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Thread: Lionsong Publishing

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin ReneeScatts's Avatar
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    Lionsong Publishing

    Hi, I'm Renee. I'm a writer and recently I started my own publishing company. I have a mission to change the face of the publishing industry.

    I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone and learn some new stuff (and hopefully share something helpful)!

  2. #2
    Barricade AW Moderator regdog's Avatar
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    I'm going to copy this for Bewares and Backgrounds as I'm sure members will have questions about you and your company.
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  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW eternalised's Avatar
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    Hey, Renee. Nice to meet you.

    Can you tell us about your company, Lionsong Publishing? I noticed you have a page called 'Agents and Assistants'. Can you explain what they are and what they do? From what I gather, they're a hybrid mix of editors, publicists and mentors? Can you elaborate on that?

    Also, it's a publishing house yet you have agents. Who specialize in certain genre. That's strange - normally agents and publishing house aren't under the same roof.

    Here are my other questions:
    1) What experience do your agents have? Do they have experience as publicists? Experience as editors?
    2) What experience do you have as a publisher? Being a writer is great but there's a huge difference between being a writer and publisher.
    3) Do you have distribution for your titles? Can you get them into print stores?
    4) Do you have a cover artist or designer? I see no mention of it anywhere on the website.
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  4. #4
    EDIT: As per OP's request in this post, quotes from Lionsong Publishing's website have been removed and replaced with a direct link.

    Quote Originally Posted by ReneeScatts View Post
    Hi, I'm Renee. I'm a writer and recently I started my own publishing company. I have a mission to change the face of the publishing industry.

    I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone and learn some new stuff (and hopefully share something helpful)!
    I love the enthusiasm, but many, many publishers have joined this board claiming the exact same thing. Many of them have stopped existing within a couple years, taking their authors' book with them.

    Your About page is largely aimed at authors. But what about readers? That's the authors' ultimate goal, isn't it? If you want to help get writers feedback, why not start a website to connect authors with beta-readers and/or mentors? Or if you have the industry knowledge and want to help authors through the publishing process, why not produce a step-by-step guide to self-publishing? Then the author could keep 100% of the profits instead of splitting them 50/50.

    Also, from your mission statement, I must ask, what is it that you believe literary agents do? Because one of an agent's main jobs is to protect their clients from lousy contracts. If an agent is employed by the publishing company, that's a major conflict of interest.

    Honestly, this feels like an attempt to remove any frustration from the process of creating a publishable novel. That does authors no favors and certainly does nothing for readers.
    Last edited by Katrina S. Forest; 04-28-2013 at 04:23 AM. Reason: Direct quotes from website removed at OP's request
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  5. #5
    starting over Marian Perera's Avatar
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    At Lionsong Publishing, we believe that the road to becoming a published author should be exciting and fun, and free from stress.
    That's nice, but it's like a college saying, "We believe that the road to getting a diploma should be free from stress." How do you plan to remove any and all stress from the processes of revising, submitting, editing, etc. while still putting out a quality product?
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  6. #6
    Cat hair collector PVish's Avatar
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    This info from the About LSP page does not speak well of LSP's editing skills:
    There are many publishing companies out there today, however most of them focus on quantity over quality. They believe that if they publish 100′s of books a year, one of them is bound to make them some money.
    Comma splice corrected: There are many publishing companies out there today; however, most of them focus on quantity over quality.

    Incorrect use of numerals corrected: They believe that if they publish hundreds of books a year, one of them is bound to make them some money.

    I won't go into how the above sentence needs to be rewritten for clarity, etc. But—if you're a publishing company—you should edit your web pages.

  7. #7
    Expert Procrastinator AlterEgox5's Avatar
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    I'm confused as to why there are agents employed at the company at all. If your goal is to publish authors and remove outside agents from the equation, then you're just a publisher, right? You're simply acquiring books and then publishing - what is the point of having your own agents? Or rather, after reading the description of what they do, why call them agents at all? An agent's main job from the get go is to find a publishing house for an author. If anything, I think a different title needs to be applied to them, because right now calling them agents is just confusing.

    Professional editing services aside, I'm also curious as to why one would choose LSP over simply heading off to one of the many epublishing platforms that offer more in royalties as well as places like CreateSpace for POD opportunities. And what about cover designs? Are those services included because so far I see no mention of them...
    Last edited by AlterEgox5; 04-25-2013 at 10:41 PM. Reason: Just to add...

  8. #8
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Lionsong on mainstream publishers:

    They do very little to help their authors succeed and sell books. They expect the author to do all the work.
    Renee, there are many published authors here who can tell you that this simply isn't true.

    All of our books are published using print-on-demand printing. Not only does this cut costs, but it helps the environment by cutting down on waste and helps to prevent the unnecessary use of our natural resources. This initially raises the cost of the individual books that we sell, but we have a plan to reduce our production costs...Our goal is to become a self-sustaining publishing house with offices all over the world. There will be no middle man between us and the consumers (or book stores/libraries). We will have our own printers, which will cut down on the printing costs exponentially, especially since we will only be printing what we need at any given time.
    http://lionsong-publishing.com/about/
    You also say that "our goal is to turn every novel we publish into a best seller" and "we work with our authors to turn their good stories into spectacular best selling novels". But a genuinely bestselling print-on-demand book is a contradiction in terms, which makes me wonder where the money to fund Lionsong's expansion is going to come from.

    Our Agents work very closely with our authors. They take our authors step by step through the entire publishing process. They are editors, marketing consultants and mentors. Our Assistants are Agents in training and work very closely with you and the Agent to publish your novel.
    http://lionsong-publishing.com/agents/
    I'm sorry, but this sounds like a case of "jack of all trades, master of none". Editors, agents and marketing consultants aren't interchangeable, and none of them are entry level jobs (I also wonder why you're using the term "agent" in such an odd way). I'm sure you have good intentions, but so did many inexperienced publishers who went under within a couple of years and took their authors' intellectual property with them.
    Last edited by aliceshortcake; 04-28-2013 at 01:31 PM. Reason: Missing word

  9. #9
    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. kaitie's Avatar
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    Are they only working for an Australian market? Also, is it true Australia doesn't do copyright?

    I also don't understand the setup for the "agents and assistants." Agents work to sell books to publishing companies and negotiate contracts, etc. I don't see how it could possibly work for a real agent to work for the publishing company. They'd basically just be sending their authors to that company, right? In which case, that'd be closer to acquisitions editor, right? Or it would be a pretty serious conflict of interest.

    Also, none of the three people listed are artists, editors, formatters, etc. There is no mention of what any of them are actually doing at the company. How is Renee the agent and publisher? What on earth do the assistants do? What experience do any of them have because it looks an awful lot like the answer is none. One of them has some editing experience, but I don't know the quality of the presses other than one was coop. The other doesn't give any information about itself online that I could see, so it's hard to know.

    Yeah. The more I read about them, the less interested I would be. One person is supposed to be an agent, an editor, marketer, and so on. The fact that each person (of whom two of them, including the head of the whole thing, have no experience) is expected to do all of those things just seems like a good way to get unprofessional service. It just sounds to me like an inexperienced publisher who doesn't understand the way publishing actually works.


  10. #10
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    I'd also be put off by this:

    Does the author have to pay for publishing?

    No, we never ask the author for any money. The only thing we will recommend for our authors is that they take a percentage of their royalties and use it towards promoting their work or their websites and/or blogs. In the future, when we have our own printers, we may offer (at a low cost) things like posters, book marks and business cards that authors can purchase to help promote their work. We wonít be looking for a profit with these promotional materials, though. We will simply be looking to recover the cost of materials, printing and shipping.
    So Lionsong authors will be "recommended" to put part of their royalties towards promoting their books. Given that few people other than the authors' families and friends are likely to buy overpriced PoD books this could easily wipe out any profit earned from sales; to all intents and purposes these authors will have paid to be published. Posters, bookmarks and business cards are also of dubious value to authors with no name recognition whose books won't be available in bookstores. What will Lionsong's marketing consultants be doing to put their books before the reading public?

  11. #11
    starting over Marian Perera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post
    How is Renee the agent and publisher? What on earth do the assistants do? What experience do any of them have because it looks an awful lot like the answer is none.
    I checked Amazon to see if Renee had anything published, but there's nothing under her name. Makes a difference from those outfits which are clearly fronts to publish the owner's work, but at the same time, this press is long on enthusiasm and short on experience.
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  12. #12
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    I wouldn't be too sure about Lionsong not being a self-publishing front. From a January 2013 entry on Renee's blog:

    Iím still working on Shadow Stalker once in a while, but Iím still determined to finish the entire series before publishing it. In the meantime Iím actually working on something quite different for me. Itís something Iíve always wanted to write, but never had the guts to do it. Iím working on my first erotic novel with a BDSM flair. Itís a story that was inspired by a good friend of mine. In three days of writing I managed to write over 20,000 words too, which is a bit shocking. I have decided to make it the first novel I publish, so Iím putting all of my focus into it at the moment (and I promise itís not going to be a repeat of Fifty Shades of Grey).
    http://reneescattergood.wordpress.co...ry/publishing/

  13. #13
    Today is your last day. FOTSGreg's Avatar
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    Is LionSong aware of the cost for a POD printer? While costs have come down considerably, I'm sure, it might not be enough to be cost-effective for a small start-up of almost any type to afford.

    In addition, traditional offset printing is not all that expensive when compared with the cost of POD on a "per book" basis. Indeed, traditional offset printing might have an advantage over POD.
    How does LionSong plan to accumulate the funds to enable it to obtain a POD printer?
    Last edited by FOTSGreg; 04-27-2013 at 02:35 AM.

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  14. #14
    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. kaitie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Queen of Swords View Post
    I checked Amazon to see if Renee had anything published, but there's nothing under her name. Makes a difference from those outfits which are clearly fronts to publish the owner's work, but at the same time, this press is long on enthusiasm and short on experience.
    I think her blog made it clear that she has planned to self-publish. Actually, set up to publish her own work was exactly what it sounded like.


  15. #15
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    It doesn't look like Renee will be making a return visit...

  16. #16
    Grr. Argh. Thedrellum's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure she didn't know that this thread had been started. She is still posting around AW and mentioned that she just got the subscription feature worked out.

    Anyway, I let her know that this thread about her publishing venture is live and gave her a link if she wants to come over and see (and answer questions, of course).

  17. #17
    starting over Marian Perera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thedrellum View Post
    I'm pretty sure she didn't know that this thread had been started.
    She started this thread. ETA : Oops, no, it was copied off of her newbie post, although there's a message in the newbie thread about the copy being made to this forum.
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  18. #18
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin ReneeScatts's Avatar
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    I'm sure regdog was well intentioned when he set up this thread and I really don't mind answering people's questions, but I feel as though it has turned into a thread bent on bashing my company rather than any real attempt at trying to learn more about it. I really don't believe that anything I say will be well received, so I'm leery about answering questions here.

    I didn't come to this community to "advertise" my publishing company. I came here to connect with other writers. I only mentioned the company as a way of telling people where my focus is at the moment (aside from writing). Starting my own publishing company is something I've wanted to do for years, but I was afraid it was too big for me. It was a friend of mine, who works in the industry, who talked me into finally doing it. It's something I'm very excited about and something I'm proud of. It was a big step for me.

    Yes, originally I was planning to self-publish. It was something I wanted to do at the time. Sure, my publishing company will probably publish my novels, but I will be going through the same process of submission everyone else does. Another of my agents will read my manuscript and decide if it is publishable material. If it's not, then it's back to the drawing board for me. I'm not giving myself or any of my agents special consideration where our own work is concerned.

    Even when I was planning to self-publish, I wasn't doing it on a whim. I know several people who are traditionally published authors, and a few editors (one of them works for me and yes, she has experience) who have made themselves available to me in order to determine whether or not my work was worth publishing. I'm not one of those people who use self-publishing as a way to avoid the struggles of perfecting my art and hardships of finding an agent or publisher who will give me a chance. I had other reasons for wanting to self-publish (and some of those reasons are also why I wanted to start my own publishing company).

    No, my publishing company doesn't work like others. There is a reason for that. Perhaps if some of you actually take the time to get to know me instead of making accusations and trying to run me into the ground, you might get to learn those reasons. As I said, I didn't come here to advertise my company, and now I'm sorry I even mentioned it. If anyone is truly serious about learning more about the company and my goals, feel free to contact me on the site. In fact, a good portion of the questions brought up here are answered on the site, if you take the time to actually read it. In fact, I have even set up a FAQ page with a contact form in case people had questions that were not answered on the site.

    To the person who tried to get my attention by putting a comment on my blog that read "Renee, you recently posted on the AbsoluteWrite forum. Perhaps you'd like to return and answer some of the questions it raised?" First of all, I don't appreciate being contacted that way. The comments section of my blog is meant for people who have something to say about the content on my blog. It's not meant for passing along messages. There is a private messaging system in this community. That would have been the more appropriate way to contact me to let me know about this thread. Also, I feel the need to correct you on the fact that I did not post this thread, and I didn't know it was here, nor did I have any idea what your comment was in reference to, until I logged in today.

    I was not ignoring this thread nor the questions, as it seems to have been assumed. I'm a busy person. I don't spend all day hanging out in forums. I write. I run my business. I homeschool my daughter. I take care of my home. If it takes a day or two to reply to people's comments on a forum, it's because I was busy doing other things that are higher on my priority list.

    The bottom line is, I found most of the comments in this thread very offensive. It very nearly made me want to walk away from this community. I certainly don't want to recommend it to any of my authors if this is how they will be treated. Next time you read a thread like this, instead of assuming the worst and trying to drag someone down. Just ask simple questions and offer advice that you think will help the person. Isn't that what a community like this is supposed to be about? Don't just assume someone is doing the wrong thing just because they're not doing it your way!

  19. #19
    starting over Marian Perera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReneeScatts View Post
    Next time you read a thread like this, instead of assuming the worst and trying to drag someone down. Just ask simple questions
    There are several questions asked in this thread, including but not limited to:

    What experience do your agents have?

    What is it you think literary agents do?

    Are you only focusing on an Australian market?

    What about your cover design?

    Are these questions not simple enough? You could have answered one or two of them rather than writing several paragraphs which, essentially, say nothing other than that you feel you've been unfairly dissed.

    Another of my agents will read my manuscript and decide if it is publishable material.
    Though as of now, you're the only agent in your company...

    Don't just assume someone is doing the wrong thing just because they're not doing it your way!
    No, we assume someone is doing the wrong thing when they do exactly what several dozen failed presses before them have done.
    Last edited by Marian Perera; 04-27-2013 at 08:54 PM.
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  20. #20
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin ReneeScatts's Avatar
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    I don't mind people asking questions, but people were not just asking questions and I have every reason to believe (because of the tone of people's comments) that anything I say in response to those questions here will be twisted. It's obvious that people have already formed an opinion of my publishing company, and nothing I say will change that opinion. So I will be answering these questions on my website. I will be adding some of them to the FAQ page, and I will also be editing some of the other pages to make things more clear.

  21. #21
    starting over Marian Perera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReneeScatts View Post
    I don't mind people asking questions, but people were not just asking questions
    Of course they're not. People evaluate what a press offers (or doesn't offer) and give their informed opinions, especially when these people have had the experience of seeing dozens of similar presses fail. This forum is meant for such discussions. There is no rule saying that people can only ask questions.

    and I have every reason to believe (because of the tone of people's comments) that anything I say in response to those questions here will be twisted.
    People are skeptical because, as I said, they've see a lot of publishers come and go, and many times those publishers have taken writers' dreams and manuscripts down with them.

    So without even answering a question, you decide in advance that anything you say will be twisted? Well, at least that gives anyone considering your company an idea of how you handle and react to criticism. How professional (or unprofessional) you are, in other words.

    It's obvious that people have already formed an opinion of my publishing company, and nothing I say will change that opinion.
    That's an assumption, not a fact. Previously you were telling us not to assume the worst, weren't you?

    So I will be answering these questions on my website. I will be adding some of them to the FAQ page, and I will also be editing some of the other pages to make things more clear.
    Good. I look forward to reading that on your website and commenting on that here.
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  22. #22
    Snakecakes cryaegm's Avatar
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    Renee, I do hope you will come back to answer questions we have here. You're weren't attacked. And even though you didn't make this thread or advertise it here, another writer might come across your publishing website and have questions. They may bring it here for more information and to find out more about your company. It's called research. Unless you're not planning to publish other books but your own?
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  23. #23
    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. kaitie's Avatar
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    For what it's worth, I did read the website. What I saw concerned me greatly, and I wouldn't recommend the publisher. We always tell people to wait two years and see, but there are elements of the set-up that seem misinformed about what terms mean (for instance, the use of "agent"). There are also issues such as stating every book will be a bestseller when distribution isn't apparently, and POD is generally reserved for low-selling print copies as offset print runs are less expensive.

    I don't think your words will be twisted, but keep in mind the terms you are using have very specific meanings. If you use the term "agent," an agent is a person who works no behalf of the author to sell the book to a publisher and get the author the best deal possible, negotiate the contract for said author, and then works as a go-between for any issues that arise. We aren't twisting your words to say that an agent doesn't do the things suggested on your site. If you are changing the meaning of a term, then it's going to create confusion and it's going to cause people to say "that's not what that means." Does that make sense?

    No one is here to drag you into the mud or bring you down. We're here to make sure authors don't end up in situations they might regret. As an author, you should be able to appreciate that.

    There are reasons experience is required. It's not must a matter of understanding the business side, but it's also the fact that publishing positions are professional positions. A person can't walk into Random House and say, "Btw, I'm an editor now so hire me," without some sort of training or experience because that person will lack the skills required to do the job at a professional level. This holds true for other jobs as well. Cover design, marketing, formatting, typesetting, and so on. Just as a writer often requires a lot of practice and learning to write at a professional level, these areas require practice and learning to do at a professional level as well.

    Keep in mind that you're competing with the big companies (and the very good small ones). If your product isn't every bit as great as theirs, why would people buy yours instead? Do the people you're hiring have that level of professionalism? Do you see why we're concerned when you use standard terms in an unusual way, because it implies that you don't have that level of professionalism?

    What about capital? Running a publishing company is a very expensive and not very profitable venture. It requires a lot of money up front to cover costs.

    I'm not trying to be miss meanie mean pants here, though I'm sure that's how this comes across. I sympathize, and I understand that you're trying to do a good thing. You're ambitious, and that's fine. But I'm not sure if you've seen people lose their books when publishers go under before.

    I've been here for long enough to see dozens of threads that are started by ambitious people trying to do a good thing. I don't think you're a bad person. I think that your business model is questionable, and the danger with that is that authors often lose rights or have a hard time regaining rights to books that they spent a lot of time and effort on. Even if those rights are returned, authors are then very limited in what they can do with them because most publishers want a fresh, new book, not a reprint, especially if sales weren't spectacular in the first place. Those books are essentially lost.

    That's why threads like this exist. As others have said before, publishing isn't an entry level position. Just as with writing you have to know the rules before you can break them, you have to truly understand the industry and how it functions before you can change it.


  24. #24
    Today is your last day. FOTSGreg's Avatar
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    Renee, if you're going to be in publishing you'd better grow a much thicker skin than you've shown yourself to have here.

    Asking a new publisher questions is SOP here. Asking them to face HARD facts is SOP here. Holding their illusions up to the light of reality is SOP here.

    There are professionally-published and self-published writers, editors, agents, and people who have worked at all levels of professional publishing here. They can, and will, hold your feet to the fire.

    Publishing isn't an dream or an illusion, it's a business - a cold, hard, cut-throat, money-driven business that will steamroll anyone not prepared for it.

    By your comments, you are not prepared. Sorry if that's offensive, but that's the way I see it from your comments and reactions.

    See, you have to be prepared to answer questions from people who are serious about their craft and this business. And the people who comment on this forum almost always are - deadly so.

    You haven't answered the most basic questions put to you, but I'll ask you one or two more. The first, and most important to your writers, is,

    Will you be offering royalties and, if so, at what rate?

    and second,

    What is your business model for success (ie, do you even have the most basic business plan)?

    I figure you probably won't, or can't, answer these questions either. Answering on your website isn't good enough around here. We're professionals here (or try to be, most of the time) and you need to be professional enough as well and answer the questions asked of you, in what I saw to be a polite and professional manner, in the same fashion.

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  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by ReneeScatts View Post
    Yes, originally I was planning to self-publish. It was something I wanted to do at the time. Sure, my publishing company will probably publish my novels, but I will be going through the same process of submission everyone else does. Another of my agents will read my manuscript and decide if it is publishable material. If it's not, then it's back to the drawing board for me. I'm not giving myself or any of my agents special consideration where our own work is concerned.

    Even when I was planning to self-publish, I wasn't doing it on a whim. I know several people who are traditionally published authors, and a few editors (one of them works for me and yes, she has experience) who have made themselves available to me in order to determine whether or not my work was worth publishing.
    Unless you have a blind submissions process (which your website does not seem to indicate), your agent or assistant agent is going to be biased in your favor because they know you. I'm not saying they'll be dishonest, but they will view your writing in a more positive light than that of a stranger.

    I have nothing against self-publishing. But when you self-publish, you risk only your own novel. When you start a publishing company, you risk the work of other people.

    Quote Originally Posted by ReneeScatts View Post
    To the person who tried to get my attention by putting a comment on my blog that read "Renee, you recently posted on the AbsoluteWrite forum. Perhaps you'd like to return and answer some of the questions it raised?" First of all, I don't appreciate being contacted that way. The comments section of my blog is meant for people who have something to say about the content on my blog. It's not meant for passing along messages. There is a private messaging system in this community. That would have been the more appropriate way to contact me to let me know about this thread. Also, I feel the need to correct you on the fact that I did not post this thread, and I didn't know it was here, nor did I have any idea what your comment was in reference to, until I logged in today.
    If the person who left that message genuinely thought you had left this community (wrong as that might have been), then sending a PM would be pointless unless you had set up to receive an e-mail when you got PMs. I would assume that person contacted you using the method he/she thought you were most likely to see in order to give you a chance to address the questions in this thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by ReneeScatts View Post
    The bottom line is, I found most of the comments in this thread very offensive. It very nearly made me want to walk away from this community. I certainly don't want to recommend it to any of my authors if this is how they will be treated.
    If my comment was offensive to you, I genuinely ask you, how should I have phrased it differently? I have legitimate concerns that authors will not benefit from submitting to your company, based on what I see on your website so far. I am also concerned that you are setting yourself up for a lot of frustration.

    When someone starts a thread on AW announcing they have a publishing company and encouraging novel-length submissions, that company generally gets discussed here in the Background Check section. I understand your frustration at not realizing this. But now that you know, please understand that these types of threads are designed to answer the question for authors: is this a worthwhile company to submit to or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by ReneeScatts View Post
    Next time you read a thread like this, instead of assuming the worst and trying to drag someone down. Just ask simple questions and offer advice that you think will help the person. Isn't that what a community like this is supposed to be about? Don't just assume someone is doing the wrong thing just because they're not doing it your way!
    Sometimes the best advice is, "This is a bad idea. Don't do it."

    We won't encourage someone to publish other people's work if it looks like the company has little chance of sustaining itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by FOTSGreg View Post
    Will you be offering royalties and, if so, at what rate?
    The website states 50% royalties, though I am unsure if that is net or not.
    Last edited by Katrina S. Forest; 04-27-2013 at 11:41 PM.
    "An honest answer is like a warm hug." - Proverbs 24:26 (The Message)

    My short story collection, "The Poisoned City", is now available!

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