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Thread: Rocking Horse Publishing

  1. #1
    Card-carrying Geek kathleea's Avatar
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    Rocking Horse Publishing

    http://www.kathleensallen.weebly.com

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  2. #2
    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    Haven't heard of them. They take all genres and are expecting to release only two books in 2013. Their claim to fame seems to be that they own a bookstore, so you get immediate placement; that, and they have a few other bookstore contacts.

    I dunno, pretty standard fair for a digital/print operation. Except their low release expectations.

  3. #3
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I believe we said six books this year, not two. And we're up to seven scheduled at the moment. We're a traditional publisher, we pay royalties, we accept ZERO fees from authors. We handle editing, cover design, and promo/marketing. We publish both E-formats and paperback.

    Don't think I'd call it a "claim to fame," but yes, we own a bookstore.

  4. #4
    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. kaitie's Avatar
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    Am I right that the books listed on the main page are actually the owner's books? So is this another self-publisher turned publisher

    I'm not sure how I feel about the fact that it looks like this publisher is underfunded. They have an Indiegogo campaign in which they're trying to raise $10,000 to publish six new books. I don't think I mind the idea of a person putting together a campaign like this to raise money before opening, but it seems to me that it's a really bad idea to do after the company has already opened. It basically shows that they're underfinanced, and what if they don't reach their goal? How does that influence authors that have been signed? The fact that seven books are already scheduled, but the link says that they're trying to raise the money to pay for those books seems like a bad sign to me.

    Also, I'd like to know specifics on what is meant by the team has had years experience "reading, writing, and editing." It's a vague statement, and considering the main player is also their first author, it could easily mean "I've spent years writing and editing my own book." What part of the industry did they work in, for how long, and under what context?

    I'd also like to know what is meant by "do a ton of marketing." That could mean so many different things that it's not a very useful statement.


  5. #5
    Grr. Argh. Thedrellum's Avatar
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    From what I can tell on their Indiegogo campaign, that 10K is to double their output for the year. So, in theory, they have the money to produce the books they already have scheduled. Which is a good thing, since they only have $25 of their goal and only 17 days left (assuming that they started with the standard 30).

    I'm with Kaitie on wanting to know what the experience level is. In the Indiegogo campaign, Ms. Tidwell lists herself as a published author of three books, but since those books are self-published (or seem to be) that claim comes off as a little misleading. After all, there's a difference between self-publishing and being published by Random House (admittedly, that difference may having nothing to do with the quality of the writing).

  6. #6
    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. kaitie's Avatar
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    See, I read "six more books this year" to mean "this year we could publish six, which is on top of last year's," rather than six more on top of what was already scheduled for this year.

    It makes me nervous either way, though. I'd feel more comfortable knowing the publisher I was going with had better capital. It costs a lot of money to run a publisher right, and from what I understand those first couple of years are among the toughest. If they're already under-capitalized and then the books they have up now don't sell as well or quickly as expected, it could put them in a real crunch. There is no guarantee that this sort of funding will work out for them if they end up short.


  7. #7
    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post
    See, I read "six more books this year" to mean "this year we could publish six, which is on top of last year's," rather than six more on top of what was already scheduled for this year.

    It makes me nervous either way, though. I'd feel more comfortable knowing the publisher I was going with had better capital. It costs a lot of money to run a publisher right, and from what I understand those first couple of years are among the toughest. If they're already under-capitalized and then the books they have up now don't sell as well or quickly as expected, it could put them in a real crunch. There is no guarantee that this sort of funding will work out for them if they end up short.
    Yeah, either way. But I read it as having only 2 slots open for the ten months remaining in this year (with one already filled, which would now make it one--am I getting that right?)

    Frightful odds. But good that you're keeping it down, soz you can spend ample time on what you have.

  8. #8
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Granted, the Indiegogo campaign is a bit, well, off - it's really an experiment of sorts and yes, sure, $10K would help with upfront costs, but isn't necessary. So no, we're not "underfunded."

    I've worked as an editor and I've done freelancing. I have not spent "years" writing a book - and of course I read, pretty sure most people do that.

    We have six authors signed. Yes, I self-published my first novel last August. As a bookseller, though, here's the rub - most won't stock SP books. And many can spot a "fake" publisher imprint fairly easily. So I went legit and started RHP. Then I published my second book. Then I signed our first author - that book was released in January. It's doing well and receiving some press. We're releasing a children's book in March, and have four others set for the rest of this year.

    We certainly aren't Random or any other big publisher, but we also aren't a vanity press. Some of our authors have SP before, some have several books in print - and not awful ones either.

    Will it work? I hope so. Feel free to email me or message me or whatever if you have any other questions. I tried to answer them all so far. I actually haven't been here on the forum for a long time, I only stopped in when I saw the link in my website stats.

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW eternalised's Avatar
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    Are those the final covers on Reduced and Reused? They basically look like images with text. Not the worst I've seen, but definitely not the best either. This makes me question the quality of your cover artist, if you have any. The website design looks nice though.
    Visit my website.



  10. #10
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Yes, and yes. I did those myself and I agree - not awful, not great. Which is why, yes, we DO have a cover designer. I know I stink at that type of art - any art, really, stick figures are about the best I can do with a pencil.

    We also have an editor - a real one, and it's not me.

    Yes, we're new, no, we haven't published many books. Yet. I don't want to harp on the fact that we're a traditional publisher, but one of the reasons we're doing this is because I get very, very angry when authors are taken to the cleaners by package deals. I also see a lot of good books overlooked by agents and NY pubs, for whatever reason, and so we're an alternative.

    I've been averaging about 4 submissions a week for the last month or so, and we're in no rush to get in over our heads!

  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW eternalised's Avatar
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    Yes, and yes. I did those myself and I agree - not awful, not great. Which is why, yes, we DO have a cover designer. I know I stink at that type of art - any art, really, stick figures are about the best I can do with a pencil.
    I'm glad to hear this. So will the books get another cover then?

    We also have an editor - a real one, and it's not me.
    That's good news. Maybe you can put more info about the editor and cover artist on your 'About' page so potential authors can read about them and their experience?
    Visit my website.



  12. #12
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Yes, absolutely. It's on my to-do list....

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robinboots View Post
    Yes, and yes. I did those myself and I agree - not awful, not great. Which is why, yes, we DO have a cover designer.
    It's concerning that you released these books knowing your cover art was less than wonderful. No book should go out unless you're certain that your product is of the best quality. I've been publishing books for ten years, and I'll pull production until we're satisfied because I want it right, not fast. If you published books before you hired a talented cover artist, then one could question your experience.

    Yes, we're new, no, we haven't published many books. Yet. I don't want to harp on the fact that we're a traditional publisher,
    It doesn't matter how many books you've published, but how prepared and experienced you are to meet the rigors of publishing a book that has a fighting chance to get into the marketplace. Those who have experience have their production team in place before they ever release a single title.

    Having publishing experience means that you have established distribution in place so that your books reach a wide marketplace. The only distribution I see for you is Lightning Source, and they are merely a printer who provides services to get titles listed in online databases. They don't have sales teams who promote your catalog to genre buyers.

    The term "traditional publisher" has become an oft-used term to encompass anything that isn't vanity, which leaves room for a lot of misguided notions. It doesn't simply mean someone who pays royalties and edits, but one who has a crack production team and the means to market and promote their catalog. It means sending reader copies to media and reviewers. It means having the ability to get your catalog nationally distributed throughout the country. It means getting your authors signing events and interviews.

    So perhaps it would be helpful if you could discuss what you do for your authors in terms of marketing and promoting their books.
    I also see a lot of good books overlooked by agents and NY pubs, for whatever reason, and so we're an alternative.
    This is a throwaway sentence that has little meaning. Lots of good books fall through the cracks every day, and I don't understand how this makes you an appropriate alternative. What's more important to understand is how you determine which books that have fallen through the cracks are quality material and have the ability to sell well in a very competitive marketplace.

    The fact that you accept all genres and sub-genres of fiction takes my breath away. Do you have the ability, experience, and staff to edit, market, promote, and support all those genres? You'll quickly find that selling fiction is very difficult and takes a savvy marketing team to help propel a novel into readers' hands.

    These are all the elements that are missing from your posts, so it's hard to determine what makes your company a stand out enterprise in which authors should entrust their books.

  14. #14
    On a small world west of wonder LindaJeanne's Avatar
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    Welcome to AW! .

    If this seems too much like a "trial by fire", you might want to check the "Why Publishers Fail" sticky at the top of this forum, which describes some worst case scenarios involving well-meaning, royalty-paying, non-vanity publishers.

    There's a lot more to being a good choice for authors to submit to than just not being a vanity. We just try to get enough information from new publishers so that writers can evaluate where they fall on the vast scale.
    "A story told, that can't be real / yet somehow must reflect the truth we feel..." -- Black Sabbath / Ronnie James Dio

  15. #15
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    My first two books were technically self-published which is why I didn't have a cover artist. I'm happy with them, they're fine, not a big deal to me.

    And, er, I don't use LS for printing. Not sure where that came from....

    If our authors are happy, if we're selling books - great. And that's the case. Everyone has to start somewhere.

  16. #16
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Hi,

    I'm new to this forum, but read this post and thought I should comment considering my book, SEVEN DIRTY WORDS, is published by RHP.

    RHP is a new publishing house, so give them a chance. You can't expect them to have a huge list of authors ready to be published straight away! Regarding marketing and distribution - that is the risk you take when you sign on with a new publisher. Of course they're not going to have the sway of a big house. But, from my experience (and sales figures), I can honestly say that I have been impressed so far. I've worked with Robin on a personal level, so there was no middle man passing messages back and forth - no secretary / PA typed messages - it's all been one-to-one, which I appreciate. She has been incredibly encouraging and enthusiastic, and I always know that if I have a query, I can ask and get an answer that day, no waiting around.

    So what sort of marketing does RHP offer? Well, apart from the usual FB, Twitter etc. I've had several interviews for bloggers, including Jim Bessey who was listed in the top 25 bloggers to watch in 2013. I've also had a full-page spread in my local newspaper, and had an interview slot on BBC radio. I have five interviews lined up for March, April, and May, and my book has been sent off to several reviewers.

    I also worked with an editor and cover-designer, who I can assure you, were not Robin in disguise. (Unless you're a master of disguise, in which case well done!! You fooled me!!) Regarding cover design - covers can be changed, and often are. Frequently.

    I read a comment about there being a difference between SP and publishing with Random House. Random House are an umbrella corporation who cover a variety of publishing houses, as well as producing their own. As with most big publishing houses, you need an agent to submit your manuscript, they won't even look at unsolicited work. One of the reasons I submitted to RHP is I don't need an agent to submit. After doing a fair amount of research into agents, I don't see that they can do anything that I don't already do myself - bar contacting larger publishers.

    And before anyone asks - no, RHP wasn't the only publisher who wanted my MS. I had three publishers interested, and I chose RHP over a couple of very well-known romance publishing houses for a whole host of reasons.

    For a small publisher, they've helped me sell books in the US and UK. Most small publishers will only sell in their country, and only accept manuscripts from their country. Being connected to a bookshop is a plus as far as I'm concerned - it was in a bookshop straight away, and I got a book launch and signing on the first day it was out. I didn't have to worry about distributors and red tape. Oh, and it doesn't bother me that they accept a wide variety of genres. It shows me that they're open-minded and are able to reach a wide demographic.

    And the Indiegogo thing? Find me a new business that hasn't got the paperwork for loans piled high. It was recently in the news how 'Crowdfunding' is the new big thing in raising money for independent traders and start-up businesses. It's quite popular here in the UK. It doesn't mean that RHP don't have the funding, it just means that to expand straight away, they need some help. They will expand, with or without Indiegogo, it will just take longer if they don't get the funding.

    You may also want to check out my blog, where I discussed why I chose RHP over other publishers. http://choward2614.wordpress.com/201...se-publishing/

    But that's just my opinion.

    Charlotte

  17. #17
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Indiegogo campaign netted a whole $170. Regardless, the first year's books are up on Amazon to judge editing, etc.
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    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

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