    - Victoria
    Last edited by victoriastrauss; 12-29-2008 at 12:25 AM.

  15. #40
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    I've merged the A Better Be Write Publisher Inc. thread with the A-Argus Better Book Publishers thread, because the contract I've just received documents that the two are owned by the same outfit, Argus Enterprises International Inc.

    Here's the opening paragraph of the contract:
    THIS AGREEMENT is entered into and dated effective as of XXX, 2008 by and between XXXXXXX, (Proprietor”) and ARGUS ENTERPRISES INTERNATIONAL, INC, (imprints A-Argus Better Book Publishers, LLC and A Better Be Write Publishing, LLC)having its primary place of business at 9001 Ridge Hill Street, Kernersville, NC 27284 (“Publisher”).
    Both A-Argus and A Better Be Write are vanity publishers, charging several hundred dollars (the amount seems to vary by manuscript) to publish. For A Better Be Write, this represents a change--until fairly recently, it didn't charge any fees.

    - Victoria
    Last edited by victoriastrauss; 01-01-2009 at 11:53 PM.

  16. #41
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    I wonder why ABBW changed their policy. Maybe they weren't making enough money as a "traditional" publisher. I don't see anything about fees on the website, very sneaky, and cruel, too. It's got to be heartbreaking to have a book accepted by them, then be hit with fees. At least most of the vanity publishers are up front about what they do.

    I've just heard a few minutes ago from a girlfriend whose ms was turned down by them. It's unusual for vanity publishers to turn down mss, but I don't know the philosophy behind this rejection, since the only explanation was "interesting, but not for us." Maybe, from the synopsis she sent, she didn't appear to be rich enough to pay her way.
    Last edited by Donna Pudick; 01-08-2009 at 10:49 PM. Reason: More info to ad

  17. #42
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    I don't think they were making enough as a publisher...they mentioned something about that in one of their early emails to me. I thought it was irrelevant but when they imposed the fine I connected the dots. And I told them money flows to the author, not from the author. So I deffinitely turned them down. I have no doubt that they're vanity publishers at this point. And I also have doubts their author's have been very succesful either, so that was a deffinite no. They tried to get me to pay the fine in four amounts, and again I said no I won't pay you a thing. Ha, that was their idea of an "offer"....I advise everyone to steer clear from them.
    Last edited by waidharbison; 01-07-2009 at 06:54 AM.
    Waid Harbison
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  18. #43
    Requiescat In Pace Requiescat In Pace
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    Just a note to say that this strangely named outfit has absolutely nothing at all to do with the kosher, European-based BeWrite Books (www.bewrite.net). I was surprised and angered when the company popped up with this Better BeWrite title years after we'd been in operation. Emails to them have remained unanswered. Neil

  19. #44
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    They told me I had three options, one of which I would have to pay a fee of $1200. They have requested the entire manuscript and said the editors would read it and determine what they want to do. I am NOT paying a fee. I've never been published before but this seems like a scam to me. Do other publishers request a fee?

  20. #45
    ideas are floating where they will Stlight's Avatar
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    Commerical publishers, the legit ones that can get your book in bookstores, do not request a fee. From your post I think these are the ones that interest you.

    Legit agents do not charge fees either. See the stickies in this seciton for more details or wait for other posters.

    For others reading here:
    If you want to self-publish there will be a fee, but you might want to check out the self-publishing thread. Good self-publishers do not pretend to be commerical (traditional) publishers.

    Asking questions is good. Starting at least one page back and reading this thread will answer many questions.

    It is really really hard to sell 1000 books if you aren't in bookstores and aren't giving lectures based on your book.
    Last edited by Stlight; 02-26-2009 at 09:19 AM.

  21. #46
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Many vanity publishers claim that they offer several publishing options, including no-fee or even advance-paying contracts. But the odds are that this is just window-dressing, and fee-based contracts are all they issue.

    - Victoria

  22. #47
    practical experience, FTW frandavea's Avatar
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    A-Argus Better Book Publishers

    Anyone dealt with them before? Some of the language suggests vanity press, and their books (unless they are hardcover) look a bit pricy.
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  23. #48
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    just steer clear from them...i've dealt with them before and i can almost positively say their a vanity publisher
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  24. #49
    The Couchmeister roncouch's Avatar
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    I sent a query to A-Argus. They responded in a timely manner (three weeks) and stated they liked the submission and requested the entire manuscript via e-mail or snail-mail. Three editors will review the MS and they will respond in 45 or so days. They will: 1. publish at no cost to me, or 2. charge a fee of $1,850.00, or 3. reject the MS. If the fee is paid, it will be reimbursed - should sales exceed 1500 copies. If sales exceed 1500, subsequent submissions will be published at no cost if they are of similar quality. I have no plans of paying anyone to publish my MS and will keep you all apprised of future developments.

  25. #50
    aka Sadistic Mistress Mi-chan M.R.J. Le Blanc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roncouch View Post
    I sent a query to A-Argus. They responded in a timely manner (three weeks) and stated they liked the submission and requested the entire manuscript via e-mail or snail-mail. Three editors will review the MS and they will respond in 45 or so days. They will: 1. publish at no cost to me, or 2. charge a fee of $1,850.00, or 3. reject the MS. If the fee is paid, it will be reimbursed - should sales exceed 1500 copies. If sales exceed 1500, subsequent submissions will be published at no cost if they are of similar quality. I have no plans of paying anyone to publish my MS and will keep you all apprised of future developments.
    Seeing as how there's been no one who's surfaced to say they've recouped their fee, I want to know why you're even taking the trouble with these guys. Even if they're not asking money from you, they're asking money from others - and likely getting it. Which tells me they're incapable of operating like the commercial houses, and that's not someone you want handling your book.

    Publishers pay you. Publishers invest in you. There's no reason for them to ever ask you for money, because they're more than capable of making it themselves. That's how they stay in business.
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