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Thread: First One Publishing / Karen Hunter Publishing

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW xccorpio's Avatar
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    First One Publishing / Karen Hunter Publishing

    This one is just out of the oven: First One Publishing.

    Its about us sounds oddly familiar, it reminds me of Carina Press, Harlequin's digital-first imprint. Besides it’s interesting the way it states, “First One Publishing is the first major publisher to put the ebook first.” Bold is mine. It started this morning and is already major.

    Meanwhile, it’s introduced accurately by Paul Biba like this, “First One Digital Publishing is a new brand of publishing company focused on publishing literary content primarily for digital e-reader outlets and devices.” [read story here]

    I was enthusiastic about it until I read its writing contest rules. Specially this part: FEES: There will be a $149.00 entrance fee for each submission. The fee must be paid online before the manuscript will be accepted.

    Yes, I know many literary contests charge a fee, but I personally think this is too much. I kept reading and despite the well design website, my instinct tells me something is amiss. It’s my personal opinion, which I’m sharing here. I apology in advance, if I’m wrong, and this publisher has good intentions, is all legit and professional. Only time will tell.
    Last edited by xccorpio; 01-13-2011 at 08:24 PM. Reason: I appended more hyperlinks.

  2. #2
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Ah, it's the ebook arm of Karen Hunter Publishing: http://www.karenhunterpublishing.com/Home

    Although that site hasn't been updated since 2008, Amazon lists plenty of books for KHP. Niche market.

    $149 is ridiculous.
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  3. #3
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    There's an inconsistency in the blurb for the competition and the actual rules:

    First One Contest Blurb: (BOLDING MINE)
    This contest is limited to completed fiction and nonfiction manuscripts of any genre (no children’s books, please) between 35,000 and 80,000 words.
    First One Contest Rules: (BOLDING MINE)
    FORMAT: Entries must not be more than 65,000 words long and must not have been previously published.


    First One Contest Rules:
    FEES: There will be a $149.00 entrance fee for each submission. The fee must be paid online before the manuscript will be accepted.


    That entrance fee is way too high IMO.

    First One Contest Rules:
    One Grand-Prize Winner will receive:

    • First One Publishing contract for terrestrial and digital publication of winning book.
    • Five thousand ($5,000) cash
    • A complete marketing and publicity tour tied to the winning book.
    • First One Publishing Library (20 books valued at $240.00)
    • Grand-Prize Winner must sign the publishing contract, which contains additional terms and conditions in order to be published.
    $5,000 is the average advance paid for a book but you have to put up an awful lot to win that (and it seems to me that the publisher doesn't need to receive too many applications to quickly make that back and more).

    Also if you're going to be required to sign a contract, then the organisers should put a copy of the same up for you to review and confirm your willingness to sign. Don't know what the position is under US law but in England, this would be an agreement to agree and arguably unenforceable.

    The organisers aren't leaving them much time for reading and judging manuscripts either - deadline for submissions is 11th April with winners notified on 11th June.

    What really freaks me out though is this little rights grab in the competition rules:

    First One Contest Rules: (BOLDING MINE)
    All submissions become sole property of Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned. By submitting an entry, all entrants grant Sponsor the absolute and unconditional right and authority to copy, edit, publish, promote, broadcast, or otherwise use, in whole or in part, their entries, in perpetuity, in any manner without further permission, notice or compensation.
    The mere submission of an entry shouldn't be giving First One any rights over that work unless they decide to offer you a publishing contract and you agree to enter into the same.

    Everything here says to me that it should be avoided.

    MM

  4. #4
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    What's terrestrial publication?

  5. #5
    Researching History's Mysteries HistorySleuth's Avatar
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    Maybe like foreign rights, but on other planets?
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  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW xccorpio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaoPaux View Post
    Ah, it's the ebook arm of Karen Hunter Publishing: http://www.karenhunterpublishing.com/Home

    Although that site hasn't been updated since 2008, Amazon lists plenty of books for KHP. Niche market.

    $149 is ridiculous.
    Maybe this is the reason it states 'major publisher'.


    Quote Originally Posted by Momento Mori View Post


    The mere submission of an entry shouldn't be giving First One any rights over that work unless they decide to offer you a publishing contract and you agree to enter into the same.

    Everything here says to me that it should be avoided.

    MM
    Thanks for pointing that out. It's worse than I originally thought.

    Quote Originally Posted by Unimportant View Post
    What's terrestrial publication?
    It could mean what we all know as print.

    Quote Originally Posted by HistorySleuth View Post
    Maybe like foreign rights, but on other planets?
    Last edited by xccorpio; 01-14-2011 at 04:23 AM. Reason: misspelling

  7. #7
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    First One Publishing's Response To Comments Regarding Our Contest, and other things

    To Xccorpio:
    First, we are happy you were excited initially by our contest. And we understand the skepticism. There are many people in the marketplace ripping people off, which is why we decided to do the contest in the first place. The fee: $149, is to eliminate anyone who thinks they want to be published from entering. We hope to have only serious authors apply. And the $149 entry fee will make someone think before just uploading any old manuscript. Also, we have professional editors from major publishing houses judging the books we receive and they are being paid for their work.

    If you have attempted to publish a book via one of the self-publishing arenas, you will pay considerably more than $149.

    We plan to publish many runners-up, and with that will come marketing, publicity and all of the things a person attempting to publish themselves simply will not have. As an author myself, I put a lot of thought into the kind of contest I would like to participate in and this is what I came up with.

    Whatever is telling you that something is amiss, is lying to you. And we accept your apology because you are wrong as it relates to the contest. To judge a book before you've read it is unfair. Let us launch the contest (Feb. 11). Join it. And if you have a problem, then you have a right to criticize. But it's not even officially launched yet.

    But we do thank you (and others) for alerting us to the things that make you raise an eyebrow. We will fix many of your concerns.

    Regarding rights. We will not take anyone's copyright. If you enter and do not win or are not a finalist, you are free to do whatever you want with your book. If you are a finalist, we want the right to pitch your book for movie, TV, webisode opportunities. We want the right to garner sponsorships and any method to push your book into the marketplace? We are better equipped to that than an individual, so we would like the right to put your book and you as an author into the marketplace to the best of our ability.

    Some of the other concerns are well taken and fortunately, we have about a month to address them. So if you have any suggestions on how to make it stronger and better, let us know. We're going to keep doing these contest because we believe that there are so many great writers out there who would never be seen on a major level, if not for this. Just as American Idol has given us Kelly Clarkson, Fantasia, Jennifer Hudson, Clay Aiken, and so many, many more, First One will deliver the next Stephen King, Nicholas Sparks, and Stephenie Meyer.

    And we thank you for your support!

  8. #8
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    CaoPaux

    First One Publishing is NOT an ebook arm of Karen Hunter Publishing. It is a separate entity devoted to exploring new ways to get books to the people who love to read. We are not just about the ebooks, but we promote book clubs, we are big on pursuing movie and TV opportunities, developing products for our authors, etc. This is a holistic approach to publishing. We will be a cure-all. I don't know. But I do know is that we need people like you to help us get there.

    So thank you for your comments. And regarding the term "major publisher," which seems to be a point of conversation, First One will be releasing 5-10 titles a month. I think that's pretty major. Don't you?

    -Karen

  9. #9
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Terrestrial:

    On dry land, physical. It means a real book (paperback or hardcover) as opposed to a virtual or ebook or digital book.

  10. #10
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    Momento Mori:

    Nice catch. And thank you for pointing out the errors. The contest does not officially launch until February 11th, so we have plenty of time to fix anything that's broken. So if you see anything else, please let us know.

    Thanks again!

    -Karen

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by FirstOnePublishing View Post
    Terrestrial: On dry land, physical. It means a real book (paperback or hardcover) as opposed to a virtual or ebook or digital book.
    Then use the words "print publication." Don't be cute or coy.

    Quote Originally Posted by FirstOnePublishing View Post
    So thank you for your comments. And regarding the term "major publisher," which seems to be a point of conversation, First One will be releasing 5-10 titles a month. I think that's pretty major. Don't you?
    So you are the "major publisher"? What experience do you have in publishing? What kind of distribution do you have lined up? How do you compare to established publishers such as Random House, Macmillan, and Penguin?

    Quote Originally Posted by FirstOnePublishing View Post
    The fee: $149, is to eliminate anyone who thinks they want to be published from entering.
    The entry fee is too high. Period.

    If I were to self-publish, the fees would be higher, but I wouldn't be agreeing to an unknown contract in advance.

    Whatever is telling you that something is amiss, is lying to you. And we accept your apology because you are wrong as it relates to the contest.
    We are judging you by your own words. Are you lying?

    Regarding rights. We will not take anyone's copyright. If you enter and do not win or are not a finalist, you are free to do whatever you want with your book.
    False.

    Sure you aren't taking copyright, but you are taking rights. To quote your own words, "By submitting an entry, all entrants grant Sponsor the absolute and unconditional right and authority to copy, edit, publish, promote, broadcast, or otherwise use, in whole or in part, their entries, in perpetuity, in any manner without further permission, notice or compensation."

    That implies you are taking a whole slew of rights to all submissions. If you don't understand how that will constrain authors from submitting their work elsewhere, you need to educate yourself quite a bit more about publishing.

  12. #12
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Hi, FirstOnePublishing, and welcome to AW.

    FirstOnePublishing:
    The fee: $149, is to eliminate anyone who thinks they want to be published from entering.
    With publishing competitions, there's usually one publishing contract available so if an entrant doesn't win, they assume they are free to do as they please with their manuscript.

    Your competition rules tie up anyone who enters and charges them $149 for the privilege of doing so. As a writer that is unacceptable. If an author is really serious about getting a publishing deal for their work, they shouldn't be paying to tie up their manuscripts indefinitely with a publisher that may have no intention of utilising them - particularly when there is absolutely nothing in your competition rules setting out how authors can get those rights back.

    FirstOnePublishing:
    And the $149 entry fee will make someone think before just uploading any old manuscript.
    Oh it definitely does that.

    FirstOnePublishing:
    Also, we have professional editors from major publishing houses judging the books we receive and they are being paid for their work.
    Given that the publishing contract is with your company, why aren't your own editors judging the competition? Why are you bringing in outside editors?

    FirstOnePublishing:
    If you have attempted to publish a book via one of the self-publishing arenas, you will pay considerably more than $149.
    But your competition is not being promoted or run as a self-publishing opportunity - it's being run and promoted as an opportunity to be published by a "major" publisher.

    FirstOnePublishing:
    We plan to publish many runners-up, and with that will come marketing, publicity and all of the things a person attempting to publish themselves simply will not have.
    According to your competition rules, you plan to have 20 second prize winners which is also something that isn't normal in publishing competitions. Also, while you might be doing marketing etc (and I note that there's no details on what will be actually carried out by First One Publishing to market the digital books), you're not paying for those books so those 20 authors will need to make enough sales to earn back their $149 fee and there's no information at all to indicate what the royalty rate is on books sold.

    FirstOnePublishing:
    Whatever is telling you that something is amiss, is lying to you.
    I'm one of those people who say that something is wrong with your competition and I am not lying. The concerns I raise are entirely legitimate and you seem to be admitting that this is a pay to play opportunity for your company. That is not a good deal for authors IMO and they would be better served looking at going doing the query and submission route because at least that way they keep their rights.

    FirstOnePublishing:
    Let us launch the contest (Feb. 11). Join it. And if you have a problem, then you have a right to criticize. But it's not even officially launched yet.
    Joining your competition means paying money up front and losing the rights in my book. I don't have to enter your competition to know it's a bad idea.

    FirstOnePublishing:
    But we do thank you (and others) for alerting us to the things that make you raise an eyebrow. We will fix many of your concerns.
    It's good that you're willing to address concerns and I look forward to seeing that.

    FirstOnePublishing:
    We will not take anyone's copyright. If you enter and do not win or are not a finalist, you are free to do whatever you want with your book.
    I'm not worried about you taking my copyright, I'm worried about the fact that your own competition rules still state that entering the competition gives you the right to:

    FirstOnePublishing: (BOLDING MINE)
    the absolute and unconditional right and authority to copy, edit, publish, promote, broadcast, or otherwise use, in whole or in part, their entries, in perpetuity, in any manner without further permission, notice or compensation.
    Authors are therefore losing first publication rights just by completing the form and paying you the entrance fee. It seems that you're saying that this is not the intention (which is good to know) but there definitely needs to be something in your competition rules stating that rights revert to the entrant if they are not a finalist as a minimum.

    I'm also concerned that even if you're a finalist, your rights are tied up and you're expected to sign a publishing contract that you have no chance to review prior to entering the competition. Ideally the terms of the publishing contract should be up on the website to enable entrants to make an informed decision as to whether they want to be published by your company.

    FirstOnePublishing:
    If you are a finalist, we want the right to pitch your book for movie, TV, webisode opportunities.
    Why? Publishers don't need those rights - they make their money from books as that's what they're good at. This to me seems like a rights grab.

    FirstOnePublishing:
    Just as American Idol has given us Kelly Clarkson, Fantasia, Jennifer Hudson, Clay Aiken, and so many, many more, First One will deliver the next Stephen King, Nicholas Sparks, and Stephenie Meyer.
    As a general observation, I don't think that Kelly Clarkson et al had to pay to go on American Idol.

    I look forward to seeing the changes you make to the competition rules. Thank you for stopping by.

    MM

  13. #13
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister SuperModerator Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FirstOnePublishing View Post
    Terrestrial:

    On dry land, physical. It means a real book (paperback or hardcover) as opposed to a virtual or ebook or digital book.
    Please tell me that you're not an editor.

    Quote Originally Posted by American Heritage Dictionary
    1. Of or relating to the earth or its inhabitants.
    2. Having a worldly, mundane character or quality.
    3. Of, relating to, or composed of land.
    4. Biology Living or growing on land; not aquatic: a terrestrial plant or animal.
    I do not think that word means what you think it means.
    Last edited by Medievalist; 01-15-2011 at 05:41 AM.

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  14. #14
    'Twas but a dream of thee El Jefe MacAllister's Avatar
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    Super-agent Janet Reid has weighed in, as well.

    ETA: That post seems to be gone, now, actually. Post has been updated
    Last edited by MacAllister; 01-15-2011 at 07:12 AM.
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  15. #15
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    LOL...to most of the responses. Here's the deal: If you want to be a part of something bigger than what you're currently doing, join us. Be a part of the solution, not a part of the naysaying and the problem. It's very easy to sit on the sidelines and poke holes at everything. It is far more difficult to get out there and do something different. That's what we're doing.

    Again, we're grateful for the feedback because it certainly forces us to do a better job, which we will. But it seems as if the comments and the criticisms are not edifying. If your goal is to be a boo-bird. Good job. If you're goal is to help change publishing, get in the game and let's play.

    Either you're part of the solution or you're part of the problem. And if you are an author, finding so much success on your own, then keep it moving. No need to be concerned with what we're doing. I have eight New York Times bestsellers under my belt. I've sold millions of books. It's time to pass that knowledge along. And our editors are all independent contractors. Welcome to 2011. The new world. The new model. The nimble model.

    Thanks and blessings, all!

    -Karen

    PS: The anonymous nature of the web is cool but it also makes cowards of people. You sit behind your computer throwing poisonous darts. I'm here. I sign my name. I'm transparent and I'm responding with an eye on correcting the problems. Are you? Or are you an internet coward, hiding behind fake names and fake screen images, spewing negativity at will because there is no way for anyone to check you directly. That doesn't make you clever, or smart or perfect. That makes you a coward. If you have no intention of participating in this contest, then what's your goal? To protect people? From what exactly? Again, I'm out here transparent. How many publishers can you put a name to who would even take the time to address you? Think about that? Also, how possible is it that someone who has built a successful career would toss it all away on a contest designed to rip people off? Really? You all seem so much smarter than to think that.

  16. #16
    the world is at my command jennontheisland's Avatar
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    Oh boy! Another one who's going to change publishing!!

    I can't wait.
    You are more than welcome to take anything I say personally, whether it was intended that way or not.

    Eat This.

  17. #17
    Capeless, wingless, & yet I fly. SuperModerator Williebee's Avatar
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    Miss Karen--

    I'm not going to get into the $149.00 fee. Folks will charge what the market will bear. We'll see if it does.

    Is it possible that the written terms of your contest were not accurate re: your intentions? That you did not intend to claim every contestant's intellectual property? There were a number of other inconsistencies and errors in text, as you have already admitted? It happens. If so, maybe just say so? Change the contest rules to more accurately reflect what you intend to do?

    If so, from a PR standpoint, it might be worthwhile to pull the contest down, proof and clarify, and put it back up at the end of the month with a positive message about listening to the authors and industry and moving forward with integrity and energy.

    Just a thought or two.
    Last edited by Williebee; 01-15-2011 at 05:57 AM. Reason: some desire to make it make sense?

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  18. #18
    practical experience, FTW xccorpio's Avatar
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    Karen, I wrote this long post before your last response. I honesty hope it helps you more than offends you. We are not cowards, most of us created these usernames long before being published or having any relevance in the industry.

    Thanks for coming around and clarify some of ours doubts. Iím glad you are willing to listen and use what it can help you to improve First One Publishing. Please donít take this personally, we are a writers' forum, publishing is our business and we look out for one another. After reading my fellow writersí concerns I hope you can understand why I said there was something amiss.

    You need to revise the wording you are using and make it more clear.

    When I saw Paul Bibaís announcement about First One Publishing as a new epublisher, of course, I got excited. As writers we see it as an opportunity to be published, and for those of us who embrace digital publishing is double the excitement. However, you are competing against established epublishers, and the traditional publishers for our attention and our work. Most of those publishers take unagented submissions. The first thing I look for in a publisherís website is their submission page. First One Publishing doesnít have one.

    Only the contest - with a fee, which after you explained why you charge that amount makes sense, but itís still too much. The truth is when I saw the money being asked and what you were planning using it - the words 'vanity press' came to my mind. You cannot be both, you are either a publisher or a vanity press. It doesn't matter what that money is being used for, you don't ask writers for money in advanced. At least, it's not done on the publishing business we know. Any intent to do so, will bring an angry reaction from the writing community. You can have a vanity press, but don't expect support from us. If the contest's fee is just that a fee, there are many talented writers out there who cannot afford it. You might be losing an opportunity to publish someone who one day might give you to earn more than all the contest fees compiled.

    If what you want is to avoid a flood of manuscripts that you might not be interested to publish, Iím sorry, it comes with the territory. Itís called the slush pile. And if it were a total waste, a few major publishers wouldnít have one. I can give you two examples of publishers who I know for sure pulled gold from that slush pile, Harlequin and Kensington. Both publishers do contests on a regular basis. They never charge a fee, because they know a single writer who could write best-selling books could means more in the long run.

    One way you can limit the amount of manuscripts participating at once, is doing a few contests a year, like every three months, and each contest dedicated to a different genre. You can put requisite in your submission guidelines to limit the kind of manuscript you would like to receive by specifying which ones you would prefer.

    Please take a look at this list of publishers (this is an example only of the romance genre) Where to Sell Your Novel/Story. If you check their submissionís page you would have an idea of what we are used to deal with, and why we were so alarmed with the wording on First One Publishingís website.

    I understand you want to do something different, but donít make it so different that writers go wary of it. Itís your reputation at stake and your new business venture.

    Best of luck with everything, and donít hesitate to ask for our opinion. We arenít out to hunt you, on the contrary, if you build a proper publishing business we will be the first to help promote it.

  19. #19
    practical experience, FTW xccorpio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacAllister View Post
    Super-agent Janet Reid has weighed in, as well.
    OMG! She got The Shark against her? Now it gets serious.

    Quote Originally Posted by Williebee View Post
    Miss Karen--

    I'm not going to get into the $149.00 fee. Folks will charge what the market will bear. We'll see if it does.

    Is it possible that the written terms of your contest were not accurate re: your intentions? That you did not intend to claim every contestant's intellectual property? There were a number of other inconsistencies and errors in text, as you have already admitted? It happens. If so, maybe just say so? Change the contest rules to more accurately reflect what you intend to do?

    If so, from a PR standpoint, it might be worthwhile to pull the contest down, proof and clarify, and put it back up at the end of the month with a positive message about listening to the authors and industry and moving forward with integrity and energy.

    Just a thought or two.
    Thanks, this is wise advice, I hope she listens.

  20. #20
    Just the Basic Facts Uncarved's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FirstOnePublishing View Post
    LOL...to most of the responses. Here's the deal: If you want to be a part of something bigger than what you're currently doing, join us. Be a part of the solution, not a part of the naysaying and the problem. It's very easy to sit on the sidelines and poke holes at everything. It is far more difficult to get out there and do something different. That's what we're doing.

    Again, we're grateful for the feedback because it certainly forces us to do a better job, which we will. But it seems as if the comments and the criticisms are not edifying. If your goal is to be a boo-bird. Good job. If you're goal is to help change publishing, get in the game and let's play.

    Either you're part of the solution or you're part of the problem. And if you are an author, finding so much success on your own, then keep it moving. No need to be concerned with what we're doing. I have eight New York Times bestsellers under my belt. I've sold millions of books. It's time to pass that knowledge along. And our editors are all independent contractors. Welcome to 2011. The new world. The new model. The nimble model.

    Thanks and blessings, all!

    -Karen

    PS: The anonymous nature of the web is cool but it also makes cowards of people. You sit behind your computer throwing poisonous darts. I'm here. I sign my name. I'm transparent and I'm responding with an eye on correcting the problems. Are you? Or are you an internet coward, hiding behind fake names and fake screen images, spewing negativity at will because there is no way for anyone to check you directly. That doesn't make you clever, or smart or perfect. That makes you a coward. If you have no intention of participating in this contest, then what's your goal? To protect people? From what exactly? Again, I'm out here transparent. How many publishers can you put a name to who would even take the time to address you? Think about that? Also, how possible is it that someone who has built a successful career would toss it all away on a contest designed to rip people off? Really? You all seem so much smarter than to think that.
    Bigger than what some of us are doing... hmmm

    so you are going to offer me an advance over $5,000, 50 contributor copies and royalties while only taking first North American Serial Rights? Cause that is the only way you can be bigger than what I'm currently doing.

    And there are some here that have six figure deals with the sister six publishers.

    Don't think your gonna rock our world, but yea... you may convert some of the PublishAmerica crew.

  21. #21
    Sometimes I creep myself out. AW Moderator Calla Lily's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tinasamuels View Post
    Bigger than what some of us are doing... hmmm

    so you are going to offer me an advance over $5,000, 50 contributor copies and royalties while only taking first North American Serial Rights? Cause that is the only way you can be bigger than what I'm currently doing.

    And there are some here that have six figure deals with the sister six publishers.

    Don't think your gonna rock our world, but yea... you may convert some of the PublishAmerica crew.
    This. Very much this.

  22. #22
    Girl Detective AW Moderator Stacia Kane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FirstOnePublishing View Post
    To Xccorpio:
    There are many people in the marketplace ripping people off, which is why we decided to do the contest in the first place.
    There are indeed, yes, but I'm not sure how a contest remedies that.


    The fee: $149, is to eliminate anyone who thinks they want to be published from entering.

    Wow. So you don't want people who think they want to be published?

    Or you only want people who have $149?

    Or you're not interested in people who aren't up to your standard, and don't want them to even bother thinking something as big and important as your contest is open to the likes of them?

    We hope to have only serious authors apply.
    Serious authors would never pay $149 to enter a contest for a newbie epub with no experience and no visible contract who takes all those rights. A serious author knows the industry and wouldn't touch this with a ten-foot pole.


    And the $149 entry fee will make someone think before just uploading any old manuscript.
    No, it won't.

    It will make good writers without money avoid entering, and it will make poor writers who have money enter.

    Ever heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect?

    I can assure you that everyone out there who writes, no matter how badly they do it, thinks their work is far superior to everyone else's. Your fee isn't going to dissuade people who think there's no way they can lose, even if their book is totally incomprehensible. There are thousands of such submissions to agents and publishers every day; slush piles full of them hit the ceiling.

    The fact that you're not aware of that makes me seriously wonder how much publishing experience you actually have, which is distressing because it was my impression that you did have some very good, solid experience.



    Also, we have professional editors from major publishing houses judging the books we receive and they are being paid for their work.
    That's excellent! What are their names? Pretty much every legitimate contest I've ever seen divulges the names of their judges; it's a draw, actually.



    If you have attempted to publish a book via one of the self-publishing arenas, you will pay considerably more than $149.

    And if you attempt to publish a book via a real commercial publisher, it costs you nothing and they pay you. I'm not sure I understand your point. Is it that author will pay less to enter your contest than they would to self-publish? But surely you're looking for "serious authors only," which means people who don't think simply having money means they should be published?


    We plan to publish many runners-up, and with that will come marketing, publicity and all of the things a person attempting to publish themselves simply will not have.
    1. So your first-place winner and your runners-up all have to sign contracts, is that correct?

    2. So your contest is aimed at people who would otherwise self-publish, is that correct too?


    Whatever is telling you that something is amiss, is lying to you.
    I beg to differ.

    To judge a book before you've read it is unfair. Let us launch the contest (Feb. 11). Join it. And if you have a problem, then you have a right to criticize. But it's not even officially launched yet.

    Apples and oranges. Not to mention, I judge books before reading them all the time; we all do. I don't care for the work of Author X, for example. So I don't have to read Author X's book to know I won't like it. I don't enjoy medical thrillers, so I don't have to read them all to know I wouldn't like this one or that one.

    I don't have to enter your contest to know that it's not real publishing, and it's not really beneficial to the authors who might enter it.


    But we do thank you (and others) for alerting us to the things that make you raise an eyebrow. We will fix many of your concerns.
    And that speaks very well of you. Not everyone is willing to take comments on board; that's excellent, and refreshing to see.


    Regarding rights. We will not take anyone's copyright. If you enter and do not win or are not a finalist, you are free to do whatever you want with your book. If you are a finalist, we want the right to pitch your book for movie, TV, webisode opportunities. We want the right to garner sponsorships and any method to push your book into the marketplace? We are better equipped to that than an individual, so we would like the right to put your book and you as an author into the marketplace to the best of our ability.
    In other words, you don't take copyright but you take a whole bunch of rights. And if someone is a finalist, the fact that they paid you $149 means that even if they revise the work and receive an offer from a commercial publisher, they can't sell the book because you've taken a bunch of their rights. Which you may or may not have the ability to exploit; what are your connections in the movie/TV/webisode industries? How many other projects have you sold to those market, and what are their names?


    Here's the deal: If you want to be a part of something bigger than what you're currently doing, join us.
    With all due respect, what you're doing isn't bigger than what most of the commenters in this thread are doing. Quite the opposite, in fact.


    Be a part of the solution, not a part of the naysaying and the problem. It's very easy to sit on the sidelines and poke holes at everything. It is far more difficult to get out there and do something different. That's what we're doing.

    But what is the problem? What should we be the solution to? Forgive me, but I honestly don't know what you mean.

    If your goal is to be a boo-bird. Good job.
    Can I borrow this? Seriously. I think "boo-bird" is one of the most charming things I've heard in days (I have a six-year-old, so I hear charming things a lot ). I honestly find it delightful.


    If your goal is to help change publishing, get in the game and let's play.

    Either you're part of the solution or you're part of the problem.

    But again...this seems to me that you think publishing is the problem, and we all need to find a solution to publishing. I'm not sure how or why that is? Publishing as it is generally serves everyone it's supposed to serve--that would be readers--just fine, really.

    And is this saying that if I don't think publishing needs to be changed it means I'm part of a problem? In what way is me being perfectly happy with the way the industry is run a problem? How id that detrimental to anyone?

    Publishing isn't apartheid. It's not as if by saying nothing or not working to change things we're condoning the abuse of others. Publishing is a business, and the way it runs works for millions of people.


    I have eight New York Times bestsellers under my belt. I've sold millions of books.
    Those are all ghostwritten celebrity nonfiction/celebrity memoir, is that correct?

    I'm certainly not downplaying your achievements and I sincerely hope I don't seem to be doing so by asking. My point is just that fiction and non-fiction are, as I imagine you're well aware, very different, so I'm just wondering how that plays out in terms of First One.


    Thanks and blessings, all!

    -Karen
    And I sincerely wish the same to you, and very much appreciate you coming by to answer questions.



    PS: The anonymous nature of the web is cool but it also makes cowards of people. You sit behind your computer throwing poisonous darts. I'm here. I sign my name. I'm transparent and I'm responding with an eye on correcting the problems. Are you? Or are you an internet coward, hiding behind fake names and fake screen images, spewing negativity at will because there is no way for anyone to check you directly. That doesn't make you clever, or smart or perfect. That makes you a coward. If you have no intention of participating in this contest, then what's your goal? To protect people? From what exactly? Again, I'm out here transparent. How many publishers can you put a name to who would even take the time to address you? Think about that? Also, how possible is it that someone who has built a successful career would toss it all away on a contest designed to rip people off? Really? You all seem so much smarter than to think that.

    With one or two exceptions, no one commenting on this thread is anonymous. Everyone has links to their websites, their books, whatever else in their sig lines. We're easily findable.

    Calling people who prefer to post pseudonymously "cowards" is quite insulting, too. Momento Mori, for example, is an attorney. We value her input. We also know that were she posting under her legal name it could open her up to problems in her career. Several people here post psuedonymously because they've been or are being stalked. I post psuedonymously on a large sci-fi/fantasy site because I just want to participate in the conversation as a fan and reader, and don't want it to look like I'm shilling for my books. There are a lot of reasons why people don't post under their own names. That doesn't make them cowards; it makes them smart, frankly.

    As to how many publishers would answer us...well, lots of them have. Lots of them answer all sorts of questions elsewhere, too.

    And just because we think this isn't a good idea doesn't mean we think it's a scam or a deliberate rip-off, and no one has said that or accused you of bad faith. I can tell you I think buying that yellow dress is a mistake; that doesn't mean I think you plan to commit murder while wearing the yellow dress. A mistake is very different from a crime.
    Last edited by Stacia Kane; 01-15-2011 at 06:44 AM.
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  23. #23
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister SuperModerator Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FirstOnePublishing View Post
    I have eight New York Times bestsellers under my belt.
    That sounds hideously uncomfortable.

    Quote Originally Posted by FirstOnePublishing View Post
    I've sold millions of books. It's time to pass that knowledge along.
    Actually, no, you haven't sold millions of books. The sales and marketing staff of the publishers, and the celebrity names on the covers sold millions of books.

    Not you.

    What do you know about ebook production?

    What's your production model?

    Which XML schema are you following?

    Are you producing single or multi-format books, and if so, what formats?

    Are you using the Dublin Core meta data standard?

    How do you propose to get libraries to buy your books?

    What's your QA benchmark?

    Where do you stand on DRM and are you licensing a DRM method?

    How do you propose to cope with piracy?

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  24. #24
    My sarcasm got the better of me. Midian's Avatar
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    My only question in all of this is, if you feel the contract, that was pulled directly off your site, is not representing what you mean, why is it up? Why do you have a contract that isn't the contract on your website? Contest rules are contracts. Why would I wait until after I've entered and given up all my rights (because once I agree to the terms, I would fall under the original terms since I didn't agree to any other contract), to see what the "real" terms are? Terms I wouldn't even technically fall under?

    No matter the argument over the rules and the terms, if they aren't right, why are they even posted? It says you can't enter until February 1, why would you post a "fake" contract before then? It makes not a lick of business sense to me. Did you really think no one would read the contract and find all the rights grabs? And you state that you don't take the copyright but in the contract, it's clear you do. As a person and representative, you can use your words and say anything you want to say about how you aren't taking rights. But your words aren't important, the contract is. And the contract contradicts everything you're saying.

    Okay, so that was more than one question. They just kept coming out. I couldn't help it. The logic just isn't there and one question just leads to another question.

  25. #25
    Just another face in a red jumpsuit shelleyo's Avatar
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    There's a lot here that makes this one to skip, even if the contest rules are heavily amended by the opening date.

    Shelley

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