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Thread: Quixotic Night Press / Striking Prose, Inc.

  1. #1
    figuring it all out Jadedinsc's Avatar
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    Quixotic Night Press / Striking Prose, Inc.

    I did a search on these forums, but didn't see this listed.

    http://www.quixoticnight.com/ (They say they do Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror.)

    This popped up on my Twitter feed and I checked it out. However, something about it isn't setting right with me. (And not just the video with a generic Muppet explaining their publishing process, either.) As I understand it, you send them a manuscript, they like it and do all the editing and what not, get you a cover artist, etc. (so far, so good). But when it comes to actually publishing (in e-book format), you must have 2500 pre-orders, and they seem to rely on you, the author, in helping get the word out to your friends. If you do not get at least 2500 pre-orders, your book doesn't go to (digital) print, and all rights are reversed back to you so you can presumably have a chance at getting your book out elsewhere.

    Granted, I'm not that knowledgeable on digital publishers, but I don't think I've ever heard of a (decent) one requiring X amount of pre-orders or else they drop your book, especially not if the whole thing mostly relies on word of mouth. How are they paying for editing and cover artists otherwise? Again, I'm a novice at all this, so I might be wrong.

    ETA: Quixotic's Twitter feed: http://twitter.com/#!/QuixNightPress
    Twitter feeds of the owners: http://twitter.com/#!/tsauthor and http://twitter.com/#!/robwillb
    Last edited by Jadedinsc; 06-27-2011 at 11:47 PM. Reason: Added twitter links.
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  2. #2
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    You seem to have it right.

    Wow, messed up business model.
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  3. #3
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Quixotic Night Press Website:
    the more pre-orders a book gets, the cheaper the book will be for the remainder of its life. In other words, you the reader have the power to determine the book’s price and how much the author will receive, based on how many friends you can convince to purchase it along with you
    Or I could just give my friends a copy of my book and ask me to pay me a couple of quid direct, thereby cutting you out of the equation altogether.

    Quixotic Night Press Website:
    To that end, you will not find any of the titles we publish on major e-book distribution sites, because they take a larger percentage of the books’ cover price.
    So how are they going to sell them? Surely their business model can't just be reliant on the author getting the pre-orders? Because that isn't terribly supportive of authors if you're reliant on them making all the sales for you.

    I watched the video.

    Oy vay.

    Does the use of a Muppet mean that you have to be one to go with them? I don't know, but their model doesn't work because it's presuming that each person you tell will tell someone to secure the 2500 pre-sales within 30 days. It doesn't usually work like that for debut authors with no existing following. That's why most self-published books average 150 sales.

    It also sounds a little like a Pyramid/Ponzi scheme to me (whether they mean it to or not).

    Also, their Pricing Table looks like a work of fantasy if you're serious about trying to get 100,000 pre-orders for the $2.99 cover price:

    http://www.quixoticnight.com/pricing

    Quixotic Night Press Website:
    The book will be granted “official going to publication status” when we receive 2500 pre-orders. Any less than that and the book does not go to publication, all rights revert to the author, and all pre-orders will be cancelled (with no charge ever going to your card!).
    I would want clarification that this includes the ebook rights because they talk about releasing an ebook within 3 days of pre-orders closing. If that only happens if you hit the 2,500 pre-orders, then that's one thing - but I'm not clear if it's the case if you fail to hit the pre-order target.

    Quixotic Night Press Website:
    While we plan on regularly sending out review copies in the future, for 2011 we will only be sending out press packs (which do include book excerpts). If you’re interested, please send us an email, and we’ll keep you posted for 2012!
    How are you supposed to generate pre-orders if they're not publishing review copies? You can't build interest with excerpts.

    They've got their first book up for pre-order. Personally, I'd wait until the end of July and see if it gets published and at what price. If they don't hit that first threshold for their first book, then I doubt they'll do it for any other.

    MM

  4. #4
    figuring it all out Jadedinsc's Avatar
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    It also sounds a little like a Pyramid/Ponzi scheme to me (whether they mean it to or not).
    That's what I thought while listening to the Muppet say, "Those two will tell four, those four will tell eight..." It's very close to a Pyramid scheme in that fashion.

    Also, if I'm understanding this right, I'd have to pre-order and purchase (assuming I hit the magic number of pre-orders) my own book? And I'm still curious as to how the artists and editors are being paid, unless they're also the owners.
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  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW Adobedragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jadedinsc View Post
    Granted, I'm not that knowledgeable on digital publishers, but I don't think I've ever heard of a (decent) one requiring X amount of pre-orders or else they drop your book, especially not if the whole thing mostly relies on word of mouth. How are they paying for editing and cover artists otherwise? Again, I'm a novice at all this, so I might be wrong.
    In my admittedly limited experience, this is not only atypical, but totally f*cking weird. If I understand their process correctly, they edit the book and create a cover before the pre-order process. Then, if the book doesn't garner enough pre-orders, they cancel the book. As someone noted, up-thread, how in the heck are they paying for the editing and cover design?

    Also, this (bold mine)
    In order to officially go to print, a book needs to receive 2500 pre-orders. If the book does not receive 2500 pre-orders, the book will not go to (electronic) print, all pre-orders taken to that point are cancelled and all rights revert to the author.
    and this...


    Print Edition

    When the book successfully reaches 2500 pre-orders, a print edition of the book will be made available for pre-order via a Print on Demand service. Unlike the price of the ebook edition (which will vary based on pre-orders), the price of the print edition will be fixed.
    is confusing. On one hand, it seems like they are saying the book must get 2500 pre-order to go to electronic "print." (Odd use of "print.") Then it seems like the 2500 is the criterion for an actual, dead tree, print edition.

    And how, pray tell, do you drum up interest and orders for a book that has no price (yet)?

    Quixotic Night Press Website:
    To that end, you will not find any of the titles we publish on major e-book distribution sites, because they take a larger percentage of the books’ cover price.
    A serious turn-off for me. The usual question(s) I get, when someone is interested in my book, is: "Can I get your book at B&N? Or at Amazon?" Leaving major retailers out of the equation may save money, but it's certainly not a reader/buyer friendly model.

    *Shrugs.* For all I know, this is the business model of the future. (God forbid.)


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    Ships full of vampires are hell. AW Moderator amergina's Avatar
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    (Kind of OT, mind you.) Now granted, I haven't looked into offset vs. POD and break-even points in *years*, but wouldn't production costs for a 2,500 print run be cheaper if you did offset?
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  7. #7
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    No, they're saying they'll go to POD/print when/if the title has generated 2500 advance orders for the e-book.

    o_O

    editing to add: what they seem to be saying is that readers will pre-order the e-book via the publisher's website. When pre-orders reach 2500, the book can be released -- at a price of $9.99. They claim that fewer than 2500 sales at that price will not cover their costs. Assuming the author royalty is 30% (a number I'm picking out of the air since I can't find their royalty rate anywhere on the website) this means that they're saying it costs them about $17,000 to produce an e-book. This is presumably to cover the "preliminary editing, copyediting and proofing" and cover art.

    Which is.....wow. Freaking expensive.
    Last edited by Unimportant; 06-28-2011 at 04:21 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Unimportant View Post
    They claim that fewer than 2500 sales at that price will not cover their costs. Assuming the author royalty is 30% (a number I'm picking out of the air since I can't find their royalty rate anywhere on the website) this means that they're saying it costs them about $17,000 to produce an e-book. This is presumably to cover the "preliminary editing, copyediting and proofing" and cover art.

    Which is.....wow. Freaking expensive.
    It's also freaking bullpucky. They are making a very tidy profit and don't believe otherwise.

  9. #9
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Also you only get one month to get you pre-orders.
    Last edited by veinglory; 06-28-2011 at 05:28 AM.
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  10. #10
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    Seriously, I see absolutely no advantage to this over self-publishing and bazillions of disadvantages.

    Subscription publishing is a time-honored model, but it works differently than this. The idea that "fewer than 2,500 sales of an ebook won't cover our costs" is nonsense.

    With the time and energy it would take most writers to get 2,500 people to order your book from these folks, you could learn the skills required for self-publishing AND self-promotion--and then you'd be able to keep all the profits for yourself, as well as the skills.


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    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    Just wow. Never seen anything like this before. How do you get 2,500 pre-orders from an unknown author, much less all the other crap that has to jibe ho.

    Tri

  12. #12
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    I would imagine that most authors would wet themselves with happiness if they could manage to get 2500 pre-orders for their e-book.

  13. #13
    Shakespearean Fool DreamWeaver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceCreamEmpress View Post
    Seriously, I see absolutely no advantage to this over self-publishing and bazillions of disadvantages.

    Subscription publishing is a time-honored model, but it works differently than this. The idea that "fewer than 2,500 sales of an ebook won't cover our costs" is nonsense.

    With the time and energy it would take most writers to get 2,500 people to order your book from these folks, you could learn the skills required for self-publishing AND self-promotion--and then you'd be able to keep all the profits for yourself, as well as the skills.
    Any unknown author who can get 2500 pre-orders for their book already has all the mad skillz they need to successfully self-publish. Learning to edit and format a competent, readable book is way easier than learning to sell it.

    But they'd still be better off with a good commercial publisher.
    Last edited by DreamWeaver; 06-28-2011 at 07:09 AM.
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  14. #14
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Dunno. I reckon if an author can pre-sell 2500 ebook copies in a month simply by emailing a few dozen friends/family and asking them to pass the word, that author doesn't need to sign with a commercial publisher. They need to be a publisher.

  15. #15
    Shakespearean Fool DreamWeaver's Avatar
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    I hadn't thought of it that way...but you may be right.

    ETA: Nope, HapiSofi agrees with my original assessment below. Why can't I have the courage of my convictions?
    Last edited by DreamWeaver; 06-28-2011 at 09:10 PM.
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  16. #16
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
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    Forget self-publishing, digital publishing, POD, and all the rest. A book that can collect 2,500 prepaid advance orders in one month, via social networking and word of mouth, is a book that can get published in hardcover by a big NYC publishing house.

    Amergina spotted a major telltale:
    Now granted, I haven't looked into offset vs. POD and break-even points in *years*, but wouldn't production costs for a 2,500 print run be cheaper if you did offset?
    Much cheaper. You switch over to offset somewhere between 100 and 500 copies. A 3,000-copy print run -- you always run copies in excess of current orders -- is well into the range where price per copy just keeps dropping. Figuring a 320-page 5.5" x 8.5" perfect-bound softcover with a laminated 4-color cover, I'd estimate the offset price for 3,000 copies to be around $3.60 to $3.80 per copy. (It'll drop even further if you print more, which you should probably do. A book like that is not going to stop selling at the end of one month.)

    This is very basic stuff. People that set up as publishers ought to know it in their bones. Not Quixotic, though; their price list gives $9.89 as the price per copy for a print run of 3000. Wish I were their printing sales rep.

    Quixotic Night Press is a subsidiary of Striking Prose, Inc., which consists of a team of freelance commercial writers who are fresh out of college. I'm guessing there's an extensive list of things they don't know.
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  17. #17
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I also read a little closer and they don't promise to edit or do cover art before the preorders are in. The promise to do some prelim editing (like maybe the excerpt?) and discuss the cover art.

    So, yeah. If the Author can get 2,500 pre-orders for a $9.99 ebook with no review copies and cover art, well, then they can sure as hell do better than these guys?

    What's the best they don't release anything at all without breaking their own "rules". What's the bet that any books they do release are from the principles and/or their close associates? Just speculating here....

    [/jealos looser]
    Last edited by veinglory; 06-28-2011 at 09:24 PM.
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  18. #18
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin skippybe's Avatar
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    I don't know for certain but I'm pretty sure that the only item in their catalogue was written by one of their team. Which, when you add to the fact that they are also closed to submissions (with only one product!) indicates that they're not sure if it's going to work either.

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    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
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    DreamWeaver, you came up with the right answer (IMO) on your own. What's to feel bad about?
    Last edited by HapiSofi; 06-29-2011 at 01:04 AM.
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  20. #20
    One of many agentpaper's Avatar
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    They just spammed me through Goodreads and I was like WTH? Then, of course, I came over here to find out. I had to laugh when I didn't even have to do a search on them and they were on the front page.
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    Quote Originally Posted by agentpaper View Post
    They just spammed me through Goodreads and I was like WTH? Then, of course, I came over here to find out. I had to laugh when I didn't even have to do a search on them and they were on the front page.
    Ditto. I got one of those today. Spamming people you don't know on Goodreads and asking them to join your group is not a good way to advertise.
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  22. #22
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DreamWeaver View Post
    Any unknown author who can get 2500 pre-orders for their book already has all the mad skillz they need to successfully self-publish. Learning to edit and format a competent, readable book is way easier than learning to sell it.

    But they'd still be better off with a good commercial publisher.
    Oh, definitely! Sorry, I was wrongly assuming that everyone knew my thoughts on how commercial publishing is by far the best choice for most projects, just because I think of myself as always yammering on and on about it on AW--I appreciate your clarifying the issue with your point.


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    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceCreamEmpress View Post
    commercial publishing is by far the best choice for most projects
    I totally agree with that sentiment, but honestly I think if someone can pre-sell 2500 copies of a novel by an unknown author based solely on a one-sentence tagline on the publisher's website and emails to friends/family, that person ought to be working in the marketing department of Random House.

  24. #24
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
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    I think we're all in agreement that anyone who can do that can write their own ticket.
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    Site hasn't been updated since June. No sign of initial release beyond "coming soon!!1!" spam campaign.
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