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Thread: Pneuma Springs Publishing

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW HJW's Avatar
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    Pneuma Springs Publishing

    Hi there

    This publisher has popped up on the YWO website, a couple of very new members have posted extolling its virtues. Some of us are unsure. Does anyone know anything about them?

    http://www.pneumasprings.co.uk/index.htm

    I also found this article which, given that I suspect PS are a vanity press, makes me feel a little bit sad.

    http://www.foreignersinuk.co.uk/our_..._big_2075.html

  2. #2
    Writer is as Writer does Terie's Avatar
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    The first sentence on the home page is a dead giveaway: it's author oriented, not reader oriented.

    Then there's the 'Publishing' page, which reveals that PS is YACP (yet another co-op publisher).
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  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW HJW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terie View Post
    The first sentence on the home page is a dead giveaway: it's author oriented, not reader oriented.

    Then there's the 'Publishing' page, which reveals that PS is YACP (yet another co-op publisher).
    Is YACP considered the same as a vanity publisher?

  4. #4
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HJW View Post
    Is YACP considered the same as a vanity publisher?
    Co-op and subsidy/vanity publishing are likely to get the same results for you as self-publishing, but with less financial return and control.

    In other words, you are extremely unlikely to sell more than a few dozen books at best and it's not going to be a useful publication credit.

    If you can't find a commercial publisher to take your work on, self-publishing is usually the best bet.


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  5. #5
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    I feel a flog coming on ...

    Pneuma Springs Website:
    At Pneuma Springs we really love books and we are passionate about the authors who write them.
    It would help if you were more passionate about selling those books to the book buying public.

    Pneuma Springs Website:
    When someone buys a book in reality they buy a portion of the life of the author produced in the form of words of a book.
    Yes, that's precisely what all of those thousands of people who queued at midnight to buy Harry Potter, Breaking Dawn and Mockingjay were waiting for - the chance to buy a little portion of the lives of J K Rowling, Stephenie Meyer and Suzanne Collins ...

    Pneuma Springs Website:
    We offer a quality and personal service that is second to none.
    Red alert!

    Publishing is not a service. It's a consumer-focused business. Authors should never be the customers in this relationship, they should be paid suppliers.

    Pneuma Springs Website:
    We make the whole publishing process hassle free and plain sailing for you.
    Publishing should be hassle free anyway - they pay you for the book, they provide an editor to work with you on polishing the book, they sell the book. If you sell enough copies of the book, you also bonus extra money.

    Simple.

    Pneuma Springs Website:
    because ours is a customised publishing service you retain control over your book and maximize the profit made on sales.
    Oh dear. Author control over a book is rarely a good thing (ever read a book by a commercially published author who decided s/he didn't really need their editor any more - cough-LaurelKHamilton-cough?).

    And how can you maximise profit on sales if you're having to pay something up front to begin with?

    Pneuma Springs Website:
    Our standard publishing offer is Package A for high quality manuscripts with evidence of good marketing or promotional plan. The package is absolutely at no cost to author. We publish, manage sales and distribution and pay royalty to author.
    So you have to come up with the marketing/promotional plan and in return you get royalties? What's the rate on those royalties? If you've got a marketing/promotion plan that works, why not just self-publish through someone like Lulu and then you can keep everything for yourself?

    Pneuma Springs Website:
    An alternative to our standard package for manuscripts of high quality but which does not qualify for Package A criteria is Package B at an agreed token fee approximately 15% of initial cost of publishing. This package is a comprehensive, affordable and excellent alternative to high cost of vanity or self publishing. Pneuma Springs Publishing funds the publication and online marketing of new books and in turn anticipates marketing input by her published authors.
    What is that "initial cost of publishing"? How is it calculated? Where does the 15% figure come from?

    If you're paying to publish, then you are vanity publishing. It doesn't matter how "high quality" your manuscript - the company does not believe that it's worth taking a financial risk on it.

    Pneuma Springs Website:
    Package C is on offer to authors of high quality manuscript. This package is designed primarily for authors who would like to retain full control beyond publication of work. This package is ideal for Trades or businesses that provide periodicals. With this package you retain your rights, and receive an agreed number of copies in a format, binding and design you specify. If you have written a book that is targeted at a specialised field, and you know where and how to sell, this package could be the answer.
    This is straight out pay-to-play publishing. Why would you go with Pneuma Springs when there are hundreds of other companies that could do the same thing - hell, you could go to a local printer and keep your rights (except first publication rights of course - you lose those when you publish).

    Pneuma Springs Website:






    Submission requirement: (Items 1 - 5 below are required for speedy consideration)

    1] What is the genre of your work? (e.g. Academic/Educational, Fiction/Novels, Inspirational & Self development, Short story collection, Theological, Travel, Other non-fiction etc.)
    2] Submit an outline or table of contents of entire write-up.


    3] Submit 2-3 sample chapters (including chapter 1).
    4] If available, provide a brief summary of marketing or promotional plan.
    5] Submit your contact information (Name, postal address and telephone number).

    Why aren't they supplying the marketing and promotion plan? And who in their right mind makes a decision on 3 chapters alone?

    Pneuma Springs Website:
    In 2010, Pneuma Springs Publishing launched its own book promotion entity, PublishedBestsellers.com to assist authors with improving their writing, get published and become bestsellers. All our published authors automatically benefit from these initiatives.
    Oh really? It looks like it's little more than a blog that does reviews of Pneuma Springs books. That's ... well it's not great promotion really. In fact, it's pretty piss poor.

    Pneuma Springs Website:
    Being a family run business, having common values gives us an extra sense of purpose and pride - and gives our business a competitive edge. We are continuously working on ways to promote the work of our authors.
    Unless those family members worked for commercial publishers, I doubt they've got any competitive edge over other vanity publishing companies. I'm also dubious that they're working on ways to promote their authors given that their submission requirements require authors to have their own marketing plan.

    Pneuma Springs Website:
    Pneuma Springs is a limited liability company registered in England and Wales, Registration No. 04690406
    Yes it is. Pneuma Springs Limited was registered on 7th March 2003 and its registered address is:

    7 GROVEHERST ROAD
    DARTFORD
    DA1 5JD

    On a Google search, this seems to be a residential street in Dartford. Pretty nice. Semis seem to go for around the £300k to £350k if anyone's interested.

    Of course, the fact that the company's registered office appears to be a domestic address is not a great sign - when they say they're small, they really appear to mean it and this is borne out by the fact that for Companies House purposes, they're relying on the small companies audited accounts exemption, which means it meets at least 2 of the following conditions:


    at least two of the following conditions must be met:
    • annual turnover must be £5.6 million or less;
    • the balance sheet total must be £2.8 million or less;
    • the average number of employees must be 50 or fewer.
    The company itself seems to be a husband and wife operation. Only 2 directors are listed - Dr Ebenezer Akinpelu and Mrs Oluyomi Akinpelu. Running the names through Google doesn't produce any previous publishing experience.

    The story here: http://www.foreignersinuk.co.uk/our_..._big_2075.html about Kevin Konomanyi left me feeling ill. Notice how short on actual detail the article is?

    The salient ones to note (because it suggests a lot about Pneuma Springs and their business practices) are as follows:

    ForeignersInUK Article:
    Teenager Konomanyi received an ''undisclosed sum'' for the worldwide rights to 'Born2Rule: Memoirs of Frederick III'.
    The best deal that Pneuma Springs offers authors on its website is a royalty paying one. It does not mention paying advances. If it did pay an advance for this, I'd expect to see it in the 2010 accounts (which are due on 31st December). It also says that they're taking worldwide rights - why? They're a UK company, there's nothing to indicate they're able to publish in other territories.

    ForeignersInUK Article:
    There is even talk of a film version.
    Really? Who's talking about it?

    ForeignersInUK Article:
    his parents sent the story to a leading literary agent in London, who said in an email: ''My advice is that you give this story the time and space it deserves and develop it in a full-length novel, which I'm looking forward to reading...''
    Why doesn't the article identify this agent? I can well believe that an agent would give personalised advice like this to a young author (my agent does it), but I'd be more comfortable knowing who the agent is.

    ForeignersInUK Article:
    Once the manuscript was completed, Kevin sent it to the same literary agent - who signed him on the spot.
    Okay. Still no mention of who this agent is though.

    ForeignersInUK Article:
    Within weeks, the publisher Pneuma Springs Publishing offered him a contract.
    Okay, so this is supposed to be a top UK agent. Why are they submitting it to a small self-publishing/vanity press that says it's royalty only?

    ForeignersInUK Article:#
    The story has also been passed to movie producers, who are ''seriously considering'' adapting it for the big screen.
    Again, which producers?

    Interestingly, a similarly worded version of this story also appears here:

    - http://www.ashbooks.co.uk/born-2-rule-kevin-konomanyi/ (which appears to be a book review site).

    I checked out Kevin Konomanyi's website and there's no mention of his agent there (which you would expect tosee), but he does link to a PR Company - Palamedes PR who designed his website and which appears to charge for a range of services (link here for more details: http://www.palamedespr.com/Services/). I'd be interested to know whether the author engaged them or whether it was the publisher.

    Incidentally, there's a sample of the first chapter on the author's website. Given his age, it's not bad. However it is also obvious that it has not been professionally edited. It's also only 156 pages but the cover price is £8.99. That's a lot of money to pay for so short a book.

    There's a certain amount of blog coverage/mention of the book and the deal - but none of those blogs are on my radar or must reads in the book review blogsphere and an obvious question is whether any of those blogs belong to friends/acquaintances of the author or other Pneuma Press authors.

    All in all, I admire the lad's enthusiasm and ambition and hope that he keeps going with his writing. However I fear that this book is not going to be the success he obviously expects it to be.

    HJW:
    This publisher has popped up on the YWO website, a couple of very new members have posted extolling its virtues.
    Ah yes. The marketing power of sockpuppets ...

    MM
    Last edited by Momento Mori; 09-08-2010 at 01:54 AM.

  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW HJW's Avatar
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    And that, MM, earns you a rep point from me.

    Have a look at this book on Amazon, which has been reviewed by one "Editor Viv." Viv has ratcheted up a number of reviews, which would make you think she's a reliable reviewer.

    But further digging shows lots (possibly all, I didnít check every single one!) of Viv's other reviews are for books published by Pnuema Springs.

  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW HJW's Avatar
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    [Double post]

  8. #8
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    By way of follow-up, I popped into a branch of Waterstones near my workplace today (Waterstones on London Wall) and asked if they had a copy of 'Born2Rule: Memoirs of Frederick III' on the basis that the reviews etc all make the point that it's "available from all major bookstores world wide". They did not have a copy in store but said they could order it. I asked them to check on the database to see if any branch of Waterstones in London had a copy in store. None did.

    That tells you all you need to know about Pneuma Springs and their ability (or lack thereof) to get books into stores.

    MM

  9. #9
    The King and Queen of Cheese BenPanced's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Momento Mori View Post
    By way of follow-up, I popped into a branch of Waterstones near my workplace today (Waterstones on London Wall) and asked if they had a copy of 'Born2Rule: Memoirs of Frederick III' on the basis that the reviews etc all make the point that it's "available from all major bookstores world wide". They did not have a copy in store but said they could order it. I asked them to check on the database to see if any branch of Waterstones in London had a copy in store. None did.

    That tells you all you need to know about Pneuma Springs and their ability (or lack thereof) to get books into stores.

    MM
    Ah, classic weasel wording. Not "in". Not "at".
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  10. #10
    'Twas but a dream of thee El Jefe MacAllister's Avatar
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    Here's an interesting story. So a week or two ago, I get this email:
    Dear MacAllister Stone,

    I represent Pneuma Springs Publishing and our attention has been drawn to a discussion thread, which stemmed from the inclusion of a number of false and unsubstantiated statements about the our publishing operation in a press release for a book titled - 'Born 2 Rule'.

    The link to the discussion thread on your site is as follows. http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=190924

    I note that the contributors have been led to believe that the said press release was issued by Pneuma Springs Publishing and have thereby made comments that are uncomplimentary and which portrayed Pneuma Springs Publishing in a bad light.
    The purpose of this communication is to advise you that the press release was not issued by Pneuma Springs Publishing and we have written to the Author concerned as well as the PR company involved to protest and convey our disapproval and disappointment about their action.

    We are a growing business and we pride ourselves in conducting our business with integrity. We view the discussion thread as an unnecessary bad publicity resulting in loss of brand and loss of business and we are aghast by the fact that it has been in the public domain for almost one year.

    We hereby request that you urgently investigate and rectify the situation, either by taking down the discussion thread or in any other way that will adequately redress the bad publicity. I would be happy to cooperate with you in every way possible. Please let me know how I can assist.

    Please respond within the next 7 days, acknowledging this email and/or to advise about your resolve.

    Thanking you for your cooperation in this matter.

    Regards

    Olu Akinpelu

    PS: On 13/05/11 a complaint was sent to the administartor [sic] of the Absolute Write Website.
    "Hmm!" says I. So I come look at the thread to which the email links -- (because I always do that part, first, just in case there's some sort of bizarre misunderstanding and it really is a convoluted thread full of misunderstandings and misrepresentations.) And what did I find? I find THIS very thread. Almost a year old, and a grand total of nine posts long, and linking to the sources cited..."Errrmmmm...that's a little odd," I'm thinking to myself now. So I write back:

    The AbsoluteWrite forums are a free message board for writers and publishing industry professionals to compare notes and share information.

    You and/or any other representative of your company are completely welcome to register an account and post the information or corrections you'd like to share with the people who've been discussing your company.

    best,
    MacAllister Stone
    Which is pretty standard, in these cases. So standard, in fact, that I have a little boilerplate template I use for everyone who writes me because they just hate that strangers on an internet message board can talk about their company and they don't get to control the conversation, and they don't understand how that can possibly be legal.

    So then I forget all about it, right? Because this sort of thing happens all the time, and generally someone from the company shows up and makes a complete ass of themselves -- or on rare occasion, actually DOES clear up whatever misconceptions there may be.

    So this morning -- and note that it's Saturday morning here on the USian west coast. I dunno what day it is in Pneuma Springs, but I'm pretty sure it's not regular business hours -- I get this response:

    Dear MacAllister Stone

    I appreciate your invitation to register on your website, however I do not wish to register an account.

    The messages posted about our company are offensive and defamatory. The messages are defamatory because they make claims, expressly stated or implied to be factual, and give our business a negative image. The discussion thread was based upon false information written about our business operation in a press release. The press release did not originate from us and was not authorised by us, but came from a PR company employed by an author of a book that we published.

    The posted messages are objectionable and by their nature are in breach of your forum rules. We hereby formally serve you notice to remove the messages from your forum within the next fourteen (14) days.

    Sincerely
    Olu Akinpelu
    Now, I hate being bullied worse than almost anything. I especially hate when people think they can pretend to some sort of legal grounds for that bullying. I've been sued over this forum (never successfully). Weirdly, it just makes it lots less scary when people try to use legal-sounding language to bully me into doing what I'm told.

    So I answered:
    Well, no. That's not going to happen.
    Which is my more polite version of "go piss up a rope" -- then I came here to record the conversation (which I've posted unedited and in its entirety, save stripping the email addresses and headers.)

    That is, of course, going to have the unavoidable side-effect of giving this previously inactive thread a little bump to the search-engine bots (darn it!) but it seemed like pertinent information, especially since the emails specifically reference that Pneuma Springs Publishing denies having sent a press release about Born To Rule, being discussed here, and asked me to remedy that misconception.

    So, for the record: A representative of Pneuma Springs Publishing, with a pneumasprings.co.uk email address, contacted me to deny that they issued a press release to the author of this article. I've included the referenced emails as substantiation of their request.


    It makes me sorta grumpy when someone pretends it's defamation for people to ask questions or discuss a company's practices.
    Last edited by MacAllister; 05-22-2011 at 12:59 AM.

  11. #11
    I like how they pretend to be threatening legal action...without actually threatening legal action.

  12. #12
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    All I'm going to say is that the stories written from the press release that Pneuma Springs object to and which I refer to in my post above are still up on Foreigners in the UK website (http://www.foreignersinuk.co.uk/our_..._big_2075.html) and the Ash Books website (http://www.foreignersinuk.co.uk/our_heroes-born2rule_kevin_konomanyi_makes_it_big_2075.html).

    If Pneuma Springs could point out those statements that I make about their company on the basis of the press release that they objected to, then I'd be very happy to retract the same. I believe that almost all of those comments are about claims made in the press release itself relating to agenting and film rights for the book and not about the company and those comments I do make about the company were derived from information then available on its website but I will happily amend or retract as I have no wish to defame the company.

    I will happily clarify that the reference to publishing packages that I referred to in my previous comment are no longer advertised on the Pneuma Springs website. I am also happy to clarify that Kevin Konomanyi no longer appears on the Pneuma Springs website as a listed author.

    Finally, I note that:

    1. Pneuma Springs launched its own book promotion website www.publishedbestsellers.com, the services of which company are automatically available to Pneuma Springs authors (although for the record, I am not clear from the website whether such services are available for free to Pneuma Springs authors or for a charge); and

    2. in the Pneuma Springs accounts registered at Companies House on 31st March 2010, the 2009/2010 profit for the company appears to be £3,093. This represented an increase on the profit of £700 that the company appears to have turned in 2008/2009.

    I hope that this clears up any confusion and as I said, happy to make any clarifications that the company wishes to the extent I have inadvertently made any comments they regard as defamatory.

    MM
    Last edited by Momento Mori; 05-23-2011 at 01:59 PM.

  13. #13
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    This is ridiculous for this publisher to go aggro at AW because this forum simply reported what's already out there. They should take up this issue with their author and demand that the articles/releases be retracted or taken down. Pluffing about on a huge site such as AW is only calling adverse attention to themselves, but it's not taking care of the problem.
    Last edited by priceless1; 05-23-2011 at 07:19 PM.

  14. #14
    The cake is a lie. But still cake. shaldna's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing what goes on at your end Mac. I can't imagine how stressful these boards make your life sometimes.

    I know that I, for one, don't always realise how much goes on behind the scenes.

    That said, I don't like bullies and this sort of behaviour from the company doesn't do them any favours.

    Their beef isn't really with this thread, it's with whoever sent the press release really.
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