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Thread: [Publisher] Tsaba House Corp.

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin goldpeace's Avatar
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    [Publisher] Tsaba House Corp.

    Does anyone have any information on this publisher in California?

  2. #2
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Only from what's on their website. Looks to be "legit", but the best test would be to go to your local B&N, etc. and confirm their books on the shelf.

    http://www.tsabahouse.com/aboutus.html
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  3. #3
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaoPaux
    but the best test would be to go to your local B&N, etc. and confirm their books on the shelf.
    Or, if you're as lazy as I am, go to Borders.com and do an inventory search for a few of their titles at half-a-dozen Borders stores. This takes a little goofing around, but is easier than scanning shelves.

    Good: "In stock"
    So-so: "Order"
    Bad: "Not available"

  5. #5
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    I'm not crazy about this paragraph from the "About Us" page: "Also include a list of other titles that you have already written for future publication. We do not offer contracts to authors of only one book. You must be prepared to have us publish a minimum of one title every two years but preferably one title per year. We offer contracts to authors with a 3 book option only." This is odd and undesirable. Options should be for the author's next book only, preferably the next book in the same subject/genre. This makes me wonder about the rest of the contract.

    On the plus side, the book covers are attractive, prices seem competitive, and they have a distributor, FaithWorks.

    - Victoria

  6. #6
    While Faithworks is a distributor, and a pretty major one, according to their site they only distribute to stores affiliated with the CBA(Chritian Booksellers Association). Also there appears to be a big stink now because an article in PW says they won't let one of Tsaba house's authors in an RWA contest because Tsaba House isn't a traditional publisher. Hmmmm . . . that's interesting.

    But the big stink seems to be smelling pretty good for Tsaba house. Here's the link to the article in PW.

    http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6540507.html

    This just in Publishers weekly contacted the Authors Guild and they verified Tsaba Houses contract is industry standard.
    Last edited by sdent1; 03-15-2008 at 09:17 AM.

  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW JanDarby's Avatar
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    Is there a link to the Authors Guild aspect of this? I haven't seen that.

    For RWA's side, check out rwanational.org (there's a link with their response to the PW article).

    Also, the controversy is discussed in posts and -- at greater length -- in the comments at Dearauthor.com and smartbitchestrashybooks.com.

    JD

  8. #8
    I just got back from leaving a comment on the trashybook thing. LOL Just know there's more to come and I for one can't wait.

  9. #9
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanDarby View Post
    For RWA's side, check out rwanational.org (there's a link with their response to the PW article).
    Yes, it is an interesting response. Even more interesting is what has been left out of their response.

    Also, the controversy is discussed in posts and -- at greater length -- in the comments at Dearauthor.com and smartbitchestrashybooks.com.
    I've been to the latter and it is seems to be made up of a lot of support for RWA. Any information provided to counter the speculation is sadly disregarded.

    One poster asked the authors for the contract paragraph in question. I don't feel that appropriate, however, maybe that's what they get for trying to defend themselves on a blog!

  10. #10
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    This is an interesting issue, and I would love to blog about it. To do so, however, I would like to see a current Tsaba House contract. If anyone would be willing to send me one, I guarantee complete confidentiality. As with all information and documentation shared with Writer Beware, your name will never be revealed. My email address is beware@sfwa.org.

    Thanks.

    - Victoria

  11. #11
    Also, one doesn't need to see Tsaba Houes's contract to get a good blog going on the matter IMO. The clause in dispute is standard wording in the Dan Pointer contract package that any publisher can buy. Apparently Random House uses the same contract with the same clause in it.

    RWA isn't disputing clauses that Tsaba House added. There taking a clause straight from the contract many industry standard professionals use and saying it marks Tsaba House as a vanity press but not the other publishers who have this same clause.

    I could see wanting to see the contract if they were disputing some clause that wasn't in quite a few other contracts.

  12. #12
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdent1 View Post
    The clause in dispute is standard wording in the Dan Pointer contract package that any publisher can buy. Apparently Random House uses the same contract with the same clause in it. .
    Random House doesn't use the contracts Dan Poynter sells (I happen to have copies of both).

    Whether Tsaba House uses them or not, I couldn't say.

  13. #13
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdent1 View Post
    Also, one doesn't need to see Tsaba Houes's contract to get a good blog going on the matter IMO. The clause in dispute is standard wording in the Dan Pointer contract package that any publisher can buy. Apparently Random House uses the same contract with the same clause in it.
    Without seeing the contract, I don't know that. I've seen several descriptions of the clause, but I have no idea right now what the clause actually says. I'm not about to be irresponsible enough to blog about a situation where a contract is involved without first looking at the contract. IMO, people's willingness to opine about things based on second-hand reports is a big part of the bad feeling that disputes like this generate.

    - Victoria

  14. #14
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    The PW story says, more or less, that if Tsaba is using one of Dan Poynter's sample contracts, they picked the wrong one: they're apparently using the one meant for textbooks rather than one meant for fiction.

    Here's RWA's response to the PW article: http://rwanational.org/cs/rwa_responds_to_pw_article

  15. #15
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    The PW story says, more or less, that if Tsaba is using one of Dan Poynter's sample contracts, they picked the wrong one: they're apparently using the one meant for textbooks rather than one meant for fiction.
    Actually it was a quote from the RWA executive director Alison Kelley who said that it appears to her to be a contract meant for a textbook or nonfiction publisher.

    Frontmatter and backmatter. If, the Author has not so provided and if, in the reasonable judgment of the publisher, the Publisher feels that an index, bibliography, table of contents, foreword, introduction, preface (hereinafter referred to as "frontmatter and backmatter") for the Work is necessary, the Publisher shall engage a skilled person to prepare such frontmatter and backmatter and and bear the cost.

    Does this apply to non-fiction? it certainly can. However, there are also instances where it can apply to fiction.

    Here's RWA's response to the PW article: http://rwanational.org/cs/rwa_responds_to_pw_article
    There are questions raised the RWA's response.
    --The Tsaba House author referenced in the article was not trying to enter RWA’s RITA contest. She called to inquire about a contest sponsored by an RWA chapter. The rules governing RWA chapter contests are independently determined by each chapter. At no time did the author mention the RITA award when communicating with the RWA office.
    So what? the author was submitting a book to several RWA chapter contests. If the national office of the RWA wasn't involved, then why did the national office respond?

    --According to RWA records, the office was not contacted by the author or publisher until February 2008, several months after the RITA entry deadline, which was November 30, 2007.
    Why would they contact the office when they didn't realize there was a problem?
    And, when do you suppose the author/ publisher learned of this problem? On November 30? or could it possible have been in January or February when the author was notified? The response makes it seem like the author and/ or publisher made a grave error here by not contacting the office prior to or at least around the deadline -- but that could just be my take on it.

    For the record, Dan Poynter's contract (applicable to fiction) that contains this clause is: the Trade Publishing Agreement Between Publisher and Author for Trade Hardcover and Softcover Editions;

    It doesn't appear in the Mass Market Paperback Edition contract nor does the textbook contract contain this clause.

  16. #16
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss View Post
    Without seeing the contract, I don't know that. I've seen several descriptions of the clause, but I have no idea right now what the clause actually says. I'm not about to be irresponsible enough to blog about a situation where a contract is involved without first looking at the contract. IMO, people's willingness to opine about things based on second-hand reports is a big part of the bad feeling that disputes like this generate.

    - Victoria
    I know we don't do "quoted for truth" here, but I really want to highlight this and applaud Victoria for this stance.

    Contracts are one of the areas of life where exact words are crucially important. Talking about the presumed content of a contract clause is pointless--the exact language is essential to an informed discussion.

  17. #17
    Ooops, I meant to say Random House uses that clause in their contracts and not Dan's contract specifically *grumble, gurmble* And now I'll say that I'm not one hundred percent sure aout that but it is what I read somewhere, so take that for what it's worth.

    As far as anyone wanting to see the contract, those who questioned it have seen it. Tsaba House sent it to RWA without hesitation. The clause is what RWA acted on. They didn't seem to have a problem with the rest of the contract. That's what I meant by no one else needing to see the contract. Most wouldn't be able to make heads or tails out of it anyway though I'm sure Victoria could without a doubt.

    It is also my understanding that someone who is qualified has made the determination that the contract is industry standard. Again, take that for what it's worth. I'll post as soon as I know this for certain or maybe someone else posting will see this before I do.

  18. #18
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Interesting to note: many people discussing this issue are talking about "a clause." The PW article, however, mentions "clauses." And the RWA response mentions "several instances." Just one example of how information gets distorted in discussion.

    If I ever do get a copy of the contract (I've posted requests in several forums), I will reproduce the language that's at issue, and hopefully some Random House authors will check their contracts to see if it's in there. One of the things that makes me doubt it will be is the reference to "retyping." This suggests to me that the boilerplate for this contract dates back a decade or two.

    There are perfectly legitimate reasons, by the way, for a small press's contract to differ from the contracts offered by large houses.

    Many of the comments at PW look orchestrated to me.

    - Victoria

  19. #19
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    My Random House contract (from 1997) is for a work of fiction, and it contains no clause about back matter, indexing, or retyping. I've never published non-fiction with them.

  20. #20
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss View Post
    Many of the comments at PW look orchestrated to me.
    I am curious, in what way do you think the comments look orchestrated? One of the comments was mine, and I don't think it was orchestrated . . . but that's why I ask, maybe mine was also!

    I wish I was in a position to provide a precise timeline of events, but I cannot.

    I don't have a dog in this fight, but I am supportive of Tsaba House because it could easily be me. My company and my (few) authors have already faced the prejudice I perceive is occurring here, with other organizations: the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Christian Blog Alliance, ECPA and CBA-affliated organizations, etc. I am not the only independent publisher to face issues of big guys scoffing at the little guys and like others, I fight back at an injustice when organizations do a cursory examination of my company rather than look at a book's quality. More times than not, I find that their examination lacks knowledge of the industry.

    I really thought that the problem lay within the Christian publishing niche; I expected that the well-established mainstream industry would be less exclusive. I assumed and should know better than do that!

    Victora, I also applaud you for wanting more information before blogging about Tsaba House. It does bother me, however, that this publisher is being put on trial and that no one outside of the indies (at least, this is how it appears to me) cares about the RWA and their policies.

  21. #21
    Democracy Dies in Darkness Marlys's Avatar
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    The issue is whether the folks at Tsabe call upon--or have worded their contract so that it is possible to call upon authors to subsidize the publication of their books.

    As reported (and I'm totally with Victoria Strauss that somebody needs to get hold of an actual contract) one clause says that the publisher can decide whether a book needs front or back matter, and then charge the author for it. If that's true, then the potential for abuse is enormous.

    Press: We've decided that your story is too confusing and needs a couple of maps to keep things straight. Only cost you a thousand bucks.

    Author: No--no, it's fine as it is. No maps needed.

    Press: We decide that. You cut the check.


    I'm not saying Tsaba has ever done this. But if that clause exists, the fact that they could should raise big red flags. And if Tsaba wants to make it absolutely clear that they do not, ever, ask authors to subsidize publication, then they should remove clauses like that from their contract.
    I'm a twit, too: @PearsonMarlys

  22. #22
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    With the proviso that I haven't yet seen the Tsaba House contract--I don't see RWA's actions as "prejudice." I see them as an effort to be consistent in the application of their standards.

    You can argue that the standards are too harsh--I don't agree that they are, but many people feel differently, and there has been a lot of discussion since they were adopted (similar upset was caused by MWA's recent tightening of its standards, which resulted in the jettisoning from the "approved publishers" list of a number of actual vanity publishers). But if you want to argue that, you need to go beyond this particular controversy, and address the standards themselves.

    There is this constant, unresolved tension between writers' desire for the merit and status of publication, and their desire for an open door policy (with the open door, of course, pertaining only to them). You can't have it both ways. If there are standards, people are going to be shut out. If there are no standards, or if the standards are low, getting published doesn't carry any merit.

    - Victoria

  23. #23
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss View Post
    With the proviso that I haven't yet seen the Tsaba House contract--I don't see RWA's actions as "prejudice." I see them as an effort to be consistent in the application of their standards.
    Speaking as a publisher, I think it highly unlikely that you are going to be able to see the contract. It is a private business agreement, and one that the RWA itself has not seen. I printed the generic language in a previous post. This is the contract that was used.

    I guess it will all come out in the wash.

    My question about "orchestrated comments" still stands. I am still confused about this looks like?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss View Post
    You can argue that the standards are too harsh--I don't agree that they are, but many people feel differently, and there has been a lot of discussion since they were adopted (similar upset was caused by MWA's recent tightening of its standards, which resulted in the jettisoning from the "approved publishers" list of a number of actual vanity publishers). But if you want to argue that, you need to go beyond this particular controversy, and address the standards themselves.
    Aha! exactly. As well, the "standards" or guidelines of the RWA contests should probably be made easily accessible to all interested authors. Isn't that reasonable? and it would prevent what happened in this instance -- or at least an author being able to legitimately complain about it.

  25. #25
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cynfulxx View Post
    Speaking as a publisher, I think it highly unlikely that you are going to be able to see the contract. It is a private business agreement, and one that the RWA itself has not seen. I printed the generic language in a previous post. This is the contract that was used.
    There's no way to know, without seeing the Tsaba House contract, whether Tsaba House used this exact same generic language.

    According to the statement on RWA's site, they requested the contract and Tsaba's publisher sent it to them. So RWA has seen the contract.

    How private a publisher considers its contract to be is up to the publisher. Many publishers post their contracts on their websites. Others willingly send their contracts to professional writers' groups as part of the process of becoming approved or listed by the group. Most of the time, when I've requested a contract directly from the publisher, I've been accommodated. And there's usually nothing barring an author from sharing her publishing contract with someone who asks to see it. I've done it myself. So I'm still hopeful that I will get to see a Tsaba House contract.

    - Victoria
    Last edited by victoriastrauss; 03-16-2008 at 10:16 PM.

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