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Thread: Comfort Publishing

  1. #1
    Cap'n Kirk Kirk T's Avatar
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    Comfort Publishing

    I've been bouncing around trying to find out what I can about Comfort Publishing LLC. Except for a really cool website, I have nothing. I have tried a search here with no results. Anybody have anything they would like to share with a dog-tired writer?

  2. #2
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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  3. #3
    Cap'n Kirk Kirk T's Avatar
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    That's the one, I went all over that thing. Cool site, but what does anyone know about them other than that. They aren't listed on the BBB!

  4. #4
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    The site seemed rather slow loading and they are rather vague about what sort of work they want and what they mean by "traditional". So... dunno.
    Emily Veinglory

  5. #5
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    I noted a few things that are, for me, red flags.

    Our Mission: Comfort Publishing Services is a general trade book publisher dedicated to providing the tools and services that benefit modern authors.
    I perfer a trade publisher dedicated to selling books to readers.

    About Us:Established in 2000, Comfort Publishing includes on its staff, published authors, professional editors and designers along with public relations and marketing consultants. The experience of the Comfort organization brings to current authors more than 50 years of professional service. Whether you have a finished manuscript or need someone to help write your story, Comfort has the experts on staff to help you achieve your goals.
    I don't want someone who will, for a fee, write my story. That's my job. My publisher's job is to sell books to readers.

    HOW IT WORKS: At Comfort Publishing, our primary goal is to help you be a successful author. Your publishing specialist will be there to assist you through each step of the publishing process.
    Why isn't their primary goal to sell books to readers?

    Copyrights: You will retain the copyrights for your book. To assist you, we will provide you with the links to the forms necessary to copyright your book, if you have not already done so.
    An author who registers the copyright to her book before submitting it to publishers has labelled herself an amateur. It'll have to be re-registered after the editing. Unless, of course, there is no editing process at Comfort. Also, my publisher should register the copyright in my name for me and pay all the fees for that.

    So...although they don't say anywhere that the author will be paying Comfort for their "services", probably via an a la carte menu (this much for copyediting, this much for cover art, etc) I'd be willing to bet that they work on the Pay-To-Play model.

    Editing to add: there are a lot of copyediting errors on that site, too, which doesn't inspire me with confidence.

  6. #6
    I grow my own catnip JulieB's Avatar
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    They appear to be POD. They mention Ingram and B&T, but not store placement.

    That may or may not be important to you, but it's worth knowing before you submit.

  7. #7
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    There are a number of red flags that point to this being a potential vanity publisher:

    Comfort Publishing website:
    At Comfort Publishing, our primary goal is to help you be a successful author.
    Its primary goal should be to get books into shops to sell them to the public, thereby creating revenue for it and revenue for an author.

    Comfort Publishing website:
    1) Copyrights
    You will retain the copyrights for your book. To assist you, we will provide you with the links to the forms necessary to copyright your book, if you have not already done so.
    The author always retains copyright (singular, not plural) in the book. The publisher takes a publishing right. The publisher should also be responsible for any registrations, not the author.

    Comfort Publishing website:
    ) Royalties
    You are entitled to royalties on the retail sales of your book. Royalties are paid at a rate between 8% - 12.5%, based on the number of copies sold per book.
    Rolling royalties when there doesn't appear to be any in-store placement doesn't strike me as being a good deal. Plus there's no information on whether royalties are paid on cover price or net.

    Comfort Publishing website:
    3) Ownership
    You retain intellectual ownership of your book.
    This is the same as owning the copyright. The fact that Comfort Publishing doesn't seem to know that is not a good sign.

    Comfort Publishing website:
    4) Distribution
    Once completed your book will be available through Ingram’s and Baker & Taylor by Alliance Book Company
    No in-store placement. At best the book is available to order within stores. I'd prefer it if the company made this clear.

    Comfort Publishing website:
    Q3. How will my book be marketed to the public?
    Answer: Our books are distributed through Ingram and Baker & Taylor by Alliance Book Company to bookstores throughout the US, Canada, UK and Europe.
    Distribution is not the same as marketing and the fact that they are selling in the US, Canada, UK and Europe suggests that they're taking worldwide publishing rights.

    Comfort Publishing website:
    Q4. What types of responsibilities do I have as an author?
    Answer: Wherever you go, simply let people know you are a published author and how to purchase your book. Speaking to both large and small groups is the perfect opportunity to sell many copies of your book as well. Remember, increased sales make a book very attractive to bookstores that want to stock their shelves with popular books. Some authors choose to hire a publicist once their book is in print. A publicist is familiar with the best ways to promote an author both locally and nationally. Your publishing specialist will make a list of publicists available to you if you are interested.
    Basically it looks like the author is doing all of the promotion themselves and the comment about bookstores stocking their shelves with popular books is incredibly misleading given that bookstores will only stock their shelves if they have a contract in place with the publisher, which the publisher should be the one to negotiate that, not the author.

    I'm also leery of the offer to hook up authors with publicists. Publicists can cost a lot of money and given that Comfort Publishing doesn't seem to be paying advances, that's more money coming from the pocket of the author. Even the best publicist in the world can't help if your book is not going to be stocked in stores and no marketing and publicity is being done for it.

    I'd also want to ask about the relationship between Comfort Publishing and those publicisits to see if Comfort Publishing is earning any kind of referral fee.

    Comfort Publishing website:
    Q5. What genres are you interested in receiving?
    Answer: We will read and consider genres, except:

    Screenplays/Scripts/Movies

    Theses

    Textbooks

    Books of Quotes
    They're basically accepting anything and everything (and the fact that they don't exclude poetry is a red flag).

    Comfort Publishing website:
    Q6. Do you publish E-books and audio books?
    Answer: Yes, we will publish E-books AND audio books, under the same consideration standards as we do printed books. Please discuss all requirements with your publishing specialist.
    So they're also looking to take electronic and audio rights, even though there doesn't seem to be any distribution in place.

    Comfort Publishing website:
    Q9. How long should my manuscript be?
    Answer: Normally, we will not accept any manuscripts containing less than 80,000 typed words. Poetry books must contain a minimum of 50 poems. Children’s books will be considered on an individual basis, and must have a minimum of 16 pages
    The fact that they accept poetry is a red flag as no one makes any money from poetry.

    Comfort Publishing website:
    Established in 2000, Comfort Publishing includes on its staff, published authors, professional editors and designers along with public relations and marketing consultants. The experience of the Comfort organization brings to current authors more than 50 years of professional service.
    There are no further details given on where its staff got this experience from.

    Comfort Publishing website: (BOLDING MINE)
    Whether you have a finished manuscript or need someone to help write your story, Comfort has the experts on staff to help you achieve your goals.
    This suggests that they're accepting incomplete manuscripts, which might happen for big hitter authors, but is certainly not the norm.

    Comfort Publishing website:
    Unlike most traditional publishers you do not need an agent in order to submit your manuscript. We carefully consider each manuscript on its own merit. Although we want our authors to be published as quickly as possible, we place our highest value on the quality of the final product and the marketing effort that goes with it.
    They use the word "traditional" instead of commercial. Weirdly, I first assumed that this was because the company isn't paying advances, but there is a reference on their News page to their having bought a book from Gail Z Martin on marketing strategies for authors so now I'm unsure.

    There's nothing on that website to suggest what their "marketing effort" consists of.

    Basically, the company's only been in existence since 2008 so I'd want to see what happens in another year or so.

    MM

  8. #8
    Cap'n Kirk Kirk T's Avatar
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    Thank all of you for your input. I guess I need to learn how to read between the lines and look at websites a little more critically. The posts have been exceptionally helpful, I didn't expect such a response.

    Kirk

  9. #9
    Girl Detective Stacia Kane's Avatar
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    Personally, I think any "publisher" that will assign me a "publishing specialist" rather than an "editor" to guide me through the process is one to avoid; that's another HUGE red flag for me.

    Just my 2p.
    http://www.staciakane.com

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  10. #10
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin ImaWriterToo's Avatar
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    Hello, it's almost two years later. Anything new on these guys? I don't see any of this on their website now. And at this link: http://www.manta.com/g/mt5cvld/pam-tolen it says that they take in from 500,000 to a million bucks a year. That's pretty good, I'd say.

  11. #11
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Well, it can't be that difficult for a vanity publisher to take in lots of money. I think the question should be "how much do their authors earn?"

  12. #12
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    ImaWriterToo:
    And at this link: http://www.manta.com/g/mt5cvld/pam-tolen it says that they take in from 500,000 to a million bucks a year.
    No, what Manta actually says is:

    Manta Website: (BOLDING MINE)
    Estimates show Comfort Publishing employs 5 to 9 people and has an annual revenue of $500,000 to $1 million.
    An estimate doesn't prove anything, particularly when there's no information on how they're making that estimate.

    In any event, it doesn't matter so much what the company's revenue is so much as who they're earning it from and what the author is earning on average from having published with them. If they've got sales of up to $1 million from selling books to the public, then that's pretty respectable for a small press. If they're making that money from selling their book to authors (or relying on authors to sell their books to friends and family), then it's icky.

    Having had a quick scoot through the website, it seems that they've made some changes - they're no longer taking poetry or children's, which is good as there's no money in poetry.

    They also seem to have taken down their FAQs (which was the source of my last flog) - but that in itself doesn't mean anything if they still hold to some of those inaccurate opinions.

    Although they look to have made some changes (going to book expos for example), the big flag for me is the fact that their books look to be ridiculously expensive for what they are and the fact that the store can't be navigated without signing up for an account strikes me as a little ridiculous.

    All in all, I'd still say you're better off sending to other publishers first.

    MM

  13. #13
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    Their distributor is listed as Music, Books, and Business Distribution. What's really strange is that their Store defaults to a login and password page. So in order to see their entire catalog, you have to create an account, which defies logic. I don't know of any publisher who wishes their books to be kept a deep, dark secret.

    The best I could do is review their teaser page of their bestselling books - where sales ranged from ~400 - 27 units.

  14. #14
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    About them...

    I'd like to say good things about Comfort Publishing but my experience and the experiences of an author friend of mine have not been postive at all.

    • They have been completely disorganized and missed their own agreed upon deadlines.
    • They priced her books at an outrageously high price, no one was going to buy a 140pg YA book for $13, her second book at $20! While they are great books, people won't buy them at those prices.
    • They have done nothing to promote or market the books AT ALL, nada, zip, zilch. Our experiences have in fact been that in some ways we felt they worked against us by not coding books correctly for distribution and re-order. As far as making the books visible...absolutely nothing.
    • They distributed a book with massive formatting errors in the last half of the book. This was an error of theirs.
    • When her second book was published their graphics dept produced a cover that screamed spy novel or medical mystery, not paranormal/supernatural. So, my friend came to me to ask me to put her ideas into a cover...their graphic artist actually tried to take my cover art as his own. I had to insist on credit for it.
    • To top it off, after having signed a contract with my friend who writes paranormal/supernatural YA books...they decided to go strictly into the "Christian" genre. She had a hard time even contacting them after that.
    • While making announcements on their Facebook page to announce authors appearances at events, she was never mentioned in any post. I had even posted a comment once for an event they mentioned, simply mentioning that another one of their authors would also be appearing at the same event (thinking promoting another of their authors wuld be a good thing)...they deleted the post.
    This has been what my friend and I have experienced with Comfort. I could not in good conscience ever recommend them to anyone. Now, from what I've said you might think "what did she do to them?" The truth is, nothing, my friend bent over backwards trying to work with them.

    Some may have had perfectly wonderful experiences with them but these were our experiences.
    Last edited by LAMAYM; 10-22-2012 at 09:50 PM.

  15. #15
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    After having dealt with them, I encourage people to look elsewhere.

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