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Thread: 2 Moon Press

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    2 Moon Press

    Hi all—newbie here. I'm curious if anyone has had any experience, good or bad, with a company called 2 Moon Press from Marshall, Michigan?

    Their website is www.800publishing.com

    Thanks for any and all replies!

  2. #2
    I think Three Wolf Moon Press is far superior... (Sorry, I couldn't resist. Please don't take that seriously if such a press actually exists.)

    No personal experience, but looking at the website, it's clearly a pay-to-play operation, and an overpriced one at that. You might as well self-publish and save the cash. You could get the individual services offered in their packages for a lot cheaper by going directly to independent artists, editors, ect.
    "An honest answer is like a warm hug." - Proverbs 24:26 (The Message)

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  3. #3
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Thanks Katrina!

    I was asking because they hosed me out of a few thousand bucks, but not directly for writing/publishing. I was hired by the company and was told that I needed to invest in proprietary software (Corel Draw running on Windows). My Mac G5 couldn't run the software, so a new iMac, Windows, Parallels to run Windows AND Corel Draw to the tune of (est.) $3200 later, they disappeared. Poof! Wouldn't return my phone calls or e-mails, wouldn't set up an appointment to meet in person. So, not only do I not have a job, I've been bilked out of money. It's suing time!

  4. #4
    I grow my own catnip JulieB's Avatar
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    Wow. I'm sorry this happened to you. I'm not a lawyer, but unless you have a contract in hand, you may have a tough time with a lawsuit.

  5. #5
    Yeah, I'm with JulieB. That sounds really frustrating. You should certainly contact a lawyer and ask if you have anything against them, but it does sound like that'd be difficult without a contract. (I'm also not a lawyer, hence the suggestion to contact someone who actually is.)
    "An honest answer is like a warm hug." - Proverbs 24:26 (The Message)

    My short story collection, "The Poisoned City", is now available!

  6. #6
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    No worries...my e-mail trail and phone records are pretty substantial. Small claims only goes up to $3000, so worst case scenario I'll be out an additional $75. Best case scenario is I'll come out at $3075. I figure it'll be somewhere in the middle. Small claims stipulates that there cannot be an attorney involved (during court, anyway). There may be some pro bono advocate I can contact for an opinion. Anyway, thanks for the advice and support!

  7. #7
    No problem, best of luck to you. And hopefully the discussion of the company here will give others some helpful info.
    "An honest answer is like a warm hug." - Proverbs 24:26 (The Message)

    My short story collection, "The Poisoned City", is now available!

  8. #8
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    Hello everyone. We are the book publisher that the original poster "WeFrost" commented on here. Of course as in life, there are two sides to every story, and although her story is dramatic we do have to chime in.

    We posted an ad for a contract graphic designer MONTHS ago, Wendy answered the post, met with us and although she touted herself as being experienced, she did not have a computer that could handle graphic design. She informed us she was getting a new computer and would be up and running within a "week or so." I am not sure why she would think a MAC G5 would not be up to snuff?

    Further, we informed her that along with Photshop, InDesign and Illustrator (sorry is this not standard graphic designer software?) We required our designers also to have COREL Draw X5. She said no problem, she was upgrading anyways, and would contact us within a "week or so."

    Well the "Week or so" turned into two months. We were forced to hire another designer. Regardless of the dramatics of her post, we cannot wait for a potential contractor for months. Her posts saying lawsuit time or hyperbole, and groundless. She touts herself as a graphic designer then complains that she bought a Mac, ADOBE and COREL?

    We really do hate to have this be our first post on this awesome forum, however her post is attacking us because she makes it sound like she was hired, we forced her to buy a new MAC, forced her to buy a 99.00 software program (Corel Draw X5) etc, is a flat out lie.

    So yes we did not hire her. I am not sure why she threw away her MAC G5 unless it was a VERY old model. However her complaint is ludicrous. WeFrost we proffer this advice. When you answer ads to positions, and tout yourself as a Graphic Designer with over 20 years experience, one should have software and a computer to DO the work.

    To walk into a business and tell them, "I will have the computer in a week or so" and then expect that business to wait around for months is not only unrealistic, it is highly unprofessional.

    We at 2 Moon Press look forward to beign productive members of this forum, we are sorry we found out about it this way through this post.

  9. #9
    the Light of Dawn Wesley Kang's Avatar
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    I have no dog in this fight, and my disclaimer is that I have no way of knowing who is really telling the truth.

    But it doesn't seem to make any sense that someone would make you (OP) buy this software and upgrade your computer if they had no intention to hire you. What would be their motivation for doing so? Unless they are just mean-spirited, but that doesn't seem like good business. What would they profit from this from you buying a new computer and buying software from well-known publishers? I highly doubt they have any kind of contract or agreement with said publishers to get a cut of their profits from the software. I like my conspiracies as much as the next person, but that doesn't seem very likely. Now, if they had asked you to buy some obscure publishing software, that might be a little suspicious.

    Anyways, sorry to the OP if you feel you've been wronged. I wish everyone well in this scenario.
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  10. #10
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    I do want to clarify a good point / Idea that Wesley made.

    We require the use of COREL X5 Draw along with standard ADOBE software. We do not get a cut, nor a kickback from COREL. We simply use this software along with ADOBE products.

    We try to handle all file types, and COREL is being used more and more in design. The core issue here is simple. We can not be made to wait for a designer to "upgrade" while our authors sit around waiting for their work. We have to deal with prepared and proactive designers, and employees.

    Regardless of being pay to publish, we owe those authors that use our services timely work, and quality work. Waiting around is not good for anyone, especially our authors.

  11. #11
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    I want to post my opinion here. I have used 2 Moon Press as a publisher for my romance books. Now I am new, and I admit that I do not select their traditional services as I market my books myself at craft shows and fairs.

    So here is my opinion.

    PRICE
    I was not disheartened or feeling the price was out of line. I have looked at other pay to publish places and found their rates in fact pretty reasonable.

    DEALING WITH THEM
    They were pleasant, responded to me emails and calls, and when I visited their offices they were open. I contacted the local chamber of commerce and SBA, and they had no complaints on them. Responsiveness with me goes a long way, as I live out of State and cannot always stop in.

    QUALITY
    I have published through Dog Ear, plus LuLu and can attest that 2 Moon's book quality far surpasses anything they did for me. My covers (I have done 2 books now through them) I am very pleased with.

    SERVICE AFTER SALE
    They still answer my emails and calls, and even put up with my occasional visit when I am in Michigan. Melinda was awesome to deal with, she got me several great events. Don was equally nice, his cover work for me was super. I have not met some of their new staff. However, I have not been there in months.

    Over all yes they charge to publish. However as a veteran of other pay to publish operations. I must say that service and quality do not always go hand in hand with publishers. I cannot speak for this designer who complained. However, I must say I am happy with them, and as an author got everything and more from them that I paid for.

  12. #12
    Sci-Fi Guru/Linux Geek Steven_Lake's Avatar
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    As both a programmer and an author (I write sci-fi and do websites and cloud apps) I can vouch for 2 Moon Press, their quality, and their honesty. I've had 8 books published with them (if they were bad, I wouldn't have bothered doing even one with them), plus I've done a considerable amount of contract work for them over the past two years, and I've NEVER ONCE had a problem with them. As 2 Moon Press stated, if you're going to do contract work, you need to have ALL of your tools on hand BEFORE you begin a job, not after.

    So in this case, the OP (WeFrost) was in the wrong by not being prepared when starting this job. Yes, they tried to correct this deficiency, but in the end 2 Moon Press was in the right to move on to someone else when the OP couldn't provide the promised services in a reasonable amount of time. The fact that 2 Moon Press was willing to wait as long as they did for the OP to get up to speed says a lot to their patience and generosity. By every right they had the option to just walk away right then and there if they'd wanted to. But they didn't. Even so, in the end it's up to the contractor, and not the client, to be accommodating and do all that is asked by the customer. (within reason)

    It's no different anywhere else in the business world. If the seller doesn't provide the customer with what they want/need, the buyer always has the right to walk away at any point should they be unsatisfied. For example, if you walked into McDonalds and asked for a hamburger, and they said that it'd be 2 hours for your food as they didn't have a working burger grill, you'd just hit the door and go somewhere else. The same applies here.

    Now, to address the OP (WeFrost). Yes, you bought a new machine. Yes, you spent money on Corel. Yes, you didn't get the job. Personally, I'd recommend taking away a few lessons from this for the future. On the first side you've learned that if you're not prepared to do a job, you're better to walk away from it until you've got the tools you need and you're ready to take on the work asked of you. Second, the new additions to your list of tools are not a "loss". They're a business expense and an asset. By buying them you've added to your list of available tools, which means you also increase the number of potential jobs you can now do. (PS, if you don't have them already, get certified on all the design software you currently have, as it'll further increase your credibility)

    As for suing 2 Moon Press for "losses", I'd recommend that you don't do it. For one, if this goes to small claims court, the judge will side with the customer (2 Moon Press), as no paper contract was ever signed (at least that's what I gather so far), so it's their word against yours. Second, upon reading your complaint, the judge will agree that your purchases constitute a business expense, as I said, and thus can't be construed as a "loss". So save yourself the $75 and make the best out of this. In the end, if you use your newly acquired tools to their full potential, you've got a chance to make back your expenditures and then some within a short amount of time.

  13. #13
    Welcome, 2 Moon Press. I can see how you'd be upset to see this thread on your company. Perhaps it would be better if you and WeFrost settled this issue outside the forum so we can focus our discussion on the authors your company works with instead.

    Kaytedid -- I have no doubt that other pay-to-play operations may charge more and/or offer a lower quality product. My argument was that if you were to find independent editors, artists, and designers and hire each of them separately, then that would cost you a lot less than what Two Moon Press charges for their packages and the quality would be just as high. You would also then only pay for what you actually need.

    2 Moon Press, if you're willing to answer some questions, could you tell me more about this item in the "Author Advance" package:

    Insertion into 5 local libraries
    Who are the libraries local to? Yourselves or the author? How exactly are you able to guarantee placement in a library for a pay-to-publish book?
    "An honest answer is like a warm hug." - Proverbs 24:26 (The Message)

    My short story collection, "The Poisoned City", is now available!

  14. #14
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    Oh for pete's sake...take this private stuff off the board and settle it among yourselves. Airing dirty laundry in public is beyond tacky.

  15. #15
    Sci-Fi Guru/Linux Geek Steven_Lake's Avatar
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    Priceless, I agree.

    Katrina, that may be true. You could get it cheaper by going self published, but there's a kicker here. One, 2 Moon Press actually MARKETS the books they sign. Two, they don't just take any old book. Sure, you pay up front, but only after it's been accepted, and there's a surprising number that actually get rejected. Most PTP businesses don't care who you are and just take your money, produce your book, and send you on your way. 2MP actually takes care of marketing, distribution, etc. They do all the exact same things a traditional publisher does, save one, and that's to cover the up front cost of publication. And I'm not speaking on 2MP's behalf, but rather from a writer who's published with them.

    Sure, you can save money going the self published way, but distribution is difficult, and a lot of hard work, and getting into Ingram is nearly impossible. If you go the all digital way, you may counteract that some, but you still end up with a LOT of work, tons of self marketing, and much more. Once you add in the cost of your time (nobody ever figures that in when calculating the cost of a project like publishing a book) as an expense and part of the cost of publishing, PTP is actually cheaper than self publish on a number of levels. Or at least going with 2MP is.

    Trust me, I already did the math on this, and I'm happy with what I have. My 8 books with 2MP ought to speak for my thoughts about the company. For someone like me who works a full time job AND writes/publishes books, it's the better deal. For someone who's got no job and all the time in the world, sure, self publishing is better. But overall in the end it's really up to the individual what works best for them.

    Anyhow, WeFrost, I suggest taking your grievance up directly with the company. As Priceless1 said, this isn't the place to air your grievances. On top of that, by going behind 2MP's back like this, you risk hurting your chances for future design business, because other potential customers can and WILL find out about this thread and it stands a very high chance of hurting your potential business. Just because you're hiding behind a username doesn't mean they can't find out who the real you is. Trust me, I spent 7 years doing network and systems security. There is no such thing as anonymity on the web. Just fyi.

    Anywho, I'm done with my rant. On to better and more important things, like working on more books.

  16. #16
    Shakespearean Fool DreamWeaver's Avatar
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    Steven, could you share with us the titles of your books and what your sales have been like? Thanks!

    ETA: Partial data: Amazon search found 3 books listed for the combination of author's name and 2 Moon Press.

    #1 published in 2010 has no rank for the paperback and a ranking of #134,290 for the $2.99 Kindle edition.
    #2 published in 2010 has no rank for the paperback and a ranking of #477,748 for the $2.99 Kindle edition.
    #3 published in 2009 has a ranking of #7,490,777 for the paperback and no Kindle listing.

    I note that Amazon sales are not the only sales venue, and this doesn't cover all eight books, so these are only partial data. However, the numbers seem pretty much in keeping with other vanity press published books. 2 Moon Press's marketing as reflected in Amazon sales doesn't seem to be doing much.
    Last edited by DreamWeaver; 09-13-2011 at 05:16 AM.
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  17. #17
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    Priceless.
    We are responding to a malicious and untrue attack on 2 Moon Press. I have a right to set the record straight when my business is being attacked. I can assure you that this thread for now on will be used by 2 Moon only to answer questions.

    DreamWeaver,
    Any author who relies on amazon.com as an indicator of their sales potential or as how successful they are, really should get a reality dose. Amazon.com is only a small part of the sales pie.

    I have one indicator of what we are, how we are, and how good of a reputation we have. We have not grown in the last two years like we have and have the number of authors who have published 2, 3 and even 9 books with us if we did not produce results. I admit that pay to publish operations do have a spurious reputation. However do not bunch all the apples into one rotted basket.

    Katrina S. Forest,
    We place books into local libraries as part of our services. A small thing to do, however our philosophy is that more exposure the better, and also we donate them in the authors name.

    We know that pay to publish is not everyone's cup of tea. However it is a lot of peoples tea. Pay to publish is here to stay, and I think as long as you offer a service, and at a price that is competitive to market, and you deliver what you say then you are helping a segment out there that wants your type of service.

    Those that pay to have their book published, ARE published authors.

  18. #18
    Shakespearean Fool DreamWeaver's Avatar
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    2 Moon Press, perhaps you could give us some idea of what your bestselling authors are looking at in terms of sales, and from what venues, since you seem to be saying that Amazon sales are not representative of your customers' actual sales? Thanks.
    Why doesn't George R. R. Martin use Twitter? He already killed off all 140 characters.

  19. #19
    Sci-Fi Guru/Linux Geek Steven_Lake's Avatar
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    DreamWeaver, 2 Moon Press is right. Amazon numbers mean nothing. As for my actual sales numbers (including Ebooks), I don't know, because some venues don't give you sales numbers, so my totals are just guesswork. As for what those numbers are based on what sales numbers I do have, I'd say at least several thousand per title, and that's being conservative. As for what books I've published, you can find a complete list of them in the book section on my website.

    For someone who's out for huge sales, and major fame and fortune, a few thousand sales might seem tiny. To me, they're plenty. Why? Because, I don't believe you need to be a million plus selling author to be successful. If I write good fiction, and people enjoy it, then I have succeeded at my goal. Even if I only ever sell one book the rest of my life, if that one person enjoyed what I wrote, then I consider it mission accomplished. So don't let sales numbers fool you. A good writer is more than the total number of books they've sold. I mean, just look at Dan Brown. He's a horrible writer, and yet he sold millions, and then you have other writers who were outstanding and sold a few hundred. So in the end, sales numbers mean nothing in regards to the quality of the book, or the publisher. They're merely numbers that bean counters use to justify their jobs. :P

  20. #20
    Steven,

    Your individual goals for your writing career are not what's in question here. What's in question is whether or not it's worth someone's $900-$2000 to buy a publishing package from 2 Moon Press. I say it's not. For the author to whom sales numbers mean nothing, self-publishing is the clear choice, but it shouldn't have to cost that much.

    Any publisher should be able to tell you exactly how many sales you made, whether through Amazon or anywhere else. How can they possibly calculate royalties otherwise?

    2 Moon Press, you didn't really answer my question about the libraries. I asked how you do it, not if. Libraries have limited shelf space. How can you possibly promise an author that you'll convince 5 libraries to set aside space for a pay-to-publish book they've never heard of when they could use it for the latest bestseller? Unless, of course, I'm misunderstanding you and "place in libraries" means something totally different?

    Sadly, repeat customers in the pay-to-publish business doesn't mean a high-quality product. PublishAmerica does not produce results, and people come to them over and over. Why? Because they're in love with the idea of being a "real published author" and they're willing to pay someone money to make that idea feel like reality.
    "An honest answer is like a warm hug." - Proverbs 24:26 (The Message)

    My short story collection, "The Poisoned City", is now available!

  21. #21
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Steven_Lake:
    You could get it cheaper by going self published, but there's a kicker here. One, 2 Moon Press actually MARKETS the books they sign.
    What marketing do they do and what kind of sales figures does that marketing generate? I ask because having taken a look at their packages, the marketing activities seem to be vague, passive and things that you could just as easily do without having to pay $1,999 up front.

    Author Advantage Programme:
    Worldwide distribution to bookstores through our distributors
    Your book archived in our database for life
    Placement into Amazon.com
    Placement into Barnes and Nobles booksellers (*)
    Placement into Borders Books (*)
    Availability to bookstores nationwide
    Registration with the Library of Congress for an LOC number
    Registration with "Books in Print"
    Ten book signings and or events
    Several Online Reviews
    Author Page on our website
    No image insertion fees or image limit
    Submission to Google Books
    Press Release to 250 newspapers and TV stations
    Insertion into 5 local libraries
    Direct press release to NPR radio
    For example, the value of a press release is negligible unless those 250 newspapers/TV stations actually run a story based on it. There's nothing there to suggest which newspapers/stations are being targeted (e.g. a community station dedicated to hard rock music isn't going to be interested in a press release about a novel featuring a love story in Saxon England).

    Giving books to libraries is great, but (as I understand it), libraries in the US don't pay an equivalent of the public lending right, so you're not earning any money from it.

    Even the placement into bookstores obligation is, IMO, weasel worded given that the wording at the bottom blames distributors in the event that your books aren't placed in store (which they won't be unless 2 Moons has negotiated appropriate discount and return terms).

    Steven_Lake:
    Two, they don't just take any old book. Sure, you pay up front, but only after it's been accepted, and there's a surprising number that actually get rejected.
    Some books are just plain unprintable - e.g. they might consist of racist libel, they might be random letters typed on a page or they might just be "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" typed over and over again. In that situation, a vanity/subsidy/pay-to-play/whatever term you want to use publisher will probably reject it because the value of having the money up front is offset by the hassle of accepting it.

    It might well be that 2 Moon have stringent acceptance criteria. However, the fact that they want money up front means that they are not taking any real risk with your book.

    2 Moon Press:
    Any author who relies on amazon.com as an indicator of their sales potential or as how successful they are, really should get a reality dose. Amazon.com is only a small part of the sales pie.
    Fair enough. Can you give us an idea of how sales are split between different markets and where most of your sales come from? Can you share what the average number of books sold per author is? Can you let us know how sales of books by you to authors (if applicable) compare to sales made through third party vendors?

    2 Moon Press:
    We have not grown in the last two years like we have and have the number of authors who have published 2, 3 and even 9 books with us if we did not produce results.
    Cool. Can you share how many authors, on average, make back in sales/royalties the amount that they paid to be published with you?

    2 Moon Press:
    Pay to publish is here to stay, and I think as long as you offer a service, and at a price that is competitive to market, and you deliver what you say then you are helping a segment out there that wants your type of service.
    Yup, pay to publish has always been around and will probably always be around.

    However if you stick around this board, you'll see that the purpose of this Forum is to try and advise authors on what's best for them. As such, we generally advocate Yog's Law, i.e. money should flow to the author and not away from them.

    My issue with pay-to-play publishers is that many authors find themselves spending a lot of money up front, which they then never make back again. That's great if you can afford it and/or you've made an informed decision. However in my experience, many authors go into publishing because they're hoping to make some cash back on their "investment".

    2 Moon Press:
    Those that pay to have their book published, ARE published authors.
    No one here has said otherwise.

    I think the point is that authors who pay to be published may be badly published, which in turn hurts their chances of ever making money with that manuscript. Now, some authors won't care about that because all they want is something to hold in their hand (and I'm not criticising that in any way - although there are cheaper alternatives to doing that than 2 Moon Press). If you have written something that you want to make money from, then finding that you've saddled yourself with a bad publisher means you've lost first publishing rights in that book so even if you do decide to write off the money and experience, it will be very, very difficult for you to find a home for that book with a better publisher.

    Steven_Lake:
    As for my actual sales numbers (including Ebooks), I don't know, because some venues don't give you sales numbers, so my totals are just guesswork. As for what those numbers are based on what sales numbers I do have, I'd say at least several thousand per title, and that's being conservative.
    Does this mean that you've made back what you paid to publish those books? Can you let us know whether you did any additional marketing/promotion beyond what 2 Moons did?

    Also, I'm a bit confused about your comment on sales figures. Do you not receive regular sales figures on your books with breakdowns of returns etc?

    Steven_Lake:
    So don't let sales numbers fool you. A good writer is more than the total number of books they've sold.
    I don't think that anyone is arguing with the statement that high sales do not equate to good writing.

    What we are concerned about is ability to make sales. If you've paid to be published then, depending on your royalty terms, you are dependent on selling books in high numbers to make back the amount you've paid out. If a publisher cannot help you to make those sales then you as the author are the one who ends up out of pocket.

    MM

  22. #22
    Sci-Fi Guru/Linux Geek Steven_Lake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Momento Mori View Post
    What marketing do they do and what kind of sales figures does that marketing generate? I ask because having taken a look at their packages, the marketing activities seem to be vague, passive and things that you could just as easily do without having to pay $1,999 up front.
    I'm not there enough to know the ins and outs of what they do, but it's a lot. There's newspaper ads, events, book fairs, press releases, book reviews, radio, television (whenever possible), and a bunch more. No, they won't get you on the Tonight Show or anything mainstream like that, but for a small press they do pretty darned good.
    Giving books to libraries is great, but (as I understand it), libraries in the US don't pay an equivalent of the public lending right, so you're not earning any money from it.
    Right, you may not be, but consider this. The potential audience of a local library is easily in the thousands in my area, and 10's of thousands or more in the bigger cities. The point of putting it in a library is exposure. Yes, you don't sell any books directly that way, but the word of mouth advertising you get (which believe it or not is usually 90% of all sales) is huge. I personally gave at least one copy of every single one of my books to the local libraries in my area, and because of that a LOT more people have heard about me than had I done the more traditional outlets. Giving to libraries is a form of marketing. Most authors don't see it as that though. Hence the confusion.
    Even the placement into bookstores obligation is, IMO, weasel worded given that the wording at the bottom blames distributors in the event that your books aren't placed in store (which they won't be unless 2 Moons has negotiated appropriate discount and return terms).
    Weasel worded? How is it that? Think about it. As the author you are the seller, and the bookstore is the buyer. Just like I mentioned to the OP about their contract work, the buyer is not obligated to buy. If they don't like your book, they don't have to buy, and that includes even books distributed through Ingram, the single largest bookseller in the world. Just because they're in the Ingram catalog doesn't mean anyone will buy them. Then again, you're also not necessarily guaranteed to get into Ingram either. Plenty of authors who have been accepted by publishing houses have ultimately been rejected by Ingram.
    Some books are just plain unprintable - e.g. they might consist of racist libel, they might be random letters typed on a page or they might just be "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" typed over and over again. In that situation, a vanity/subsidy/pay-to-play/whatever term you want to use publisher will probably reject it because the value of having the money up front is offset by the hassle of accepting it.
    I think just about any publisher worth their salt would reject a really, really, really bad book. Not all do, as is evidenced by the project created by a handful of authors a few years back. They endeavored to create, intentionally, the world's worst book ever. They then submitted it to presses all over the US. In the end, Random House accepted and published it. No joke. So not everyone rejects truly bad books just as not everyone accepts truly good ones. It's more up to the publisher on what to deal with, and what will sell. 2 Moon prides itself on ensuring that only quality books get through. Now obviously quality is in the eye of the beholder, but I think they do a pretty good job. Quite a few of their books have received high reviews and even received awards. I know mine did.
    It might well be that 2 Moon have stringent acceptance criteria. However, the fact that they want money up front means that they are not taking any real risk with your book.
    False. If a book doesn't sell, they don't make any money. The fees you pay are only there to cover the initial publishing costs. Things such as copyright submission, ISBN, editing, cover, layout, etc. That however doesn't cover things like rent, power, water, employee labor, etc. Those are covered by the book sales. I know this because being a tech contractor for them, I get to see the guts of the operation first hand. You really can't *not* see it when you're knuckles deep in their tracking system upgrading modules and fixing bugs. I can't give actual numbers due to NDA, but I can say that they're absolutely not the big evil "take your money and leave you bleeding in a ditch" PTP publishing company you think they are. As I said before, I wouldn't have published 8 books with them if I thought I was being taken. And given that I'm also a tech contractor with them, I'd know pretty quickly if they were dirty or not.
    Does this mean that you've made back what you paid to publish those books?
    To directly publish the books? Absolutely. Since I already had a large reader base from my tech writing days (I've been writing hardware/software reviews and tech pieces for quite a few years) I didn't go with one of the big packages. I think mine was the then basic $800 package (it was one of their original publishing packages which has since been deprecated) if I remember right, but that was plenty. Of course, for a book that sells for $12, you only need to sell 67 copies (more if you're occasionally offering them at a discount rate) to break even on your publishing costs. The rest is pure profit. Well, minus any costs for buying books for yourself to be sold at events, but that's really no different than the publishing cost on the book. You make an up front investment, work hard, then earn it back and a little extra.
    Can you let us know whether you did any additional marketing/promotion beyond what 2 Moons did?
    Absolutely! A company can certainly help get your foot in the door (that's where their marketing is so useful, as it opens doors you otherwise can't), but at the end of the day it's up to you to do the heavy lifting of marketing. I for one, despite being in a digital age of books, still sell print copies of my novels. Why? Well, for one, book signings, festivals, events, etc don't work well with digital media. Two, it's something people can have as a reminder of their meeting with you. Getting to meet the author and buy their book is a big thrill for a lot of people, even if dead tree books are on their way out.

    Personally, I don't see my having to do any of my secondary marketing as a bad thing. 2 Moon gets the foot in the door, then I take that opening and run with it. Even the big houses expect you as the author to do that to some degree.
    Also, I'm a bit confused about your comment on sales figures. Do you not receive regular sales figures on your books with breakdowns of returns etc?
    I do, but not all outlets report sales figures to you. They just send you a check about once a month. Now to clarify that a bit, not all my books are sold directly through 2 Moon. Being that I'm the author and I retain all the book rights (one of the things I like about them) I'm free to go to other vendors outside of their sphere of influence, and sell my books there. Most of them are ebook vendors, but a few are regular mom and pop stores.
    I don't think that anyone is arguing with the statement that high sales do not equate to good writing.

    What we are concerned about is ability to make sales. If you've paid to be published then, depending on your royalty terms, you are dependent on selling books in high numbers to make back the amount you've paid out. If a publisher cannot help you to make those sales then you as the author are the one who ends up out of pocket.
    Eh, true. But again, the question comes down to this. What are you selling, and how much are you selling it for? As I said before, my books sell for $12 each (well, the Earthfleet books do, the others are cheaper). 800/12=66.6 books. Now, figure that you have $7 of that goes to the printing cost of the books, and you get $5 a book profit. Take out $2.50 for their cut and you get $2.50 per book. (You get the full 5 if you sell them yourself) So let's see here. If we average the cost between books you sell, and books they sell, you get about $4.25. So $800/4.25 = 188.24 books.

    If you can't clear that many books in your first six months, you're doing something seriously wrong. And this is just print books. It doesn't count ebooks or other formats (ie, audiobooks, hard cover, etc) that you may have of the book. Even if you chunked down $2k on a book publishing contract, that's only 445 print books. If you don't think you can sell that many, stick with epublishing. If you do, go with 2 Moon. Because if you're sellable, people will buy. If you're not, then even the big houses won't be able to help you.

  23. #23
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    Should there be a special thread for defense of ones business? We had a post here that was to the negative from a contract applicant. Not an author.

    We have over 150 happy clients, and continue to grow. We are not advocating you publish with us, as I have stated before we offer a specific service, that have resulted in over 150 very happy authors. You may not agree with pay to publish, and you may not like it. However we have many authors who would beg to differ.

    We are not going to post sales figures, frankly if we did someone would challenge it, call it a lie or accuse us of inflating numbers. We have looked around and seen how these numbers are greeted from other publishers on this site and others. Call is a cop out, call it avoiding the question. I will however answer it like this. NO publisher promises sales, not even Bantam, Penguin, DelRay etc... We have had our great successes, and failures. That is the nature of the beast, ANYONE who has even the minimum experience in publishing can and will attest to that.

    We are not here to attack, nor are we here to debate the merits of pay to publish. This topic asks for feedback from those that have published with us. I will let them say what they will. They have been here, seen our offices, met our staff, seen some of the results we can produce. Have we had unhappy clients. Yes, I will state that for all to see. However, they are the true minority with us, and we stand on the merits of our work, our covers, and our services.

    We are not here to drum up business, nor are we here to defend sales figures, nor are we here to debate the merits of pay to publish.

  24. #24
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Steven_Lake:
    There's newspaper ads, events, book fairs, press releases, book reviews, radio, television (whenever possible), and a bunch more.
    Not to split hairs here, but I went through each of the packages available on the 2 Moon Press website and none of them mention taking out newspaper adverts. Was this something that they did for you under their old packages or is it a new service? Which newspapers did they take out adverts with?

    I understand that they do press releases, but as I said - issuing a press release doesn't mean that a newspaper, radio or TV station will run a story from it. Some will (local papers can usually be relied upon to do a story on a local resident), but many won't unless there's something particularly interesting or original about it.

    With regards to book reviews, the description of each package only promises "several on-line reviews". There's no mention of who is doing those reviews and while there are some excellent review blogs out there with big readerships, not all blogs are equal and some won't have a readership to get you exposure.

    With apologies for saying this (and understanding that your opinion is different), I honestly don't see what extra they're doing for the money that you couldn't do self-publishing.

    Steven_Lake:
    The potential audience of a local library is easily in the thousands in my area, and 10's of thousands or more in the bigger cities. The point of putting it in a library is exposure. Yes, you don't sell any books directly that way, but the word of mouth advertising you get (which believe it or not is usually 90% of all sales) is huge. I personally gave at least one copy of every single one of my books to the local libraries in my area, and because of that a LOT more people have heard about me than had I done the more traditional outlets. Giving to libraries is a form of marketing. Most authors don't see it as that though. Hence the confusion.
    I agree that libraries can be a good source of exposure if people know that your book is there and available. However, I'm not convinced that it will automatically translate into sales on the basis that why would someone want to pay for a book that they can borrow for free? In any event, whether you're paying $899 or$1,999 2 Moon Press will only send your book to 5 libraries, which is hardly a huge number. I'd also point out that having paid 2 Moon Press to print and distribute 5 copies of your book, you say yourself that you paid for more copies to go to more libraries.

    Steven_Lake:
    Weasel worded? How is it that?
    I think it's weasel worded because it places responsibility for getting books into stores on its distributor:

    2 Moon Press Website:
    Placement into Barnes and Nobles & Borders is dependent on your book being accepted by our distributors. As they make the decision as to whom they market to them. However, we can guarantee online placement with these sellers initially. This means YOUR BOOK will be in their online catalog and also for order though them in stores.
    However, it is possible for publishers to negotiate direct with book stores as well, which could secure in-store book placement.

    Having a book made available to order from a book store is not the same as having a book placed in a store. From my experience in these forums with other publishers, I know that some bookstores will place conditions on ordering books (e.g. payment up front) to avoid their being left with unwanted and unreturnable stock. Such conditions can put people off buying a book (and then there's the fact that they need to know about your book first if they're to place the order).

    Steven_Lake:
    Think about it. As the author you are the seller, and the bookstore is the buyer.
    Actually, your publisher is and should be the seller. Think about it this way - you've paid $899 to publish your book and now you're having to sell it as well.

    Steven_Lake:
    If they don't like your book, they don't have to buy, and that includes even books distributed through Ingram, the single largest bookseller in the world. Just because they're in the Ingram catalog doesn't mean anyone will buy them.
    That's why it's important for publishers to cultivate relationships with book stores to make sure that books are available on commercially attractive terms so as to ensure that the bookstores will take the risk of stocking them. If your publisher isn't doing that on your behalf, then what use is that publisher?

    Steven_Lake:
    Not all do, as is evidenced by the project created by a handful of authors a few years back. They endeavored to create, intentionally, the world's worst book ever. They then submitted it to presses all over the US. In the end, Random House accepted and published it. No joke.
    Which book was that?

    Steven_Lake:
    2 Moon prides itself on ensuring that only quality books get through. Now obviously quality is in the eye of the beholder, but I think they do a pretty good job. Quite a few of their books have received high reviews and even received awards. I know mine did.
    I'm not making any statement about the quality of books put out by 2 Moon Press because I haven't read any. I do see on their submission page that they reject books with pornography and other sexual content.

    My point though is that no matter how principled or well intentioned a publisher, if you're charging people to publish then when times get tough (and sometimes they are), there's a temptation there to take the money.

    Steven_Lake:
    False. If a book doesn't sell, they don't make any money. The fees you pay are only there to cover the initial publishing costs.
    There are other people here better qualified than me to come back on initial publishing costs. If, however, you are paying all those initial publishing costs, then I'm sorry but they're not taking a risk on your book - their only risk is their normal business operation.

    One thing that does concern me is that although the website states that authors are not obliged to buy their books, when they do there is a 25 book minimum order.

    2 Moon Press Website:
    Authors are not bound to purchase books. They can opt for 2 Moon Press to be the sole marketer and also distributor of their works. However all authors when ordering books are required to order a minimum of 25 books.
    Aside from the impact that author purchases has on royalties and whether they receive any discount on those orders, it sounds to me that authors are effectively subsidising a print run. So having paid 2 Moon Press's initial publishing costs, they're then paying again for each order.

    Steven_Lake:
    I can't give actual numbers due to NDA, but I can say that they're absolutely not the big evil "take your money and leave you bleeding in a ditch" PTP publishing company you think they are.
    I didn't say that 2 Moon Press is an evil publishing company. Please don't put words in my mouth to try and support your points.

    My point (which I believe I've been very clear on) is that I don't think it's a good idea for authors. However I will say that they are open and upfront about the costs.

    Steven_Lake:
    for a book that sells for $12, you only need to sell 67 copies (more if you're occasionally offering them at a discount rate) to break even on your publishing costs.
    Maths really isn't my strong suit (I'm completely number phobic), but I was having a look at the royalty break-down on the 2 Moon Press website: http://www.800publishing.com/v3/royalties

    It looks to me as though 2 Moon Press is paying royalties on net - is that correct? If it is correct, then again it goes to the fact that they're not taking any risk on your book because they're covering all their underlying costs from a share of the price that could be going to you.

    If you've gone for the cheapest package of $899 and your book is selling for $14.99 (which I'm using because it's the example given on their royalty page), then you'd have to sell 333 copies of your book in order to make back that initial investment.

    While I understand that you've managed to secure sales thanks, in part, to your pre-existing readership, on average most self-published books struggle to sell more than 100.

    On top of this, I'm assuming (but please correct me if I'm wrong) that royalties only apply to sales other than to an author. So if you're buying your own books to sell on, then you wouldn't be earning royalties but would instead have to sell them on at a higher than cover price to make money. (In which case I'd expect to see an author discount - but there's no mention on the website of what, if any, this is).

    MM

  25. #25
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    2 Moon Press:
    Should there be a special thread for defense of ones business? We had a post here that was to the negative from a contract applicant. Not an author.
    You've made your point and defended your business.

    The purpose of this Forum is to give people information about publishers (both good and bad) to enable people to make informed decisions. While this thread began with a personal dispute that should never have been aired in public (IMO anyway), it's now become a general discussion about the merits of paying to publish and the benefits and disadvantages of going with your company. Steven has provided useful information supporting your company. Posters like me and Katrina have raised queries and possible issues.

    2 Moon Press:
    We have over 150 happy clients, and continue to grow. We are not advocating you publish with us, as I have stated before we offer a specific service, that have resulted in over 150 very happy authors. You may not agree with pay to publish, and you may not like it. However we have many authors who would beg to differ.
    Noted. Like I said, Steven is one of your happy authors and he's made some interesting points.

    2 Moon Press:
    We are not going to post sales figures, frankly if we did someone would challenge it, call it a lie or accuse us of inflating numbers.
    I was never asking for specific figures - merely averages as they would be useful to people trying to ascertain whether to submit to you. However it is obviously your prerogative as to whether or not you wish to share those figures.

    2 Moon Press:
    NO publisher promises sales, not even Bantam, Penguin, DelRay etc... We have had our great successes, and failures. That is the nature of the beast, ANYONE who has even the minimum experience in publishing can and will attest to that.
    No one here has spoken about guaranteed sales other than you and no one here has suggested that 2 Moon Press guarantee sales figures. It is obviously the nature of publishing that some books do well and others tank.

    What does matter though is whether a publisher has an ability to sell books in the first place, which means getting them out there and promoting them. The reason why I was asking for average sales figures is because (a) figures can help to suggest who is doing the majority of sales work and (b) it goes to help people calculate whether they are going to earn the initial fee back.

    To use Steven's analogy of it being an investment, I'd never make an investment without doing some research on how a company and its products have performed over time.

    2 Moon Press:
    Have we had unhappy clients. Yes, I will state that for all to see. However, they are the true minority with us, and we stand on the merits of our work, our covers, and our services.
    I appreciate your honesty in saying that.

    2 Moon Press:
    We are not here to drum up business, nor are we here to defend sales figures, nor are we here to debate the merits of pay to publish.
    OK. Would you be willing to answer specific questions about, e.g. royalty rates and minimum buy obligations?

    MM

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