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Thread: Algora Publishing

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW TrixieBelden's Avatar
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    Algora Publishing

    Please peruse this site and post your thoughts:
    http://www.algora.com/index.htm

    Available on Amazon now.

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  2. #2
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Hideous website.

    Non-fiction only, mostly textbook-type, which is how they justify their high prices. Some of their Political Science books were formerly pulished by Agathon Press. Unless you have a book for a niche market, I'd pass.

    Q: Can I see my book on the shelves at B&N and other book stores?

    A: There is a great deal of competition out there for the same shelf space (34,000 books were published in 1984, 122,108 in 2000, and 175,000 in 2003, according to R. R. Bowker's - Books-in-Print).

    We start our promotion efforts with a series of full page, 4 color ads in the publishing industry's major publications such as Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, etc.. We send out free copies to solicit reviews. We work with B&N's cataloguing people to make sure that the book is in their system and available for ordering, nationwide; then we present the book book, in person, to B&N headquarters in New York to the buyer that handles that book's specific category. While the reps at B&N seem to be very enthusiastic about many of Algora's titles and are always very "supportive" of publishing efforts in general, they apparently see that readers who visit their stores are not actually buying serious books. So they do not place orders. It is a reflection on the reading public. Barnes & Noble's buying decisions are based on their computer models. Each book is assigned a model based on the subject, reviews, prior sales, author recognition, etc. If their system shows public demand, the model is automatically updated. More demand, better model, more books ordered for stock. For the first-time author it is a very, very slow process. It takes a lot of time and effort to make a book into a success.

    If B&N's central office buyer decides not to place an order, then there is very little we can do. Still, each individual bookstore is at liberty to order books. And that's where author's role kicks in. The author also can create (local) demand. If there is demand - there is stock. An author's book-signing event at a local store is sometime the best way to generate demand. You can also target some specialized publications in the field of the book.
    Q: The other day I checked in the nearby town and I did not see my title in the local bookstore. Neither did the sales people know anything about my book.

    A: In today's environment, books like yours are best served by online promotion through B&N.com and Amazon.com. Since the emergence of online bookselling, B&N's flagship stores in Manhattan, as well as everywhere, carry only one or two racks (out of two entire floors) of academic quality nonfiction books. Bookstores mainly stock items that are, or are likely to become, "bestsellers." The stores make their own decisions on what to stock, based on their own profit motives - that is, their experience as to what type of books sell best in their area. With their limited shelf space, they have to make their own selection out of the 175,000 titles published every year. Bookstores these days, for the most part, sell presidential memoirs and romance and a lot of trash. Ninety percent of B&N sales come from just about 15 titles -- giving a new definition to the so-called "bestseller". Of course, most (if not all) individual stores are happy to place a special order, or to plan an event for an author.

    We would rather strongly encourage you to point any interested buyer to place orders through one of these two online stores rather than trying the local bookstore. Whereas bookstores only stock books for a few months, your book is meant to have a long "shelf life" and will always be available. Yours is also a very niche type of book, and special-interest audiences know that they are most likely to find such things online.
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  3. #3
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Updating link: http://www.algora.com/main.html

    At the least, the website has improved.
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    Censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates in the end the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. -- Henry Steele Commager
    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

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    Quest for Algora Publishing Information

    Does anyone have more information on Algora Publishing? I found three posts but nothing of great significance. The Better Business Bureau rates them with a B but I believe that's because of a lack of information. Some folks gawk at their website but that's not the information I'm looking for. I realize they're an online publisher, not one that expects to be flooding bookstores, I'm just wondering if they are legit and not a rip-off.

  6. #6
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Reading the website it looks like the same old bullshit but from a slightly more established "independent" publisher.

    Algora Publishing Website:
    Many people are out there, thinking things through, asking pertinent questions, working long years to research and investigate their subjects of interest, and writing magnificent pieces... But then what? The “big houses” don't publish their works. We do.
    The "big houses" publish new authors every week. To pitch a non-fiction book to a "big house" it helps to have an agent or failing that, a platform - but even that isn't a necessity. If you've written a good book about a subject that people are likely to be interested in, then you've got a good chance of getting it published.

    Algora Publishing Website:
    Six conglomerates hold 80% of the book publishing industry today and major trade publishers are increasingly unwilling to take risks with new authors.
    Bollocks. See above.

    Algora Publishing Website:
    <LI class=text12>Algora publishes intriguing, serious books on matters of national and international concern in the tradition of independent publishing. We invite our counterparts — independent bookstores and readers — to come to us.
    Erm ... which should bookstores and readers go to Algora? If Algora has such faith in its authors, then they should be out there getting the books into independent bookstores and the general public.

    As a side note, the focus on independent bookstores suggests that they are not interested in getting books into chain stores, which is a mistake given that is (sadly) where most people buy their books.

    Algora Publishing Website:
    We have a Spring and a Fall season, roughly January-July and August-December. The critical deadlines are December 1 and July 1, when we finalize the list of books for that season and prepare the season's Announcement advertising, which includes Publishers Weekly and other major publications that bring your title to the attention of librarians, colleges, and bookstore buyers including Barnes & Noble. When we send you your contract, we will let you know what season we have in mind for you (in consideration of when you think you will have the finished manuscript completed) — usually 6 months ahead of the season's deadline.
    6 months is a tight turn around and arguably insufficient to launch a really effective marketing campaign for a book. I'd also be concerned at the suggestion that authors may not have to submit a completed manuscript in time either.

    Algora Publishing Website:
    When your “turn” comes and our editors go through your manuscript on a sentence-by-sentence basis, you will hear from us. What you will hear will probably fall into one of two categories:

    1. — Overall, great. Please clarify the following few points.
    2. — This needs to be re-worked, and here are our suggestions.
    Assuming we have done more than correct a few typos, you will probably receive the edited text back, marked up with “Comments” directing you to points that require clarification, elaboration, etc. ("Comments"? Click here.) Usually, an author only needs a week to complete any further work at this stage.
    Sometime (maybe a week, maybe more) after you have answered any questions from the editors, and have sent us back your amended file, we will send you, for your final OK, an “electronic proof”, that is, the finished “book” in page layout, as a PDF file. There, you can verify any edits we have made, raise any last-minute questions, and correct any remaining typos or factual errors you might find.
    This doesn't fill me with confidence. Real editors don't just do a spell check and once over, they work with the author for months to make sure that the manuscript is the best it can be - that can mean going through several iterations. This suggests that Algora isn't prepared to make that kind of editorial investment.

    Algora Publishing Website:
    Publicity and requests for reviews will be based on the data you provide for our “tipsheet”
    While authors should be prepared to work with their publishers on publicity, they shouldn't be making the suggestions. This makes it sound as though Algora will only do what the author wants, when it should be out there coming up with ideas for its authors.

    Algora Publishing Website:
    Book description.
    We need a 50- to 100-word “sound-bite” describing what makes your book so tantalizing. In fact, we also need a 300-word description and, from that, a distillation of an “unbiased” straightforward 50-word description.
    Again, this is what Algora should be doing. If they can't even come up with a marketing blurb, then it suggests that they're not interested in actively selling the book.

    Algora Publishing Website:
    Market
    Tell us what categories you think will be the intended readership: college courses in international studies, local history buffs, people of Welsh descent, etc.?
    Again, this is what Algora should be doing. If they don't know/can't work out the likely market, what are they doing accepting it?

    Algora Publishing Website: (BOLDING MINE)
    The author and the publisher team up to publish and then promote the book. No major organization in the book publishing industry can deal directly with millions of authors or would-be authors; that's why publishing houses represent the author when it comes to wholesalers, retail stores, and review magazines, and foreign publishers looking for international rights.
    This suggests that Algora is taking worldwide rights to the work. If it can't sell books in the US, what makes it think it can sell rights worldwide?

    Algora Publishing Website:
    After the publisher invests time and money, give the initial launch and place advertisements in major publications of the publishing industry, it is the author’s turn to play the leading role. We also make efforts, for the most part successfully, to secure good reviews. But after the initial efforts, it is mostly the author’s ongoing involvement that is required to keep the book alive.
    A publisher's role shouldn't be confined to placing ads. It should be thinking of other things it can do - e.g. organising interviews, helping get books into stores for signings etc. That doesn't all fall on the author.

    Algora Publishing Website:
    Algora Publishing produces serious nonfiction books — which means they are not suitable for the “mass market” and are not suitable for most mass-marketing techniques. Books of a fairly specialized nature appeal to a fairly specialized audience. The question is how to reach your ideal audience in a reasonably efficient way.
    That's not a get out of jail free card. Even if it's targeting specialised markets, Algora should still know how to access readers within that markets without relying on the work of its authors.

    Algora Publishing Website:
    Stores make their own decisions on what to stock, based on their own profit motives — that is, their experience as to what type of books sell best in their area. With their limited shelf space, they have to make their own selection out of the 200,000 titles published every year. Understandably, they only keep a given title on their shelves for just a few months (three months is standard).
    For books like yours, B&N.com and Amazon.com are a better bet. With them, your book will have a long, even endless, "shelf life" and will always be available. It will probably be easier for you to suggest any interested readers place their orders through one of these two online stores rather than the local bookstore.
    This suggests to me that Algora either isn't doing print runs or isn't able/willing to agree commercial terms with the chainstores to get their books stored within them.

    If your books are only available on-line then you'll have a harder battle getting people to know about them. People like going into stores and browsing the shelves for titles - it's still how most books are sold and it's hard to do on-line.

    Even small specialised publishers can get their books into stores.

    Algora Publishing Website:
    What Algora Will Do to Promote Your Book
    Algora lets the book world know you are coming, and primes the pump for any reviews, advertising, word of mouth and other promotion that may occur.
    1. We advertise all our forthcoming books in several publications. The flagship of the industry is Publishers Weekly (a principal resource that bookstore buyers use in making their decisions), where all major publishers are present on a bi-annual basis, according to the calendar of the major book-buyers. We also advertise every season in Library Journal, which targets public and academic libraries, which are interested in your kind of book.
    2. Reviews are probably the most effective means of promoting your book. We routinely secure favorable reviews in publications read by those who make book-buying decisions. We are engaged with all major pre-pub reviewers, such as Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Choice, Booklist. Once a book is mentioned at this high level, a ripple effect can start. Smaller or more specialized publications may notice the book and announce it or write a review of their own. This is ideal.
    3. We constantly test new marketing opportunities, from on-line press release distributions to special sales events in cooperation with Amazon and others. This type of program tends to be expensive, and we sometimes offer cost-sharing with our authors.
    4. We also help authors prepare publicity materials for their own promotional use.
    5. We cover the cost to provide an allotment of “free” or discounted copies of the book for authors who have a promotion plan in place.
    Frankly, this is pathetic. Algora should be doing more than "help prepare" publicity materials - it should be doing it as a matter of course and without the author having to pay out money.

    Algora Publishing Website:
    The good news is that most bookstores stores are happy to place a special order for any customer who asks. If your friends and neighbors want the book, they can ask the store to get it for them.
    That's great if you only want your neighbours and friends to know about your book. What happens if you want complete strangers to buy it? Do you have to go out there and tell them?

    Algora Publishing Website:
    Bookstore events. Bookstores often can plan an event for an author. Ask your bookstore to work with you, as a local author, to plan a book signing event. (In New York they plan some 6 months in advance; less time should be necessary in other areas.) If you get an event, your job includes having something interesting to say, and most important, working hard to help ensure that some people show up for it! The store’s interest is to increase “traffic” in the store. If your event is a success, they may be willing to host you again later.
    Bookstore events only work if a publisher can get the books out there. It's not clear if Algora will supply books for free (which it should be doing) or whether an author will have to buy their own copies to sell on.

    Algora Publishing Website:
    Q: I have been trying to order my book in hardcover from Amazon.com, but they informed me that, "Unfortunately the merchandise listed below remains out of stock". I assume that this implies that the book is selling well.
    A: Honestly, there is no answer to your question. Amazon.com, like B&N, stocks copies of books based on their selling model. If they don't have it in stock – well, they don't have it in stock. Maybe they sold out and maybe they never ordered any for their warehouse.

    We do not own, control or manage their business and we cannot be held accountable for what they decide to carry, or sell, or what to post or not to post on their sites.
    Way to go with not answering the question.

    If the book's out of stock it's either because (a) Algora hasn't got a supply contract in place to keep books in stock or (b) Algora's using POD, which means that the book doesn't physically exist until it's ordered.

    Algora Publishing Website:Q: "We have unquestionable documentation of commercial sales of the book prior to its release, but have never received any information from you regarding such sales."
    A: Unfortunately, it has become a fashion that unapproved proofs are made available through various online channels (including Amazon.com). Such unfortunate practices are well-documented by various players in the industry:

    a. Publishers Weekly Oct. 10, 2004,
    b. Para Publishing, Foreword Magazine, etc.).

    It is a plague of the industry against which we, the publishers, do not have any recourse. Pre-publication review copies are illicitly recycled through various online outlets and we cannot stop them. By contrast, for legitimate sales to take place, we need to receive firm orders and have them processed through our distributors. That is a long process; it takes a few weeks.
    Uh-huh. And what about genuine pre-release sales?

    Algora Publishing Website:Q: I reread the FAQS and I understand now that online selling is where it's at. It is a shame because the local B&N was willing to carry our book but couldn't access it. They said they couldn't deal with you directly and I don't know why.
    A: It is absolutely not true that B&N cannot deal directly with us. We ship to hundreds of stores all the time (including many dozens of B&N stores). We are well acquainted with the B&N buyers here at the B&N headquarters in NYC, and they advise us that our model is the best for a mid-sized publisher. Stores want a 50 percent discount and full returns, and when they can't get such terms, they hide behind lame excuses. Their model can only work for books that sell in the tens of thousands. We pay manufacturing costs, advertising costs, shipping costs, royalties, and we also need to pay our bills: we can’t possibly do that from what the stores want to leave us. Worse still, the wholesalers and the middlemen also expect to pocket 30% of the list price for their archaic distribution systems. We think they are obsolete. We think the publishing industry does not need middlemen driving up the cost of books. – Theirs is a sure prescription for putting many publishers out of business. And people like you would, in the end, have no viable channels to publish at all.
    Bollocks. Plenty of publishers can meet bookstore terms and do so. If Algora doesn't want to because it can't make money from it, then it suggests that they don't have a great business model in terms of selling to the public.

    Algora Publishing Website:
    You might be aware that the recent deal by Google and the American Association of Publishers may spell the end of the “brick and mortar” bookstores all together. – As publishers we are both saddened and vindicated.
    Utter gobshite and utterly misleading gobshite.

    Algora Publishing Website:
    Q: How many free copies can you send me?
    A: We support an author's promotional efforts. Of course, we need to do it according to what we consider to be cost effective; that means striking the right balance between distributing free copies to every individual request versus sending "review" copies that create sales. You, the author, can be far more liberal in your choices, but you have to take that responsibility upon yourself. Every author that we know orders additional copies from us, beyond the free courtesy copies, to have at hand for their own promotion, in many and personal ways. Some order a dozen, some order a few hundred. You have to consider what is in your best interests.

    Depending on what kind of quantities you have in mind, we will grant you a discount that covers our own costs and that provides an incentive for everyone to be responsible in how he dispenses free copies. You, the author, are most familiar with each request and you can make the best judgment as to what impact a free copy will have. Sorry to say, but we also have evidence that there is a whole cadre of people out there who pose as reviewers so they can collect free copies, which they resell for their own profit, at a reduced price that steals sales from the legitimate parties. And then, . . . everybody is happy to get a free copy, anyway.
    Translation: we're not going to tell you how many free copies you'll get, but be prepared to buy some at a discount. Oh and by the way, you might have to buy copies to send to reviewers as well (which should be our job to do for free but we're not doing that because it means having to actually work).

    Algora Publishing Website:Q: Is it possible to receive an advance on the royalties for the book? Since my book will appear some 6 - 10 months from now, it will be a long time before the actual royalty payments begin; an advance would be very helpful.
    A: When we schedule books, we have to allow a full six months for pre-publication publicity. Titles have to be entered in the Books-in-Print cataloging system, presentations are made to the buyers for major bookstore chains (such as B&N), reviews are requested -- far in advance -- at various publications, and ads to announce forthcoming titles are published months before the publishing date. With the exception of the highly advertised best-sellers, the book industry runs on very thin margins. Nine out of ten books just do not catch on with the public.
    We, as publishers, incur the upfront costs of crafting (most often) a raw manuscript into a polished literary work, incur printing costs (about 30 percent of the retail price), distribution costs (another 30 percent up to 50 percent), advertising and publicizing costs, etc., with no guarantee of success; the writer also invests time and talent, up front, with a long wait for any possible reward.
    Translation: no, you can't have an advance. We believe in your independent voice so much that we're not prepared to pay for it up front and by the way, look how much we're paying (without actually giving you figures) to show how much we believe in your book without paying for it up front.

    All in all, nothing there that would make me send a manuscript to them.

    MM

  7. #7
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    As a person who has had two books published by Algora, I find your contempt for the company interesting. Perhaps you're not aware that people who produce specialized research (which is what Algora publishes) tend to have a firm grasp on their subjects and an in-depth understanding of issues, along with considerable skills in the field of professional writing. This leads to the expectation of a fundamental capacity to deliver a suitable product, requiring limited editor input.

    The writer's devotion (and probably years of investment) on topics of private interest often involve things like human rights, statelessness, refugees, etc. for which a mass market doesn't exist. Yet they contribute important work. My book on the war in the DRC provided the factual foundation for the Harvard UN Model of 2010, with the potential to bring about change. It also led to an article in The Journal, of the UK. The general public doesn't care (and the majority probably don't know) that this war is the biggest since WWII with over 5 million dead as of 2005.

    Is it important? Hell yes. Do I give a damn if you think it's interesting or suitable for mass markets? Hell no.

    The chance to reach just one mind that could help the DRC is why I wrote the book.

    It isn't about mass markets, publicity or money. For being able to reach the people I have, Algora has my gratitude, loyalty and respect.

  8. #8
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    I recently saw an Algora contract, and it has a number of nonstandard aspects, including some very confused and ambiguous copyright language.

    - Victoria

  9. #9
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    None of which applies to either of mine.

  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeanne Haskin View Post
    Perhaps you're not aware that people who produce specialized research (which is what Algora publishes) tend to have a firm grasp on their subjects and an in-depth understanding of issues, along with considerable skills in the field of professional writing. This leads to the expectation of a fundamental capacity to deliver a suitable product, requiring limited editor input.
    Algora Publishing Website:...We, as publishers, incur the upfront costs of crafting (most often) a raw manuscript into a polished literary work...
    ?

  11. #11
    Bemused Girl nkkingston's Avatar
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    Did you negotiate the non-standard terms with them?

    Hungry? Check out my other half's blog Colonel Mustard in the Kitchen.

  12. #12
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    My initial contracts were in 2005 & 2006 when there honestly weren't any. However, I'm waiting on a third one now and if there are non-standard provisions and/or confusing language, they're very agreeable people and I'm sure we'll hammer them out.

    They're not a money mill, but they're kind, considerate, knowledgeable and professional with a really fervent interest in bettering life for all.

  13. #13
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    ? [Reply to sqrl]

    What I said wasn't meant to be snotty. My first ms got kicked back to me because I wasn't familiar with their organizational preferences, so even if you're academically qualified, there are expectations they'll want you to meet before they spend time on your ms.
    Last edited by Jeanne Haskin; 02-24-2011 at 01:19 AM.

  14. #14
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Jeanne Haskin:
    Perhaps you're not aware that people who produce specialized research (which is what Algora publishes) tend to have a firm grasp on their subjects and an in-depth understanding of issues, along with considerable skills in the field of professional writing. This leads to the expectation of a fundamental capacity to deliver a suitable product, requiring limited editor input.
    Actually, I am aware of the world of specialised research. My father is a military historian (a market that is highly specialised) and yet for every one of his 6 books, he was offered contracts with advance paying commercial publishers and his books appear in UK commercial book stores. In addition, he had an editor for each of those 8 books who drew his attention to any inconsistencies in his text, areas where his arguments could be strengthened etc etc etc. As an experienced academic, you are surely aware that editing isn't just about proper spelling and punctuation.

    How much editing help did you get for your books and what was the nature of that help?

    Jeanne Haskin:
    For being able to reach the people I have, Algora has my gratitude, loyalty and respect.
    Did they get any of your money? Specifically, have you had to buy copies of your books?

    MM
    Last edited by Momento Mori; 02-25-2011 at 01:23 AM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Momento Mori View Post
    Actually, I am aware of the world of specialised research. My father is a military historian (a market that is highly specialised) and yet for every one of his 8 books, he was offered contracts with advance paying commercial publishers and his books appear in UK commercial book stores. In addition, he had an editor for each of those 8 books who drew his attention to any inconsistencies in his text, areas where his arguments could be strengthened etc etc etc. As an experienced academic, you are surely aware that editing isn't just about proper spelling and punctuation.

    How much editing help did you get for your books and what was the nature of that help?

    Did they get any of your money? Specifically, have you had to buy copies of your books?

    MM
    The sum of editing influence was an omission of one line of argument, nonessential to the second book. In the first, I ended up paraphrasing a document with an inadequate French translation. Analysis is different from history in that it's informed by the disciplines of the person conducting it. There were ideological differences, but these had no impact on the final published work.

    As for the second question, why do you assume I just crawled out of the turnip patch? I paid nothing for anything. Their outfit is legitimate and I can't see why you're suggesting otherwise simply because they're not a money mill.

    Did your father get the magnificent PR roll-out you seem to think a small eclectic press should be able to afford?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeanne Haskin View Post
    ? [Reply to sqrl]

    What I said wasn't meant to be snotty. My first ms got kicked back to me because I wasn't familiar with their organizational preferences, so even if you're academically qualified, there are expectations they'll want you to meet before they spend time on your ms.
    I didn't think you were being snotty. I was just curious about the mismatch between your perception and theirs.

  17. #17
    I grow my own catnip JulieB's Avatar
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    Welcome to AW, Jeanne Haskin!

    We do appreciate you coming here to provide more data points about your publisher.

    I certainly understand that small presses expect more from their authors, but I do find this bit that MM quoted from the site troubling:

    We constantly test new marketing opportunities, from on-line press release distributions to special sales events in cooperation with Amazon and others. This type of program tends to be expensive, and we sometimes offer cost-sharing with our authors.
    The primary way a publisher makes money is by getting books into the hands of readers. Publicity and marketing are part of those expenses, IMO.

    I find the seeming disdain for "traditional" bookstore distribution a bit odd. I understand it's not cheap, but it's also possible for a small press to nurture those relationships with booksellers on their own. I was talking with the owner of a small press just the other day, and he was telling me how he's on the verge of getting his books in B&N. He's doing it himself, without going through a distributor. It takes a lot of hard work, but it can be done.

    From their FAQ:
    As the saying goes these days: bookstores are the worst places to buy a book - Only about 35 percent of the books in the US are sold through a bookstore.
    The rest generally includes textbooks, government public, and very specialized books that will never sell in bookstores. Those books on my pulmonologist's shelf about what I'd consider semi-obscure knowledge about the lungs won't be on the bookstore shelves, but they sell to folks with a specialty in Pulmonary Medicine. And they may sell well for their niche, I don't know.

    However, even with the numbers they give, are you missing out on 35% of sales by not having bookstore placement? Of course, your books may be in one of those niche specialty groups, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. And this is what we like to see as a data point. Are your books selling? Is your publisher getting them into the hands of your target audience? If they are, good for them. This is the kind of thing that helps other writers make a decision on whether or not to submit to them.

  18. #18
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I have never been offered cost-sharing and don't have distribution data beyond summary reports and what I read online. However, I do know through WorldCat that my books are in places I need them to be, like the Peace Palace Library at the Hague (the center of international law). That, for me, is an honor I never expected.

    And thanks for the welcome.

    Time permitting, I hope to explore other threads.
    Last edited by Jeanne Haskin; 02-24-2011 at 05:00 AM.

  19. #19
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    For sqrl:

    Today's contract includes the following terms:

    (a) Author’s responsibilities: It is the responsibility of Author to provide a “clean” manuscript, free of typographical errors, misspellings, and grammatical errors, and to ensure that names, facts, and dates are accurate. The cost of any
    corrections requested by Author after the book has been sent to the printer is to be incurred by Author.

    (b) Publisher’s Free Services: Publisher will seek to verify the logical flow and consistency of the argument presented in the manuscript, flagging stereotypes, clichés, unsupported allegations or conclusions, unscientific premises,
    hearsay, and other matters that may be of concern. Publisher will also perform a spot check for misspellings, grammatical errors, etc.

    (c) Editing: Publisher is entitled to take, or to require Author to take (on his/her own, or at his/her own expense), the necessary steps to trim down excessive verbiage, streamline the logical flow, and address any other matters that may appear to be of concern to Publisher, to make corrections to name spellings, typographical errors, agrammatical constructions, and punctuation, etc., and to make stylistic and formatting changes, etc., consistent with accepted English-language standards and book publishing standards. Finally, Publisher has the right to require Author
    provide further supporting references to substantiate Author’s arguments.

    Although previously unspecified, the terms applied to both of my earlier books and didn't prove problematic.

    ~Jeanne

  20. #20
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Jeanne, would you be willing to share the copyright and rights reversion provisions? Thanks!

    - Victoria

  21. #21
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Jeanne Haskin:
    Did your father get the magnificent PR roll-out you seem to think a small eclectic press should be able to afford?
    By "magnificant PR roll-out" I assume you're referring to these comments of mine:

    Me:
    6 months is a tight turn around and arguably insufficient to launch a really effective marketing campaign for a book. I'd also be concerned at the suggestion that authors may not have to submit a completed manuscript in time either.
    While my dad's book was going through revisions with the editor, preview versions of the manuscript were sent out to the major military history magazines and journals (the main list consisted of contacts from the publisher's own marketing department and my father added 4 contacts of his own). Reviews published immediately prior to the book being available. I think that on average it was about 9 months from submission of manuscript to the publication date, which gave the publisher enough time to build word of mouth in the target market.

    What did Algora do for you in the interim period between submission and publication?

    Me:
    While authors should be prepared to work with their publishers on publicity, they shouldn't be making the suggestions. This makes it sound as though Algora will only do what the author wants, when it should be out there coming up with ideas for its authors.
    The main publicity and marketing suggestions came from each publisher's in house team. They knew academics to target for reading lists (and my father's books on World War II and the Chinese civil war are on course lists for several UK universities including King's College War Studies Department). Where my dad was asked for suggestions, it was to supplement the work the publishers were already doing.

    In contrast the information on Algora's website suggests that the marketing ideas need to come from the author. That's simply not an efficient way of doing things.

    What did Algora produce in terms of marketing ideas for your book and how did that compare with the suggestions you made to them?

    Me:
    Again, this is what Algora should be doing. If they don't know/can't work out the likely market, what are they doing accepting it?
    Algora needs the author to identify the target markets. My dad was published with specialist publishers who knew the market in advance and what they could sell to it - this is why they picked his book.

    Did Algora suggest any potential markets beyond those that you identified or did this not figure in negotiations?

    Me:
    A publisher's role shouldn't be confined to placing ads. It should be thinking of other things it can do - e.g. organising interviews, helping get books into stores for signings etc. That doesn't all fall on the author.
    My dad's publishers didn't take out adverts because the cost of doing so wasn't effective - it was cheaper and more efficient to get a review done in those journals because the readers were more likely to pay attention to it.

    In addition, the last publisher my dad went with also tapped into his day job reputation and suggested and helped him to get roles in conferences relating to his areas of expertise. He does a couple each year, mainly chairing panels and discussions. He would never have come up with that on his own.

    Which publications did Algora advertise your book in?

    I could go on, but I think I've made my point.

    MM

  22. #22
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Nonstandard aspects of the Algora contract I saw--which was presented to the author as the company's standard contract:

    - Royalties paid annually (even the slow-as-molasses big houses pay semi-annually).

    - A grant of rights "in perpetuity" (even though no one can claim rights beyond the duration of copyright) with no provision at all for rights reversion.

    - A copyright notice printed in the book in the publisher's name, rather than in the author's, which suggests a transfer of copyright, although the grant of rights language is so vague that this could possibly be challenged.

    - Victoria

  23. #23
    practical experience, FTW
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    It still concerns me that Algora's justification for not paying an advance is the amount of work required on their part to turn 'raw' mss into saleable books whereas Jeanne's justification for the short lead-in time is that the mss provided are already of publishable quality. Both cannot be right. Even attempting to reconcile those two positions makes my tail curl.

    In short, if a print-ready ms is provided, then, by Algora's own argument, an advance *should* be paid. Yet I see no provision for that in the quotes MM has kindly provided. Looks weasly to me.

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