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Thread: Montag Press Collective

  1. #1
    scabrous glabrous kropedykrop's Avatar
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    Montag Press Collective

    Hello everyone,

    I was wondering if anyone had any experience with Montag Press?
    http://montagpress.com/

    This comes up on the first page of a google search http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpuDDsQCvuo
    and if you look a little harder, you find this https://plus.google.com/111774890241...ts/fjrPXhzfVpt

    Here's the only reference I could find to a book released by Montag http://www.superbookshop.net/index.p...&pub=000473771

    Perhaps it would be a good idea to have a little more said by those with some experience...

  2. #2
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    While they say they are open to a number of genres, they call themselves a microniche press and seem to want very particular Orwellian/Big Brother-type works.

    Their 10 year contract pays 30% on net (after deducting "project costs", which I assume will include editing, art, printing, distribution, marketing, promotion) with the collective retaining 70% of the profit. That may end up being very little money for the author.

    Without any verification of distribution or sales, they're pretty much a blank slate.

  3. #3
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Beyond the issues mentioned by Unimportant, which I agree are a concern...it's a good idea to wait on approaching a new publisher until it has been issuing books for at least a year, and has demonstrated some stability. This also lets you evaluate things like quality and marketing, and gives time for complaints, if any, to emerge.

    - Victoria

  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW eternalised's Avatar
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    For a small, start-up publisher they seem to publish a lot of genres: horror, speculative fiction, science fiction, dystopian, YA, urban fantasy, etc.

    MONTAG PRESS is a microniche publisher offering the highest quality paperbacks and ebooks through established online retailers such as Amazon worldwide and Barnes & Noble.

    From this, I'm guessing that they don't have any offline distribution, since they only mention their online retailers.

    You can find their 'project' (they call all manuscript submissions that are accepted projects, which I think is a little odd) structure here. I'm not sure what to think of it. They do mention in detail what you can expect, what will happen to your manuscript along the way, but it all sounds very strange, like reading through a science fiction novel. Half of the time it doesn't even sound like they're talking about books. It takes about 6 months from manuscript acceptance to having your book in the shelves though.

    They also have some odd names for people working for them, like Night Manager, Transmedia Developer and Project Editor.
    Visit my website.



  5. #5
    Is this thing on? Axordil's Avatar
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    "Project" isn't all that odd a term over here, though I think it's heard more often on the non-fiction side of the aisle.
    Writing without reading is like juggling without catching.

  6. #6
    Night Manager. montagpress's Avatar
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    Quickly,

    [QUOTE=Their 10 year contract pays 30% on net (after deducting "project costs", which I assume will include editing, art, printing, distribution, marketing, promotion) with the collective retaining 70% of the profit. That may end up being very little money for the author. [/QUOTE]

    Thanks so much for taking the time to ask about our work. Firstly, just to be clear, the 30% is on net income minus external costs. Which does not include editing, design, or campaign development. All the internal costs of the collective are shared by the members themselves in exchange for a percentage of the project profits that they are actually working on. So "project costs" are external costs only, which include printing, any external art costs, and any external promotional costs. We believe this is much more equitable to authors, compared to traditional publishing, where internal costs can be deducted from project costs, and authors end up paying for the work done in house out of their residuals. Secondly, printing costs will always be excluded. No publisher ever gives a percentage over the retail and the printing costs -- that would be financially untenable.
    montagpress.com

  7. #7
    Night Manager. montagpress's Avatar
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    eternalised,

    Thanks for heading over to our website www.montagpress.com to see what it is that we offer. To be clear, by industry standards we are a micro-niche, nano publisher currently slated to offer about 10 titles a year. We are based upon a collective structure that enables editors to personally select projects and become Project Leads as the editor in charge. This means that starting with your acceptance, you'll have one person that is completely invested, from editing, through design and into publicity, in your project. This is why they are Project Editors and not just copy editors or book editors. Furthermore, the Project Editors that we recruit are the best in Northern California in their respective genre expertise. Here you can see our YA editor discussing the benefits of working with small presses compared to self publishing.

    About our Transmedia Developers. We are not just publicists. Instead we actually take the stories that we work on and develop larger narrative spaces, both online and otherwise, to bring the characters and the story motivations to a larger audience. Whether it's by creating poster campaigns, or zine releases, or book trailers, or book related scavenger hunts, our publicity campaign break the boundaries of book tours and readings and instead create a specific transmedia campaign tailored specifically to the world that our authors create.

    Finally, as the night manager, I can tell you that while I am officially the Managing Director of Montag Press, it is the editors, transmedia developers and creative artists that are our stars. And since I work mostly late into the night, I am more like the night manager than a MD.
    Last edited by montagpress; 03-13-2012 at 11:08 PM.
    montagpress.com

  8. #8
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by montagpress View Post
    No publisher ever gives a percentage over the retail and the printing costs -- that would be financially untenable.
    Most publishers give a percentage of the book's cover price. That way the author gets the same amount per copy sold regardless of venue, printing costs, etc. For small presses, I think 10% of cover is fairly standard.

    Quote Originally Posted by montagpress View Post
    Thanks so much for taking the time to ask about our work. Firstly, just to be clear, the 30% is on net income minus external costs.
    Could you give us an example? I would assume it would go something like:
    Cover price = $15. Cost of printing POD = $6. Distributor pays cover price minus 40%. Publisher's intake is therefore $6. Author receives 30% of $3 = $1.

  9. #9
    Night Manager. montagpress's Avatar
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    What is Montag Press exactly?

    As a microniche nanopublisher, we focus on subversive, experimental and speculative fiction genres in which we have expertise to act as premium story mechanics and wordsmiths. On projects that we have the resources and the expertise to assist, we take finished stories and make final corrections and polish it up to showcase the highest level of excellence that the author can achieve. Then we work together to develop the best designed objects, both digitally and in traditional print. Finally we release the story into the world with exceptional and unique transmedia support.

    Founded in NYC in early 2008, Montag Press has developed a signature collective model to bring editors and authors closer together, with better mutual standing, by creating a shared model of project partnership. Originally founded as a partnership by a brand manager and designer, an operation executive, a graphic artist and a managing director, Montag Press published their first book in 2009 as a proof of concept. In August of 2011, overwhelmed by the number of submissions that Montag Press was receiving, it transitioned to the current Transmedia Collective structure with the departure of the original partners, except for the remaining managing director. Since that time, Montag Press has actively pursued unique and distinct writers to participate in the editing and development process and currently has 12 authors on contract and is scheduled to release 10 titles in 2012. Whereas every submission gets at a minimum of two separate reads by member editors, the current acceptance rate is about 12%.

    If you have any questions, or are interested in submitting a manuscript for consideration, please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Otherwise, keep an eye out for us and your future projects as we prepare to launch two exciting new imprints for new authors and new titles in the next six months.
    montagpress.com

  10. #10
    Night Manager. montagpress's Avatar
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    Generous math for author residuals.

    Hey Unimportant,

    Thanks for letting us explain our residual structure.

    [QUOTE=
    Could you give us an example? I would assume it would go something like:
    Cover price = $15. Cost of printing POD = $6. Distributor pays cover price minus 40%. Publisher's intake is therefore $6. Author receives 30% of $3 = $1.[/QUOTE]

    Certainly. If our intake is $6.

    Firstly we take that money to pay off the external project costs. The lower those costs, the quicker we can start to pay ourselves and the writers. Since everyone puts their time in together, we all get paid out at the same time as well.

    So, if our intake is $6, and we are in the clear, the author get's 30% of the $6 or $1.80. And $1.80 on $15 is 12% of the cover price for your example.

    The reason that we do a percent of income, and not a cover price, is that based upon the distributor percent, the prices can go up or down.

    For example with the same numbers for an e-book. It would look like this.

    $15 Sale Price. Apple takes an agency fee of 30%. Publisher intake is $10. Authors income is $3. Or $3 on $15 is 20% of the cover price.

    As you see, with the many different sales channels and the many different fee structures, it doesn't make sense for the author to have a % cover, instead it makes sense to have a shared project percentage.

    In doing our pricing structure, we've looked at, and participated in hundreds of different residual structures, and we can honestly say that aside from self publishing, Montag Press has one of the most, if not the most generous residual structure industry wide.

    (As a note. Montag Press has to carry any and all project negatives, whereas the authors have no exposures to negatives. Which means that if a project fails to make any money, participating authors are protected from having to pay for anything, whereas Montag Press is not, and it liable for any and all project costs that are outstanding.)
    montagpress.com

  11. #11
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I think the question is: what are "external project costs"? Just retailer fees?
    Emily Veinglory

  12. #12
    Of course, if a project fails to make money, the author is stuck with a book he/she can't resell anywhere else.

    That's still a significant loss, even if it's not an out-of-pocket expense, which is why myself and many others push for authors to do serious research before handing over their hard work to a publisher.
    "An honest answer is like a warm hug." - Proverbs 24:26 (The Message)

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

  13. #13
    Night Manager. montagpress's Avatar
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    external project costs?

    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    I think the question is: what are "external project costs"? Just retailer fees?
    external project costs can vary, but they are the costs that Montag Press has to pay specific to the promotion of a specific title.

    Here are some possible examples of external project costs:
    book title related website and domain hosting cost
    poster and zine printing costs
    book trailer production costs
    book tour costs
    cover illustration or photography costs (if external)
    publicity copies
    mailing costs

    note: not all projects will have every component as listed above, and as a collective we do everything we can to keep external costs down to a minimum.

    Here are some example costs that are NOT external and are not deducted from the income:
    anything Montag Press related / industry events / publicity.
    editing
    book design and layout
    internal cover illustrations or photography work
    internal transmedia production costs
    montagpress.com

  14. #14
    the world is at my command jennontheisland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by montagpress View Post
    external project costs can vary, but they are the costs that Montag Press has to pay specific to the promotion of a specific title.

    Here are some possible examples of external project costs:
    book title related website and domain hosting cost
    poster and zine printing costs
    book trailer production costs
    book tour costs
    cover illustration or photography costs (if external)
    publicity copies
    mailing costs

    note: not all projects will have every component as listed above, and as a collective we do everything we can to keep external costs down to a minimum.

    Here are some example costs that are NOT external and are not deducted from the income:
    anything Montag Press related / industry events / publicity.
    editing
    book design and layout
    internal cover illustrations or photography work
    internal transmedia production costs
    If events and publicity are not considered external, why are promo websites and hosting listed under external? Promo sites are part of publicity. So are book trailers. And cover art is the responsibility of the publisher, not the author, so that absolutely should not be considered "external".

    Basically it's looking like all the promotional costs are paid for by the author. Yes, yes, the author isn't fronting the money, but if it's coming off the top before the author's royalty amount gets calculated, the author is paying for it. That's why other publishers pay authors on cover price.

    Also, your list is somewhat contrary to what you say here (bolding mine):
    Quote Originally Posted by montagpress View Post
    Thanks so much for taking the time to ask about our work. Firstly, just to be clear, the 30% is on net income minus external costs. Which does not include editing, design, or campaign development. All the internal costs of the collective are shared by the members themselves in exchange for a percentage of the project profits that they are actually working on. So "project costs" are external costs only, which include printing, any external art costs, and any external promotional costs. We believe this is much more equitable to authors, compared to traditional publishing, where internal costs can be deducted from project costs, and authors end up paying for the work done in house out of their residuals. Secondly, printing costs will always be excluded. No publisher ever gives a percentage over the retail and the printing costs -- that would be financially untenable.
    I assume you're not talking about actually printing the book?

    And no, if an author is paid royalty on cover price, they don't end up paying for work done in house out of their residuals. They get paid on cover price regardless of what the house spends internally.

    Also, who are the members of this "collective" you keep referring to? And how exactly do they share costs? Why would the "collective" share costs of doing business? Isn't that the business's job? If the "collective" is covering costs, what is Montag paying for?
    You are more than welcome to take anything I say personally, whether it was intended that way or not.

    Eat This.

  15. #15
    Night Manager. montagpress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jennontheisland View Post
    If events and publicity are not considered external, why are promo websites and hosting listed under external? Promo sites are part of publicity. So are book trailers. And cover art is the responsibility of the publisher, not the author, so that absolutely should not be considered "external".

    Basically it's looking like all the promotional costs are paid for by the author. Yes, yes, the author isn't fronting the money, but if it's coming off the top before the author's royalty amount gets calculated, the author is paying for it. That's why other publishers pay authors on cover price.

    I assume you're not talking about actually printing the book?

    And no, if an author is paid royalty on cover price, they don't end up paying for work done in house out of their residuals. They get paid on cover price regardless of what the house spends internally.

    Also, who are the members of this "collective" you keep referring to? And how exactly do they share costs? Why would the "collective" share costs of doing business? Isn't that the business's job? If the "collective" is covering costs, what is Montag paying for?
    I'm terribly sorry, but you lost me.

    Essentially, anything that we do in-house. Those are not shared costs. Anything that we decide to do out of house. Those are shared costs. Those costs are not just paid for by the author, but by the author, the editor, the project manager, the transmedia developers, and the creative lead. Everyone gets paid after the project costs are covered.

    And no, authors don't pay for any in-house work. We pay for that.

    Finally, who are we? This is us.

    In short, the question is ... do you want a gang that's got your back, or do you want to go it alone?

    If you want a gang. Check out Montag Press.
    montagpress.com

  16. #16
    practical experience, FTW eternalised's Avatar
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    Thank you for taking the time to come here and answer our questions. I'm glad that you're open and honest about your company.

    However, your external and internal costs scare me a bit. What you consider 'external' costs and let the author, editor, and everyone else help pay, are in fact costs that most publishers pay themselves. Cover art and publicity, whether they're done in-house or out-house should be paid by the publishing budget, and by your profit - as the publisher - at the end of the day. The author's profit shouldn't have to suffer from this.

    It looks like you have a lot of people working in the company, but none of them shows any experience in the publishing field, not even while in an internship. This raises some question marks as well.

    And then there's also the age-old question. Do you have distribution? Are you working with a distributor? Are you going to use POD technology for printing, or off-set printing?

    If you really want your business to be considered legit, and to become successful, I would kindly advice that you take another look at your current 'cost' schedule and revise it so that other people, most importantly the author, don't have to pay for costs other publishers would cover themselves. It seems like all of you have your heart in the right place, but unfortunately that's not enough to run a publishing business successfully.
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  17. #17
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    montagpress:
    do you want a gang that's got your back, or do you want to go it alone?
    If that gang's the Keystone Cops then I'd rather go it alone.

    MM

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by montagpress View Post
    external project costs can vary, but they are the costs that Montag Press has to pay specific to the promotion of a specific title.

    Here are some possible examples of external project costs:
    book title related website and domain hosting cost
    poster and zine printing costs
    book trailer production costs
    book tour costs
    cover illustration or photography costs (if external)
    publicity copies
    mailing costs
    At this rate, I don't see how authors could make a single dime in royalties, especially if you have no distribution.
    do you want a gang that's got your back, or do you want to go it alone?
    It's highly unusual to make authors shoulder those costs, so I don't see how you have their backs. How do authors know those costs won't exceed their sales, thereby allowing you to make all the money generated from sales, and the author receives nothing?

  19. #19
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    There is also a third option: alone, gang or submit to a conventional publisher that pays on cover. Payment on cover has the advantage of being a known amount, guaranteed to exceed zero.
    Emily Veinglory

  20. #20
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    You would be better off self-publishing on Amazon, which gives you the option of a 70% royalty rate if your book cost is between 2.99 and 9.99.

  21. #21
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    FYI - For only $25.00 you can get expanded distribution through Amazon, where your book can be accessible by libraries, B&N, etc.

  22. #22
    the world is at my command jennontheisland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by montagpress View Post
    I'm terribly sorry, but you lost me.

    Essentially, anything that we do in-house. Those are not shared costs. Anything that we decide to do out of house. Those are shared costs. Those costs are not just paid for by the author, but by the author, the editor, the project manager, the transmedia developers, and the creative lead. Everyone gets paid after the project costs are covered.

    And no, authors don't pay for any in-house work. We pay for that.

    Finally, who are we? This is us.

    In short, the question is ... do you want a gang that's got your back, or do you want to go it alone?

    If you want a gang. Check out Montag Press.
    Anything done in or our of house is a cost of doing business and should therefore be carried by the business. If you can't afford to do that, you need to reexamine your business plan or invest more capital (assuming you have both of those things).

    Authors should not pay for anything. Please review "Yog's Law". Money flows to the author.

    Just because they aren't immediately out of pocket doesn't mean they aren't paying for it. If you're skimming from the author's royalties to cover your costs, the author is paying.

    Also, none of those people seem to have any publishing experience listed in their profiles.

    Please detail the editing and publishing experience of your staff (writing, self-editing, arts degrees, critiquing, and memberships in groups don't count).
    You are more than welcome to take anything I say personally, whether it was intended that way or not.

    Eat This.

  23. #23
    do you want a gang that's got your back, or do you want to go it alone?
    If for some reason my only choices for my book were Montag Press or self-publishing (and I do have many choices besides those), I would self-publish. Then I could pick a cover artist I liked rather than having someone else pick one for me and take my royalties to pay for it.
    "An honest answer is like a warm hug." - Proverbs 24:26 (The Message)

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

  24. #24
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Montag, Thanks so much for being willing to answer our questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by montagpress View Post
    Certainly. If our intake is $6.
    Oops, sorry, that was a typo on my part. $15 minus $6 printing minus $6 distribution cut = $3.

    Is $3 the correct (approx) profit Montaq would expect to make per print copy sale? That was what I was trying to get at. Or, really, what is the min and max amount per copy that an author would expect to make off print sales?

    Quote Originally Posted by montagpress View Post
    So, if our intake is $6, and we are in the clear, the author get's 30% of the $6 or $1.80. And $1.80 on $15 is 12% of the cover price for your example.
    So, the most an author could expect would be 12% of cover, but that's not going to happen till the publisher has cleared all of its up-front and ongoing costs? Thanks. I think that's sufficient info.

    Quote Originally Posted by montagpress View Post
    $15 Sale Price. Apple takes an agency fee of 30%. Publisher intake is $10. Authors income is $3. Or $3 on $15 is 20% of the cover price.
    Every epress and small press I've dealt with offers authors 25% of cover price or 40% of cover price minus distribution for e book sales.

    But I guess total sales are part of the equation. Can you give us a ballpark figure of total first-year sales per title for your books?

  25. #25
    Night Manager. montagpress's Avatar
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    Thank you for all you questions and for all the interest.

    To be clear, whether an author pays for the project costs themselves as they self publish, or a conventional publisher appears to pay for all of the project costs, or residual payments are held until project costs are covered in a collective model. The truth is that the story project pays for all project costs. Conventional publishers are not in the business of developing and promoting books for charity. To think otherwise is misguided.

    However, aside from the fact that there are different financial models to develop story projects, what we are really excited about at Montag Press is that we've created a collective structure that elevates authors, editors, transmedia developers and designers to participate together on amazing projects, and to share both the work and the eventual rewards.

    Additionally we believe that as the publishing industry undergoes seismic changes in the traditional business model, we will see the rise of new story production brands, just as Zynga and Rovio have emerged as formidable app studios. By positioning Montag Press as an emerging horror, speculative, subversive and experimental story voice, we are working hard to be an important part of the future of storytelling. Hopefully, as an author, you'll consider joining us at Montag Press when you look into all the options that are available to you.

    For more information on the different publishing options available to authors, see what Amy Rogers says about the rise of the small press in her recent article "Everything You Wanted to Know about Publishing (But Were Afraid to Ask)" at IndieReader.
    montagpress.com

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