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Thread: Grey Gate Media, LLC (formerly Briona Glen Publishing)

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW jeseymour's Avatar
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    Grey Gate Media, LLC (formerly Briona Glen Publishing)

    http://www.brionaglen.com/viewpage.php?page_id=6

    Anybody heard of these guys? I find this a bit scary -

    Sending a Manuscript to Briona Glen constitutes an initial agreement for publication, with or without response to Briona Glen. We reserve the right to hold the manuscript or work to this Agreement for a period of ten days, at which point the agreement will dissolve if no further communication from us is forthcoming.


    So if I just send them the manuscript, they have the rights to it? Even without me ever seeing their contract?

    Thanks for any input.
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  2. #2
    Shakespearean Fool DreamWeaver's Avatar
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    Personally, I'd stay away from something like that--I find it as scary as you do. But if I really wanted to submit something to them for some reason, I'd email and ask for a copy of the contract before sending them my MS.

    ETA: Now that I've actually looked at their website, two things hit me as odd on first read-through of their 'About Us' page. One is, along with the usual myths about commercial publishing (big bad meanies!) they seem to think it's the agent's job to edit and promote their authors' books. WTF?

    Also, in 'The Future', they have some strange non-standard capitalization of nouns. I'd ignore that from a private person posting on a forum, but it's rather worrisome from an outfit that claims they are qualified to edit one's work.
    Last edited by DreamWeaver; 04-03-2011 at 07:05 PM.
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    The About Us page should be enough to give you the willies.

  4. #4
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeseymour View Post
    So if I just send them the manuscript, they have the rights to it? Even without me ever seeing their contract?
    That is what that language intends. Whether it would be enforceable or not is another question.

    So for heaven's sake, don't send these people your MS. There are plenty of fine publishers out there who don't have rights-grabbing language on their websites, and who get books to readers. Your work deserves better.


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  5. #5
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    I just read that About Us Page. And, um, wow.

    In one page, they manage to demonstrate their ignorance about publishing *and* their poor command of English.

  6. #6
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Briona Glen Publishing Philosophy:
    The work of an artist is the creation of a talented mind, whose contribution

    to the creation of their art must be treated as the most valuable aspect.”
    Say what now?

    Briona Glen Publishing Website:
    Briona Glen was founded in 2010 as an independent publishing house focusing on the development of writers based on the merit of their work, and not their mass-market sales numbers.
    Any publisher should be concerned with the quality of the work that they're selling and with selling the same. A publisher that isn't interested in books that sell en masse suggests a publisher that isn't commercial.

    Briona Glen Publishing Website:
    Agents contribute to this problem as well. Most agents work as an initial screen for the large publishing houses. If the manuscript is not an instant classic, then the Agent will not work with it. They will not do the hard work of promotion and editing for an author, and if the author does the work themselves, the Agent will still expect a cut.
    Bullshit. Agents are as invested in selling books as their clients are but that doesn't mean that agents do promotion for you.

    As for editing - that depends from agent to agent. My agent works with my in terms of overally comments on the manuscript and things and ideas to focus on but does not line edit (and personally, I don't want a line editing agent).

    Briona Glen Publishing Website:
    This model outlined above is essentially a modern version of indentured servitude. The Retailer, the Publishing House, the Recording Studio, and the Agent will all be paid before the Author.
    Bullshit. A commercial publisher will pay an advance for a book and the author will get that advance in full before the book comes out (with the agent taking their percentage of the same).

    Briona Glen Publishing Website:
    In many cases, accept for an advance, which is nothing more then a loan which Publishers can take back, the Author will not see anything.
    Bullshit. Commercial publishers do not take back advances unless the author fails to deliver the book.

    This is nothing more than inaccurate scaremongering and demonstrates Briona Glen's complete ignorance of how real publishing works.

    Briona Glen Publishing Website:
    Authors and artists are not treated as cattle, to be used and discarded, but are instead treated as partners in the publishing process.
    If Briona Glen really believes that then they wouldn't use their submission process to attempt a full rights grab.

    Briona Glen Publishing Website:
    With a larger publisher, the small advance is usually the only reward an author sees for their work. While we currently don’t offer advances, we do offer larger royalties than major publishers, especially for first time authors.
    So as an author, you're not getting any up front and are taking a risk that the publisher sells enough copies for you to earn those "larger royalties".

    Briona Glen Publishing Website:
    Manuscripts must contain no grammar, spelling, or continuity errors.
    That suggests that they're not doing any editing, which in turn suggests they have no interest invested in the quality beyond selection.

    Briona Glen Publishing Website:
    Sending a Manuscript to Briona Glen constitutes an initial agreement for publication, with or without response to Briona Glen. We reserve the right to hold the manuscript or work to this Agreement for a period of ten days, at which point the agreement will dissolve if no further communication from us is forthcoming.
    Reading this it seems to me that essentially they're demanding an automatic exclusivity period of 10 days. It wouldn't be something I'd worry about because the fact it refers to "further communication" suggests that actual publication is dependent on some further step being taken.

    Saying all that, exclusives suck.

    Briona Glen Publishing Website:
    If satisfactory, Briona Glen will send an Author's Agreement to the Author for review. Failure to sign and return the agreement within ten days will be considered rejection of the agreement, and any relationship between the Author and Briona Glen will cease.
    I'd be concerned by the 10 day acceptance period, specifically given that there doesn't seem to be any acknowledgement that the contract will be negotiated.

    Briona Glen Publishing Website:
    Author's, upon their first contact with Briona Glen must establish the presence of an Agent in regard to the Manuscript. This relationship must be proven within ten days of initial contact to Briona Glen or submission of the manuscript with a notarized contract signed by both the Author and the Third Party. If no Agent is named in accordance with this section, then any Agent who later claims to be in association with the Author will be ignored as an unauthorized third party. This is to protect authors from predatory Agents who have done no work for a manuscript, and yet expect to be paid by the author for work that the author has done, such as reaching out to Briona Glen and submitting the manuscript.
    Frankly I'm bemused as to why Briona Glen even care about this. Any claim by an agent is as between the agent and author - it has nothing to do with Briona Glen. My suggestion is that this is just more scare mongering about agents.

    Briona Glen Publishing Website:
    Agents may submit on behalf of an Author, and act as legal representation of that Author. However, the relationship between Author and Agent must be established in the first contact. Proof of this relationship, as above, must be tendered within ten days. All communications and payments from Briona Glen will be done in the name of the Author, as the Sole Creator of the primary work. Copies of all documents will be submitted to the Agent for auditing and control purposes.
    Let's start with the fact that no agent worth their salt should be submitting to a royalty only paying publisher anyway and move on to the fact that this is none of Briona Glen's business - particularly their demand to see proof of the agent/author relationship. Points to cluelessness.

    MM

  7. #7
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeseymour View Post
    Sending a Manuscript to Briona Glen constitutes an initial agreement for publication, with or without response to Briona Glen. We reserve the right to hold the manuscript or work to this Agreement for a period of ten days, at which point the agreement will dissolve if no further communication from us is forthcoming.
    From their opening page, their Philosophy: "The work of an artist is the creation of a talented mind, whose contribution to the creation of their art must be treated as the most valuable aspect.”

    I just love all these small presses that claim to respect writers' talent and artistry, while screwing them over with lousy submission guidelines, poor contracts, and general non-professionalism.

    - VIctoria

  8. #8
    Researching History's Mysteries HistorySleuth's Avatar
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    They seem very anti-agent, that's for sure. Can't have a pesky agent in there vying for the authors rights.

    They have only one author listed (probably since they only started in 2010) who mentions on his blog post (towards the bottom) that the company publishes using LuLu. So right there, no need to go through Briona for something you can do yourself.

    A little googling finds an "editor." And her suite 101 profile.

    Comments on a survey page by their Director of Marketing, Jason S. Reilly, towards the bottom. Can't find anything on him other than he seems to have a few posts on this survey site.

    So nothing to show experience in the industry.
    Last edited by HistorySleuth; 04-03-2011 at 09:00 PM.
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  9. #9
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin dphillips's Avatar
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    Hey folks- new here, but I found this thread, and wanted to clear up misinformation about Briona Glen.

    My interest in Briona Glen-- they just published my first novel, A Memory of Grief.

    Background: for years I've worked to become a professional writer, and I approach it as a combination of art and craft. I'm very serious about my writing, and have no patience for those who take advantage of writers. With 20 published stories, published poetry, and three complete novels, I've put some time and effort in. I was old-school, and was determined to achieve the Holy Grail of getting accepted and published by one of the mainstream houses.

    I had a mystery novel that was vetted by industry pros, and was told that the book was good, well-written, and commercially viable. I diligently followed the traditional path, and had a good query. Despite interest, more than three years went by with no publication, despite having a good product and doing everything right.

    Other writers tell of numerous books that were rejected by dozens of publishers and agents, yet when the book finally got out, hit the best-seller list. And 98% of traditionally published books don't sell more than a few thousand copies, making them "failures" in the big trad pub world. So- odds of success are against writers, and the big houses miss a lot of the talent. And what if you get stuck with a crappy cover and no sales push? You have no recourse.

    Advances are miniscule for most first books (then subtract 15%), and yes, there are cases where an advance from a publisher can be viewed as a loan, because if a book does not earn out the advance, some contracts allow the publisher to ask for the balance back.

    Meanwhile, the revolution was gaining momentum. Ebooks exploded in popularity, and writers were able to make sales in the thousands without traditional publishing houses. People like Joe Konrath, Amanda Hocking, and Debbi Mack were able to succeed with ebooks. And many lesser talents were able to sell respectable numbers. Big pub houses reacted badly- they're still charging too much for ebooks, keeping the sales low.

    Hmmm. Even if I suddenly got accepted, the slow pace of the trad pub industry meant it would be at least two more years before publication, if everything went well, which it rarely does. Could be even longer. And my sequels in the series wouldn't get published for even more years, because they'd want to see how #1 sold. So if it didn't take off (unlikely for a mid-list author with no push), the odds were highly against doing anything significant. And few ebook sales, and no control over the process. Not good.

    So I figured I could do better, researching what I needed to do to succeed at self-publishing. While I could do the massive extra work involved in self-determination, I knew there were many writers for whom this would be difficult.

    Then came Briona Glen, offering the best of both worlds- taking away the cost and risk and "stigma" of self-publishing, while offering quality control, speed-to-market, and authorial control. As a small house, they'd keep overhead and costs low, and work their butts off to promote new writers and help them gain a readership.

    They're sincere in wanting to make it work, and in listening to writers. They're in startup mode, and that means they're iterating their process. Check their site out now, and you'll see the difference. No, they're not using Lulu. No, they don't offer advances, so agents don't like them. But they offer huge royalties, and you won't have to wait years to get paid. Yes, they're a good middle ground between all-DIY and big-house trad pub. And yes, they have professional editing and staff- they outsource as needed. By going with them, a starting writer is going to have a chance to do more than they would alone. They have more than one writer as well, it's just that until all the paperwork is done, they can't announce yet- but stay tuned.

    They've published my first book as an ebook, while we get the print version out. And they worked a crazy, accelerated schedule to make it coincide with a big anthology signing I had, because they knew it was important.

    Then I'll have another book out every 3-4 months for awhile. So I'll have over ten books out in print and ebook format (and some in audio) in the time big-house publishing would have done one. And I get to set the sequence, change genres, choose covers, and release more than one book a year!

    So go for whatever method you prefer. Maybe it's not for you, but now writers have options, and that's a good thing. I'm working towards being a full-time professional fiction writer (almost impossible for all but a few under the old paradigm), and I feel Briona Glen can help get me there. Check me out a year from now, and we'll compare sales numbers. And check me out in five years, after I've sold thousands, while some writers who now have a book but are using the old paradigm will still be unpublished.

    Thanks for listening. www.daletphillips.com
    Last edited by dphillips; 05-19-2011 at 05:06 AM.

  10. #10
    Shakespearean Fool DreamWeaver's Avatar
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    I will be very interested to hear what you have to report in a year. Good luck!
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  11. #11
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Hi, dphillips, and welcome to AW.

    Can I ask what specifically drew you to Briona Glen as a publisher, given that there are plenty of small outfits out there that make the same claims?

    dphillips:
    I diligently followed the traditional path, and had a good query. Despite interest, more than three years went by with no publication, despite having a good product and doing everything right.
    Can I ask what kind of interest you had? Were agents/publishers asking for partials and fulls?

    Sometimes you can have a perfectly good book and just be querying it at the wrong time. I know several people that's happened to and while it's frustrating as hell, the only thing you can do is start another manuscript and then query it (because at least that way, you've got an instant second manuscript if they want follow-up projects).

    dphillips:
    And 98% of traditionally published books don't sell more than a few thousand copies, making them "failures" in the big trad pub world.
    I'm not sure where you got that figure from, but I have to question whether it's true. Even books that don't sell enough money to earn out advances for the author will make a profit for a commercial publisher and an author does not have to earn out their advance to be regarded as a success. It all turns on what the initial print run is.

    dphillips:
    And what if you get stuck with a crappy cover and no sales push? You have no recourse.
    No commercial publisher is ever going to sit back and do absolutely nothing for a book. A friend of mine had her book published last year by a good imprint at one of the big 6 publishers. Her book was not seen as one of the lead titles, but the publisher still did what they do for every book - sent out review copies to the national papers and main journals, produced marketing posters and material for her, and organised some book signings at London stores (including a launch party). And on top of that, they made sure that the book was available in bookstores across the country (although because it was not the lead title, they did not pay for special marketing privileges, e.g. 3 for 2). The result is that she's enjoyed better than expected sales of her book and been nominated for a host of UK awards, both regional and national.

    dphillips:
    yes, there are cases where an advance from a publisher can be viewed as a loan, because if a book does not earn out the advance, some contracts allow the publisher to ask for the balance back.
    Which publishers do this and can you provide some evidence for that? The reason I ask is because this is one of the big myths about publishing and it's complete rubbish. The only instance in which you have to return an advance is if you fail to provide the book or if you provide a book that is completely unpublishable (and good luck to a publisher in trying to prove that, because as the famous case against Joan Collins proves, it's an entirely subjective decision as to what is publishable).

    dphillips:
    Ebooks exploded in popularity, and writers were able to make sales in the thousands without traditional publishing houses. People like Joe Konrath, Amanda Hocking, and Debbi Mack were able to succeed with ebooks.
    There are dozens of threads on AW that discuss this so I'm not going to rehash here. What I will do is point out that:

    - K. A. Konrath started out as a commercially published author with an established fan base and for all his ebook success (for which I congratulate him) I note that he's signed up with Amazon for their commercially published mystery line;

    - Amanda Hocking herself has spoken about how much hard work it took to become a success and why that led her to take a deal with a commercial publisher.

    dphillips:
    And many lesser talents were able to sell respectable numbers. Big pub houses reacted badly- they're still charging too much for ebooks, keeping the sales low.
    Commercial publishing houses aren't bothered by self-published authors because their sales are still healthy. In fact many of the big commercial publishers are seeing steadily increasing ebook sales as they move into the market, despite the fact that they're not following the 99c model.

    dphillips:
    Hmmm. Even if I suddenly got accepted, the slow pace of the trad pub industry meant it would be at least two more years before publication, if everything went well, which it rarely does. Could be even longer. And my sequels in the series wouldn't get published for even more years, because they'd want to see how #1 sold. So if it didn't take off (unlikely for a mid-list author with no push), the odds were highly against doing anything significant. And few ebook sales, and no control over the process. Not good.
    That's a personal decision, but it's based on assumptions and unknowns. Those factors may have been important to you, but they won't hold equal sway for other writers because there are obvious advantages to being commercially published (not least quality control, marketing, editing and money received up front rather than being paid out up front).

    dphillips:
    Then came Briona Glen, offering the best of both worlds- taking away the cost and risk and "stigma" of self-publishing, while offering quality control, speed-to-market, and authorial control. As a small house, they'd keep overhead and costs low, and work their butts off to promote new writers and help them gain a readership.
    As a general comment (and based on my reading of the Briona Glen website), Biona Glen aren't offering self-publishing. Under self-publishing you are publishing under your name. With Briona Glen, they are taking the publishing rights.

    The problem with start ups (and my understanding is that Briona Glen only set up in 2010) is lack of capitalisation and (often) lack of any previous publishing experience. There are many, many start-up publishers listed on this Forum who went under in the first 24 months, usually taking the authors rights with it.

    Have Briona published anyone before you so that they could give you average sales figures or are they using you as their guinea pig? Are you aware that right now while there is information on you up there, there is nothing to tell people how to buy your book or where it can be brought from (including a failure to set out the actual release date)? Will it be made available on Amazon and B&N? What formats is it available in? How much will it be priced at? These are all things that the publisher should be able to promote now but there's nothing and that suggests to me that they're pretty clueless and not professional.

    dphillips:
    They're sincere in wanting to make it work, and in listening to writers. They're in startup mode, and that means they're iterating their process. Check their site out now, and you'll see the difference.
    I'm not doubting their sincerity but they've been in startup mode for several months now and the only thing that's obviously changed on their site is that they're closed to submissions. They don't even have an on-site store to enable people to buy their books direct.

    dphillips:
    But they offer huge royalties, and you won't have to wait years to get paid.
    What royalty rate are they offering?

    I have to say that unless they get big sales, a large royalty is meaningless. 75% of zip is zero.

    dphillips:
    And yes, they have professional editing and staff- they outsource as needed. By going with them, a starting writer is going to have a chance to do more than they would alone. They have more than one writer as well, it's just that until all the paperwork is done, they can't announce yet- but stay tuned.
    If they're outsourcing then they don't have staff. I'd certainly want to know who they're outsourcing to because if they're not hiring professionals, it's difficult to anticiapte the actual worth of the work.

    And as far as outsourcing goes, an author can do that by themselves, in which case they'd at least have control over who is being used and what they're doing.

    dphillips:
    They've published my first book as an ebook, while we get the print version out.
    Have they taken world rights to the print version and how are they proposing to print, i.e. are they off-setting or using POD? Do they have any distribution deals in place to get the books put in stores?

    dphillips:
    Then I'll have another book out every 3-4 months for awhile. So I'll have over ten books out in print and ebook format (and some in audio) in the time big-house publishing would have done one. And I get to set the sequence, change genres, choose covers, and release more than one book a year!
    OK.

    dphillips:
    Check me out a year from now, and we'll compare sales numbers. And check me out in five years, after I've sold thousands, while some writers who now have a book but are using the old paradigm will still be unpublished.
    I genuinely hope it goes well for you but I remain very concerned about the worth of signing with this company.

    MM

  12. #12
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin dphillips's Avatar
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    Different Strokes

    Well, it seems like some folks just can't accept that there are now other options for writers to publish, outside the traditional big-house company. It appears that they'd denigrate all other paths, no matter how well someone was doing, so there's no point in debating someone who won't listen.

    All publishing is a risk. You need to weigh the risk with the potential for reward, both short-term and long-term. I've been in this writing game for a long time, am quite experienced, and have carefully weighed all the factors. I signed my first book with a startup publisher, in hopes that we'll all succeed, and they can move on to help other writers.

    If it doesn't work, hey, I've got other books, and there are other publishers and other options. Plenty of people have been screwed going the other route, and I'm years ahead of where I'd be if I continued down that other path. So no regrets.

    It's right to be skeptical, though it doesn't seem fair to trash a company you don't know. If someone's making an informed choice that's different from what you'd do, that's not always bad.

  13. #13
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    dphillips:
    Well, it seems like some folks just can't accept that there are now other options for writers to publish, outside the traditional big-house company.
    It also seems that once again, an author cannot accept legitimate questions raised about their choices.

    dphillips:
    It appears that they'd denigrate all other paths, no matter how well someone was doing, so there's no point in debating someone who won't listen.
    That's simply not true. There are plenty of people here who self-publish and there is plenty of support here for legitimate small presses. What we're cautious about is small start-ups with no obvious capital, no means of distribution and which rely on repeating lies about commercial publishing as a means of promoting themselves.

    dphillips:
    All publishing is a risk. You need to weigh the risk with the potential for reward, both short-term and long-term.
    And if you go with a commercial, advance paying publisher then you are mitigating a lot of that risk, or if you go with an established, epublisher with a good reputation then you are mitigating that risk. Going with an unknown run by people who don't seem to know how commercial publishing works increases the risk.

    I'm curious as to why you haven't answered any of the questions that I have raised on this thread - questions that would help set minds at rest about Briona Glen. The purpose of this forum is to help people make informed decisions and you haven't provided any concrete information about the company. Indeed, for someone who says they're informed and experienced, you seem to have fallen for a lot of the myths and misinformation spread about publishing.

    Still, that's all your choice. Hope it works out for you and that you'll be back in a year to tell us how it wet.

    MM

  14. #14
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    If you think everyone here goes for large commercial publishers or remained unpublished, you haven't looked very hard. Just because small or self publishing can be good does not mean it is always good. When you have a lot of sales to report, let's say the average sort of amount for a small press like a few hundred to a few thousand inthe first year, please let us know and we will be thrilled for you .
    Emily Veinglory

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    Quote Originally Posted by dphillips View Post
    All publishing is a risk. You need to weigh the risk with the potential for reward, both short-term and long-term.
    I agree that publishing is a risk and that you need to weigh the potential for reward, which is why I'm curious about your choice. Your book is only available through Smashwords. Any publisher worth their salt is going to get their books in Amazon and every other online database to maximize sales potential and exposure.

  16. #16
    practical experience, FTW Adobedragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dphillips View Post

    They're sincere in wanting to make it work, and in listening to writers. They're in startup mode, and that means they're iterating their process. Check their site out now, and you'll see the difference.
    Um. I did check out their site and I find a curious absence of books for sale. Smaller presses, especially epresses, with their lack of placement in brick and mortar stores, need a good web presence, including a website that sells books. So I find the lack of books for sale a bit...erm, "off putting."

    And, for the record, I'm published by a small, start up publisher. Thanks to the Absolute Write forums, I went into the process fully aware of the pros and cons of going with an unproven publisher.

    My point being, I don't think anyone is trying to denigrate the path you've chosen. They are simply having a straightforward discussion regarding what a publisher like Briona Glen can offer.

    I wish you the best of luck with your book.


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  17. #17
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin dphillips's Avatar
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    I tried to clear up misinformation, but more of it seemed to sprout. Statements like the following went unchallenged by others here:
    "No commercial publisher is ever going to sit back and do absolutely nothing for a book."
    --Please go to a writer convention, stand up in the public forum and say that you believe that, and see what the reaction is.

    And this: "Commercial publishing houses aren't bothered by self-published authors because their sales are still healthy."

    These beliefs run counter to things I have heard from many writers over the years. When one looks at what the big-house traditional publishers have been doing the last few years, many of their actions seem to indicate that much of the time they don't really know what they're doing.

    So- how many debut novels were launched by those houses last year, and how many sold more than a few thousand?

    If this whole venture fails and I don't sell many copies, I'll still get the rights back and be able to market the book however I want, well before I'd make it to the bookstores if I signed with a big house today. In the meantime, I put out more books on my schedule, however I want, and build my readership. So I could play the big-house lottery, and go unpublished for years more, or I can write, publish, and sell, which is what I'll be doing. Viva la revolution!

    And MM, sorry I won't endlessly discuss every point, because it would be to no avail. Some people here (not everyone, but some) are insisting that this is nothing but a bad idea, and won't hear anything to the contrary.

    Some people are working to give writers a choice, and I think that's a great goal. It takes some building, sure. The only proof is going to be success, so I'm getting back to work, to make that happen. Good luck all, with whatever path to publication you take.

  18. #18
    practical experience, FTW jeseymour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dphillips View Post


    If this whole venture fails and I don't sell many copies, I'll still get the rights back and be able to market the book however I want, well before I'd make it to the bookstores if I signed with a big house today. In the meantime, I put out more books on my schedule, however I want, and build my readership. So I could play the big-house lottery, and go unpublished for years more, or I can write, publish, and sell, which is what I'll be doing. Viva la revolution!


    One of the things that worries me about this publisher is that having read the contract, I saw nothing that said when the rights revert. With my current publisher, I get my print rights back in three years. There was no figure at all in Briona Glen's contract saying when rights revert to the author.
    http://jeseymour.com
    Out now from Barking Rain Press:
    Lead Poisoning (2nd ed.) - Things go wrong when a fugitive mob troubleshooter retires to New Hampshire to live with his family.
    Stress Fractures - Kevin Markinson, injured escaping from prison, taken hostage with a teenage boy and surrounded by law enforcement, discovers that everybody has a breaking point.
    Frostbite - a bumbling gang of Rhode Island mobsters get more than they bargained for when they kidnap an aging assassin.

  19. #19
    Grr. Argh. Thedrellum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dphillips View Post
    And MM, sorry I won't endlessly discuss every point, because it would be to no avail. Some people here (not everyone, but some) are insisting that this is nothing but a bad idea, and won't hear anything to the contrary.
    It seems more like you aren't the one who is able to entertain any ideas to the contrary.

    But, really, if your goal here is to disabuse us of our notions regarding Briona Glen, then why not answer the points Momento Mori and others bring up? If that isn't your goal, then why did you stop by here in the first place? Did you expect us to take your assertions regarding publishing (that don't have much in the way of facts behind them) and simply shut up?

    (Point: No one gets a free pass on AW, especially in the Bewares & Backgrounds section.)

    And, really, the reason we're asking these questions and making these points is because we want to know the answers you have to give. (Well, that and we don't want what we see as misinformation spread around for the unwary to find. Granted, if you provide support for your assertions, maybe you can prove that what your saying about commercial publishing isn't misinformation.)
    Last edited by Thedrellum; 05-26-2011 at 09:55 PM. Reason: crappy late night spelling

  20. #20
    I grow my own catnip JulieB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dphillips View Post
    I tried to clear up misinformation, but more of it seemed to sprout. Statements like the following went unchallenged by others here:
    "No commercial publisher is ever going to sit back and do absolutely nothing for a book."
    --Please go to a writer convention, stand up in the public forum and say that you believe that, and see what the reaction is.
    You forgot the rest of MM's quote.
    A friend of mine had her book published last year by a good imprint at one of the big 6 publishers. Her book was not seen as one of the lead titles, but the publisher still did what they do for every book - sent out review copies to the national papers and main journals, produced marketing posters and material for her, and organised some book signings at London stores (including a launch party). And on top of that, they made sure that the book was available in bookstores across the country (although because it was not the lead title, they did not pay for special marketing privileges, e.g. 3 for 2). The result is that she's enjoyed better than expected sales of her book and been nominated for a host of UK awards, both regional and national.
    This is what commercial publishers do for every book. Why? Because they want to make money, darn them. ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by dphillips View Post
    And this: "Commercial publishing houses aren't bothered by self-published authors because their sales are still healthy."
    I don't think they are particularly bothered, but it's clear they're watching self-pubbed authors. Ask Amanda Hocking.

    Quote Originally Posted by dphillips View Post
    These beliefs run counter to things I have heard from many writers over the years. When one looks at what the big-house traditional publishers have been doing the last few years, many of their actions seem to indicate that much of the time they don't really know what they're doing.
    Last sale I had that earned out was last year. Got some decent royalty checks, too. And an advance. Someone knew what they were doing. And believe me, I'm not an A-list author.

    Quote Originally Posted by dphillips View Post
    So- how many debut novels were launched by those houses last year, and how many sold more than a few thousand?
    Quite a few. Not every debut novel is going to take off. That's a risk commercial publishers take. And even with "a few thousand copies" sold, most books don't lose money for the house.

    Quote Originally Posted by dphillips View Post
    If this whole venture fails and I don't sell many copies, I'll still get the rights back and be able to market the book however I want, well before I'd make it to the bookstores if I signed with a big house today. In the meantime, I put out more books on my schedule, however I want, and build my readership. So I could play the big-house lottery, and go unpublished for years more, or I can write, publish, and sell, which is what I'll be doing. Viva la revolution!
    I hope it works out for you. Really, I do.

    It's true that the industry is changing and commercial publishers were slow to react. Yet, the biggest thing that commercial publishers do for their authors is get their books into retail channels and into the hands of reviewers. When I evaluate a publisher, I always ask what they're doing to get books (ebooks, print) into the hands of readers. I can do promotion, but it doesn't do any good if my publisher can't deliver the books. I hope Briona Glen is able to back you up. And I don't mean to sound snarky. I do hope it works.
    Last edited by JulieB; 05-26-2011 at 08:21 AM. Reason: Fixed quotes

  21. #21
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    dphillips:
    Please go to a writer convention, stand up in the public forum and say that you believe that, and see what the reaction is.
    It depends how many of those writers are with publishers who at least get books into stores and how many are those who went with start-ups.

    To repeat my previous questions, does Briona Glen have a distribution deal in place to get books into stores? Is it a POD operation or is it doing offset runs?

    dphillips:
    These beliefs run counter to things I have heard from many writers over the years. When one looks at what the big-house traditional publishers have been doing the last few years, many of their actions seem to indicate that much of the time they don't really know what they're doing.
    Are you hearing this from commercially published writers or unpublished writers? I hear many things from many people slagging off commercial publishing and accusing it of being dead, slow, unsupportive, hate new writers etc etc. And yet the commercial publishers continue to make money, continue to be in business, continue to take on debut novelists, continue getting books in stores and so on.

    What is Briona Glen going to do to match that?

    dphillips:
    how many debut novels were launched by those houses last year, and how many sold more than a few thousand?
    No idea, but I do know that those commercially published debut novels all got advances paid up front, which means that the authors weren't dependent on sales to make money from their work.

    dphillips:
    If this whole venture fails and I don't sell many copies, I'll still get the rights back and be able to market the book however I want, well before I'd make it to the bookstores if I signed with a big house today. In the meantime, I put out more books on my schedule, however I want, and build my readership. So I could play the big-house lottery, and go unpublished for years more, or I can write, publish, and sell, which is what I'll be doing. Viva la revolution!
    And that's cool - it's your choice.

    dphillips:
    And MM, sorry I won't endlessly discuss every point, because it would be to no avail. Some people here (not everyone, but some) are insisting that this is nothing but a bad idea, and won't hear anything to the contrary.
    It's up to you what you answer and what you discuss.

    All I'll say is that you haven't answered any of the questions I raised about the company - all of which would help people make an informed decision. I get that you don't want to go down the commercial publishing route and that's up to you. What I don't get is why you're so hostile to being told that some of your preconceptions about commercial publishing is based on mis-information and I still don't get what made Briona Glen stand out for you as opposed to the many other companies out there making similar claims.

    Can I ask if you actually started Briona Glen or are otherwise involved with the company other than as an author?

    dphillips:
    Some people are working to give writers a choice, and I think that's a great goal. It takes some building, sure. The only proof is going to be success, so I'm getting back to work, to make that happen.
    I'm all for choice but it's preferable for that choice to be informed, not blind.

    Like I said, hope it works out for you and I hope you'll come back in a year with some concrete information about how it's worked out.

    MM

  22. #22
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    What I find particularly incredible is that this publisher doesn't list the name of Mr. Phillips' book! There is an author page, but you'll notice there is no title or information about his book - or even where to buy it. The only way to find the title of his book is to visit his website. WTF? If they don't advertise it on their own site, then I have to wonder what the heck they're doing.

    The only link Briona Glen has on Mr. Phillips' author page is for a book they didn't even publish. Am I missing something?
    Last edited by priceless1; 05-27-2011 at 02:43 AM.

  23. #23
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin dphillips's Avatar
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    While trying to present my reasons for publishing with Briona Glen here, some folks expressed some strong opinions as to why I shouldn't. I wanted to address the people who genuinely desired to know why I did. Sorry, seems we got sidetracked.

    So here's part of the discussion between Joe Konrath and Barry Eisler, which contains much of the philosophy of why I went with an indie publisher instead of a legacy house:
    http://barryeisler.blogspot.com/
    There will be those picking apart various portions of the discussion-- but are there any refutations from someone with a legacy publisher who is selling more than these two? Likely not, which is one reason I looked at the new model. Don't argue with me-- go on either of their blogs and tell them why they're wrong.

    No, I don't think I'm at their level, I just like their attitude, that the writer should be in control and make more profit for what we produce. With legacy publishers, that's heresy.

    So I was going to self-publish, when Briona Glen stepped in and offered a new-type deal, of promotion and distribution for a share of the profits, while allowing me to keep control, something talked about in the link. I thought it was a cool deal offering the best of both worlds.

    Why Briona Glen, and not some other? I know one of the people involved in starting Briona Glen, and he's smart, honest, hard-working, and genuinely interested in helping writers get their works to the public. That's a lot more than I got from any other publisher or agent.

    "But they're a new startup with no track record, it's risky, what if you lose millions?"
    It's my first novel, folks, and I'm interested to see what they can do. It's on-the-job learning for all of us. For example, the website is being redone, which is why more promo hasn't been out there, something people have noted. Sure, that's a hiccup I'd have preferred not to have, but I don't think it's fatal.

    If I'm not happy with the results, I'll put the rest of my books out some other way. Suppose they're successful? We could help a lot of writers, and for that, I'm willing to take the chance. Not that I don't want to make as much money as possible, but a win here could be useful for future works, for me and for others. They'll help me sell more books than I could have by myself. I want readers, and they'll get more of them.

    An analogy with the business world-- anybody ever work for a startup? I have-- twice it worked out well, and twice it didn't. Some would prefer a "safe" environment with a big, established company-- but my record with those is about the same!

    It's a brave new world in publishing, and we need pioneers. Sure, some don't make it, but the ones that do can make great new opportunities for others. And some play it safe and perish anyway. Me, I'm about moving forward, writing more books, and getting people to read them. See you all at writer conventions and signings.

  24. #24
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    You know, I'm talking in circles here and while I appreciate dphilips coming here, I'm conscious that there's still a lack of concrete information as to what Briona Glen are doing and how they're operating. Instead, it seems to be more of a debate as to self-publishing -v- commercial publishing which has been done to death elsewhere.

    So I'm just going to repeat the questions I raised earlier in the thread and see if anyone can answer:

    - What royalty rate are they offering?

    - Have they taken world rights to the print version and how are they proposing to print, i.e. are they off-setting or using POD?

    - Do they have any distribution deals in place to get the books put in stores?

    This is the pertinent information that authors need to know before they can make an informed decision on whether to submit to Briona Glen (well, that and average sales figures, but until dphilips is currently the only author listed and the book isn't released yet, that information won't be available for another year).

    dphilips:
    Why Briona Glen, and not some other? I know one of the people involved in starting Briona Glen, and he's smart, honest, hard-working, and genuinely interested in helping writers get their works to the public. That's a lot more than I got from any other publisher or agent.
    Great. What publishing experience does he have?

    dphilips:
    "But they're a new startup with no track record, it's risky, what if you lose millions?"
    When has anyone on this thread actually said that to you?

    I don't have an issue with you coming here to explain the rationale behind your decisions, in fact I appreciate it. But putting up a straw-man argument like that really undermines your credibility.

    No one here has said that you will lose millions. That is patently an absurd assumption.

    What you do stand to lose if this doesn't do well or if Briona Glen fails is first publishing rights to your manuscript. If that happens, then your chances of ever getting a commercial publishing deal are slim to none. Now that might be fine because you figure you'll just go and self-publish (assuming that you get the proper reversion of your rights to do so), but it is a big deal that other authors need to think about.

    dphilips:
    They'll help me sell more books than I could have by myself.
    Cool. How? At the moment your book isn't listed as being available for sale - not even on Briona Glen's own website.

    MM

  25. #25
    practical experience, FTW jeseymour's Avatar
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    They do seem to have updated their website:

    http://www.brionaglen.com/about-us.html

    Royalties are 25% on net
    http://jeseymour.com
    Out now from Barking Rain Press:
    Lead Poisoning (2nd ed.) - Things go wrong when a fugitive mob troubleshooter retires to New Hampshire to live with his family.
    Stress Fractures - Kevin Markinson, injured escaping from prison, taken hostage with a teenage boy and surrounded by law enforcement, discovers that everybody has a breaking point.
    Frostbite - a bumbling gang of Rhode Island mobsters get more than they bargained for when they kidnap an aging assassin.

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