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Thread: Deer Hawk Publications

  1. #1

    Deer Hawk Publications

    Someone I know said he was told he would be getting a contract for a novel. The requirements for submission were a query and the first chapter. They apparently did not request the full manuscript but are basing their decision on the partial. Doesn't sound logical. Anyone have any experience with this publisher or others signing an author based on a partial?

  2. #2
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Girl Detective Stacia Kane's Avatar
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    While I see a few potential issues with this publisher, I don't see anything that indicates they are signing people based on partials, only that they ask for a query + ten pages as an initial submission. That doesn't mean they don't then reject the query+ or request a full before making a decision.

    Did they inform your friend that they would contract based only on a partial, or is it possible there was a misunderstanding?
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  4. #4
    My friend said he recieved an email that he was on the team of writers and would be sent a contract. Has not been asked for anything beyond the first chapter.

  5. #5
    Girl Detective Stacia Kane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthursaurus View Post
    My friend said he recieved an email that he was on the team of writers and would be sent a contract. Has not been asked for anything beyond the first chapter.

    Ah, well then. (Also, the "team of writers?")

    That's not standard at all. It's a very...curious business practice, and suggests to me that this is a publisher to be avoided (in addition to the other red flags on their website).
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  6. #6
    If it doesn't sound logical, that's because it's not. Accepting a manuscript based on a single chapter is indicative of a publisher who will publish anything.

    Note that their website is not a 'real' website -- it's free-to-create wordpress blog -- and they have no real information about the people behind the scenes.

    I'd suggest your friend look around and shoot for the top, going for the best agents and publishers.

  7. #7
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    They are less than a year old, their website is awkwardly written and they don't spell the name of their publisher consistently from place to place.

    My best guess would be that there is an overlap between the owners of the press and the writers of the two book already listed.
    Emily Veinglory

  8. #8
    Brian Boru brianm's Avatar
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    The owner and one of DHP's authors is Aurelia Sands Wilson . Whois indicates the website was created in 2006. It appears she has no previous publishing experience.

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    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Ah, they have been around longer than I thought based on the books on their website, but earlier books are listed as Deer Hawk (two words) Enterprises (not publishing). First released book by one Aurelia Sands. Most poplar book on Amazon at #968,692.
    Emily Veinglory

  10. #10
    I appreciate the coments made. I was considering also submitting my novel to them when my friend was so excited about it, but points made here are appropriate. Just doesn't make sense for comitment based on a small portion of the work.

  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW
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    Tell your friend to run away. A contract without seeing the full manuscript? I don't care how awesome their developmental editors are, they're going to end up publishing A LOT of crap. And that's not something you or your friend want to be associated with.

  12. #12
    Thanks Lindsay. I will try to convince him to not consider this publisher, and certainly will not bother submitting anything to them.

  13. #13
    A Gentleman of a refined age... thothguard51's Avatar
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    Would love to see what the contract clauses are, such as if they pay royalties based on net proceeds but are allowed to deduct for editing, covers, marketing, distributor fees, etc. What rights they want, how books are distributed, and a whole list of other things...
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    I can't remember why (or even doing so in the first place) but I submitted something to them a little over two months ago. Looking at their website now, I'm having trouble believing I would do such a thing unless I was very drunk or half asleep, both being rather frightening prospects.

    Either way, I sent them the first ten pages of my manuscript. They got back to me today and said they were looking over my manuscript carefully (What? You don't have my 600 page manuscript. You have a snippet.) and they wanted to know what sort of changes I would be willing to make in order to make this work. They even used the words "Before we make our final decision," as if this were something they had been going over for a while now. All based off ten pages.

    I can't help but notice that on their official site they don't have a book area. Only a new release tab. What kind of publishing house doesn't have a set place where they display their book collection for everyone to see? Everything about them is bothersome, but I'm going to stick around to see what they have to say before breaking it off.

  15. #15
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Hello, my name is Aurelia, I am the owner of Deer Hawk Publications, and I would be happy to answer any questions you may have. I will address the ones that have already been asked though: First, there is a lot that a person can tell by the first chapter of the book, and I have known large companies that accept authors by the initial ten pages. A number of years ago, it was recommended to ONLY send the first ten pages for submission. Second, Deer Hawk has been in business since 2006. As many people do, there have been many changes made along the way, the website has been one. We are still working on the website, will probably never stop. It is not a "team of writers", we have a team of editors, and the author, once signed, will have an editor assigned to him or her. No, we are not a fly by night company, and no, we do not just accept any manuscript. We do pay higher percentages than most companies do but you do not get an advance. The contract is pretty standard. We are a small company, and we do take our time with our authors, so we do not have a large number of authors, but we do quality work. No, editing fees, covers and marketing costs are not deducted from your royalties. The books that have been published by Deer Hawk are as follows: Georgia Witness and Shadow Child, by Stephen Doster; Hanahatchee, by Trisha O'Keefe; Sea Dreams and The Weeping Crystal, by Aruda Wilson; Heart of Dixie and Petweenus, by Ronald Polizzi, and Winter, by C. B. Cole. We have multiple books coming out in the next few years, I am sorry you feel as if we were a waste of your time, Dalton, I do wish you luck in your future ventures.

  16. #16
    Proud Literary Sadist justbishop's Avatar
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    May I ask why you don't have a proper, professional website?
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  17. #17
    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. kaitie's Avatar
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    I'm fairly certain that, as with agents, sending in sample pages is a prelude to sending in a complete manuscript, upon which the offer would be made. How can you know the book is a great book if you haven't read it all? Often first chapters are better than the rest as authors tend to polish the sample pages most. The book might have a complete lack of a plot. It might turn out halfway through that the plot goes in a completely off-the-wall direction and is completely unworkable. There's no way of knowing this without reading the whole thing. You might be able to tell that an author can write well in one chapter, but you certainly can't tell in that amount of time if they can write a story, can you?

    I could be wrong about this, but I honestly am not quite sure I see how you could be confident that a book will sell well without having read the whole thing to make sure there aren't major flaws that need to be addressed. Wouldn't it at least be best to err on the side of caution and read the whole thing before offering?


  18. #18
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Yes, justbishop, I originally had a different website, it wasn't pulling any interest. While everything was spelled correctly (and I am actively working on getting that taken care of), and I own the domain name deerhawkpublications.com, I had someone build it for me. If you type in www.deerhawkpublications, it does go to the wordpress website. I am also a full time worker, full time mother, and an author. I do not have the resources, i.e. time, to put it together myself and run it. I was trusting someone else to do it for me. I do appreciate that it doesn't look as professional as it should and I am to blame for that. It is something that has come up at the weekly meetings we have had and I will be getting that corrected in the future.

  19. #19
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Kaitie: There is a lot you can tell about a book from the first 10 pages. You can tell if the book has been professionally edited, if the grammar and diction will be an issue, you can tell the flow of the book. It's just like most people who go to a book store and pick up a book: They will read the back cover, for a publisher, that is the synopsis you receive, then they will flip to the first few pages and read. The synopsis will tell me more about the writer, and about the book. If I like the premise and the book pulls me in within the first 10 pages, even if there are some grammar issues, I know it is worth the work. However, I do ask my authors how willing they are to work on their novel, because if I'm willing to put in over a hundred (wo)man hours into a book, and yes, books take that and more, I want someone who will give as good as they are going to get.

  20. #20
    practical experience, FTW eternalised's Avatar
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    You can install WordPress and purchase one of the Premium WordPress Themes, install it, and you'll have a much more professional website on your domain name. It would take about half an hour, and you would have a professional website. You can even install a free WP ecommerce plugin to sell books from your website. We're looking at a total cost of about $60 (for a premium theme, which looks more professional than a regular theme, like the one you have now).

    That's just some advice by the way, but if you're an epublisher your website is the most important thing about your entire business.
    Visit my website.



  21. #21
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeerHawkPub View Post
    Hello, my name is Aurelia, I am the owner of Deer Hawk Publications, and I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
    Welcome to AW, Aurelia. It's good that you stepped in to answer our questions: thank you for that.

    I will address the ones that have already been asked though: First, there is a lot that a person can tell by the first chapter of the book, and I have known large companies that accept authors by the initial ten pages. A number of years ago, it was recommended to ONLY send the first ten pages for submission.
    I agree that one can tell a lot from the first ten pages or so. For example, I can tell if a writer is basically competent, and if they can write readable prose, or if I'm going to reject them outright. What I can't tell, however, is how good they are at constructing a believable plot, or at developing their characters in a good way. For that I'd need the full manuscript.

    I've edited for a few of the Big Six and have worked in publishing for nearly thirty years now, and it is incredibly rare for any of them to accept books from unknowns based on a partial. Established writers might well get signed like this: but new writers? Nope. Hardly ever. And the ones who do end up with contracts based on partials almost always have some sort of success in other areas of writing, such as journalism or scriptwriting.

    No, editing fees, covers and marketing costs are not deducted from your royalties.
    That's good to know. Do you ask your writers to make any contributions to the cost of publishing their books? If so, what do you charge for, and how much do you charge?

    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post
    I'm fairly certain that, as with agents, sending in sample pages is a prelude to sending in a complete manuscript, upon which the offer would be made. How can you know the book is a great book if you haven't read it all? Often first chapters are better than the rest as authors tend to polish the sample pages most. The book might have a complete lack of a plot. It might turn out halfway through that the plot goes in a completely off-the-wall direction and is completely unworkable. There's no way of knowing this without reading the whole thing. You might be able to tell that an author can write well in one chapter, but you certainly can't tell in that amount of time if they can write a story, can you?

    I could be wrong about this, but I honestly am not quite sure I see how you could be confident that a book will sell well without having read the whole thing to make sure there aren't major flaws that need to be addressed. Wouldn't it at least be best to err on the side of caution and read the whole thing before offering?
    QFT.

    Quote Originally Posted by DeerHawkPub View Post
    Yes, justbishop, I originally had a different website, it wasn't pulling any interest. While everything was spelled correctly (and I am actively working on getting that taken care of), and I own the domain name deerhawkpublications.com, I had someone build it for me. If you type in www.deerhawkpublications, it does go to the wordpress website. I am also a full time worker, full time mother, and an author. I do not have the resources, i.e. time, to put it together myself and run it. I was trusting someone else to do it for me. I do appreciate that it doesn't look as professional as it should and I am to blame for that. It is something that has come up at the weekly meetings we have had and I will be getting that corrected in the future.
    I understand how difficult it can be running a family and writing too, because that's what I do now. Running a publishing company too? Wowsers. That's a lot to take on. And it sounds as though you don't have colleagues you can rely on ("I was trusting someone else to do it for me"). So what happens to your publishling schedule when you're ill, or if you have a personal crisis? Does it all grind to a halt, or does it get done in the same slipshod way your website has been dealt with?

    If you don't have the resources to manage your website appropriately then I don't see how you have the resources to pubilsh other people's books. You can put together a reasonable website in a few days: it takes weeks, if not months, of hard work to bring a book to market if you're going to do it well.

  22. #22
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeerHawkPub View Post
    Kaitie: There is a lot you can tell about a book from the first 10 pages. You can tell if the book has been professionally edited,
    Getting a book professionally edited is the publisher's job, not the author's.

    And you can't tell if a book has been well-edited from the first ten pages: that can only give you an idea of how well a book has been copy edited. It won't show you how well the author constructs a plot, or how well an author deals with the more difficult aspects of that plot.

    if the grammar and diction will be an issue, you can tell the flow of the book. It's just like most people who go to a book store and pick up a book: They will read the back cover, for a publisher, that is the synopsis you receive, then they will flip to the first few pages and read.
    The jacket copy is far more akin to a query than a synopsis. Synopses are not sales copy.

    The synopsis will tell me more about the writer, and about the book.
    Synopses aren't meant to reveal stuff about their writers: they're meant to recount a book's plot.

    If I like the premise and the book pulls me in within the first 10 pages, even if there are some grammar issues, I know it is worth the work. However, I do ask my authors how willing they are to work on their novel, because if I'm willing to put in over a hundred (wo)man hours into a book, and yes, books take that and more, I want someone who will give as good as they are going to get.
    Correcting the grammar in a book is a tiny part of what editing does.

    I do not see how you can sort out the very best books from the rest simply by reading their first few pages. I spent years filtering a large slush pile, and know from long experience that many books which show promise in those first few pages eventually fail to deliver, and all the editing in the world isn't going to make them good enough to publish. Especially if your editing focuses on grammar issues.

    Moreover, I'm concerned by the number of basic errors you've made in your posts here. I'm sorry to be blunt, and don't mean to be rude or disrespectful: but with all due respect, I don't have much faith in your ability to edit others if you can't write error-free prose yourself.

  23. #23
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Eternalised: Thank you for the information, I truely appreciate it.
    Old Hack: I do not ask my authors to make contributions other than the work they put into the books or the work we request they do on the books. I have had an interesting time of finding a good team, I am slowly building them up. Website design is on my list. No, my publishing schedule does not come to a grinding halt. Even when I have been the most ill, have not slept for days or what have you, the publishing part has always been my focus. If you look at the books that have come out, you will find that they are professionally edited and put together. I pay my authors and editors on time, and I do what needs to be done. I will be getting someone to take care of the website, as I do know my limits and I understand I am not the best at website design, which is why the first website I had is no longer around. I appreciate the feedback, and will work in the future to ensure that those issues are taken care of.

  24. #24
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeerHawkPub View Post
    Old Hack: I do not ask my authors to make contributions other than the work they put into the books or the work we request they do on the books. I have had an interesting time of finding a good team, I am slowly building them up. Website design is on my list.
    I'm very glad to hear that. Thank you for the clarification.

    No, my publishing schedule does not come to a grinding halt. Even when I have been the most ill, have not slept for days or what have you, the publishing part has always been my focus.
    I wasn't clear in my question: when you are unable to work, what happens? Who takes over? How can you be certain things won't stop at Deer Hawk if you're (god forbid) in an accident?

    If you look at the books that have come out, you will find that they are professionally edited and put together.
    I'm afraid they're not.

    I've just gone to Amazon and clicked on the "look inside" feature of some of your books and have found major formatting mistakes, typesetting errors, and some very poor editing. Comma-splices abound. The writing is clunky. It's poorly-constructed and consequently confusing (and yes, this is something that a good editor would have either not commissioned in the first place or would have corrected during editing).

    Your blurbs are poorly written and cliche-ridden.

    Your covers are amateurish.

    I will be getting someone to take care of the website, as I do know my limits and I understand I am not the best at website design, which is why the first website I had is no longer around.
    You need to deal with your website quickly. It's a very poor advertisement for your company.

    I'm concerned by the advice you're giving to writers there. For example, on your website there's a sidebar titled "We Recommend", and included in that list is the Sullivan Maxx literary agency. Here is a discussion of that agency in AW's BR&BC board, and here is a thread in AW's Ask The Agent which also discusses the rather questionable behaviour of a Sullivan Maxx agent. Our member reported that the agent in question

    admitted she isn't in it for the long haul because she wants to instead concentrate on being an author
    I wouldn't recommend Sullivan Maxx when there are so many better agencies available, and I wonder why you're doing that.

  25. #25
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post
    I wouldn't recommend Sullivan Maxx when there are so many better agencies available, and I wonder why you're doing that.
    Four of Deer Hawk's eleven authors - Emilio Iasiello, Les Pendleton, Stephen Doster and Trisha O'Keefe - are represented by Sullivan Maxx.
    Last edited by aliceshortcake; 01-20-2013 at 03:29 PM.

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