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Thread: High Hill Press

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW ChelseaWriter's Avatar
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    High Hill Press

    I didn't see a post for this one yet...?

    A former Creative Writing student of mine has submitted to this press, and she sent me the link to get my input. Has anyone had any experience with them?

    H!gh H!ll Press

    Thanks in advance.


    ETA -- here's an interview/article my student sent to me about them.
    Last edited by ChelseaWriter; 12-02-2012 at 06:20 AM.

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  2. #2
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Never heard of them.

    Their editing process sounds quite odd. I've never head of 'galleys' being used in this way.
    Once we have accepted your book, and both parties have signed a contract, we will begin the galley process. Galleys will be printed and sent to you to edit. We trust our editors and when they make a suggestion it is always for the good of the book. We also do as many galleys as it takes to make your book the best it can be so sometimes this can take months.

  3. #3
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    A quick Google reveals that HHP started out as a retirement business for owners Louella and Brian Turner, and that in their first year they published 40 books for more than 30 authors.

    From the link quoted in the OP:

    “We try to put out good books that someone in New York will read and say 'Why didn’t we publish that?'” Turner said.
    Well, had the author submitted their work to a major NY publisher instead of HHP they could have published it, couldn't they? Which is one good reason to start at the top and work your way down.

    From the HHP website:

    High Hill Press was established in the winter of 2008. It was simply created to offer writers a small niche between the huge New York publishing houses, and the often high-priced print on demands. We are not a self-publisher or a vanity press. We are simply a small press. Please note when submitting to us that we turn down nearly 75% of the books we see. The biggest reason is that the work needs editing, or that the writer simply does not know the craft. Just having a good story is not enough.
    An acceptance rate of 25% is much higher than that of major commercial publishers.

    Another reason you might get a rejection from High Hill, or any publisher, comes down to marketing. If you're not willing to get out there and push your book, if you can't do book signings, or don't have the time to do talks or events where other authors are invited, then you might not be ready to publish.
    "Any publisher"? Really?

    No-one could accuse HHP of concealing the fact that they expect authors to market their own work:

    I tell people at our marketing meetings that we're back to the days of Jacqueline Susann. You have to purchase your own books, keep them in the trunk of your car, and hit the road. If you don't know the story about Ms. Susann and her runaway hit, Valley of the Dolls, you should look it up. In a biography written about Jacqueline Susann by Barbara Seaman is this quote: Jackie and her husband bought truckloads of her books from the stores which why knew were surveyed for the best-seller lists so as to accelerate demand for the book." Hey, I say...if it works go for it. And apparently it worked for Jacqueline Susann. Not one literary critic in the country wrote anything nice about Valley of the Dolls, yet it made the New York Bestseller List and became one of the most popular books ever.
    How the heck is this relevant? Susann's book was published by Random House (I think) and was already in bookstores. She didn't buy "truckloads of books" from her publisher! What would have happened if Susann had published Valley of the Dolls through a small independent press with no marketing or distribution to speak of? It's my guess that it would probably have sunk without trace.

    As editor of High Hill Press Review and owner of High Hill Press, a small publishing company, I've noticed a disturbing fact when reviewing manuscripts. Most people can write wonderful stories, create intriguing and memorable characters, and put you into the world they create, but they can't edit.
    "Most people can write wonderful stories"...HHP must have a highly untypical slush pile. Perhaps this explains the 25% acceptance rate.

    Even if they know the craft, their work is full of simple errors they overlook because they're too close to their own words. Their brains tell them what should be there when they review their manuscripts, not what is actually on the page. I'm guilty of the same thing. I can write clever comments and fast-paced short stories full of zany and wonderful characters, but I can't edit my own work. Dusty Richards, a good friend of mine and author of 110 New York published books, and several High Hill Press books, describes the problem this way..."Our mistakes are like prairie dogs. When we bop one of them back into the hole, another one pops up somewhere else."

    But we're writers, not prairie dog hunters, so what do we do? We hire an editor. I often pass up beautiful books because they aren't polished enough to go to press. Unlike New York, I don't have a staff of 30 working on one manuscript. If every manuscript I read had been proof read by an editor, they'd all be accepted and find themselves on the bookstore shelves. But sadly, I've been turning down way more books than I accept.

    Whether you're sending your manuscript to a lit magazine, or have a finished book that you're going to start sending out to publishers, make sure your chances for acceptance aren't diminished because of simple grammar errors, or problems with the plot, or mistakes with characters and events.
    Just a minute...are potential HHP authors being advised to have their work professionally edited before submitting? If so, I'm at a loss to understand what the six editors employed by HHP actually do. HHP accepts literary fiction, mainstream fiction, YA, children's, fantasy, science fiction, westerns, mysteries and short story collections. Their anthologies also include essays and poetry. Each editor specializes in different areas, and submissions are sent directly to them. It seems a bit odd to me, and I can't help noticing that none the four editors for whom biographical info is provided seems to have professional experience:

    Literary Fiction: Lonnie Whitaker

    I’m a lawyer and have undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Missouri. My non-business writing began a dozen or so years ago when I sold a magazine story. Since then I’ve taken numerous writing classes and workshops, attended conferences, and participated in writing organizations. As a summary reminder of what I’ve learned, my business card has a quotation from Mark Twain: “When you catch an adjective, kill it.”

    Fantasy, Science Fiction and Western: David Lee Kirkland
    Careers have included welfare work (in the South Bronx!), teaching high school, banking, real estate development, commercial mortgage banking, and the development and operation of assisted living facilities. The day job? Senior housing and assisted living.
    (From his own website: http://www.davidleekirkland.com/)

    Mysteries, Thrillers, and Short Story Collections: Delois McGrew

    Delois McGrew has worked as an editor since the mid-80s when she co-edited the anthologies, Word Weavers, Volumes I, II, III, and IV. She continued to edit for friends and fellow writers on an informal basis, while editing or co-editing several anthologies, including Echoes of the Ozarks, Voices, and Skipping Stones.

    During the ensuing years, she’s taken writing classes, attended conferences and workshops, and studied creative writing at Mendocino College (where she earned her degree) and Sonoma State University in California and at the University of Arkansas with Ellen Gilchrist.

    Mainstream Fiction: Chris Simpkin (WriteRight.LLC)

    Chris Simpkin has a B.S. degree in business from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri, and over fifty years of business experience in profit and non-profit organizations. She’s worked with educators, mental health professionals, human sexuality researchers Dr. William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson, attorneys, and business personnel. During these years she’s written all kinds of material (though limited to non-fiction!).

    http://www.highhillpress.com/
    HHP is at pains to point out that the company is a small independent press. What do they offer in the way of distribution, ARCs and so on?

    Advance reading copies are available if the timeline allows it. Most review publications need at least three months before the publication of your book to consider it for a review. Once the book is published it is put into distribution, listed on Amazon, sent to Barnes & Noble and Borders for possible listing, and sent to the newspaper in your area to request a review. By the time your book is published, you, the author, should have a marketing plan in place and be ready for book signings and readings and any other marketing that you've lined up.
    Reviews in your local newspaper are unlikely to sell many copies. So far HHP sounds like a standard POD.

    High Hill is a small press with the capabilities to keep your book in print forever.
    It's a POD.

    We want you to sell. That's how we make our money. But this is also why we turn a lot of great books down. If the author isn't willing to work to promote their work, then we don't see the benefits of having their book published by our press. So please, if there are things that will keep you from working to sell your book, don't query.
    I don't know exactly what is discussed in "marketing meetings", but it sounds as though HHP authors are effectively on their own when it comes to actually selling books.
    Last edited by aliceshortcake; 11-30-2012 at 04:52 AM.
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  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW ChelseaWriter's Avatar
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    Thanks so much for the input, y'all -- much appreciated!

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    I'd also add that the press owner makes many claims about being multipublished, about having a "New York agent," and about being nominated for a Pushcart Prize. All of this may well be true; I don't mean to imply at all that she is lying. (And anyone can be nominated for a Pushcart Prize, pretty much; nominations are open to any small-press editor. Again, I am not saying her nomination isn't a good thing or that her work isn't worthy of it, just clarifying.)

    But the reason I mention this is because Google searches turn up no writer website for her, no list of titles, no agent's name, nothing but interviews about this press and a couple of writers' groups to which she belongs. And an Amazon search turns up only a few anthologies which she appears to have edited. Which means for all the talk of "marketing" and the importance of author "marketing," the press owner herself hasn't done the most basic things, like having at least a Blogger or Wordpress page listing her work and a few biographical bits.

    Also, I checked a couple of titles released through this press; one had no Amazon ranking at all and the other had a ranking over 6 million. It appears they do most of their selling at flew markets or conventions, and there's nothing wrong with that, but again it doesn't indicate that word is getting out much about this press or its books.
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  6. #6
    The cake is a lie. But still cake. shaldna's Avatar
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    I was a little disturbed by this from the home page:
    But we're writers, not prairie dog hunters, so what do we do? We hire an editor. I often pass up beautiful books because they aren't polished enough to go to press. Unlike New York, I don't have a staff of 30 working on one manuscript. If every manuscript I read had been proof read by an editor, they'd all be accepted and find themselves on the bookstore shelves. But sadly, I've been turning down way more books than I accept.
    It sounds awfully like they are advising authors to hire editors before submitting to them because they are too small to do the work themselves, which isn't confidence inspiring to be honest. If I submit to a publisher I want to know that the publisher has the skills and time to work with me on my book.

    In addition, their covers are truly, terribly awful and their books are quite expensive, suggests POD.

    Only one of their editors seems to have any sort of actual editing experience, and that was back in the 80's. The others seem to have a primarily business background.

    Also, some warnings in this:

    High Hill Press is looking for good books with great writing and an author who knows the value of marketing. Here's how we operate.


    My bold - not sure what this means, but it sounds to me suspiciously like the author will have to do a heck of a lot more marketing than the publisher will.


    Once we have accepted your book, and both parties have signed a contract, we will begin the galley process. Galleys will be printed and sent to you to edit. We trust our editors and when they make a suggestion it is always for the good of the book. We also do as many galleys as it takes to make your book the best it can be so sometimes this can take months.
    Slightly odd process, seems a bit of a waste.

    During this process we will have already discussed cover ideas and our design team will be working to create an attractive cover.
    Not if the covers on their website are anything to go by they won't.


    Advance reading copies are available if the timeline allows it. Most review publications need at least three months before the publication of your book to consider it for a review.
    If time allows? Sounds like they rush books out with little planning in terms of pre-launch publicity and reviews. Not a good sign.


    Once the book is published it is put into distribution, listed on Amazon, sent to Barnes & Noble and Borders for possible listing, and sent to the newspaper in your area to request a review.
    So basically they do nothing that the author can't do themselves? No distribution, no bookstrore placement? Not good.



    By the time your book is published, you, the author, should have a marketing plan in place and be ready for book signings and readings and any other marketing that you've lined up.
    I'm not thrilled about the concept of the author taking all the responsibilty for marketing. The publisher should be on top of that in my view. Obviously the author will have to participate, but ti shouldn't be down to them alone to market their book.

    High Hill is a small press with the capabilities to keep your book in print forever. We want you to sell. That's how we make our money. But this is also why we turn a lot of great books down. If the author isn't willing to work to promote their work, then we don't see the benefits of having their book published by our press. So please, if there are things that will keep you from working to sell your book, don't query.
    And again, this seems to back up the fact that the author will do all the work or they get the heave-ho.

    Personally, based on the evidence available, I would put this on my steer-clear list.
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  7. #7
    HighHillPress
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    Setting the record straight

    Quote Originally Posted by ChelseaWriter View Post
    I didn't see a post for this one yet...?

    A former Creative Writing student of mine has submitted to this press, and she sent me the link to get my input. Has anyone had any experience with them?

    High Hill Press

    Thanks in advance.


    ETA -- here's an interview/article my student sent to me about them.

    I am Lou Turner, owner of High Hill Press. It's unfortunate that someone else decided to answer your question about High Hill, because it's obvious this person knows nothing about my company, and probably not too much about publishing as a whole.

    We are not a pod. When I say our books can stay in print forever, it's the truth. Like most university presses, and unlike commercial presses, we can keep a book in print as long as the author wants it to be. Commerical presses sometimes take a book out of print within 6 weeks and move on to the next one they think will be a better money maker. An author has a very small window to make sales. We are in it for the long haul on every book.

    As far as the way we edit, we do galleys and expect the author to be involved exactly like a good commercial press will do.

    We do not charge fees of any kind. Our editors are qualified and work their hearts out. Our cover design team is professional. We work closely with our authors. We publish good quality, great books, by wonderful writers. And each author is expected to market their books exactly the way a commercial press expects their authors to do. Unless you're Stephen King, you get no help from a commerical press. We probably do more than most, but it's still impossible to sell a book, that is the author's job. We put our books into distribution and we sell in every forum we can.

    As you can tell I'm extremely aggrivated that someone so uninformed would presume to answer your question for you about my company. And please know that I understand your question should have been asked. I don't usually join in forum discussions for this very reason. People feel the need to answer questions they are not qualified to answer. So I'm sorry for the answer you got. You should have written directly to me and I would have been happy to pick up a phone and call you with my answer. Sorry for the long response, but I felt it was needed.

    Good luck to you and good luck to your student.
    Lou Turner
    High Hill Press

  8. #8
    HighHillPress
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unimportant View Post
    Never heard of them.

    Their editing process sounds quite odd. I've never head of 'galleys' being used in this way.
    I'm going down the line and answering each uninformed comment that was posted on this forum about my company, High Hill Press.

    And this comment shows a complete lack on publishing knowledge. All reputable publishing companies use a galley system. With our company we use as many as it takes to get the book the best it can be. That's something that should be appreciated.

    Lou Turner
    High Hill Press

  9. #9
    HighHillPress
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    You are uninformed!

    Quote Originally Posted by aliceshortcake View Post
    A quick Google reveals that HHP started out as a retirement business for owners Louella and Brian Turner, and that in their first year they published 40 books for more than 30 authors.

    From the link quoted in the OP:



    Well, had the author submitted their work to a major NY publisher instead of HHP they could have published it, couldn't they? Which is one good reason to start at the top and work your way down.

    From the HHP website:



    An acceptance rate of 25% is much higher than that of major commercial publishers.



    "Any publisher"? Really?

    No-one could accuse HHP of concealing the fact that they expect authors to market their own work:



    How the heck is this relevant? Susann's book was published by Random House (I think) and was already in bookstores. She didn't buy "truckloads of books" from her publisher! What would have happened if Susann had published Valley of the Dolls through a small independent press with no marketing or distribution to speak of? It's my guess that it would probably have sunk without trace.



    "Most people can write wonderful stories"...HHP must have a highly untypical slush pile. Perhaps this explains the 25% acceptance rate.



    Just a minute...are potential HHP authors being advised to have their work professionally edited before submitting? If so, I'm at a loss to understand what the six editors employed by HHP actually do. HHP accepts literary fiction, mainstream fiction, YA, children's, fantasy, science fiction, westerns, mysteries and short story collections. Their anthologies also include essays and poetry. Each editor specializes in different areas, and submissions are sent directly to them. It seems a bit odd to me, and I can't help noticing that none the four editors for whom biographical info is provided seems to have professional experience:



    HHP is at pains to point out that the company is a small independent press. What do they offer in the way of distribution, ARCs and so on?



    Reviews in your local newspaper are unlikely to sell many copies. So far HHP sounds like a standard POD.



    It's a POD.



    I don't know exactly what is discussed in "marketing meetings", but it sounds as though HHP authors are effectively on their own when it comes to actually selling books.
    You are welcome to join one of our marketing meetings and maybe you'd learn something.

  10. #10
    HighHillPress
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    Spend your time more wisely.

    Quote Originally Posted by aliceshortcake View Post
    A quick Google reveals that HHP started out as a retirement business for owners Louella and Brian Turner, and that in their first year they published 40 books for more than 30 authors.

    From the link quoted in the OP:

    Well, had the author submitted their work to a major NY publisher instead of HHP they could have published it, couldn't they? Which is one good reason to start at the top and work your way down.

    From the HHP website:



    An acceptance rate of 25% is much higher than that of major commercial publishers.



    "Any publisher"? Really?

    No-one could accuse HHP of concealing the fact that they expect authors to market their own work:



    How the heck is this relevant? Susann's book was published by Random House (I think) and was already in bookstores. She didn't buy "truckloads of books" from her publisher! What would have happened if Susann had published Valley of the Dolls through a small independent press with no marketing or distribution to speak of? It's my guess that it would probably have sunk without trace.



    "Most people can write wonderful stories"...HHP must have a highly untypical slush pile. Perhaps this explains the 25% acceptance rate.



    Just a minute...are potential HHP authors being advised to have their work professionally edited before submitting? If so, I'm at a loss to understand what the six editors employed by HHP actually do. HHP accepts literary fiction, mainstream fiction, YA, children's, fantasy, science fiction, westerns, mysteries and short story collections. Their anthologies also include essays and poetry. Each editor specializes in different areas, and submissions are sent directly to them. It seems a bit odd to me, and I can't help noticing that none the four editors for whom biographical info is provided seems to have professional experience:



    HHP is at pains to point out that the company is a small independent press. What do they offer in the way of distribution, ARCs and so on?



    Reviews in your local newspaper are unlikely to sell many copies. So far HHP sounds like a standard POD.



    It's a POD.



    I don't know exactly what is discussed in "marketing meetings", but it sounds as though HHP authors are effectively on their own when it comes to actually selling books.
    You've spent a lot of time lifting quotes from my website, with several of them being wrong. I'd suggest that you spend this time more wisely, and perhaps learn a little more about publishing before you spew forth wrong information.

    I've learned something about forums though, anyone can say anything behind the annonymity of the internet.

    Lou Turner
    High Hill Press

  11. #11
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HighHillPress View Post
    Sorry for the long response, but I felt it was needed.
    Thanks for posting here, Lou Turner, because that way AW's tens of thousands of members (and non-member lurkers) get the information, instead of just the one person who phones you up.

    I appreciate you taking the time to give us this info, though you probably won't appreciate the conclusions I've drawn from it. Many of your statements are the same incorrect information I've seen time and time again from new publishers who either are clueless and don't know what they're talking about, or are scammers trying to mislead new authors.
    Quote Originally Posted by HighHillPress View Post
    Like most university presses, and unlike commercial presses, we can keep a book in print as long as the author wants it to be.
    Like, say, the Lord of the Rings trilogy? It was published many decades ago, yet is still in print. Publishers continue to print books as long as they have the right to and the book is selling.

    Quote Originally Posted by HighHillPress View Post
    Commerical presses sometimes take a book out of print within 6 weeks
    Can you name some examples? Heck, can you name one example?

    Quote Originally Posted by HighHillPress View Post
    Unless you're Stephen King, you get no help from a commerical press
    As the many many many commercially published authors on AW who are not Stephen King can tell you, this is utter rubbish.

    Quote Originally Posted by HighHillPress View Post
    We probably do more than most, but it's still impossible to sell a book, that is the author's job.
    It's the author's job to write the book. It's the publisher's job to sell it. If the author can both write and sell the book, why do they need a publisher? Some authors can do this, and do it well -- so they self publish.

    Quote Originally Posted by HighHillPress View Post
    As you can tell I'm extremely aggrivated that someone so uninformed would presume to answer your question for you about my company.

    We're drawing conclusions based solely on the information publicly available about your press -- which is what every other prospective author will be doing. If your website is causing authors to draw incorrect conclusions, then this thread has provided a valuable service to you.
    Last edited by Unimportant; 12-02-2012 at 04:46 AM.

  12. #12
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HighHillPress View Post
    And this comment shows a complete lack on publishing knowledge. All reputable publishing companies use a galley system. With our company we use as many as it takes to get the book the best it can be. That's something that should be appreciated.
    I know exactly what galleys are, and at what point in the editing process they appear. But I'll ask someone with the professional credentials to weigh in on this thread.

  13. #13
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    Really?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stacia Kane View Post
    I'd also add that the press owner makes many claims about being multipublished, about having a "New York agent," and about being nominated for a Pushcart Prize. All of this may well be true; I don't mean to imply at all that she is lying. (And anyone can be nominated for a Pushcart Prize, pretty much; nominations are open to any small-press editor. Again, I am not saying her nomination isn't a good thing or that her work isn't worthy of it, just clarifying.)

    But the reason I mention this is because Google searches turn up no writer website for her, no list of titles, no agent's name, nothing but interviews about this press and a couple of writers' groups to which she belongs. And an Amazon search turns up only a few anthologies which she appears to have edited. Which means for all the talk of "marketing" and the importance of author "marketing," the press owner herself hasn't done the most basic things, like having at least a Blogger or Wordpress page listing her work and a few biographical bits.

    Also, I checked a couple of titles released through this press; one had no Amazon ranking at all and the other had a ranking over 6 million. It appears they do most of their selling at flew markets or conventions, and there's nothing wrong with that, but again it doesn't indicate that word is getting out much about this press or its books.
    I'm totally confused by your comments. Not only are you uninformed about publishing, you are implying that my bio is incorrect? Or invalid? This is the last reply that I intend to make, and I probably should have stayed away from this page to begin with, but I had to have a say. I've worked my entire life to do well at whatever I attempted. I've run my own businesses for 40 years. My publishing company has a great reputation, with the majority of my authors renewing contracts on their books. I've been a writer for two decades, and a publisher for 5 years. We have many authors who have published in New York for years, some even making the bestseller lists, but because I've built such a reputable business, they are bringing their work to us. We just nominated our first title for a Pulitzer, with a book that is the sixth in a series. The other five were published in New York and the first int he series was a finalist for the Pulitzer the year it was released.

    Actually my words are probably lost to you, because it's obvious you are only out to spout random mean spirited sentences that have no truth to them whatsoever. I haven't participated in a forum since the old days with Francis Ford Copolla when he first started Zoetrope. Now I remember why I weaned myself away from the old chat rooms and forums...it was totally pointless and time consuming.

    But it was my decision to try and set the record straight...so it's my fault that I've spent time on this. Now it's back to work, I suggest you do the same...and next time don't speak about what you know nothing.

    Lou Turner
    High Hill Press

  14. #14
    Needs More Hands.... Fallen's Avatar
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    Lou, hello. Most publishers understand the need for criticism and will respond by answering the concerns put forward without giving personal attacks. At the moment, your responses aren't looking professional to potential authors.
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  15. #15
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    So in conclusion: publisher comes out guns blazing in the face of mild criticism, and insists that skepticism is the result of being "uninformed" and/or "only out to spout random mean spirited sentences that have no truth to them whatsoever."

    Good information to have! I know exactly how much I'd want to enter a business relationship with this press now.

  16. #16
    practical experience, FTW ChelseaWriter's Avatar
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    Oh, goodness. Look at the can of worms I've opened unintentionally. A few random thoughts:

    *I always appreciate the input/comments of AW'ers (which was why I posted in the first place). Many times, the info I find on this board influences me either to submit my manuscript to someone or decide to avoid them. So much of the info here is invaluable to me.

    *I respect Mr. Turner for coming here and addressing the points brought up by others. And honestly, I can understand any defensive tone in his reply. The internet is such a vast place, and he hadn't expected to be under scrutiny with my original post. And much of what was said was negative. Who of us wouldn't feel defensive if we were in his shoes?

    *Mostly, I wish the tone of the thread could be dialed down a bit, somehow? It just feels like some lines are starting to be crossed now, and that's unfortunate...
    Last edited by ChelseaWriter; 12-02-2012 at 06:42 AM.

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  17. #17
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    Welcome to AW, Louella. I'll try to address your posts in order.


    Quote Originally Posted by HighHillPress View Post
    I am Lou Turner, owner of High Hill Press. It's unfortunate that someone else decided to answer your question about High Hill, because it's obvious this person knows nothing about my company, and probably not too much about publishing as a whole.
    I think you'll find that most of us here know quite a bit about publishing, actually.


    We are not a pod.

    So you do offset print runs, then? Since your books appear to be trade-sized I assume you're also using a trade paperback model*, in which case I'm assuming you offer bookstores a trade returns policy (i.e. the books are not strippable) and discounts? Who is your distributer? What printing press(es) do you use?

    *I note that some of your books are listed on Amazon as "Perfect Paperback." Does this mean they have stitched bindings and guillotined edges, then? The "Perfect Paperbacks" seem to have a slightly higher price point, but the regular paperbacks still seem to be trade-priced and sized.


    When I say our books can stay in print forever, it's the truth. Like most university presses, and unlike commercial presses, we can keep a book in print as long as the author wants it to be.
    Commercial publishers can also keep a book in print indefinitely (depending on contract terms, of course). Some smaller houses use a set period of time to determine how long a book will be in print--like two years or three years, for example, with many epublishers--but most commercial publishers keep a book in print in perpetuity until sales fall below a contractually determined level. Many of those epublishers with set time periods also have clauses about when a book can be taken "out of print" and its rights reverted depending on sales levels.


    Commerical presses sometimes take a book out of print within 6 weeks and move on to the next one they think will be a better money maker. An author has a very small window to make sales. We are in it for the long haul on every book.
    I would also like to hear an example of this. I have never heard of a book with a predetermined six-week in-print period. (And that makes no business sense at all; the books are already printed, so why would the publisher not want to sell the unsold copies? If the initial print run has sold out, that indicates demand and would lead to a second printing. The idea that a commercial publisher trying to make money off of a book would pull the book from its catalog after six weeks and pulp the unsold copies is just...confusing, outside of the few situations I mention below.)

    Now it's true some bookstores will not shelve a book past a few months after release if it hasn't sold any copies (and will thus return the unsold copies or strip them and inform the publisher for credit), but that's bookstore policy, not publishers taking the book out of print. The only books I've ever heard of being pulled from print so quickly are books like OPAL MEHTA or other books where it was determined they were plagiarized or there were other major legal or ethical problems which meant the publisher could not continue to sell them.


    As far as the way we edit, we do galleys and expect the author to be involved exactly like a good commercial press will do.

    You are correct that commercial publishers expect the author to be involved in the editorial process. For more discussion on "galleys," please see below.


    We publish good quality, great books, by wonderful writers.
    Not one person here has implied otherwise, actually.


    And each author is expected to market their books exactly the way a commercial press expects their authors to do. Unless you're Stephen King, you get no help from a commerical press.
    Completely untrue. I would really advise you to actually have a look around this forum, and at the experience and credentials of those to whom you are speaking, before attempting to sell us on such falsehoods.

    I'm not Stephen King. My publishers all certainly did a decent amount of marketing for my books. They expected me to do zero marketing; that's their job. They did hope I'd do some promotion, in the form of things I was already doing, like having a website and blog and Twitter account. But the actual marketing was all handled by them. They got my books into stores nationwide, including co-op placement; I didn't do it. They set up events and signings for me; I didn't do it. They printed an sent review copies for me; I didn't do it. They've fielded convention requests for me and booked my travel and accommodation; I didn't do it. That's all pretty basic parts of the publisher's job, not mine.

    Who is your agent, that s/he has not corrected you on any of this or explained how it all works to you?


    We probably do more than most, but it's still impossible to sell a book, that is the author's job. We put our books into distribution and we sell in every forum we can.
    Leaving aside the fact that selling books is exactly the publisher's job, I'd love to ask again who is your distributor? Who warehouses your books? On which bookstore's shelves can we find your books; I assume, since you "sell in every forum [you] can," you have a Marketing/Sales team who meets with bookstore buyers and sells your catalog to them?

    I've been unable to find a few of your titles even available on Amazon.


    As you can tell I'm extremely aggrivated that someone so uninformed would presume to answer your question for you about my company.
    Forgive me, but I strongly suspect that someone is indeed misinformed about publishing here but it's not the previous posters in this thread.


    And please know that I understand your question should have been asked. I don't usually join in forum discussions for this very reason. People feel the need to answer questions they are not qualified to answer.
    Which questions were we not qualified to answer? The ones about how publishing really works, or the ones about how unnecessary it is to hire a professional editor before submitting a book to a publisher, or...?



    So I'm sorry for the answer you got. You should have written directly to me and I would have been happy to pick up a phone and call you with my answer.
    The OP was under no obligation to contact you directly, and posted here to get the opinions of people who know and understand the business of publishing and are not directly involved with your company.

    While I understand it may have been difficult to read what was here, no one meant any personal disrespect to you and no one directly insulted you as a person; we simply gave our opinions about your company and its benefits for writers (which is the purpose of this forum) based on what information we could find. That's all.



    Quote Originally Posted by HighHillPress View Post

    And this comment shows a complete lack on publishing knowledge. All reputable publishing companies use a galley system. With our company we use as many as it takes to get the book the best it can be. That's something that should be appreciated.

    Lou Turner
    High Hill Press

    What's confusing us here is your unorthodox use of the word "galleys." Most publishers don't really do galleys anymore in the original sense, but many of us do use the word "galleys" to refer to printouts of the actual book, laid out exactly as it will look when in its final form, which are checked over for typos or errors in layout, or perhaps the occasional error introduced when the book was converted for printing. Galleys are, in the case of mmpbs (I haven't been printed in trade-size or hardcover, so cannot speak directly to what those galleys look like/what size they are), printed sideways on an 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper, so you see two pages at once.

    An editorial letter--generally the first stage of editing--is not called a "galley." Nor are line edits, printed or otherwise, called "galleys." Nor are printed copyedits referred to as "galleys." They're called editorial letters (sometimes just editorial notes), line edits, and copyedits. Only after all of those stages are complete, the book is laid out and "typeset," and put in its next-to-final form, are "galleys" issued. (Galleys are also sometimes, as Victoria mentions below, bound and sent to reviewers.)

    In other words, commercial publishers do not actually use "galleys" in the way you seem convinced they do, hence our confusion.

    Of course a good publisher will do as many editing rounds as are necessary, but again, editing =/= galleys.



    Quote Originally Posted by HighHillPress View Post
    I'm totally confused by your comments.
    What exactly was unclear about them? Did my Google searches miss your website, your published works, the name of your agent...?


    Not only are you uninformed about publishing, you are implying that my bio is incorrect? Or invalid?
    I have been commercially published for seven years. I have been agented and NY published for almost five, with Simon & Schuster and Random House, in addition to HarperCollins UK, audio editions with Blackstone Audio, and various other publishers all over the world.

    All of this information about me is readily available on my website, which is easily findable by either doing a Google search or clinking the link at the bottom of my posts.

    Furthermore, since I specifically said in my post "I don't mean to imply at all that she is lying," I'm confused as to why you would immediately jump to the conclusion that I am implying such.

    However, I will say that if you feel my comments about the lack of information available regarding your writing are incorrect, a good way to counter that would be to actually provide the missing information rather than simply getting huffy and insulting me. I actually did some research about you before I posted; you obviously did not bother to do the same.

    My comment still stands: you talk repeatedly about the importance of "Author Marketing" but have no website, no list of your titles, no information about your agent (which most of us list so publishers know whom to contact if they're interested in reprints, foreign or subsidiary rights, or other work), no excerpts available, no title of your Pushcart-Prize-nominated story, nothing. Can you explain to us how this fits in with your idea that only authors can sell books, and authors must get the word out and do the marketing? Since that was--as I said repeatedly--the point of my bringing it up?


    This is the last reply that I intend to make, and I probably should have stayed away from this page to begin with, but I had to have a say.
    And we're very glad you did. I think we've all learned a lot about you, your experience, and your knowledge about the publishing industry, and I thank you for your contributions to this thread.


    I've worked my entire life to do well at whatever I attempted. I've run my own businesses for 40 years.
    That's wonderful. I truly congratulate you on your success and your determination.


    My publishing company has a great reputation, with the majority of my authors renewing contracts on their books.
    Again, that's lovely.

    I've been a writer for two decades, and a publisher for 5 years.
    Again, the easiest way to show us your experience and credentials is to actually show us. Could you please give us a list of titles, publication dates, publishers? You certainly seem to believe yourself far more knowledgeable and qualified than we are; I stand ready to admit my errors in the face of actual credentials, although again, my point was never that you have no credentials but that those credentials are not verifiable: there is zero proof of any of them (hey, I'm from Missouri myself, so, you know, show me), which is rather odd given your apparent firm belief that authors must get out there and promote promote promote market market market sell sell sell.


    We have many authors who have published in New York for years, some even making the bestseller lists, but because I've built such a reputable business, they are bringing their work to us.
    You seem to have a very strong niche focus on the Ozarks, which is certainly a good thing for a small publisher; with that type of focus I imagine authors who write for that audience would find a very comfortable home with you.


    We just nominated our first title for a Pulitzer, with a book that is the sixth in a series. The other five were published in New York and the first int he series was a finalist for the Pulitzer the year it was released.
    I wish you all the greatest good luck.


    Actually my words are probably lost to you, because it's obvious you are only out to spout random mean spirited sentences that have no truth to them whatsoever.
    Actually, it appears my words were all entirely lost on you, and I am not the one "spouting random mean-spirited sentences that have no truth to them whatsoever."

    I have no personal issue with you. I am not a mean-spirited person. Were I mean-spirited, I wouldn't be here trying to help other authors--which is the purpose of this forum, to help authors, not to promote publishers.

    The fact that you failed to understand my post (which was written in perfectly clear English) does not make it mean-spirited. Nor does the fact that you personally didn't like my pointing out that your own lack of website or verifiable credentials makes your insistence that authors are the only ones who can effectively sell their work confusing, or at the very least points to a lack of knowledge of how to promote books effectively online.

    I'm sorry you didn't like my saying that (while repeating that I wasn't claiming your credentials didn't exist). That doesn't make it less true, and it was not intended as a personal insult (again, which I said in my original post).


    I haven't participated in a forum since the old days with Francis Ford Copolla when he first started Zoetrope. Now I remember why I weaned myself away from the old chat rooms and forums...it was totally pointless and time consuming.
    Time-consuming, yes, but hardly pointless. Lots of us learned a lot here about how publishing works, about writing, and about what to look for and what to avoid when looking for agents and/or publishers. I consider helping writers to be time well spent, personally.


    But it was my decision to try and set the record straight...so it's my fault that I've spent time on this. Now it's back to work, I suggest you do the same...and next time don't speak about what you know nothing.

    Lou Turner
    High Hill Press
    Thank you. I will get back to work, and I very much appreciate your patronizing instructions on how I should use my time. But I will speak about whatever I damn well please, and I do in fact know what I'm talking about. Far more than you appear to, to be blunt, and your rude and insulting tone is neither necessary or appreciated.

    If you want me to believe you know more about publishing than me or anyone else on this forum, why don't you say something that actually proves that, instead of just insulting us all, misusing terms of art, and spouting utterly incorrect and easily disprovable myths about how commercial publishing works?


    Once again, thank you for your contributions to this thread. I am genuinely sorry you were upset by what you found here, but that does not excuse your patronizing insults, your lack of respect, you condescension, or your rudeness and lack of professionalism.
    Last edited by Stacia Kane; 12-02-2012 at 07:26 AM. Reason: typo, fixing a phrase
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    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HighHillPress View Post
    All reputable publishing companies use a galley system. With our company we use as many as it takes to get the book the best it can be. That's something that should be appreciated.
    Yes, all publishers use the galley system. However, galleys follow the editing process. They are produced only once final edits are completed. They're used for proofreading, and they're also bound and sent out to reviewers.

    Your description of the galley process is very peculiar, and doesn't match my experience or the experience of any of my colleagues.

    (Actually, the last time I saw a real galley, in the classic sense of the term, was in 1982, before publication of my first novel. The publisher did galley proofs [long sheets with several pages on each], page proofs, and final page proofs. I had to proofread all of them. They don't do it that way any more--too expensive--and I don't miss it, though it did give more chances to catch errors and typos.)

    - Victoria

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    Holding out for a Superhero... Sheryl Nantus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HighHillPress View Post
    But it was my decision to try and set the record straight...so it's my fault that I've spent time on this. Now it's back to work, I suggest you do the same...and next time don't speak about what you know nothing.

    Lou Turner
    High Hill Press
    Don't worry.

    I think we all know as much about you and your publishing company as we need to know.

    Since Google will be picking up this thread for future searches every possible new author will see how you've handled this.


  20. #20
    optimist Teriann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss View Post
    Yes, all publishers use the galley system. However, galleys follow the editing process. They are produced only once final edits are completed. They're used for proofreading, and they're also bound and sent out to reviewers.

    Your description of the galley process is very peculiar, and doesn't match my experience or the experience of any of my colleagues.

    (Actually, the last time I saw a real galley, in the classic sense of the term, was in 1982, before publication of my first novel. The publisher did galley proofs [long sheets with several pages on each], page proofs, and final page proofs. I had to proofread all of them. They don't do it that way any more--too expensive--and I don't miss it, though it did give more chances to catch errors and typos.)

    - Victoria

    My book is being published by Abrams Books for Young Readers.

    Abrams is handling my galleys in just this way -- the galleys are going back and forth so we can get everything perfect. So far we have had 2 rounds, and my editor says we may have at least 2 more.

    I, too, was surprised by this. In 2001 when my first book was published by Cricket Books (yes, the same publishers of the magazine, Carus Publishing) my publisher did one set of galleys, and that was it. All of my other publishing experienes --until Abrams -- was done the way Cricket books did their galleys.

    A few times I clarified with my editor at Abrams, "these are galleys?" because their process with their galleys was so different from my other experienes. He said yes, these are galleys.

    Why the difference? I really can't say, but I have a few ideas. My book has 60+ photographs, and the design and layout are spectacular. Abrams started as an art book publisher in the 1940s, so they have particular skills in designing books.My book will be published in hardcover, and will be fairly pricy. It's a children's nonfiction book.

    My editor indicated that they are going to great lengths to get everything perfect, so I accept that as the explanation for why the process is different.

    I hope you all consider Abrams to be a legitimate and high quality publisher. I certainly do.


    ETA: I deleted the other post because somehow I ended up with duplicate posts.
    Last edited by Teriann; 12-02-2012 at 08:51 AM.

  21. #21
    Girl Detective Stacia Kane's Avatar
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    Teriann, did you do any other editing other than these galleys? Was there an editorial letter, a copyedit, a line edit? Or were these galleys the only editorial input there has been on your book?
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  22. #22
    optimist Teriann's Avatar
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    Yes, there was other editing. I'd have to pull out my files to tell you exactly how many rounds. The book was sold on proposal. I turned in a first draft, and received an editorial letter. The editor and I went back and forth a few times, then the book went to copy editing. I approved almost all the copy edits, the editor and I agreed on the final version. Then the book went to "design." As I mentioned, it is an elaborately designed book.

    Once the book was designed, I received large galleys through the regular mail (the book will be 10 inches x 10 inches) and we checked to make sure the captions were with the right photographs and that the photographs matched up to the correct text. We proofread these galleys. Then we had another proofreader (who actually suggested more changes than the copyeditor!)

    My editor and I spent an hour and a half on the phone this week discussing each change suggested by the proofreader. That was when he told me there would probably be two more rounds of galleys.

    I'd been under the impression that once a book was in galleys making changes was costly. He said no. I was still free to rewrite full sentences (which I ended up doing when the proofreader found a few points of confusion.)

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teriann View Post
    My book is being published by Abrams Books for Young Readers.

    Abrams is handling my galleys in just this way -- the galleys are going back and forth so we can get everything perfect. So far we have had 2 rounds, and my editor says we may have at least 2 more.
    What file format are they using?

    Is the file locked?

  24. #24
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    In the days of lead type, galleys (or, more correctly, galley proofs) were what were created as an intermediate step between typesetting the work and creating the pages. Changes at the galley stage were expensive; changes at the page proof stage would be almost impossible (and would probably be limited to printers' errors). (I had a couple of books that I saw in long galleys back before everyone went to digital typesetting.)

    Very few houses even use galley proofs any more. Mostly what you see are page proofs, though these are often called "galleys" because they're also used for proof reading.

    In a design-heavy book, especially with digital typesetting and its speed and ease of reformatting, I can see more than one round of page proofs. Page proofs are representations of the way the finished book will look on the page.

    I don't see multiple rounds of galleys or page proofs with straight text. One set of proofs for proofreading would be all you'd need as the last step before going to press. Bound galleys (even though these days they'd probably be bound page proofs) as advance reading copies for the reviewers would be created at the same time.

    Y'all do know the differences between copyeditors' marks and proofreaders' marks, right?

  25. #25
    optimist Teriann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AW Admin View Post
    What file format are they using?

    Is the file locked?
    I don't know -- ever since the book went into galleys, I've receive the pages through FedEx because of the size.

    I just saw James Macdonald's post. Maybe what my editor is calling galleys are actually page proofs. I don't know. Again, I just know what they're calling them.

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