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Thread: Port Town Publishing

  1. #1
    New kid, be gentle! Carlene's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Port Town Publishing

    Hi All, I'm new here, but wanted to see if anyone else has had experience with Port Town Publishing. I have and it was NOT good. I'll try to be brief, BUT - I'm a writer. In August of 2004, the owner/editor of PTP accepted one of my books for publication. It's a small publisher, so no advance and the same percentage as from the big publisher. From the beginning, things slipped. I won't go into great detail until someone wants to email me, but basically the editing wasn't good, the publication date slipped by more than two months - I could live with all that. My main concern is the book itself. THe cover is crappy. After going back and forth, I settled on something I wasn't crazy about just to get the thing into publication. When I got my advance copies, I sat on the floor and wept. Not only were there errors in the text, but the books were cut crooked! Yes, I rejected them. The publisher did reprint, but decided on her own to change the color of the book because she "thought it looked better." It doesn't - it's Blah!

    Now, finally, she has shipped books to everyone who pre-ordered in February. One of my good friends called me yesterday to tell me she only read 20 pages when the book started to fall apart! Needless to say - I got sick all over again. The book itself looks very amaturish - like someone produced it in her garage, which I'm beginning to realize is the case. I contacted Preditors & Editors because that's where I originally found PTP. The list owner suggested I post here to see if anyone else was having a problem with PTP. I'm sure P&E gets a lot of individuals who complain and they want to make sure it's not just a personality clash or sour grapes. I know in my case it's not because I've already been in contact with another PTP author and he's having the same problems. So, anyone? We need to ban together to stop bad publishers!

    Sorry this is so long, but I don't know how to do short!

    Thanks,

    Carlene

  2. #2
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Ugh! Sorry for your bad experience. For future reference, though, any "publisher" which uses the phrase "fiction novel" is not one you wish to do business with.

    http://www.porttownpublishing.bigstep.com/homepage.html
    ICAO
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    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

  3. #3
    Li'l Rug Bug clara bow's Avatar
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    My condolences. Better luck next time (somewhere else!)

  4. #4
    Dreamer
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    Another rule of thumb...

    If the publisher cannot afford the $5 to $25 per month for their own website, you probably do not want to do business with them.

    Mike

  5. #5
    New kid, be gentle! Carlene's Avatar
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    Website

    Hi Mike,

    She has a website, www.porttownpublishing/bigstep.com. Looks like a fairly professional one.

  6. #6
    5 W's & an H Sassenach's Avatar
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    From their site...oy:

    Port Town Publishing is a medium-sized publishing house, publishing 22 titles per year. Minimum print run is 200. Port Town Publishing titles are distributed by Ingram Book Group to book sellers nationwide. Our titles are also available at all of the popular on-line websites. At this time, Port Town Publishing has no publicist on staff, so authors are expected to take an ACTIVE ROLE in the promotion of their work. They will be asked to contact libraries, book stores and other retailers in their local area to set up book signings and to carry the title. Author will also be asked to provide mailing lists for promotion of their work. Port Town Publishing direct promotion is done via the Internet, mass email and web page advertising.

    Port Town Publishing strongly recommends that potential authors purchase a copy of one of our titles BEFORE they submit a query. Be sure to pick a title that most closely resembles your own work. This enables the author to "get a feel" for the type of works we accept for publication and to determine if we are the right publisher for you. It also gives the author the opportunity to see the quality of our finished product BEFORE you sign a contract!

    Port Town Publishing IS NOT A SUBSIDY PUBLISHER. Books published an average of 1 to 2 years after acceptance, depending on our list requirements and editorial work needed. Galleys sent to author. Author receives a 15% royalty on the Cover Price.

    Authors retain Copyright in their name and are expected to pay the $30.00 copyright registration fee.

    Authors expected to pay Ingram Book Group's $50 processing fee if they wish to have the distributor handle their title.
    I feel God in this Chili's.
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  7. #7
    I Heart Mac Absolute Sage Lauri B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sassenach
    From their site...oy:


    Port Town Publishing IS NOT A SUBSIDY PUBLISHER. Books published an average of 1 to 2 years after acceptance, depending on our list requirements and editorial work needed. Galleys sent to author. Author receives a 15% royalty on the Cover Price.

    Authors retain Copyright in their name and are expected to pay the $30.00 copyright registration fee.

    Authors expected to pay Ingram Book Group's $50 processing fee if they wish to have the distributor handle their title.
    Hmm. So the publisher will print your book and then ask you to sell it. That's it? This is such a no-win proposition for all involved. Is this publisher still in business? They have no publicity or marketing and no distribution. How can they possibly sell enough copies to even make up their production costs, much less pay authors royalties? Have you been required to buy lots of copies of your book to sell to friends and family?

  8. #8
    New kid, be gentle! Carlene's Avatar
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    No I am not required to buy any books - I would NEVER sign up for that! Yes, they want you to promote your own books, but what publisher doesn't? I knew that going in. I was just dismayed at the poor quality of the books. The publisher distributes through both Ingram and Baker & Taylor.

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW Trapped in amber's Avatar
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    Port Town Publishing direct promotion is done via the Internet, mass email and web page advertising.
    Do they market at all to brick and mortar retailers? Otherwise, I'm not sure how they're expecting to sell copies except through the author.
    The quality you've described is appalling, Carlene. I hope you find some sort of resolution to it all.
    Please feel free to correct my spelling, punctuation and grammar if the urge takes you. I'm trying to improve.

  10. #10
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carlene
    No I am not required to buy any books - I would NEVER sign up for that! Yes, they want you to promote your own books, but what publisher doesn't?
    Yes, but "promotion" doesn't mean "selling the book yourself". You might have to arrange your own book signings, but it's the publisher's responsiblity to get your book into bookstores.

    When I first started getting questions about Port Town Publishing a few years ago, their books were available only through their website--they weren't even listed on Amazon. Now they do have Amazon listings, but it looks like the author has to pay a fee for that minimal availability (the $50 to Ingram). Distribution (handled by the publisher) is an essential part of the publication process. It should not be an add-on, fee-based extra.

    - Victoria

  11. #11
    Quixote without a cause Jeff's Avatar
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    Red Flags

    Aside from the fact that they expect the author to do all of the marketing themselves and they they seem to admit that they are working out of their garage, there is this:

    Port Town Publishing (PTP) was founded in July of 1999 by Jean Hackensmith, a struggling romance author who papered her walls with rejection letters from the New York publishers.
    With this in the next paragraph.

    Jean Hackensmith, Owner and Senior Fiction Editor, is a published author of 7 novels.
    A quick check of Amazon tell us those seven novels were published by - you guessed it - Port Town Publishing.
    "We'll move up into the mountains so far that we can't be found..."

  12. #12
    Persisting AW Moderator Maryn's Avatar
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    Ah, Jeff, the 'boy detective' look suits you well!
    Get to work. Success isn't built on the power of your dreams.


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  13. #13
    a work in progress
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaoPaux
    For future reference, though, any "publisher" which uses the phrase "fiction novel" is not one you wish to do business with.
    Well... Wizards of the Coast made that mistake with their open call earlier this year, and they're generally considered on the up-and-up. But they're also generally considered a games publisher more than a fiction publisher, so maybe it's understandable. Or at least slightly less heinous. Mitigatable. Y'know.
    Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little (Niki)

    Author, occasionally published. Watch this space for more, or visit the amazing actually writing blog. (It actually writes!)

  14. #14
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleJLeBoeuf
    Well... Wizards of the Coast made that mistake with their open call earlier this year, and they're generally considered on the up-and-up. But they're also generally considered a games publisher more than a fiction publisher, so maybe it's understandable. Or at least slightly less heinous. Mitigatable. Y'know.
    Heh. Considering how much of my allowance I blew buying M:TG cards (and the books), I'll let 'em slide. This time.
    ICAO
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    II 2016: 2017:

  15. #15
    Gone
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    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleJLeBoeuf
    Well... Wizards of the Coast made that mistake with their open call earlier this year, and they're generally considered on the up-and-up. But they're also generally considered a games publisher more than a fiction publisher, so maybe it's understandable. Or at least slightly less heinous. Mitigatable. Y'know.
    Wasn't the WotC open call as much an advertising gimmick as a request for submissions? As in, "You! Yes, you: Gamer-who's-never-written-anything-but-is-sure-you-can! Now's your chance!" Not to be snotty, but many of those folks would need the adjective, since "fiction" and "nonfiction" aren't clear categories in their minds.

  16. #16
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aconite
    Not to be snotty, but many of those folks would need the adjective, since "fiction" and "nonfiction" aren't clear categories in their minds.
    Hey now, you saying gamers can't separate fantasy from reality? I bash you with my Spiked Mace of Tenderizing +3!
    ICAO
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    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaoPaux
    Hey now, you saying gamers can't separate fantasy from reality?
    Oh, never. "Fantasy" and "reality" are quite clear; it's "fiction" and "nonfiction" they're hazy on. *g*

  18. #18

  19. #19
    Banned zizban's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveKuzminski View Post
    Well, a felony certainly doesn't keep someone from being a publisher but larceny from a business? Ouch.

  20. #20
    Preditors & Editors Requiescat In Pace DaveKuzminski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zizban View Post
    Well, a felony certainly doesn't keep someone from being a publisher but larceny from a business? Ouch.
    Unfortunately, it's going to get worse. Posting from tomorrow's P&E update: "Important, if you are owed money by Port Town Publishing, contact Detective Mike Jaszczak (Superior Police, Wis.) at (715)-395-7462. Cite case number 06-021947."

  21. #21
    smart enough to know better
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    Port Town Publishers

    Dear Writers:

    I just got a really distressing note from an author with this publisher. Are there any threads on this and the head honcho, Jean Hackensmith?

    DE

    PS: As of 2007, and correspondence from some of their authors, this publisher is closing its doors. Their authors are scrambling for new agents.
    Last edited by Donna Pudick; 10-11-2007 at 07:06 PM. Reason: Updating the chatter.

  22. #22
    What a desolation. Alexandra Little's Avatar
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    There are these two threads (see post #4 and below for the first thread):

    http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...own+publishers

    http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...own+publishers

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  23. #23
    practical experience, FTW Tilly's Avatar
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    They come up on Preditors and Editors as not recommended, and it also says:

    Important, if you are owed money by this publisher, contact Detective Mike Jaszczak (Superior Police, Wis.) at (715)-395-7462. Cite case number 06-021947.
    http://anotherealm.com/prededitors/pebp.htm

  24. #24
    smart enough to know better
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    Tilly and Alexandra. Thanks a lot. I'll relay this info to the author.--DE

  25. #25
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Updating link: http://www.porttownpublishing.com/index.html

    And spitting coffee on my monitor:

    Be advised that Port Town Publishing recently added a VERY IMPORTANT change to its contract, which requires an author to purchase 250 books out of the first print run if it is accepted for publication. This monetary committment can be fulfilled in one lump sum or over a negotiated period of time.

    Let us take a moment to explain that this does NOT put us into the realm of "Subsidy Publishing." Your book will still be handled through our distributors, it will still appear on Amazon.com and other on-line retail sites, as well as on our website, and you will still get royalties from those sales. The 250 book requirement is simply our way of weeding out the "serious" writers from the "armchair" authors. And, frankly, it assures us income from the book. If you are seriously committed to promoting your book, there is no reason you should not be able to sell those 250 copies. Port Town Publishing has worked with too many authors whose only desire was to see their book in print. Once that happened, their motivation ended. Those authors sold less than 50 copies of their book. We, as a company, cannot continue as a viable entity with such mediocre sales. If you are not willing to make this initial monetary investment in your book, then please do not submit your manuscript for our review.
    ICAO
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    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

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