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Thread: Boxfire Press

  1. #1
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    Boxfire Press

    http://boxfirepress.com/ Since they posted in the Paying Markets forum, I thought I'd start a thread here on them. Thoughts? Opinions?

  2. #2
    Moderator AW Moderator Maryn's Avatar
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    I participated in the thread at Paying Markets, and have formed a negative opinion they've done nothing to refute. Saying they pay royalties but refusing to give average or typical earnings smacks of low pay--which is not a problem, but come on, dudes, be honest about what you can afford to pay.

    KTC notices that in a year they've only got two stories, both by the same author. Highly suspect.

    I'd cross the street to get away from this market.

    Maryn, wearing her sturdy walking shoes

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  3. #3
    Stand in the Place Where You Live KTC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maryn View Post
    I participated in the thread at Paying Markets, and have formed a negative opinion they've done nothing to refute. Saying they pay royalties but refusing to give average or typical earnings smacks of low pay--which is not a problem, but come on, dudes, be honest about what you can afford to pay.

    KTC notices that in a year they've only got two stories, both by the same author. Highly suspect.

    I'd cross the street to get away from this market.

    Maryn, wearing her sturdy walking shoes

    p.s. Love the avatar!
    Not only the same author, but by the person who runs it. Could be naivety here...but still.
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  4. #4
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Boxfire Press Website:
    Do you pay an advance?
    We only discuss financial terms when we reach the contract stage with an author.
    That's not a good sign. An advance is a yes or no question. I don't need to know the amount they're prepared to pay because that is something to be negotiated, but Boxfire could do themselves a lot of good by saying up front whether they're paying one or not rather than this mealy mouthed non-response.

    Boxfire Press Website:
    Where will the stories be distributed?
    It depends on the story, but over the last year we've developed relationships and have contracts in place with some of the top eBook distributors out there right now, including Apple, Amazon.com, Sony, etc. We'll give your work the widest distribution we can.
    Distribution's great, but I also need to know what they're doing to promote the works so that people know to find the books/stories there in the first place. There's no point putting something on Amazon and just expecting people to know that it's there.

    Boxfire Press Website: (BOLDING MINE)
    Shouldn't I just publish my stories myself?
    You certainly can. Many eBook distributors have developed self-serve platforms for authors. However, we always think it helps in the mind of the reader if the book or the story has been vouched for by a third-party. Even though, for example, I own the company -- my own stories have been independently shaped and edited before they ever went out the door.
    That's a little disingenuous. Currently Boxfire Press has two books for sale on its website and both of them are by Justin McLachlan, who owns the company. In effect, he's saying that the benefit of Boxfire over self-publishing for other authors is that it gives readers the benefit of third party vouching, and yet there is no such obvious vouching for his own work.

    He can't have it both ways. Even if he had the book independently edited and put together, he's still effectively self-publishing it and that independent editing is not obviously being used to sell it.

    In any event, using a third party publisher should be giving you something more than independent 'verification' that your work is any good. A publishing company should know how to sell, market and distribute your book to maximise the money made for both the company and the author. If you end up signing with a company where you're doing all the sales activity but they're taking 80% on each copy sold, then you're better off self-publishing IMO.

    Boxfire Press Website:
    How much will my stories sell for? Will you make them free?
    Financial terms, including the retail price, are left to the contract stage. We'll develop a pricing strategy that we think best fits your story and your goals. Free eBooks will get your name out there and maybe even generate a lot of attention and reviews, but they won't make you--or us--any money, obviously.
    This concerns me. I don't expect the cover price of the book to be a subject for contract negotiation. The company should know how much it charges for short works and novels and have done its calculations based on the same.

    Boxfire Press Website:
    I know what it's like to fight against the publishing machine, a machine that leaves a lot of good authors outside the door while pushing the works of tried and true, but sometimes, mediocre ones. I really want Boxfire Press to be a place known for discovering and developing new authors.
    Oh great. A veiled accusation that commercial publishers aren't interested in good authors. This also makes it sound as though Boxfire was set up because the author couldn't find anyone else willing to take his work. That in itself is not a good sign.

    Boxfire Press Website:
    Do you take print rights? Can I resell my story?
    The exact rights we ask for with your story will be decided at the contract stage. In general, we ask for worldwide eBook rights, the option to exercise some prints rights for a certain amount of time and the option to sell some subsidiary rights. The specifics can be complicated, so, again, we'll worry about it all at the contract stage.
    Again, this is the kind of thing that they should be able to say straight-up without hiding behind contract negotiation.

    There's nothing on the site to indicate that they can do a good job selling printed books, so I don't see why they should have printed rights. If they do want print rights then that should be limited to the USA/Canada at most given that this is where Boxfire is based.

    There is absolutely nothing on the site to indicate that they can sell subsidiary rights (which I assume means at most audio rights) so I don't see why they should have them. I would definitely want to bottom out what subsidiary rights they are taking because it sounds to me that they don't know.

    Boxfire Press Website:
    You're a writer, so is my story safe with you? I don't want it stolen.
    I do read all the stories, but I'm not in the business of taking other's work. That being said, there's a very, very small chance that you might send something that's similar to something I'm already working on or something we're already developing with another writer. That's just the chance you take when you send an unsolicited manuscript on spec. If you're really worried, feel free to send us a query letter first and if it sounds too similar, we'll let you know.
    Erm ... no. If you're holding yourself out as a publisher, I want you working as a publisher full time, not working on your own stuff which might "coincidentally" end up looking something I sent you.

    Boxfire Press Website:
    We launched in 2009 with a couple short stories available on the Amazon Kindle.
    So it started as a self-publishing short story publisher, with those short stories presumably being by the author.

    Boxfire Press Website:
    In 2010, we expanded to the iPad and one of our best pieces hit the top #10 in the iBookstore.
    That's pretty meaningless given that it doesn't say how long it stayed in the top 10. It's possible to spike a book's sales figures to make it appear in the top 10 of many sites if everyone places their orders at the same time - unfortunately that doesn't make it a bestseller.

    In short - see if this publisher is still in business in a year's time and if so, what the experience is of the authors who've signed with it.

    Personally though, there is nothing here that would make me want to sign with it because there's just nothing to suggest either previous commercial publishing experience or the ability to make a lot of sales - notwithstanding the owner's obvious enthusiasm.

    MM

  5. #5
    i'm a girl. (i have tendonitis) defyalllogic's Avatar
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    compared to may other epubs you should we wary of, they have a great website...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by defyalllogic View Post
    compared to may other epubs you should we wary of, they have a great website...
    That's sort of like saying 'nicely stapled' for an elementary-school book report, isn't it?
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  7. #7
    Moderator AW Moderator Maryn's Avatar
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    Atta[bat]girl!

    A great website doesn't correlate to a great publisher. They might have great office decor, too, or really terrific letterhead, neither of which helps the author.

    Maryn, sloppy stapler
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  8. #8
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    My personal response from Boxfire

    Quote Originally Posted by defyalllogic View Post
    compared to may other epubs you should we wary of, they have a great website...
    Yes, nice website but poor manners. I sent off an email, asking (a little tactlessly, I guess) why the only three books they have published all belong to one guy. I also asked if they have ever established relationships with other writers or are they just another vanity press pushing their own one-trick pony. Here's the "testy" response I received from the "editor" at Boxfire:

    This email address is not Justin McLachlan's, it belongs to Boxfire Press. Our suggestion for you is this: when approaching a potential publisher, submit your work and then ask questions if and when the publisher shows some interest. Even the best-worded, well-intended email can risk alienating and editor who has more than enough submissions to wade through as it is.


    Hmm, guess I alienated this guy, huh? His response makes me wonder why people can't get a straight answer out of them. I suspect it's because it's just one or two guys trying to make themselves look bigger than they are, and their reputation for vague and petty responses to questions is getting around. But hey, what do I know about approaching a busy editor?

  9. #9
    That's not an unreasonable question at all given the content of the site. And certainly not a professional answer.

    The website looks nice, but I'm not fond of the way the images make the short stories look like they're full novels. I think the imagery could be confusing to potential buyers.

    We specialize in fiction
    I'm assuming they mean speculative fiction, because nearly all the genres listed are in that category. But still, it sounds like a vet saying, "I specialize in domestic animals."

    Also, maybe someone more skilled than I can explain this bit from the "Terms" page:
    By submitting or otherwise communicating your creative ideas, stories and works, you acknowledge that the company, its officers, directors, employees, agents and/or affiliates may already have similar works in development and you agree to release the company, its officers, directors, employees, agents and/or affiliates from any and all claims regarding the work you submit or arising from any submission or communication with the company and its agents, including but not limited to claims of copyright infringement.
    Does that basically mean that if I submit my story and the owner *does* steal it word-for-word, that I can't claim copyright infringement?
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  10. #10
    Stand in the Place Where You Live KTC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saysun View Post
    Yes, nice website but poor manners. I sent off an email, asking (a little tactlessly, I guess) why the only three books they have published all belong to one guy. I also asked if they have ever established relationships with other writers or are they just another vanity press pushing their own one-trick pony. Here's the "testy" response I received from the "editor" at Boxfire:

    This email address is not Justin McLachlan's, it belongs to Boxfire Press. Our suggestion for you is this: when approaching a potential publisher, submit your work and then ask questions if and when the publisher shows some interest. Even the best-worded, well-intended email can risk alienating and editor who has more than enough submissions to wade through as it is.


    Hmm, guess I alienated this guy, huh? His response makes me wonder why people can't get a straight answer out of them. I suspect it's because it's just one or two guys trying to make themselves look bigger than they are, and their reputation for vague and petty responses to questions is getting around. But hey, what do I know about approaching a busy editor?
    All I can say to the highlighted part above is YEAH, RIGHT. Good try. It's a one-trick pony operation. That pony is trying to come across as a stable of ponies, but it's not going to work.
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  11. #11
    the world is at my command jennontheisland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saysun View Post
    This email address is not Justin McLachlan's, it belongs to Boxfire Press. Our suggestion for you is this: when approaching a potential publisher, submit your work and then ask questions if and when the publisher shows some interest.
    Um, no.

    My time is valuable and my work is too. I'm not going to waste it submitting to somewhere that I have questions about. And if they are unwilling to answer the questions I need answered before I decide to submit, then I'm unwilling to let them make money off my work.
    You are more than welcome to take anything I say personally, whether it was intended that way or not.

    Eat This.

  12. #12
    Girl Detective Stacia Kane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saysun View Post
    Our suggestion for you is this: when approaching a potential publisher, submit your work and then ask questions if and when the publisher shows some interest.

    As Jenn just pointed out, no professional publisher would ever say this. Not only for the reason she mentioned, but because why would they encourage someone to waste their time by having them read a submission without knowing if they're interested in the house or not? How many times have you heard agents/editors discuss people who waste their time? Why in the world would you submit to a house you know nothing about?

    And what kind of publisher refuses to answer legitimate questions like that?
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  13. #13
    Inarticulate Herb MumblingSage's Avatar
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    This email address is not Justin McLachlan's, it belongs to Boxfire Press. Our suggestion for you is this: when approaching a potential publisher, submit your work and then ask questions if and when the publisher shows some interest. Even the best-worded, well-intended email can risk alienating and editor who has more than enough submissions to wade through as it is.
    So, right around the time when I'd start hearing what my book will sell for and how much of the cut I'm getting? MMmmm-hmm. There's a reason I don't call the phone numbers on the pamphlets saying "Want to make $600 a day? Call Joe now" with no information about what I'd acutally be doing to earn that money. Though come to think of it, at least those pamphlets on my windshield acutally tell me what I'm making, rather than making me wait for the contract stage.

  14. #14
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    This made me LOL:

    Boxfire Press Website:
    Here's a sample of what some people have said about our stories:
    "...Witty, clever and flippin' hilarious!!!" -- MusicMegaFan
    "This is one of my favorite short stories of all time!!!" -- oneXXerror
    "A very talented write and gripping story..." --AaronDavies
    "...can't wait for more by this author" -- aj101202
    "Short fiction at it's best." --joefergs
    "A M A Z I N G" --jessy.bookworm
    Seriously - a bunch of internet handles with no way of verifying where or who made the review is not an endorsement of your stories. If these are review blogs, at least include a link to the relevant sites. This is just ... well, pathetic really.

    Email from Boxfire Press:
    This email address is not Justin McLachlan's, it belongs to Boxfire Press.
    Uh-huh. I'd find it easier to believe that if it wasn't for the fact that this is on the website's terms of use:

    Boxfire Press Website:
    This is an agreement between you, the Web site user, and Justin McLachlan LLC ("the company"), the owner of Boxfire Press and boxfirepress.com ("Web site").
    If Boxfire Press belongs to Justin McLachlan LLC and Justin McLachlan LLC belongs to ... oh, I dunno, let's take a wild stab in the door and say Justin McLachlan, then the email address does indeed belong to Justin McLachlan.

    Honestly, at least own up that. Pretending otherwise just makes me worry about whether you have a split personality.

    MM

  15. #15
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    No Gravitas Here...

    Quote Originally Posted by Momento Mori View Post
    This made me LOL:



    Seriously - a bunch of internet handles with no way of verifying where or who made the review is not an endorsement of your stories. If these are review blogs, at least include a link to the relevant sites. This is just ... well, pathetic really.



    Uh-huh. I'd find it easier to believe that if it wasn't for the fact that this is on the website's terms of use:



    If Boxfire Press belongs to Justin McLachlan LLC and Justin McLachlan LLC belongs to ... oh, I dunno, let's take a wild stab in the door and say Justin McLachlan, then the email address does indeed belong to Justin McLachlan.

    Honestly, at least own up that. Pretending otherwise just makes me worry about whether you have a split personality.

    MM
    I know...very pathetic attempt at pretending Justin is off somewhere else with his own separate email address, maybe chatting it up with more important people than little ole me. Given the snarly tone of the email response I received, I'd bet anything that it was Justin himself letting off steam. I'm just grateful that I'm one of those people who likes to know something about the publishers I'm sending my work off to, rather than trusting that they're going to look out for me. Boxfire is a complete joke!

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    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    *snerk* Visiting from here gives you a drop-over reading "We see you're coming from AbsoluteWrite. If you've got questions, please contact us."

    At least they're publishing more than the owner's work now.
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  17. #17
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Site's gone. Last pub 10/13. FB & Tw ceased 6/14. Current project: EOS 10, a Sci-Fi radio play.
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    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

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