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Thread: Sarah Book Publishing

  1. #1
    Grumpy writer and editor Absolute Sage Gillhoughly's Avatar
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    Sarah Book Publishing

    http://www.sarahbookpublishing.com/

    I can't seem to find an AW thread on this one, which popped up on someone's Facebook wall in an effort at promotion.

    From the website:

    Sarah Book Publishing is an online publisher with a traditional touch. Sarah Book Publishing prides itself on working with writers to publish quality books. Unlike many of the online publishers, Sarah Book Publishing requires no money up front and strives to find exceptional material to publish.


    Sarah Book Publishing is the ideal full-service book publishing company for authors around the globe. Committed to providing superior customer service in book publishing, Sarah Book Publishing assigns each author a personal book manager who will guide authors through the production, marketing and sales process. Through our publishing process, authors always maintain creative control of their book.


    Headquartered in Harlingen, Texas, Sarah Book Publishing’s friendly professionals are always available to help. For more information about Sarah Book Publishing, or to begin publishing your book today, call [redacted].
    Red flag: offers "services" but no prices. If they're a no cost publisher, that's great, but "services" implies to me that there might be an exchange of money at some point.

    They are linked to a printing operation, which seems to mean print on demand copies.

    They have the same phone number as "Digital Print Shoppe" in Brownsville, TX, which is 38 miles from their HQ in Harlingen, TX.

    There are about 13 fiction titles with prices ranging from 6.95-19.95. About the same number of titles are in other categories combined.

    • No page counts are given.
    • No info on on a book's page whether it's a digital or print.
    • No sample previews to read except on Amazon for the title I looked up.
    • No option (on the one book I checked in detail) to buy as print or digital. This is offered on Amazon.

    I clicked on the highest and lowest cost fiction. There was free shipping on the both. Not a big deal if it's a digital download, but a very big deal to readers paying 20 bucks for an ebook from an unknown writer.

    Looked an interesting title up on Amazon where the print is 19.95, the Kindle digital is 9.99, has an estimated page count of 330 on the Kindle edition.

    Considering I've a 320-page (Createspace) book selling for 14.00, the extra markup does not impress me.

    The higher price might defray the "free shipping" from the Sarah website however, this doesn't defray shipping if you buy it via Amazon.

    They offer 12.5 to 15% royalties, which is no match for DIY authors who can get 70% from Kindle. Can't tell if this is for both formats or if they offer a higher royalty on digital versions. Most commercial publishers offer 25%, which is still not competitive for a DIY, but a commercial house pays an advance and can get your print book into stores.

    The question is whether their editorial services and listing on a website are worth giving them the lion's share of earnings.

    Sarah Book Publishing offers professional services to guide authors through the production, marketing and sale of their book. Services are provided by industry experts with years of experience in book publishing.
    No names of those "industry experts" are mentioned, therefore one can't ascertain if this place has anyone on staff who does indeed have professional publishing experience.


    Sarah Book publishing requires no money up front. Submit your manuscript and our professionals (names and curriculum vitae, please?) will work with you to achieve published success! All authors receive assistance with promoting and selling their book and are guaranteed 12.5 to 15% royalties on a quarterly basis. All books will be available in print and digital formats at a wide range of retail outlets including Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
    I read a few pages of one of the books and while there were no glaring grammar errors or typos, the writing did not engage this editor's attention and it was a topic I'm interested in. There's an audience for such a book, but the 9.99 Kindle price? Um, none for me, thanks. I'll pay that much for writers I know. Maybe.

    Ten gushing 5-star reviews were in place, but no reviews from PW or others. I rather suspect the author tapped friends for the gush. Nothing wrong with that, but too much gush can work against a writer if people suspect sock puppetry at work. But that's one book on the site, the author's problem and nothing to do with the publisher.

    They've been in business at least since 2011 and nothing pops up when I google the name + complaints.

    None of this is bad, but writers can do better in their choice of publishing options.

    If the publisher should see this thread, it is cordially invited to discuss the issues addressed here. Some of the issues mentioned are intended as feedback and are wholly fixable.
    Last edited by Gillhoughly; 11-22-2012 at 12:25 AM.

  2. #2
    Rode Hard 'n' Put Up Wet CherokeeParks's Avatar
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    Not so fast!

    Gillhoughly, Erin go braugh. Don't let the lack of exposure fool you about Sarah Book Publishing. If you looked around on their site, I'm sure you came across my name - more than once.

    You're probably wondering just who the He-- is Cherokee Parks. This happens to be my 5th pen name in a 40+ year career of writing - chosen to fit my Western genre works written late in life. I've written Geo-Political fiction and non-fiction, suspense, mystery and training manuals for 4 governments, including our own. I grew up cowboy, and decided that I wanted to get back to my "roots" in writing.

    I studied under Michener, and, like many others, have written nearly every form known to man to make a buck. And that just to survive at times. I've been published by 7 different and separate publishers, and I was never happy with the first 6. Okay, so now you know a bit about me.

    I also had my doubts about this publishing group, until I met with the founder and president, a fellow author who has faced the same problems we all face when dealing with agents and publishers. His vision is now one I share wholeheartedly, because I've seen what it can do.

    It's a fair shake like none I've ever gotten before, even from some of the "big guns" in publishing. The quality they turn out is top grade. Brilliant white paper, good covers in full 4-color process. Graphic artists with imagination, and yet willing to work within the authors parameters for just the "right look". The editing staff is a joy to work with, and believe me when I say their credentials are impeccable.

    Yes, the printing is done by a sister company, and it is digital, but since it's all in-house the responsiveness is also topnotch.
    They offer free shipping on books ordered from their site, and list paperbacks on Amazon and Barnes & Noble as well. And no, those prices on their site are not for ebooks. They are paperbacks.

    They also convert select books to ebooks, and place them on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and itunes. And they have an extensive marketing program, one that is getting bigger after the first of the year. Now for the real meat. They will never ask for a dime to publish a book, and even offer some financial perks unheard of in this business. Royalty reports and checks are always on time, and accurate.

    So why not more about them on their site? They are very protective of their employees until they start getting to know who they're dealing with. In this day and age, can you blame them?

    Bottom line, Gillhoughly, never judge a publisher by their website. These folks are the real deal. So if you've got an old manuscript lying around gathering dust on top of a pile of rejection letters, give them a go. You'll be pleasantly surprised.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by CherokeeParks View Post
    Gillhoughly, Erin go braugh. Don't let the lack of exposure fool you about Sarah Book Publishing. If you looked around on their site, I'm sure you came across my name - more than once.

    You're probably wondering just who the He-- is Cherokee Parks. This happens to be my 5th pen name in a 40+ year career of writing - chosen to fit my Western genre works written late in life. I've written Geo-Political fiction and non-fiction, suspense, mystery and training manuals for 4 governments, including our own. I grew up cowboy, and decided that I wanted to get back to my "roots" in writing.
    Hello! Welcome to AW.

    I studied under Michener, and, like many others, have written nearly every form known to man to make a buck. And that just to survive at times. I've been published by 7 different and separate publishers, and I was never happy with the first 6. Okay, so now you know a bit about me.
    Well, I'm glad you've found somebody you're happy with, but unless we know who your previous publishers were, that doesn't mean a great deal. If you were previously with Tate and PA, SBP don't need to do much to improve your experience.

    I also had my doubts about this publishing group, until I met with the founder and president, a fellow author who has faced the same problems we all face when dealing with agents and publishers. His vision is now one I share wholeheartedly, because I've seen what it can do.
    What are those problems? The "How Do I get Agents and Publishers to Take Me On?" problem? That's easy - write a great book.

    It's a fair shake like none I've ever gotten before, even from some of the "big guns" in publishing. The quality they turn out is top grade. Brilliant white paper, good covers in full 4-color process. Graphic artists with imagination, and yet willing to work within the authors parameters for just the "right look". The editing staff is a joy to work with, and believe me when I say their credentials are impeccable.
    Good. In my opinion, some of the covers are nicely done, others are not.

    Yes, the printing is done by a sister company, and it is digital, but since it's all in-house the responsiveness is also topnotch.
    They offer free shipping on books ordered from their site, and list paperbacks on Amazon and Barnes & Noble as well. And no, those prices on their site are not for ebooks. They are paperbacks.
    I've looked you up on Amazon - you've got for 3 short stories (106 pages) on Kindle + Paperback for $6.14; $6.14 for a 76 page short story; $6.14 for a 56 page short; then $11 for 374 pages. Those strike me as rather steep. EDIT: Since making this post the prices have changed and the number of pages has been removed. However, Amazon.co.uk still bears the page number data and it still differs from the numbers given by Mr Parks in post 10. A 56 page short story is selling for £3.28 on Kindle (a typical price for an ebook whose price is set by the publisher is £4.99 - £5.99).
    Also, anybody can get their books listed on Amazon and B&N.

    They also convert select books to ebooks, and place them on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and itunes. And they have an extensive marketing program, one that is getting bigger after the first of the year. Now for the real meat. They will never ask for a dime to publish a book, and even offer some financial perks unheard of in this business. Royalty reports and checks are always on time, and accurate.
    But what are they doing that I can't do myself? And what are these financial perks?

    So why not more about them on their site? They are very protective of their employees until they start getting to know who they're dealing with. In this day and age, can you blame them?
    Yes.

    Bottom line, Gillhoughly, never judge a publisher by their website. These folks are the real deal. So if you've got an old manuscript lying around gathering dust on top of a pile of rejection letters, give them a go. You'll be pleasantly surprised.
    How would you prefer they were judged? The website is the front they present to the world. If I don't like what I see there, I'm not going to bother finding out more. My time is expensive.

    The three main reasons I wouldn't bother finding out more - the website is aimed at writers, the prices for the books are too high (in addition to this, some of your books have no sales ranking), they sound like they are going to charge me (there's nothing wrong with author services companies as long as they are clear.).
    Last edited by Theo81; 12-17-2012 at 03:40 PM.

  4. #4
    Rode Hard 'n' Put Up Wet CherokeeParks's Avatar
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    Seriously?

    Theo81, I can see it was a big mistake to join this site if everyone is like you. Apparently, it isn't about writing or real communication between authors. It's a place to put people down and pretend you're much better at the craft than they are.

    Your comments are not only incorrect, but childish. Both the page count and the prices you state are incorrect, just so you know I actually read your comment. Sadly, many will take your word for it and never do the research themselves. If all you ever judge any business by is their website, I'd think your purchasing world would be quite small, just like your comments.

    My "fuss" with 4 of the previous 6 publishers was over things not related to writing, but rather contract details constantly slanted too far in their favor. Among them was Simon & Schuster and Macmillan.

    And who in his right mind could ever be happy with government? You'd think for the kind of money they spend to have anything created, they could have at least hired a decent editor. Writing a manual on the proper breakdown and cleaning of the M40A1 was a piece of cake, however reading the "edited" content was mind-boggling. It became very obvious very quickly that this "editor" had zero comprehension of the subject matter, and less gray matter than the average crackhead.

    The agents I've used were also more concerned about what they could get from me by getting my works published than about giving me a fair shake, especially when my works passed 100k in sales. In fact, how I found this publisher was through what I consider a reputable agent who has since retired. The reason we didn't contract was because of his impending retirement. But getting an agent or publisher was never my problem, as you insinuate.

    I can't reveal the "perks" I'm receiving, or I should say I won't. The terms of my contract are none of anyone's business, and I'm sure the other authors signed with SBP feel the same. It's also nice to know you have such little concern for employee security and privacy, but thankfully I know you are in the minority in your opinion on that one.

    As for the rest of your remarks, the only one left even worthy of discussion was the crack about "they sound like they are going to charge me". "Sound like"? Seriously? You "sound like" a curmudgeon who hasn't gotten laid in 20 years. See how easy it is to make a judgement like that without any proof?

    I have yet to spend a penny for any of their services, and to my knowledge no other author has ever given them a dime for anything. They are not a vanity or self-publishing company, Theo81, and offer a good deal. So do yourself and SBP a real favor, don't bother them. You are most certainly too wealthy, since your time is soooo expensive, to congregate with other writers soooo far beneath you.

    BTW, who was it again that elected you judge and jury? Here's a clue for both you and Gillhoughly. You catch more files with honey than you do vinegar. You only know me by a pen name, and a couple of comments, yet you presume to judge me as a writer without actually reading a single word I've written - that you know of.

    I know my words are surely wasted on you, best-selling author that you are. Oh, and thanks for your "warm welcome" to such a plebe as I, you made me feel really unworthy to be in your presence. NOT! You keep your mind-set, I'll keep cashing royalty checks.

  5. #5
    On a small world west of wonder LindaJeanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CherokeeParks View Post
    Theo81, I can see it was a big mistake to join this site if everyone is like you. Apparently, it isn't about writing or real communication between authors. It's a place to put people down and pretend you're much better at the craft than they are.
    Where does Theo81 put you down, or pretend to be better at the craft than anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by CherokeeParks View Post
    Both the page count and the prices you state are incorrect,
    What are the correct count and price? Are they correct or incorrect on the site Theo81 was looking at?


    Quote Originally Posted by CherokeeParks View Post
    My "fuss" with 4 of the previous 6 publishers was over things not related to writing, but rather contract details constantly slanted too far in their favor. Among them was Simon & Schuster and Macmillan.
    Have you considered sharing your experiences with these other publishers on their respective threads? It could help other writers looking for places to publish.

    Quote Originally Posted by CherokeeParks View Post
    And who in his right mind could ever be happy with government? You'd think for the kind of money they spend to have anything created, they could have at least hired a decent editor. Writing a manual on the proper breakdown and cleaning of the M40A1 was a piece of cake, however reading the "edited" content was mind-boggling. It became very obvious very quickly that this "editor" had zero comprehension of the subject matter, and less gray matter than the average crackhead.
    OK, so some (unnamed) department in some (unnamed) area of the government or armed forces has (at least one) incompetent editor. I'll buy that.

    Quote Originally Posted by CherokeeParks View Post
    The agents I've used were also more concerned about what they could get from me by getting my works published than about giving me a fair shake, especially when my works passed 100k in sales.
    I'm confused. Isn't trying to get your books published what an agent is supposed to be doing? In what other way should they be giving you a "fair shake?"

    Also, do you mind naming these agents? Or sharing your experiences on their threads? Again, it could help others.


    Quote Originally Posted by CherokeeParks View Post
    I can't reveal the "perks" I'm receiving, or I should say I won't. The terms of my contract are none of anyone's business, and I'm sure the other authors signed with SBP feel the same.
    You are certainly under no obligation to share anything about your business arrangements. But in a publishing company, that lack of transparency is far from re-assuring.

    Quote Originally Posted by CherokeeParks View Post
    It's also nice to know you have such little concern for employee security and privacy,
    How is someone supposed to evaluate a publisher without knowing about the background and experience of their staff?

    Quote Originally Posted by CherokeeParks View Post
    As for the rest of your remarks, the only one left even worthy of discussion was the crack about "they sound like they are going to charge me". "Sound like"? Seriously? You "sound like" a curmudgeon who hasn't gotten laid in 20 years. See how easy it is to make a judgement like that without any proof?
    We can only judge the publisher based on the information they make publicly available. "Sounds like" is not an allegation that requires proof; it's an observation and a valid concern.

    Absolute Write has one rule: Respect Your Fellow Writer. I advise you re-think the way you've presented this last point.

    Quote Originally Posted by CherokeeParks View Post
    I have yet to spend a penny for any of their services, and to my knowledge no other author has ever given them a dime for anything.
    That is relevant information, and good to know. Thank you.

    Quote Originally Posted by CherokeeParks View Post
    They are not a vanity or self-publishing company, Theo81, and offer a good deal.
    It would be helpful if they made this more clear to writers who are looking for publishers, & find their website.

    Quote Originally Posted by CherokeeParks View Post
    So do yourself and SBP a real favor, don't bother them.
    You're not doing SBP any favors by representing them in such a sarcastic and vitrolic manner.

    Quote Originally Posted by CherokeeParks View Post
    You are most certainly too wealthy, since your time is soooo expensive, to congregate with other writers soooo far beneath you.
    Where did this come from? Where did Theo81 express a distaste for congregating with other writers? The comment was: why bother wasting one's time with a publisher with so little transparency?

    Quote Originally Posted by CherokeeParks View Post
    BTW, who was it again that elected you judge and jury? Here's a clue for both you and Gillhoughly. You catch more files with honey than you do vinegar.
    Re-read this sentence. Then re-read the rest of your post. Do you see the irony?

    Quote Originally Posted by CherokeeParks View Post
    Oh, and thanks for your "warm welcome" to such a plebe as I, you made me feel really unworthy to be in your presence.
    Again, where the heck did this come from? I've never seen any such attitude from Theo81 as you are dadaistically attributing here.
    "A story told, that can't be real / yet somehow must reflect the truth we feel..." -- Black Sabbath / Ronnie James Dio

  6. #6
    On a small world west of wonder LindaJeanne's Avatar
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    Also, do you understand the purpose of this BR&BC forum? It's writers helping writers by sharing their experiences with publishers and agents, and where the more experienced point out potential warning signs that may be present for publishers and agents for which we don't have as much information.

    Do you object to this? By your post it seems that you do. Strongly.
    Last edited by LindaJeanne; 12-16-2012 at 10:58 PM. Reason: full post quoted again below; redundant to have the quote here.
    "A story told, that can't be real / yet somehow must reflect the truth we feel..." -- Black Sabbath / Ronnie James Dio

  7. #7
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Bloody.

    Hell.

    First J Rubas, then Lou Turner, now CherokeeParks. Is there some sort of meltdown virus going around?

  8. #8
    Wandering worlds Gynn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CherokeeParks View Post
    Theo81, I can see it was a big mistake to join this site if everyone is like you. Apparently, it isn't about writing or real communication between authors. It's a place to put people down and pretend you're much better at the craft than they are.

    Your comments are not only incorrect, but childish. Both the page count and the prices you state are incorrect, just so you know I actually read your comment. Sadly, many will take your word for it and never do the research themselves. If all you ever judge any business by is their website, I'd think your purchasing world would be quite small, just like your comments.

    My "fuss" with 4 of the previous 6 publishers was over things not related to writing, but rather contract details constantly slanted too far in their favor. Among them was Simon & Schuster and Macmillan.

    And who in his right mind could ever be happy with government? You'd think for the kind of money they spend to have anything created, they could have at least hired a decent editor. Writing a manual on the proper breakdown and cleaning of the M40A1 was a piece of cake, however reading the "edited" content was mind-boggling. It became very obvious very quickly that this "editor" had zero comprehension of the subject matter, and less gray matter than the average crackhead.

    The agents I've used were also more concerned about what they could get from me by getting my works published than about giving me a fair shake, especially when my works passed 100k in sales. In fact, how I found this publisher was through what I consider a reputable agent who has since retired. The reason we didn't contract was because of his impending retirement. But getting an agent or publisher was never my problem, as you insinuate.

    I can't reveal the "perks" I'm receiving, or I should say I won't. The terms of my contract are none of anyone's business, and I'm sure the other authors signed with SBP feel the same. It's also nice to know you have such little concern for employee security and privacy, but thankfully I know you are in the minority in your opinion on that one.

    As for the rest of your remarks, the only one left even worthy of discussion was the crack about "they sound like they are going to charge me". "Sound like"? Seriously? You "sound like" a curmudgeon who hasn't gotten laid in 20 years. See how easy it is to make a judgement like that without any proof?

    I have yet to spend a penny for any of their services, and to my knowledge no other author has ever given them a dime for anything. They are not a vanity or self-publishing company, Theo81, and offer a good deal. So do yourself and SBP a real favor, don't bother them. You are most certainly too wealthy, since your time is soooo expensive, to congregate with other writers soooo far beneath you.

    BTW, who was it again that elected you judge and jury? Here's a clue for both you and Gillhoughly. You catch more files with honey than you do vinegar. You only know me by a pen name, and a couple of comments, yet you presume to judge me as a writer without actually reading a single word I've written - that you know of.

    I know my words are surely wasted on you, best-selling author that you are. Oh, and thanks for your "warm welcome" to such a plebe as I, you made me feel really unworthy to be in your presence. NOT! You keep your mind-set, I'll keep cashing royalty checks.
    Wow. Doesn't take much to get you to show your colors, does it? lol

    A writer should have thicker skin than this.

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW Wisteria Vine's Avatar
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    Especially since it's about the publisher and not the author himself. If people don't like your publisher, so what? What bearing does that have on you as a writer? If you're happy, great, but don't start insulting others because they ask tough questions about the publisher.

  10. #10
    Rode Hard 'n' Put Up Wet CherokeeParks's Avatar
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    Excuse me!

    Sorry if I offended so many of you. You make good points, LindaJeanne. However, I felt my personal integrity was being called into question. If everyone were to simply understand that this publisher if fairly new to the game, with right at 1.5 years in business, and doing everything they can to be aboveboard and honest with every author they accept we'd all be on the same level of thinking.

    The fact that they are still developing their website to display correct information while having to deal with a hosting company who doesn't really understand or know how to display their desire to aid both old and new authors is a serious problem. One they are working to remedy as they attempt to find a qualified IT tech in their area - not as easy as it sounds even in these days of high unemployment.

    As to my "colors", I'm old and cranky and crippled up, and I get pretty defensive when I feel like I'm being unduly chastised. "What are those problems? The 'How Do I get Agents and Publishers to Take Me On?' problem? That's easy - write a great book." I found that to be rather sarcastic in nature, especially after having over 30 books published during my career, though, like so many others, I'm still waiting for that "best seller". Since I'm raising 2 grandchildren, I'd love nothing more than to leave them a grand inheritance.

    I won't divulge the agents who wronged me, since none are in business any longer. One is in prison for fraud, one is dead and gone, no longer a threat to anyone, and yet another has taken his bag of tricks to Europe where I understand he is under investigation. Two of the publisher's they used to get me published are also long gone. One for money laundering, and one simply got too greedy and went bust. So why bother to mention their names? And what was it they did so wrong, at least in my case? Working in cahoots with the publishers to alter the sales numbers and cheat me out of royalties, sharing in the take.

    Yes, I was much younger and less intuitive about what I was getting myself into, a familiar story to many in here I would imagine. And it was only thanks to some friends in the right places that I found out what was going on, even if what they were looking for had nothing to do with me or my publications. But in the grand scheme of things, what does that really matter? I paid my dues and took my hits, and will do what I can to see to it others don't suffer those same disappointments.

    Thus, if I do happen to come across an unscrupulous agent or devious publisher I'll be screaming to high heaven about it. After all these years, I've learned to represent myself in getting contracts and respectable royalties - even though I do have several really good agents as friends. I'd pass along their names, but I'd get yelled at because none of them are taking on any new clients until mid-2013 at the very earliest. The best always have a nice compliment of writers they're working with, so getting through to them is all about timing and great quality writing. But I'm not telling anyone in here anything new.

    As for publishers, there are plenty of vanity publishers out there willing to take anyone's money. Some are decent, some aren't. If you're going to self publish and do all the marketing as well as suffer all the costs, then it's a perfectly fine way to go. But if you're like me, and only want to spend time writing, there is no substitute for a good publisher. Even if they aren't a household name. Sarah Book is that publisher for me, and can be for many others. And will undoubtedly be so for a lot of talent out there in the future.

    So, no, I don't suppose I really do care what others have to say about "my" publisher, as long as I'm happy and feel I'm getting a fair shake from them. Which I do.

    I will clarify the page counts issue, 380 full length novel in paperback at $17.95 now on sale I believe $8.95, 140, 138, and 142 shorts in paperback now at $4.95 - all prices on Amazon. SBP actually sells from their website as well, which is where most of my paperback sales originate since they offer free shipping, while ebook sales come more from itunes than either Kindle or Nook. And I can tell you that my royalty check for last quarter was a nice 4 figures in spite of slow sales. This quarter, with holiday sales, should be a nice 5 figure amount. No, I'm not setting the world on fire, but it does supplement my retirement very nicely, if I can keep Uncle Sam's pesky fingers out of my pocket.

    Therefore, I apologize if I was too caustic, or if I misunderstood the nature of the comments. It was not my intent to create a furor or draw any more ire. I was merely trying to give another side to the story being told here.

  11. #11
    Please bear in mind this reply comes from me with an "author seeking publisher" hat firmly pulled down over my curmudgeonly brow.

    Quote Originally Posted by CherokeeParks View Post
    Sorry if I offended so many of you.
    That's okay. Spend some time reading through the threads and you'll see plenty of versions of your replies in them. We're used to it.

    You make good points, LindaJeanne. However, I felt my personal integrity was being called into question. If everyone were to simply understand that this publisher if fairly new to the game, with right at 1.5 years in business, and doing everything they can to be aboveboard and honest with every author they accept we'd all be on the same level of thinking.
    The length of time the publisher has been in business is not my problem (although it's useful to know they are approaching the 2 year mark - most publishers who don't know what they are doing go out of business by then). I, as an author, care about whether they can sell my book better than I can.



    The fact that they are still developing their website to display correct information while having to deal with a hosting company who doesn't really understand or know how to display their desire to aid both old and new authors is a serious problem. One they are working to remedy as they attempt to find a qualified IT tech in their area - not as easy as it sounds even in these days of high unemployment.
    One and a half years later? And is it really so hard to change the phrase "we don't ask for any money up front" (which sounds like they will be asking for money later)?


    As to my "colors", I'm old and cranky and crippled up, and I get pretty defensive when I feel like I'm being unduly chastised. "What are those problems? The 'How Do I get Agents and Publishers to Take Me On?' problem? That's easy - write a great book." I found that to be rather sarcastic in nature, especially after having over 30 books published during my career, though, like so many others, I'm still waiting for that "best seller". Since I'm raising 2 grandchildren, I'd love nothing more than to leave them a grand inheritance.
    You aren't being chastised. Questions are being about your publisher.

    I won't divulge the agents who wronged me, since none are in business any longer. One is in prison for fraud, one is dead and gone, no longer a threat to anyone, and yet another has taken his bag of tricks to Europe where I understand he is under investigation. Two of the publisher's they used to get me published are also long gone. One for money laundering, and one simply got too greedy and went bust. So why bother to mention their names? And what was it they did so wrong, at least in my case? Working in cahoots with the publishers to alter the sales numbers and cheat me out of royalties, sharing in the take.
    As I said before, SBP cannot be said to be a great publisher in comparison with others if they are being compared to publishers who are out and out scam artists - something which you, unfortunately, have been victim to in your time.

    Yes, I was much younger and less intuitive about what I was getting myself into, a familiar story to many in here I would imagine. And it was only thanks to some friends in the right places that I found out what was going on, even if what they were looking for had nothing to do with me or my publications. But in the grand scheme of things, what does that really matter? I paid my dues and took my hits, and will do what I can to see to it others don't suffer those same disappointments.
    Yes, it is, and I'm sorry you've been through that. I hope you understand this area of the board has two purposes - to keep writers safe from scammers, and to make an informed choice about where to send their work.


    As for publishers, there are plenty of vanity publishers out there willing to take anyone's money. Some are decent, some aren't. If you're going to self publish and do all the marketing as well as suffer all the costs, then it's a perfectly fine way to go. But if you're like me, and only want to spend time writing, there is no substitute for a good publisher. Even if they aren't a household name. Sarah Book is that publisher for me, and can be for many others. And will undoubtedly be so for a lot of talent out there in the future.

    So, no, I don't suppose I really do care what others have to say about "my" publisher, as long as I'm happy and feel I'm getting a fair shake from them. Which I do.
    And this thread is about finding out who they are the right publisher for. But I'm glad that you're happy with them.


    I will clarify the page counts issue, 380 full length novel in paperback at $17.95 now on sale I believe $8.95, 140, 138, and 142 shorts in paperback now at $4.95 - all prices on Amazon. SBP actually sells from their website as well, which is where most of my paperback sales originate since they offer free shipping, while ebook sales come more from itunes than either Kindle or Nook. And I can tell you that my royalty check for last quarter was a nice 4 figures in spite of slow sales. This quarter, with holiday sales, should be a nice 5 figure amount. No, I'm not setting the world on fire, but it does supplement my retirement very nicely, if I can keep Uncle Sam's pesky fingers out of my pocket.
    I notice the page numbers are now absent from Amazon and the prices have changed since my last post. Were they incorrect before? I'll make an edit to that post to note their change.
    I'll also mention to you that searching for Cherokee Parks on Amazon doesn't bring back your book. I had to find it by looking up the title. It might be helpful to fix this.

    Therefore, I apologize if I was too caustic, or if I misunderstood the nature of the comments. It was not my intent to create a furor or draw any more ire. I was merely trying to give another side to the story being told here.
    As I say, that's fine. We've seen it all before, we understand people are, quite naturally, defensive when they feel their publisher is being tarnished. You're right to say we don't know who you are beyond your pen name; the opposite is also true. Plenty of people on this board are writers you've heard of, some are agents, some are editors. People with the "Absolute Sage" title (like Gillhoughly) have it for a reason - I doubt they have any MSS on a pile they might like to send to SBP.

    I do have a question I'd appreciate an answer to - do you have a connection with this publisher other than as an author? By this I mean - are you, or are you related to or otherwise associated with, the owners, editors etc of SBP?

  12. #12
    Rode Hard 'n' Put Up Wet CherokeeParks's Avatar
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    "The length of time the publisher has been in business is not my problem (although it's useful to know they are approaching the 2 year mark - most publishers who don't know what they are doing go out of business by then). I, as an author, care about whether they can sell my book better than I can."

    No doubt an honest concern, Theo81. But is there ever a true guarantee that this will be so? One of my previous publishers printed an inordinate number of one of my books, then promptly marketed it to the wrong target audience. It took nearly a year to get it all straightened out, and only after they decided to pull it because of "slow sales" did they realize what I was telling them was actually true. Remedied, but not until they had expended their marketing budget on it. Needless to say, I was relieved when the contract finally expired and I chose not to renew with them. Sadly, it was a "timed" piece, directly related to a series of events that had long since passed by then, both from the media and the public eyes. It was also the last "timed" piece I ever wrote.

    "we don't ask for any money up front" - Good point! One of the things the founder has overlooked in the changes being made to the wording on the site. It was put in by a former "publishing manager" who was really clueless, and long gone now. I'll make sure the founder is made well aware of the fact it's still up there and needs to be reworded to reflect the real facts.

    "SBP cannot be said to be a great publisher in comparison with others if they are being compared to publishers who are out and out scam artists..." "this area of the board has two purposes - to keep writers safe from scammers, and to make an informed choice about where to send their work."

    My desire as well, to protect us all from the cheats and crooks who dwell in internet coves and cubbies lying in wait for the new or unsuspecting writer as well as the "old hand". My intent originally was to make sure others know that SBP is not one of them, and certainly don't deserve to be included in any comparison with the unscrupulous.

    "I notice the page numbers are now absent from Amazon and the prices have changed since my last post. Were they incorrect before? I'll make an edit to that post to note their change. I'll also mention to you that searching for Cherokee Parks on Amazon doesn't bring back your book. I had to find it by looking up the title. It might be helpful to fix this."

    Thanks for noting the corrections. Much appreciated. Again, not having their own IT person has caused some real problems with not only Amazon listings, but others as well. And while that shouldn't be the charge of an IT tech with no publishing or marketing experience, it was until recently. Expect many "corrections" to be made in the near future. Like all start-ups, they have experienced their share of faulty decisions and people just collecting a paycheck but have fought through them and are making corrections as they are necessary.

    As for the MSS lying around gathering dust, don't we all have one or two even though we are considered "successful" writers? Yes, I include myself in that list, as even though I am new in here I'm certainly not new to the game. Just a tad more insight into my writing career for you. I nearly died a few years back. Well, more than a decade ago. Dancing with the devil for those 10+ years I concentrated on survival, not writing. The publisher I had been contracted with previously was decent, but not very understanding when I wanted to switch genres for my "comeback". Their stance was that they would "consider" publishing my Westerns if I would continue to write what they wanted to publish. At my age, I decided to start over with a new pen name and get back to the type of stories I had enjoyed as a young man, even if it isn't the "hottest" genre going. So, I'm back to writing because I enjoy it, not because I need the money to survive.

    Related? No, not in an ordinary sense of the word. But I firmly believe in the goals and direction of SBP, and in the passion of its founder. As a fellow author, he, too, has gone through many of the things the rest of us have experienced and is determined to make sure other authors never experience those kinds of exasperation with his publishing house. In just the last few days, over the weekend to be exact, I have considered his offer to act as a consultant to that very purpose. I'll give him my answer this morning, and that answer will be yes. I hadn't really considered it seriously until you, and others, made your considered and valuable points in this post, so I thank you for helping me make that decision, even though you unwittingly, and maybe unwillingly, did so.

    As an old cowboy who still lives by the "Code of the West", and as a Marine who served meritoriously, I give you, and all the members of the AW community, my solemn word that as a consultant I will do my best to see to it that anyone who joins the SBP family of authors is treated fairly and squarely.

    "May the metaphors be with you!"

  13. #13
    On a small world west of wonder LindaJeanne's Avatar
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    Cherokee Parks, thanks for coming back and joining the discussion .

    For some background that may help explain things, The publishers listed on this site generally fall into three categories:
    • Cons that are intentionally taking advantage of the naivety and inexperience of hopeful writers
    • Folks with no publishing experience who mean well (they are often frustrated authors themselves), but who's ventures crash and burn within a year or two (often taking their authors' manuscripts with them, with publication rights being tied up in bankruptcy court indefinitely.)
    • Those that are the right publisher for someone, but not for everyone -- since no publisher is right for everyone.


    The second category -- well meaning people who don't know what they are doing -- is by far the largest. Hence our caution in evaluating new publishers and the experience they bring. It's also why we point out things that may seem nit-picky, when they seem to indicate a lack of experience.

    And, since no publisher is right for everyone, even those clearly in the third category still require the same questions and answers.

    Scrutinizing a publisher doesn't imply an assumption of guilt -- just an assumption that authors should scrutinize any publisher before signing up with them.
    Last edited by LindaJeanne; 12-17-2012 at 08:23 PM.
    "A story told, that can't be real / yet somehow must reflect the truth we feel..." -- Black Sabbath / Ronnie James Dio

  14. #14
    Rode Hard 'n' Put Up Wet CherokeeParks's Avatar
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    Thanks, LindaJeanne. Like all publishers, SBP also has been hit with their share of scamming writers, mostly plagiarists, or those with an agenda not befitting the craft. Now that I am "officially" a consultant, I've gotten a first hand look this morning at some of the BS they've submitted, and am going through the list of submissions helping them decide who gets the nod and who gets the boot.

    #'s 1 and 2 on your list are certainly of a concern to all of us, since they give all publishers a bad rep, kind of like the "black days of country" back in Nashville some 40 years ago where the music publishers who were crooks outnumbered the good ones nearly 2 to 1. And, yes, I'm also a published songwriter and composer, though my hearing loss has certainly put a damper on that! And I agree, ALL publishers should be well scrutinized, nor is any one publisher right for everyone. Still, somewhere along the way one has to take a chance sometime as Simon & Schuster and the other big guns are simply too hard to get placed with, even with a great agent. They're still smarting over my decision to simply walk away because I wanted to take my writing in a different direction. The last words my rep there had to say to me were, "You just don't do THAT to us. WE decide whose careers are made, NOT the authors or their attempts at scribbling!" Gee, is it any wonder I don't think too highly of them now?

    My agent of record was retiring, and Cherry Weiner, a great agent, wasn't accepting any new clients, and still isn't the last time we talked, so I decided to go it on my own. I kind of like rep'ing myself, especially now that I've found a home. The process took nearly 3 years, and I passed on several publication offers along the way. Fortunate? Yes, and in more ways than one. I am blessed to have had good teachers, and people who tried to watch out for me in the early years - even though I often failed to listen. But there simply is no better teacher than experience, even if that experience means rejection after rejection as you climb the ladders and learn the craft. And Heaven help you if you make a drastic change of genres!! HAH!

    So now that I am, again, "officially" a consultant for SBP, here comes the obligatory pitch. Are you a new author, or unsatisfied with your current publisher, give SBP a serious look. If it's not your fit, so be it. But if it is it will be a great experience. Are you an agent looking to get your writer placed? Call and ask for "Author Relations". You may need to make an extra call or two to get there, but you'll never consider it a waste of your or your author's time.

    One caution, they aren't going to publish Erotica, so if that's your genre - Good Luck elsewhere. (Ad ends here)

    “If we're growing, we're always going to be out of our comfort zone." - John Maxwell

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by CherokeeParks View Post
    "The length of time the publisher has been in business is not my problem (although it's useful to know they are approaching the 2 year mark - most publishers who don't know what they are doing go out of business by then). I, as an author, care about whether they can sell my book better than I can."

    No doubt an honest concern, Theo81. But is there ever a true guarantee that this will be so? One of my previous publishers printed an inordinate number of one of my books, then promptly marketed it to the wrong target audience. It took nearly a year to get it all straightened out, and only after they decided to pull it because of "slow sales" did they realize what I was telling them was actually true. Remedied, but not until they had expended their marketing budget on it. Needless to say, I was relieved when the contract finally expired and I chose not to renew with them. Sadly, it was a "timed" piece, directly related to a series of events that had long since passed by then, both from the media and the public eyes. It was also the last "timed" piece I ever wrote.
    There are no such things as true guarantees. However, a publisher who has an established network of readers to whom they can market a book directly, who has the contacts to get an author interviewed or making guest posts in places pertinent to their genre, who regularly gets their books reviewed on book blogs which the readers of the publisher's genre *read* is a much better prospect than me going it alone. It's one of the things to consider for an author looking at a small press.

    And you are right that big publishers get it spectacularly wrong too. Jonny Geller mentioned this issue in his Agents Manifesto in the Bookseller earlier this year - if the author is unhappy the publisher has a problem whether they recognise it or not.



    "we don't ask for any money up front" - Good point! One of the things the founder has overlooked in the changes being made to the wording on the site. It was put in by a former "publishing manager" who was really clueless, and long gone now. I'll make sure the founder is made well aware of the fact it's still up there and needs to be reworded to reflect the real facts.
    The issue is compounded by other parts of the site. A publisher sells books. When I go to the homepage of SBP, the first thing I want to see is a book they have for sale. I don't want to see boxes telling me they can help me achieve my publishing goals - unless SBP were a vanity publisher. I don't want to have to go elsewhere to see what books they sell. Publishers websites should be aimed at readers, not writers.

    "SBP cannot be said to be a great publisher in comparison with others if they are being compared to publishers who are out and out scam artists..." "this area of the board has two purposes - to keep writers safe from scammers, and to make an informed choice about where to send their work."

    My desire as well, to protect us all from the cheats and crooks who dwell in internet coves and cubbies lying in wait for the new or unsuspecting writer as well as the "old hand". My intent originally was to make sure others know that SBP is not one of them, and certainly don't deserve to be included in any comparison with the unscrupulous.
    Read the threads. All publishers are held to the same standards.

    "I notice the page numbers are now absent from Amazon and the prices have changed since my last post. Were they incorrect before? I'll make an edit to that post to note their change. I'll also mention to you that searching for Cherokee Parks on Amazon doesn't bring back your book. I had to find it by looking up the title. It might be helpful to fix this."

    Thanks for noting the corrections. Much appreciated. Again, not having their own IT person has caused some real problems with not only Amazon listings, but others as well. And while that shouldn't be the charge of an IT tech with no publishing or marketing experience, it was until recently. Expect many "corrections" to be made in the near future. Like all start-ups, they have experienced their share of faulty decisions and people just collecting a paycheck but have fought through them and are making corrections as they are necessary.
    18 months is not a start-up. The problems should have been fixed. Why on earth would an author want to go with a press who can't manage to get their Amazon listings correct? You mentioned before you don't sell many through Amazon - maybe that has something to do with the fact it's too difficult to find your books on there.



    As for the MSS lying around gathering dust, don't we all have one or two even though we are considered "successful" writers? Yes, I include myself in that list, as even though I am new in here I'm certainly not new to the game. Just a tad more insight into my writing career for you. I nearly died a few years back. Well, more than a decade ago. Dancing with the devil for those 10+ years I concentrated on survival, not writing. The publisher I had been contracted with previously was decent, but not very understanding when I wanted to switch genres for my "comeback". Their stance was that they would "consider" publishing my Westerns if I would continue to write what they wanted to publish. At my age, I decided to start over with a new pen name and get back to the type of stories I had enjoyed as a young man, even if it isn't the "hottest" genre going. So, I'm back to writing because I enjoy it, not because I need the money to survive.
    That sounds fair enough to me. If I was published by the feminist press Virago, I'm not going to also expect them to take on a Tom Clancy style action thriller just because I wrote it. Did your house or your editor actually publish westerns?

    Related? No, not in an ordinary sense of the word.
    In what sense of the word, then? Full disclosure on this matter would be appreciated. I believe in coincidence, but I also believe in pingbacks.

    Are you the publisher, connected to the publisher, or did they alert their authors to this thread?

    But I firmly believe in the goals and direction of SBP, and in the passion of its founder. As a fellow author, he, too, has gone through many of the things the rest of us have experienced and is determined to make sure other authors never experience those kinds of exasperation with his publishing house. In just the last few days, over the weekend to be exact, I have considered his offer to act as a consultant to that very purpose. I'll give him my answer this morning, and that answer will be yes. I hadn't really considered it seriously until you, and others, made your considered and valuable points in this post, so I thank you for helping me make that decision, even though you unwittingly, and maybe unwillingly, did so.

    Knock it off. You don't have a score card. There's nothing to win. Plus you're in contravention of your cowboy code.


    Quote Originally Posted by CherokeeParks View Post
    Thanks, LindaJeanne. Like all publishers, SBP also has been hit with their share of scamming writers, mostly plagiarists, or those with an agenda not befitting the craft. Now that I am "officially" a consultant, I've gotten a first hand look this morning at some of the BS they've submitted, and am going through the list of submissions helping them decide who gets the nod and who gets the boot.
    Consultant ... acquisitions editor? Marketing Guru? Public Relations officer?

    I think that if you can improve your website so you look like a publisher rather than a vanity press and demonstrate you can do more than we can do alone, you'll attract a higher calibre of slush. Behaving like a human being rather than a point scoring Good Ol' Boy would also help.

    #'s 1 and 2 on your list are certainly of a concern to all of us, since they give all publishers a bad rep, kind of like the "black days of country" back in Nashville some 40 years ago where the music publishers who were crooks outnumbered the good ones nearly 2 to 1. And, yes, I'm also a published songwriter and composer, though my hearing loss has certainly put a damper on that! And I agree, ALL publishers should be well scrutinized, nor is any one publisher right for everyone. Still, somewhere along the way one has to take a chance sometime as Simon & Schuster and the other big guns are simply too hard to get placed with, even with a great agent. They're still smarting over my decision to simply walk away because I wanted to take my writing in a different direction. The last words my rep there had to say to me were, "You just don't do THAT to us. WE decide whose careers are made, NOT the authors or their attempts at scribbling!" Gee, is it any wonder I don't think too highly of them now?
    A company as large as S&S is going to manage to employ at least one arsehole. If this editor is still working there (I assume by "rep", you mean editor) maybe drop a note in the S&S thread here so we know about it.



    So now that I am, again, "officially" a consultant for SBP, here comes the obligatory pitch. Are you a new author, or unsatisfied with your current publisher, give SBP a serious look. If it's not your fit, so be it. But if it is it will be a great experience. Are you an agent looking to get your writer placed? Call and ask for "Author Relations". You may need to make an extra call or two to get there, but you'll never consider it a waste of your or your author's time.

    One caution, they aren't going to publish Erotica, so if that's your genre - Good Luck elsewhere. (Ad ends here)

    “If we're growing, we're always going to be out of our comfort zone." - John Maxwell
    Give us a one line pitch as to why we should sub to your press over anybody else.
    What do you offer? What is it you have with is special and unique and which I - who am enormously good looking and clever - cannot do myself and have to have in my life this instant?

  16. #16
    Rode Hard 'n' Put Up Wet CherokeeParks's Avatar
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    Just now starting to get the entire picture of what makes SBP tick from the inside view, I'm looking into why certain decisions were made and by whom, Theo81. I can only answer, for now, what they've done for me - besides book signings. Mass email marketing to targeted readers, radio interviews with people like Judith Piazza, press releases to media sources I could never reach, and ads in their art magazine with circulations to a population of some 2 million Texans (we Texans love to support other Texans) as well as creating new wholesale placements with independent brick and mortar bookstores.

    As to the appearance of the website and how things are presented, great observations. I came to SBP as an author through a personal contact, and never bothered to look at their website until just this last Summer. But in looking at it with a critical eye, you are spot on. I'll make note of this in my first status report to the founder, which will come later this month as I evaluate what I'm seeing and hearing from this site as well as from other authors.

    Getting the right people in the right places seems to have been the major problem with development of resources like Amazon in the past. Add to that "managers" who couldn't manage (something I dealt with myself early on) and the difficulty of hiring good people with real talent willing to relocate to the publisher's area also seems to be a compounding issue. Those things are being remedied, and there are now some pretty sharp people in place. Given the mistakes made early on, and the depth they were imbedded, I think it will still take another month or so to get all the elements on the proper track. Again, I'm just getting a more in-depth look at things, so I can't give you a full evaluation. I can only say what I see for now.

    Yes, they published Westerns, and still do. And that editor is gone, released some 6 months later during a "downsizing". Water under the bridge now, but still a valuable lesson for others when it comes to future works options in contracts. Unreasonable expectations by both sides of the publishing specter cause many problems for the unsuspecting writer. And your genre point is, indeed, an exceptional one.

    Related? I most assuredly am not the publisher, and am connected as an author under contract, and as of yesterday as a consultant. I was alerted to this post by a friend, simple as that. He, too, is a member but has asked for anonymity. I joined this site originally a few years back, but 2 computers and a couple of hospital stays later I'll be danged if I could remember my user name or password so I started over from scratch.

    You misread me as badly as I did you, Theo81. I am too old to care about points or games. I simply tell it like it is, and THAT is a definite part of my "code". The consulting I'm doing is an evaluation of what needs fixed and/or improved, including the submission and review process. I don't have, or want, any fancy title. Consultant in the simplest sense of the word is all there is to see here. No hidden agendas or underlying motives. Just trying to get my publisher steered in the right direction to the benefit of all involved, including me and my works. To that extent, and that extent only, do I have a vested interest.

    MY website is just the way I want it, but I'll recommend that the publisher make what we both consider necessary changes to HIS website. Fair enough? Again, if you think I'm playing some game, you've totally misread me. I could care less about "scoring" anything but more book sales on my works. Isn't that what we all want in the grand scheme of things? Oh, and I AM a good ol' boy. Care to come on down, saddle up and take a ride with me? We can BBQ some brisket and eat until we can't eat any more. I gave up alcohol years ago, but you can drink to your heart's content and I won't care one bit. Well, as long as you clean up after yourself!

    Now, I don't know how enormous you are, but I'm pretty good sized myself. And I look good with a cleaver in my hand chopping up brisket for sandwiches. I wish I had a one-liner to give you, but I'm no marketing guru or genius, nor am I part of their decision making management team. It's up to them to come up with that "one line" that attracts new readers, and writers. All I can tell you is that I really like what these folks are doing, and if I can help them in any way I'll sure do it.

    Oh, and that offer for good Texas style BBQ brisket made right in my smoker wasn't BS, Theo81. It stands, if you can take being around a good ol' boy and his Texas cowboy drawl for more than an hour.

  17. #17
    Rode Hard 'n' Put Up Wet CherokeeParks's Avatar
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    A short reply regarding Amazon and my name. It seems there are quite a few books with Cherokee in either the title or the author's name. I had to go to the bottom of page 2 and the top of page 3 to find all 4 of my listings. So the problem doesn't appear to be any fault of any entry scenario, just too common a name. There are even Cherokee Parks entries about actual Cherokee Parks, so maybe I should have taken the pen name T'salagi Parks.

  18. #18
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    CherokeeParks:
    I also had my doubts about this publishing group, until I met with the founder and president, a fellow author who has faced the same problems we all face when dealing with agents and publishers. His vision is now one I share wholeheartedly, because I've seen what it can do.
    CherokeeParks:
    The editing staff is a joy to work with, and believe me when I say their credentials are impeccable.
    Hi Cherokee. Can you share the name of the founder and the name of the editing staff you've worked with?

    MM

  19. #19
    Rode Hard 'n' Put Up Wet CherokeeParks's Avatar
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    The founder is Dr. Oladayo Sanusi, name given with his permission, a highly successful gentleman with impeccable credentials. As to the editing staff and other employees, there is a "meet the staff" link on the site. That will give you a partial list of key people involved with SBP, as well as email addresses. Feel free to contact any of them.

    As for Theo81's complaint about not seeing book titles, apparently he didn't really look around the site very much. Each of the sister sites are designed in the same manner to create a flow from one to the next. There is a shopping cart in the upper corner, as well as a "carousel" with 10 titles featured and a link to the "shopping area" of the site. Just scroll down the home page a bit and there it is.

    Those still concerned with the "No Up-Front" statements, a simple look at the sample contract should put your minds at ease. While it is a "sample" contract based on a standard publishing contract, there are some subtleties not shown from the official contract. Why give away the reason why authors are so satisfied with SBP to the competition by showing the terms and conditions included in the official contract? But you'll just have to trust that not everyone in this industry is out to steal from you and take a chance. A submission, once they re-open, will get you a serious review of your work, acceptance or rejection within 30 days, and a concentrated effort to create a cover while your ms goes through the editing process.

    The structure of this group is unlike any other in the publishing business that I've seen, and it works. What more can I say?

  20. #20
    a demon for tea EMaree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CherokeeParks View Post
    As for Theo81's complaint about not seeing book titles, apparently he didn't really look around the site very much. Each of the sister sites are designed in the same manner to create a flow from one to the next. There is a shopping cart in the upper corner, as well as a "carousel" with 10 titles featured and a link to the "shopping area" of the site. Just scroll down the home page a bit and there it is.
    Hi Cherokee, I'm Emma -- a writer with some web design experience and a significant education in site layouts and readability.

    This is a publisher's website. The aim should be to sell its books, first and foremost, and this is usually a much higher priority than enticing writers to submit. Aiming the site at writers more than book buyers is generally considered a red flag.

    If visitors from the forum are having trouble finding books, it could be turning away potential readers as well. It might be worth considering if the site is efficiently laid out for it's intended purpose.

    When you say "sister sites" do you mean pages on the website (e.g. 'Our Services') or other publishing houses?

    The founder is Dr. Oladayo Sanusi, name given with his permission, a highly successful gentleman with impeccable credentials.
    So he's a writer as well -- that's this gentleman, is that right? In fact, he's written quite a lot of the books published by this house.

    EDIT:

    Quote Originally Posted by CherokeeParks View Post
    a simple look at the sample contract should put your minds at ease. While it is a "sample" contract based on a standard publishing contract, there are some subtleties not shown from the official contract. Why give away the reason why authors are so satisfied with SBP to the competition by showing the terms and conditions included in the official contract? But you'll just have to trust that not everyone in this industry is out to steal from you and take a chance.
    Personally, as a writer, mysterious "subtleties" do not put my mind at ease. They actually do the opposite.
    But I have a healthy dose of paranoia about contracts and I don't trust anyone in this industry not to try and pull one over on me.
    Last edited by EMaree; 12-19-2012 at 07:10 PM.
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  21. #21
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Some of the blurbs for Sanusi's books are quite simply appalling:

    There are so much hidden secrets in the human society. The human body is such a concealing vessel of which only time and decay can reveal.
    The gory story of a physician who gained rapid popularity by preaching what he does not practice to his community. His life and time were depicted by colorful encounters with his patients. He has a lot of candor with great admiration. He criticized everything on earth like there is no tomorrow. He described the human race as been assaulted and bastardized by every means to look beautiful. While married, he kept a secret love affair. His secret lover turned against him and wanted to leach on him. The plot changed to anger and vengeance and blood, as he later found out that he has bitten more than he could chew.
    http://www.sarahbookpublishing.com/s...reacher-story/

    The energy-draining march of this work is compensated by few interspersed soothing songs and sweet supplications, which are factual reflections of the author’s appeals and style.
    http://www.sarahbookpublishing.com/s...tion-of-poems/
    All his books appear to have been published by two vanity presses, iUniverse and PublishAmerica. He may well be "a highly successful gentleman with impeccable credentials", but those credentials don't include being commercially published. Nor do they have anything to do with setting up as a publisher.

    I've just had another look at the non-Sanusi blurbs and most of them have grammatical and/or punctuation errors. This doesn't look professional.

    There's a meet-the-staff page here:
    http://www.sarahbookpublishing.com/staff-directory/

    Experts might want to have a look at the sample contract:
    http://www.sarahbookpublishing.com/w..._Contract2.pdf

    The site also features a testimonial from an author who's clearly delighted with the service he received from Sarah Books. I took advantage of the 'Look Inside' feature to get some idea of what SB's editing of said book is like and I wasn't impressed at all; it's a mass of run-on sentences, weird punctuation and confused tenses.
    Last edited by aliceshortcake; 12-19-2012 at 08:49 PM.

  22. #22
    On a small world west of wonder LindaJeanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EMaree View Post
    This is a publisher's website. The aim should be to sell its books, first and foremost, and this is usually a much higher priority than enticing writers to submit. Aiming the site at writers more than book buyers is generally considered a red flag.
    @CherokeeParks: The reason for this is that a business usually directs its website towards its customers -- i.e., the people who give it money.

    When a publisher has a site directed first at authors, that's usually a red flag that they get their money from authors: either by charging fees up-front, or at the back-end (example: Publish America doesn't charge up-front, but they pressure authors to buy copies of their own over-priced, poorly produced books, and to spend $$$ on worthless "marketing packages" that do nothing at all to help sell the books. The comment about "no upfront fees" raised red flags because it sounds like a classic PublishAmerica hook -- which I'm sure is NOT what the publisher intends.)

    I have no doubt that this publisher is very well-intentioned, and impeccably successful in other areas. But details like a website aimed at authors make it clear that he's not experienced specifically in the publishing industry -- he needs to make clear what he's bringing to the table so that an author would submit to him rather than a more experienced publisher.

    So far, all your arguments seem to boil down to his being pleasant to deal with, not a scam artist, and he's interested in your genre. While "integrity", "not a scam" and "interested in your genre" are pre-requirements for choosing a publisher, and "pleasant to work with" is a nice plus, these are just baseline -- not a reason to choose one publisher over the many others.

    So, give us the pitch: tell us what Sarah Book Publishing brings to the table for an author to submit there rather than to another also-non-scam small-press that accepts their genre, (a press run by people with publishing industry specific experience)?

    Edited to add:
    Overstruck a bit of this post, because I re-read the thread and saw this bit (which I had forgotten)
    Quote Originally Posted by CherokeeParks View Post
    Just now starting to get the entire picture of what makes SBP tick from the inside view, I'm looking into why certain decisions were made and by whom, Theo81. I can only answer, for now, what they've done for me - besides book signings. Mass email marketing to targeted readers, radio interviews with people like Judith Piazza, press releases to media sources I could never reach, and ads in their art magazine with circulations to a population of some 2 million Texans (we Texans love to support other Texans) as well as creating new wholesale placements with independent brick and mortar bookstores.
    But that contract still scares me -- not something I would sign.
    Last edited by LindaJeanne; 12-19-2012 at 10:57 PM.
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  23. #23
    On a small world west of wonder LindaJeanne's Avatar
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    Just took a quick glance at the contract, and a pair of things jumped out at me: 1. The contract is for life-of-copyright 2. the reversion-of-rights clause indicates that the book needs to go out of print for the author to get rights back.

    The Work shall not be deemed "out of print" within the meaning of this Paragraph as long as it is available for sale either from stock in the Publisher's or licensee's warehouse or in regular sales channels.
    Intentionally or not, this means (i believe; someone with more experience/knowledge can correct me) that (intentionally or not), this clause allows the publisher to keep control of the work for the life of the author plus seventy years, as long as they keep an ebook version available on Kindle/B&N/iTunes, while doing nothing to promote it, and not making print runs.

    If this sounds paranoid, realize there are a lot of authors who are in exactly this position -- so this is something we are often warned to check carefully for in contracts. (And the publisher's current good intentions will mean diddly-squat if the business passes on to someone else who chooses to interpret the contract differently.)

    Edited to Add: Could someone who knows more about publishing contracts take a look at the "option for next work" clause? I don't feel qualified to comment on it:

    The Author grants the Publisher the option to publish his or her next three book-length works on the same terms and conditions as are set forth herein and will submit the manuscripts thereof to the Publisher prior to showing it to any other publisher. The Publisher shall have ninety (90) days in which to advise the Author if it is going to exercise said option and upon what terms, but it shall not be required to exercise it within six (6) months following the first publication of the Work. If the Publisher does not exercise its option, or if the parties do not agree upon the terms within thirty (30) days after the Publisher has so notified the Author, the Author shall be free to arrange for publication elsewhere, provided, however, that prior to the Author's making a contract with respect to such new work with another publisher, the terms thereof shall be submitted to the Publisher who shall have thirty (30) days to notify the Author that it will publish the said new work on those terms.
    I seem to recall a discussion about how a clause such as the bolded point can result in an author being trapped with a publisher for the rest of their career-- since "the same terms and conditions" would include extending the option to the NEXT book as well. Is this accurate?

    (While technically, someone could submit three book-length manuscripts that consist of nothing but "all work and no play make Jack a dull boy" over and over, if the original contract has a low advance, a publisher could accept one just to perpetuate the clause. See my prior comment about the current publisher's good intentions meaning nothing if the contract somehow passes on to someone who chooses to interpret it by-the-letter.)
    Last edited by LindaJeanne; 12-19-2012 at 08:26 PM.
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  24. #24
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    I'm concerned by this "subtleties" thing. I don't want "subtleties" from any professional organisation, I want everything clearly stated in my contract.

  25. #25
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    General contract observations (and I stress that I am not a lawyer, so this isn't legal advice--just experience-based commentary):

    They are using a template I've seen before, with some changes. Basically, it's a life-of-copyright contract (though see below) with a completely inadequate reversion clause (rather than tying out-of-print and rights reversion to specific sales goals, as is advisable to prevent a publisher from sitting on the rights to a book that isn't selling or being promoted, it leaves the OOP decision entirely to the publisher's discretion). It's also an all-rights contract from a small press with no apparent ability to exploit most of the rights demanded.

    Other concerns, taken in order as they appear in the contract:

    - There's no stated time period in which the publisher must publish or else return rights (say, 12 to 18 months). This is essential, or the publisher can sit on rights indefinitely without ever publishing.

    - The editing clause (Clause 2.C.) empowers the publisher to edit at will "provided the meaning of the text is not materially altered." That can cover a lot of ground, including wholesale abridgement and stylistic changes.

    - Clause 2.G., which states that the contract runs for 7 years and then terminates, directly contradicts the life-of-copyright grant of rights. It also doesn't state when the contract begins to run. Contracts that begin to run on publication (as opposed to on signing) can be a nightmare when, as in this contract, there's no stated publication timeframe.

    - Clause 3.A., bizarrely, makes the author responsible for including a copyright notice in the finished book. This is more properly the publisher's obligation, since it's the publisher that does the typesetting.

    - Clause 9.B.2: can they seriously be proposing to pay a royalty of 5% on ebooks??

    - Clause 9.C. (royalty statements) makes no sense. It seems to say that statements of account will be rendered 3 times a year, but only up to December 31 of the preceding year.

    - Clause 9.D. empowers the publisher to set a reserve against returns, but makes no provision for zeroing out the reserve.

    - Clause 10 (Revisions) is appropriate for a nonfiction book, which may need to be revised from time to time in order to produce a new, updated edition. It does not belong in a fiction contract.

    - The second paragraph of Clause 11 sounds a lot as if the publisher is expecting the author to buy 100 copies of his or her own book:
    The Publisher shall furnish to the Author, one hundred (100) copies of each edition of the Work published by the Publisher at the above listed forty percent (40%) from the sales price, Author shall have ninety days (90) interest free to pay Publisher for the copies received by Author under this agreement.
    - The Option clause (Clause 22) is completely unacceptable. Ideally, an option clause should claim only the author's next book in the same genre, on terms to be negotiated. This clause claims the author's next 3 books, on the same terms as the current contract. Since the subsequent contracts will presumably include the same option clause, this amounts to a perpetual closed loop, with the publisher always able to claim the author's next 3 books. Additionally, if author and publisher don't agree on terms, the author can market the option books elsewhere, but if he or she gets an offer, the publisher has the right to publish if it is willing to match the offer.

    In sum: not a contract I'd suggest that any author sign in its current form.

    Could it be negotiated to make it better? Possibly, if the publisher is willing, but "better" would require really substantial changes, which even negotiation-friendly publishers aren't always willing to make.

    Additionally, when authors encounter bad contracts, they should ask themselves not just whether they can negotiate with the publisher, but what it says about the publisher that it would offer such a poor contract in the first place.

    - Victoria

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