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Thread: [Publisher] Holland House / Grey Cells Press

  1. #1
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    [Publisher] Holland House / Grey Cells Press

    Grey Cells Press appears to be a new UK publisher.

    Here's the blurb from their About page:

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey Cells Press
    We publish quality crime fiction and, through dedicated imprints, the best in genre fiction. By investing time, energy, finance and expertise in the work we present, we ensure that each book is as good as it can be, and then, we devote ourselves to marketing and selling the work.

    This is not a vanity press. We do not take payment of any kind from our authors apart from royalties on sales – and our terms are not bettered anywhere. We are extremely choosy and are not expecting to release dozens of titles quickly but to select the best we can find and focus on them individually.
    I think the current Web site may be a draft version; the prose is a little odd and appears to not yet have been proofed.

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  2. #2
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Hmm.

    This is not a vanity press. We do not take payment of any kind from our authors apart from royalties on sales – and our terms are not bettered anywhere.
    I don't know of any good trade publisher which feels the need to insist that it's not a vanity press. That's always a red flag in my eyes. As for the publisher earning royalties on sales--what? Publishers pay authors royalties on sales, they don't earn them for themselves. And they certainly don't expect their authors to pay them royalties. At least, the good ones don't.

    Again, from their About page:

    Robert has been published in journals in Australia and the UK and researched and wrote an Aviation History; he has edited both fiction and non-fiction, including dissertations and reports for business and local government, and even had a stint as a ghostwriter.
    That's all very nice and all, but I see no evidence there of experience in publishing, or in editing books.

    Colour me unimpressed.

  3. #3
    Holland House
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    Well, yes, we are still in the process of setting up. I am sorry you are unimpressed, but if you had contacted us directly we would have responded to all queries.

    I have extensive experience of editing, primarily academic and reports for official and Government bodies. The last two people whose novels I edited pre-submission now have agents -one in New York, and one in London.

    The term 'royalty' was used to indicate that our income comes purely from a percentage of sales - 50% of the net. We stressed that we are not a vanity press because there are many small publishers starting who are vanity presses - or who operate in a way which I would not consider professional. We invest considerable time and money. We are also very selective - I recently have spent most of my time reading and rejecting manuscripts and it is extremely hard to find good work.

    However, as I say I am sorry you were unimpressed. Those who have dealt with us have had a very different response - including those I have rejected.
    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post
    Hmm.



    I don't know of any good trade publisher which feels the need to insist that it's not a vanity press. That's always a red flag in my eyes. As for the publisher earning royalties on sales--what? Publishers pay authors royalties on sales, they don't earn them for themselves. And they certainly don't expect their authors to pay them royalties. At least, the good ones don't.

    Again, from their About page:



    That's all very nice and all, but I see no evidence there of experience in publishing, or in editing books.

    Colour me unimpressed.

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    I'm not fond of the fact that one has to go back to the parent company (Holland House - http://www.hhousebooks.com/) in order to find Robert's full name -- at least, presumably that's the same Robert listed on the "Editing Services" page ("Please note that this is separate from all publishing!").

  5. #5
    Holland House
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    Yes, someone mentioned this to me. It wasn't deliberate and I had meant to change that. It is hardly intended as a secret. But it will be changed now.

    As for the company - The Crime Writers Association is rather more impressed and I have discussed the business with them. They are confident that applications from our British authors to join the CWA will be looked upon positively.

    Quote Originally Posted by LaylahHunter View Post
    I'm not fond of the fact that one has to go back to the parent company (Holland House - http://www.hhousebooks.com/) in order to find Robert's full name -- at least, presumably that's the same Robert listed on the "Editing Services" page ("Please note that this is separate from all publishing!").

  6. #6
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HollandH View Post
    Well, yes, we are still in the process of setting up. I am sorry you are unimpressed, but if you had contacted us directly we would have responded to all queries.
    I'm not interested in submitting to you, HH, and I want our other members to know of my concerns, so contacting you wouldn't have been appropriate.

    I have extensive experience of editing, primarily academic and reports for official and Government bodies. The last two people whose novels I edited pre-submission now have agents -one in New York, and one in London.
    Your primary editing experience isn't in editing books, though, so it's not relevant here. And while I'm pleased for those two people you mention, your editing is highly unlikely to be what caused them to be given those contracts: their writing was probably the issue there.

    The term 'royalty' was used to indicate that our income comes purely from a percentage of sales - 50% of the net. [snipped]
    Fine, but it displays your lack of experience and understanding of trade publishing.

    However, as I say I am sorry you were unimpressed. Those who have dealt with us have had a very different response - including those I have rejected.
    I'm sure they do.

    Quote Originally Posted by HollandH View Post
    Yes, someone mentioned this to me. It wasn't deliberate and I had meant to change that. It is hardly intended as a secret. But it will be changed now.

    As for the company - The Crime Writers Association is rather more impressed and I have discussed the business with them. They are confident that applications from our British authors to join the CWA will be looked upon positively.
    The CWA requires only that its members are published crime writers. I'm not aware of it approving of publishers other than that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HollandH View Post
    Well, yes, we are still in the process of setting up. I am sorry you are unimpressed, but if you had contacted us directly we would have responded to all queries.
    If you're ready to start publishing a call for submissions on the AW forums, which you have done in a few places, then you should really make sure you're set up with enough information that nobody *needs* to contact you directly to figure out who's behind the business and what qualifications they have. These are questions that AW members routinely ask about new publishers.

  8. #8
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    HollandH:
    I am sorry you are unimpressed, but if you had contacted us directly we would have responded to all queries.
    Tom, I know you're new but you need to take your time and get to know AW more. The purpose of this Forum is for people to share information, potential issues and things to ask publishers and agents. It's all done out in the open so other people can see the information and opinions and come to their own informed decision on whether to submit. If people want to ask you questions privately, then that's up to them but I hope that you do stick around to answer questions here in public because people find it very helpful.

    MM

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    I am not a fan of royalties paid off net proceeds...
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    _ _ _ the name of the press, alone, gives me chills. I never know how to spell "grey;" Does it have an "a" in it or an "e," or can you spell it both ways? I've never been sure; Recently I've been inclining toward the later: both ways, but am still unsure; If I wrote a query to them I'd probably wind up spelling it wrong and be rejected on account of the first word in the heading knowing my luck:


  11. #11
    On a small world west of wonder LindaJeanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken View Post
    _ _ _ the name of the press, alone, gives me chills. I never know how to spell "grey;" Does it have an "a" in it or an "e," or can you spell it both ways? I've never been sure; Recently I've been inclining toward the later: both ways, but am still unsure; If I wrote a query to them I'd probably wind up spelling it wrong and be rejected on account of the first word in the heading knowing my luck:

    Completely off-topic. But -- I have a synthenasic (sp?) association between colors and letters. "a" is red, and "e" is blue. Therefore, to me, "grey" is a cool grey, and "gray" is a warm gray.

    Back on topic:
    Quote Originally Posted by thothguard51 View Post
    I am not a fan of royalties paid off net proceeds...
    This is a red flag to me, also.
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    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HollandH View Post
    I have extensive experience of editing, primarily academic and reports for official and Government bodies.
    Academic editing skills and experience have absolutely nothing to do, at all, with fiction editing.

    They are not equivalent.

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    _ _ _ another spelling error at 12 o'clock high, on their Submissions Page:

    "4. Ensure that your work has been checked for typos, grammar and punctuations mistakes, and then save your work with the date of submission, followed by the title and your name*. We suggest you use a clean, clear font such as Times New Roman or Ariel 12pt and a minimum of 1.5 spaced."

    (Rather ironic.)

    ---------------------

    ps That's interesting, Linda.

  14. #14
    Professional Heretic horrorshowjack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post
    Hmm.



    I don't know of any good trade publisher which feels the need to insist that it's not a vanity press. That's always a red flag in my eyes. As for the publisher earning royalties on sales--what?
    I can't remember reading a small press's site, out of several hundred over the last decade, that didn't explain why they weren't a vanity press. You claiming that it's a red flag is actually more of a red flag.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken View Post
    _ _ _ the name of the press, alone, gives me chills. I never know how to spell "grey;" Does it have an "a" in it or an "e," or can you spell it both ways? I've never been sure; Recently I've been inclining toward the later: both ways, but am still unsure; If I wrote a query to them I'd probably wind up spelling it wrong and be rejected on account of the first word in the heading knowing my luck:

    Depends on which version of English is in use. Easiest way to remember:

    A is for American; E is for European.

    Might even be E is for Everyone Else, but I'm not 100% certain about that.

  15. #15
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by horrorshowjack View Post
    I can't remember reading a small press's site, out of several hundred over the last decade, that didn't explain why they weren't a vanity press. You claiming that it's a red flag is actually more of a red flag.
    Really? You might want to parse what Old Hack wrote:

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post
    I don't know of any good trade publisher which feels the need to insist that it's not a vanity press. That's always a red flag in my eyes.
    Emphasis mine.

    Notice, by the way, how often companies like Tate, or PublishAmerica, insist that they're not a vanity press. Go ahead and Google.

    Do you see Abbeville Press, or Chronicle Books or W. W. Norton or Down East Books or Firebrand books or any number of other trade independent publishers' descriptions that need to assert that they're not a vanity press?

    Publishers only assert that when there's something odd about their business practices—like charging for editing.

    It's a bit like a publisher asserting:

    Quote Originally Posted by Holland House Publishers
    In addition to marketing, professional production values and publication on all the main e-book platforms and in print, we give in-depth editing and proofreading for all books.
    That's what all trade publishers do. That's like bragging that your dog can bark.
    Last edited by Medievalist; 10-13-2012 at 02:35 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by horrorshowjack View Post
    Depends on which version of English is in use. Easiest way to remember:

    A is for American; E is for European.

    Might even be E is for Everyone Else, but I'm not 100% certain about that.
    _ _ _ you're right. Just did a google search. My bad :-(

    I like that mnemonic device.

  17. #17
    Professional Heretic horrorshowjack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medievalist View Post
    Really? You might want to parse what Old Hack wrote:



    Emphasis mine.

    Notice, by the way, how often companies like Tate, or PublishAmerica, insist that they're not a vanity press. Go ahead and Google.

    Do you see Abbeville Press, or Chronicle Books or W. W. Norton or Down East Books or Firebrand books or any number of other trade independent publishers descriptions that need to assert that they're not a vanity press?

    Publishers only assert that when there's something about their business practices—like charging for editing.

    It's a bit like a publisher asserting:



    That's what all trade publishers do. That's like bragging that your dog can bark.
    We're apparently talking at cross purposes due to how useless the term "trade publishing" has become.

    If by trade publishing you mean what is referred to elsewhere--with a clarity forbidden here--as traditional publishing, then you'd have a point. Tate & PA like to pretend they belong, and so claim they aren't a vanity press. Harlequin and Penguin claiming their self-publishing arms aren't vanities. Still with you. However, using this definition Grey Cells doesn't even qualify as a trade publisher, so Old Hack is condescendingly comparing chainsaws to snowmobiles.

    Based on the Self-Pub guidelines, Old Hack appears to include EPOD/E-Only under the trade publishing umbrella. If we're using this definition, then her statement runs into the even bigger problem of being wrong. Samhain, Carina, and Wild Child all have statements about not being a vanity press. It's common, as is a description of what the company brings to the table, among companies developed around these distribution models.

    IIRC that is Writer Beware's fault. They wrote a post back when POD started becoming a viable tech about what to ask so you didn't get scammed. Can you guess what the legitimate POD publishers did with these now frequently asked questions? It stuck.

    Since the latter is the dominant model for my genre, it's what I was referring when I made my statement about small press guidelines. I apologize for not using the more precise EPOD instead.

    However in this context, I would still consider Old Hack's statement a bigger red flag than the "not a vanity press" phrase showing up.

  18. #18
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by horrorshowjack View Post
    I can't remember reading a small press's site, out of several hundred over the last decade, that didn't explain why they weren't a vanity press.
    Then you and I have been looking at very different small presses.

    You claiming that it's a red flag is actually more of a red flag.
    A red flag usually warns against something. What do you think the red flag you think you see in my comment is warning against?

    Quote Originally Posted by horrorshowjack View Post
    We're apparently talking at cross purposes due to how useless the term "trade publishing" has become.
    In the publishing business most people won't know what you mean if you use the term "traditional publishing". They do understand "trade publishing", however, and use it to refer to what they do.

    If by trade publishing you mean what is referred to elsewhere--with a clarity forbidden here--as traditional publishing, then you'd have a point.
    "Traditional publishing" only has clarity among those who use it and understand it. In trade publishing circles it's pretty much unknown. In trade publishing, I've only heard it used by the people who are active online, and they are the minority.

    Tate & PA like to pretend they belong, and so claim they aren't a vanity press. Harlequin and Penguin claiming their self-publishing arms aren't vanities. Still with you.
    I have big problems with Penguin's association with AuthorSolutions. And I made my feelings about Harlequin's pay-to-play imprint clear when it was launched. I don't think these moves are good for publishing, readers, or writers. But that's going off-topic so I'll not rant about it here.

    However, using this definition Grey Cells doesn't even qualify as a trade publisher, so Old Hack is condescendingly comparing chainsaws to snowmobiles.
    I was almost agreeing with you until I got to your use of "condescendingly". Right there you stop arguing my point and descend to attacking me. And you go even further off-topic.

    Based on the Self-Pub guidelines, Old Hack appears to include EPOD/E-Only under the trade publishing umbrella. If we're using this definition, then her statement runs into the even bigger problem of being wrong. Samhain, Carina, and Wild Child all have statements about not being a vanity press. It's common, as is a description of what the company brings to the table, among companies developed around these distribution models.
    I thought we were meant to be discussing Holland House/Grey Cells, not the guidelines I've posted in the Self Publishing room.

    IIRC that is Writer Beware's fault. They wrote a post back when POD started becoming a viable tech about what to ask so you didn't get scammed. Can you guess what the legitimate POD publishers did with these now frequently asked questions? It stuck.
    Thank goodness for that. I am not to blame! It's all the fault of that naughty Writer Beware! Hurrah! I am off the hook! Still, I'm not entirely sure what this has to do with HH/GC, or how it's on topic.

    Since the latter is the dominant model for my genre, it's what I was referring when I made my statement about small press guidelines. I apologize for not using the more precise EPOD instead.

    However in this context, I would still consider Old Hack's statement a bigger red flag than the "not a vanity press" phrase showing up.
    Ah, I understand now. The topic is you. Your genre, your opinions, your objections, your twisted logic and your ad hominem arguments against me. Thanks for clearing that up.

  19. #19
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by horrorshowjack View Post
    IIRC that is Writer Beware's fault. They wrote a post back when POD started becoming a viable tech about what to ask so you didn't get scammed. Can you guess what the legitimate POD publishers did with these now frequently asked questions? It stuck.
    Yes. It is so. We have also destroyed independent literary agencies and hounded small presses to the grave. In our secret bunker in the Himalayas there is a doomsday machine that broadcasts mind-manipulating magnetic waves that reinforce the stigma of self-publishing. On alternate Tuesdays, we beam a subliminal message directly into the offices of Big 6 executives and editors that encourages them to become even more elitist and exclusionary. I can tell you that we're the reason ebooks haven't yet vanquished print--but if I revealed the dastardly mechanism by which we have slowed their meteoric growth, I'd have to kill you.

    Now you know.

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    The idea that editing experience qualifies one to operate a publishing house is a lot like the idea that bank-telling experience qualifies one to start a bank.

    Being good at a single job within an industry is not enough experience to operate a whole business within that industry.
    Last edited by Terie; 10-12-2012 at 02:56 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by horrorshowjack View Post
    We're apparently talking at cross purposes due to how useless the term "trade publishing" has become.

    If by trade publishing you mean what is referred to elsewhere--with a clarity forbidden here--as traditional publishing, then you'd have a point.

    Can you explain to me why it's such a problem to be asked to use a specific, standard term in discussions? It's not a value judgment. It's simply for ease of discussion, so everyone is on the same page and knows exactly what everyone else is talking about. It promotes clarity, not destroys it. Why is this a problem?

    You can refer to your agent as your "representative" in discussions here, but you'll be asked repeatedly what exactly you mean, and it will waste time and cause confusion. Same with terms like "traditional publishing." Isn't it better and easier to have everyone clear on what's being discussed, right up front?

    I just don't understand why this is a problem, any more than referring to your couch as a couch and not a "long chair" would be when at the furniture store.
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    [blatant fangirl squee]

    Old Hack and victoriastrauss are goddesses.

    That is all.

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    Formerly Phantom of Krankor. Torgo's Avatar
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    If I may just butt in here on 'trade' vs 'traditional'...

    I think 'traditional', as a publishing term, refers more to the way the publisher treats authors. It pays advances and royalties, say. You'll note that PublishAmerica like to refer to themselves as a 'traditional publisher'; it doesn't really imply much beyond 'not being a vanity press', to me.

    I think a 'trade publisher' publishes into, and is part of, the actual book trade. Book shops, Amazon, etc. It's describing the ecosystem the publisher inhabits.

    'Traditional' is not a term used in the book trade, except in so far as you might use it casually to distinguish your business from something very different (like, say, Unbound.) But if you say 'trade publisher', everyone knows what you mean.

  24. #24
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Despite its origins, I now do use the term "traditional publisher." When it was first coined, in the first years of this century, there was no such thing: there was publishing, and there was everything else (basically, various forms of vanity publishing, with none of them being a viable path to the marketplace), and the everything else really wasn't publishing at all.

    But time and technology have given meaning to the term. With all the technology-driven options for authors that now exist, there really is a meaningful distinction between traditional publishing, which is curated and involves a specific group of services and activities, and the avenues for authors to get their work into the marketplace on their own.

    The one that cheeses me off these days is "legacy publishing," an inaccurate and pejorative term invented by self-publishing evangelists in their ongoing attempt to discredit traditional publishing.

    - Victoria

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    Quote Originally Posted by horrorshowjack View Post
    If by trade publishing you mean what is referred to elsewhere--with a clarity forbidden here--as traditional publishing, then you'd have a point.
    This is not an argument to make to someone who has professional expertise in current publishing, the history of publishing and codicology, and lexicography.

    Traditional publishing is meaningless. Whose traditions? The traditions of Western Europe? Of Korea?

    Pace to Victoria, but "traditional publishing" as you would have it used is stupid terminology and I won't use it.

    Quote Originally Posted by horrorshowjack View Post
    However, using this definition Grey Cells doesn't even qualify as a trade publisher, so Old Hack is condescendingly comparing chainsaws to snowmobiles.
    Which definition? You haven't provided one. Nor are you pointing to one.

    A trade publisher publishes general books for the consumer, and sells primarily to businesses in the book trade: wholesalers, retailers, distributors and libraries.

    That's a fairly standard definition, with over two hundred years of common use.

    It makes a distinction between various other kinds of publishers—for instance, academic publishers, or scholarly publishers.

    Quote Originally Posted by horrorshowjack View Post
    Based on the Self-Pub guidelines, Old Hack appears to include EPOD/E-Only under the trade publishing umbrella. If we're using this definition, then her statement runs into the even bigger problem of being wrong.
    You're still not parsing well. Go read her sticky again. She does nothing of the kind.

    POD is a business model and is sometimes used to refer to the laser printing technology used to produce printed books in very limited quantities "on demand." Note that use of POD doesn't really tell much about the publisher at all, though the quality of the books themselves will. All manner of people, companies, and publishers use POD. It too is traditional, since it's roughly twenty years old.

    epub or ePUB (Adobe's term for their variant) is a file format used in ebook production. It is sometimes confusingly used to refer to all ebooks. An ebook is a container, just as a hardcover or a softcover/paperback book are containers. All manner of publishers and authors and other entities can and do produce ebooks. Ebooks are themselves accreting a tradition, since consumer ebooks (ebooks produced and sold to consumers rather than intended for corporate or internal use) are better than twenty years old.

    Quote Originally Posted by horrorshowjack View Post
    However in this context, I would still consider Old Hack's statement a bigger red flag than the "not a vanity press" phrase showing up.
    I'm beginning to consider your bizarre obsession with Old Hack and
    attempts to control the conversation a red flag.

    Consider this an official warning: stop derailing.

    This thread is about Holland House/Gray Cells. It's not about what you think words should mean, or your opinion of Old Hack. You're welcome to file a formal complaint by PMing MacAllister, should you wish to do that.

    Now then back to Holland; were I seeking a publisher, I would be wary of one with such limited experience and an absence of demonstrable expertise. Publishing requires a number of very narrowly defined skills. I would be particularly worried about the assumption that academic editing qualifies one for anything other than academic editing.

    Nonetheless, I think the world needs more good publishers publishing great books; I hope they succeed. I urge them to step back and contemplate where they are, what they lack, and where they want to be in two years' time. It's easier to fail now as a publisher than it has ever been.
    Last edited by AW Admin; 08-12-2016 at 01:31 AM.

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