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Thread: IFWG Publishing / Story Quest Magazine

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    IFWG Publishing / Story Quest Magazine

    Thanks for all the responses about IFWG Publishing. However, none of what you all had to say put me off from signing a contract with them, and to date I am not sorry I went ahead and did so. From the get go, Randy Knowlton and Gerry Huntman have been nothing less than upfront and professional. They might be a small press (for now) but I respect a publisher who avoids trying to be everything to everyone. Even the largest conglomerates have certain topic areas they don’t experiment in. Which is a good thing, considering the importance of building and maintaining a strong reputation in the minds of authors and prospective readers alike. Their editing process and cover design is exemplary, not to mention their pre-release advertising—everything an author needs to get ahead. My opinion: I HIGHLY RECOMMEND them.
    Last edited by duleek; 10-13-2010 at 06:52 PM.

  2. #2
    Shakespearean Fool DreamWeaver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by duleek View Post
    Does anyone know anything about IFWG PUBLISHING? if you know anything, no matter how small, please let me know.
    Please, pretty please ...
    Linda
    Well, it's more than a little worrisome that their homepage trumpets, "Congratulations, <name redacted>! You are a Published Author!" [caps theirs, bolding mine].

    One of the four books in their catalog has an Amazon ranking of #1,151,113; the owner's books has a ranking of #2,119,205 in its Outskirts Press edition and no ranking (i.e., no sales) in its IFWG Publishing edition; the other two books on their titles page didn't show up on Amazon today at all. If you're not familiar with Amazon rankings, they're like golf scores: the lower, the better. Books with rankings 1 through 10 are selling on average hundreds of copies per day. Anything in the millions is currently selling in single digits per year.

    Perhaps a wait and see attitude would be useful in this case.

    I expect we'll be whisked off to a dedicated thread soon, so hold on to your hat!
    Last edited by DreamWeaver; 06-01-2010 at 06:21 PM. Reason: Couldn't decide what to do with the off-domain link, so just deleted it and the comment.
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    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Domain is here: http://www.ifwgpublishing.com/

    Also: True Voice Magazine http://www.truevoiceonline.com/
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    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    M'kay, in poking around the forum, we learn that IFWG was co-founded by Randy "R.A." Knowlton. Who is published by them. Yet the front page declares None of our titles are self-published! But editor Gerry Huntman's book is coming soon.... *head hurt*
    Last edited by CaoPaux; 05-31-2010 at 09:46 PM. Reason: too little coffee
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  6. #6
    aka Sadistic Mistress Mi-chan M.R.J. Le Blanc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaoPaux View Post
    M'kay, in poking around the forum, we learn that IFWG was co-founded by Randy "R.A." Knowlton. Who is published by them. Yet the front page declares None of our titles are self-published! But editor Gerry Huntman's book is coming soon.... *head hurt*
    That's because they're banking on getting writers who don't know the industry. Or they're just clueless themselves.
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    Writer is as Writer does Terie's Avatar
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    It seems to me that a whole lot of micropresses are started up by people who are self-publishing but don't want the label. I know of someone who started up her own micropress to publish her grown daughter's book, and she says 'My daughter's book isn't self-published.' I know of another man who started his own micropress to publish his own books and says, 'My books aren't self-published: they're available on Baker & Taylor.' He lives the lie to the extreme, even telling people who question him that his books go through a 'rigorous selection process' (performed by himself, naturally, though he leaves that bit out -- then brags that he has three or four books published per year).
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  8. #8
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    There is so much misinformation on that site that it's difficult to know where to start.

    IFWG Website:
    Firstly, we do not pay advances to royalties - we simply cannot afford to follow this mode, and we note that this practice is disappearing even among larger companies, or diminishing in size.
    I don't have a problem with a press being upfront about being unable to pay advances. However, it is simply untrue to say that larger publishers are not doing so. Even though advances are being squeezed at the moment, the point is that advances are still being paid.

    IFWG Website:
    IFWG Publishing is a small press using traditional publishing methodologies, but our size does mean our services are different in some ways, compared to large established publishers (e.g. the big 6).
    I'd love to know what they mean by "traditional" when 2 paragraphs down on the Submissions Page they say that they're POD.

    IFWG Website:
    Secondly, we do not automatically stack retailer shelves with all our titles - we utilize the printing on demand (POD) printing system, which uses the same printing presses as the larger companies, but will only print on order. There will be opportunities to make print runs and sell to distributors for shelving, but this is a decision we make on a case by case basis.
    Then there's the fact that they are (at least) up front about not being able to distribute books so that they're out on shelves.

    IFWG Website:
    Make no mistake, if we accept, we will be looking at electronic and print publishing simultaneously, not exclusively one or the other.
    They're taking both ebook rights and print rights on the book.

    Basically, while I like the fact that they're up front about key things, they seem a bit confused about industry terminology. I'd say wait and see where they are in 2 years.

    MM

  9. #9
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Jasmine Giacomo's Avatar
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    Hi everyone, new member here. I was pointed in the direction of this thread by another member, and as one of the inaugural authors over at IFWG, I thought I might give some thoughts, if that's all right.

    Let me note up front that I'm no longer being published with IFWG, and have signed a non-disclosure thingybob with them, so there are some things I won't be talking about.

    IFWG started up last October. It's pretty new. At that time, they were POD, with an eye to becoming a tradpub "later". Just before I parted with them, they did go to tradpub.

    I assume, from my conversations with them, that any and all confusion about industry terminology is generally accidental, because they're starting up. I can't say whether that will alter with time.

    When they switched to tradpub, they reissued their contracts to all authors. I was the only one not interested in signing it, so I'm not sure exactly what it does, besides claim ebook rights. I didn't even look at it.

    Let me stress that the reason I'm content not to use IFWG doesn't have much to do with their publishing practices. It was a different issue entirely, but in my first publishing experience, was enough to chase this sensitive soul away. Just, bring thee thine own cover art. Verily.

    Gerry, their chief editor, is a gem, though.

    I'm republishing my book as an indie author through CreateSpace, with new cover art, and I'm issuing my own ebooks, and for now I'm fully content with my product and much happier in general. I can't say I'll never do tradpub again, but I'm confident that I'm never using a brand new publishing company again.

  10. #10
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Thanks for all the responses about IFWG Publishing. However, none of what you all had to say put me off from signing a contract with them, and to date I am not sorry I went ahead and did so. From the get go, Randy Knowlton and Gerry Huntman have been nothing less than upfront and professional. They might be a small press (for now) but I respect a publisher who avoids trying to be everything to everyone. Even the largest conglomerates have certain topic areas they don’t experiment in. Which is a good thing, considering the importance of building and maintaining a strong reputation in the minds of authors and prospective readers alike. Their editing process and cover design is exemplary, not to mention their pre-release advertising—everything an author needs to get ahead. My opinion: I HIGHLY RECOMMEND them.
    Linda

  11. #11
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    duleek:
    However, none of what you all had to say put me off from signing a contract with them
    Okay. Your choice.

    duleek:
    to date I am not sorry I went ahead and did so.
    Yes, but then your book hasn't been released and you haven't seen your first royalty statement yet. Come back in a year and let us know what the sales were like, how much you paid to promote and market it and how much you made in your first royalty cheque.

    duleek:
    I respect a publisher who avoids trying to be everything to everyone.
    They weren't proposing to specialise as a publisher until June this year and now seem to be saying that they're going to specialise in SF, fantasy and horror. That doesn't sound great for the people they've published outside those genres and is something they should have thought about before accepting submissions.

    duleek:
    Even the largest conglomerates have certain topic areas they don’t experiment in.
    That's because commercial publishers are geared up to make money from selling books to the public. If you're writing for a specific readership then a respected small press who specifically publishes for that sector is a good place to sign up with because they know what they're doing and who they're selling to.

    duleek:
    Their editing process and cover design is exemplary
    Actually the books they display on their website look like they have clipart covers. That is not the sign of a professional publisher. PublishAmerica uses clipart.

    As for editing - without seeing the books it's difficult to tell, but the quality of the book blurb they put up next to their authors is amateurish and wouldn't make me buy any of the books.

    duleek
    not to mention their pre-release advertising—everything an author needs to get ahead.
    What advertising have they done? What promotion have they done? What marketing have they done?

    The critical thing (as I said in my earlier post here) is that they're a POD operation, which means your book probably won't get into stores and it's in-store presence that an author needs to get ahead because that's still where most people buy books.

    You were here asking about them 5 months ago and now your book seems like it's going to be released. 5 months is no time at all to get word of mouth and effective marketing out there and work on the finished product.

    duleek
    My opinion: I HIGHLY RECOMMEND them.
    Yeah, well let's see how you feel in a year.

    This still smacks to me of a well intentioned but clueless amateur.

    MM

  12. #12
    USA Today Bestselling Author Jamiekswriter's Avatar
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    Duleek, why the duplicate post? You said the same thing on 5/31/10. Why come back (4 months after the last post on the thread) to say the exact same thing?

  13. #13
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    She edited her original post to say the same thing. The OP was the standard "have you heard of this publisher?".
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  14. #14
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    This posting is copied at: http://ifwgpblog.blogspot.com/2010/1...rum-nazis.html

    This post is regarding comments posted on a ‘writers’ blog.
    http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=181582

    IFWG Publishing is an honest, up-front small press, helping authors get a leg up in a tough industry, and promising no more than what we can deliver, and what we state we can deliver. Once in a while people will sensibly ask others if they have heard of us, and opinions, facts, and sometime incorrect statements, will be aired. The World Wide Web is a wonderful beast, and one of its strengths is that it is open and is mostly accessible for most of the world to use. The downside is that if an untruth or misleading statement is made, it can stick around a long time like a bad smell and many people can, and will, read it and believe it. In other words, the democracy of the Internet implies that everyone is equal, including idiots and miscreants.

    Randy and I have decided to write a lengthy response to a particularly ugly set of statements made by a few ‘forum Nazis’ (of which there are many in the world, and most public facing forums seem to have at least one clique with them), not to debate them, but to try to ensure that we have our opportunity to have our say. We wont be debating further, because forum Nazis like to prolong debates (read ‘win them at all costs’, ‘damn the torpedoes’)—we will have said our piece for the ‘world’ to consider.

    We both have a lot to say, so if you are willing to bear with it, and have an interest, read on—noting that the format is to directly address points made by the forum Nazis.

    Jasmine calls one of us a 'gem' (thanks Jas) and yet others in the same forum consider our co-owned company as 'worrisome', nepotistic (or alternatively, set up to publish ourselves), are self publishers (and are avoiding the label), wont support some of our authors when we tighten our genre scope, that our book covers (inferring majority) consist of clipart, that we are exclusively POD, and don't understand publishing terminology.

    These views are disturbingly, and completely wrong. The reason why they are disturbing is that they were presented within a membership forum but public facing, which doesn’t make it necessarily easy for those who are attacked to respond. Additionally, the authors make strong statements while being in the comfort zone of anonymity, behind their avatars.

    Based on the poor research, knowledge and logic provided in many of the statements, we are underwhelmed by most of the forum authors.

    IFWG Publishing began about a year ago, with the express purpose to help new authors climb the vocational ladder. We started small and had a business plan. We figured that authors who joined with us would get the step up—not the ten rungs that the big 6 can provide (although that is debatable to an extent, see below), or the 5 rungs that the mid-range publishers provide, but up a few nevertheless. Initially we constructed a hybrid model, where we would publish some authors traditionally (see definition below), and given our resource constraints, we would provide some services in assisting in self publishing, although with the proviso that a modicum of quality was present (this last point truly made it hybrid, and unusual). It didn't take long to discover that the hybrid model was not feasible, and so we bit the bullet and we transitioned quickly to traditional (again, MM, definition below), which was our ultimate goal. We have published 6 titles and three magazine editions thus far, and by end of December we will have published 11 titles (three are coming out in the next four weeks) and four magazines. We only started publishing titles from January, and that means our business plan is on target—we aim to publish 10 to 12 titles per year.

    Our hybrid model was VERY short lived and in fact we have NOT published one word where the author had to pay—all our authors paid NOTHING (oops, sorry Terrie et al.—we don't and never have self published).

    We are a company that is run by authors for authors. There are 4 of us, based in New Jersey, Missouri, Australia and England. We think we are pretty good authors, but time will tell (nothing else will, not even you, MM). Of the eleven titles that will be published this year, two will have been by members of the company. One of the remainder is an anthology of short stories (41 authors, most of whom were unpublished), and the other eight are debut writers—each and every one of them. The amount of work to edit, proof, InDesign format internal block, etc is HUGE. The cost also accumulates as we publish with worldwide wholesale distribution (through Ingram, same used by the big 6), along with epublishing. Do you honestly think we are doing this work in order to prop up our own novels? As I said, we think we're pretty good writers, and we do get the work peer reviewed, and edited, and proofed etc. With what we have done, there is no guilt whatsoever (sorry CaoPaux for contradicting you, but at least your head doesn't have to hurt anymore).

    Along with publishing titles, we also publish our own journal (SQ Magazine), again overwhelmingly to help new authors. Again peer reviewed—we have a dedicated editor. Ralan.com and Duotrope.com vetted us and are happy to advertise our mag (and Ralan is also happy to advertise our seeking submissions for titles—Ralan pays particular attention to avoid self publishers). Daniel Pearlman kindly submitted a short story which we will publish next month in SQ Magazine #2. Things are going well—all we need now is more good press and at the least an opportunity for people to sample our wares (oops, came to the wrong place for that).

    Regarding our authors—we are very happy how things are running. Jack Eason, author of Onet's Tale, got a 4 out of 5 stars rating by Paul Goat Allen, Barnes and Noble's Specfic reviewer. Biola Olatunde is a writer from Nigeria and we are EXTREMELY proud that we have given her a break for her excellent adventure/social commentary, Blood Contract—if you think it is hard to get a break in the US, England or Australia, try Nigeria. Hey, why don't you write to some of our authors (other than Duleek, who kindly already responded) and ask them how we perform—or are primary sources hard to swallow? (perhaps it is, and goes with a hurting head).

    Stating it again, we are a small company and we have a clear, modest, business plan, and we believe we make a difference. We believe that we will grow and our authors will grow with us. We know that most authors fail to get published, and of those that do, the vast majority start humbly indeed and make little money—we believe we are a facilitator in this difficult process and all signs are showing that it is working. Aside from recognition by Ralan, Duotrope, etc, our authors are finding they are eligible for submissions to awards that require legitimate (read traditional, MM) publishing as a criterion for entry—and categorically state that self published works are ineligible. The industry accepts us as a small press, the only people who don't are a small scattering of armchair quarterbacks (quaint US term), in a variety of forums and wikis. Who critiques the critics? We know you guys aren't in that category, don't we?

    We are figuring that Momento Mori (MM) may be the alpha forum Nazi in this particular eco-system, and it is her/his (can’t tell, with the anonymity) commentary that most perplexes us, and disgusts. Why be so volatile? Why filter the data gathered from our site? Why bother going into such depth? Why so quick to respond, and change the tack of attack in different postings? We believe that whatever the motivation, it isn’t particularly flattering. One thing is clear is that MM, despite the rhetoric, is clearly not an expert in the field of publishing. We find it interesting that someone claiming to be an author would slam a company who is simply making a way for unknown authors to get a foot in the door. We never claimed that we would kick the door open, just that we would do our very best.

    The following itemization addresses most of her/his points made over a few postings (again, not to debate, but to set our point of view for a fair hearing):

    1. Advances - we assert on our website that payment of royalty advances are 'disappearing' or 'diminishing in size'. Note that the wording is not in absolute terms—this is our observation of a trend. MM's criticism is illogical and unwarranted, as she/he is stating that we are making an absolute statement.

    2. We use a high level definition of 'traditional'—contrasting it with 'self publishing'. Many traditional, mainstream publishers use POD (Printing on Demand, Digital Printing, Green Publishing) facilities—particularly the small press, but not confined to them. We consider it being part of traditional publishing technology for some years now. We see it as a viable option compared to hundreds of thousands of unsold books ending up in landfills, which is what happens every year. We ALSO carry out offset print runs of titles, by the way. POD does not equal Self Publishing, but Self Publishers almost exclusively use POD. POD is a technology. Some statements made in this site about POD are categorically wrong, and a whole lot of reputable small, medium and large publishing companies would be most unhappy indeed with the insults. We think MM is the one with definitional problems.

    3. Regarding our statement about not necessarily putting books on shelves—it's just a natural extension of point 2 above. We are up front about everything, and certainly in more detail when we work with our authors. Is it easy to get a book on the shelves? No. Will every book that the big 6 publishes make it on book shelves. No. The amount of shelf space that they would require comprises 2 feet of new shelf space per day every day of the year. Bookstores would have to double in size every year and that is just for new releases. MM infers (by way of contrast with us) that just because one of the big six publishes a book, that instant success will follow. Not true and if one of their titles does not sell well, they mothball it.

    4.Yes we take both ebook rights and print rights—and more importantly, we actually publish in both mediums for every one of our titles. Most publishers include this clause.

    5. Prediction on how well Duleek’s novel will sell, including marketing, royalties etc. MM’s statement is a lazy statement, as in a year the posting is likely to have (deservedly) fallen into relative obscurity. MM’s understanding of the publishing industry is dismal. How many authors who are taken up by the big 6 get decent royalty checks (ie get good sales)? How many of them have contracts that require them to spend large amounts of time travelling, at their own expense (via deduction from royalties?) How many of them with books that don’t sell, find that they are removed from the shelves (mothballed, as stated in 4 above?) Research, MM, research. The chances of IFWG Publishing turning a first-timer into a best seller is very small indeed, but we will give them the leg up through bona fide, recognized, publishing, and are likely to be on parity with the majority of first time midlist writers in medium publishing houses. The leg up is of high value in itself, as already described ad nauseum. While IFWG Publishing knows that author participation makes a big difference in sales, it does not expect or require the author to do anything. If the author chooses to promote their work by doing independent advertising, that is their choice. IFWG and the author are partners in the process. IFWG promotes authors work by contacting book buyers, especially those in the area near the author. Our authors are from all parts of the world so our promotion varies from country to country. It would be hard indeed to find a publishing house that pays higher royalties than us. Our authors receive royalties in four different categories. If anyone knows anything about other publishers the best you will get are two categories.

    6. Our move to specialization and those who are not within scope. This is probably the most underhanded, ugly statement that MM has made. Whenever we announced this move, targeted for 1 January 2011, we made it crystal clear we will support all our authors for as long as they want to associate with us, gladly. We emphasize loyalty and are committed to it. MM deliberately left those statements out, and this, for us, is clear proof of very poor analysis (or worse). We should also point out that all four author-owners are specific specialists and have good, and growing connections in the industry (hence the ease to get Barnes and Noble to review, to get Ralan to pick us up, etc).

    7. Clipart, schmipart. We aren’t the big 6 and we aren’t in the top end of the midrange publishers. MM is using a high benchmark of the big 6 to pick on the small dudes. IFWG Publishing, by and large, have good art and getting better. SQ Magazine and The Devil Came East were produced by excellent artists, They Never Gave Up is a very clever graphic job, delighting the author with its symbolism (the inverted footprints), etc etc.

    8. Questions about IFWG’s marketing. We do plenty and plenty more to come. Rhetoric by MM with no information at all, for reasons that we cannot fathom, but guess.

    We believe that MM smacks of an ill-intentioned, clueless amateur.

    Finally Jasmine. We will say little in order to honor our disclaimer agreement (and thanks again Jas, for the nice words). Since she had a few things to say about us (nevertheless), we are happy to at least state that we parted on reasonable grounds and we don't necessarily disagree with Jas' statement that she wanted to go it alone—a philosophical point. As a publisher, we get exposed to a lot of people, and people = unpredictability. We are grateful this has been, thus far, an isolated event.

    We are a growing company and we are already starting to get points on the board. We will have eleven titles out this year, and we are already booked out until July 2011 with a further nine (non IFWG Publishing owner-authored) titles slotted (that's 20 over 19 months - we had to lock down submissions for a while). We will have published by this December something in the order of 70 authors’ short fiction. In other words, we are working hard and are very busy helping emerging authors, while at the same time making a business of it (mutual benefit).

    We wrote this long retort because, regardless of the dubious qualifications of commentators in this forum, publicly accessible electronic postings stick around a very long time and gets picked up by Google and other search engines. It would be good to have our say equally visible, particularly on points of fact. We currently have eighteen new authors who are doing their damnedest to break into the market and we are doing everything we can to help them.

    Are members of this fine forum helping them?


    This is, as inferred above, our last post on this thread.

    Gerry Huntman
    Last edited by gezza; 10-15-2010 at 05:47 AM.

  15. #15
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I do wish defensive backlashes were more creative. Nazi? Really? Amateur?
    At least, IMHO, they have removed all doubt
    Last edited by veinglory; 10-14-2010 at 05:19 PM.
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  16. #16
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    gezza:
    This post is regarding comments posted on a ‘writers’ blog.
    Actually this is a writers forum using message boards, not a blog.

    gezza:
    IFWG Publishing is an honest, up-front small press, helping authors get a leg up in a tough industry, and promising no more than what we can deliver, and what we state we can deliver.
    No one here has questioned your honesty.

    No one here has questioned that you're upfront about what you do (in fact, I specifically say in my post on this thread that you are up front about not paying advances).

    What we do question is whether you are positioned to "help authors get a leg up", given that you are essentially a POD operation with a potential to offset on an unspecified basis and in general, POD operations are unable to get their books stocked in stores in sufficient quantities to make for a decent royalty to authors. We are entitled to raise that question, whether you like it or not.

    gezza:
    Once in a while people will sensibly ask others if they have heard of us, and opinions, facts, and sometime incorrect statements, will be aired.
    And that is what is happening in this thread - people are asking for information and seeking opinions. You should therefore be fine with that.

    gezza:
    The downside is that if an untruth or misleading statement is made, it can stick around a long time like a bad smell and many people can, and will, read it and believe it.
    Please feel free to identify any untruths or misleading statements made about your company on this thread.

    It is very easy to sling about words like that. Unless you can point to something that you specifically object to though, it is difficult to take your complaint seriously.

    gezza:
    Randy and I have decided to write a lengthy response to a particularly ugly set of statements made by a few ‘forum Nazis’ (of which there are many in the world, and most public facing forums seem to have at least one clique with them), not to debate them, but to try to ensure that we have our opportunity to have our say.
    Firstly, it's your right to issue a response if that is what you wish. However, be aware that a failure to debate or respond (including a failure to respond to questions/issues in your statement or inconsistencies) are usually more damning of you than they are of us.

    Secondly, using the term "Nazi" to describe anyone who raises a concern with your company raises instant questions as to your professionalism. "Nazi" is a perjorative and emotive term, especially when used in an incorrect context. Ironically, using it here suggests that you are one of those "idiots and miscreants" that you are trying so hard to decry.

    gezza:
    Jasmine calls one of us a 'gem' (thanks Jas) and yet others in the same forum consider our co-owned company as 'worrisome', nepotistic (or alternatively, set up to publish ourselves), are self publishers (and are avoiding the label), wont support some of our authors when we tighten our genre scope, that our book covers (inferring majority) consist of clipart, that we are exclusively POD, and don't understand publishing terminology.
    Let's take this one-by-one so that we can put these words back in the context from which you have so thoughtfully/thoughtlessly removed them.

    1. "'worrisome'".

    This term was used by DreamWeaver by reference to the fact that the front page of your website says ""Congratulations, <name redacted>! You are a Published Author!" As you may be aware, the words "Published Author" including the capital are synonymous with Publish America, a vanity publishing outfit. Commercial publishers, such as Penguin, do not feel the need to put a congratulations note on their websites for each author they publish. This is because it's the act of publication that makes an author published, without any further statement being required.

    2. "nepotistic".

    This is your word, which you are using to describe yourselves. No one on this thread has accused you of nepotism (which, you should know, means someone who shows favouritism to close friends or family). No one here has accused you of publishing your close friends or your family.

    3. "(or alternatively, set up to publish ourselves)".

    CaoPaux identified that:

    IFWG was co-founded by Randy "R.A." Knowlton. Who is published by them. Yet the front page declares None of our titles are self-published! But editor Gerry Huntman's book is coming soon.... *head hurt*
    The definition of self-publishing is publishing a book yourself through your own publisher. You, Gerry, work for or run IFWG Publishing. You are also publishing your books (in the case of Gerry, may shortly be publishing your book) through the company that you own/run.

    That is self-publishing.

    4. "are self publishers (and are avoiding the label)"

    See above for why people here are suggesting that you are self-publishers. No one has specifically said that you are seeking to avoid the label of self-publisher, but we have pointed out that the front page of your website says "none of our titles are self-published".

    Extending the services offered by your company to other people, does not mean that you are no longer self-publishing. You are merely a self-publisher who also publishes other people.

    There is nothing intrinsically wrong with that - there are plenty of other companies out there that have done and will do the same thing. The issue that we have (given that this is a forum aimed at authors) is whether you are capable of giving a commercial return to authors who publish with you. The risks that you take with your manuscripts are up to you, it's when you take a risk on other people's manuscripts that we are concerned.

    5. "wont support some of our authors when we tighten our genre scope"

    I guess this is one aimed at me. I did not say that you will not support authors when you tighten your genre scope. What I said is that the fact that you're looking to tighten your scope when you currently have books published outside those genres, "doesn't sound great" for those authors. And the reason I said that is because it doesn't sound great. For example, if I've published a memoir with you and now you're a SF/horror/Fantasy publisher, will my book get the same attention in terms of marketing? How do the legacy books fit into your new model? Will you be releasing them?

    6. "that our book covers (inferring majority) consist of clipart"

    That's another one aimed at me. The book covers on your website do look like they use clipart.

    Are you saying that isn't so?

    7. "that we are exclusively POD"

    Another one aimed at me. I have said that you are a POD operation because that's what your own website says. Specifically this page:

    http://ifwgpublishing.weebly.com/sub...nuscripts.html

    Where you say: "we utilize the printing on demand (POD) printing system". I don't see how you object to being called a POD publisher, when you are using a POD system.

    8. "don't understand publishing terminology"

    The fact that you don't seem to understand what self-publishing is suggests that this is a correct assertion.

    gezza:
    The reason why they are disturbing is that they were presented within a membership forum but public facing, which doesn’t make it necessarily easy for those who are attacked to respond.
    Erm. You're posting here with a response to our assertions. It is therefore easy for you to respond to what is being said here.

    No one is banning you from commenting. You could equally come back with answers to my questions if you so wished (and I think we'd welcome that). That decision is up to you, but no one here is stopping you and your assertion that you are in some way being prevented is wrong and "disturbing" as you seem determined to claim censorship when there is none.

    gezza:
    Additionally, the authors make strong statements while being in the comfort zone of anonymity, behind their avatars.
    At least two of the commenters here have posted under their real names.

    The fact that some of us use handles, doesn't mean that our comments are wrong or invalid. Much as you may like to think otherwise.

    gezza:
    Based on the poor research, knowledge and logic provided in many of the statements, we are underwhelmed by most of the forum authors.
    That's ironic. It's for those same reasons that I'm underwhelmed by your response here.

    gezza:
    IFWG Publishing began about a year ago, with the express purpose to help new authors climb the vocational ladder.
    Okay. I'm not sure why you're classing it as a "vocational ladder", given that many writers seeking publication are seeking to do so to make money.

    gezza:
    It didn't take long to discover that the hybrid model was not feasible, and so we bit the bullet and we transitioned quickly to traditional (again, MM, definition below), which was our ultimate goal. We have published 6 titles and three magazine editions thus far, and by end of December we will have published 11 titles (three are coming out in the next four weeks) and four magazines. We only started publishing titles from January, and that means our business plan is on target—we aim to publish 10 to 12 titles per year.
    Okay, well it's good that you were intending to start out with only a limited number of titles - a mistake that many start-ups make is to launch a load of titles at the same time.

    gezza:
    Our hybrid model was VERY short lived and in fact we have NOT published one word where the author had to pay—all our authors paid NOTHING (oops, sorry Terrie et al.—we don't and never have self published).
    See above for the definition of "self publishing". If you were ever considering requiring people to pay to be published (and I note that you now are not, which is good), then that is called "vanity publishing".

    gezza:
    We are a company that is run by authors for authors.
    So none of you have any previous experience of running a commercial publisher? Do any of you have previous experience of running a company?

    gezza:
    We think we are pretty good authors, but time will tell (nothing else will, not even you, MM).
    I have never made one comment about the quality of writing being published by your company. I have however made the point that authors thinking about using you should wait to see what the sales figures are like after a couple of years of operation.

    gezza:
    Hey, why don't you write to some of our authors (other than Duleek, who kindly already responded) and ask them how we perform—or are primary sources hard to swallow? (perhaps it is, and goes with a hurting head).
    If you want to talk "primary sources" why don't you share how many copies of your published books have been sold in total (I'll even make it easy and take an average number of ebook and POD sales)?

    PA has loads of happy authors until they receive their first royalty cheque and see how little they've made.

    gezza:
    Aside from recognition by Ralan, Duotrope, etc, our authors are finding they are eligible for submissions to awards that require legitimate (read traditional, MM) publishing as a criterion for entry—and categorically state that self published works are ineligible.
    Ralan and Duotrope are market listings. They only set out the facts about what publishers accept and what pay rates are. They are not a legitimising body.

    As for acceptance into awards, so what? You're not saying what those awards are - there are tonnes of award bodies available, but very few actually hold sway in the industry.

    Unless you're claiming admission as a publisher for the purposes of SFWA (which I think you'll find won't accept you because you're not paying advances) this is all meaningless babble.

    gezza:
    Of the eleven titles that will be published this year, two will have been by members of the company.
    Yup. That's what makes it "self-publishing". Thank you for admitting it.

    gezza:
    The amount of work to edit, proof, InDesign format internal block, etc is HUGE. The cost also accumulates as we publish with worldwide wholesale distribution (through Ingram, same used by the big 6), along with epublishing.
    Okay, the fact that your with Ingrams might mean that your books are available worldwide, but please don't confuse it with worldwide distribution. Unless you are physically stocking your books in bookstores around the world, then you are not in a worldwide distribution situation.

    In my opinion, you would have been better off focusing on one market only, e.g. taking US rights and focusing on US distribution. That's what most commercial publishers do - they establish themselves in one market, take rights to sell in that market and leave the author with the remaining world wide rights to dispose of as they wish. That's because it's impossible to effectively establish yourself in each geographic footprint without the capital to support you.

    This is all really basic stuff.

    As another point, I know that the costs are huge, which is why a concern with start-ups is whether they have the capital to deliver on their promises. Many do not, which is why they go under in 2 years.

    Now, I'm not saying that this will happen with you and nor am I wishing that it happen with you. I'm saying it because it is a sad fact of the industry and a concern that new authors need to be aware of.

    gezza:
    The industry accepts us as a small press, the only people who don't are a small scattering of armchair quarterbacks (quaint US term), in a variety of forums and wikis.
    Define "industry" and define "acceptance".

    You've said that you are moving to specialise in SF, horror and fantasy. Are you accepted as a paying market by either SFWA or HWA?

    gezza:
    We are figuring that Momento Mori (MM) may be the alpha forum Nazi in this particular eco-system
    I'm planning to change my user status to read "alpha forum Nazi" in honour of your bile spewing.

    I hope that CaoPaux and Uncle Jim are taking note of the fact - I'm alpha forum Nazi here and all you bitches answer to me.

    Dance, puppets, dance!

    gezza:
    it is her/his (can’t tell, with the anonymity)
    "She" will do fine. Or we can go with "ma'am", given that I'm alpha forum Nazi. Just as long as you're bowing when you type, it doesn't really matter.

    gezza:
    Why be so volatile? Why filter the data gathered from our site? Why bother going into such depth? Why so quick to respond, and change the tack of attack in different postings?
    1. It's hypocritical to accuse my comments here of being "volatile" given that you're the one who has resorted to childish name-calling and foot stamping. The only thing I can understand that you might object to is "well intentioned but clueless amateur", which IMO, you are. You don't have a background in publishing. You don't understand simple industry terms. I have raised reasonable questions about your operation and your response has been to foot stamp and name call. That's up to you of course, but it does nothing for your professional reputation (or, indeed, given you any semblance of dignity).

    2. I have quoted from your site in context. If you think otherwise, please feel free to highlight the same.

    3. Why would anyone object to my going into depth in terms of analysing statements or responding to questions? Surely that's a good thing?

    4. I don't know why you think I've quick to respond. I've responded when I've happened to be on the board. There's nothing sinister about that. Plenty of people respond to posts when they're made if they happen to be there at the time.

    5. I have never changed tack in my responses here. I understand that it serves you to suggest otherwise because you are clearly in a victim mentality. However you wishing it was so, doesn't make it so.

    gezza:
    One thing is clear is that MM, despite the rhetoric, is clearly not an expert in the field of publishing.
    I've never claimed to be an expert in the field of publishing. I have raised questions and concerns that any author looking to be commercially published (i.e. make money from their work) should think about when looking at your company. They are all reasonable questions and concerns and I'm sure that some of the other posters here who are experts in publishing will back me up.

    gezza:
    We find it interesting that someone claiming to be an author would slam a company who is simply making a way for unknown authors to get a foot in the door. We never claimed that we would kick the door open, just that we would do our very best.
    Again, it serves you to categorise my comments as "slamming" because it's easier than addressing the real issues and questions raised.

    If you read my posts or even took a few minutes to take a look at this forum, you'd see that my concern is whether a publisher claiming to want to do something, can actually deliver on that.

    Now, I have never doubted your intentions. My concerns are whether you can fulfill them.

    The fact that:

    - you are not a company run by people with publishing experience,

    - you are confused by what is meant by "self publishing"

    - you don't seem to know what distribution is

    - you are already complaining about the huge costs associated with publishing

    - you seem intent on establishing a worldwide presence from the get go

    - you had to abandon your first "hybrid" model

    - you are looking to specialise AFTER you have already published books outside your chosen specialisation

    makes me worry that you can't. You might not like that (in fact, you pretty obviously don't like that), but your responses here have done nothing to counter that.

    gezza:
    Advances - we assert on our website that payment of royalty advances are 'disappearing' or 'diminishing in size'. Note that the wording is not in absolute terms—this is our observation of a trend. MM's criticism is illogical and unwarranted, as she/he is stating that we are making an absolute statement.
    How is this "we note that this practice is disappearing even among larger companies" not an absolute statement? You are saying that even larger companies are not paying advances. That is not correct. You would be on better ground saying that larger companies are seeking to reduce advances (which they are).

    gezza:
    2. We use a high level definition of 'traditional'—contrasting it with 'self publishing'. Many traditional, mainstream publishers use POD (Printing on Demand, Digital Printing, Green Publishing) facilities—particularly the small press, but not confined to them. We consider it being part of traditional publishing technology for some years now. We see it as a viable option compared to hundreds of thousands of unsold books ending up in landfills, which is what happens every year. We ALSO carry out offset print runs of titles, by the way. POD does not equal Self Publishing, but Self Publishers almost exclusively use POD. POD is a technology. Some statements made in this site about POD are categorically wrong, and a whole lot of reputable small, medium and large publishing companies would be most unhappy indeed with the insults. We think MM is the one with definitional problems.
    Okay, let's break this down. I said:

    I'd love to know what they mean by "traditional" when 2 paragraphs down on the Submissions Page they say that they're POD.
    Your explanation suggests that you are using POD to print limited offset runs. Is that correct?

    If this is correct, then you need to change your website, because your website specifically states here: http://ifwgpublishing.weebly.com/sub...nuscripts.html that you will "will only print on order via online booksellers""which is not "traditional" publishing. You also say:

    IWG website:
    There will be opportunities to make print runs and sell to distributors for shelving, but this is a decision we make on a case by case basis.
    Which means that you are not automatically doing offset runs for your titles (and therefore, by your own definition, not "traditionally" publishing.

    If I'm confused on your business model, then it's because your website is confusing. And for what it's worth, the fact that you seem to be saying that you will not be automatically publishing offset runs for titles, suggests that you'll rely on POD as a default.

    gezza:
    Regarding our statement about not necessarily putting books on shelves—it's just a natural extension of point 2 above. We are up front about everything, and certainly in more detail when we work with our authors.
    I believe that I acknowledged that you were being up front about not putting books on shelves.

    gezza:
    Is it easy to get a book on the shelves? No. Will every book that the big 6 publishes make it on book shelves. No. The amount of shelf space that they would require comprises 2 feet of new shelf space per day every day of the year. Bookstores would have to double in size every year and that is just for new releases.
    I know that it is not easy to get books into stores. I equally know that none of the major commercial publishers will have copies of all of their titles in every store.

    I have never suggested otherwise.

    However, a big 6 publisher will make sure that a new title is available in stores - maybe not in absolutely every store, but certainly in most. That's why the major publishers have deals with groups such as Barnes and Noble.

    gezza:
    MM infers (by way of contrast with us) that just because one of the big six publishes a book, that instant success will follow. Not true and if one of their titles does not sell well, they mothball it.
    I have not implied any such thing. If you have drawn such an inference then that is a matter for you. You will not, however, be able to point to anything I have said here to support the same. (As a writer, you need to learn the difference between "infer" and "imply").

    Even if an author published by a big 6 publisher does not have a runaway success, they will still have an advance to cushion them - i.e. money up front.

    gezza:
    both ebook rights and print rights—and more importantly, we actually publish in both mediums for every one of our titles. Most publishers include this clause
    And? I said that you take both ebook rights and print rights. I haven't seen however anything to suggest that you are capable of selling an attractive level of books in either medium.

    gezza:
    Prediction on how well Duleek’s novel will sell, including marketing, royalties etc.
    I have made no predictions with regards to the potential sales of Duleek's novel. I have asked what advertising, marketing etc will be done and I have invited her to come back in a year to share sales figures and royalty levels.

    You should really learn that saying something you wish to be true, doesn't actually make it true.

    gezza:
    MM’s statement is a lazy statement, as in a year the posting is likely to have (deservedly) fallen into relative obscurity.
    In which case, why are you taking the trouble of posting here?

    gezza:
    MM’s statement is a lazy statement, as in a year the posting is likely to have (deservedly) fallen into relative obscurity. MM’s understanding of the publishing industry is dismal. How many authors who are taken up by the big 6 get decent royalty checks (ie get good sales)? How many of them have contracts that require them to spend large amounts of time travelling, at their own expense (via deduction from royalties?) How many of them with books that don’t sell, find that they are removed from the shelves (mothballed, as stated in 4 above?) Research, MM, research.
    Oh dear. You really are terribly annoyed and offended by all this, aren't you, Gerry? That's no reason to let hyperbole and vitriolic spewing get in the way of some cold hard facts though. So let me take your bullshit nastiness in order.

    gezza:
    How many authors who are taken up by the big 6 get decent royalty checks (ie get good sales)?
    There are more midlist authors then there are bestsellers. There are authors who are taken on, the book doesn't make the sales anticipated and they are then dropped. There are authors who are taken on and don't make enough sales to earn royalties.

    That's all true and I have never said otherwise.

    What you are so conveniently overlooking though, Gerry, is that all these authors get paid an advance up front. This means that even if the book tanks - even if it never earns out into royalties - the author still has that up front payment.

    You do not pay advances. Therefore your authors do not have that cushion and are dependent on the sales that are made.

    At the moment, I don't see anything that suggests your organisation is geared up to make significant commercial sales. There is therefore a reasonable possibility that authors will not earn a lot from their royalties.

    gezza:
    How many of them have contracts that require them to spend large amounts of time travelling, at their own expense (via deduction from royalties?)
    None.

    Commercial publishers don't have contracts requiring their authors to do this. It's great if authors get involved in publicity - many publishers would love their authors to do so. There is no contractual requirement for them to do so. They most certainly do not have a clause requiring deductions from royalties if they fail to do so.

    Research, Gerry, research.

    gezza:
    How many of them with books that don’t sell, find that they are removed from the shelves (mothballed, as stated in 4 above?)
    Books don't get removed from shelves by publishers unless there's a massive mistake in them (see Franzen's UK publishing experience) in which case they are pulped and replaced. Unsold books may be returned by bookstores (that's what the returns policy is there for) and the big 6 will have priced for that risk when they paid their advance to the author.

    Again, research, Gerry, resarch. This is all basic stuff.

    gezza:
    The chances of IFWG Publishing turning a first-timer into a best seller is very small indeed, but we will give them the leg up through bona fide, recognized, publishing, and are likely to be on parity with the majority of first time midlist writers in medium publishing houses.
    I do not doubt that this is your intention. Do you have the sales figures to back it up?

    gezza:
    While IFWG Publishing knows that author participation makes a big difference in sales, it does not expect or require the author to do anything. If the author chooses to promote their work by doing independent advertising, that is their choice. IFWG and the author are partners in the process. IFWG promotes authors work by contacting book buyers, especially those in the area near the author. Our authors are from all parts of the world so our promotion varies from country to country.
    I asked 3 very simple questions in my last post here:

    What advertising have they done? What promotion have they done? What marketing have they done?
    All you seem to be saying that you do is contact book buyers. Well, whoopdy-do. Anyone can contact book buyers, it's getting them to buy that's the tricky part. What have you done to get books into store? Give me some kid of example of the actual promotion that your people have done all over the world. Don't give me vague, unsupported assertions and then claim it supports your point. It doesn't and people reading it will recognise that it doesn't.

    gezza:
    It would be hard indeed to find a publishing house that pays higher royalties than us. Our authors receive royalties in four different categories. If anyone knows anything about other publishers the best you will get are two categories.
    A high royalty on zero sales is zero. It doesn't matter what your royalties are. It doesn't matter if they're the highest in the publishing world. If you can't make sales and if you don't make sales, then authors won't actually be receiving anything.

    That's basic maths, Gerry.

    gezza:
    This is probably the most underhanded, ugly statement that MM has made. Whenever we announced this move, targeted for 1 January 2011, we made it crystal clear we will support all our authors for as long as they want to associate with us, gladly. We emphasize loyalty and are committed to it.
    See my memoir example above as my answer to this.

    What I will add is that any author who leaves you, loses their first publishing rights. I don't doubt that you will release them from their contract so that they can take their book elsewhere, the problem is that if their sales are low, it will be difficult for them to get another publisher to take it.

    You might see that as "ugly", but it's a fact, Gerry.

    gezza:
    We should also point out that all four author-owners are specific specialists and have good, and growing connections in the industry (hence the ease to get Barnes and Noble to review, to get Ralan to pick us up, etc).
    It's not difficult to get Ralan to pick up a market. You simply fill out the form here:

    http://www.ralan.com/forms/listing-forms/listforms.htm

    and agree to their terms. Honestly, if this is your idea of "specific specialists" (LOL), then you're in more trouble than I thought.

    gezza:
    Clipart, schmipart. We aren’t the big 6 and we aren’t in the top end of the midrange publishers. MM is using a high benchmark of the big 6 to pick on the small dudes. IFWG Publishing, by and large, have good art and getting better. SQ Magazine and The Devil Came East were produced by excellent artists, They Never Gave Up is a very clever graphic job, delighting the author with its symbolism (the inverted footprints), etc etc.
    Again, I was not judging you against the big 6 on covers. I just want to see something that looked like a professional design. It seems that you're saying that you're hiring artists. It would be good to know if those artists have previous experience of cover design and if so for whom. It's not a question of delighting the author, a cover should delight readers.

    gezza:
    We do plenty and plenty more to come. Rhetoric by MM with no information at all, for reasons that we cannot fathom, but guess.
    The irony. It burns.

    You say you do plenty of marketing and then give no information. It's easy to say you're doing something, I'll reserve judgement until I see some concrete examples.

    gezza:
    We believe that MM smacks of an ill-intentioned, clueless amateur.
    Oh, no! And I thought that we were getting on so well ...

    gezza:
    It would be good to have our say equally visible, particularly on points of fact.
    And you have. You've also left the door open to rebuttals such as this one.

    gezza:
    We currently have eighteen new authors who are doing their damnedest to break into the market and we are doing everything we can to help them.

    Are members of this fine forum helping them?
    Unless it's too late for them to seek termination of their contracts then no, sadly there's nothing we can do for them on this book.

    However, any other writers looking up this company on Google might want to take a look at the professional, unemotional way in which Gerry Huntman has conducted himself in his response, assess the complete lack of information that he provides to support some of his points and then assess the confusion he displays on how publishing in general operates, before making a decision to send them your manuscript.

    gezza:
    This is, as inferred above, our last post on this thread.
    Oy vay. If it is, then it is. However, the cynical part of me is expecting sockpuppets in 3, 2, 1 ...

    MM
    Last edited by Momento Mori; 10-14-2010 at 07:26 PM.

  17. #17
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    veinglory:
    I do wish defensive backlashes were more creative. Nazi? Really? Amateur?
    Excuse me, I believe my title is alpha forum Nazi and I'll thank you to use it.

    Carry on.

    MM

  18. #18
    aka Sadistic Mistress Mi-chan M.R.J. Le Blanc's Avatar
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    It never fails to amuse me to see people coming onto this forum and trying to tell people who have obvious experience they don't know what they're talking about. It also never fails to amuse to see the anonymous arguement come up, considering 90% of our active membership has many links in their sigs and stuff indicating who they are, forum handle or not

    Follow me on my Blog
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  19. #19
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    There's also the sad predictability of IFWG's supporters posting comments on the blog about how we're all so jealous and mean and how we should send IFWG our manuscripts for critique (to which I say, no thanks - my agent and I want to actually make some money).

    MM

  20. #20
    Reinventing Myself Scribhneoir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gezza View Post
    IFWG Publishing began about a year ago, with the express purpose to help new authors climb the vocational ladder.
    Surely the business of a publisher should be to sell books to readers, not to help new authors climb the ladder. How do you plan to reach those readers?

    We are a company that is run by authors for authors.
    Personally, I'd prefer a publisher run by publishing professionals for readers, but that's just me.

    Will every book that the big 6 publishes make it on book shelves. No. The amount of shelf space that they would require comprises 2 feet of new shelf space per day every day of the year. Bookstores would have to double in size every year and that is just for new releases.
    Sigh. This silliness is straight out of the Publish America playbook. Sure, bookstores would need to add ever more shelf space -- if they never sold anything.

    In the real world, books flow through the store, taking up shelf space for a bit before going home with readers and being replaced by new books. Claiming that bookstores can't shelve every book published, while true, is disingenuous and usually a claim made by those publishers trying to justify their inability to get their books into stores.

  21. #21
    USA Today Bestselling Author Jamiekswriter's Avatar
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    Excellent rebuttal MM Or should I say AFN.

  22. #22
    Inarticulate Herb MumblingSage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    I do wish defensive backlashes were more creative. Nazi? Really? Amateur?
    At least, IMHO, they have removed all doubt
    Alas, I'm only an amateur Nazi at best. But thanks to this thread, one publisher is being crossed off my list of 'potentials'.

    On the bright side, maybe I can aspire to be a forum Nazi of the Memento Mori caliber. At least in the meantime there's popcorn.

    @Jamiekswriter: the salute isn't quite right, but that's just as well before the wrath of Godwin crashes down upon us all.

  23. #23
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Is the position of Beta Forum Nazi still open?
    Emily Veinglory

  24. #24
    Shakespearean Fool DreamWeaver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gezza View Post
    This posting is copied at: http://ifwgpblog.blogspot.com/2010/1...rum-nazis.html

    This post is regarding comments posted on a ‘writers’ blog.
    http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=181582

    IFWG Publishing is an honest, up-front small press, helping authors get a leg up in a tough industry, and promising no more than what we can deliver, and what we state we can deliver. Once in a while people will sensibly ask others if they have heard of us, and opinions, facts, and sometime incorrect statements, will be aired. The World Wide Web is a wonderful beast, and one of its strengths is that it is open and is mostly accessible for most of the world to use. The downside is that if an untruth or misleading statement is made, it can stick around a long time like a bad smell and many people can, and will, read it and believe it. In other words, the democracy of the Internet implies that everyone is equal, including idiots and miscreants.

    Randy and I have decided to write a lengthy response to a particularly ugly set of statements made by a few ‘forum Nazis’ (of which there are many in the world, and most public facing forums seem to have at least one clique with them), not to debate them, but to try to ensure that we have our opportunity to have our say. We wont be debating further, because forum Nazis like to prolong debates (read ‘win them at all costs’, ‘damn the torpedoes’)—we will have said our piece for the ‘world’ to consider.

    We both have a lot to say, so if you are willing to bear with it, and have an interest, read on—noting that the format is to directly address points made by the forum Nazis.

    Jasmine calls one of us a 'gem' (thanks Jas) and yet others in the same forum consider our co-owned company as 'worrisome', nepotistic (or alternatively, set up to publish ourselves), are self publishers (and are avoiding the label), wont support some of our authors when we tighten our genre scope, that our book covers (inferring majority) consist of clipart, that we are exclusively POD, and don't understand publishing terminology.

    These views are disturbingly, and completely wrong. The reason why they are disturbing is that they were presented within a membership forum but public facing, which doesn’t make it necessarily easy for those who are attacked to respond. Additionally, the authors make strong statements while being in the comfort zone of anonymity, behind their avatars.

    Based on the poor research, knowledge and logic provided in many of the statements, we are underwhelmed by most of the forum authors.

    IFWG Publishing began about a year ago, with the express purpose to help new authors climb the vocational ladder. We started small and had a business plan. We figured that authors who joined with us would get the step up—not the ten rungs that the big 6 can provide (although that is debatable to an extent, see below), or the 5 rungs that the mid-range publishers provide, but up a few nevertheless. Initially we constructed a hybrid model, where we would publish some authors traditionally (see definition below), and given our resource constraints, we would provide some services in assisting in self publishing, although with the proviso that a modicum of quality was present (this last point truly made it hybrid, and unusual). It didn't take long to discover that the hybrid model was not feasible, and so we bit the bullet and we transitioned quickly to traditional (again, MM, definition below), which was our ultimate goal. We have published 6 titles and three magazine editions thus far, and by end of December we will have published 11 titles (three are coming out in the next four weeks) and four magazines. We only started publishing titles from January, and that means our business plan is on target—we aim to publish 10 to 12 titles per year.

    Our hybrid model was VERY short lived and in fact we have NOT published one word where the author had to pay—all our authors paid NOTHING (oops, sorry Terrie et al.—we don't and never have self published).

    We are a company that is run by authors for authors. There are 4 of us, based in New Jersey, Missouri, Australia and England. We think we are pretty good authors, but time will tell (nothing else will, not even you, MM). Of the eleven titles that will be published this year, two will have been by members of the company. One of the remainder is an anthology of short stories (41 authors, most of whom were unpublished), and the other eight are debut writers—each and every one of them. The amount of work to edit, proof, InDesign format internal block, etc is HUGE. The cost also accumulates as we publish with worldwide wholesale distribution (through Ingram, same used by the big 6), along with epublishing. Do you honestly think we are doing this work in order to prop up our own novels? As I said, we think we're pretty good writers, and we do get the work peer reviewed, and edited, and proofed etc. With what we have done, there is no guilt whatsoever (sorry CaoPaux for contradicting you, but at least your head doesn't have to hurt anymore).

    Along with publishing titles, we also publish our own journal (SQ Magazine), again overwhelmingly to help new authors. Again peer reviewed—we have a dedicated editor. Ralan.com and Duotrope.com vetted us and are happy to advertise our mag (and Ralan is also happy to advertise our seeking submissions for titles—Ralan pays particular attention to avoid self publishers). Daniel Spearman kindly submitted a short story which we will publish next month in SQ Magazine #2. Things are going well—all we need now is more good press and at the least an opportunity for people to sample our wares (oops, came to the wrong place for that).

    Regarding our authors—we are very happy how things are running. Jack Eason, author of Onet's Tale, got a 4 out of 5 stars rating by Paul Goat Allen, Barnes and Noble's Specfic reviewer. Biola Olatunde is a writer from Nigeria and we are EXTREMELY proud that we have given her a break for her excellent adventure/social commentary, Blood Contract—if you think it is hard to get a break in the US, England or Australia, try Nigeria. Hey, why don't you write to some of our authors (other than Duleek, who kindly already responded) and ask them how we perform—or are primary sources hard to swallow? (perhaps it is, and goes with a hurting head).

    Stating it again, we are a small company and we have a clear, modest, business plan, and we believe we make a difference. We believe that we will grow and our authors will grow with us. We know that most authors fail to get published, and of those that do, the vast majority start humbly indeed and make little money—we believe we are a facilitator in this difficult process and all signs are showing that it is working. Aside from recognition by Ralan, Duotrope, etc, our authors are finding they are eligible for submissions to awards that require legitimate (read traditional, MM) publishing as a criterion for entry—and categorically state that self published works are ineligible. The industry accepts us as a small press, the only people who don't are a small scattering of armchair quarterbacks (quaint US term), in a variety of forums and wikis. Who critiques the critics? We know you guys aren't in that category, don't we?

    We are figuring that Momento Mori (MM) may be the alpha forum Nazi in this particular eco-system, and it is her/his (can’t tell, with the anonymity) commentary that most perplexes us, and disgusts. Why be so volatile? Why filter the data gathered from our site? Why bother going into such depth? Why so quick to respond, and change the tack of attack in different postings? We believe that whatever the motivation, it isn’t particularly flattering. One thing is clear is that MM, despite the rhetoric, is clearly not an expert in the field of publishing. We find it interesting that someone claiming to be an author would slam a company who is simply making a way for unknown authors to get a foot in the door. We never claimed that we would kick the door open, just that we would do our very best.

    The following itemization addresses most of her/his points made over a few postings (again, not to debate, but to set our point of view for a fair hearing):

    1. Advances - we assert on our website that payment of royalty advances are 'disappearing' or 'diminishing in size'. Note that the wording is not in absolute terms—this is our observation of a trend. MM's criticism is illogical and unwarranted, as she/he is stating that we are making an absolute statement.

    2. We use a high level definition of 'traditional'—contrasting it with 'self publishing'. Many traditional, mainstream publishers use POD (Printing on Demand, Digital Printing, Green Publishing) facilities—particularly the small press, but not confined to them. We consider it being part of traditional publishing technology for some years now. We see it as a viable option compared to hundreds of thousands of unsold books ending up in landfills, which is what happens every year. We ALSO carry out offset print runs of titles, by the way. POD does not equal Self Publishing, but Self Publishers almost exclusively use POD. POD is a technology. Some statements made in this site about POD are categorically wrong, and a whole lot of reputable small, medium and large publishing companies would be most unhappy indeed with the insults. We think MM is the one with definitional problems.

    3. Regarding our statement about not necessarily putting books on shelves—it's just a natural extension of point 2 above. We are up front about everything, and certainly in more detail when we work with our authors. Is it easy to get a book on the shelves? No. Will every book that the big 6 publishes make it on book shelves. No. The amount of shelf space that they would require comprises 2 feet of new shelf space per day every day of the year. Bookstores would have to double in size every year and that is just for new releases. MM infers (by way of contrast with us) that just because one of the big six publishes a book, that instant success will follow. Not true and if one of their titles does not sell well, they mothball it.

    4.Yes we take both ebook rights and print rights—and more importantly, we actually publish in both mediums for every one of our titles. Most publishers include this clause.

    5. Prediction on how well Duleek’s novel will sell, including marketing, royalties etc. MM’s statement is a lazy statement, as in a year the posting is likely to have (deservedly) fallen into relative obscurity. MM’s understanding of the publishing industry is dismal. How many authors who are taken up by the big 6 get decent royalty checks (ie get good sales)? How many of them have contracts that require them to spend large amounts of time travelling, at their own expense (via deduction from royalties?) How many of them with books that don’t sell, find that they are removed from the shelves (mothballed, as stated in 4 above?) Research, MM, research. The chances of IFWG Publishing turning a first-timer into a best seller is very small indeed, but we will give them the leg up through bona fide, recognized, publishing, and are likely to be on parity with the majority of first time midlist writers in medium publishing houses. The leg up is of high value in itself, as already described ad nauseum. While IFWG Publishing knows that author participation makes a big difference in sales, it does not expect or require the author to do anything. If the author chooses to promote their work by doing independent advertising, that is their choice. IFWG and the author are partners in the process. IFWG promotes authors work by contacting book buyers, especially those in the area near the author. Our authors are from all parts of the world so our promotion varies from country to country. It would be hard indeed to find a publishing house that pays higher royalties than us. Our authors receive royalties in four different categories. If anyone knows anything about other publishers the best you will get are two categories.

    6. Our move to specialization and those who are not within scope. This is probably the most underhanded, ugly statement that MM has made. Whenever we announced this move, targeted for 1 January 2011, we made it crystal clear we will support all our authors for as long as they want to associate with us, gladly. We emphasize loyalty and are committed to it. MM deliberately left those statements out, and this, for us, is clear proof of very poor analysis (or worse). We should also point out that all four author-owners are specific specialists and have good, and growing connections in the industry (hence the ease to get Barnes and Noble to review, to get Ralan to pick us up, etc).

    7. Clipart, schmipart. We aren’t the big 6 and we aren’t in the top end of the midrange publishers. MM is using a high benchmark of the big 6 to pick on the small dudes. IFWG Publishing, by and large, have good art and getting better. SQ Magazine and The Devil Came East were produced by excellent artists, They Never Gave Up is a very clever graphic job, delighting the author with its symbolism (the inverted footprints), etc etc.

    8. Questions about IFWG’s marketing. We do plenty and plenty more to come. Rhetoric by MM with no information at all, for reasons that we cannot fathom, but guess.

    We believe that MM smacks of an ill-intentioned, clueless amateur.

    Finally Jasmine. We will say little in order to honor our disclaimer agreement (and thanks again Jas, for the nice words). Since she had a few things to say about us (nevertheless), we are happy to at least state that we parted on reasonable grounds and we don't necessarily disagree with Jas' statement that she wanted to go it alone—a philosophical point. As a publisher, we get exposed to a lot of people, and people = unpredictability. We are grateful this has been, thus far, an isolated event.

    We are a growing company and we are already starting to get points on the board. We will have eleven titles out this year, and we are already booked out until July 2011 with a further nine (non IFWG Publishing owner-authored) titles slotted (that's 20 over 19 months - we had to lock down submissions for a while). We will have published by this December something in the order of 70 authors’ short fiction. In other words, we are working hard and are very busy helping emerging authors, while at the same time making a business of it (mutual benefit).

    We wrote this long retort because, regardless of the dubious qualifications of commentators in this forum, publicly accessible electronic postings stick around a very long time and gets picked up by Google and other search engines. It would be good to have our say equally visible, particularly on points of fact. We currently have eighteen new authors who are doing their damnedest to break into the market and we are doing everything we can to help them.

    Are members of this fine forum helping them?


    This is, as inferred above, our last post on this thread.

    Gerry Huntman
    I believe Shakespeare would classify this as "hoist by his own petard".
    Last edited by DreamWeaver; 10-15-2010 at 04:49 AM.
    Why doesn't George R. R. Martin use Twitter? He already killed off all 140 characters.

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