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Thread: Four Genres Press / Ink Brush Press

  1. #1
    I got it covered Undercover's Avatar
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    Four Genres Press / Ink Brush Press

    I got offered a contract with Ink Brush Press, the sister co. of 4 Genres Press for my poetry collection. I looked over the contract and it doesn't look like I hafta pay anything...but I am unsure. I emailed the editor asking...but haven't received a response yet. In the meantime, I was wondering if anyone knew about either of these publishers.

    http://inkbrushpress.com/default.aspx

    http://4genrespress.com/default.aspx
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    Is swimming with creativity frogs AlishaS's Avatar
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    I don't know much a publishing (just what I've learned here) but this: A statment of how the writer plans to promote book, has me worried. The paragraph below says they want more then just the obvious readings, signings and web presence.
    Most publishers help you promote, not expect you to do it for them.
    Also says they are a Print on Demand type publisher which answers a lot right there. There is nothing on their site that talks about cost but with any POD you can only expect so much.
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  3. #3
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Here's the contract: http://4genrespress.com/Documents/4GP%20Contract.pdf

    Royalties are 25% of net on all copies sold over 500 .... so you get nothing until you sell that many?!
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  4. #4
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    I've not heard of them, but the contract they post on their website doesn't win any points with me.

    First, though they clearly state they will be doing POD via LSI, they take pretty much all rights in the English language -- hardback, e rights, games, movies, etc. Why not just take TP rights?

    Second, they say this:

    4GP will pay W royalties based on net receipts for NT as defined below.
    25% of net receipts for all copies sold over 500 except for copies purchased by W.
    Net Receipts shall mean 100% of all gross sums received by or credited to 4GP from sales of NT,
    less the direct costs. Direct costs shall mean the costs actually incurred by 4GP; these costs are
    (a) the setup fees charged by the printer, Lightning Source
    (b) the fees charged by Lightning Source for printing and binding NT
    (c) the annual fee for keeping NT in the Lightning Source computers
    (d) cost of ISBN for NT
    (e) cost to 4GP if there is an introduction written by a third party
    (f) any shipping fees for books ordered by 4GP to be shipped from Lightning Source to W
    (g) costs for preparing and mailing publicity and promotional materials; publicity
    and promotional expenses be agreed upon by 4GP and W before
    incurring such expenses.
    4GP shall be entitled to retain a reasonable reserve for returnable copies of NT.


    This says:
    a) you don't get any royalties on the first 500 copies sold -- which means it is very likely you won't get any royalties, ever, since most POD books only sell a few hundred copies
    and
    b) assuming you do cross that 500 copy threshhold, you get royalties of 25% paid on what the publisher's profit *after* all their costs, from printing to ISBN to service fees.

    Do the maths. Figure you do spectacularly well and sell 700 copies -- so you get royalties on 200 copies. Say the cover price is $15. Say the average bookstore discount is 40%, so the publisher is getting $9 per copy, or $1800 for those 200 copies sold.

    Subtract ISBN -- was it Lazy Day who was saying a single ISBN costs $125? Subtract LSI setup fees -- about $150 I think. Annual fees are I think $60 per title. Subtract printing fees -- say around $5 per copy, so $1000 (they haven't specified just the printing costs for the books you get royalties on -- they say printing costs for the book, period -- but I'm interpreting this charitably). Subtract advertising, say $100.

    1800 - (125 + 150 + 60 + 1000 +100) = $365

    So if you sell 700 copies, you'll get 25% of $365 = $91.25, which works out to 13 cents per copy for those 700 copies.

    Wow.

  5. #5
    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    Another POD outfit gouging the writer and requiring more than a herculean effort of signings, web marketing and promo. Jus fraken wow, is right. No wonder POD has hit the bottom of the barrel.

    Tri
    Last edited by triceretops; 09-30-2010 at 09:12 AM.

  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW
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    Thumbs down

    Quote Originally Posted by CaoPaux View Post
    Here's the contract: http://4genrespress.com/Documents/4GP%20Contract.pdf

    Royalties are 25% of net on all copies sold over 500 .... so you get nothing until you sell that many?!

    Geez!

  7. #7
    I got it covered Undercover's Avatar
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    Thanks guys! But really it's just for my poetry collection, far cry from a novel.

    Speaking about novels, I am using some of my poetry in my second novel, can I still do that if these poems get published in the collection? Some of them were published before in magazines so I figure yeah, but still I need to ask.
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  8. #8
    Writer is as Writer does Terie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lmc71775 View Post
    Thanks guys! But really it's just for my poetry collection, far cry from a novel.
    What difference does that make? If you wrote the stuff and it gets published, shouldn't you get paid for it?

    As Unimportant said, books put out by publishers like this seldom sell more than one hundred copies. Poetry sells even less than novels. If you won't get paid 'for the first 500', you're not likely to get paid at all with this contract.

    If all you want is some volumes of your poetry to give or sell to your friends, you'd be a hell of a lot better off self-publishing it so that you are the one making back the money.
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  9. #9
    I got it covered Undercover's Avatar
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    If all you want is some volumes of your poetry to give or sell to your friends, you'd be a hell of a lot better off self-publishing it so that you are the one making back the money.

    Yeah, but that will cost me if I go the self-pub way. This won't. It would at least get my name out there more. I have a novel coming out too...maybe that will boost it somehow? IDK. still thinking about it. Thanks for your input
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  10. #10
    Writer is as Writer does Terie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lmc71775 View Post
    Yeah, but that will cost me if I go the self-pub way. This won't. It would at least get my name out there more. I have a novel coming out too...maybe that will boost it somehow? IDK. still thinking about it. Thanks for your input
    No, it won't, not if you use one of the reputable self-publish POD companies, such as Lulu, CreateSpace, and so on.

    I'm not into self-publishing myself, so I don't know all the ins and outs, but there are ways to get your book out there without costing you anything and without letting someone else make all the profit off of your work. You should check out the Self-Publishing and POD section of AW before signing the rights to your work away.
    Changing Gears (available now) -- Winning the race doesn’t equal winning at life.

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  11. #11
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Ink Brush Press Website:
    Carroll Wilson and Jerry Craven, publishing writers and long-time friends, decided early in 2009 to establish a press to publish manuscripts we like by writers we respect.
    It's only been operating since 2009 (at the earliest) - it's usually better to wait at least 2 years to see how the company's running before signing up with a start-up.

    Jerry Craven's publishing experience is limited to having had books published with:

    - Slough Press (never heard of them but appear to be run through the English Department at Texas A&M University)

    - TCU Press (never heard of them but appear to be another academic press)

    - Texas A&M University Press (again, an academic press)

    - VAC Poetry (never heard of them but appears to be a collective that doesn't pay advances but doesn't charge either)

    - JelmMountain Press (never heard of them and Google doesn't turn up anything about their submissions criteria) and

    - John M Hardy Press (never heard of them seems to be a niche small publisher though).

    There's nothing to indicate that he's ever worked for a commercial publishing company on his website.

    Carroll Wilson's experience seems to be on the news side of things, which is not the same as getting experience in a commercial publishing company.

    Ink Brush Press Website:
    We knew many talented writers who struggle with the difficulties of publishing in presses driven by commercial interests.
    That's because commercial interests dictate that you publish books you think you can make money from. This suggest to me that Ink Brush isn't publishing to make money.

    Ink Brush Press Website:
    The staff is composed of people who love books. We value education, and many of us have accumulated numerous university degrees. We work as educators, journalists, editors, designers, and writers. All of us have expertise in various computer programs, and we spend much of our lives reading.
    This is all great, but doesn't double for actual publishing experience - i.e. running a commercial publishing venture.

    Ink Brush Press Website:
    All of us at Ink Brush Press have day jobs. We give time to the press because we believe in its mission: getting outstanding books into print and helping with distribution. Perhaps one day the press will make a profit, but profit is far from being the driving force behind our work.
    If they're not planning on making money for themselves, you have to ask whether they have any motivation to make money for their authors - i.e. by getting books properly out onto the market in order to make sales to readers not related to the author.

    At best, they're hobbyists - keen amateurs.

    Ink Brush Press Website:
    We are also optimists, for we believe enough in the reading public to think a substantial number of readers will one day embrace some of our outstanding books.
    If readers don't know about your books because you don't know how to market them, can't get them into stores etc, then how can they embrace them?

    Assuming that Ink Brush's contract is the same as Four Genres, I'd make the following comments:

    Four Genres Press Contract:
    W grants 4GP the exclusive rights to print, publish, distribute, sell and license the rights to any
    and all editions and/or formats of NT, in whole or in part, in the English language throughout the
    world.
    This is a rights grab. If they're only operating a POD operation, then they should only be taking print publishing rights and it should be limited to the United States. If they can't sell throughout the world, they shouldn't get those rights.

    Four Genres Press Contract:
    Said rights are granted to the 4GP for a period of five (5) years from date of this agreement.
    Fixed term contracts can be both a good and bad thing - some books are slow burners and need more time to sell as people become familiar with other work of that author and seek the back catalogue.

    If you're going to have a fixed term project, then the provisions on termination need to be very clear.

    Four Genres Press Contract:
    W will have approval over the promotion of NT. W will decide when and if W tours as well as
    where and how. W has the right to approve how 4GP describes NT in publicity materials.
    Publicity and promotion isn't limited to author appearances - the fact that this is specifically mentioned would raise questions for me as to how they envisage doing marketing and promotion.

    Four Genres Press Contract:
    4GP will pay W royalties based on net receipts for NT as defined below.
    25% of net receipts for all copies sold over 500 except for copies purchased by W.
    Net Receipts shall mean 100% of all gross sums received by or credited to 4GP from sales of NT,
    less the direct costs. Direct costs shall mean the costs actually incurred by 4GP; these costs are
    (a) the setup fees charged by the printer, Lightning Source
    (b) the fees charged by Lightning Source for printing and binding NT
    (c) the annual fee for keeping NT in the Lightning Source computers
    (d) cost of ISBN for NT
    (e) cost to 4GP if there is an introduction written by a third party
    (f) any shipping fees for books ordered by 4GP to be shipped from Lightning Source to W
    (g) costs for preparing and mailing publicity and promotional materials; publicity
    and promotional expenses be agreed upon by 4GP and W before
    incurring such expenses.
    4GP shall be entitled to retain a reasonable reserve for returnable copies of NT.
    Others have already identified why this sucks. I'd also point out that author copies are excluded from royalties - if the author ends up having to buy copies of their own book to sell on, then they'll need to buy them at a discount to make any money in an uplift.

    Additionally, given that it's a POD operation and they already make it clear that royalties aren't paid until 500 copies are sold, I don't see why they need a reserve against returns clause.

    Four Genres Press Contract:
    W has the right to purchase copies of NT at the same 55% discount from listed retail price as
    granted to bookstores; W will also pay the cost of shipping books ordered by W.


    Check out what the shipping fees are - e.g. Publish America make a lot of money from charging exhorbitant shipping costs which more than makes up for any discount. Shipping would also need to be factored in to the price that the author sells own-bought copies for.

    Four Genres Press Contract:
    This agreement may be assigned by 4GP as part of the sale or transfer of all or substantially all of
    4GP’s business or as part of a merger or consolidation of 4GP with another company. This
    agreement may also be assigned by 4GP to any subsidiary or affiliate or any company or entity under

    control by it.
    I'd want this amended so that they can't assign without the author's consent and where consent is not given, the author has the right to terminate. Some publishers (and I'm not suggesting this is one) use assignment clauses to keep manuscripts that aren't selling and shift them to new companies that they set up.

    Lmc71775:
    but that will cost me if I go the self-pub way. This won't. It would at least get my name out there more.
    No, it won't get your name out there. Your book won't be stocked in stores and (from the looks of it) the marketing/promotion that Ink Brush will do is pitiful. All you're doing is tying your poems up to a sucky 5 year contract, losing first publishing rights on all those poems and getting zip back unless/until you sell 500 copies (which is very unlikely).

    You are better off submitting your poems to magazines that accept poetry - some of them pay a nominal sum, others that don't have a good reputation. Duotrope has a list of publications that you can check out.

    Lmc71775:
    I have a novel coming out too...maybe that will boost it somehow?
    How will it boost it? Unless your novel is coming out with a company with bookstore distribution, chances are few people will know of it and thus no one will know about your poetry.

    MM

  12. #12
    I got it covered Undercover's Avatar
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    Thank you again everyone...MM, wow, thanks too for taking the time to show me a better understanding of it all.

    there are alot of questions I need to ask before I get involved with this place...if I even get involved at all.

    Lots of thinking on this one. I just don't want it to ruin my second novel because alot of my poetry is intermingled with it. That is my main concern.

    And MM, I have gone the publishing with magazine route and have gotten little money in return. I have about 70 poems in the collection and I would say a good 25 have already been published...which this co. knows of. I need to find out if I could still use them in my other writings.

    You guys are awesome here. It's a wonderful foundation of great info. I am pleased to get so many nice and caring people come out and help me with this.

    I would never plunge into anything I wasn't sure of. thanks again
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  13. #13
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Self-publishing is free and more respected for poetry than almost any other type of writing. Createspace is a good option if you are pursuing mainly US sales.

    If you don't want to self-publish there are still far better options in the small press than this. Not making money when the publisher does make money is exploitation.
    Emily Veinglory

  14. #14
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Lmc71775:
    MM, I have gone the publishing with magazine route and have gotten little money in return. I have about 70 poems in the collection and I would say a good 25 have already been published...which this co. knows of.
    Part of the problem is that there is little to no money in poetry, which is why most commercial publishers won't touch it. Even incredibly well known poets, such as Seamus Heaney and Carol Anne Duffy don't sell many copies of their poetry collections. It's great that you've had success in getting 25 poems into magazines - even if they haven't paid you for it, you'd still get more recognition for them within the poetry reading community than you would going with an outfit like Ink Brush Press.

    Obviously it's up to you what you do with your poems and a lot of it turns on what you're looking to get out of publication - i.e. are you looking to use it as a means of making some more money from them, or would you like them bound together so that you can give them to friends/family?

    Personally, I'd look into Lulu - as you keep more control of the process, but some of the poets here might have better suggestions (including any niche publishers that aren't clueless).

    MM

  15. #15
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lmc71775 View Post
    I am using some of my poetry in my second novel, can I still do that if these poems get published in the collection? Some of them were published before in magazines so I figure yeah, but still I need to ask.
    From the looks of the contract they've posted: my take on it is that no, you could not use the poems in the Ink Brush Press book in your novel, as they hold all rights in full and in part.

  16. #16
    I got it covered Undercover's Avatar
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    IBP will pay WTR royalties on a sliding scale, based on net receipts for WTR-BK
    as defined below.
    20% of net receipts for the first 5000 copies, except for books bought by
    WTR
    25% of net receipts for all copies sold over 5001

    this is the IBP contract which is different. Does this mean I will get 20% for the first 5000 copies sold then 25% after 5001, with the exception of my own copy purchasing?

    Meaning 20% net royality starting with the first copy sold?

    I am confused here. He said basically 4GP was the same, but if this is the case it is not.

    Unimportant, I asked about that too, he says I could quote myself and use my work for my future novels too. It won't effect the rights since I am the sole author.
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  17. #17
    practical experience, FTW para's Avatar
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    I really think that you would be much better off self publishing your poems using the basic (free) services from somewhere like createspace: https://www.createspace.com/ or lulu: http://www.lulu.com/. It won't cost you anything to look into self publishing with them before you sign a contract with an unknown publisher with a low royalty rate.


  18. #18
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lmc71775 View Post

    Unimportant, I asked about that too, he says I could quote myself and use my work for my future novels too. It won't effect the rights since I am the sole author.
    To be honest, it doesn't matter what he says. What matters is what the contract says. If the contract takes all rights, exclusively, including excerpt rights, second serial rights, etc, instead of limiting itself to taking nonexclusive print rights to your poems and publishing them in that collection, then.....

    If you want to be able to republish individual poems in future novels etc, then change the wording of the contract to reflect that.

  19. #19
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lmc71775 View Post
    IBP will pay WTR royalties on a sliding scale, based on net receipts for WTR-BK
    as defined below.
    20% of net receipts for the first 5000 copies, except for books bought by
    WTR
    25% of net receipts for all copies sold over 5001

    this is the IBP contract which is different. Does this mean I will get 20% for the first 5000 copies sold then 25% after 5001, with the exception of my own copy purchasing?

    Meaning 20% net royality starting with the first copy sold?

    I am confused here. He said basically 4GP was the same, but if this is the case it is not.
    As far as I know, no small press in the history of the world has managed to sell >5000 copies of any poetry collection. For that matter, I'm not sure if any large press has managed it. So, no matter how good of a poet you are, the odds of a small press selling more than 5000 copies -- or, for that matter, 500 copies -- of your collection is pretty much nil.

    If the contract reads as you've stated above, then yes, you'd get 20% on net (sliding up to 25% after you hit the 5K threshhold, which realistically won't ever happen). It's the "On Net" that has me worried. Most small presses will define "on net" as "cover price minus whatever bookseller's discount is applied to that copy." For example, Amazon may require the press to sell books to them at a 40% discount. So a book with a $15 cover price would be sold to Amazon for $9, and the author would get his 20% royalties on that $9. It is, IMO, wholly unacceptable for a publisher to include printing costs, editing costs, ISBN, marketing, shipping, or anything else in their "on net" calculations.

    Most presses, I think, do their calculations so that the author and the publisher make approximately an equal amount of profit. If you make 20% of that $9, which is $1.80, then the publisher is also probably making a profit of $1.80 on that copy, with their pro-rated costs for printing, editing, marketing, etc being around $5.40. So it all works out. If the publisher is giving you 20% of the profit after all costs, then they're keeping 80% -- how is that fair?

  20. #20
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    Artists' books are another way to approach poetry self-publishing: small editions, usually hand-bound with interesting imagery, sold through very limited representation at galleries and book fairs. If you're already crafty, it's a nice exploration of writing and art. If not, there are book art and printmaking programs at most universities, and lots of resources online.

    Look at the San Francisco Center for the Book, the Canadian Book Artists Guild, and sellers like the Donna Seager Gallery or Vamp & Tramp Booksellers.

    I've actually been paid around $350 to $1200 for single poems, when I re-work them as one-of-a-kind book art sculptures. My books tend to be made of embroidered and beaded cloth, carved wood, and leather, instead of paper.
    One book can take up to 30 or 40 hours to complete. I may never get paid for the true amount of work I put into the piece, and they may take a few years to sell, but it's better than the few cents per word that a traditional poetry publisher might give me. I've done nearly 100 artist's books since 1998, and have work in eight university special collections libraries.

    Most book arts people anguish about creating text blocks. If you're already a writer, that gives you an advantage. If your poetry has a specific genre, theme, or setting, you might want to think about cross-marketing in sympathetic venues.

    Fantasy writer Jacqueline Carey, known for the 'Kushiel' books, recently collaborated on a very limited edition artists' book based on her Terre d'Ange
    mythology. It sold out quickly. Another example is 'The Tales of Beedle the Bard' silver-embellished artists' book by J.K. Rowling, which was recently auctioned by Sotheby's for nearly 2 million pounds, for a children's charity.

    Most of us mortals aren't in that league, but we can add value to our works and find new collectors by considering artists' books.

    Filigree

  21. #21
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Updating link: http://www.inkbrushpress.com

    Four Genres no longer a separate site: http://www.inkbrushpress.com/four-genres-press.php
    ICAO
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