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Thread: Gray Dog Press

  1. #1
    Obsessive is just a less complimentary term for "detail-oriented" SeattleGhostWriter's Avatar
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    Gray Dog Press

    I happened across this the other night, sent out an email with some preliminary questions. An email response came in today and there are some red flags. I sent another email to clarify a bit ago so awaiting the clarification.

    Here is my initial email:

    I happened across your website while on craigslist for possible writing assignments.

    According to your website, you are offering full publication to those whose works you would like to represent. Therefore, as an interest in submitting a possible manuscript for your consideration, there are some questions that I hope you are able to answer.

    1) How long have you been in business?
    2) Are you a POD Publisher?
    3) What are your book return policies for stores like Barnes and Nobles, Borders, and other traditional bookstores?
    4) What titles have you published that are available in bookstores?
    5) Is there a way to contact authors whom you have published so that I could ask them of their experience working with you and your publishing company?
    6) How many titles have you published a year?
    7) What professional organizations, affiliations, or groups do you belong to?
    8) What type of editing services to you offer upon acceptance and is this service something the author has to pay for in addition to the publication process?
    9) What publication rights are you seeking?
    10) What is the time frame from acceptance to when the book is published and available for marketing?
    11) Do you also offer marketing for an authorís works? Or, is this fully up to the author themselves?

    I ask these questions because there is no information on your site as to how many books you publish a year, titles already published, and authors you have published.

    Thank you for your time in answering these questions.
    The response follows:

    Timothy,

    In answer to your questions.....

    1) 15+ years as a printer, 7+ years in book related printing and binding, 2+ Years in publishing.

    2) No.

    3) Returnable. Note: B&N & Borders do not take books unless via distributor or wholesaler.

    4) See the GDP bookstore at http://www.graydogpress.com/bookstore. All shown there are available in local and regional bookstores and other venues.

    5) I can have any of them call you. But, I'd have to have an interest in what you have first.

    6) This year we will have completed 16 titles and helped another 10 on self-publishing theirs.

    7) Not disclosed.

    8) For titles we publish, full editing is done by us. However, if the manuscript is a mess then the author needs to get it up to an acceptable point before we would accept it. Whether they do it themselves or by someone else is up to them. In these cases it's rare that the content is useful anyway. If the author cannot understand basic sentence structure and punctuation it's rare that they have a useful manuscript. For self-published and non-published titles any editing we do is a time related charge.

    9) Our standard contract covers rights of print publication and ebook publication for a minimum of three years. Other rights such as video, audio and screenplay are not addressed but we do negotiate to include them when the manuscript may have that level of potential.

    10) Depends. Some have happened in as few as 6 weeks, most about 4-5 months, one took 2 years before it was released. Currently, any new manuscripts submitted are in an evaluation queue that has about a 3 month backlog. (I've got about 15 waiting evaluation right now)

    11) We, like most publishers, depend on an author's interest in promoting the book via personal appearance, signings, reading, etc. We provide all ARCs, Galleys, promotional materials, and coordinate local and regional appearances and media announcements. An author that is either unable or unwilling to promote the book is one that most likely will not get published anywhere.

    Hope that helps.

    Russ

    Gray Dog Press
    2727 S. Mt. Vernon #4
    Spokane, WA 99223
    P/F: 509.768.6206/509.533.1897
    mailto:info@graydogpress.com
    www.graydogpress.com
    SAN: 857-7250
    Red flags popped up on answer 3, 4, 5, not so much 8, 9, 10, 11 seems legitimate, but still vague.

    None of the titles that are on their blog or website bookstore are even available through any online or on bookshelves of Barnes and Noble or other major and minor book chains.

    Anyone else ever dealt with them?

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW
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    I'd steer clear, these guys are a standard vanity pub. they even admit that on their website:

    http://www.graydogpress.com/publishing.html

  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW jsouders's Avatar
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    Uh, if they're posting on craigslist, it's probably a) not legitimate or b) not someone you want to deal with.

    From their responses, I'd say both apply to this situation, IMO.

  4. #4
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I realize this post is rather old, but I'd like to clear up some misconceptions.

    My name is Andrew, and I've recently been hired as editor-in-chief at Gray Dog Press. I've been doing contract & freelance work for GDP for a couple of years, and the press has simply outgrown its ability to handle the load, so I was brought in to head the operation.

    I'd like to respond to the red flags mentioned in the initial post.

    #3: I'm not clear on what the red flag is. Many of the large chains (Barnes & Noble, for instance) will not accept a book unless it comes from a distributor like Ingram. Ingram has an application process that a publisher must finish before they will represent the publisher's works. We jumped through all the hoops and are now able to sell to those chains. You can find, for instance, Dawn's Nelson's /A Cowgirl Remembers When/ on the B&N site. As for other bookstores, I have dealt with about three places in the last several years that do not require returnability on books. It's pretty standard practice. Sucks for publishers and authors, but it's the way the business works.

    #4: Several local bookstores (Auntie's and Hastings, especially) carry our titles. We are also available at local large-chain stores (B&N), several non-booksellers in the region, etc. We are placing some of our books on Amazon, and books can also be ordered through our website.

    #5: It's simply our policy not to give out our authors' contact information to just anyone who asks. That's out of respect for their privacy. However, as Russ wrote, if your work is under serious consideration we would be happy to have any of them call you. I'm also considering asking a few of our authors to be available to questions from prospective authors, but I fear that they would be overwhelmed by the amount of calls just like we are at the office. And if you are simply not interested in dealing with our press without talking with an author first, I would find a way to work something out.

    Bushdoctor: we are not a "standard vanity pub." We are a traditional book publisher. We sign contracts, pay royalties, and take the risk if a book doesn't sell. We do offer printing services for authors whose work does not fit with our list. Those projects are handled in a completely different way, essentially like most self-publishing places. The reason we do this is because we have our own production facility on-site, so we are able to print books independent of the major printers. Any self-published work is not part of the GDP catalog, does not carry the GDP logo or byline, etc. So yes, if you bring in grandma's memoirs in a Word document that hasn't been edited, we'll print it for you. We'll even contract the editorial service (in actual hours spent, not some arbitrary standard number) to make it readable, if you like. But that portion of the business is separate from GDP in that the author is the publisher. This allows us to focus more time and energy on the small number of manuscripts that are viable for a small press to produce. We spend many more hours on editing, layout, design, marketing, etc. on the GDP titles.

    Jsouders: the advertisements on Craigslist were probably unwise, and we haven't done that for some time. We do put out a call for submissions on Craigslist for our local lit journal, SpokeWrite. Because the journal is regional and a very small part of our operation, we get good results by putting a note on CL every couple of months and by attending and presenting at local authors' groups, schools, etc.

    The reason those ads for GDP itself were unwise is because of the natural reaction that you illustrated: people assume that any business soliciting work on CL must be illegitimate or untrustworthy. That's an unfortunate misconception in some cases, and so we don't advertise there anymore because it simply makes us look bad. I'd like to think we're a pleasure to work with (I've received many encouraging calls from authors when my hiring was announced, telling me that I'm lucky to be with such a personal business).

    I hope that clears up some of the questions that arose. Most of the trouble can be associated to the fact that we're a pretty new publisher, only having been around for less than three years. Frankly, the business grew in unexpectedly quick ways, and was overwhelmed. I was hired because of my editorial and publishing experience and because GDP has been understaffed. It's a wonderful business I've got myself into, and I'm proud to be part of it. We are continuing to grow and provide a much-needed service in this area of the country.

    If you have any questions at all about Gray Dog, don't hesitate to ask. You can contact us via our website or me personally at andrew(at)graydogpress.com

    Cheers,


    Andrew
    Editor
    Gray Dog Press
    Last edited by ancorder; 07-23-2010 at 12:11 AM.

  5. #5
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    #3: I'm not clear on what the red flag is. Many of the large chains (Barnes & Noble, for instance) will not accept a book unless it comes from a distributor like Ingram. Ingram has an application process that a publisher must finish before they will represent the publisher's works.
    The other way is when the chains order the book for national distribution.

  6. #6
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by priceless1 View Post
    The other way is when the chains order the book for national distribution.
    Right, which is not likely to happen unless it's available to them through a wholesaler anyway. I'm not familiar with any small presses getting their books picked up for national distribution without a go-between, but then I'd love to be in the dark about that. Let me know. Generally, nationally distributed books are chosen by the staff of the big chains, and they're not likely to see a book unless they carry it, which they often won't do if you're not working through a distributor.

    Cheers,



    Andrew
    Last edited by ancorder; 07-23-2010 at 01:25 AM.

  7. #7
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ancorder View Post
    IBushdoctor: we are not a "standard vanity pub." We are a traditional book publisher. We sign contracts, pay royalties, and take the risk if a book doesn't sell. We do offer printing services for authors whose work does not fit with our list.
    So, these printing services would be for a fee? The part described as "helped another 10 on self-publishing theirs"? The use of "vanity" as a descriptor is always problematical but there does some to be at least some part of GDP that is author funded?
    Emily Veinglory

  8. #8
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    So, these printing services would be for a fee? The part described as "helped another 10 on self-publishing theirs"? The use of "vanity" as a descriptor is always problematical but there does some to be at least some part of GDP that is author funded?
    Yes, as I noted above, GDP the business (as opposed to GDP, the imprint) does provide editing, layout, design, and printing services. But those books are not published by GDP, they are published by the author and printed by GDP, just like most publishers' books are printed by, say, BookMobile or Publishers Graphics. So the author has all the rights, owns the ISBN, etc.

    We simply don't have the manpower or resources to publish the hundreds of manuscripts we receive each year as GDP, because when GDP publishes a book, we go all-out, at our expense, to provide editorial work, marketing, design, everything, including production. Just like any other traditional publisher.

    But the self-pub stuff comes out of the ability we have to print on-site, meaning we've done short-run (50 copies or less) of local authors' works, including printing journals for some local universities, as well as longer short runs of a few hundred books for authors whose work we didn't feel fit our requirements (in terms of style or subject matter; there are some genres we simply don't do) but who still wanted badly to see their work in print. But we take ourselves out of the role of publisher for those works; all rights and obligations belong to the author, and we do not get any residual payments from authors.

    I like to consider this place completely author-funded, in that if we weren't getting authors' books to publish, we wouldn't exist.

    I should also note that we are a regional publisher, meaning we work mostly with authors from our part of the country. If something astounding came over the transom from Pennsylvania, we would consider publishing it, but since we like to work closely with our authors on all stages of the book's production (we want them to be involved), it would make our process slightly more difficult. We are able to provide a much more viable end product when we know the market's outlets, which we do here. We have developed very close relationships with our authors, and we're proud that we're not some distant, impersonal brick corporation.

    Hope that helps. Sorry that I'm so long-winded today.

    Cheers,


    Andrew

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