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Thread: Indie Artist Press

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Indie Artist Press

    I think I may have answered my own question... but here goes. "Hybrid" was Mac's suggestion, but he thought I could put it here for you fine folks.

    First, a bit about me. I am trade published, with two small presses not of the big 6 or 8. So I could also be called independently published. That's me a few years back.

    I didn't like it. I look back now and I see that my advance was a loan. My promo was non-existent (hey! Where's my book tour? Yeah, right.) And I did, in the long run, actually pay for my editing, cover art, etc. because ever since then, every copy of my book sold here and in German language abroad, has resulted in exactly 6% of the net coming to me. That means that 94% is going to the publisher, to pay them back for all the cash they put up front. The problem I have with this, in the long run, is that even after they've been paid back for their investment, they keep taking 94%. As they should, mind you. They are in business to make money.

    Which brings me to my question. What would you call:

    A publishing venue that is not a vanity press, because they (full disclosure: I mean me, this is my new publishing venue) does not "accept" every manuscript. There is an acquisitions process and the book has to make the cut.

    It is not a trade publisher, because we don't pay advances, and we don't foot the bill for anything.

    On the vanity side: Yes, we charge for editing and art, etc. but we do NOT require that the author use us for this process. If we get a book in and it needs work, we tell the author, "It needs work, but we're interested." They can hire their own editor, or they can hire us. We don't care in the long run. So long as the final product is good enough to put our name on.

    If they choose someone else, then want to publish with us, they would pay for their ISBN and barcode (if they needed one) at a big savings (since we bought in bulk, we can pass the savings on to other self-publishing authors) and everyone is happy. In fact, we hold a contest to give away ISBNs every month and the author still doesn't have to use our for-fee services.)

    The point is, the debate about self-publishing vs. "indie" publishing is a very real one. Talented authors self-publish all the time, and they end up being lumped in with just about anyone who can afford to have their book printed, which is lots considering POD and the very reasonable costs of self-publishing without the interference of a vanity press.

    So how can the really good authors, the ones who are not only talented, but who realize talent is not a substitute for a fantastic editor, separate themselves from the pack?

    I think these authors, myself included, need to seriously create a new sect of the industry.. .the true "indie" author that publishes in a way that they keep 100% control over their projects, but also shows readers and the trades that they didn't just regurgitate a thesaurus into a word processor and hit the print or upload button.

    What if there really was a difference between self-published and "Indie"? Again, the term Hybrid came up, along with Co-op. I like both of them, although co-op suggests a community ownership, and for right now its just me and my biz partner. So maybe Hybrid is better?

    Anywho, I thought this discussion might be a good one, and a little different than the normal bru-haha.
    Hugs,
    Tilly

    Marjorie "Tilly" Jones
    http://www.indieartistpress.com
    Writing as Marjorie Jones, Starla Childs, Raleigh Kincaid

  2. #2
    Mushroom Polenth's Avatar
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    I've seen presses try this before, but I've yet to see one I'd recommend to anyone. It's the worst of both worlds, as authors have to sort out buying all the things they need, but they have to give control of the final manuscript to you. If you go under, you take the book with you.

    Unless you're offering offset printing and full bookstore distribution, you're not offering anything a self-publisher can't organise themselves.
    * Polenth *

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  3. #3
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tilly13 View Post
    I think I may have answered my own question... but here goes. "Hybrid" was Mac's suggestion, but he thought I could put it here for you fine folks.

    First, a bit about me. I am trade published, with two small presses not of the big 6 or 8. So I could also be called independently published. That's me a few years back.

    I didn't like it. I look back now and I see that my advance was a loan.
    Really? Your advance was a loan? What was the repayment schedule?

    My promo was non-existent (hey! Where's my book tour? Yeah, right.)
    Book tours are not a cost-effective way to promote most books. Most of the marketing work that publishers do is invisible to readers and writers, but they do still work on selling their books: it would be foolish of them not to.

    And I did, in the long run, actually pay for my editing, cover art, etc. because ever since then, every copy of my book sold here and in German language abroad, has resulted in exactly 6% of the net coming to me.
    How does the publisher paying for the full production of your book, paying you an advance, and paying you a royalty on all sales made, equate to you paying for your own editing and so on? Unless you handed over some money for this then no, you didn't pay for it.

    That means that 94% is going to the publisher, to pay them back for all the cash they put up front. The problem I have with this, in the long run, is that even after they've been paid back for their investment, they keep taking 94%. As they should, mind you. They are in business to make money.
    If you have a problem with your publisher continuing to earn money after they've earned back their initial investment look at it in other ways: for example, would you have been happy to earn nothing until they'd earned their money back?

    Which brings me to my question. What would you call:

    A publishing venue that is not a vanity press, because they (full disclosure: I mean me, this is my new publishing venue) does not "accept" every manuscript. There is an acquisitions process and the book has to make the cut.
    Lots of vanity publishers don't accept every submission. For example, PublishAmerica has quotas, and rejects manuscripts which include certain names and phrases. Being selective about what you publish doesn't make you not-a-vanity-press; earning money mostly from the authors you publish does make you a vanity press.

    It is not a trade publisher, because we don't pay advances, and we don't foot the bill for anything.
    There are plenty of trade publishers which don't pay advances. There are no good trade publishers that I know of which don't fund their own publishing ventures.

    On the vanity side: Yes, we charge for editing and art, etc. but we do NOT require that the author use us for this process. If we get a book in and it needs work, we tell the author, "It needs work, but we're interested." They can hire their own editor, or they can hire us. We don't care in the long run. So long as the final product is good enough to put our name on.

    If they choose someone else, then want to publish with us, they would pay for their ISBN and barcode (if they needed one) at a big savings (since we bought in bulk, we can pass the savings on to other self-publishing authors) and everyone is happy. In fact, we hold a contest to give away ISBNs every month and the author still doesn't have to use our for-fee services.)
    If you're not paying for anything and don't provide editing, ISBNs or even barcodes, then what are you planning on doing for the authors you publish?

    The point is, the debate about self-publishing vs. "indie" publishing is a very real one.
    No, it isn't. It really isn't.

    If you self publish, you publish your own work.

    If you're an independent publisher then you're a publisher which is independent of the Bix Six, as was--now the Big Five, since the birth of Random Penguin.

    If you self publish but call yourself an "indie publisher" then all you're doing is attempting to hijack a term you don't understand, and causing confusion. We've talked about this a lot here and have reached useful, working conclusions: read the guidelines to our Self Publishing room to see more.

    Talented authors self-publish all the time, and they end up being lumped in with just about anyone who can afford to have their book printed, which is lots considering POD and the very reasonable costs of self-publishing without the interference of a vanity press.
    True.

    So how can the really good authors, the ones who are not only talented, but who realize talent is not a substitute for a fantastic editor, separate themselves from the pack?
    By writing a really good book.

    I think these authors, myself included, need to seriously create a new sect of the industry.. .the true "indie" author that publishes in a way that they keep 100% control over their projects, but also shows readers and the trades that they didn't just regurgitate a thesaurus into a word processor and hit the print or upload button.
    Lots of writers have already tried to do that. Some have been more successful than others. You're not the first to ask these questions.

    What if there really was a difference between self-published and "Indie"? Again, the term Hybrid came up, along with Co-op. I like both of them, although co-op suggests a community ownership, and for right now its just me and my biz partner. So maybe Hybrid is better?

    Anywho, I thought this discussion might be a good one, and a little different than the normal bru-haha.
    I'm sorry, Tilly, but I see so many holes in your knowledge of publishing and in your logic that I have little hope in your new venture.

    Why would writers who want to self publish work with you? Why would writers who want a trade published deal work with you? You're offering the worst of both worlds here, and what you're suggesting isn't anything new. I've seen it done many times before. And I've never seen it succeed.

    I wish you well, I really do. But I am deeply skeptical about this plan, even though I'm sure your intentions are good.

  4. #4
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    I'm confused - how is that not simply self-publishing?

    I know - you buy ISBNs in bulk and supply them to authors. But apart from that technicality - the author is paying for editing and all costs.

    So you are just putting a brand-name/publisher's name on books you like - and then charging authors a percentage for the service?

    What benefit is it to the author? I buy a crapload of books, and I don't really look at the publisher's name on the back cover. So what benefit is it to the author to pay a percentage of their income to have your name there? After all, you don't seem to be offering anything beyond your personal taste in selecting books and an ISBN.

    It seems to be the worst of both worlds.

    And, yes, an advance is exactly that. An advance on your pay means that you get your pay early rather than later. It doesn't mean that you get your pay earlier and later! At least - not until the advance is covered!

    Mac
    (PS: I took a quick look at your site. Something doesn't make sense. You run a contest where "The first place winner in each contest
    will receive exclusive use of an ISBN for the entered work for a period of one year"


    What the heck does that mean? An ISBN uniquely identifies a certain publication. Are you saying that for one year that ISBN will refer to their work, but then you'll change it to another number?

    The prize makes no sense - certainly not the way it is being phrased. It doesn't give much faith in your publishing knowledge, I'm afraid.)

  5. #5
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Note too that if Tilly buys the ISBNs they'll be registered to her or her company. When her authors then buy those ISBNs from her, the ISBNs (and therefore the books associated with them) will still be automatically linked to Tilly's company. It will not be possible to transfer their ownership to the author.

    This is not self publishing. This is not trade publishing.

  6. #6
    Your post is very confusing, but you sound more like what *I'd* call an author services company - somebody who does the legwork involved in self-publishing and who can hook an author up with various things. You pay them a one off fee and you keep all of the royalties. If you pay a fee AND they keep part of the royalties then that's a vanity/hybrid/subsidy publisher.

    Bookbaby and Telemachus Press (used by John Locke) are two companies I can think of offhand who I'd call author services companies.

  7. #7
    The cake is a lie. But still cake. shaldna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tilly13 View Post
    I look back now and I see that my advance was a loan.
    No. Your advance is exactly that - it's an advance of the money you are expected to earn on your book. Once your book has earned more than your advance, then you start getting more payments - these are royalties and are usualyl paid twice a year.

    This is not a loan. It is a payment.


    My promo was non-existent (hey! Where's my book tour? Yeah, right.)
    Most small presses can't afford that sort of big publicity. Hell, even if you are with a Big 6 unless they expect big things from you or you are an established author with a huge following, chances are that you aren't getting a book tour there either.

    I'll agree that a lot of promo with small presses is very small, but that's unfortunately how it is - they are small businesses with small budgets and can't afford to, or are unwilling to, pull out all the stops like that.


    And I did, in the long run, actually pay for my editing, cover art, etc. because ever since then, every copy of my book sold here and in German language abroad, has resulted in exactly 6% of the net coming to me. That means that 94% is going to the publisher, to pay them back for all the cash they put up front.
    It's not 'paying them back' at all. Do you know how much it costs to produce a book? How high discounts are? In addition the publisher needs to earn a profit on it to keep the business running.

    The amount you were given as an advance was never 'paid back' to the publisher. I think you are confusing yourself here.


    The problem I have with this, in the long run, is that even after they've been paid back for their investment, they keep taking 94%. As they should, mind you. They are in business to make money.


    Wrong again. You keep citing this 94% but do you know if that's actually what the publisher is getting? Now, factor in how much it costs to produce a book etc.

    In addition, if you are getting 6% of net then you signed a really shitty contract and are getting royally screwed.

    Publishers are in the business to make money. Authors would be complaining if the publishers weren't trying to make money. Publishing is a business, and in any business there are lots of costs.
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  8. #8
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Thanks everyone, for the insight. It helps much. But please remember that this is not my first rodeo. I have signed both decent and not-so-good contracts before, and for me, personally, self-publishing will be my chosen means from now on. That said, I did read the intro for this thread several times, which is why I hit Mac up first thing. Out of respect for the definitions and terminology here, I will use the term self-publishing for what I do, because, in essence, that is what I do.

    Polenth: You are exactly right. We are not offering anything that an author can’t do form himself. That’s not the point. The point is to have a name linked to the publishing that has a reputation of quality behind it.

    Old Hack: Thanks for the dissection. I appreciate it as it helps to hone what I’m doing. We are very, very new and it will take years to build up the reputation we seek, so I’ll address your points.

    1. Yes, an advance, in essence is a loan. The repayment schedule is based upon a very large percentage of every book sold. Loan, as I use it here, is a broad term, in that if the book never sells a single copy, one doesn’t have to pay it back. But it is an “advance against royalties.” Until one earns out one’s advance, the cashflow stops.

    2. As an unpublished author, like many, I had big, naďve dreams. I pictured the mile-long lines at my big New York City book signing to launch my first book, yada yada. Of course, anyone who has been even partially around the block knows that this generally doesn’t happen. Authors who self-publish do this for themselves, anyway.

    3. On the issue of paying for services, you’re right. I did not fork over a wad of cash. But I sold the rights to my books and not choosing to SP ultimately cost me the lion shares of book sale net profits. I’m not saying that trade publishing isn’t a good deal. It works really well for lots of people. I am no fond of the concept, personally, and I know others who also are not fond of it.

    4. I don’t necessarily have a problem with the publishing continuing to make money, hence my quote about how they are in business to make money. And no, I appreciated my advance very much at the time. I’m saying that I would prefer to handle the costs myself and earn 100% of the profits in return.

    5. PublishAmerica “accepted” Atlanta Nights. ‘Nuff said.

    6. You’re right again. We aren’t a commercial or trade publisher, but we are using part of that model – reading every submission and only offering to help out those who make the cut.

    7. Concerning not providing anything, we do provide something. You mentioned that we don’t provide “ISBNs or even barcodes,” but we do provide them; for a fee that is less than one would pay – even if one purchased 10 at a time. Certainly far less than buying just one number from Bowker.

    8. The debate between self-publishing and “indie” is real because “indie” authors are trying to separate themselves from the self-publishing slush pile. On this forum, independent refers to a commercial publisher independent of the big boys. This is why I even brought up the subject. What we’d like to do is change that (not here, I’m trying to say anyone’s terminology or glossary is incorrect). We’d like to see a shift that includes something along the lines of, “Oh, they aren’t *just* self-published… they are indie published,” or something along those lines where the inherent difference is recognized. That difference being the process of weeding out book that don’t have the talent or dedication behind them. You point about calling ourselves an “indie publisher” is well put, however, and I can see the difference between what we do and what a small commercial press does, plainly.

    9. Why would authors want to self-publish work with us? I like to think we’re offering the best of both worlds, actually. We do not take rights away from authors. We discriminate for quality and content on the manuscripts that we permit to use our ISBN. We do not touch the author’s earnings. We provide for-fee services IF the author wants them, and in turn they get the ISBN included in those services. If they do not want to pay us, because they have an editor they really like already, etc, we will still consider their work. Authors have 100% control over the final product.
    Last edited by tilly13; 11-06-2012 at 06:51 PM.
    Hugs,
    Tilly

    Marjorie "Tilly" Jones
    http://www.indieartistpress.com
    Writing as Marjorie Jones, Starla Childs, Raleigh Kincaid

  9. #9
    figuring it all out Austin Wimberly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post
    since the birth of Random Penguin.
    I hope that name sticks. It makes me smile.

  10. #10
    figuring it all out Austin Wimberly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tilly13 View Post
    although co-op suggests a community ownership
    I've often wondered about the co-op model. I think that would work, actually. Of course, you'd have to screen for talent before letting someone in, and you'd have to have an exit strategy for voting someone out. But, the co-op model might allow for self-published folks to pool resources for marketing/editing/cover/etc.

    Plicata press does this, I think - link.

    If it got big enough (but not too big) you could use it for negotiating health insurance and so forth. At that point it would be a trade union.

    So that model could work (at least it works for electricians and plumbers), but the key would be keeping a tight rein on who you let into the union. Everyone would have to pull their weight or it wouldn't work.

  11. #11
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mac H. View Post
    I'm confused - how is that not simply self-publishing?

    I know - you buy ISBNs in bulk and supply them to authors. But apart from that technicality - the author is paying for editing and all costs.

    So you are just putting a brand-name/publisher's name on books you like - and then charging authors a percentage for the service?

    What benefit is it to the author? I buy a crapload of books, and I don't really look at the publisher's name on the back cover. So what benefit is it to the author to pay a percentage of their income to have your name there? After all, you don't seem to be offering anything beyond your personal taste in selecting books and an ISBN.

    It seems to be the worst of both worlds.

    And, yes, an advance is exactly that. An advance on your pay means that you get your pay early rather than later. It doesn't mean that you get your pay earlier and later! At least - not until the advance is covered!

    Mac
    (PS: I took a quick look at your site. Something doesn't make sense. You run a contest where "The first place winner in each contest
    will receive exclusive use of an ISBN for the entered work for a period of one year"


    What the heck does that mean? An ISBN uniquely identifies a certain publication. Are you saying that for one year that ISBN will refer to their work, but then you'll change it to another number?

    The prize makes no sense - certainly not the way it is being phrased. It doesn't give much faith in your publishing knowledge, I'm afraid.)
    Hi Mac,

    First and foremost, let me clarify the year thing. The year is how long the author has to finish the manuscript that won the ISBN and publish. The number is theirs for life and forever. What this does is prevent us from assigning an ISBN to an incomplete work and the author never finishes the book. If they never finish the book, we put the ISBN back into play for use by an author who needs it.

    And, in essence, it IS self-publishing, but it has this little twist on it. Let's say I write a book and I love it. I decide I'm going to publish it, so I upload it to create space or Lulu or Lightening Source. Boom. I'm a self-published author, and the insignia on my book is the same as on the book that you wrote, and self-published, at the same venue. This may not be important to readers, but it can be very important to booksellers, as evidenced by the fact that some of the big stores are refusing to sell the Amazon best seller (albeit it looks like crap) simply because it was published by Amazon's print division.

    "So you are just putting a brand-name/publisher's name on books you like - and then charging authors a percentage for the service?"

    Half-right. We do not charge authors a percentage for the service. They have to purchase the ISBN at a reduced rate than they would pay Bowker directly. In the event we add a trade/commercial opportunity, we would provide editing, art, etc. at no-fee, and have a contract wherein we purchase the rights, etc, just like any other commercial publisher. At present, the authors receive their money from sales directly. If they sell a book on Amazon, Amazon pays them, not us. We don't see it or touch it.

    Again, not my first trip around the block. What I'm new at is self-publishing, certainly; that's a given.
    Hugs,
    Tilly

    Marjorie "Tilly" Jones
    http://www.indieartistpress.com
    Writing as Marjorie Jones, Starla Childs, Raleigh Kincaid

  12. #12
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post
    Note too that if Tilly buys the ISBNs they'll be registered to her or her company. When her authors then buy those ISBNs from her, the ISBNs (and therefore the books associated with them) will still be automatically linked to Tilly's company. It will not be possible to transfer their ownership to the author.

    This is not self publishing. This is not trade publishing.
    This is precisely the point. A collective of authors linked by publisher imprint. It is possible to create an environment where the author retains 100% control over his or her book.

    For instance, a book contract has a section on rights: movie rights, eBook rights, print rights, foreign language, etc. Our contract will state that IAP is entitled to precisely 0% of any proceeds of these sales and the author is free to sell them at will and whim. The essence of an author still owning his or her rights is still there. They can republish their book anywhere they like with whatever ISBN they like, at any point in the future. We hope to create a venue where there would be no reason for them to do this.

    Another issue is the right to rework the book, sometimes to the point of using the same characters. If I want to write a book about a guy down in Australia and incorporate all of my existing settings from my already-published novel, I have to give my publisher first right of refusal. They might say, no thanks (they've done this on one book that I took to another independent publisher) or they might say, "We own your characters and settings. You can't publish that." Our contract would be fine with it. They are your characters, your settings, and if you want to publish another book using them, through some other means, that's perfectly okay with us. We hope to provide a service that will make authors WANT to return to us.

    Your final point here is why I'm tossing around ideas in my head as to what to call us. I was calling us an "Indie Publisher," (as opposed to an independent commercial publisher) but the definition here, specifically, did not fit. As you said, this is not self-publishing, either. I'm liking "Hybrid."
    Hugs,
    Tilly

    Marjorie "Tilly" Jones
    http://www.indieartistpress.com
    Writing as Marjorie Jones, Starla Childs, Raleigh Kincaid

  13. #13
    empty-nester! shadowwalker's Avatar
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    I'm still not clear on what it is you're offering an author, plain and simple. All I'm getting is that they pay for whatever services they need, through you or some other source, and you give them a publisher's name to put on their book. But until your company has built up a good reputation, of what value is that?

    As to the "indie author" bit - I'm an "indie author" in that I'm not contracted to write a specific piece for anyone. I have no intention of self-publishing. When my book is ready, I will be seeking trade publishing, either with the Big 5 or an independent publisher - not a self-publishing company. I will still be an 'indie author' when I get trade published because it will be my book they're publishing, not one they told me to write.
    Je suis Charlie

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  14. #14
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Austin Wimberly View Post
    I've often wondered about the co-op model. I think that would work, actually. Of course, you'd have to screen for talent before letting someone in, and you'd have to have an exit strategy for voting someone out. But, the co-op model might allow for self-published folks to pool resources for marketing/editing/cover/etc.

    Plicata press does this, I think - link.

    If it got big enough (but not too big) you could use it for negotiating health insurance and so forth. At that point it would be a trade union.

    So that model could work (at least it works for electricians and plumbers), but the key would be keeping a tight rein on who you let into the union. Everyone would have to pull their weight or it wouldn't work.
    I can see us turning into that kind of thing eventually, certainly. The exit strategy is pretty simple - We don't list your books, you do. If you don't want a book listed or linked or available with the IAP association, you simply pull them all down. We don't own any rights to the book, so we'd have no say in the matter.

    And we do screen for talent. That's what separates us from Trafford, Author House, Xlibris and the rest, which are now owned by Penguin-Random House. And it separates us from self-publishing as we now understand it because anyone with a keyboard can self-publish.
    Hugs,
    Tilly

    Marjorie "Tilly" Jones
    http://www.indieartistpress.com
    Writing as Marjorie Jones, Starla Childs, Raleigh Kincaid

  15. #15
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowwalker View Post
    I'm still not clear on what it is you're offering an author, plain and simple. All I'm getting is that they pay for whatever services they need, through you or some other source, and you give them a publisher's name to put on their book. But until your company has built up a good reputation, of what value is that?

    As to the "indie author" bit - I'm an "indie author" in that I'm not contracted to write a specific piece for anyone. I have no intention of self-publishing. When my book is ready, I will be seeking trade publishing, either with the Big 5 or an independent publisher - not a self-publishing company. I will still be an 'indie author' when I get trade published because it will be my book they're publishing, not one they told me to write.
    Until we build up a good reputation, it is no good at all, actually. The reputation will come with time.

    You mention a unique perspective on how you define your independence. I like it. And there are many authors who would never, in a million years, choose self-publishing over trade publishing. I have no problem with that choice. You will still be an 'indie author' because you can still write what you want to write, within specific degrees- at least concerning the book to which you had already sold your rights.
    Hugs,
    Tilly

    Marjorie "Tilly" Jones
    http://www.indieartistpress.com
    Writing as Marjorie Jones, Starla Childs, Raleigh Kincaid

  16. #16
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    My personal opinion is that
    " hybrid publisher " is a nonsense term that, more often than not, is a euphemism for vanity or just plain small press.
    Emily Veinglory

  17. #17
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Polenth View Post
    I've seen presses try this before, but I've yet to see one I'd recommend to anyone. It's the worst of both worlds, as authors have to sort out buying all the things they need, but they have to give control of the final manuscript to you. If you go under, you take the book with you.

    Unless you're offering offset printing and full bookstore distribution, you're not offering anything a self-publisher can't organise themselves.
    Oh, quick point on this. The author does not give control of the final manuscript to us. Ever. If we do the editing (if they hire us to do their editing) we work with them, but the decision to change anything is theirs. If they are not satisfied with the work, they can walk away, just like with any editing service. That part of what we do is an author service, like any other. We weed out books we don't want our name on during the acquisitions process.

    I'll be back later. Must TCB for a bit.
    Hugs,
    Tilly

    Marjorie "Tilly" Jones
    http://www.indieartistpress.com
    Writing as Marjorie Jones, Starla Childs, Raleigh Kincaid

  18. #18
    empty-nester! shadowwalker's Avatar
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    I don't know. Sounds like echoes of Ridan here...
    Je suis Charlie

    "It seems rather like wanting to be ... a writer, rather than wanting to write. It should be a by-product, not a thing in itself. Otherwise, it's just an ego trip." - Roger Zelazny

    Passion is easy; commitment is hard.

  19. #19
    Holding out for a Superhero... Sheryl Nantus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tilly13 View Post
    1. Yes, an advance, in essence is a loan. The repayment schedule is based upon a very large percentage of every book sold. Loan, as I use it here, is a broad term, in that if the book never sells a single copy, one doesn’t have to pay it back. But it is an “advance against royalties.” Until one earns out one’s advance, the cashflow stops.
    I'd like to see you sell this definition to a bank.

    This seems to be just repeating the urban myth that if your book doesn't make money you'll be forced to pay back your advance.

    I think you're not going to go far if you start making up new definitions. An advance is *not* a loan. There's no interest on it, there's nobody banging on your door to get the money back.

    Right there you've lost me.

  20. #20
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Shaldna said: "It's not 'paying them back' at all. Do you know how much it costs to produce a book? How high discounts are? In addition the publisher needs to earn a profit on it to keep the business running.

    The amount you were given as an advance was never 'paid back' to the publisher. I think you are confusing yourself here."


    Yes, I do, and I get your point. I really do. What I'm saying is that when I advance 100 bucks to my kid, she has to pay me back. When a publisher advances a writer money, that money is returned to the publisher as royalties accumulate. There is nothing wrong with that model. Not one thing. It just isn't for me anymore. I would rather foot the bill myself, self-publish and keep the profits.

    What I don't want is my publisher name to be the same as some guy who wrote 400 pages of drivel and never bothered to hire an editor. I don't want my publisher to be listed as "createspace book publishing platform." I want it to be the name of a company with a reputation. We're just starting out, but we'll get there.
    Hugs,
    Tilly

    Marjorie "Tilly" Jones
    http://www.indieartistpress.com
    Writing as Marjorie Jones, Starla Childs, Raleigh Kincaid

  21. #21
    DenturePunk writer bearilou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tilly13 View Post
    And it separates us from self-publishing as we now understand it because anyone with a keyboard can self-publish.
    Yes, but...

    So in the end, the benefit is...? You're providing 'legitimacy' by allowing the book to sport a house name instead of Amazon Digital Services or CreateSpace in the Publisher line which is an indication that it's self-published?

    To be honest, who cares about that? I mean, sure there are some readers who do look at the Publisher line on the Amazon product page (I am one), but as has been hashed around may times on this forum alone, not many readers do. All they care about is a good book and they don't care how the book got there.

    More writers appear to be worried about that than readers do.

    From a self-publishing perspective, I'm not sure what you'd be offering me that I can't do or get on my own.

    And the ISBN issue has me perplexed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post
    Note too that if Tilly buys the ISBNs they'll be registered to her or her company. When her authors then buy those ISBNs from her, the ISBNs (and therefore the books associated with them) will still be automatically linked to Tilly's company. It will not be possible to transfer their ownership to the author.
    If I'm going to pay for an ISBN (even at a reduced rate), if I'm buying it, I'd like it to be in my name. If I'm buying it.

    When publishing with any publisher (big 5, smaller epublishers, indies), I'd get the ISBN free and it would list them as the publisher. But I'm not putting any money out for it.

    Again, the 'advantage' appears to be having a line in the product description on Amazon that doesn't include Amazon Digitial Services or CreateSpace.

    Sorry, Tilly, I'm trying to understand but right now, all I see at this point is that I'm paying you money to self-publish. You say I retain 100% control and now I'm paying you to keep it, all for being able to say that I'm not self-published.

    Trying to understand, here.

    Quote Originally Posted by tilly13 View Post
    Oh, quick point on this. The author does not give control of the final manuscript to us. Ever. If we do the editing (if they hire us to do their editing) we work with them, but the decision to change anything is theirs.
    How is this different than with working with any trade publisher? Or as a self-publisher working with a freelance editor?

    Quote Originally Posted by tilly13 View Post
    If they are not satisfied with the work, they can walk away, just like with any editing service. That part of what we do is an author service, like any other.
    Okay. Understand that.

    Quote Originally Posted by tilly13 View Post
    We weed out books we don't want our name on during the acquisitions process.
    This is causing me all kinds of problems in understanding.

    What are you acquiring during this acquisitions process? This is what I don't understand. You're not paying me for my book. You're not really giving me anything that I can't get on my own as a self-publisher.

    The only thing you offer as a difference is taking my money for the use of your name in my front matter, 'allowing' me to keep 100% of my royalties, and a 'contract' that gives me the freedom to be a self-publisher.

    And I'm paying you to do that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sheryl Nantus View Post
    An advance is *not* a loan. There's no interest on it, there's nobody banging on your door to get the money back.

    Right there you've lost me.
    I've tripped so many times, I can't remember which way I came in the door.
    Quote Originally Posted by Phaeal View Post
    The first draft is a huge pile of clay that you've laboriously heaped on your table, patting it into a rough shape as you go along. From the second draft onward, you'll cut away chunks, add bits, pat and punch and pinch, until you finally have a gorgeous figure of, oh, Marcus Aurelius. Or a duck. But a damn fine duck.
    Quote Originally Posted by KTC View Post
    1) Write like your face is on fire.


  22. #22
    Mushroom Polenth's Avatar
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    Selling services like cover art creation and formatting aren't bad ideas, because not all authors can do that themselves. But you're trying to fancy it up with marketing speak, as an all-new idea, never tried before, and something we all need. You're relying on lack of knowledge about trade publishing too. Someone who knows how advances work and how the bookstore returns system works will realise you're twisting things... advances aren't loans and bookstores don't want POD books because the printers don't have a returns deal in place. Changing the name on the spine doesn't alter the lack of returns, because it's still the same printer at the core.

    Basically, you're misjudging your audience. This is not a good place for the hard sell. It can be a good place for advice, but you're replying to anything people say with another marketing routine, so you're not after advice.
    * Polenth *

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  23. #23
    Have Harp Will Travel JSSchley's Avatar
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    To me, a "hybrid" publisher (and I agree with veinglory, this is a term just ripe for creating scams) would be one which acquired mostly books for which they paid advances, and for which the author paid not one dime for the publication of the book.

    And then, the hybrid part might be that there would be ways for people to hire the staff of the publisher, and hire its distribution channels. Now, this would only work if the publisher were also running its full acquisitions process on these books as well—no matter how much the author is willing to pay, you'd want to make sure that every book that comes out with your colophon on it represents you well. But perhaps there's a specialty book, or a book with only very local interest, where the book has too limited commercial appeal for the publisher to take it on (this happens!)—but the publisher can help it be a professional-looking book and get it into bookstores.

    But that would be in the instance of a publisher with years of experience and understanding of the industry, who could actually provide value in the form of professional editing, professional design, and marketing and distribution to the books that were acquired under the second model. The mere fact that you think your advance was a loan tells me you don't understand enough about how things work on the publishing end of book publishing to be trusted with the huge responsibility that is publishing others' work.

  24. #24
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    Most of the things mentioned in this thread are already happening. My partner and I both write. I do the editing, layout, and covers. We're about to be distributed by a legal entity that started as an individual "self publisher" but now represents several authors as a full publisher. They won't be doing any of that for me. We'll be providing them with finished ebooks and they'll assign us ISBNs and get them into storefronts that don't have self-service portals and they take 10% of net, which results in a reversal of the OPs situation, they get 6% of cover, we get 54%.

    The lines are already being blurred, but what's not happening is someone setting up a storefront and soliciting manuscripts. Instead these informal and diverse relationships are coming out of specific existing social and author communities.

    Also, none of these are providing any sort of "mark of quality." I've seen all over that readers need someone to provide this kind of service, including among "self-published" authors, but it honestly seems to be a solution in search of a problem. I'm not a very good writer and I don't sell nearly as many books as better writers in my genre do. On the other hand, I'm can point at many people who are far worse writers than I am and they don't sell as well as I do.

    The market is working. Readers aren't as dumb as authors seem to think they are.

  25. #25
    DenturePunk writer bearilou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katie Elle View Post
    Most of the things mentioned in this thread are already happening. My partner and I both write. I do the editing, layout, and covers. We're about to be distributed by a legal entity that started as an individual "self publisher" but now represents several authors as a full publisher. They won't be doing any of that for me. We'll be providing them with finished ebooks and they'll assign us ISBNs and get them into storefronts that don't have self-service portals and they take 10% of net, which results in a reversal of the OPs situation, they get 6% of cover, we get 54%.
    That sounds like a very beneficial arrangement. Especially since I wouldn't be expected to pony up money on the front end, but to give a percentage. I can't comment on how beneficial since I don't have a good grasp on how much of a difference there is between doing that and going with an epress.


    Quote Originally Posted by Katie Elle View Post
    Also, none of these are providing any sort of "mark of quality." I've seen all over that readers need someone to provide this kind of service, including among "self-published" authors, but it honestly seems to be a solution in search of a problem. I'm not a very good writer and I don't sell nearly as many books as better writers in my genre do. On the other hand, I'm can point at many people who are far worse writers than I am and they don't sell as well as I do.

    The market is working. Readers aren't as dumb as authors seem to think they are.
    There was a really good discussion at the beginning of the year about a 'mark of quality' venture and how well it'd go over, to address this very thing.

    Proposal for a Self-Publisher's Gatekeeping Society
    Quote Originally Posted by Phaeal View Post
    The first draft is a huge pile of clay that you've laboriously heaped on your table, patting it into a rough shape as you go along. From the second draft onward, you'll cut away chunks, add bits, pat and punch and pinch, until you finally have a gorgeous figure of, oh, Marcus Aurelius. Or a duck. But a damn fine duck.
    Quote Originally Posted by KTC View Post
    1) Write like your face is on fire.


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