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Thread: Guiltless Pleasure Publishing

  1. #1
    figuring it all out Technophobe's Avatar
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    Guiltless Pleasure Publishing

    I saw an advertising link and clicked on it out of curiosity. I'm sorry I can't link it for you; they just never seem to work for me. The address on the bar at the top of my screen was www.guiltless-pleasure.com/submission-guidelines

    What do you think? Does it look like a scam?
    Last edited by Technophobe; 02-01-2010 at 05:46 AM. Reason: can't post a link to save my life

  2. #2
    Absolutely Fazed
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    I'm not saying anything about this particular publisher (knowing nothing about it), but a publisher doesn't have to be a scam to be a bad idea.

  3. #3
    Absolutely Fazed
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    I took a closer look at their FAQ. They offer an advance of $750, but their royalties are on net for both print and e-book. There seems to be only one author at the moment (the site owner?).

    I'd wait for more information before submitting anything.

  4. #4
    New kid, be gentle! Carlene's Avatar
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    Doesn't look like a scam - but the publisher has zero experience other than being a reader. He's looking for erotica of all kinds and genres. He's offering advances of $750.00 - I'm assuming that's on a print book but am not sure as he's doing both print and e-pub. He has one book up at his site do out in April. He's located in Israel. I'm thinking the site won't last long, but...I could be wrong.

    Carlene

    Mind Echoes
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    The Worst Evil
    www.whiskeycreekpress.com

    Call Sign: Love
    The Colors of Death
    An Extra Pair of Eyes
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    Finder
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    Mysterious Gift
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  5. #5
    the world is at my command jennontheisland's Avatar
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    That's quite the advance.
    You are more than welcome to take anything I say personally, whether it was intended that way or not.

    Eat This.

  6. #6
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    I echo DeadlyAccurate's comment about the 40% royalties being on net and would want to know how they calculate the net revenue. I think it was Veinglory on another thread who said it wasn't abnormal for net royalties to be used on ebooks and provided examples of the costs that came out.

    I do like the fact that they're open about books being available to order at stores but not being placed in stores. It suggest that they're up-front in how they operate. However the details of where ebooks will be available seems a little vague to me and there are a couple of other things:

    Guiltless Pleasures Website:
    It also means that you'll be paid again only after you've exceeded that amount.

    For example, if you've earned $500 in royalties during the first quarter, you will not be entitled to payment. If by the second quarter you've earned a total of $1000, then you will have "covered" the advance, and you will receive an additional payment of $250.
    This seems a little strange to me. I'd usually expect royalties to be calculated as against a set number of sales rather than by reference to earnings - particularly given that royalties are calculated on net.

    Also Tal Valante's bio doesn't include anything that suggests a background or experience in publishing.

    In conclusion, although it seems the intentions here are honourable, I'd be cautious about submitting to them until they've been in business for at least a year.

    MM

  7. #7
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Rachel_Haimowitz's Avatar
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    Hi,

    I'm the first writer to be published by GPP (and no, I'm not the site owner), and IMO, it's neither a scam nor a bad idea.

    Of note is that I'm no green writer; while this is the first novel to release with my name on it, I'm a successful nonfiction ghostwriter whose clients have secured six-figure advances at major houses, and I myself have worked in editorial at a major house. I have many contacts in the industry and an established name amongst them, and could have taken my first novel to a number of places with a fair chance of acceptance.

    That being said, I chose Tal and Guiltless Pleasure Publishing after what was probably a three or four hour discussion with her, her vision for her company, her planned methods to achieve it, her skill as an editor (better than most I've seen and worked with at more than one major house), her marketing plan and budget, and her clear dedication to her authors.

    Even a major house rarely gives more than a few thousand dollars in advance money to a new author, and most small houses give less than that, and most epubs give no advance at all. And a really enormously depressing percentage of authors who do get an advance never manage to outsell them. (Note to Momento: It's industry-standard even at major houses that an advance is paid against royalties; they calculate earnings to the penny, and since an advance is essentially their way of saying "We believe you're going to sell at least x number of books, so here are your royalties, up front, for said x number of books," then of course you won't get a royalty check again if you don't hit that x sales number.) Books languish in obscurity because most houses don't market them enough, or even at all.

    So I always knew I wanted to bring out my fiction with a small publisher; after all, a publisher who only puts out three or four books a year is only successful if you are successful. The question, then, was which publishers did I wish to submit to? I did a lot of research into this field and discovered that Tal and GPP were at least a head above the rest when it came to the individual attention and effort they would be putting into each manuscript.

    Some may view starting with a new publisher as a risk. After a long talk and many careful questions, I viewed it as the opportunity to hitch my wagon to a rising star (pardon the mixed metaphors :-p). My book's been out one day--in ebook only (the print version doesn't come out until Aug 30)--and I've already sold more copies than many authors at any sort of house--large or small, major or independent--will sell in the whole life of their book. (In fairness, most books never sell more than 100 copies.) And just as importantly as sales, from an artistic side I feel as if I've grown significantly as a writer during the editing process with GPP, which is uncommon given where I am in my career (I'm more often the teacher than the student now).

    After having worked with them this past year, I'm very, very passionate about Guiltless Pleasure Publishing and I believe very strongly that if you have an opportunity to place a manuscript with them, you're among a lucky few.

    Oh, and to clarify royalties, "net" is the retail cost of the book minus third-party fees only. GPP has a referral program that offers referrers 15% of a sale. So let's say an ebook is $10. The author will get $4 if it's sold straight through the GPP site. If it was sold through a referral link, then the net revenue on that sale was $8.50 (since $1.50 went to the referrer), so the author would get 40% of $8.50, or $3.40. WRT print copies of the book, the actual cost from the POD printer to print the book is subtracted from the sale price to get net revenue. And if it's sold through a third-party agency like Amazon.com, their commission also comes out of the sale price to get net revenue. So if a paperback sells for $15, and it cost $7 to print, and Amazon.com takes 15% of the sale ($2.25), then the actual net revenue is $5.75, of which the author gets 40% ($2.30). If the paperback is sold through the site directly, then net revenue would be $8, and the author would get $3.20 instead. And this is why I want everyone to buy my ebook, and not the hardcopy

    Also, afaik, ebooks will only be sold on the publisher's site for the reasons stated above: to protect author and publisher royalties. Print copies (and again, afaik, ALL books they buy will be released as both ebooks and POD print books) will be sold on their website, all the major online retailers, and in any stores that wish to order and stock copies through Ingram (a major book distributor).

    I welcome you or anyone else to come by guiltless-pleasure.com and ask me (Rachel Haimowitz) or Tal or anyone else in that wonderful community any questions you may have about what it's like to be a part of GPP. Hope to see you there!

  8. #8
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Hi, Rachel, and welcome to AW.

    Rachel_Haimowitz:
    Note to Momento: It's industry-standard even at major houses that an advance is paid against royalties; they calculate earnings to the penny, and since an advance is essentially their way of saying "We believe you're going to sell at least x number of books, so here are your royalties, up front, for said x number of books," then of course you won't get a royalty check again if you don't hit that x sales number.)
    Yes, I'm aware of that. However, as you say, advances are calculated by reference to the number of books that the publisher thinks it can sell - it does not work by saying "we'll pay you $1000 and once the value of the royalties reaches $1000, we'll start to make payments to you", which is what I'm interpreting Guiltless to do, based on what it says here:

    Guiltless Pleasure Website:
    What does "advance against royalties" mean?
    When you sign a contract with Guiltless Pleasure Publishing, you'll be paid an advance of $750 (USD) before the first copy of your book sees the light of day. This advance represents my faith in your work - I believe you will exceed that amount in royalties. It also means that you'll be paid again only after you've exceeded that amount.
    For example, if you've earned $500 in royalties during the first quarter, you will not be entitled to payment. If by the second quarter you've earned a total of $1000, then you will have "covered" the advance, and you will receive an additional payment of $250.
    Is this how it's intended to operate?

    Rachel_Haimowitz:
    I have many contacts in the industry and an established name amongst them, and could have taken my first novel to a number of places with a fair chance of acceptance.

    That being said, I chose Tal and Guiltless Pleasure Publishing after what was probably a three or four hour discussion with her, her vision for her company, her planned methods to achieve it, her skill as an editor (better than most I've seen and worked with at more than one major house), her marketing plan and budget, and her clear dedication to her authors.
    I understand that, but of course the benefits you'd get if you signed with a major commercial publisher (e.g. Simon & Schuster) is that your advance would almost certainly be bigger than the $750 that Guiltless is paying and your books would be stocked in bricks and mortar stores, something that Guiltless is not able to guarantee. In fact at the moment, Guiltless is only able to state that books will be available to order because it's operating a POD operation and historically, POD books find it very difficult to generate the sales necessary to make it financially worth the author's while.

    Rachel_Haimowitz:
    So I always knew I wanted to bring out my fiction with a small publisher; after all, a publisher who only puts out three or four books a year is only successful if you are successful. The question, then, was which publishers did I wish to submit to? I did a lot of research into this field and discovered that Tal and GPP were at least a head above the rest when it came to the individual attention and effort they would be putting into each manuscript.
    I hear what you're saying, but again the sales activities you'd be doing as an author would surely result in more tangible benefits if you're doing them with the weight of a substantial commercial publisher behind you? Not least because I'd usually expect there to be at least some marketing activity to be undertaken on your behalf (including production of promotion materials). Will Guiltless be doing that for its authors, or is this something that an author has to do itself?

    Rachel_Haimowitz:
    My book's been out one day--in ebook only (the print version doesn't come out until Aug 30)--and I've already sold more copies than many authors at any sort of house--large or small, major or independent--will sell in the whole life of their book. (In fairness, most books never sell more than 100 copies.)
    Congratulations. How many copies of the ebook have you sold?

    As regards the fact that most books never sell more than 100 copies - it really depends on where you got that statistic from. Many books published with commercial publishers can expect to sell more, whereas small publishers may be lucky to achieve that figure (and self-published books sell even less).

    Rachel_Haimowitz:
    Oh, and to clarify royalties, "net" is the retail cost of the book minus third-party fees only. GPP has a referral program that offers referrers 15% of a sale. So let's say an ebook is $10. The author will get $4 if it's sold straight through the GPP site. If it was sold through a referral link, then the net revenue on that sale was $8.50 (since $1.50 went to the referrer), so the author would get 40% of $8.50, or $3.40. WRT print copies of the book, the actual cost from the POD printer to print the book is subtracted from the sale price to get net revenue. And if it's sold through a third-party agency like Amazon.com, their commission also comes out of the sale price to get net revenue. So if a paperback sells for $15, and it cost $7 to print, and Amazon.com takes 15% of the sale ($2.25), then the actual net revenue is $5.75, of which the author gets 40% ($2.30). If the paperback is sold through the site directly, then net revenue would be $8, and the author would get $3.20 instead. And this is why I want everyone to buy my ebook, and not the hardcopy
    That net calculation looks to me to be pretty normal (which is good to see), although one of the experienced ebook published authors here would probably be better placed to comment.

    What sort of promotions are being done for ebooks by Guiltless to help drive sales up?

    Best of luck with the book.

    MM

  9. #9
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Rachel_Haimowitz's Avatar
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    Ah, I see what you're saying now re: advance against royalties. But I think you're comparing apples to oranges here. A traditional publisher will give you, generally speaking, 15% for a print book and somewhere around 25% for an ebook. They can do this because every client they sell to pays the same price (again, generally speaking) for the book, which happens because they don't sell direct to the public; they only sell wholesale. An epub/POD publisher doesn't sell wholesale, which means that there is no fixed wholesale price, and what they sell a book to one person for will not be the same as to another, depending on third-party costs (which a traditional publisher rarely incurs). On a per-unit basis, however, I'm doing better with GPP than I would with a traditional publisher. Wholesale of my book would have been about $7.50 in print, 15% of which would equal $1.13 in royalties per copy. Not nearly as much as I'll make per unit this way, so I'm not sure why it matters that they pay royalties per net revenue of a unit rather than in a fixed per-unit price. There are provisions in the contract that prevent net revenue from ever dropping below a certain point (in other words, they can't just one day decide to sell my ebook for $1.99), so in that sense the authors there are protected, as well. If I'm missing something still about the point you're making re: this issue, please let me know; I definitely want to understand.

    First-time novelists even at large houses tend not to see a particularly large advance. I've worked for Avalon Publishing (now Perseus Book Group) and Pearson/NAF and have seen advances as small as $1000 and almost never over $5000 for first novels. Of course there are dramatic exceptions, but they are just that--exceptions. Yes, that's more than $750, but the royalty per book is much smaller, which means it takes you a lot longer to outsell the advance, if you do at all. Also of note is that when it comes to primarily epubs, $750 is a huge advance. Many, many epubs (possibly most? I can only speak to my own research here) don't pay advances at all. Many others come in well under that.

    I don't know about other PODs, but GPP has a distribution deal with Ingram, which means the book will show up in the catalog and can be ordered like any other. Not many stores stock gay erotica (and not many major publishes publish it, so there was certainly that for me to consider as well when looking at publishers), but I would not be shocked to see a copy on a specialty store's shelf. I can't speak to the intention of GPP overall, but certainly for both author and publisher the money is better if customers buy ebooks rather than print books, and there is a heavy focus on that. The marketing primarily targets e-reading communities, as well. Will it be worth my while in the end? Only time will tell, but fingers crossed for now; within a few hours of the book's release (which was the last time I spoke with my editor), I'd sold 22 ebooks and 20 print books (print books are a presale). Small numbers for sure, but not for the first part of day 1 with a micro-publisher who has no other inventory yet

    Re: promotions, I can only speak to what's being done for mine, but some of the things we've planned that they are providing:

    *Cover art print raffles (and holy crap, did you see the cover art she commissioned for my book?! It's AMAZING.)
    *Materials for book signings (bookmarks, signage, fliers, etc)
    *A budget for book signings within driving range (no airfare, alas :p)
    *Review copies for print and epubs/blogs that cover the genre
    *Banner ads in likely reader zones (like adultfanfiction.net)
    *Video book trailer
    *Aggressive social marketing and networking
    *Careful cultivation of an active reader community onsite
    *And some other very cool things that I don't know if I'm at liberty to discuss before they're done--but stay tuned; one of them had me squeeing So far, she hasn't said no to anything I've asked for. The day may well come, but so far so good. The personal attention has been amazing.

    There's no denying some huge benefits to publishing with a major house. Epub/POD publishers are not the same animal at all, and they bring with them their own positives and negatives, just like a big house would. But that's not really the issue at hand here; I was merely coming on to say that my experience at GPP has been fantastic, and while I'd certainly understand a writer's reticence to sign with a new house, these people are as legit, hardworking, focused, and full of vision as they come.

    EDIT: One other bit about the marketing I forgot to mention that I think is actually really smart is the affiliate program they run. It's a pretty aggressive program in terms of how high a percentage the affiliate makes (15% of gross sales made through the site). Applicants are carefully screened and encouraged to review the books they link to/only recommend those they truly enjoyed. Word of mouth is great, but word of mouth with incentive is more likely to move some paper (metaphoric or otherwise :P). It doesn't cut into author revenues very much (and really, if the buyer wouldn't have found the site without the affiliate link, then it doesn't cut in at all because you've made a sale you wouldn't have otherwise), and it helps to discourage people from sharing the ebook (why torrent it if you can make $1.50 for every referral?), which in theory reduces piracy (though who knows in practice). I've seen a handful of other epubs run similarly carefully screened referral programs, but few make it so worth someone's while to engage in.
    Last edited by Rachel_Haimowitz; 08-03-2010 at 03:47 PM.
    -Rachel Haimowitz
    Publisher, Riptide Publishing

  10. #10
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Still only the one author, and her books are being published through Storm Moon Press.
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  11. #11
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Bought by Riptide Publishing May '12.
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