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Thread: Coffee Shack Publishing

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Exclamation Coffee Shack Publishing

    I am opening a book store in Indiana. I would like to have ANY and ALL the books I can get (free copies for ordering) in my store. I also ask that you, the author, decide what price you want for your book, and that you provide an address where I will be sending you your checks. It is my goal to have the largest known self-published book store in the United States. You may e-mail me any time with any questions you may have. I am also looking for childrens books to be published with us. I am new to this business and would be very greatful for any input you can give me on what a "good" publishing contract contains. I my self am also an author, however I am a closet writer and have never sought publishing. Thank you for your time and I can't wait for those books so please send then asap!
    E. Cristofolini-Coffee Shack Publishing

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW
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    So...the author buys their own book and sends it to you. Then you resell it at the price they decide? No offense, but how will they know if you even sell the book or if you will pay them back?

  3. #3
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Exclamation Thanks for the reply Jo Scott

    To be very frank and honest I do not have the money to buy all the books I would like to have for the store. As self published authors, I assumed they would already have a copy or two that they would like to sell. As for the price, who better to know what the book is worth then the author. How they get their money is easy. I am sorry I should have better explained that. I have a written agreement on had that is signed by a notory (at MY expence) that states what the price will be, and that the author will be sent a check at the end of each month for all sales of the book. How will you know if it sells? I will gladly send you an e-mail on a weekly basis of what sells. How do I make money then? Just so everyone knows and to be honest and up front, I add $1.00 to any book that is $7.95 and below, and $2.00 for everything above that amount. You the author will never be "out" anything. If the book doesn't sell in 180 days it is pulled and returned to you, again at MY expence. I plan to use the money I make to finance the books I choose to actualy publish.
    Like I said I am very new to this and plz plz keep the comments and posts coming. I need to learn all I can, and what better place to ask and learn then from writters.
    E. Cristofolini-Coffee Shack Publishing

  4. #4
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    You really, really need to think about your business plan.

    1. You are specialising in selling books that were, by their very nature, considered too risky for others to make money selling.

    2. You are taking on 100% of the risk, but have 0% control.
    a. You can't control the quality of the books.
    b. You can't control the styles of the books.
    c. You don't even have control over the price you are selling them at!

    3. If you make $1 profit on selling, and $1 loss (for postage back to the author) if the book doesn't sell, then you are losing money even if you manage to sell 40% of your stock. This is before rent, food etc! Remember, you don't even have the freedom to reduce the price to make it more likely to sell.

    Your business plan (as it stands now) is not tenable. You'll need to look at how many books per hour you'll need to sell to cover the costs of returns, rent, food, advertising, insurance,electricity etc etc etc.

    Since you are very new at this, why don't you learn more by working in a bookstore for a while? Since this is what you'll end up doing if your dream goes ahead, it is hardly a detour. Learn about book pricing, customer relationships,etc while SOMEONE ELSE is paying you, rather than have to learn the hard way. It will also give you vital information for your own store, such as being able to estimate how many browsing customers per sale of a single book, etc etc

    Good luck,

    Mac

  5. #5
    I agree with Mac - for you, this is an extremely high risk venture, and I see no way you can sustain it.

    Mac's suggestion of working in a bookstore is tremendous - even if you offer to work there for a few weeks for free. And choose a small independant, not a multiple, so you can see just how hard bookstores have to struggle to stay in business without the luxury of heavy discounting and loss leaders.

    If you want to open the world's biggest bookstore selling self/vanity published books, do it online; the overheads are lower.

    Have you investigated rent? At $2 a book, how many a week do you have to sell? Then add heat and light, and translate that into books sold. And how much do you plan to pay yourself? Add that in. And what percentage of book sales has to go towards local sales tax? How many extra books does that relate to. And advertising? You can't rely on passing trade, unless you've got a great location. Have you a budget for that? How many books?

    Talk to your local bookstore manager. Find out what percntage of sales the Harry Potters and other bestsellers contribute compared to the 'no-name' writers. All you'll have to offer is the no-namers.

    When I'm not writing, one of my hats is that of business consultant, and I have to tell you, as I would a client, that with your current business model you're doomed to failure. That sounds harsh, but you need to think hard about how much money you can afford to lose pursuing a dream.
    and now hang with the staff at the café for creative people:

  6. #6
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Smile Thanks again for the input

    That didn't sound harsh at all, rather a good reality check. As for the "home work" you sugested, I will definitly look into it. I have to say that the books are by far only a small part of what I am doing in my shop. I am working very closely with a S.C.O.R.E. rep as well as some other bus. coaches. The book sales are important to me, but they are not my only product or service.
    Could you guys plz give me some other suggestions on what makes a GOOD publishing contract.
    Thanks again for your thoughts.
    E. Cristofolini-Coffee Shack Publishing

  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW
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    I think you will have to do what the other book stores do...buy the product you intend to sell...borrowing is for the library.

  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW GHF65's Avatar
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    I'm confused (again). You are asking for books to sell in your shop, which serves other, unspecified purposes as well, but your signature, "Coffee Shack Publishing" sounds like a . . . well . . . a publisher.

    Can you clarify what, exactly, it is that you're doing?

  9. #9
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Smile Schoolmarm-sorry I confused you

    Yes I am asking for books to sell for self published authors, this is the basis for my book store. I wanted something original and useful.
    As for my signature line, it reads that way because I am also starting my own publishing company. I do not like the way writers are handled in the traditional pub. companies. Can I really make a difference? Well to myself I can, and to those who choose to work with me I can.
    For the manuscripts I except, I only sign the script, not the author, for one year. I pay for the editing, illistrations, cover design and the printing. The author recieves 15% of the sales the first year. IF they decide to keep the book with me for an addtional year, then that percentage is increased to 25%. If during the 1st year they get an offer from a larger pub. company they may buy the script back for $1000.00. If during the second year this happens then they are free to go with the agreement that I may still sell the book in my store for the rest of that year.
    Will I have authors knocking my door down...highly unlikely...I do not have the same distribution contacts that these huge companies have...I will in time...and those who start out with me will definitly have a foot in the door when I do.
    My store also offers others forms of art for sale as well.
    Because I live in a small rural community, we do not have as many opportunities to be exposed to the arts and authors that I would like to have. This is one way I am trying to enrich our community as well.
    I realise how I am approaching this is not, well very orthodox, but the worst that can happen is what has already happened a few times, I am told to go jump in the lake and not so nicely. The best that can happen, as has as well is that ppl are willing to give me info, make suggestions and I do recieve manuscripts that are awsome.
    I hope this has answered your questions and concerns...if not plz feel free to post again.
    E. Cristofolini-Coffee Shack Publishing

  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW GHF65's Avatar
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    You had me at "yes" . . . until I got to the $1000 buy-back.

    I'd like to hear from some of the more experienced contract mavens on the board regarding this arrangement. I'm getting that you pay all the up-front costs of producing (and marketing?) the book, which you will then sell in your store. Will you be distributing the books elswhere? Marketing it outside your local area? Does the contract include a specific number of copies to be printed? Do you already have the brick-and-mortar storefront, or is that still in the planning stage? Do you have a plan for making the contacts you'll need to market and distribute the books that will bear your Coffee Shack imprint? Do you have something in your contract that covers what will become of the MS's should your business go belly-up within the frst year?

    Finally--and please don't take this as criticism of any kind, just a straight-up question--do you have any qualifications for choosing manuscripts that will be marketable?

    I wouldn't be asking so many questions if I didn't find the concept intriguing, I assure you. I'd be in the barn scraping fungus off my saddle. But as I have a friend who recently launched a self-pub/small press thingie, I can't help but be curious. Thanks for bearing with me.

  11. #11
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Smile You had me at...

    I want you to know I was in no way offended and ty for being so nice about it. Now to answer your questions, NO I do not have the experience that you asked about; but I do know what I like to see in a good book and that is what I will base my decisions on. I also have a couple of school teachers who have agreed to read them for me if I have questions or am iffy on anything. Yes I do have my building, its in Butler, IN. If my business goes belly up the scripts go back to the author with no further strings attatched. The $1000 is there because I figure that is what I will have invested in a year (at least) in adv./marketing since I do not have the big contacts. Yes I plan on marketing outside my area. I am working with Amazon, Borders and a few other on-line companies to see what it takes to list and adv. with them. I am also planning on sending these books to radio stations that do book reviews as well as newspapers and a few others. I admit I have a long ways to go...but no is not in my vocab. You had asked about how many copies will be printed...to be honest this is one I do not know yet...its cheaper for me if I print a min. of 50 at a time...but I want to be able to send extra copies to the author for their own use and giveaways as well. I am also doing a lot of research with places like lulu.com and other self publication sites to see where, how, and how much they do for and inway of adv. for their authors. Again I am always open to ideas and info. Please keep the comments coming.
    E. Cristofolini-Coffee Shack Publishing

  12. #12
    Ooo! Shiny new cover! Absolute Sage Cathy C's Avatar
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    I do not like the way writers are handled in the traditional pub. companies.

    Since you're planning on becoming a publisher, what is you don't like about the business practice of traditional publishers, and what do you intend to do differently?
    Want FREE reads? Click here!

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    Cathy Clamp
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    "An entertaining (and occasionally very dark) mystery." -- Locus

    "[Shapeshifter] fans are about to hit the jackpot as Clamp returns to re-energize this amazing series. Searching for layered plotlines and complex characters? Look no further, as Clamp truly delivers!" -- RT BookReviews

    "Cathy Clamp is a visionary author, creating new worlds that are both strong and vividly drawn. Adventure and excitement at its best." -- Yasmine Galenorn, New York Times Bestselling Author

    "A struggling community under attack, compelling action, characters struggling with dark secrets ... FORBIDDEN hit all my favorite notes, and I love the rich world of the Sazi!" - Rachel Caine, New York Times Bestselling Author

  13. #13
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    My thoughts about publishers

    Lets get the easy part out of the way...I like any other publisher want to make money to...BUT my goal is to open up new opportunities for new authors, and artists.
    How will I do this differently? Well for starters I am NOT requiring more books from an author in a contract that seems to take away all of their choices or asking for any rights, except one. The only right I ask for is that the script I except stay with me for 1 year. This gives the author the chance to get picked up by other, bigger publishers if that is what they want.
    Since I am a very small company, I can afford the luxury of working one on one with each of our new authors. Lets say they send me a script that is decent story, but a long ways from being a book. I can aford to pick up the phone and say hey this is a good story but to be a book we need to really draw out the story.
    Now for the author who does not need this type of thing, it is our goal to give them a jumping off point. A place where they can build a following with out having to pay for self publishing, and a place where they will be a celebrated author wether they make it big or not!
    This may not sound like a good business practice, but for me it is about the arts, the talent and then the money.
    Maybe I will waste my money, but if I can bring one new author or artist into the world that wouldn't have otherwise made it...then I can celebrate my life's dreams and theirs.
    Coffee Shack Publishing is about a starting place.
    May I also say that for those of you who have "Earned" your way up the latter to those big contracts, congratulations to you and please keep writing as long as its from the heart and not because you have to write 3 more books in 2 years.
    E. Cristofolini-Coffee Shack Publishing

  14. #14
    Ooo! Shiny new cover! Absolute Sage Cathy C's Avatar
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    First, it's a little confusing when you say "script." It sounds like you're accepting film properties. Please use either "manuscript" or "ms." when discussing books, or you'll attract the wrong writers.

    I am NOT requiring more books from an author in a contract that seems to take away all of their choices or asking for any rights, except one.
    No publisher REQUIRES this in their contracts. Authors BEG for it. It's quite difficult to get a multi-book deal from a publisher. It implies a great deal of trust in the ability of the author to produce another book of as good a quality as they one they've read. It also doesn't take away our choices. They might request a sequel to the first book, or a stand-alone on another subject, but the publisher seldom dictates to the author what the subject of the book is.

    Since I am a very small company, I can afford the luxury of working one on one with each of our new authors.
    This is no different than what an author experiences with a traditional publisher. I speak on the phone with or email my editor whenever the mood suits me to discuss pretty much anything. Hours and hours per book. She's a doll and absolutely works with me and my co-author one-on-one. You need to be careful when discussing potential competition in a negative fashion. Anything that can be judged to be untrue is a strike against you since you have no track record in the industry.

    A place where they can build a following with out having to pay for self publishing, and a place where they will be a celebrated author wether they make it big or not!
    Well, the goal is seldom to self-publish and for those who are going to go that route anyway, your venture isn't going to influence them to change. How is charging $1,000 NOT paying for self-publishing? You give the impression that this fee is to pay for the marketing. But if you're not financially invested (your own out-of-pocket) in the success of each title, how will marketing do any good? Who are you marketing to? Do you plan to use the money to hire a distributor? Are you going to print catalogs and send them to wholesalers and booksellers? Are you going to advertise to the end buyers? What does the author get for the money?

    Maybe I will waste my money
    What money are you wasting? Are you hiring staff? Editors/sales representatives, etc.? How much are you investing in each book compared to the author's investment? Is it 50/50 (so there's $2,000 available to market each book), or 25/75 or 0/100?

    These are all part of a business model that you need to think about as you start this venture. There are any number of people who have "good intentioned" themselves right into bankruptcy or into lawsuits by authors who felt the publisher didn't do enough of what they originally promised.

    Publishing isn't something to leap into with little thought. It requires careful attention to details at the beginning so that both the publisher and author benefit. PLEASE use careful thought so you don't wind up the next PA without intending to.
    Want FREE reads? Click here!

    Smiles!
    Cathy Clamp
    USA Today bestselling author
    ILLICIT, coming 7/16!
    My Website
    Follow me: Twitter
    Now on Facebook! Come friend me!



    "An entertaining (and occasionally very dark) mystery." -- Locus

    "[Shapeshifter] fans are about to hit the jackpot as Clamp returns to re-energize this amazing series. Searching for layered plotlines and complex characters? Look no further, as Clamp truly delivers!" -- RT BookReviews

    "Cathy Clamp is a visionary author, creating new worlds that are both strong and vividly drawn. Adventure and excitement at its best." -- Yasmine Galenorn, New York Times Bestselling Author

    "A struggling community under attack, compelling action, characters struggling with dark secrets ... FORBIDDEN hit all my favorite notes, and I love the rich world of the Sazi!" - Rachel Caine, New York Times Bestselling Author

  15. #15
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Question WOW I said that the wrong way!!!!

    I DO NOT WANT ANY MONEY FROM MY AUTHORS-unless they want a buy back of that ms for another bigger or now better pub with in the first year.
    Thank you very much for getting back to me so quickly. And I guess I am doing my home work in the WRONG places again. As for hiring people yes I do intend to do that once I have the funds available. I do want to and intend to make the catologs as well. I have spent the last 3 months in chat rooms and anywhere else I can find writers to ask questions to. NONE of them told me these were things writers wanted! Just the oposit in fact. I am so glad I found the place!!! May I ask you what is a good contract for an author? I have posted that question several times but no one will answer.
    I also want to say again I am sorry if I offended anyone or any other company. Your right I do NOT want to burn any possible bridges.
    I think I may just work with the ms I have gotten so far and call a time out till I get better sources and guidlines to follow. I hope you all can see that my heart is in the right place!
    E. Cristofolini-Coffee Shack Publishing

  16. #16
    Around and About SuperModerator Birol's Avatar
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    Coffee,

    I'm glad that you keep returning to answer questions. I'm considering moving this thread because it no longer seems to be a marketing opportunity, but right now I'm not certain where to put it. I'd like to keep the discussion going without labeling your concept as good or bad. If I do move the thread, I will make certain to leave a redirect to the new location.

    That said, you have said some things that seem to be inconsistent to me. I know that Cathy has already addressed some of these, so please forgive any repetitions. I'm just trying to get my head around your business model and the concept you have.

    Your first post on here indicated you were trying for a speciality bookstore working basically on consignment, but came back and indicated that the bookstore was actually a sub-project of your publishing venture. You have also indicated that you do not like the business practices of traditional publishers while admitting that you do not know much about this business.

    Before we go into depth about your business model -- your marketing plan, product lines, advances, royalties, contract terms, rights wanted from authors, and the distribution capabilities of your proposed publishing venture -- I'd like to know what led your decision to establish a new publishing house? Why is this your dream? Where does your passion for the arts, for literature, for publishing come from?

  17. #17
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    My passions and other answers

    I started thinking about publishing some time ago when I met a writer that I thought had a "Great" book for kids. This woman had more talent then I could ever dream of having, yet she kept getting turned down. I had watched her poor money into having it edited and rewritten and still to no avail. The one thing she refused to do was self publish. We used to joke about how if I won the lotto I would open a publishing company and she would be my first author. Since that time, she has passed away never "making it in the big time" as we used to call it.
    The more time I spend on the computer, and in my community, the more I see the same thing. A LOT of good talent wasted just "waiting" to be discovered.
    You asked where my passion comes from. I have been raised and now live in a rural community. My store is in a town of about 2500 people, with the majority of work coming from factories. I would not trade this place for anything, but it has a lot to be desired as well. We do not have a book store, or a theater, or a Fine Arts center. If we want those luxuries, then we have to go to another major city. I want my children and others to have the chance to learn from authors, artists, and other arts that I think I can bring to our community. My starting point is in the book store. Inside that book store are other projects as well. Now I asked for self published authors for many reasons, the least of which is that they are unknown and yet have had the gumshin to make it any way. As for the consignment part, I do not have a financial backer for what I am doing. This money is coming out of my pocket. The money I make from the book sales, wether pub. by us or self pub. will be used to pay the authors and to put back into the business and to continue to bring even more arts to our community. I am also asking some of the teachers and authors I meet to give classes for anyone who wants to become an author. I will have asked artists to come and teach art classes, you get the idea.
    As I am sure you have figured out by now I do not have a typical business model to work with. I have not been to college for business or publishing or even writing, but I do know what I like in an author and for me and my business that's what counts.
    Thanks again for the chance to explain who I am and what I am trying to do.
    I do believe that I will ask you to move my thread to the unpaid side at this time, or ask that you allow me to re-write what it is that I am after. I do not wish to be sued for failure to represent an author nor do I wish to misrepresent my own intentions. Maybe by watching more I will find the happy medium. Thanks again for your time.
    E. Cristofolini-Coffee Shack Publishing

  18. #18
    Around and About SuperModerator Birol's Avatar
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    Coffee,

    I'm going to make a few suggestions.

    First, you do not need to have a degree in business in order to start one, but if you are going to have any hope of succeeding and bringing the arts to your community, you need to have an idea of how business operate. If you're truly serious about this project, I suggest contacting your local SBA. They have tons of information about such things.

    Second, you need to learn what is standard and is not standard in the publishing industry, what the terminology is, what makes a good contract and what doesn't, why certain books are rejected and why they aren't. I have a hunch you do not know what print runs are, the differences between printers and publishers, have not even considered distribution, how copyright works, what rights it is standard to ask for, or which are normally negotiable between an author and the publisher.

    Finally, for a professional presentation, especially in the writing industry, you need to work on your own spelling and grammar. As a publisher, you are not required to be a good storyteller or writer, but as an entrepreneuer, presentation is everything.

    Please know that while I wish any publisher success, as it means more opportunities for writers, at this point and time your idea of what it means to be a publisher raises far more alarms than anything else.

  19. #19
    practical experience, FTW GHF65's Avatar
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    Birol, she does say in an early post that she's working with a S.C.O.R.E. rep and other business coaches, so one can only hope that they will guide her business model in a direction that will make sense in the long run.

    I do, however, take issue, Coffee, with your grasp of publishing standards. I'm getting the impression that you are not a writer yourself, so have no direct experience with publishers, agents, or marketing plans. I'm more than a little curious about the source of your information. I'm not as experienced as the Big Pens on this board, but I know enough to recognize that someone is leading you far astray.

    Your comment about the writer who started you on this path is very enlightening. You were inspired by someone whose book needed significant (and costly . . . which screams "SCAM!") editing and still wasn't picked up by a publisher for some undisclosed reason. You describe her as more talented than you could ever hope to be. It's great to be in awe of someone's talent, but I'm wondering how many writers you've come into contact with. A writer who can't whip her own words into submission might be one of the less valid sources of information on the publishing game. You don't mention how many attempts she made to have her book looked at by an agent or publisher.

    Just a suggestion, but if you're really interested in helping writers whose work is good but going begging because it's outside the edges of some genre or quirky in some way that mainstream publishers find questionable in terms of marketability, you might want to settle on one such niche and really study what is missing and what you can do to fill the gap. You have a good heart and are obviously intent on making a difference both in your local, rural area and with writers whose otherwise excellent work is going unnoticed. Be careful not to let your emotional connection to the woman who has since passed away overwhelm your good intentions and your common sense.

  20. #20
    I have to agree with the others - and respectfully suggest that you don't have a clue how the traditional publishers you seem to dislike actually work. What you are actually aiming to be, as far as I can ascertain, is a POD reseller.

    Much as I appreciate what you would like to do, I think you'd do writers a dis-service if you actually did it. It's just not enough to be well-meaning.
    and now hang with the staff at the café for creative people:

  21. #21
    Around and About SuperModerator Birol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schoolmarm
    Birol, she does say in an early post that she's working with a S.C.O.R.E. rep and other business coaches, so one can only hope that they will guide her business model in a direction that will make sense in the long run.
    Ah. Thanks for pointing that out. I missed that among all the other information.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schoolmarm
    Birol, she does say in an early post that she's working with a S.C.O.R.E. rep and other business coaches, so one can only hope that they will guide her business model in a direction that will make sense in the long run.

    I do, however, take issue, Coffee, with your grasp of publishing standards. I'm getting the impression that you are not a writer yourself, so have no direct experience with publishers, agents, or marketing plans. I'm more than a little curious about the source of your information. I'm not as experienced as the Big Pens on this board, but I know enough to recognize that someone is leading you far astray.

    Your comment about the writer who started you on this path is very enlightening. You were inspired by someone whose book needed significant (and costly . . . which screams "SCAM!") editing and still wasn't picked up by a publisher for some undisclosed reason. You describe her as more talented than you could ever hope to be. It's great to be in awe of someone's talent, but I'm wondering how many writers you've come into contact with. A writer who can't whip her own words into submission might be one of the less valid sources of information on the publishing game. You don't mention how many attempts she made to have her book looked at by an agent or publisher.

    Just a suggestion, but if you're really interested in helping writers whose work is good but going begging because it's outside the edges of some genre or quirky in some way that mainstream publishers find questionable in terms of marketability, you might want to settle on one such niche and really study what is missing and what you can do to fill the gap. You have a good heart and are obviously intent on making a difference both in your local, rural area and with writers whose otherwise excellent work is going unnoticed. Be careful not to let your emotional connection to the woman who has since passed away overwhelm your good intentions and your common sense.
    I agree. I think your intentions are good and your dream is possible. I think you should continue to research and utilize the expertise of the coaches you plan to work with. I do wish you well.
    "As long as my mind speaks to my fingertips, the conversation is endless!" -Yeah I said it!


  23. #23
    Around and About SuperModerator Birol's Avatar
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    I'm also curious about where in Indiana you are located. I have relatives scattered all over that state, many in small communities of 2500 or less. If you don't want to post here, please PM me if you don't mind sharing.

  24. #24
    Might I suggest there is a better way to go?

    Launch a webzine. yes, I know there are already 3 billion of them, all with an average of 2 readers each. But hear me out.

    It's possible to make a webzine successful, if you work at it, and by successful I mean build readership, get quality submissions and pay writers. It can and has been done.

    Translate the webzine to print - once you've achieved the above, and can make it sustainable. Again, this has been done, and can be done. make the print version successful. Gain readership, sell subscriptions, get distribution.

    Once you've achieved the above you'll have some idea of what's needed to launch your book publishing business. You'll either have a successful business, with a subscriber base, distribution network and a database of quality writers, or you'll have fallen at an earlier fence without taking the writers with you.

    You're probably looking at a 5 year project to get to the point where you can realistically think about publishing novels, but for a business to be successful you have to grow it.
    and now hang with the staff at the café for creative people:

  25. #25
    Around and About SuperModerator Birol's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
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    That's a good question right now.
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    I moved this thread from Nonpaying Markets. I hope the discussion can continue here.

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