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Thread: [Display site] Publishers' Desk

  1. #1
    for the love of love Lydia Sharp's Avatar
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    [Display site] Publishers' Desk

    I received an invite to this place through email. I'm not considering joining, but thought I'd start a thread for it in case anyone is.

    The service claims to connect agents and authors through their site instead of using the standard method -- querying -- and also claims to connect the agents & authors with publishers.

    There is a quick explanation video on the main page of the site, here:

    http://www.publishersdesk.com/

    But I found it to not really explain much. I don't see how this is any better than researching agents and sending queries to the agents who you feel would be the best fit. It's almost like a "lazy man's" approach to querying -- let them do all the work for you. If I'm wrong in how I interpreted this, someone please correct me.

    Here is a copy of the email I received:


    Dear Author


    You are receiving this message because we know you are a good and active author.

    Please visit PUBLISHERS’ DESK and see how you can get a respected literary agent to represent you or even get your works published by a renowned publisher. And if you have already been published, congratulations! Now you can offer your work to agents and publishers all over the world. Watch our animation and see how it works: www.publishersdesk.com.

    PUBLISHERS’ DESK brings together a large group of authors, publishers, and literary agents, from many countries. We have already made possible the publication of over a thousand works.

    COME AND SIGN UP FOR FREE.
    And yes, we also have paid subscription plans, in case you are interested. Learn the advantages of each option and then decide.


    PUBLISHERS’ DESK
    Bringing Authors and Publishers together
    www.publishersdesk.com
    Has anyone heard of this place and/or have any experience with them?

    (Personally, I don't see the point of it)

    Lydia Sharp
    author represented by Laura Bradford
    editor with Entangled Publishing
    frequently on Twitter


  2. #2
    crazy mean SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    From their "About Us" page, which I can't link to as it appears in a popup box:

    PUBLISHERS' DESK IS A TOOL FOR AUTHORS, AGENTS AND PUBLISHERS. Its function is to bring together those who write and those who publish, empowering their performance for the modern era.
    The AUTHOR, after writing their book, spends considerable resources making copies and sending them to agents and publishers. This effort is usually lost, because the refusal from them is much more frequent than the parties would like.


    AGENTS and PUBLISHERS, receiving hundreds of manuscripts each month for analysis, are to assume the costs of a laborious selection process. This process, in turn, is always subject to pressures represented by tight deadlines and stringent internal guidelines that reflect market demands. All this makes it too frequent to refuse a work that would otherwise be welcomed, if not then, possibly some months later.

    If they can't write a coherent description of what they do, then I don't want to work with them.

    Why would agents use this site to look for new clients? Hundreds of hopefuls submit to them every day: they don't need to go out looking for more.

    I see no value in this service.

  3. #3
    I'm already a real writer. Katrina S. Forest's Avatar
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    But at least now you have an e-mail confirming you're a good and active author.
    "So we must daily keep things wound: that is, we must pray when prayer seems dry as dust; we must write when we are physically tired, when our hearts are heavy" -Madeleine L'Engle

    "An honest answer is like a warm hug." - Proverbs 24:26 (The Message)



    My Every Day Fiction stories

  4. #4
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Publisher's Desk Author FAQs:
    1 - Will my book be published?Although PUBLISHERS' DESK cannot guarantee that your book will be published, it is the most efficient way to promote your work to many literary agents and/or publishers at once. Your chances of reaching the national and international markets are much greater with PUBLISHERS' DESK.
    This only works if publishers/agents are actively reading and reviewing submissions on the site and of course, it depends on who is making the offer. I had a quick look through the testimonials page and although there are testimonials up there from people who say they got publishing deals from the site, I couldn't find any information on which publishers those were.

    Generally, agents and publishers are simply too busy with slush that's been actively solicited to them to go through slush on another website.

    From an author's point of view, it might be better not to make a manuscript available to everyone at once because some agents/editors may give advice that results in you wanting to change your manuscript.

    Publisher's Desk Author FAQs:2 - How much could I earn in royalties if my book is published?That would depend on the conditions of your contract with the intended publisher. PUBLISHERS' DESK, today, does not participate or interfere in these negotiations, but can help as much as possible, especially in clarifying your doubts.
    This question disturbs me. For starters, the focus is on royalties. Surely if you're going to get your book published, the focus should be on what advance you're getting.

    Unless you've got a crystal ball, TARDIS or time turner, you're never going to know what royalties you'll receive because royalties are dependent on sales and no one can tell in advance what those will be.

    The fact that Publisher's Desk is focusing on this suggests to me the possibility that the publishers using it are, in the majority, not advance-paying trade publishers.

    I also don't understand what they mean by "clarifying doubts". That's a vague statement and if they're saying they're not getting involved in negotiations, then where are they making their money from?

    Publisher's Desk Author FAQs:3 - Why should I use PUBLISHERS' DESK? Can't I just send my book to the publishers as I've always done?You could mail your works to agents or publishers. However, that means spending time and money on each copy of your book and on sending it to each agent or publisher. After arriving there, it would go into a queue for sorting and analysis that normally takes months to complete and it would need some luck to arrive at the time they are looking for that type of work. PUBLISHERS' DESK, for a fraction of the total spent on prints and shipping, allows your work to be presented to hundreds of agents and/or thousands of publishers for a long period.
    This is misinformation. Many agents these days accept electronic submissions rather than physical copies. Even in the UK (where there are still agencies that prefer paper submissions), you're only talking about sending the opening chapters with a cover letter - and you can always decide not to query those agents.

    And again, the worth of Publisher's Desk turns on whether publishers and agents are actually actively using it to read, which I would doubt.

    Publisher's Desk Author FAQs:8 - What are short works?They are short stories, chronicles, poems, reflections, essays, criticism and various other kinds of texts that are normally produced without the intention of composing a book. Publishers, however, may be interested in compiling some works by the same author or assembling a collection of works by various authors.
    This, for me, is a red flag. There is no money in poetry and short story collections unless they're by a very well known writer with a strong following (which they will usually have got through submitting to respected short story/poetry magazines).

    The fact that Publishers' Desk is touting the possibility of getting a deal for this type of work is, for me, not a good sign.

    Publisher's Desk Author FAQs:16 - How can I be sure my work will not be copied?First and foremost, remember that you must register your book with your country's Copyright Office as soon as it is finished. You may check here for the department in your country: www.wipo.int/members/en(*). By doing this, your work will be protected in the 184 countries listed in the Berna Agreement.

    Furthermore, at
    PUBLISHERS' DESK, only you and the literary professionals (agents and publishers) may access your works.

    (*) If in U.S.A., please register your work at the Library of Congress' Copyright Office: www.copyright.gov.
    You don't need to register copyright. Publishers' Desk shouldn't be advising that you do.

    Publisher's Desk Author FAQs:17 - How can a literary agent help me?Literary agents advise authors when dealing with publishers. Their job is to recommend the works that they consider to be appropriate to publishers, help the author in the evaluation of contracts, etc.
    PUBLISHERS' DESK is a valuable tool for their work, where they can find publishers for their authors while searching for interesting manuscripts to attend their publishers necessities.
    No, an agent represents the author in negotiations with publishers in return for a commission. They don't "recommend" works to publishers, they submit them to editors and take the lead in negotiations.

    The fact that Publishers' Desk seems so unaware of what agents do is not, for me, a positive sign.

    Publisher's Desk Author FAQs:20 - How does the contact work between agent and author?It is simple:

    1) The agent selects the work he or she wishes to represent. This work will appear on the agent’s Choice List and the author is immediately informed.
    2) The author contacts the agent directly and both parties decide whether they will sign a contract or not. If they sign a contract, and after this contract is validated, the author must inform the system by clicking on CONFIRM, in this work’s registry (where this agent’s contact is shown). If a contract is not signed, the author must click on DECLINE, in the same work’s registry.
    3) The agent receives a message from the portal, informing the author’s selection.
    4) If the author selects CONFIRM (which means the contract was signed), the work will be bound to the agent, meaning all contacts from publishers will generate a message to them, as well as the regular message to the author.

    Obs.:
    - During the period before the author’s selection, the agent may also give up representing the work. In this case, the author will receive a message from the portal informing this.
    - Even after the confirmation of the representation, at any moment any party can cancel the commitment, and the portal will inform the other party. Clearly, this cancellation only confirms, in the portal, a contract cancellation already done by the parties.
    I don't understand this.

    There is no requirement on authors to submit their whole manuscript to the site (although the site does allow that). I do know of agents who make offers of representation based on partials (and in fact this is how I got my agent) but it is very rare and it only happens if the agent has spoken to the author about the manuscript and career plans.

    How can an author sign a contract without seeing the terms? What happens if the author wants to negotiate terms?

    Publisher's Desk Author FAQs:21 - What is the Gold Star Award?The Gold Star Award is a way to acknowledge the quality of a well written work. Through the Gold Star, agents and publishers understand the author accredits his work, and PUBLISHERS' DESK endorses the quality of the text.
    :raises eyebrows:

    Given the grammatical and typographical errors on the site, I wouldn't trust its ability to determine whether a manuscript is any good. Also, there is no word on who is doing this evaluation and whether they are qualified.

    Publisher's Desk Author FAQs:22 - How can I get a Gold Star Award for my book?The author requests the evaluation for a Gold Star in the book registration form. PUBLISHERS' DESK will then analyze the quality of the text and may or may not award the Gold Star to the work submitted. For analyzing the book, the author will pay PUBLISHERS' DESK a small fee, currently set at US$ 19.99.
    Well now I see how the site plans on making its money. That's not a small fee and given that I don't understand the worth of the award (afterall, many publishers and agents are perfectly capable of deciding for themselves whether something is publishable), I don't see what you get for it.

    Publisher's Desk Author FAQs:23 - If there is a charge for the Gold Star Award, won't it always be conferred to those who pay?There is no charge for the Gold Star Award. There is a service charge for the evaluation of the book. If the text is not qualified for this award, one will not be given. PUBLISHERS' DESK must use a degree of severity in this analysis because it will be later evaluated by agents and publishers that perform searches in the portal.

    Attention: The review process for the Gold Star Award includes using the resources of PUBLISHERS' DESK or external consultants, and may not occur in case of unavailability of these resources. In such case, no charges will apply.
    Oh I see. You pay $20 for the chance of getting an award, but there's no guarantee you will receive one. What a good way of getting people to come back for more.

    Publisher's Desk Author FAQs:24 - For the Gold Star analysis, will the evaluator read the work completely? No. This analysis does not consider the plot, the composition of the characters or the creativity of the author. It focuses on the quality of the text, the construction of sentences and the grammar. If the author wishes a more complete analysis, they should contract a reviser or a critical reader for their book. PUBLISHERS' DESK does not provide these, but has a SERVICES section where industry professionals offer a variety of services. This provision does not imply any endorsements from PUBLISHERS' DESK.
    Again, take a look at the grammar and sentence construction on the site.

    Doesn't fill you with confidence, does it?

    Also an evaluation has to be on character and plot. A writer can be technically proficient and still produce leaden, boring characters and a plotless story.

    Publisher's Desk Author FAQs:25 - If I hire an outside service for critical reading, could this result qualify me for a Gold Star Award?Absolutely, provided that the items relevant to the Gold Star are positively evaluated by the critical reader.
    Translation: yes - you can get a third party review but we're still going to charge you $20 and you're still not guaranteed a gold star award.

    Publisher's Desk Author FAQs:30 - What are subsidy publishers and how do they work?As it is with conventional publishers, subsidy publishers are, in its vast majority, serious and well-intentioned companies.
    They provide a good service for authors, allowing their works to reach the market faster. However, as they offer to publish the author's work as an operation that is totally or partially funded by the author himself, some authors prefer not to provide their works to these publishers. It is important to point out that, even though PUBLISHERS' DESK allows this to be defined by the author, subsidy publishers may find their work and contact them with a publication proposal.
    And this is where you run away screaming.

    Subsidy publishig is where you are paying to be published. The fact that Publishers' Desk is mealy mouthed about pointing this out (and the fact that subsidy publishing is not generally regarded as a professional credit) suggests to me that it is not interested in authors at all.

    Money should flow to the author.

    Publisher's Desk Author FAQs:32 - I've finished my registration and posted my works, but I don't see my name or the titles of my books on the lists. Why?Considering you are already a subscriber, then you may have selected in your registration that your name should be visible only to agents and publishers. With works, the same must have occurred: you have configured it so that only these professionals may see them.

    If you are not a subscriber, remember that your works will be visible only on promotional dates.
    Uh-huh. So basically to get any value out of this service, I have to pay for it by becoming a subcriber.

    Publisher's Desk Author FAQs:37 - What are the subscription plans offered by PUBLISHERS' DESK?The plans are semi-annual and annual, with prices of US$ 49.99 and US$ 59.99, respectively.
    Ouch.

    Publisher's Desk Author FAQs:38 - Why isn't the service provided by PUBLISHERS' DESK free to authors?Besides the fixed costs of maintenance and control for a website this size, PUBLISHERS' DESK needs resources to manage a constant communication strategy with a great number of agents and publishers. Although not free, the amount invested by the author to publish their works through PUBLISHERS' DESK is much less than what would be spent contacting only three or four publishers directly.
    Bollocks.

    Like I said, many agencies will take electronic submissions so you can email them for free.

    Publisher's Desk Author FAQs:39 - How referring PUBLISHERS' DESK could help me?For each new subscriber referred, you will receive a 20% discount on your renewal. With 5 subscribers indicated your renewal will be free, whichever plan you have!
    So, if you indicate:
    1 author - 20% DISCOUNT on renewal - i.e. semi-annual renewal: US$ 39.99
    2 authors - 40% DISCOUNT on renewal - i.e. semi-annual renewal: US$ 29.99
    3 authors - 60% DISCOUNT on renewal - i.e. semi-annual renewal: US$ 19.99
    4 authors - 80% DISCOUNT on renewal - i.e. semi-annual renewal: US$ 9.99
    5 authors - 100% DISCOUNT on renewal - i.e. semi-annual renewal: FREE

    Note 1: It is necessary that the subscribers declare on their registration form that they were indicated by you. It is also necessary that they become subscribers.

    Note 2: Discounts offered cannot be used in conjunction with other promotions and discounts.
    Yes, why not spam your friends in return for a discount on a service that might put you in touch with a subsidy publisher?

    Publisher's Desk:
    If you know this market, you know that no matter how good your work may be, finding the right agent or publisher is more difficult than writing it. It's DIFFICULT and EXPENSIVE, because the author ends up spending a lot during this search.
    Bollocks. You can do it for no cost, electronically.

    Publisher's Desk:
    Note that there is a factor of chance in this relationship. The same agent or publisher may reject or approve the same book at different times. This means that in addition to showing competence, both sides need to count on luck to be simultaneously ready at the right time. You know how hard it was to write your book; finding a good publisher for it should not be comparable to an expensive lottery
    Bullshit. If you've written a good book and an agent thinks they can sell it, then they'll take you on. There's no guarantee that your book will sell, but it's not like some random lottery.

    All in all, there's nothing on offer here that you can't do yourself and better for free.

    MM

  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW areteus's Avatar
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    An excellent summary

    I thought it was common knowledge that most publishers these days accept electronic submissions (some small press for preference - they ask you not to send via post) and that those who don't do so only to cut down thier slush piles and are therefore unlikely to use a service which opens them up to countless electronic submissions?

  6. #6
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
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    They're not the agent. They're not the author. I don't see why I should deal with them.
    Winner of the Best Drycleaner on the Block Award.

  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW
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    What is the "Berna Agreement?" Do they mean the "Berne Convention?"

  8. #8
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HapiSofi View Post
    They're not the agent. They're not the author. I don't see why I should deal with them.
    And there you've heard it from an acquiring editor.
    Last edited by James D. Macdonald; 10-23-2011 at 04:52 AM.

  9. #9

    Reply from Publishers' Desk

    Dear friends

    My name is Drummond and I work for Publishers’ Desk.
    While glad to talk to you, of course we got concerned with the wrong interpretations shown on one specific post above.
    I will not get to them one by one, though. They were clearly biased from the start, and just kept their way to the end.

    The reason I decided to step here is just to remind you that Publishers’ Desk was not born in the US market. Before starting in English, we had been attending the Spanish and Portuguese markets for 4 years. And even in English, there are important differences between markets. Some things that were seen here as “suspiciously wrong” may simply not be perfectly applicable or suitable to US, but are to other countries, English-speaking or not. And I must tell you that hundreds of titles have already been published thanks to our work, and some of them were from authors that were not even our subscribers. There is no charge for charitable works, there is no charge for humanitarian works and, with initiatives such as the Desk Day, even those who cannot afford a subscription have the opportunity of being published. We generate dozens of contacts per day between authors, agents and publishers, and we are committed around the clock, as can be seen in our “Testimonials” link, that demonstrates our users’ opinions. Spanish and Portuguese testimonials are available at the site as well, and of course in larger quantity.

    We will take into consideration some of the observations/criticisms we saw here (for example, we do have US native translators in our team and we considered the text was grammatically correct) and I thank you for pointing this out.

    So, for those who are happy querying agents/publishers the way they have been doing, then all right. We work for those who want to do this differently. Some may not agree with our proposed solutions, but please remember that, contrary to what was implied on an earlier post, we are a serious, hard-working team, dedicated to a well-intentioned company.

    And I apologize for grammar mistakes above, for English is not my first language.
    It is not our intention to monitor this thread, so if anyone want to reach me personally, please use my name (at) publishersdesk.com.

    Thank you and best regards.

  10. #10
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Drummond:
    While glad to talk to you, of course we got concerned with the wrong interpretations shown on one specific post above.
    I will not get to them one by one, though. They were clearly biased from the start, and just kept their way to the end.
    I guess this is aimed against me.

    If you don't want to respond to any of the points I make in my post then that is up to you. But please do not say that it's because I'm "biased" against you and would be unwilling to hear them. On the contrary, I would be fascinated to see your responses - particularly to the costs of submitting to publishers.

    Drummond:
    The reason I decided to step here is just to remind you that Publishers’ Desk was not born in the US market. Before starting in English, we had been attending the Spanish and Portuguese markets for 4 years.
    That's good to know. How many advance paying deals has your site facilitated in those markets over the last 4 years?

    Drummond:
    And even in English, there are important differences between markets. Some things that were seen here as “suspiciously wrong” may simply not be perfectly applicable or suitable to US, but are to other countries, English-speaking or not.
    Noted. However there is nothing on your site that draws that distinction. Your site makes global statements that do not differentiate between the different markets concerned and I can tell you very definitely that your claims on costs of submission are simply incorrect when it comes to the US and English market. My concern is that you do not seem to have researched this in advance, which does go to the credibility of the site.

    Drummond:
    And I must tell you that hundreds of titles have already been published thanks to our work, and some of them were from authors that were not even our subscribers.
    Cool. How many of those titles were published through subsidy publishers and how many were commercially acquired by trade publishers?

    Drummond:
    There is no charge for charitable works, there is no charge for humanitarian works and, with initiatives such as the Desk Day, even those who cannot afford a subscription have the opportunity of being published.
    Desk day applies once a month though, doesn't it? How is that better for an author than simply sending electronic submissions out for free?

    Drummond:
    We generate dozens of contacts per day between authors, agents and publishers, and we are committed around the clock, as can be seen in our “Testimonials” link, that demonstrates our users’ opinions.
    What does "contact" mean and how often does that "contact" translate into a sale, acquisition or offer of representation?

    Your testimonials page doesn't seem to give details on which publishers have acquired which work.

    Drummond: We work for those who want to do this differently. Some may not agree
    with our proposed solutions, but please remember that, contrary to what was implied on an earlier post, we are a serious, hard-working team, dedicated to a well-intentioned company.
    Feel free to highlight where in my post I ever said or suggested that you were not hard-working, dedicated or well-intentioned. I said no such thing.

    I would not be surprised if some people did use your site - there are always people willing to pay for things that they can do for themselves.

    However, there is misinformation on your site and you appear to be offering services that, in all honesty, I can't see as being beneficial to authors in any way. If you don't want to change that then it's up to you, but making false assertions against people who point out why your site is not a great idea for authors does harm your credibility.

    MM

  11. #11
    smart enough to know better
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    Question Publishers Desk

    Do any of you here use this service? Does anyone know anything about this service? www.publishersdesk.com

  12. #12
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Writer Beware Blogs! about Publisher's Desk: http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2012/0...r-misplay.html
    ICAO
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