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Thread: Brown Books Publishing Group

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin ladybugger's Avatar
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    Brown Books Publishing Group

    Hello all,

    I was wondering if any of you had any experience with Brown Books Publishing based out of Dallas, Texas.

    It seems like a good alternative to self-publishing or a POD...

    http://www.brownbooks.com/

    Thanks!
    ladybugger

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW frandavea's Avatar
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    Actually, looking at the website, it sounds like self-publishing is exactly what they offer, along with ghost-writing services.
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  3. #3
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin ladybugger's Avatar
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    Well, I guess in the sense that they seem to be willing to work with the author on a more personal level.

  4. #4
    aka Sadistic Mistress Mi-chan M.R.J. Le Blanc's Avatar
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    A lot of services, but no indication of how much they cost. It's like self-publishing with extras, so to speak. I don't know, unless you've exhausted commercial avenues I don't see the point.
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  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW frandavea's Avatar
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    If you're paying to have something published, it's a vanity press, no matter what the website state to the contrary. Check out the site's FAQ page.
    D.M. Anderson
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    Killer Cows (Echelon Press) - Paperback or kindle at www.amazon.com Ebook: www.fictionwise.com .
    Shaken (Echelon Press)
    With the Wicked (on submission)
    The Dark Ride - WIP

  6. #6
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Their little section on Distribution makes much of the fact that they've been able to persuade Ingram to list their books. Big deal. That's the bottom line basic. Even the smallest digitally-based press can list with Ingram, if they use Lightning Source.

    The books are professional-looking. But despite its claims to selectivity, this is certainly a vanity publisher--precisely because it claims it isn't. From the wording on the site, I'm guessing it's very pricey.

    - Victoria

  7. #7
    Just a guy with a pen & a delusion Mr. Anonymous's Avatar
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    Well, their books have sold fairly well... At least, some of them, from what the number of reviews they've gotten are telling me. Might not be a bad option, if the author knows beforehand all the alternatives, and what he/she's getting into.
    Last edited by Mr. Anonymous; 03-31-2009 at 06:01 AM.

  8. #8
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Mr A, I think it depends on where the reviews are. Professional reviews are definitely a good sign. But reviews on places like Amazon, where an author and his friends can log in under ten different names and keep posting positive reviews, really don't mean much.

  9. #9
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    How well a book is selling cannot be estimated by reviews. What are their Amazon ranks, if you email the authors will they indicate the ballpark area of their sales?

    I looked up the amazon rank. It ranges from none to #42,972 (1 book a week) with an median of #1,521,036 (a few sales a year). Of course they may make more from direct sales but this is still some indication.
    Last edited by veinglory; 03-31-2009 at 06:22 PM.
    Emily Veinglory

  10. #10
    The King and Queen of Cheese BenPanced's Avatar
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    Random sampling of Amazon rankings:

    A Family Matter - 4,781,126
    Beyond the Clouds - 1,277,958
    Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road - 884,208
    Men Are Dogs - 1,479,103
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  11. #11
    Just a guy with a pen & a delusion Mr. Anonymous's Avatar
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    Amazon ranks are notoriously unstable and constantly in flux. From what I understand, they provide an indication of current sales.

    The number of reviews, I've found, can serve as an (admittedly) rough and imperfect indicator of how well the book has sold throughout its lifetime.

    To illustrate my point. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone currently has a rank of about 31,000. It also has over 5,000 reviews.

    http://www.amazon.com/Harry-Potter-S...8514670&sr=8-1


    Another book, titled Forever My Lady, reviewed by Publisher's Weekly, with 52 amazon reviews... Has an amazon sales rank of over 1,000,000.

    http://www.amazon.com/Forever-My-Lad...8515815&sr=8-1

    Here's a quote from the author's website. "Forever My Lady was featured in national magazines, on national television and radio including: The Boston Globe, Miami Herald, Rotarian Magazine, Urban Latino Magazine, VOY, Right On! Magazine, NPR, American Latino TV, SITV and was awarded Best New Author Award and the Best Urban Fiction Award and by the Mahogany Media Review."

    Going down a list here for Brown's...

    10, 38, 3, 1, 5, 10, 6, 6, 4, 2, 3, 4, 3, 26, 5, 0, 15, 20...

    Like I said, it's not random house, but it might not be a bad alternative, if people know what they're getting into. Obviously, do your research, ask for a list of the bestselling books if you're offered a contract, ask what the median sales figures are, etc..
    Last edited by Mr. Anonymous; 03-31-2009 at 08:53 PM.

  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW the bunny hugger's Avatar
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    As an author and reviewer I can say I am not aware of any reliable correlation between reviews and sales. What gets reviews is different from what gets sales.

    Also, some of those books with low ranks are new releases.
    Last edited by the bunny hugger; 03-31-2009 at 08:53 PM.

  13. #13
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rattitude View Post
    As an anuthor and reviewer I can say I am not aware of any reliable correlation between reviews and sales. What gets reviews is different from what gets sales.
    Absolutely. Plus, Amazon reviews are one of those easy and cheap book promotion methods that are often recommended to self-published authors. It's not so hard to get all your friends to log in and post a review. It really means nothing.

    Professional reviews, on the other hand--from recognizable newspapers and magazines as well as industry journals like PW--do mean something. They tell you not just that the publisher is actively marketing its books (since sending out advance reading copies is an important component of book marketing) but that it has the credibility to get reviews.

    From my own experience, I've found that Amazon sales rankings do roughly correlate with sales volume in the real world. High rankings suggest poor sales, and vice-versa--and that's for books with wide physical bookstore availability as well as online availability. For books that are available pretty much only online, a high Amazon ranking means that practically no copies are selling at all through retail outlets. Of course, the author may be selling them one at a time out of his or her trunk, but you don't have to use a very expensive vanity publisher if you're going to do that.

    - Victoria

  14. #14
    Just a guy with a pen & a delusion Mr. Anonymous's Avatar
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    From my own experience, I've found that Amazon sales rankings do roughly correlate with sales volume in the real world.

    Oh, I agree. Current sales volume. My point is that for a book that was released a few years ago, the number of reviews would be a much stronger indicator of lifetime sales than the Amazon rank, as evidenced by my two examples.

    And while rattitude makes a good point, I don't think anyone will seriously try to argue against the fact that the more popular a book is, the more reviews it tends to accumulate, both professional and casual.

  15. #15
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I would in fact argue against that. Amazon review cluster most where self-published authors beg and openly pay for them, and post their own under multiole fake accounts.

    The most reviews are found on the best and the wrost books--more modest amounts in the middle.

    And, as already stated, even their new releases have bad sales--and to make serious money a book should sell strongly for at least 6 months.

    Sorry, but frankly this publisher is doing about as well as my own two POD books (comparing books out a similar time, their ranks are about the same as mine). And I sell less than 5% of my books as print (i.e. not very many at all, I focus on ebooks).

    There really is no way I can see those ranking relating to sales in the thousands unless they sell massively off their own site or at cons.

    But if you really want to know, ask their authors privately. n my experience that is oftenm an eye-opener.

    Don't assume the best--find out the facts.
    Emily Veinglory

  16. #16
    Just a guy with a pen & a delusion Mr. Anonymous's Avatar
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    Veinglory - some self-published authors might indeed do that, but the vast majority of self-published books that I've seen have very few if any amazon reviews.

    The most reviews are found on the best and the wrost books--more modest amounts in the middle.

    Sorry, but you're oversimplifying. True, we tend to make our most strongly felt (positive or negative) opinions heard more often than our more moderate ones. So say, if I read a book that I LOVED and another book that I felt was so-so, I WOULD be more likely to review the one that I loved.

    However, popularity still plays a very important role. A horrible, horrible book that nobody knows about and nobody reads is not going to get lots of reviews. And furthermore, while you may agree or disagree, I feel that the vast majority of popular books, the ones that get lots of reviews, are pretty good. They might not be up your alley, but for their target audiences, they're usually pretty good. In other words, I've never seen a book with say, several hundred amazon reviews have an average rating of say, 1.5-2 stars.

    Don't get me wrong. I don't work at the company. Honestly, it doesn't affect me. I just get the feeling that it's quite a few notches above, say, publish america.

    But if you really want to know, ask their authors privately. n my experience that is oftenm an eye-opener.

    Don't assume the best--find out the facts.


    On this, we are in complete agreement. I would like to add, however, that just as we shouldn't assume the best, we also shouldn't assume the worst.

  17. #17
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Anonymous View Post
    A horrible, horrible book that nobody knows about and nobody reads is not going to get lots of reviews.
    Sure it can. All the author has to do is pester his or her friends, or offer some kind of gift in return for a review. I've seen it done. There is nothing easier than to get yourself a boodle of reviews on Amazon, if that's what you want.

    If you're less honest, you can post those reviews yourself, under different account names.

    - Victoria

  18. #18
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I don't think I am assuming a lot. I review self-published books and loss from big presses like Hatchette. You mistake my meaning. I am not saying most self-published books have a lot of reviews. I am saying books that have a lot of reviews are often self-published. I just checked, yep, that is what I said. It is a very different statement and phrased fairly clearly, I thought. It is also, in may experience from reviewing over 100 self-published book, quite true.
    Emily Veinglory

  19. #19
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Ladybugger, I checked out Brown Books' website and they seem pretty legitimate. They have one page devoted to celebrity endorsements, so that has to mean something. I don't think you could get the names they have without having a well-put-together, decently edited book. I have seen quite a few self-published books from places like Authorhouse and Lulu and Vantage that look like crap and are chock-a-block with typos and errors. They couldn't have endorsements and get away with bad books too.

    It can't hurt to check them out. If you are going to independently publish, they seem a lot more legitimate than anyone else I've seen. If I don't get any bites from New York, that's probably where I will go, so thanks for pointing them out!

  20. #20
    The King and Queen of Cheese BenPanced's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by windowbox View Post
    Ladybugger, I checked out Brown Books' website and they seem pretty legitimate. They have one page devoted to celebrity endorsements, so that has to mean something. I don't think you could get the names they have without having a well-put-together, decently edited book. I have seen quite a few self-published books from places like Authorhouse and Lulu and Vantage that look like crap and are chock-a-block with typos and errors. They couldn't have endorsements and get away with bad books too.

    It can't hurt to check them out. If you are going to independently publish, they seem a lot more legitimate than anyone else I've seen. If I don't get any bites from New York, that's probably where I will go, so thanks for pointing them out!
    Publish America has printed books for celebrities, yet that hasn't added anything to their credibility and their books are historical for the errors that get added during the process. When you self-publish, what you send gets printed so if it isn't perfect, it'll be riddled with errors.

  21. #21
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Choosing a self-publisher involves more than whether their books look nice.

    You decide if you want to do you own art and editing or have it done for you.

    If you want the publisher to do it you compare what they will charge against what the book will earn.

    You esimate what the book will earn based on what similar book already published there have earned. (The only way to know for sure is to ask the author of that book, but other metrics like Amazon ratings provide a reasonable estimate).

    You compare this cost:benefit equation between all of the available self-publishing services and pick one that provides the most favorable outcome.

    I thought all of this was implicit in the previous conversation.
    Emily Veinglory

  22. #22
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenPanced View Post
    Publish America has printed books for celebrities, yet that hasn't added anything to their credibility and their books are historical for the errors that get added during the process. When you self-publish, what you send gets printed so if it isn't perfect, it'll be riddled with errors.
    There is a difference between printing books for celebrities (what you are talking about) and having books endorsed by celebrities (what I said). No celebrity worth his salt would freely put his name on someone else's work if it stood any chance of reflecting negatively on him. And their site says that they don't accept everything and that their books go through four rounds of editing. Maybe there are more than two ways to publish. I for one think that they look genuinely different from everyone else I have checked out.

  23. #23
    aka Sadistic Mistress Mi-chan M.R.J. Le Blanc's Avatar
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    Vanities don't accept everything, that doesn't make them anymore reputable.
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  24. #24
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Celebrity endorsements may (maybe) reflect a book's quality. They certainly reflect the resourcefulness of the author (since it's almost certainly the author who went out and got those endorsements). They do not, however, reflect sales. Endorsements only help sell books if the books are visible to buyers. Does Brown do a significantly better job of making its books visible than AuthorHouse or any of the other (much cheaper) self-publishing services? It's hard to tell, but I suspect not.

    I don't know what Brown charges, but again, I suspect that its publishing packages are very expensive. It's also possible that its claims of selectivity are overstated.

    I wonder if Paramount knows about this book.

    - Victoria

  25. #25
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    Brown Books Publishing

    Link:

    http://www.brownbooks.com

    ------

    Okay, could someone please settle an argument I'm having with a friend. Is this a vanity publisher (or some sneaky off-shoot) or is it a commercial publisher. I say it's the former, my friend says it's the latter.

    You can "request a quote" so I'm pretty sure that about says all you need to hear, but just in case I'm out to lunch, and I might be, is there some other opinions.

    Thanks guys,
    DS

    ps- tried to see if there was already a thread for these guys, and I didn't find one. If there is, I apologize for missing it.

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