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Thread: D.W. Neal Publishing / Romancezine / Making Love Stories

  1. #1

    D.W. Neal Publishing / Romancezine / Making Love Stories

    I saw this on Dear Author and wanted to get people's thoughts on it. It appears legit. I hope it is!

    http://www.romancezine.com/index.html
    http://www.makinglovestories.com/index.html

  2. #2
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    If the contract's to be believed, they don't edit: http://www.makinglovestories.com/contracts.html
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  3. #3
    Girl Detective Stacia Kane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubastes View Post
    I saw this on Dear Author and wanted to get people's thoughts on it. It appears legit. I hope it is!

    Why?

    All I see is a newbie epublisher, with a bunch of sentence fragments and unedited slush added for good measure (indeed, it seems the people who created the site are extremely fond of the subjectless fragment:

    This section will be dedicated to contributing authors. Giving readers a chance to sample their wares and find links to their websites and works.
    Share the world of romance with writers who will take you on a personal journey.
    Together discovering what makes our hearts sing.
    And the short story on their front page has some awkward stylistic quirks as well.


    In addition, from their submissions page, some of their requirements and contract terms are troubling:

    For any work longer than 5,000 words, please send only the first few chapters, but include a word count for the entire piece. Once a work as been accepted arrangements will be made for a file transfer.
    ...so they're accepting novels based on a "few" chapters? How many is 'the first few?" Three, as is standard? Five?

    The publisher will retain full worldwide E-Book rights to each work for a period of 5 years starting from the first date of publication. All other rights shall remain with the author. If the author garners a contract with a publishing firm who wants the exclusive E-Book rights to your work, we will sell our rights to that publisher or you the Author for a fair market value. Our goal is not to impede the career advancement of any of our contributing authors.
    Yeah...forcing another publisher to pay for those rights is probably going to quite seriously impede the career advancement of the author, by ruining that particular deal. I can't think of many houses to want to have to pay some other publisher (what's "fair market value," and who determines it?) for rights to a book.

    Sure, it could happen. But it's going to make things that much more difficult and complex for a publisher, which is going to make it that much harder for you to get a deal.


    An example of our royalties structure will be based as follows: Amazon.com; at a price of $2.99, Amazon will keep a 30% commission plus a small delivery fee (approximately 6-12 cents per book, dependent on file size), leaving approximately $2.00 to be split evenly between ourselves and you, the author. The payment structure for sales with other retailers will vary slightly. Royalties will be paid on a quarterly basis. No advance fees will be paid.
    So is the royalty $1.00 per book, or a percentage? If we use that as a guide it means they only offer a 35% royalty, which is lower than pretty much every other epublisher. Why are they being so cagey about that number (i.e. rather than tell us a story about selling on Amazon, why not just say "We offer authors a 35% royalty") and how it changes at other online retailers?


    From the sample contract:

    4. D.W. Neal Publishing agrees to not edit the Work.

    Here's an unusual clause regarding anthologies:

    D.W. Neal Publishing shall pay royalties to the Author(s) based on the following equation. Once the third-party retailer, or payment-processing firm (for our websites) deducts their commission and fees, D.W. Neal publishing and the Author(s) shall split the remaining gross amount as equal 50% shares. Each Author will receive a percentage of the 50% share based upon the word count of their Work.

    I haven't read the article at Dear Author, so of course all of this may be mentioned there. And since DA is very much a reader site and written from that perspective this stuff may not be mentioned there. I'm sure this is an exciting/interesting prospect for readers. And of course Jane may know something I don't because I can find no mention of a "Dale W. Neal" or "D.W. Neal" with any publishing experience (note there is no "About" section which details the experience of the staff.

    The emagazine may be an interesting thing to contribute to, sure, but I don't see any evidence that as a publisher they have much to offer.
    http://www.staciakane.com

    FIVE DOWN, a Downside anthology, available now!
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  4. #4
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    I agree with Stacia that there are a number of things that would worry me about the contracts (which, I would suggest, have not been drawn up by a lawyer experienced in publishing).

    RomanceZine Contract:

    RomanceZine Contract: (BOLDING MIND)
    D.W. Neal Publishing shall have the unlimited right to publish the Work in the electronic medium for one issue of the electronic Romancezine magazine/journal, including promotional rights as described in paragraph 2. The Work shall be credited to Author upon publication. These rights include the ongoing sale of back issues of the electronic magazine in perpetuity.
    As I understand it, Romancezine is an ezine - therefore there should not be any back issues because, in theory, the magazine can be offered forever. In essence, therefore, this clause appears to give the magazine a perpetual right to your story.

    This would be concerning in itself, but it also appears to contradict the following clause:

    RomanceZine Contract:
    Subject to the provisions of paragraphs 1 and 2, Author agrees that D.W. Neal Publishing shall have the exclusive right to use the Work for a period of 90 days from the original date of publication.
    If Romancezine only intends to take a 90 day exclusive then you need to amend clause 1 to make it clear either that:

    (a) after that 90 day period expires, Romancezine only has a non-exclusive right to publish and that you, as author, will be free to sell the story elsewhere; or

    (b) that all rights in the story revert to you after that 90 day period and Romancezine has no further right to the same (which is going to be hard to negotiate for an epublication).

    RomanceZine Contract:
    D.W. Neal Publishing shall have the unlimited right to make promotional use and internal use of the Work, including promotion on our websites or through third-party venues.
    Personally, I'd want to clarify what they mean by "promotion use and internal use of the Work". Does this mean that they want the right to release excerpts from the Work for the purposes of promotion or do they want to be able to make the Work available for free on other sites to increase traffic to their magazine?

    RomanceZine Contract: (BOLDING MINE)
    D.W. Neal Publishing shall make payment to the Author in the amount of five cents per word. Author will also receive an electronic copy of the published issue. Payment to Author shall be made within 30 days of publication.
    Given that publication is within the publisher's control (and in theory, they could never publish the story, meaning that they don't have to pay for it), I'd want this amended so that payment has to be made within 30 days of acceptance. I'd further want it clarified that Romancezine has no right to exercise its promotion or internal use rights of the work until payment has been duly made.

    MakingLoveStories.com Writing Contest Contract:

    See above comments on the Romancezine Contract.

    Makinglovestories.com Ebook Contract:

    Ebook Contract:
    If at anytime during the first 5-year period of the contract as stated in paragraph 1, the Author garners a contract with a print publishing firm who also wants the E-Book rights to the Work, D.W. Neal Publishing will sell our E-Book rights to that publisher for a fair market value to be determined at the time of request. If necessary, any disputes as to the actual value of these rights will be determined through arbitration within the State of Virginia.
    This would be completely unacceptable to me because it gives Makinglovebooks.com a right to hold the ebook hostage. There is no mechanism for setting out what would be a "fair market value" and I would suggestvthat no commercial publisher is going to want to go to the trouble of arbitration to determine the same.

    What would be better is if Makinglovebooks.com simply provided a release on the provision of, e.g. 30 days notice on request from the author.

    Ebook Contract: (BOLDING MINE)
    D.W. Neal Publishing shall have the unlimited right to make promotional use and internal use of the Work, including promotion on our websites, in our ezine or through third-party venues. Promotional publication of the work will be limited to a maximum of 20% of the total content of the E-Book. Third-party retailers may promote the E-Book for FREE on some occasions, but payment for those downloads will still be made by them at full value.
    I would expect any free release of the book to be under the publisher's control and would be concerned that the vague wording of this clause can be used to deny the author payment for the same (especially as this seems to be a royalty-only publisher).

    Ebook Contract:
    Once the third-party retailer, or payment-processing firm (for our websites) deducts their commission and fees, D.W. Neal publishing and the Author shall split the remaining gross amount as equal 50% shares. The publisher will charge no other fees or expenses. Royalties will be paid quarterly after they have been received from the third-party retailer or payment-processing firm. Any royalty payment less than $25 will be delayed until the following quarter. The Author will also receive a copy of the published E-Book.
    So they're paying 50% on net. Personally, I'd want to strike out that $25 threshold because it's possible that your book won't sell enough copies to ever reach that level, meaning that the publisher will never actually have to pay you anything.

    Makinglovebooks.com Anthology Ebook Contract:

    Anthology Ebook Contract: (BOLDING MINE)
    D.W. Neal Publishing shall have the non-exclusive unlimited right to publish the Work in the E-Book format for a period of 25 years, including promotional rights as described in paragraph 2. The Author shall retain all other rights for the Work. The Work shall be credited to the Author upon publication.
    That bolding there is a hell no from me.

    Anthology Ebook Contract:
    D.W. Neal Publishing shall pay royalties to the Author(s) based on the following equation. Once the third-party retailer, or payment-processing firm (for our websites) deducts their commission and fees, D.W. Neal publishing and the Author(s) shall split the remaining gross amount as equal 50% shares. Each Author will receive a percentage of the 50% share based upon the word count of their Work. The publisher will charge no other fees or expenses. Royalties will be paid quarterly after they have been received from the third-party retailer or payment-processing firm. Any royalty payment less than $25 will be delayed until the following quarter. Each Author will also receive copy of the published E-Book.
    Stacia's right - not only is this clause unusual, if you don't know how many stories are going to be in the anthology or what their word counts are, you could end up with an incredibly small piece of that 50%. In the few anthology contracts I've seen, splits are usually made equally between each contributing author regardless of their respective word count.

    There are many other deficiencies in those contracts that I would point out, including basics such as lack of jurisdiction clauses, lack of warranties and other standard boilerplate - all pointing to an amateur and clueless operation.

    So in conclusion, this wouldn't be a publication I'd waste my time with.

    MM

  5. #5
    Thank you for vetting this. Nope, not going to bother with this one.
    Last edited by Bubastes; 07-19-2011 at 04:15 PM.

  6. #6
    Girl Detective Stacia Kane's Avatar
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    Just to clarify, I did Google the publisher and find the mention on Dear Author; it's just the press release they were sent, reprinted without comment. So my hunch was indeed correct, and DA wasn't recommending/discussing the venture in a positive or enthusiastic light, but simply reporting it as news.
    http://www.staciakane.com

    FIVE DOWN, a Downside anthology, available now!
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  7. #7
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    That no-edit clause alone should be a big turn-off. Wot, you're not even going to correct typoes?

  8. #8
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Thumbs up From the publisher

    Hi,

    My name is Dale Neal. I am the publisher for Romancezine. I want to thank all of you for your interest in Romancezine. As you have pointed out we are newbies to the romance publishing market. My personal background is more than 30 years in the advertising and graphics arts fields. I am hoping to use this knowledge to create a well written and visually appealing e-journal for the romance market. You can read more about my experience at www.dalewneal.com.

    I appreciate and welcome the criticism and suggestions you all have given on our contracts and approach. I realize we have a learning curve to this business, which is why we are taking our time and not launching the first issue till 2012.

    After reading all of your concerns about the ebook publishing we have decided to put that on hold for the time being. Our idea was to sell novella size books for $2.99. The hope was that the price would be attractive to buyers and create a larger volume of sales for new authors. The goal was to sell a few thousand books instead of a few dozen. At $2.99, it would break down to approximately $1.00 for each the retailer, the writer and us. Since this doesn't seem to be acceptable for the authors, we will not go forward with this in it's current form. Hopefully we can revisit it after the e-journal takes root.

    When it comes to our rights and usage of the Romancezine and contest submissions, we have made some changes. We will pay within 90 days of acceptance instead of publication. We will only use excerpts of the work for promotion on 3rd party sites or venues. We will not use your work for any promotion before payment is made. Also we have adjusted the ongoing rights issues as well. We hope to retain exclusive use for the first 90 days after publication and non-exclusive rights after that. The author would be free to sell the work again. We do need to retain the right to continue to sell copies of the e-journal on an ongoing basis. Since we plan on selling copies at $.99 each our portion of the sale from the retailer will only be $.30-.40. Our cost to produce one issue of Romancezine will be approximately $3000. This means we will need to sell at least 9,000 copies just to breakeven. This can not be done in just 90 days. We will also not be selling any advertising in Romancezine. The only promotion will be links to the contributors websites or books. To make this work we have to be able to sell copies of back issues.

    We do not expect this venture to turn a profit for at least 3 years.

    As far as the editing goes, yes we do plan on editing. I was trying to make two points concerning the editing. One was that I expected the work to come in as complete and professionally written as possible. The second, the work will not be edited without your approval. It is obvious by your comments that I did a poor job getting these points across.

    We take your opinions seriously and want to become an important vehicle for romance writers. If you look at our websites again you will notice that we have made many of the suggestions you have made.

    Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any other suggestions. This opportunity is a two way street.

    Sincerely, Dale Neal
    Publisher, Romancezine.com and Makinglovestories.com
    DW Neal

  9. #9
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Hi Dale Neal -- Welcome to AW, and thanks for taking the time to answer our questions!

    One thing I was wondering, since there's no info either way in your submission guidelines that I could find: Are you looking for romance stories that are only male+female, or are you open to gay/lesbian as well?

  10. #10
    Girl Detective Stacia Kane's Avatar
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    Hi Dale Neal (I apologize; I admit to not knowing whether you are Mr. Neal or Ms. Neal, so I hope you don't mind the rather incorrect address). (ETA: Since your middle name is "William" I'm going to go ahead and call you Mr. Neal. ;0)

    First, welcome to AW, and we're very glad to see you here! And thank you so much for your post and clarifications; it's always a pleasure to see a new publisher responding in a professional manner, and I admit to being always impressed when the comments made by writers here are taken on board.

    I have just a few more comments/questions for you.


    Quote Originally Posted by dwneal View Post
    Hi,

    My name is Dale Neal. I am the publisher for Romancezine. I want to thank all of you for your interest in Romancezine. As you have pointed out we are newbies to the romance publishing market. My personal background is more than 30 years in the advertising and graphics arts fields. I am hoping to use this knowledge to create a well written and visually appealing e-journal for the romance market. You can read more about my experience at www.dalewneal.com.
    Thanks for the link!

    I'm wondering, do you have plans to hire any professional editors to do the acquiring for you?



    I appreciate and welcome the criticism and suggestions you all have given on our contracts and approach. I realize we have a learning curve to this business, which is why we are taking our time and not launching the first issue till 2012.
    I'm glad to hear that. When in 2012?

    After reading all of your concerns about the ebook publishing we have decided to put that on hold for the time being. Our idea was to sell novella size books for $2.99. The hope was that the price would be attractive to buyers and create a larger volume of sales for new authors. The goal was to sell a few thousand books instead of a few dozen. At $2.99, it would break down to approximately $1.00 for each the retailer, the writer and us. Since this doesn't seem to be acceptable for the authors, we will not go forward with this in it's current form.
    Welllll...I think this is a slight misunderstanding of our concern. It's not so much that it's an unacceptable royalty as the way it was phrased; we were looking for a basic percentage rather than an explanation with dollar amounts. Had you said "We'll pay 35% of cover price," (which is basically what your pricing plan worked out to) we may have commented that it's slightly lower than the standard in epublishing (which ranges generally from 37-40%), but we wouldn't have felt like the actual percentage was being hidden.

    It just seemed like an odd way to explain it, and like it may leave some room for confusion.


    When it comes to our rights and usage of the Romancezine and contest submissions, we have made some changes. We will pay within 90 days of acceptance instead of publication. We will only use excerpts of the work for promotion on 3rd party sites or venues. We will not use your work for any promotion before payment is made. Also we have adjusted the ongoing rights issues as well. We hope to retain exclusive use for the first 90 days after publication and non-exclusive rights after that. The author would be free to sell the work again. We do need to retain the right to continue to sell copies of the e-journal on an ongoing basis.
    This is all great news, and again, it's nice to see our feedback being taken to heart.

    I don't have experience with magazines myself, so I'll leave it to others to examine this more closely. But certainly based on my knowledge of contracts etc (which isn't exhaustive, I don't claim that) this seems quite reasonable to me.


    We will also not be selling any advertising in Romancezine. The only promotion will be links to the contributors websites or books.
    Why not? Presumably your readers will be romance buyers, and that sounds to me like an audience romance publishers would be happy to reach through advertising.

    You are of course free to take or leave my advice, but I'd reconsider that one; obviously you don't want to be just ads, but I don't think a couple of ads throughout is going to turn readers off, and it could increase your revenue, which will help you attract bigger names, which will attract more readers.

    We do not expect this venture to turn a profit for at least 3 years.
    It's good to know you're prepared for that.

    As far as the editing goes, yes we do plan on editing. I was trying to make two points concerning the editing. One was that I expected the work to come in as complete and professionally written as possible. The second, the work will not be edited without your approval. It is obvious by your comments that I did a poor job getting these points across.
    If I may...this is the sort of thing you're looking for:

    With the Author’s approval (which shall not be unreasonably withheld, delayed or conditioned), the Publisher will have the right to make any editorial changes in the Work deemed necessary by it.

    The wording varies, but you want to get in there that the work will be edited but that changes won't be made without the author's approval.

    Many epublishers post sample contracts on their websites. I urge you to take a look at them.

    Again, have you hired some professional editors? Who'll be editing the stories you accept?


    We take your opinions seriously and want to become an important vehicle for romance writers. If you look at our websites again you will notice that we have made many of the suggestions you have made.

    Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any other suggestions. This opportunity is a two way street.

    Sincerely, Dale Neal
    Publisher, Romancezine.com and Makinglovestories.com

    Again, I sincerely appreciate you coming here to talk to us, and your professionalism and openness (I'm sure you'd be shocked to see how rarely new publishers respond in the way you have). I'm still leery of any new publishing venture, but you have certainly impressed me.
    http://www.staciakane.com

    FIVE DOWN, a Downside anthology, available now!
    Four previously published short stories and one brand new novella, together in one volume.

    Click here for more details.


    WRONG WAYS DOWN available now!


  11. #11
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Thumbs up thanks

    Dear Stacia,

    Thank you so much for your reply. Yes it is Mr.

    I currently have one freelance editor who has a PHD in English from UC Davis in California. She will be more involved as we get closer to publication and do the final selections and editing for the first issue.

    In the future it is my goal to have a full-time editor and an associate editor to handle all of the acquiring and editing.

    My target date for the first issue is April of 2012. Then have it set for quarterly publication after that.

    I was planning on not having any ads for 2 reasons. One is that I don't want to date the publication and secondly I want it to have more of a literary journal feel. I will be having small ads and links to promote the work of the contributors. In the future hopefully these links would go to e-books that we have worked with the authors to publish. I may consider having one or two major sponsors. I just don't want to clutter up the publication with a lot of small ugly ads.

    Thank you for your editing clause.

    In terms of the percentage for the e-books. I wanted to handle this a little differently than most publishers. My goal is to share the profit equally between myself and the author. So the retailer would get their 30-35% and we would each get 50% of the net profit.

    I can surely go for a straight percentage to the author if that is what everyone is comfortable with.

    A question for you concerning the length of rights on e-books. What terms are you as authors going to be most comfortable with, but at the same time will provide me with some long-term profits?

    Thank you again for your interest and help.

    Dale Neal

    To unimportant,

    Yes we are open to all genres of romance. It just has to include love between a committed or soon to be committed couple.
    DW Neal

  12. #12
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Standard terms would be around 30-50% of cover for ebook home sales... generally half that for distributor sales to account for the 50% etailer fee.

    Does all genres include romances that are GLBTQ/polyamorous?

    Just my 2c but I would suggest being a bit more subtle about your keyword stuffing at the bottom of this page: http://www.romancezine.com/submissions.html
    Emily Veinglory

  13. #13
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    With regards to e-book rights, I reckon a lot of authors will be comfortable with a long-term contract as long as there is a rights-reversion clause tied to a minimum sales figure. It's something that benefits both author and publisher.

  14. #14
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    genres

    "The only ingredient you have to include is love between a committed or soon-to-be committed couple."

    Yes on gay or lesbian. No on polyamorous.

    I want to have as much diversity as possible, but I have to draw a line somewhere. Right now that line is gray and it will probably move. We will try to push the envelope where possible, but the bottom line is that each story needs to present a loving relationship between a monogamous couple.
    DW Neal

  15. #15
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Thanks for clarifying. It pays to check as some markets don't even consider that all genres might include gay and lesbian.
    Emily Veinglory

  16. #16
    Update from another loop I'm on:

    "I regret to inform you that due to a insufficient quantity of submissions we have decided to not launch our electronic magazine, Romancezine."

  17. #17
    Girl Detective Stacia Kane's Avatar
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    Oh, that's a shame. I really thought he might have had something there, once he'd worked out the contractual issues.

    Mr. Neal, if you see this, I am sorry to hear you've shut down.
    http://www.staciakane.com

    FIVE DOWN, a Downside anthology, available now!
    Four previously published short stories and one brand new novella, together in one volume.

    Click here for more details.


    WRONG WAYS DOWN available now!


  18. #18
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    Stacia, you always were nicer than I am. Frankly, this irritates me to no end because it shows that yet another ill-informed newbie wanted to jump into the ring before understanding how tough this business is. Authors shouldn't be someone's learning curve, so that's why I get cranky at this kind of stuff.

  19. #19
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Expected Romancezine to be gone, but Making Love Stories and Mr. Neal's personal site are gone as well.
    ICAO
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