Today, 01:04 AM
New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
Hi, my name is Amanda Taylor, and I work for MonkeyShelf’s marketing department.
We appreciate the lively discussion that has been happening here at AbsoluteWrite.com. After looking at the comments, we really want the writing community to feel welcome to MonkeyShelf.com.
I’ll try to work through each post, but if I miss something, or you have more questions, let us know:
@MsWriteNow – Our site has only been online for 10 days. This is not much time to gain SEO (getting high on Google or Bing’s lists) in particularly broad categories. Over time this will change as we grow.
I would like to announce that we have also started publishing chapters. The first one, Fort Walmart, is an alternate history science fiction story. Although we have not actively advertised this book yet, the Table of Contents for this book has received nearly 200 hits in the first 24 hours. Maybe you’ll start seeing some of our books show up on a Google search soon.
@Susan Littlefield – You are probably right. As long as material is coherent and not offensive (i.e. hate-speech), and is an original work, we would most likely publish it.
Many good writers have often been rejected by publishers numerous times before their debut. Our goal is to let readers make those decisions instead of the publishers. Readers have wildly different preferences, as do viewers of movies, and people who go out to eat. Our vote/review system lets readers showcase good writers.
In the case of the royalties, if readers decide they want to read a chapter, then they read it and the writer gets their share. This is the same as if a reader goes into a Barnes & Noble. Inside the store there are thousands of books. The reader will walk past all but a couple. They will pick up a book or two and examine it. They might sit down and drink coffee and read a few chapters. If they like a book, they will buy it.
We have a few books brought to us by authors that we will be publishing soon. You may have seen the table of contents for each. As we have just opened, we are still working through the mechanics of making these available and to meet the obligations of our contracts. This is why the titles are there but content is not. Content will appear as we are ready for it. This process will smooth out over time (We are still a new company and have growing pains like any new company).
@BenPanced – Yes, this is what the contract in its normal form states. MonkeyShelf.com gets exclusive “online” copyright to an author’s material. An author can buy back that “online” copyright. We realize that copyright is a sensitive area for authors. As the party responsible for publishing the materials and providing royalties back to authors, we would need guarantees too that we are treated fairly.
@James D. Macdonald – “We believe that readers have the right to choose what they like to read.” Nothing like being obvious, is there
Publishers have to be picky. Paper publishers can’t publish everything, and because of this they sometimes don’t pick the books people want to read. A couple examples would be J. K. Rowling, where the first Harry Potter book was rejected by eight publishers and the first three Twilight books were rejected by over a dozen agents.
@BenPanced (again) – I don’t think it was ever asserted that authors would own all their copyright after transfer. This particular document is in essence a copyright transfer. If it is ambiguous in a particular place or has some sort of typo, please let us know.
@ MsWriteNow (again) – I really hope you come to realize we don’t intend to be ‘wanky.’ We actually started this site because we have friends who are authors and who we felt deserved a better chance than to have their manuscript end up in 1-year publishing limbo. There are discussions on the forum on how difficult it is to wait for any news from publishers. Writers who submit to our site do not need chocolate and alcohol to cope with the waiting.
@Guardian – We do promote individual books. You may have seen MonkeyShelf ads on Google, Facebook or Craigslist seeking creative writers. Soon you will see promotions for individual books. However, we are selective of which books to promote.
@Torgo – We wanted to make sure that all transactions are safe for both parties. Even today, many people still fear the use of credit cards on web sites (We do.) PayPal is a widely used, respectable escrow company. PayPal allows us to receive money while giving our readers the confidence of safety. The downside to PayPal is the fact that it costs a substantial amount for each transaction. That’s why we have a MonkeyShelf Credits system, which is also a well tested method for companies like iStockPhoto.com to pay royalties.
We put together this document because we really wanted to address author’s and editor’s questions. If we have to do it one person at a time, then that is what we’ll attempt to do.
This forum is dedicated to the publishing industry and we will be candid – we are still new. We are a startup, just like many others that have come before. We hope that you accept our answers in the spirit they were given, which is to be honest and straightforward about how we plan to handle our interactions with users of our web site and the writing community in general.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this,