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Thread: [Display Site] MonkeyShelf

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin MsWriteNow's Avatar
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    [Display Site] MonkeyShelf

    I stumble, browse, click links all the time when looking things up. I came across the website www.MonkeyShelf.com

    I did a search here with zero results.

    It looks brand new as there is not very much in the way of content. Just wondering if some of the more experienced here have any opinions and what those opinions might be - good, bad, indifferent?

    Apparently it's a site that publishes stories (or plans to eventually).

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW Kateness's Avatar
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    Yet Another Display Site

  3. #3
    just the worst honestly Guardian's Avatar
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    This should go into the bewares and background checks area. I can't offer my opinion, however, because I don't know that place. Good luck!
    "I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process." - Vincent Van Gogh

  4. #4
    Sophipygian AW Moderator Alessandra Kelley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kateness View Post
    Yet Another Display Site
    What is a display site?

  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW Kateness's Avatar
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    One of a hundred anonymous internet sites that claim you can get all the publicity/views you care for by posting there.

    The simple fact is - (most) people don't troll the internet looking for new and exciting fiction online.

    So you throw your work up online, perhaps in full, perhaps not - perhaps jeopardize your first rights - for a few dozen hits.

    It makes you feel good, but reaps little reward.

  6. #6
    Tell it like it Is Susan Littlefield's Avatar
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    Yes, it's another display site bordering on vanity publishing. The semi-promise that your work will be published (after all, they say they "if your work is accepted. I have a feeling most will be accepted), giving it away for free at first (because, of course, who would want to pay for it?). You sign this and you are paid royalties, but that's assuming anyone looks beyond the free stuff. There are also more things to sign. They are also hiring experienced editors, and they have three stories up which you click to start reading and they don't come up.

    Not for me, I'll stay away.

  7. #7
    The King and Queen of Cheese BenPanced's Avatar
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    • COPYRIGHT BUY BACK


    The Author may buy back Copyright of the Work with a mutual agreement with MonkeyShelf.

    MonkeyShelf may relinquish the copyright and returns full ownership to the Author in exchange for an amount equal to the sales during the peak-selling month times twenty-four (i.e. two year's worth of sales at the peak rate). However, MonkeyShelf reserves the right to negotiate a different amount.
    Oh, I'm hoping they misworded this...
    I still poop rainbows.

    I won't steal any of your ideas. I have enough of my own I'm not using.



  8. #8
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    We believe that readers have the right to choose what they like to read.
    Oh! The startling newness of it all! (Slaps forehead) Why didn't I think of that?

  9. #9
    'Twas but a dream of thee El Jefe MacAllister's Avatar
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    Looks to me like they mean exactly what they say there, Ben.

    Here's the page we're discussing right now, for those playing along at home.

  10. #10
    The King and Queen of Cheese BenPanced's Avatar
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    Major contradiction in that clause, considering they've already asserted the author owns all copyright.

    Oy, such a headache Mother is getting...
    I still poop rainbows.

    I won't steal any of your ideas. I have enough of my own I'm not using.



  11. #11
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin MsWriteNow's Avatar
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    Seemed wanky to me which is why I asked here. Thanks for saving some of us from ourselves!

  12. #12
    just the worst honestly Guardian's Avatar
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    Hmm... authors can buy back copyright for a book that doesn't seem like it will be promoted well by the company? Dare I say that this site looks like it could shape up to be another PA?
    "I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process." - Vincent Van Gogh

  13. #13
    Let's see what's on special today.. Bufty's Avatar
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    Oh dear.

    Can someone tell me what 5000 credits amounts to?

    Sad thing is someone somewhere is bound to sign the darned thing and think they've boarded the publishing gravy train.
    Last edited by Bufty; 07-05-2011 at 03:12 AM.
    Everything yields to treatment.

  14. #14
    Always curious. juniper's Avatar
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    This looks kinda like fanstory.com, which has a paid credits system. Apparently you have to pay to be able to access parts of their website.

    Someone new in my writing group was using fanstory to win their poetry contests and earn money!

    Turns out the pay is in the form of fanstory credits. Which they could then use to promote their work, on fanstory.

    Fanstory TOS used to say that the writer retained copyright but by submitting to fanstory, they could then use that material however they wanted to. So you kept copyright but lost publishing rights. Not sure if that's how it still is.

  15. #15
    The King and Queen of Cheese BenPanced's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bufty View Post
    Oh dear.

    Can someone tell me what 5000 credits amounts to?

    Sad thing is someone somewhere is bound to sign the darned thing and think they've boarded the publishing gravy train.
    5000 credits = $50.00. You can use it to purchase content by other authors; if your balance reaches 5000 credits because other users have purchased content you've posted, you can request a withdrawal and a transfer will be made to your Paypal account.
    I still poop rainbows.

    I won't steal any of your ideas. I have enough of my own I'm not using.



  16. #16
    Formerly Phantom of Krankor. Torgo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenPanced View Post
    5000 credits = $50.00. You can use it to purchase content by other authors; if your balance reaches 5000 credits because other users have purchased content you've posted, you can request a withdrawal and a transfer will be made to your Paypal account.
    Ahahaha! Avoid, avoid, avoid.

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

    Today, 01:04 AM
    MonkeyShelf
    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,

    Amanda Taylor,
    MonkeyShelf LLC
    Today, 01:35 AM
    Momento Mori
    Tired and Disillusioned

    MonkeyShelf:
    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.
    Go and speak to an IP lawyer who is experienced in publishing law. What you should be taking is a licence to publish, not the copyright. The copyright is the actual ownership right in the work and if you give it away (as your site wants) then you are saying that the author no longer owns their own work. I would never advise any author to give their copyright to a publisher or a site like yours. The only situation where copyright assignment is acceptable is in a work for hire situation.

    The fact that you are apparently ignorant about how IP relates to this is really worrying.

    MonkeyShelf:
    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.
    But commercial publishers did pick up those books and published them to great commercial success.

    Do you know of anyone picked from a display site (of which there are dozens out there) who have had the same success?

    MonkeyShelf:
    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.
    I appreciate that you're a US company, but for UK writers out there, Paypal doesn't carry standard credit card protection under the Consumer Credit Act. As such, if your site goes down and takes someone's credits with it, or there's a fraudulent transaction, then the account holder has no right of redress. Under a credit card payment system, they would.

    Also, it's always best to keep things straightforward. Rather than create your own currency (which can be opaque and overly complicated), just factor in the necessary thresholds in dollar amounts so people know how much is getting put up.

    Honestly, I'm seeing more that concerns me about your site than attracts me - although to be fair, display sites have been going for years doing what you're trying to do and they've never worked. I don't see here how you're going to be any different.

    MM
    Today, 03:43 AM
    Unimportant
    but appreciated anyway...

    What MM Said.

    Until you figure out the difference between publication rights and copyright, I would advise all authors to avoid your YADS entirely.
    Today, 03:46 AM
    James D. Macdonald
    Your Genial Uncle
    Absolute Sage

    Hi, Amanda.

    I mean this in the friendliest, most helpful way possible: Keep your resume up to date. You'll need it again sooner than you think.

    I've been watching display sites fail for twenty years now. Don't you think that, if the idea had any merit at all, one of those would have worked?

    I'm certain that you have friends who are authors. But am I right in assuming that none of the folks involved in MonkeyShelf have any experience in any branch of publishing?

    What do you bring to the table that authors can't already get, faster, more easily, and without giving away their copyrights, by going to Kindle Direct Publishing?
    __________________
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    Today, 03:48 AM
    Bicyclefish
    Pedaling Pescado

    Personally, I'm turned off by Craigslist ads. But that's just me. Anyway, from one such ad:

    Desired works include completed or in progress novels and completed short stories.
    Does this mean uncompleted works will be accepted? I don't mind reading works in progress for free, and there's some good on the fly writing out there, but the possibility that someone is posting an unpolished work in progress they may not even finish is a big turn off to me when it comes to a paid service, regardless of the cost.

    From the site:

    You will make more money with MonkeyShelf. 60% of the proceeds go to the Authors. An average writer makes about $35k-$45k a year. If your book has 16 pay-only chapters, at $0.25 per chapter, you as a writer make about $2.40 per book per reader. This means you can reach that average salary if you sell 14,500 complete "copies" of your book.
    To anyone, is there any truth to that "average salary"?
    __________________
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    Today, 04:11 AM
    veinglory
    volitare nequeo
    AW Moderator

    More to the point, is any author on this site going to earn that via this site? My money would be on: no. But time will tell.
    __________________
    Today, 04:30 AM
    BenPanced
    Cover-Stud Wrangler

    Originally Posted by MonkeyShelf View Post
    @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.
    The first clause, right here:
    BACKGROUND
    Whereas MonkeyShelf, LLC is a lawfully established business existing in the State of Texas; and
    Whereas _______________ owns the copyright to a work titled "_____________" (the 'Work'), and wishes to grant MonkeyShelf, LLC permission to reproduce and use the Work in accordance with the terms stated herein;
    Which leads to this:
    NATURE OF RIGHTS
    The Author grants the Publisher the exclusive right to publish, republish, use, reuse, and reproduce the Work in the formats agreed upon herein. This right includes the power to incorporate the Work into other pre-existing compositions, and to use the Work in future compilations.
    Then later, there's this:
    COPYRIGHT BUY BACK
    The Author may buy back Copyright of the Work with a mutual agreement with MonkeyShelf.
    MonkeyShelf may relinquish the copyright and returns full ownership to the Author in exchange for an amount equal to the sales during the peak-selling month times twenty-four (i.e. two year's worth of sales at the peak rate). However, MonkeyShelf reserves the right to negotiate a different amount.
    Which is a HUGE leap from the author granting the publisher publication rights to a copyright transfer.

    Especially when it doesn't say anything anywhere until that "buy back" clause that this document is a copyright transfer.
    Today, 04:36 AM
    Unimportant
    but appreciated anyway...

    Depends on how you define "average writer" and "makes."

    If by "average writer" you mean "average of all people in the US who write, aspire to write, or have written" and if by "makes" you mean "average of those people's total income from all sources including writing, non-writing employment, investment portfolios, gambling, interest on savings, and coins found between the couch cushions", then....maybe. That's about the average household income in the US for people in the have-a-home-computer category, yes?

    But other than that....no. The average writer is, on average, unpublished. The average published writer is, on average, not publishing novels with the Big 6 commercial presses. Maybe the average writer who is publishing regularly with the Big 6 has that kind of writing-related income, but that's as far as I'd believe the numbers they're quoting.
    Today, 07:33 AM
    Bicyclefish
    Pedaling Pescado

    I suspected that. "Average writer" could also include technical writers, journalists, advertising writers, speech writers, medical writers, etc. and it's my understanding most fiction writers are no salaried, thus income varies greatly.

    I wondered where the figure from the website came from.
    __________________
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    (and from 7/11, which is why the dates show, if ye happen to wonder ...)

    07-07-2011, 07:35 AM
    James D. Macdonald
    Your Genial Uncle
    Absolute Sage

    Originally Posted by Unimportant View Post
    ... but that's as far as I'd believe the numbers they're quoting.
    I'm not going to touch that number, because I know what they pulled it out of.
    __________________
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    07-07-2011, 08:03 AM
    Unimportant
    but appreciated anyway...

    ::sprays antiseptic cleanser::
    07-07-2011, 11:43 AM
    Old Hack
    You did WHAT?
    SuperModerator

    Just because this is probably well-intentioned doesn't mean that it's a good idea.

    I wouldn't even consider putting my work up there.
    __________________
    I blog at How Publishing Really Works and The Self-Publishing Review, and I tweet as @hprw. See you around.
    07-07-2011, 02:12 PM
    James D. Macdonald
    Your Genial Uncle
    Absolute Sage

    I'm sure they're well-intentioned. And I actually feel sorry for the sweet innocent n00bs who keep coming up with this Brilliant Idea That No One Ever Thought Of Before.
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    A Tremble in the Air
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    07-07-2011, 07:18 PM
    Torgo
    Madeleines! Don't get me started.

    OK, so it looks like it's not precisely a display site as I understand it - there's a monetized online social publishing thingy going on too.

    It's still not very appealing as it appears to me that I'm having to pay money (even into escrow) to read uncurated slush...
    __________________
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    07-07-2011, 08:33 PM
    James D. Macdonald
    Your Genial Uncle
    Absolute Sage

    If you have to put in a quarter to read the next chapter, I'd expect the works presented to devolve to Hardy-Boys levels of end-of-chapter cliffhangers.
    __________________
    A Tremble in the Air
    A psychic detective, a ghost, and a murder...
    07-07-2011, 08:42 PM
    Torgo
    Madeleines! Don't get me started.

    Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    If you have to put in a quarter to read the next chapter, I'd expect the works presented to devolve to Hardy-Boys levels of end-of-chapter cliffhangers.
    Hmm, www.fictionexpress.co.uk have been operating on that model and the results are pretty good. But then it's curated by a publisher, not a self-selecting / crowdsourcing model.
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    Censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates in the end the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. -- Henry Steele Commager
    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:

  18. #18
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Site's down for DNS issues, but domain was recently renewed. We'll see if it comes back.
    ICAO
    ---------

    Censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates in the end the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. -- Henry Steele Commager
    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:

  19. #19
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Nope. And its tax status was "involuntarily ended".
    ICAO
    ---------

    Censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates in the end the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. -- Henry Steele Commager
    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:

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