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Thread: The Linen Press

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW para's Avatar
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    The Linen Press

    Didn't see a thread for this publisher.
    http://www.linenpressbooks.com/

    There was a link from Nathan Bransford's blog round-up to a Guardian blog written by the publisher where she claims to lose £2 on every sale at Amazon. Very interesting, particularly the comments where the publisher replies.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/book...blisher-losses


  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW MickRooney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by para View Post
    Didn't see a thread for this publisher.
    http://www.linenpressbooks.com/

    There was a link from Nathan Bransford's blog round-up to a Guardian blog written by the publisher where she claims to lose £2 on every sale at Amazon. Very interesting, particularly the comments where the publisher replies.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/book...blisher-losses
    I'll tell you this much, Para. This lady (Lynn Mitchell of Linen Press) is sure getting around. I came across her on Eoin Purcell's blog when he picked up on the Guardian feature. If there is one thing she has achieved - it's publicity for Linen Press. I picked up Writing Magazine over the weekend, and djez, there was the same piece again about the struggles she was having to make a profit with Amazon. My own publisher has done stuff with Writers Magazine, and I know there is a run-in time of at least three weeks to press. So, I suspect Linen has been firing out the same press release for some weeks to the media.

    Interestingly, in the Guardian piece, she suggests in the comment section that she may have got her math skewed. My own comment on Eoin Purcell's blog about Linen said:

    “I avoid looking into the abyss of financial disaster.”

    And as long as the owner of Linen Press (was their some deep-rooted subconscious message going on there in the mind of the owner when the name was chosen!) continues to avoid this abyss, their press will continue to hemorrhage profits.

    While I do sympathize with someone running a small press for the love of literature and promoting obscure or neglected manuscripts, there is basic common sense missing here. Amazon, as mighty as it is as an online retailer, remains an optional sales channel for a publisher – not an obligational sales pathway to their consumers.

    You don’t need economists like McWilliams or Lee to tell you that selling 20 books a week through Amazon at a £2.80 loss doesn’t stack up against making a 50p profit on 5 five books through a small sales channel. That kind of ‘loss-profit’ economic strategy is for the heavy honchos like Tesco, Target, Wallmart, Sainburys et all, who can afford to wager ‘lost-leaders’ against increased footfall.

    The best thing Linen Press can do is develop multiple small sales channels rather than bitch about retail Goliaths like Amazon. It is what it is. And it’s why five of the big six publishers in the US introduced the Agency Model for ebooks.


    I'm open to people rubbishing my views on why publishers introduced the Agency Model, but in regards to Linen Press - well, Lynn has still a great deal to learn about running a small press. And I wonder how much this whole mailshot/press release was actually deliberately designed to garner Linen Press a large slice of publicity. While I sympathize with Lynn's position in running a small press, I think she has not thought all this fully through.
    Last edited by MickRooney; 04-11-2011 at 05:59 AM.

  3. #3
    It looks like we've lost the discussion of the last few days in the great and legendary Board Crash of 2011, so I'm putting a quick recap here for the benefit of future users.

    The Linen Press announced on their Blog they would be charging £5 per submission because they could no longer afford to give rejection feedback to authors for free. Any feedback given by the Linen Press was at their choice.

    The Linen Press's submission page specified the fee was £10 a submission.

    Within a couple of days the decision was reversed, the blog deleted and the fee removed from the submissions page.

    An author whose book is coming out with The Linen Press has found it to be a great experience with much enthusiasm from editor Lynn Michell.

    The questions surrounding the future of The Linen Press and any steps taken by them to address the losses incurred by their unsustainable business model remain the subject of our speculation.

    Did I miss anything important?

  4. #4
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    Theo, I really appreciate your doing this. Was upset when the thread disappeared, leaving only the initial comments. Of course the speculation over business models may continue - but I do want to reiterate that Linen Press are doing OK and that they only lose money when they sell through Amazon.
    Susiex

  5. #5
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Then I'll repeat my earlier (now lost) comment:

    If they lose money selling through Amazon, either they need to stop selling through Amazon, or raise their prices at Amazon to the point where they no longer lose money.

  6. #6
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Or to look closely at their business model, work out why they can't afford to sell through Amazon when so many other publishers can, and adjust their work-habits accordingly.

  7. #7
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
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    Did I question how it was possible for them to only be losing money on their Amazon sales? I know I wondered about it.

    I also posted a scurrilous ditty about reading fees.
    Winner of the Best Drycleaner on the Block Award.

  8. #8
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    From the Google Cache:

    Originally posted by Old Hack 07-07-2011, 08:24 PM:

    Linen Press is now going to charge £5 per submission.

    Which means that I will now advise people to not even consider submitting to it.

    ========================

    Originally posted by veinglory 07-07-2011, 08:39 PM:

    Gee, maybe selling books at a net loss wasn't such a brilliant idea after all.

    [Crosses that one off the list]

    ========================

    Originally posted by priceless1 07-07-2011, 08:50 PM:

    I'm sorry, but anyone who consistently loses money selling their books is doing something seriously wrong. Why would authors want to be a part of that venture?

    ===========================

    Originally posted by Old Hack 07-07-2011, 08:54 PM:

    No need to be sorry, Lynn. You're absolutely right.

    ====================

    Originally posted by michael b 07-07-2011, 10:34 PM:

    Maybe she should rethink selling through Amazon, or do what the smarter publishers did and jack up their prices to allow for Amazon's discounts. Of course if that small discount means she's loosing money, maybe there's more wrong than Amazon's discount.

    ===================

    Originally posted by Theo81 07-08-2011 12:01 AM:

    I had considered this publisher for ages because I liked their mission statement, but in the end I had too many personal concerns, particularly about their unsustainable business model.
    I am appalled by their decision to charge for submissions (which according to the submissions page is ten pounds, not the five specified in the blog, which really, really builds up the confidence levels).
    The way it has been outlined in the blog sounds scarily reasonable, but quite honestly, it's not the way to run a business. If you don't have the time to send a personal reply to somebody, don't do it. If a writer has a problem with that, what exactly is the publishing house missing out on? The writer's great attitude?
    Going by agent blogs, the 7 - 10 submissions a week The Linen Press gets is not a big number, especially when 4-6 are simply not very well written (as specified in the blog post).
    If the first page is badly written, stop reading and send a form rejection. It's not difficult. It's nice that The Linen Press wants to help by offering feedback, but it shouldn't come at the expense of other things.

    Ideology is all well and good, but the primary thing I want in a publisher is an ability to run a business. All this charging malarkey is going to do is increase the number of illiterate submissions from writers who don't understand the cardinal rule.

    ======================

    Originally posted by veinglory 07-08-2011 12:17 AM:
    Publishers get slush, this is not new. They generally respond by accepting less, reading less of what they get, reading faster, or getting someone cheap or free (i.e. "intern") to discard the obvious dogs.

    =======================

    Originally posted by priceless1 07-08-2011 12:57 AM:

    From her About Us page:

    I read all submissions and look favourably on those that would be chucked aside by the big guys.
    This kind of statement drives me nuts because they're appealing to authors feeling good and flattered rather than discussing their ability to get their books sold. It's window dressing. And really, what does that statement mean, anyway? Have they determined exactly what "the big guys" chuck aside? They're wasting time with feel-good smoke and mirrors when they should be discussing how they distribute their books into large marketplaces.

    ===================

    Originally posted by pangalactic 07-08-2011 01:16 AM:

    Originally Posted by priceless1
    From her About Us page:

    I read all submissions and look favourably on those that would be chucked aside by the big guys.

    This kind of statement drives me nuts because they're appealing to authors feeling good and flattered rather than discussing their ability to get their books sold. It's window dressing. And really, what does that statement mean, anyway? Have they determined exactly what "the big guys" chuck aside? They're wasting time with feel-good smoke and mirrors when they should be discussing how they distribute their books into large marketplaces.
    What that says to me is that they'd be willing to take sub-par manuscripts - because those are the ones that are 'chucked aside by the big guys', surely? If they're willing to accept work that isn't of the highest quality possible...well, that's a red flag for me.

    ===================

    Originally posted by priceless1 07-08-2011 02:29 AM:

    Originally Posted by pangalactic
    What that says to me is that they'd be willing to take sub-par manuscripts - because those are the ones that are 'chucked aside by the big guys', surely? If they're willing to accept work that isn't of the highest quality possible...well, that's a red flag for me.
    Linen's implication is that publishers reject for only one reason - that they're not blockbuster books. That simply isn't true. Publishers reject for a whole variety of reasons - their season is filled, wrong genre, huge word count, low word count, lousy writing, unmarketable story, overcrowded genre. The list goes on and on.

    It's a non-statement because it has no meaning. What's right for us, for instance, may be "sub par" for another publisher.

    They're trying to say they are the first line of defense after a "big publisher" rejection, and think they'd be much more convincing if they focused on how their books are sold and distributed.

    =====================

    Originally posted by veinglory 07-08-2011 03:11 AM:

    But to be fair, if a close reading of slush is part of their brand that is fine, but... well, it is up to them to make that work.

    ======================

    Originally posted by priceless1 07-08-2011 05:22 AM:

    Originally Posted by veinglory
    But to be fair, if a close reading of slush is part of their brand that is fine, but... well, it is up to them to make that work.
    But small presses read their goody pile (I hate the word slush) at some point, so this isn't really a selling tool. It's like saying, "Hey, we put covers on our books!"

    They don't say how they distribute and make sales, something I think an author should be far more concerned about than crowing about reading their goody pile.

    ======================

    Originally posted by Unimportant -7-08-2011 06:07 AM:

    Originally Posted by veinglory
    But to be fair, if a close reading of slush is part of their brand that is fine, but... well, it is up to them to make that work.
    "Close reading?" While at times the owner claims to be poring over submissions nonstop, their webpage says:

    NEW
    £10 CHARGE FOR SUBMISSIONS
    PLEASE NOTE THAT FROM NOW ON, Linen Press has decided to charge £10.00 to all writers wishing to submit their work for consideration by our company
    immediately followed by

    Rejections
    I am sorry but I no longer have time to write a personal letter to every writer who sends in a manuscript which is not right for Linen Press. If I did respond to each of you, I would do nothing else. As a writer, I know how disappointing it is to receive a standard rejection letter but a rejection from me does not necessarily mean that you do not have talent. It may be that your submission is not suitable for this small publishing house or that your writing is a long way off ready for publication.
    BUT….
    But if your submission is really promising……
    you may still get a personal reply.
    ==========================

    Originally posted by Old Hack 07-08-2011 09:52 AM:

    Right. So, to enable Linen Press to continue to spend ages reading through all submissions and commenting on them it's now going to charge either £5 or £10 per submission and then... it's not going to comment on them.

    That's clear.

    ======================

    Originally posted by veinglory 07-08-2011 06:40 PM:

    Well... that's a lose/lose situation.

    ======================

    Originally posted by Old Hack 07-08-2011 11:18 PM:

    I left a comment on the Linen Press blog-post about their charging for submissions: it was not approved.

    The blog post appears to have been deleted. All I see when I click on the link I left earlier is this:

    Just test some text
    And the submissions page now has no mention of a reading fee.

    ETA: however, they now are offering paid-for critiques beginning at £40 for an initial assessment, with estimated cost for an 80k novel £210-300.

    There's still a conflict of interests there.

    ===================

    Originally posted by Theo81 07-08-2011 11:39 PM:

    The text quoted above regarding not being able to write a personal rejection was on there before the submissions guidelines had the (now vanished) £10 pricetag. I really wouldn't read anything into it. I'd say the submissions page got edited to put the charge on without the existing text being looked at.

    Whether this means a reversal of policy or a delay until it The Linen Press has a chance to implement it with a totally rewritten submissions page is anybody's guess.

    ====================

    Originally posted by Unimportant 07-09-2011 12:52 AM:

    Originally Posted by Old Hack
    I left a comment on the Linen Press blog-post about their charging for submissions: it was not approved.

    The blog post appears to have been deleted.
    Yep, I too left a comment that didn't get approved, and yep, as far as I can see the entire blog post is no longer there.

    Hopefully they'll re-think this one.

    ===================

    Originally posted by Old Hack 07-09-2011 01:21 AM:

    They might re-think it but as far as I'm concerned, it's too late now.

    ===================

    Originally posted by BenPanced 07-09-2011 03:05 AM:

    At this rate, they're going to start charing 25 quid...

    ============================

    Originally posted by michael b 07-09-2011 12:57 PM:

    Well I imagine this should cut down on all those submissions she's complaining about.

    =====================

    Originally posted by HapiSofi 07-09-2011 03:17 PM:

    My great-aunt's a small-press slush reader
    Takes books others chuck in the bin
    She'll take you all right for a tenner
    My gawd how the money rolls in

    My great-aunt's gone upwardly mobile
    Ten pounds a book spread her too thin
    She'll now read your book for three hundred
    My gawd how the money rolls in

    =====================
    Last edited by CaoPaux; 07-15-2011 at 08:20 PM.

  9. #9
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    So now loads more derogatory messages have been retrieved (and one message has been altered) but still not the ones I took ages replying to. I'm feeling quite upset about this. The original thread ran to 55+ posts, and quite a few of them were me, taking time to answer people's questions and to try to show that my experience with Linen Press has been a very good one. I understand that the site crashed, but retrieval of only the early messages is misleading. Particularly, I'd add, the poem posted last of all, which has since had 'great aunt' inserted rather than the original name.
    Susie

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    Susie, the retrieval is a work in progress. Everyone is doing the best they can.


    Nothing is stopping you from reposting, or writing a new post to get your points across. Please do so, if you like.
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    Quote Originally Posted by susieangela View Post
    So now loads more derogatory messages have been retrieved (and one message has been altered) but still not the ones I took ages replying to. I'm feeling quite upset about this.
    I can see where you would think these messages are derogatory because you feel protective of your publisher. And that's fine. But this is a Bewares Board, there are many experienced people who know a lot about the business. Would you shut down their opinions merely because they counter yours?

  12. #12
    A cat may not look at a king kellion92's Avatar
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    Priceless, Susie seems to be upset that her posts are the ones that are missing (inadvertently due to the outage, of course). I don't see any mention of her trying to suppress your opinions.

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    It was the "So now loads more derogatory messages have been retrieved" that made me think otherwise.

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    A cat may not look at a king kellion92's Avatar
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    How about you read the whole sentence?

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    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by susieangela View Post
    So now loads more derogatory messages have been retrieved (and one message has been altered) but still not the ones I took ages replying to. I'm feeling quite upset about this. The original thread ran to 55+ posts, and quite a few of them were me, taking time to answer people's questions and to try to show that my experience with Linen Press has been a very good one. I understand that the site crashed, but retrieval of only the early messages is misleading. Particularly, I'd add, the poem posted last of all, which has since had 'great aunt' inserted rather than the original name.
    Susie
    For your information, it can take cached pages a few days to be retrievable. 7/8 & 9 came online yesterday and *surprise!* 7/10 & 11 are up today. Give me a few minutes, and I'll restore what what's available.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kellion92 View Post
    How about you read the whole sentence?
    Um. I did.

  17. #17
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Restored from 7/10/11:

    Today, 02:05 AM
    susieangela
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    I'm sorry, but anyone who consistently loses money selling their books is doing something seriously wrong. Why would authors want to be a part of that venture?

    This author does. And I'll tell you why.

    I'm one of Linen Press's soon-to-be-published writers. I've been through the same mill that most writers have - revisions, revisions, revisions: submissions to agents, form rejections, requests for fulls, rejections again etc. I hadn't subbed to a small press until, after a particularly brutal rejection from an agent who had had my full manuscript for six months, I decided to try.
    I received a reply to my submission on the same day, telling me that Lynn would read my two chapters. A few days further on, she requested the full. She then asked me to make some revisions and said that if we were both happy with the book after this, she would offer me a contract, which she did. Now that I've completed the structural revisions, we are going through the novel chapter by chapter, which may take up to four more months. Lynn is an excellent editor. I am learning a lot. But above all, it is so extraordinary to receive encouragement and support from someone who 'gets' my novel, believes in it and is willing to put her time, effort and cash into publishing it.
    Linen Press are small, but they are excellent. They have a great ethos. Please, please don't judge Lynn or Linen Press for this recent idea about submission fees (which has now been removed after further thought, and having taken note of people's responses).
    I've not been asked to write this. I just felt really sad and angry to read some of what's being written and wanted to set the record straight. Lynn offers her authors what most large (and some small) presses don't - a personal and passionate service. The fact that she's been willing over the years to spend time replying personally to each submission can only be good for us writers.
    Susiex
    Today, 03:02 AM
    veinglory
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    It is great to hear from a LP writer, but IMHO the immediate comparison is not Linen press to unresponsive and impermeable presses. It is Linen Press to the hundreds of other presses that do respond quickly and foster authors, but don't sell books for a net loss and never felt the need to charge reading fees. And if this comparison is so unfair, one wonders why Linen Press themselves decided to reverse the decision and not charge a fee but seek other sources of income (one still wonders of staunching the 'outflow' might also be wise?). It simply does not look like the hallmarks of a stable (aka profitable) business--no matter what the press's other virtues might be. Right or wrong, the speculation is both predictable and widespread. Similar poking and prodding can be seen in most of the threads in this sub-forum. But in the end the proof is in the publishing.
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    If a press loses money on each volume sold, sooner or later it will go out of business.

    Where will the writer be then?
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    Originally Posted by susieangela View Post
    I'm sorry, but anyone who consistently loses money selling their books is doing something seriously wrong. Why would authors want to be a part of that venture?
    This author does. And I'll tell you why.

    I received a reply to my submission on the same day, telling me that Lynn would read my two chapters. A few days further on, she requested the full. She then asked me to make some revisions and said that if we were both happy with the book after this, she would offer me a contract, which she did. Now that I've completed the structural revisions, we are going through the novel chapter by chapter, which may take up to four more months. Lynn is an excellent editor. I am learning a lot. But above all, it is so extraordinary to receive encouragement and support from someone who 'gets' my novel, believes in it and is willing to put her time, effort and cash into publishing it.
    Linen Press are small, but they are excellent. They have a great ethos. Please, please don't judge Lynn or Linen Press for this recent idea about submission fees (which has now been removed after further thought, and having taken note of people's responses).
    I've not been asked to write this. I just felt really sad and angry to read some of what's being written and wanted to set the record straight. Lynn offers her authors what most large (and some small) presses don't - a personal and passionate service. The fact that she's been willing over the years to spend time replying personally to each submission can only be good for us writers.
    Susiex
    I'm curious if you paid a submission fee, or are paying for editing? I hope neither.

    Personally, I'd be worried about my book being handled by a press that's losing money the way she claims this one is. Good luck to you and your book, but I'd find that worrisome, myself.

    I think a press offering paid editing is a conflict of interest case and a bit ethically dodgy.

    Coin floweth toward the scribe, evermore. *cymbal*

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    Originally Posted by susieangela View Post

    I'm sorry, but anyone who consistently loses money selling their books is doing something seriously wrong. Why would authors want to be a part of that venture?
    This author does. And I'll tell you why.
    Thanks for sharing your experiences. I'm glad that you're happy so far. And while you may be willing to go with a publisher who consistently loses money selling their books, I'm not sure how happy you'll be, knowing how hard you've worked, after your book is published.

    There are many great small presses who put their authors through the mill during the editing phase. The proof is in sales. At least, it should be.
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    Originally Posted by susieangela View Post
    Lynn offers her authors what most large (and some small) presses don't - a personal and passionate service. The fact that she's been willing over the years to spend time replying personally to each submission can only be good for us writers.
    Hi, Susie, and welcome.

    The thing about this bit I've quoted is that YOU (the writer) shouldn't be the target of Lynn's services. If you are, the publisher's priorities are skewed, and this wouldn't be a good indicator of future success. (Unless a company is a self-publishing service provider, in which case the author is the customer and then the service provided to said customer is relevant. I don't believe that Linen is a self-publishing service provider, though, so this wouldn't apply to it.)

    A publisher's customers are readers. Writers are essentially vendors, providing the raw materials the publishers use to create the final product that customers buy.

    How does Linen Press stack up compared to successful publishers in providing books to readers that they want to read and can easily purchase?
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    HapiSofi
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    No one's mentioned any extraordinary expenses Linen Press incurs on their books. If they're losing money, they aren't selling many copies. If I were a writer-in-waiting, I'd be concerned about that.
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    Originally Posted by HapiSofi View Post
    No one's mentioned any extraordinary expenses Linen Press incurs on their books. If they're losing money, they aren't selling many copies. If I were a writer-in-waiting, I'd be concerned about that.
    Me too.

    Originally Posted by susieangela View Post
    I've not been asked to write this. I just felt really sad and angry to read some of what's being written and wanted to set the record straight. Lynn offers her authors what most large (and some small) presses don't - a personal and passionate service. The fact that she's been willing over the years to spend time replying personally to each submission can only be good for us writers.
    Susiex
    My bold.

    You're doing editors a big disservice here.

    I've met many editors who are passionate about the books they work on, and who work closely with their authors in order to make them the best that they can be.
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    Today, 03:40 PM
    Theo81
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    Hiya Susie, welcome to AW.

    FYI, the BRBC section of the board exists to help writers make informed decisions about where they send their work. In addition to exposing scams, it helps us to understand the contracts we enter into, manage our expectations of what a particular publisher can do, and aid us if something goes wrong. Nobody is here to rail, only to ask the difficult questions.

    Originally Posted by susieangela View Post
    I'm sorry, but anyone who consistently loses money selling their books is doing something seriously wrong. Why would authors want to be a part of that venture?
    This author does. And I'll tell you why.

    I'm one of Linen Press's soon-to-be-published writers. I've been through the same mill that most writers have - revisions, revisions, revisions: submissions to agents, form rejections, requests for fulls, rejections again etc. I hadn't subbed to a small press until, after a particularly brutal rejection from an agent who had had my full manuscript for six months, I decided to try.
    I received a reply to my submission on the same day, telling me that Lynn would read my two chapters. A few days further on, she requested the full. She then asked me to make some revisions and said that if we were both happy with the book after this, she would offer me a contract, which she did. Now that I've completed the structural revisions, we are going through the novel chapter by chapter, which may take up to four more months. Lynn is an excellent editor. I am learning a lot. But above all, it is so extraordinary to receive encouragement and support from someone who 'gets' my novel, believes in it and is willing to put her time, effort and cash into publishing it.
    Congratulations on placing your book. It sounds like your experience had been a great one so far. I hope you'll hang around and keep us updated on your progress.

    Linen Press are small, but they are excellent. They have a great ethos. Please, please don't judge Lynn or Linen Press for this recent idea about submission fees (which has now been removed after further thought, and having taken note of people's responses).
    The first piece of advice to any author is Do Not Part With Money Up Front. Around here it's phrased as "Money flows to the writer, always." What on earth made Ms Michell think it was a good idea to charge for submissions? Let alone to implement it in such a slapdash manner?

    I've not been asked to write this. I just felt really sad and angry to read some of what's being written and wanted to set the record straight.
    Which bits in particular?
    Does anybody know what happens to the rights if a press goes into liquidation? It presumably counts as an asset and would therefore belong to the creditors. IANAL, but I fear legal limbo.

    Lynn offers her authors what most large (and some small) presses don't - a personal and passionate service. The fact that she's been willing over the years to spend time replying personally to each submission can only be good for us writers.
    Susiex
    Well, yes and no. It's good for writers submitting because anything beyond a form reject is useful, but it's bad if that's happening at the expense of her existing authors.

    If you're willing (or able), can you tell me what promotional stuff The Linen Press is doing for you? From the blog of June 2, it seems to suggest that all of that is in the hands of the author and that it is expected they will do their own marketing (that's not a criticism, it's part of the informed choice thing).

    Also, do they get your books in shops? And has the Linen Press any plans for e-publishing?

    Thanks if you're able and good luck with the book.
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    Today, 04:14 PM
    Stacia Kane
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    Hi Susie, and welcome to AW! As has been pointed out, the Bewares section is where we ask the hard questions; I do hope you'll stick around and check out all of the other areas of the board as well.

    Originally Posted by susieangela View Post
    Lynn offers her authors what most large (and some small) presses don't - a personal and passionate service. The fact that she's been willing over the years to spend time replying personally to each submission can only be good for us writers.
    Susiex
    As Terie pointed out above, the person an editor and/or publisher should really be offering "service" to is the reader, but I'm going to assume you simply meant she offers attention, in the form of editing, input, and support.

    So I felt the need to address this and say that I've been published by several houses; four small ones and two NY ones. I've never been given anything less than personal attention; I've never had an editor who wasn't passionate about my work (well, okay, no. One of the small houses wasn't).

    The idea that the big NY houses don't give their authors personal attention is a fallacy, at least in my experience and those of my friends. Perhaps there have been NY authors whose editors just shoved their books down an assembly line without caring about them, but I've never met one, just like I've never met an editor who didn't absolutely love the books and authors they edited, and didn't do everything in their power to make them successful.

    Editors become editors because they love books. They put a lot of time and effort into acquiring books for their houses and working with the author to make those books the best they can be. They don't do that unless they're passionate about them. They're just as passionate about their authors; the entire publishing house is just as invested in the potential success of each author as they are at a small house. My editor knows who I am, of course, but so does the EIC of the imprint, and so does the publisher of the imprint, and so do the people in various departments (production, etc.) of the publisher in general. My book isn't just a number there, and again, I don't know any NY author who feels that's all their book is to their publisher.

    My point is that being with a big publisher doesn't mean losing "personal attention." Far from it.

    As for Lynn's feedback being "only good for us writers"...I'm afraid I have to disagree there as well. Lynn's feedback might be very helpful; I don't know what her publishing background is, so can't speak to that. (I do think that a publisher which loses money on every book it publishes might perhaps not be the best at choosing books people want to read, but that doesn't necessarily speak to her skills at editing.)

    But no matter what, her feedback is only one person's opinion. Aside from general grammar-type comments, her feedback and thoughts are only helpful if you want to resubmit to her, really; what she doesn't like might be the very thing that gets another editor or an agent excited about your book, and what she loves might be the first that another editor or agent might think has to go.

    And again, without impugning the lady personally--I don't know her or her background, so this is just a general comment not aimed at anyone in particular--revising your book to comply with the feedback of someone whose views on what's good/readable/commercial or not doesn't gibe with the current market isn't really a good idea. In other words, if Agent X or Editor A's tastes diverge greatly from what readers actually want and what other editors/agents are looking for, revising to their feedback will only worsen your prospects, not broaden them.

    Like I said, these last comments--none of my comments, actually--are specific to this editor and/or this publisher. They're just things to keep in mind. I disagree that a rejecting editor or agent's feedback is "only good" for authors, and I disagree that big houses don't give their authors personal attention.

    But I certainly wish you all the best with your book, and like I said I do hope very much that you'll stick around and join the community.
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    Today, 05:11 PM
    susieangela
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    Hi everyone, and thanks for your welcome. (I thought I was a member here and have lurked for a long time, but I just rejoined to answer this thread as I couldn't get in on what I thought was my password!)
    So many points made!
    First, several people have talked about Linen Press as losing money on every book sold. This only happens when the book is sold through Amazon. Of course it would be foolish and uncommercial to continue to sell if every book lost money. Fortunately, it doesn't. It's extremely easy to buy from the website, and the books are available through Gardeners and, I believe, in Waterstones online etc. And yes, we writers do a lot of marketing. No bad thing, at least for me. It serves as a great way of offsetting the hours alone at the computer. I know that there's been a reprint of one of LPs books, which isn't bad as they're printed in batches of 1,000.

    As Terie pointed out above, the person an editor and/or publisher should really be offering "service" to is the reader, but I'm going to assume you simply meant she offers attention, in the form of editing, input, and support.

    Yes, that's what I meant. Instead of waiting for months for a reply from some agents, Lynn responded immediately and has been doing so regularly since. She is an excellent editor - and no, of course I wouldn't make changes to my book if I didn't agree with them. This is why I trust her. Her suggestions are making the book a better one, I believe. But that will only be proven (or otherwise!) when it's out there for sale. And of course the reader is paramount in the process. If editing makes the book more accessible and interesting and attractive to a reader (which any good editing must hopefully do) then it's doing its job well. A by-product for me, however, is that the work on editing is also helping 'grow' me as a writer.
    And yes, of course other presses, large and small, offer writers passionate and thorough support. But I do believe that what Linen Press offers is unique in terms of the swiftness and immediacy of response. (Of course, this may change to some degree when they've published more books.) I know of writers with top agents, for instance, who wait for weeks (in some cases months) for a reply to a query and are put in the embarrassing position of having to keep contacting the agent or feeling they've been left in a void.
    And when the book comes out, there seems to be little more done by large presses in terms of publicity and marketing than is done by a small press. It's very much up to the author to arrange readings and other marketing stuff.
    Theo, in terms of the marketing LP will do - obviously, I'm not at that stage yet, but I understand that they contact bookstores - independent and the big ones - and also send out copies for review. As you will see if you go to the website, there has been an excellent review in The Scotsman for the three latest books.
    And as far as 'money shall flow to the writer' - of course. Never at any time has money flown (!) out of me to Linen Press. Indeed, I will receive a (very small) advance. I'd been longing for a mentor for ages - and we all know how much mentoring costs - and I'm receiving some brilliant mentoring through the editing of my book, for free. What's not to love?
    Yes, the success of the book will be largely in my hands once it's published. And I'm under no illusions as to how hard it is to get your book 'out there' when it's not funded by a large press. But I'm learning. In all kinds of ways. And that, for me, is success in itself.
    Susiex
    Today, 05:27 PM
    James D. Macdonald
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    If they're losing money on every copy sold through Amazon, then a) stop selling through Amazon, or b) raise the price at Amazon to the point where they stop losing money on each one sold.
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    Today, 07:30 PM
    priceless1
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    Originally Posted by susieangela View Post
    First, several people have talked about Linen Press as losing money on every book sold. This only happens when the book is sold through Amazon.
    I don't understand how she could lose money selling through Amazon and not lose money selling to bookstores. Amazon's selling structure isn't any more prohibitive than it is selling through bookstores.

    Instead of waiting for months for a reply from some agents, Lynn responded immediately and has been doing so regularly since.
    I'd like to add something to this, if I may. When I see a book that I really want, I've been known to email authors or their agents at 10:00 on a Friday night and strike a deal in a few days. My point is, this isn't unusual.

    But I do believe that what Linen Press offers is unique in terms of the swiftness and immediacy of response.
    If you're talking about the initial contact to offer a contract, I beg to disagree. Small commercial presses do this all the time. This isn't unique.

    If you're talking about maintaining good contact during the editing phase, this also isn't unique. Editing is all-consuming, and editors are always available to their authors because it's a critical time.

    Since you appear to be a debut author, is it possible that you think your treatment is unique, when it really isn't?

    I know of writers with top agents, for instance, who wait for weeks (in some cases months) for a reply to a query and are put in the embarrassing position of having to keep contacting the agent or feeling they've been left in a void.
    This isn't unique. Agents and editors have a LOT of reading to do. This competes with all the other things that demand our time. The fact that your editor got to you immediately isn't a litmus of excellence. It's about sales and their ability to effectively market your book so their authors enjoy stellar sales.

    I'm happy that you're happy, but please don't be swayed by the little things like communication and being nice. I can be nice on occasion as well, but the main goal is about selling a boat load of books.

    And when the book comes out, there seems to be little more done by large presses in terms of publicity and marketing than is done by a small press. It's very much up to the author to arrange readings and other marketing stuff.
    Theo, in terms of the marketing LP will do - obviously, I'm not at that stage yet, but I understand that they contact bookstores - independent and the big ones - and also send out copies for review.
    Authors are rarely aware of all the things publishers do in the background. Sending ARCs out to reviewers is only one of the myriad of things publishers do. They market to specialty accounts, libraries, indie stores, corporate accounts, national accounts. They work with authors on finessing their promotion plans so they can compliment their efforts. There's an interesting article written by Lisa Napoli, who writes about her adventures in bookselling, and what her publisher did for her.

    I know things are different in the UK in terms of direct selling to bookstores. Here in the US, publishers who try to sell direct are swimming upstream because they're competing against established publishers who have reams of sales teams, distribution and a solid reputation.

    I hope your publisher is able to get your book to market, but just hearing that she's losing books on Amazon still suggests she's doing something terribly wrong.
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    Last edited by CaoPaux; 07-15-2011 at 08:21 PM. Reason: added post
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  18. #18
    A cat may not look at a king kellion92's Avatar
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    OK. Here's the main clause of the sentence:

    but still not the ones I took ages replying to.
    See how it more clearly shows her meaning when you read to the end?

    So her messages are back and all is well. YAY!

    ETA: Thanks, CaoPaux!!!!

  19. #19
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Today, 06:14 AM
    priceless1
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    Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    No, not at the editor's request at all.
    That was my point. The Linen editor made specific edit requests before a contract was ever offered.
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    Today, 06:49 AM
    Karen Junker
    Live a little. Write a lot.

    The small romance epub I worked for occasionally made edit requests before offering a contract. They generally had to do with taking out some element that the publisher wouldn't accept or correcting typos or other errors. Sometimes we asked the author if they would change parts of the story and if they expressed a willingness to do so, we would offer a contract. So Linen isn't the only press that makes such requests.
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    Today, 09:23 AM
    Terie
    i haz been steampunk'd, i haz!

    Originally Posted by HapiSofi View Post
    Not where I come from. I was taught not to suggest editorial changes at all unless I made it clear that I was not saying I'd buy the book if those changes were made.
    That's EXACTLY what the letter said. It was my choice to make the changes, and I made the changes I believed to be good suggestions that made the book better. IIRC, there were like something six relatively small things that took maybe two hours to address...we're not talking about a major rewrite here; I wouldn't have done a major rewrite without a contract in place. But two hours' work that improved the MS anyway? No brainer choice there.

    As I mentioned, I didn't make the change they suggested (to age the main character one year) that I didn't want to. (I had a good reason for making her the age I did, I explained what my reason was, and that was that.)
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by kellion92 View Post
    OK. Here's the main clause of the sentence:

    See how it more clearly shows her meaning when you read to the end?
    My point was that she used the term "derogatory" when "dissenting" may have been a more appropriate choice. May we drop this now?

  21. #21
    A cat may not look at a king kellion92's Avatar
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    Was the poem (which was the one post she specifically mentioned as having been altered) derogatory or dissenting? Dissenting from whom?

  22. #22
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    I altered nothing. Everything I posted was exactly as it appeared, cut-and-pasted from the Google archive (where you can probably still see it for yourself).

  23. #23
    Oh, the humanity. Giant Baby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kellion92 View Post
    Was the poem (which was the one post she specifically mentioned as having been altered) derogatory or dissenting? Dissenting from whom?
    Actually, it hasn't been altered... well, not in this current re-posting. When Hapi first put it up, she'd written "My great-aunt" and later edited it to change it to the woman's name instead. The cache Jim put up simply captured the pre-edited version. It's just a timing thing.

    ETA: Cross-post with Uncle Jim.
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  24. #24
    A cat may not look at a king kellion92's Avatar
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    I didn't intend to accuse Jim of anything and I apologize if I seemed to. I didn't know the timing or the history but I'm glad Giant Baby does.

  25. #25
    Writer is as Writer does Terie's Avatar
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    Can I point out that the crash affected all AW threads, not just this one? And that AW has no responsibility for Google cache? And further, that Google has no responsibility for AW? Whining about a major server crash that affected an entire site and quibbling over what was and wasn't cached by Google is just plain silly and has absolutely nothing to do with Linen Press.

    Linen Press instituted a fee for reading submissions. There was a predicable negative reaction. Surprise surprise....not. They now appeared to have rescinded the policy, which is good, but doesn't change the fact that they made a boneheaded move.

    The end of the story so far.
    Last edited by Terie; 07-15-2011 at 09:08 PM.
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