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Thread: Decadent Publishing

  1. #1
    Smutty McTitters Ann_Mayburn's Avatar
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    Decadent Publishing

    Website- http://www.decadentpublishing.com/
    Interview- http://romanceauthorhotspot.com/?p=330

    New ePub that seems to be Romance/Erotica oriented, but says they publish just about anything. I read an interview with Heather Bennett, the Managing Editor and Co-Owner of the Decadent Publishing and it peaked my interest. I went to my first spot for checking out any publisher, AW, and didn't find a post for them yet in the publishers index.

    Wondering if anyone has had any dealings with them yet? At the very least, they have a really pretty website.

  2. #2
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Usual comments apply as to any brand new start up:

    - they've apparently only been open since August 2010. I'd wait a couple of years to see if they're still going.

    - since August they've released 24 books. That's a hell of a lot of books in such a short period and I'd definitely want to know what kind of sales they've been getting for those books and how much on average each author has been getting back.

    - they take print and ebook rights. There's nothing on the site to suggest that they have in store distribution in place for print books, and there doesn't seem to be any obligation on them to print copies - the language in their FAQs talks about it being at their option. I'd want that clarified and I'd want the contract to either state that they don't have print rights, or if they won't budge on that, make clear that they have limited rights to trigger print and if they don't exercise the right then it reverts to the author.

    - no information at all on the publisher's credentials. I'd be happier knowing that some of them had worked in commercial publishing before.

    - short term contracts - the 3 year option appears to relate to ebook and print book rights. As always, some books take a while to pick up so you don't want the book to fall out of print just as it's beginning to take off. It's better to have an exhaustion clause setting out in what circumstances the contract falls away - e.g. if the publisher ceases to be making sales.

    - the site talks about collaborative marketing. I'd want to know what they mean by that and how much in practice the author needs to do. Although the site talks about attendance of conventions, it's not clear to me if that's in a personal or publisher's capacity - I'd be more reassured to know that they're taking a stall at conventions and inviting and (preferably) paying for authors to come and promote their books rather than just turning up as individuals.

    - no mention of advances so I guess they're royalty only. The royalty rates aren't horrendous (40% on cover for print books is good, 35% on net for ebooks seems to me to be a bit out of kilter with other publishers I've seen but the epublished authors here would be better placed to comment). Of course, royalty only paying publishers mean that sales are even more important for the author to see any cash for their work, so it's more important to find out what Decadent is actually doing to sell books and what sales figures have been like so far.

    - the fact that they seem happy to accept anything. I'd be happier if they were just focusing on something like romance rather than doing non-fiction as well because it's easier to gain credibility and market share within one genre rather than being all things to everyone - not least because it gives you a focus for marketing.

    They seem well intentioned and enthusiastic but I'd wait and see what the position is this time next year at the earliest.

    MM

  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW mlhernandez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Momento Mori View Post

    - no mention of advances so I guess they're royalty only. The royalty rates aren't horrendous (40% on cover for print books is good, 35% on net for ebooks seems to me to be a bit out of kilter with other publishers I've seen but the epublished authors here would be better placed to comment).


    MM
    That's actually 40% on ebooks sold directly through the site (not on print books) and 35% of ebooks sold through the third party distributors. That's fairly standard throughout the epublishing industry. (Or at least that's been my experience with EC, Samhain, Liquid Silver, etc over 15 or so contracts.)

    Like most new epublishers, this one falls in the wait and see camp. I see a few authors on their list I "know" through various writer groups but I haven't heard anything about sales numbers.

  4. #4
    Not-so-new PortableHal's Avatar
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    What everybody else said. However, I do like some of their covers....
    "Life isn't fair. It's just fairer than death, that's all." -- William Goldman, The Princess Bride

  5. #5
    Girl Detective Stacia Kane's Avatar
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    Without going into detail, I would have to recommend extra caution here, frankly (and unfortunately, as I had thought they seemed like a friendly and professional, if inexperienced, bunch).
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  6. #6
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    mlhernandez:
    That's actually 40% on ebooks sold directly through the site (not on print books) and 35% of ebooks sold through the third party distributors.
    I take the point, but I'm not sure this is clear from the FAQs, which state:

    Decadent Publishing FAQs:
    We pay royalties of 40% of the cover price and 35% of profits received on single-author ebooks sold through third-party vendors.
    That suggested to me that the 40% royalties applied to print and ebooks and the 35% only on ebooks sold through third parties.

    In the interests of disclosure though, I am dosed up on cold cure at the moment so my thinking isn't too clear right now.

    MM

  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW mlhernandez's Avatar
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    It's the cold medicine, lol. To me, it says what most epublishing websites say. 40% of cover price and 35% on third party. You just wouldn't see those kind of numbers for print books, especially with POD trades. 6-8% is more along the normal range, even less when they're anthologies.

    Take a peek at some other epublishing houses like EC, Samhain, Loose Id, LSB. The wording is similar.

    ETA: But, yes, I see how it's unclear.

  8. #8
    *insert catchy phrase here* BarbaraSheridan's Avatar
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    I tend to agree with Stacia more often than not on writerly things but I don't agree that Decadent requires any more caution than one would give any other new e-pub.

    Lisa and Heather have been very prompt, friendly and professional in my dealings with them.
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  9. #9
    ... Sakamonda's Avatar
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    I have a book out with them. Their staff is quite experienced in the overall publishing world (ebook and print) and I have received a high level of quality in terms of editorial support (superior even to large traditional print houses I've worked with). They do a good job of driving traffic to the site, including purchasing advertising in both print and online media. They are quite creative about marketing, and have several different marketing initiatives underway.

    Authors are not required/expected to do their own marketing, though we are encouraged to participate in their author blogs. They also are good about getting books submitted out for review at several review venues.

    I have yet to receive my first sales statement, so I can't speak to sales yet, but compared to other epubs I've worked with, these people are highly professional and very savvy.
    www.jamaicalayne.com, http://jamaicalayne.blogspot.com
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  10. #10
    'Twas but a dream of thee El Jefe MacAllister's Avatar
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    Err, which people, Sakamonda? I appreciate that eBooks are sort of the Wild, Wild Frontier right now -- but I also know ePublishers are popping up all over like mushrooms - and like mushrooms, they're *not* always a good trip for the uninformed or ill-prepared.

    So I'm wondering about specifics about the staff cred, rather than hand-waving assertions about how terrific and what nice people they are -- especially with regard to things like e-book design, graphics, layout, supported platforms, and technical expertise, in addition to editorial chops?

    Because my OWN research suggests that the print experience of the owner (Lisa Olmstead aka Samantha Gail), at least, is with vanity or non-standard press situations like iUniverse and PublishAmerica.

    That's NOT what I'd call significant or relevant publishing experience, under any circumstances. Were you thinking of something else?
    Last edited by MacAllister; 12-11-2010 at 09:48 AM.

  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW Nadia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Momento Mori View Post
    Decadent Publishing FAQs:
    We pay royalties of 40% of the cover price and 35% of profits received on single-author ebooks sold through third-party vendors.
    That suggested to me that the 40% royalties applied to print and ebooks and the 35% only on ebooks sold through third parties.
    That sounds more like 40% of cover price PLUS 35% of profit on all sales via 3rd party vendors.

    I hate poorly worded answers like that on publisher websites. They're too ambiguous and confusing.

    Besides what is PROFIT anyway? Do you have to deduct things like publisher's insurance, office rent, ISP fees, etc. before you get paid? If so, it sucks.

    P.S. I take Stacia's warning very seriously.
    Last edited by Nadia; 12-11-2010 at 05:10 PM.
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  12. #12
    Barricade AW Moderator regdog's Avatar
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    Here's another one who takes Stacia's warning seriously.
    My Blog-Updated on 10/9/14 An Open Letter To Hasbro

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  13. #13
    ... Sakamonda's Avatar
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    I'm not sure where you came up with the PublishAmerica references. The staff are extremely well-connected in the romance community. They employ freelance editors in addition to their staff editors, and those freelance editors have also worked for companies like Samhain.

    Having spent the better part of the past 17 years working in publishing myself, as a journalist, editor, author, corporate communications specialist, etc., I prefer to judge the colleagues and companies I work with by their skills and professional conduct, rather than a certain pedigree. I can state as someone who has made her living as a writer/editor for nearly 20 years that Decadent is a very professionally run house based on my experiences there. No complaints whatsoever.
    www.jamaicalayne.com, http://jamaicalayne.blogspot.com
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    [Jamaica Layne] has built a multifaceted writing career, in genres ranging from theater to erotic fiction"---Chicago Tribune

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    4 Stars!----Romantic Times Magazine

  14. #14
    ... Sakamonda's Avatar
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    So I'm wondering about specifics about the staff cred, rather than hand-waving assertions about how terrific and what nice people they are -- especially with regard to things like e-book design, graphics, layout, supported platforms, and technical expertise, in addition to editorial chops?
    I think most of these questions can be answered by looking at their site, but I'll also answer. Their ebooks are beautifully produced, by far the best-looking of any epublisher I've worked with. The covers are gorgeous. (The cover of my current release is the best cover I've had in my career, whether in print or in ebook). They employ one of the most sought-after cover designers in the ebook biz (Dara England). Their books are available in all major ebook formats. They are currently working with most of the major third-party distributors (except B&N's Nook, which they are working on, though you can get a Nook-compatible file direct from the Decadent site). I don't think they've ever had their site go down.
    www.jamaicalayne.com, http://jamaicalayne.blogspot.com
    www.ravenousromance.com

    MARKET FOR LOVE now available; Buy it here.

    [Jamaica Layne] has built a multifaceted writing career, in genres ranging from theater to erotic fiction"---Chicago Tribune

    "Layne sucks you in and doesn't let go until the last page."--Love Romance Passion.com

    "Once you read Jamaica Layne, she will be on your auto-buy list."----Dirty Girl Reviews, on MARKET FOR LOVE

    4 Stars!----Romantic Times Magazine

  15. #15
    'Twas but a dream of thee El Jefe MacAllister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sakamonda View Post
    I'm not sure where you came up with the PublishAmerica references. The staff are extremely well-connected in the romance community. They employ freelance editors in addition to their staff editors, and those freelance editors have also worked for companies like Samhain.
    Sure. I found it this way.


    Lisa Omstead = Samantha Gail

    Samantha Gail Website (it's an interminable Flash site, takes a long time to load, and there's no way to link to internal pages like her bio/experience, etc -- but there's no editing/publishing experience mentioned, prior to Decadent.
    Writing fantasy romance novels, bellydancing and exploring remote regions of Alaska are high on my list of life essentials, along with helping women around the world through the KIVA organization.
    Samantha Gail's books:

    Cherished Invader - Writer's Showcase Press

    Savior In Time - iUniverse
    Trespass of the Heart -- PublishAmerica

    She also has a bunch of books with eXtasy Books

    Here's a sort of cutesy interview with Heather Bennett, the co-owner and "Executive Editor" according to the Decadent site
    -- but frustratingly, there's nothing in the interview about her publishing or editorial experience. Although I now know a lot about what sort of potato chips she likes, and that she doesn't drink wine and beer together...

    The only other editor listed is Meredith T. Cole - who seems to have been? to be? a book reviewer at Got Romance!, and NOT this Meredith Cole. Although I can't seem to actually find any of the reviews a Google search brings up.

    So even a short amount of time spent researching reveals no real industry contacts, no prior professional publishing experience, and a history of self/vanity press books, for one of the founding members. While that's not the kiss of death, by any means -- and I'm sure they're all lovely, fun, and well-intentioned people -- there seems to me to be ample reason for caution.

    The Decadent website doesn't answer any of those concerns.
    Last edited by MacAllister; 12-11-2010 at 10:20 PM.

  16. #16
    ... Sakamonda's Avatar
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    Macalister, if you continue to have concerns, you could always contact the house directly. The owners and staff are very professional/forthcoming and I'm sure would be happy to answer any questions you'd have directly. (I would also caution you that making diss remarks based on supposition and innuendo can make you look bad.)

    I'll also add that Decadent hired a very experienced freelance editor to do my galley edit, and that editor provided hands-down, the best galley-edit I've had in my entire career---even better and more thorough than the edit I got at an imprint of Random House.

    (eXstasy Books is a well-regarded erotica epublisher, just FYI.)
    www.jamaicalayne.com, http://jamaicalayne.blogspot.com
    www.ravenousromance.com

    MARKET FOR LOVE now available; Buy it here.

    [Jamaica Layne] has built a multifaceted writing career, in genres ranging from theater to erotic fiction"---Chicago Tribune

    "Layne sucks you in and doesn't let go until the last page."--Love Romance Passion.com

    "Once you read Jamaica Layne, she will be on your auto-buy list."----Dirty Girl Reviews, on MARKET FOR LOVE

    4 Stars!----Romantic Times Magazine

  17. #17
    Bemused Girl nkkingston's Avatar
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    There's a free read, 'Animal', available, but take the hint about buying it with another book seriously. The site insists on going through payment despite the fact it's free, and neither paypal nor my credit card will let you put a payment of $0.00 through!

    (Well, now I'm just going to have to buy a book! What a way to run a business XP )

    Hungry? Check out my other half's blog Colonel Mustard in the Kitchen.

  18. #18
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sakamonda View Post
    Macalister MacAllister
    Fixed that for ya


    Quote Originally Posted by Sakamonda View Post
    I would also caution you that making diss remarks based on supposition and innuendo can make you look bad.
    I can't see what "diss remarks" you mean. Mac said that she couldn't find any evidence that the owners/editors had much experience in the industry. Which seems true enough. Their "about us" page lists names but nothing else, and none of them are names I recognise. Like Mac, I tried Googling Meredith Cole but only came up with the mystery author.

    There's nothing on Veinglory's EREC site about Decadent sales. In fact, they're not listed at all. The AW mantra of "a brand new press, whose staff have no verifiable track record in publishing, editing, marketing, distribution, sales, etc -- give them a year and see where they're at" seems to apply here. I'm not saying they've done anything wrong. I just don't yet have proof that they've done it right.

    The interview I found, which stated:
    Decadent Publishing is the offspring of two women, Lisa Omstead (author Samantha Gail) and her buddy, Editor Heather Bennett. After several years of building an online friendship, Heather and Lisa actually met in person at the last RT Booklover’s Convention and found that they had both thought about opening a publishing company but lacked the contacts and skills to tackle the job solo. However, when the two combined their abilities, they formed an awesome team.
    didn't really inspire a lot of confidence in me. I'd like to know more about the contact and skills each of them did have. The way it reads, neither of them had any, and they somehow thought that 0 + 0 = >0.

    Anyhow, let me put your mind at ease. I for one certainly don't think anything Mac said made her look bad.

  19. #19
    Bemused Girl nkkingston's Avatar
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    The way I'm seeing it: if they have a good chunk of professional experience behind them, it's a shame the non-professional stuff appears higher on Google, and perhaps to mitigate that they may wish to state their credentials on the website itself.

    Hungry? Check out my other half's blog Colonel Mustard in the Kitchen.

  20. #20
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Agreed, NKK. That would be very helpful.

  21. #21
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sakamonda View Post
    I'll also add that Decadent hired a very experienced freelance editor to do my galley edit, and that editor provided hands-down, the best galley-edit I've had in my entire career---even better and more thorough than the edit I got at an imprint of Random House.
    Galley edit?

    GALLEY edit?

    Galleys are proofs. You don't edit galleys, you proof-read them. They're supposed to be as near to perfect as possible, having gone through a structural edit and a copy edit already.

    I've never heard of a publisher who actively edits at galley stage.

    How bizarre.

    Perhaps you do things differently in America.

  22. #22
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post
    I've never heard of a publisher who actively edits at galley stage.

    How bizarre.

    Perhaps you do things differently in America.
    Nope.

    Galleys are produced after the ms. has been copy edited, and the author has signed off on the changes.

    In fact if there are excessive changes in galley, you may be asked to pay for them. Generally, you only mark changes that involve numbering of figures, or other very minor changes.

    The point of galleys is to proof against the copy edited ms. to check for changes introduced due to layout or typesetting.

    Here's a fairly standard work flow from a major publisher who produces ebooks as well as printed books.
    Last edited by Medievalist; 12-12-2010 at 02:01 AM.

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  23. #23
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    That's what I thought, Lisa. Thanks for confirming that for me.

    For a moment there I was extremely confused.

    Sakamonda, might you have got your terminology wrong? Or was it the Decadent editor who called this process "galley editing"? Because while I find it peculiar that a writer as experienced as you could make such an odd mistake (and no, I'm not being snarky but I do realise how snarky this could sound on the internet, without the benefit of facial expression and so on), the alternatives are that either you're not as experienced as you claim to be--but judging from the many publications you've announced here over recent years, that can't be the case, surely--or that the people at Decadent used that term. And if that latter suggestion is true, then I'd have serious concerns about their abilities to publish writers well: because it would very strongly imply they just don't know how things work in publishing.

  24. #24
    ... Sakamonda's Avatar
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    Umm, Old Hack, you're thinking of PRINTED galleys. In the ebook world, galleys are done entirely electronically. And having had about 20 books published in my career, in both print and ebook for major houses, editing DOES occur at the galley stage. Granted, it's usually just line-level proofreading, but sometimes things slip through the cracks of the content edit/copyediting phases and only get caught at galley phase. (In addition, sometimes things get messed up royally when the manuscript gets converted from MS Word to the bound/print page edition, which is why it's important to do thorough galley proofs. I've had books end up on shelves in bookstores with major problems like missing paragraphs happen because the galley phase wasn't attended to properly).

    The content edit and copyedit at Decadent was superb---it went through a full five levels of both with three editors apiece. And we also had three separate sets of galleys (even with all those editors, we caught some issues in each of them, and we didn't send it to the conversion house until it was absolutely pristine.) No other publisher I've had has done such a thorough job of editing. Very, very impressive and high-quality work.

    I should also note----when I worked with Random House, my galleys were also done electronically. Print galleys are virtually unheard of nowadays.

    I really don't appreciate the implication that I don't know what I'm talking about. After nearly 20 years in the biz and 20 books of my own (plus another 15 or so that I've edited) I think I know the process inside and out.
    Last edited by Sakamonda; 12-12-2010 at 05:52 AM.
    www.jamaicalayne.com, http://jamaicalayne.blogspot.com
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    MARKET FOR LOVE now available; Buy it here.

    [Jamaica Layne] has built a multifaceted writing career, in genres ranging from theater to erotic fiction"---Chicago Tribune

    "Layne sucks you in and doesn't let go until the last page."--Love Romance Passion.com

    "Once you read Jamaica Layne, she will be on your auto-buy list."----Dirty Girl Reviews, on MARKET FOR LOVE

    4 Stars!----Romantic Times Magazine

  25. #25
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sakamonda View Post
    Umm, Old Hack, you're thinking of PRINTED galleys. In the ebook world, galleys are done entirely electronically. And having had about 20 books published in my career, in both print and ebook for major houses, editing DOES occur at the galley stage.
    You are using the terminology incorrectly--and you won't find anyone who has been making ebooks professionally longer than I have. Anywhere.

    The meaning of "galley" doesn't change in term of producing ebooks.

    Did the pages have page numbers? If so, they aren't galleys--even in ebooks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sakamonda View Post
    Granted, it's usually just line-level proofreading, but sometimes things slip through the cracks of the content edit/copyediting phases and only get caught at galley phase.
    Again, this is chillingly ignorant; the phrase "just line-level" is, well, it's just wrong. Line-level editing is where most editing occurs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sakamonda View Post
    (In addition, sometimes things get messed up royally when the manuscript gets converted from MS Word to the bound/print page edition, which is why it's important to do thorough galley proofs.
    This too is worrisome; this is what is conventionally referred to as a dump. This is the wrong point to be doing any copyediting of any sort at all -- even on a digital only title.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sakamonda View Post
    I've had books end up on shelves in bookstores with major problems like missing paragraphs happen because the galley phase wasn't attended to properly).
    That's a production error that should have been caught pre-galleys. The only time I've seen that happen with a mainstream publisher is when the wrong postscript file got sent to the printer. That's pretty rare these days because production departments use workflow-based file management and media systems.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sakamonda View Post
    The content edit and copyedit at Decadent was superb---it went through a full five levels of both with three editors apiece.
    Their Web site is barely in standard English. They make basic grammar errors. They need to do something very quickly about that. I note that their covers show poorly aliased type as well, and problems with layers. They don't seem to do any kerning on title text at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sakamonda View Post
    I should also note----when I worked with Random House, my galleys were also done electronically. Print galleys are virtually unheard of nowadays.
    Who did you work with ? When ? What department? I was typesetting for Random House from 1992 to 2002 as freelancer. If you've picked up a Modern Library book, there's a good chance I worked on it--and the ebook. Was it your own book or were you editing?

    I note that Random House's current process is to convert Quark to Acrobat, and print hardcopy for the copy editor and proofer. I just checked. Authors receive a .pdf and at least one bound ARC. Editors, copy editors and proofers work off hardcopy. They're considering using PDFPen in a pilot project in 2011.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sakamonda View Post
    I really don't appreciate the implication that I don't know what I'm talking about. After nearly 20 years in the biz and 20 books of my own (plus another 15 or so that I've edited) I think I know the process inside and out.
    What makes your position difficult is that you keep misusing basic terms of art--terms with 300 years of history whose meanings haven't changed. I've checked your post history; you do it over and over. When someone makes these kinds of basic errors--and asserts aggressively that Decadent is above and beyond--there's an intellectual catachresis that is at the very least troubling.

    Should you be interested, you can find me rather easily via Google. My first ebook as the production lead was in 1989; by 1992 I was working for The Voyager Company, where we produced books by Douglas Adams, Michael Chrichton, Rick Smolan, Marge Piercy, Bill Gibson, and of course, the top 100 titles of The Modern Library.
    Last edited by Medievalist; 12-12-2010 at 09:58 PM.

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    Lisa L. Spangenberg
    My opinions are my own. | Who else would want them?

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