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Thread: Port Yonder Press

  1. #1
    figuring it all out Petsey's Avatar
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    Port Yonder Press

    Has anyone heard good or bad about them. They are a small publisher but claim not to be a Vanity or self-publisher.
    Thanks
    http://www.portyonderpress.com/publishing-model.html
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  2. #2
    I got it covered Undercover's Avatar
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  3. #3
    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. kaitie's Avatar
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    Okay, I just have to comment on this because I was amused by this:

    We most often use the popular and efficient Print on Demand system of printing books (digital printing process) rather than the older and more cumbersome offset printing method / short runs, unless a book project is especially appealing and we're assured it will sell in large numbers
    So, they start out by dissing offset printing, which has a lot of problems: POD books aren't often stocked in bookstores because of return policies, which means they often have very low sales.

    However, what really stands out to me here is that they "most often" use POD, unless they think a book will sell well. Which implies that they don't expect most of their books to sell well, doesn't it?

    I also think their distinction between print- and publish-on-demand is a moot point. As I understand it, POD always refers to a printing technique, it just happens that it's often used with vanity publishers. I admit maybe I'm just not understanding right, but it sounds to me like the publisher here is making an argument about people misunderstanding the terminology in a way that misunderstands the terminology. Again, I'm not a professional.

    Large publishing companies have so many employees and so much overhead that they have to sell at least 5,000 units of any book to break even. Port Yonder has one full-time staff member and such low overhead that it usually needs to sell only between 200 and 250 units of any title to break even.
    I'm just curious what the actual break-even number usually is, but having one staff member seems like a red flag to me. That means one person is in charge of editing, cover, formatting, etc., etc. Most people aren't trained or able to do all elements that go into a book at a professional level. It also makes the company vulnerable because it means any small change in the person's life is going to affect output.

    I'd also wonder if selling 200~250 copies is a reach considering they're planning POD sales and not promoting. It does look like they offer ebooks as well, though, which might bring in some added sales.

    Port Yonder Press is small and independent and can publish exactly the kind of books its leadership likes. It is not so big that it is constrained to publish only what the public demands.
    Publishers focus on what the public wants because they're trying to put out books readers want to read. It makes perfect sense to try to do this because the readers are the ones buying the product.

    Best of all for the author, Port Yonder Press shares with its authors a percentage of the revenues from book sales that is unprecedented in publishing. PYP authors receive roughly triple the rate of profits of authors at larger publishing houses.
    Later it states that the publisher pays 40% on gross, a $50 advance, and does no marketing. I don't see how a publisher planning to do no marketing can expect to sell enough books to earn the authors even a fraction of what they'd get with a competitive advance. It actually even states that books probably won't sell many copies. It seems disingenuous to imply that they're paying triple what an author would make at a large publisher.

    Larger publishers, the agent might say, look at the sales histories of your previously published books. If you publish with PYP and your book sells only 300 units, a large publisher might say that this author simply can’t sell enough books, so we’ll pass on him or her.

    Such a scenario may very well happen, but if you were to explain in your proposal to such a publisher that Port Yonder Press successfully targeted a niche market and exceeded its sales expectations, most editors will be fine with that. Publishing professionals are supposed to make publishing decisions based on whether or not they think they can succeed with a book, not based on some silly argument like the one outlined above.
    Again, I'm not a professional, I'm just someone who reads a lot and researches, but I'm fairly certain this statement is blowing off a very serious concern. I've heard authors say that being published with a small press did indeed hurt them when their sales numbers were shown to a larger publisher. Calling it a "silly argument" and acting as if this is not a serious concern really bothers me.


  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post
    I also think their distinction between print- and publish-on-demand is a moot point. As I understand it, POD always refers to a printing technique, it just happens that it's often used with vanity publishers. I admit maybe I'm just not understanding right, but it sounds to me like the publisher here is making an argument about people misunderstanding the terminology in a way that misunderstands the terminology.
    As I understand it, print-on-demand refers to the business model, not the printing technology. Strictly speaking, the technology should be called digital printing.

    So yes, I agree the publisher seems confused about the terminology. I am also not sure what the difference between printing and publishing on-demand means in practice, but I guess Port Yonder simply means to say they are not a vanity press.

    Incidentally, didn't PublishAmerica make a similar claim: that they were publish-on-demand (as opposed to print-on-demand) and therefore not a vanity press ? Or am I confusing them with another company?
    Last edited by Ludens; 02-04-2013 at 04:03 PM. Reason: typo

  5. #5
    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. kaitie's Avatar
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    I feel like they did, which is why I knew something about the statement was off. I've heard the explanation before. And you're probably right that I said that backwards, but I think the it's still true that there isn't a difference between print/publish on demand and that they're the same words for the same thing.

    I don't think it means they're a vanity press by any means. Some of the covers are pretty nice, and the one I pulled out actually had pretty good writing for a small press book. The sales rankings were very low, though.


  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post
    (...) I think the it's still true that there isn't a difference between print/publish on demand and that they're the same words for the same thing.

    I don't think it means they're a vanity press by any means.
    True, and I agree. I was just wondering if the print-not-publish-on-demand thing originated with PublishAmerica.

    Incidentally, the owner of Port Yonder has an AW account. Would it be considered polite to alert her to this thread?

  7. #7
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  8. #8
    Write. Write. Writey Write Write. mrsmig's Avatar
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    Saw this on their website:


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  9. #9
    Grumpy writer and editor Absolute Sage Gillhoughly's Avatar
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    As Doctor Who famously said, "Let somebody else try first".

    When it comes to shopping a book, you start at the top with the biggest dog on Publisher's Row and work your way down.

    It's always better to get an advance against royalties. Even a small advance tells the world that the publisher has invested in your work and is highly motivated to sell it to readers.

    There's nothing wrong with a small POD operation, but it's better to go with one that's been in business for a good long time, has a track record of sales and clarity in its website language.


    kaitie raised some valid points, so I won't repeat things. Their staff appears to have some modest credits to their names, which is more than one can say about many other small presses.

    The main point to consider, and this is a deal breaker for anyone wanting to get into the professional market: can they get your book into bookstores?

    Not just posted on a store website, anyone can do that, but IN a bookstore.

    Unless it has distribution, a publisher is useless to a writer looking for true commercial publication. Available to a store is not the same as shelved and stocked.

    If you're okay with just website sales, there are other venues that have been around longer.

    I'm not saying there's anything wrong with this place, only that there are better ones to try first.

    I would suggest requesting a sample of their basic contract to see what they offer that makes them a good option to consider.

  10. #10
    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    Unless it has distribution, a publisher is useless to a writer looking for true commercial publication. Available to a store is not the same as shelved and stocked.

    This times 1000. I've had it both ways and the difference is between night and day--no middle of the road here. Publishers with distribution are able to sell huge blocks of books to different sources--especially book stores and libraries.

    tri

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    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Is phasing out of book production. Journal (Eastern Iowa Review) continues.
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