The AW Amazon Store
Buy Books by AWers!

 

Welcome to the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler! Please read The Newbie Guide To Absolute Write

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 36

Thread: [Publisher] Black Opal Books

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW LadyLex's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    193

    [Publisher] Black Opal Books

    Hello all! I didn't see a thread here for this publisher. Does anyone have any experience with them?
    LadyLex

  2. #2
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Coastal Desert
    Posts
    13,024
    Adding link: http://www.blackopalbooks.com/

    Although there's nothing on site about who's behind it, the site is registered to a Daniel Kempton of Amethyst Dragon Publishing and the covers are by author O'Neal.

    Going by their About page, this looks like a venture by authors disappointed by the unprofessional publisher(s) they chose for their first books. I suggest reading through the excerpts to gauge whether they can do a better job of it on their own
    ICAO
    ---------
    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

  3. #3
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Here and there
    Posts
    3,301
    Black Opal Books Website:
    Based in the Pacific Northwest, BLACK OPAL BOOKS was founded by people who thought the publishing industry could do more for both readers and authors. So they formed BLACK OPAL BOOKS and gave it a two-fold mission: produce high-quality, well-edited books for readers, while helping authors achieve their dreams, as well as a higher percentage of royalties.
    It would be better if they were paying advances rather than higher royalties. If they're a royalty only paying publisher, then you should check their sales history because there's little point in getting a higher percentage of zero sales.

    Black Opal Books Website:
    We also understand how disheartening it is, when you finally write the dreaded query letter and send it out to publishers, only to have your book rejected based solely on your query letter by someone who hasn’t read a single word of your book. Or even worse, to not get a response at all. And if you're lucky enough to get accepted and published, to receive royalties of such a small per cent. So at BLACK OPAL BOOKS, we let you send your completed manuscript along with your query letter.
    If no one is requesting a partial, then the query letter requires work. It might be a tedious skill to learn, but it's one that can be valuable later on. Besides, a sub-literate query letter is a strong indication that the manuscript won't be worth checking out.

    Re sending the complete manuscript - why? If they're only going to commit to reading at least one chapter, then ask people to send in one chapter. That should be enough to know if it's worth asking for more.

    Black Opal Books Website:
    For those of you we do accept, our royalties start at 45%, for both ebook and print, and go as high as 70%.
    This suggests they're offering variable royalty rates to different people. That seems to me to create an unecessary admin burden from their perspective - would be better to just have a flat rate. I'd also want to know how royalties are calculated - i.e. whether they're on net (and if so, how net is calculated) or cover price.

    Black Opal Books Website:
    To start with, we’re accepting all romance genres, including paranormal and erotic, and also YA. In addition, we’re accepting novels and novellas that aren't romances, but have strong romantic elements, such as women’s fiction, chick lit, etc. So if it has romance in it, or if it’s YA, we want to see it. We are also accepting limited non-fiction.
    It's good that they're focusing on one particular fiction genre as it means they can focus their marketing efforts and build a reputation. That said, it would be better if they were focusing on fiction rather than non-fiction, which is a smaller and more fragmented market and will split their marketing efforts.

    Black Opal Books Website:
    Since in today's market the author's promotion of the book is crucial to its success, please be prepared to give a brief statement about how you will promote the book in your query letter, or your cover letter if your book is non-fiction. If you do not know how to promote your book, but are willing to learn, that is also acceptable. A more detailed author-promotion plan will be needed before the book is release for sale.
    This always makes me nervous - particularly when there's nothing on the site to indicate how Black Opal intends to try selling and marketing books. Authors shouldn't be doing promotion on their own, I'd be happier seeing some firm commitments from the publisher and an indication of what that will entail.

    I'm a bit confused by their book reviews page - mainly because all the reviews seem to be by Taylor Jones and Regan Murphy. Maybe one of the regular romance writers can tell me who they are - i.e. whether they have respected/popular romance fiction review blogs - because otherwise it just seems to be two random people talking about the publishers' books (which doesn't inspire confidence).

    As general observations:

    - it looks like they take print and electronic rights. Unless they've got distribution deals in place to stock books in stores, I wouldn't want to give up print rights and I'd want to check where their ebooks are being distributed through.

    - no information about who the editors are, who the publishers are or what their qualifications are. That's always a red flag - especially as in this case, they're touting their editing services.

    - get information on average sales figures per title - that's always important if you're going with a royalty only publisher.

    All in all, I'd wait to see if they're still going in two years time.

    MM

  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW LadyLex's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    193

    Black Opal Books

    Hello!

    I was wondering if anyone had any experience with this fairly new publisher?

    Thanks.
    LadyLex

  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW LadyLex's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    193
    Thanks for the thoughts. You have given me a lot to think about.
    LadyLex

  6. #6
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    11
    Here's a red flag... this publisher does not allow bookstores to return unsold copies.

  7. #7
    Proud Literary Sadist justbishop's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Northern NY
    Posts
    1,529
    I was getting excited to find another epub that might accept my 21k word YA novella, until the last sentence of the submissions page. Does not inspire faith in the quality of their editing:

    "Once your manuscript has been excepted, you will need to, if you have not already, created an account on the Black Opal website."
    WIP#1: 52,313/50,000

    The Last Three Words: Evernight Teen | Amazon


  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by justbishop View Post
    I was getting excited to find another epub that might accept my 21k word YA novella, until the last sentence of the submissions page. Does not inspire faith in the quality of their editing:

    "Once your manuscript has been excepted, you will need to, if you have not already, created an account on the Black Opal website."
    Website
    Twitter
    Facebook

    "Be good to yourself, and to somebody else."

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW CheG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,100
    Quote Originally Posted by justbishop View Post
    I was getting excited to find another epub that might accept my 21k word YA novella, until the last sentence of the submissions page. Does not inspire faith in the quality of their editing:

    "Once your manuscript has been excepted, you will need to, if you have not already, created an account on the Black Opal website."
    Why is this bad? (not sarcasm- I am sincerely wondering why? It's kind of annoying, but I had to make an account on Daily Science Fiction in order to submit... so I guess I don't see much of a difference.)

    Website
    Twitter
    Facebook
    ALL My Books
    Carmine Rojas: Dog Fight is---'An explosive mix of gangsters, guns, monsters, magic and mayhem, with dark and gritty action that right-hooks you from page one. Wonderful!' --- Suzanne McLeod, author of the Spellcrackers urban fantasy series.

  10. #10
    Disapproving plot bun disapproves. FluffBunny's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Third burrow on your left. Your other left.
    Posts
    691
    Quote Originally Posted by CheG View Post
    Why is this bad? (not sarcasm- I am sincerely wondering why? It's kind of annoying, but I had to make an account on Daily Science Fiction in order to submit... so I guess I don't see much of a difference.)
    It's this part:

    Once your manuscript has been excepted, you will need to, if you have not already, created an account on the Black Opal website."
    (bolding added) It would be nice if someone were going to publish and edit your book knew the difference between "excepted" and "accepted".
    Last edited by FluffBunny; 06-23-2013 at 05:32 AM. Reason: Misplaced comma
    House-rabbits: Can't live without 'em and can't stop 'em from ordering thermonuclear devices off the Internet.

    Please check all weapons, weasels and cilantro before entering. Thank you.

  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW Invincibility's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    197
    Quote Originally Posted by CheG View Post
    Why is this bad? (not sarcasm- I am sincerely wondering why? It's kind of annoying, but I had to make an account on Daily Science Fiction in order to submit... so I guess I don't see much of a difference.)
    "Once your manuscript has been excepted accepted, you will need to, if you have not already, created an account on the Black Opal website, if you have not already."

  12. #12
    Proud Literary Sadist justbishop's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Northern NY
    Posts
    1,529
    *points up*

    What they said
    WIP#1: 52,313/50,000

    The Last Three Words: Evernight Teen | Amazon


  13. #13
    practical experience, FTW CheG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,100
    OH! LOL! Typo!!!! Haaha!

    Website
    Twitter
    Facebook
    ALL My Books
    Carmine Rojas: Dog Fight is---'An explosive mix of gangsters, guns, monsters, magic and mayhem, with dark and gritty action that right-hooks you from page one. Wonderful!' --- Suzanne McLeod, author of the Spellcrackers urban fantasy series.

  14. #14
    Proud Literary Sadist justbishop's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Northern NY
    Posts
    1,529
    Quote Originally Posted by CheG View Post
    OH! LOL! Typo!!!! Haaha!
    Ehhh, it's a bit more problematic than a simple typo.
    WIP#1: 52,313/50,000

    The Last Three Words: Evernight Teen | Amazon


  15. #15
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin AlyssaCroft's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    25
    The website as a whole is poorly edited, and I can't find any noteworthy accomplishments. There's nothing about the folk behind the company (the links that supposedly lead to bios about the "board of directors" actually redirect to the homepage), and nothing about who works on the books (editors, cover designers, marketing, etc). The cover designs are awful- do they do the covers themselves or do they leave that to the authors to outsource? What do they actually DO for authors, besides take a chunk out of your royalties? I have no idea.

  16. #16
    Disapproving plot bun disapproves. FluffBunny's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Third burrow on your left. Your other left.
    Posts
    691
    "The Review Team of Taylor Jones & Regan Murphy" seem to be responsible for the reviews on the site. I'm unable to find any reviews they've done of books other than Black Opal books. I'm also unable to find a book that received under 4 stars in a review.

    I tried doing some searching on their Board of Directors (as pointed out above, the internal page links are far from functional. My Google-fu may be letting me down, but S.K. Humpreys, Leonora Jackson (other than the violinist) and D.S. Kempton have no web presence at all.

    Referring back to CaoPaux's post back in 2011:

    Although there's nothing on site about who's behind it, the site is registered to a Daniel Kempton of Amethyst Dragon Publishing and the covers are by author O'Neal.
    They've removed any/all names from their domain registration, having Black Opal Books as their only info--no address, no nada. They also seem to have a precious/semi-precious stone fixation. Black Opal Books, formerly attached to Amethyst Dragon Publishing and their current technical contact on the Whois is Sapphire Dragon Internet Solutions. Sapphire Dragon is also owned by Daniel Kempton and based in Albany, OR. An Oregon business entity search shows that Black Opal is registered in Oregon. The registered agent for the company is, once again, Amethyst Dragon Publishing. The president is listed as a Daniel Stewart and the secretary is Michelle Horton, neither of whom are listed on the Black Opal site. A business search on Amethyst Dragon Publishing lists the same two people, Stewart and Horton, occupying the same positions as they hold with Black Opal.

    On a purely personal note, I find their cover designs less than compelling.
    House-rabbits: Can't live without 'em and can't stop 'em from ordering thermonuclear devices off the Internet.

    Please check all weapons, weasels and cilantro before entering. Thank you.

  17. #17
    practical experience, FTW CheG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,100
    I found this interveiw http://www.ciaraknight.com/2011/07/1...ck-opal-books/

    I didn't realize this until I poked around their site a little more, but I went to a book event and saw one of their authors read, Christopher Allan Poe. Now I wished I'd asked him more about his publisher.

    Website
    Twitter
    Facebook
    ALL My Books
    Carmine Rojas: Dog Fight is---'An explosive mix of gangsters, guns, monsters, magic and mayhem, with dark and gritty action that right-hooks you from page one. Wonderful!' --- Suzanne McLeod, author of the Spellcrackers urban fantasy series.

  18. #18
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    6
    I am a recent author of Black Opal Books. And let me state, without reservations, they are a highly professional independent publishing house. What they promise, they deliver. I had problems with an unprofessional small publisher and they understood what authors sometimes go through. They accept few manuscripts a year. They provide a double edit, and believe me these editors know their business. I had much to learn. Their cover designer is excellent. It was his creativity that is on the cover. Since my son is a professional artist, and he offered to help, Jack worked with him, and I believe I have a lovely cover. If you just want to criticize, then go ahead. But this is one fine publisher who charges no fees. As for the reviewers. although they loved my book, I wasn't absolutely thrilled with their reviews. But they do work independently, not like the phony reviewers at the big houses.

    S. B. Redstone
    A Sinister Obsession
    http://www.sbredstoneauthor.wordpress.com

  19. #19
    Seen 'em come, seen 'em go Gravity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Once you've heard the truth, everything else is just cheap whiskey.
    Posts
    3,852
    John Robinson (formerly Cameron Bane ... RIP)

  20. #20
    Back in the black, & staying there! Marian Perera's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Heaven is a place on earth called Toronto.
    Posts
    12,457
    Inkblot19's book is due to be released on the 31st (according to his blog), but I did a search for it on Amazon using the title, the author's name and then a search by publisher. Couldn't find anything... make of that what you will.


    "The novel has a dark, eerie, fairy-tale feel." Washington Post's review of The Beast Prince

    AmazonWebsite

  21. #21
    Seen 'em come, seen 'em go Gravity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Once you've heard the truth, everything else is just cheap whiskey.
    Posts
    3,852
    A Google search of the title reveals a ton of references to a similarly-named game, but of the book itself? Zilch, nada, zip.

    Were I this author, with a novel making zero footprint three days before launch, I'd be raising unshirted hell with the publisher.

    But then, that's just me.

    ETA: there are two reviews on the author's website, one of which is listed as an Amazon review ... but it's not on Amazon. How does that work? I'd genuinely like to know, as maybe I'm missing something.
    Last edited by Gravity; 08-28-2013 at 03:12 AM.
    John Robinson (formerly Cameron Bane ... RIP)

  22. #22
    Back in the black, & staying there! Marian Perera's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Heaven is a place on earth called Toronto.
    Posts
    12,457
    Quote Originally Posted by Gravity View Post
    Were I this author, with a novel making zero footprint three days before launch, I'd be raising unshirted hell with the publisher.

    But then, that's just me.
    No, that's me as well. I'd have buy links on my website and blog too... if my publisher was actually providing the book for sale, that is.


    "The novel has a dark, eerie, fairy-tale feel." Washington Post's review of The Beast Prince

    AmazonWebsite

  23. #23
    I haunt QLH AdrianLynn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    U.S.
    Posts
    634
    Quote Originally Posted by Gravity View Post
    ETA: there are two reviews on the author's website, one of which is listed as an Amazon review ... but it's not on Amazon. How does that work? I'd genuinely like to know, as maybe I'm missing something.
    That would be because they're reviews for a different book by a different author, published on January 31, 2012 by Cambridge Books.

    Compare this review posted on the author's website:

    "If you’re out of coffee and need something to wake you up, just read the first chapter of this book. ... a serial killer akin to Jaws and Norman Bates rolled together check out 'A Sinister Obsession'."

    To this review on Amazon:

    "If you're out of coffee and need something to wake you up, just read the first chapter of this book. ... a serial killer akin to Jaws and Norman Bates rolled together check out 'The Mistake'."

    Looks incredibly similar. Actually, the reviews are same word-for-word except for the title, I just edited it down because I wasn't sure if it would be kosher to post both reviews in full. The second review on S.B. Redstone's website is the same as the second review for "The Mistake" as well. My guess is this is someone trying to republish an already published book under a different pen name. Better that than outright plagiarism. No, it's definitely the case of a new pen name and new book title. I just looked at the author's post history and it was pretty obvious. I hope she/he ended up being honest and did disclose the book's history to Black Opal.
    Last edited by AdrianLynn; 08-28-2013 at 04:19 AM.
    WIP? What WIP?

  24. #24
    On a small world west of wonder LindaJeanne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    744
    Searching

    "A sinister obsession" Redstone

    on Google pulls up this as the first link:

    http://www.blackopalbooks.com/blacko...ster-obsession

    but it leads to a 404 page.

    Edited to add: this link works:
    http://www.blackopalbooks.com/shop-o...ster-obsession

    looks like BlackOpal moved the store front directory without setting up re-direct links from the former location. Lack of redirects is a rookie mistake.
    Last edited by LindaJeanne; 08-28-2013 at 07:04 PM.
    "A story told, that can't be real / yet somehow must reflect the truth we feel..." -- Black Sabbath / Ronnie James Dio

  25. #25
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    6
    I'm happy that I've generated some interest in myself and Black Opal Books. To address your concerns and for me, I'll clarify. I was Bruce Castle, and my novel was The Mistake. When I terminated my previous publisher last year who not only did not live up to meticulous editing, but had many other issues detrimental to my work, I found that I couldn't get Amazon to remove the book, even though I held the copy write. To avoid confusion, I became S. B. Redstone and the name of the novel is A Sinister Obsession. It is exactly the same as The Mistake, but with a double professional edit now. When I queried Black Opal Books, I did in fact tell them what happened to me. They saw great value in my work and felt sorry for me as well. They have lived up to all their promises and if you're expecting perfect in this world, it doesn't happen. The reviews on my website and on Amazon are for the same book as I just said, just a different title. I was fortunate to receive excellent reviews despite the grammatical errors of The Mistake. There is no deception. I am in contact with the two Amazon reviewers to have them put their reviews for the new title. I am now preparing for extensive marketing. It is a daunting task. I hope one of you will read my novel. It is good.

    Steve

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Custom Search