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Thread: Beaver's Pond Press

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin AlyssaCroft's Avatar
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    Beaver's Pond Press

    I lurk (surprise surprise!) at a Google+ community for self-publishing. One of the moderators there essentially went to war against "Beaver's Pond Press" because it looks like they're a Vanity Publisher.

    I've already got a plan laid out for how I'm going to self-publish, but I thought it would be beneficial if people could get the skinny on this company?

    http://www.beaverspondpress.com/

    Their offerings don't look very beneficial to me, but I was hoping that some of the more experienced members might be able to weigh in?

    ETA: the showdown on G+ here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/10189332...ts/gdavLG8zQ3o

  2. #2
    Just the facts, please
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    You pay, ergo it's vanity.

    Oddly, they want customers to attend in-person meetings in Edina, Minnesota:

    Our program is divided into three phases, and each phase begins with a session you'll attend at our location. All authors must complete these three phases to publish through Beaver's Pond Press.
    ... although it's later stated that attendance isn't mandatory.

    I do like some of the covers.

  3. #3
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin AlyssaCroft's Avatar
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    The author has to pay extra for cover design. BP puts the author in contact with the designer, but beyond that it's pretty much left up to the author.

    Some of the staff for BP jumped in and defended themselves, saying they're definitely not scammers because they invite authors to come and see them in person. If you check out that link to the Google+ post, it's an interesting read.

    They deny that vanity publishing (at least so far as they're concerned) is detrimental to authors. Personally, I side with the reputation of Writer's Beware and believe them when they say that any publisher that asks for money up front is not the best option, but the lady at BP does seem genuine.

  4. #4
    A faithful friend & a good library AphraB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlyssaCroft View Post
    Personally, I side with the reputation of Writer's Beware and believe them when they say that any publisher that asks for money up front is not the best option, but the lady at BP does seem genuine.
    You are wise to read WB and to visit this message board. Would that well-intentioned publishers might do the same before they launch their ventures!

    I bet the people at BP are genuine. But publishing is such an odd duck that a love of books is not enough.

  5. #5
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    There is a vast gray area between Bad Idea and Scam.

    And not everything that's a Bad Idea for most is a Bad Idea for all.

    Vanity Press != Scam

    But Vanity Press is a Bad Idea for almost everyone.

  6. #6
    Disapproving plot bun disapproves. FluffBunny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JournoWriter View Post
    You pay, ergo it's vanity.

    Oddly, they want customers to attend in-person meetings in Edina, Minnesota:



    ... although it's later stated that attendance isn't mandatory.

    I do like some of the covers.
    Each of those meetings (or "phases", as BP calls them) have a charge attached. "Phase 1 (non-picture books)" for example will set you back $250. What really burns is that they will only give very rough estimates of the cost of services until you're in various "phases". For copy-editing a non-illustrated novel, you need to be in Phase 1 and have already paid $250 to find out the true cost of the edit. For book design, they won't give you an accurate price until Phase 2, at which point they've been paid a guanteed $400 (Phase 1 (non-picture) = $250, Phase 2 (Print) = $150, for this example).

    They also state that they won't print every book because their name is on it. You'll get tough love. Oh! And an opportunity to sign up for a workshop or three to get your book to a publishable level. For a fee, of course.

    @ Alyssacroft: they describe themselves as a "hybrid of royalty and vanity" here http://www.beaverspondpress.com/about-our-name so I'm not sure what the Google+ folks are arguing about. Of course, they also describe their model as, "a mentoring press", but there you go.
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  7. #7
    A faithful friend & a good library AphraB's Avatar
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    Oh. Maybe not so well-intentioned. Thanks, FluffBunny! The "What Kind of Author Pays to Publish" page is sad-making.

  8. #8
    The Paulest of all Coscas paulcosca's Avatar
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    The answers that come from them do seem straightforward in a way that isn't too often seen from vanity publishers, but that still doesn't necessarily mean it's a good idea.

    It seems like what they are doing (from their own words) is "general contracting". And that's interesting because, unlike building a house, just about everyone could do their own general contracting for a book. It takes time and effort, certainly. It takes looking through portfolios and asking tough questions and negotiating rates with quite a few different people...but then I guess there are these kinds of companies for just about everything, isn't there? You could plan a wedding yourself, or you could have a person make those phone calls for you. People with money pay other people to do even simple things like maintain their Facebook and Twitter accounts. For some, throwing money at a problem is less stressful than actually tackling it themselves...and it seems like this is the solution for that.

    Now it would seem to me that if someone doesn't really want to put the work in to make sure they are successful, they are probably not going to be successful. I don't think that going this route is a good idea, but I'm not convinced that it's a scam, either. I just think it's a place where you can throw money if you've got enough of it.



    p.s. If you have way too much money and you just don't know what to do with it all, just let me know. Happy to help.
    http://www.paulcosca.com Where you can find more info about me!

    http://www.paulcosca.tumblr.com My blog. Reviews, thoughts, and more!

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  9. #9
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    The What kind of author pays to publish? page is here.

    A line-by-line is ... not worth the trouble.


    Well, maybe just one line:

    Now that you know what publishing costs, how will you be paying?
    I won't be paying you, sport. I'll be cashing the checks, not writing them.

  10. #10
    starting over Marian Perera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    The What kind of author pays to publish? page is here.
    I checked that out. The hell?

    If you've written a manuscript, you've already paid. You've labored for hours and hours, writing, researching, and revising your manuscript. Factor in the education and life experience it took to get to this point. Don't forget the software, the hardware, and the general wear and tear, everywhere.
    All the more reason not to pay anything further to see your work in print.

    Add the political capital it took to get people to assist you along the way, by encouraging you, providing information, or giving feedback.
    Wha...?

    I have friends who have helped me to do everything from moving furniture to getting a job. I never thought of this as some kind of business transaction or "political capital".

    So take that manuscript, the one you've just put a pretty big dollar amount on, and give it to a royalty publisher, if they'll have it.
    I love the little disparaging aside.

    Give it to them. If they do a good job packaging and selling it, you may get some or all of your investment back. You may even make a profit.
    You may even get great reviews. You may even have the sequel accepted. You may even, by some amazing Act of God and once-in-a-millenium configuration of the planets, feel like you succeeded.

    But you won't have.

    Bwa ha ha.

    But that's not really up to you. It's also not up to you if the book is taken out of print and mothballed, because you don't own it. Your name is on that book but it's not yours. You've just paid to publish, with your rights.
    Only if you signed a work-for-hire agreement or a really bad contract that did a rights grab. Otherwise, you get your rights back after a period of time... and you still will not have paid to publish.
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  11. #11
    Just the facts, please
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    The author has to pay extra for cover design. BP puts the author in contact with the designer, but beyond that it's pretty much left up to the author.
    Ahh. Thanks.

  12. #12
    Seen 'em come, seen 'em go Gravity's Avatar
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    In light of the above, I must say I don't give a dam about this press. (Dam, get it? :::snerk snerk:::)
    Cameron Bane

    PITFALL, WildBlue Press

    www.cameronbanebooks.com



  13. #13
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Authors don't sell the rights to anyone. They rent the rights, for all that the traffic will bear.

  14. #14
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    The real work starts when the book is done.

    Nobody ever mentions this, right?
    http://www.beaverspondpress.com/promote
    Actually, yes. It's a favourite vanity press mantra that authors, instead of working on their next project, should be flogging themselves to death trying to sell their books.

    Mind you, BP does provide its authors with workshops such as:

    All press is good press: Getting media buzz and milking it for all it is worth
    Big game hunting: Getting an organization to buy your books in bulk
    Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making marketing plans
    When to pay a publicist, and when to do it yourself
    When the warehouse is you: Distribution and fulfillment on your dime and your time
    The author visit: Making the most of libraries, schools, scout troops, and more
    Would my book make a good movie?

  15. #15
    A faithful friend & a good library AphraB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aliceshortcake View Post

    Mind you, BP does provide its authors with workshops [...]
    Did I miss it, or is there a lack of any information about the credentials of the people who run these workshops?

  16. #16
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin AlyssaCroft's Avatar
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    Oh wow, thanks for all the added insights, everyone! I basically figure that paying up front= bad (thanks AphraB, I'm trying to do things right!), but you have helped me see why it's bad better than that G+ war did.

    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    The What kind of author pays to publish? page is here.

    A line-by-line is ... not worth the trouble.


    Well, maybe just one line:



    I won't be paying you, sport. I'll be cashing the checks, not writing them.
    Holy guacamole! I didn't even see that page. Thats... wow.

    Quote Originally Posted by FluffBunny View Post
    @ Alyssacroft: they describe themselves as a "hybrid of royalty and vanity" here http://www.beaverspondpress.com/about-our-name so I'm not sure what the Google+ folks are arguing about. Of course, they also describe their model as, "a mentoring press", but there you go.
    Wait, they charge royalties too?? So you have to pay up-front AND after you've published? I didn't see any detailing of royalty fees anywhere.

    But it is interesting that the lady so vehemently objected to being called a vanity press when they've got that term on their own website.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gravity View Post
    In light of the above, I must say I don't give a dam about this press. (Dam, get it? :::snerk snerk:::)
    *snort giggle giggle*

    Thanks again for all the replies! And thanks to the mod who put [publisher] in the thread title, sorry for not labelling the thread correctly. I'm a noob.

  17. #17
    Disapproving plot bun disapproves. FluffBunny's Avatar
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    My assumption (dangerous things that they are) is that the author gets royalties. Of course, that's the way it works in "normal" publishing. What "royalties" may mean through the looking glass with these folks, I hesitate to even guess.

    ETA: I took another look at their website and can find nothing dealing with BP paying royalties to authors. Since they're a vanity press, that makes perfect sense, but why call themselves a "hybrid of royalty and vanity"?

    Also, I checked out their bookstore. Under the section marked, "Award Winning", are 24 books. Of those, only 2 (Making Tracks: C.L. Best and the Caterpillar Tractor Co. and Sacred Ground: Leadership Lessons From Gettysburg & The Little Bighorn) state which awards they won. Making Tracks is listed as being the "2012 Midwest Book Award Winner in Biography and History". The only Midwest Book Award I could find is tied to the Midwest Independent Publisher Association (MIPA). According to their website here - http://www.mipa.org/midwest-book-awa...ards-finalists, the winner for biography was Emir Abd el-Kader: Hero and Saint of Islam. Their winner for History was This Wicked Rebellion. If there's another award called the Midwest Book Award, I'm hoping someone will jump in and advise.

    Sacred Ground is listed as the "2010 National Indie Excellence Award for Military History" and is listed as the winner on the Indie Excellence website here - http://www.indieexcellence.com/indie-results-2010.php I admit to total ignorance of any awards other than the "big" ones, such as the Newbery, Edgar, Nebula, etc. I am surprised, though, that with 22 ostensible other winners, that they didn't list what they had won.
    Last edited by FluffBunny; 06-21-2013 at 05:39 AM. Reason: additional info
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  18. #18
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin AlyssaCroft's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FluffBunny View Post
    My assumption (dangerous things that they are) is that the author gets royalties. Of course, that's the way it works in "normal" publishing. What "royalties" may mean through the looking glass with these folks, I hesitate to even guess.
    Ah, I getya. Seeing as they haven't mentioned charging royalty fees, I'm hopeful they only mention royalties because that's how the authors get paid.

  19. #19
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    After looking at the MIPA website I have to wonder just how prestigious the Midwest Book Award really is.

    A single title may be entered in as many categories as the publisher or author wishes, along with the following payment, as appropriate:

    MIPA member: $55 for each title (first category) and $15 for each additional category.
    Non-member: $115 for each title (first category) and $25 for each additional category. Join MIPA for $50 and save on entry fees!
    http://www.mipa.org/midwest-book-awa...ll-for-entries
    How many entrants are there?

    The 23rd Annual Midwest Book Awards attracted 187 books, entered in 44 categories, from 75 publishers in the 12 Midwestern states in our region (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin). Some books were entered in more than one category—for a total of 308 entries.
    That's a nice little chunk of change. What do the authors/publishers get for their money? An excellent chance of winning an award, if the 2013 contest is anything to go by. Of those 187 books about 100 were winners and finalists.

    Fifty-five judges participated.
    http://www.mipa.org/
    Who were they? We aren't given any names, but apparently they include

    a variety of book lovers who are often experts in specific fields and/or genres of writing and design.
    The lucky winners and finalists can buy stickers with which to adorn their book covers:

    Some bookstores may move your book to a better location if it has a book award sticker.
    http://www.mipa.org/midwest-book-awards/why-enter
    That's assuming your book is in bookstores to begin with.

    You can reproduce that sticker on reprints, posters, and marketing materials. Electronic stickers (PDF, JPG, or TIF) also are available for e-books.
    I'm not going to be impressed by a sticker bearing the name of an award I've never heard of.

    Even if your book does not win an award, judge feedback can be extremely valuable. Non-winning authors have sometimes revised their manuscripts and/or book design elements as a result of the critiques and gone on to publish much better, even award-winning, books.
    I'm confused. They're judging printed books, not manuscripts. And again, it would be nice to know the titles of these award-winning books.
    Last edited by aliceshortcake; 06-21-2013 at 01:49 PM.

  20. #20
    Disapproving plot bun disapproves. FluffBunny's Avatar
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    But....stickers!! *fights urge to start handing everyone stickers, willy-nilly*

    The part about non-winning authors revising their manuscripts confused the heck out of me, too. First, as you point out, aren't they judging a book? An already done deal? Second, if there was some glaring omission of some sort, shouldn't the publisher have caught that? Why would you need a nameless bunch of judges to point it out? Third, isn't it a little late in the day to change book design if the judges don't like it?

    ETA: Reference the lack of awards: I think if one of their authors wrote a book and it won an award, any subsequent books are then labelled as award winners. They also seem to accept "finalist" as "award winning". Road to Omalos is listed as having been "Named Finalist in 'Fiction & Literature: Thriller/Adventure Category' by USA Book News - Best Books 2010". Entry info for USA Book News is here - http://www.usabooknews.com/2013usabestbookawards.html Pay $69 to play. They state up-front:

    The 10th Annual USA Best Book Awards are specifically designed to not only garner MEDIA COVERAGE & BOOK SALES for the winners & finalists but to PROMOTE awarded books to the PUBLISHING & ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRIES!
    My translation: Excellence? Who needs excellence? You need a sticker to promote your book!

    Road is listed as one of six finalists in that category. Other books without any actual awards listed state that the author is "award winning" or they were an "award winning" journalist. Fair enough, but if you state "award winning" as a category of your books available, my assumption is that the book listed won an award, not that the author did for something else.
    Last edited by FluffBunny; 06-21-2013 at 06:11 PM. Reason: I honestly do know when to use a question mark
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  21. #21
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin AlyssaCroft's Avatar
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    Aliceshortcake & Fluffbunny, thanks for the extra info surrounding the "awards"!

    I was wondering why I'd never stumbled across any of these "award winning" books. I'm always browsing in bookstores, not to mention all the time I spend rifling through the books on Amazon. To me, "award winning" books should have some evidence of selling well, right? As in, decent placement on Amazon and actually on bookstore shelves? (Please correct me if I'm wrong- I've never really been a big follower of book awards). The moderator involved in the Google+ war also stated that she's never seen these books anywhere.

    It sounds like they're trying to talk up their "successes" in an attempt to sound better than what they really are. But they've got no bestsellers. The only awards they have are pseudo-awards you buy.

    While it looks like this "press" is able to lead their authors to print, they have zero track-record of helping their authors achieve actual success. So why exactly should authors hire this company?

  22. #22
    On a small world west of wonder LindaJeanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlyssaCroft View Post
    Aliceshortcake & Fluffbunny, thanks for the extra info surrounding the "awards"!

    I was wondering why I'd never stumbled across any of these "award winning" books. I'm always browsing in bookstores, not to mention all the time I spend rifling through the books on Amazon. To me, "award winning" books should have some evidence of selling well, right? As in, decent placement on Amazon and actually on bookstore shelves? (Please correct me if I'm wrong- I've never really been a big follower of book awards). The moderator involved in the Google+ war also stated that she's never seen these books anywhere.

    It sounds like they're trying to talk up their "successes" in an attempt to sound better than what they really are. But they've got no bestsellers. The only awards they have are pseudo-awards you buy.

    While it looks like this "press" is able to lead their authors to print, they have zero track-record of helping their authors achieve actual success. So why exactly should authors hire this company?
    Anyone can create a contest, and award winners based on any criteria they feel like. So the question is: who's giving the award, what criteria are they using, who are the judges?

    Winning an award is one thing; winning an award recognized as prestigious by the industry is something else.

    In addition to the information provided by the awarder(s) (or the information not provided, which can be just as telling) you can google the name of the award and see where it's mentioned & who's talking about it.
    "A story told, that can't be real / yet somehow must reflect the truth we feel..." -- Black Sabbath / Ronnie James Dio

  23. #23
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Feelin' the love

    Hi Folks,

    Thanks for taking the time to discuss our company. We're pretty tight with our authors, and we don't recognize any of you or any of your books, so we respectfully ask that you move this thread out of "Bewares, Recommendations & Background Checks" and create a new tab called "Speculation and Assumptions about Small, Reputable Companies We've Never Actually Worked With."

    If that's not possible, please ask at least one of our authors about his or her experience working with us. There are quite a few out there, easily Googled—just pick one at random. Once you've done that, if you have any lingering questions, contact us directly. Any one of our six hard-working employees will gladly talk through your fears and concerns, point-by-point.

    We understand that one must have some experience with a company, its clients, or its products in order to publicly review it, and we are standing by, honored to assist.

    Lily Coyle
    Director of Publishing


    Beaver’s Pond Press 

    Edina, Minnesota
    www.beaverspondpress.com

  24. #24
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
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    You have a problem with Recommendations and Backgrounds Checks?
    Take a look around and you'll find just about every publisher, small and large, has a discussion thread here.
    Perhaps then you might appreciate that this thread represents an opportunity to present your company in a positive light by actually answering the questions that have been asked,

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  25. #25
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Wink Pondsense

    Waylander, you omitted "Bewares."

    I'm not sure our presence here is a good or a bad thing, as the bulk of our business is local and comes via word-of-mouth. The work we do is very personal, hands-on, and old school. If you're in contact with us, and you've run across this thread and it raises questions, I will answer them in person or over the phone—I probably already did. But better yet, I suggest that anyone thinking of working with us track down a random sampling of our authors and ask them if they’re satisfied with the work we’ve done. Anything else is speculation. I’ll gladly give you contact info for referrals, but you can (and should) perform your own due diligence.

    It's a bit dismaying to be getting attention from folks who've never worked with us or read our books. It's like owning a corner sandwich shop here in Minnesota, and getting reviews from people around the world who've never tried our food, but have simply seen our website. It's nice to get the attention, but we're not sure why we're getting it. I don't believe we advertised to anyone here, made promises, or asked for your business, because that’s not our model. And unless, Waylander, you hop across THE pond, you needn't fear being invited to jump into our pond.

    But I do wish you and all writers here the best of luck finding and reaching your readers.

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