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Thread: Spectacle Publishing Media Group

  1. #1
    Procrastinating on the net. usuallycountingbats's Avatar
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    Spectacle Publishing Media Group

    I had a look through the index and couldn't see a thread for this one - hope I haven't done it wrong mods!

    http://www.spectaclepmg.com/

    This has come onto my radar as I've been asked to review a book published by them.

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Bemused Girl nkkingston's Avatar
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    First question: how's the book? Cover, editing, formatting, retail price etc? The best way to judge a publisher is by its books (something that a lot of people seem weirdly willing to overlook sometimes, like having a snazzy website and saying all the right things is going to make readers happy with a substandard product).

    Hungry? Check out my other half's blog Colonel Mustard in the Kitchen.

  3. #3
    Procrastinating on the net. usuallycountingbats's Avatar
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    The book is an e-book which has been sent through as a PDF. The review request has come from the author not from the publisher.

    I'll be honest, everything about the whole endeavour is screaming vanity publisher to me, but there's nothing on the SPMG website to suggest they also do vanity publishing.

    The decision on whether or not it gets a review will depend entirely on whether I still want to read it after the first ten pages or so So I don't mind if it is a vanity publisher, or self-published (which is what looks like is going on with some of the other authors, who also seem to be people who work for SPMG), if it's good, it'll get a review.

    If not, it'll get a 'sorry not for me' reply.

  4. #4
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    SPMG appears to have started out as a self-publishing venture. Two members of staff are also SPMG authors - as is Ditrie Sanchez, who isn't listed on the "Meet the Team" page but is also a co-founder and Acquisitions Manager.

    Why work with Spectacle Publishing instead of a larger publisher or even self-publishing? The answer is simple: we’re writers, too.
    We’ve been there, seen the rejection letters, taken on the burden of bombarding the world with query letters hoping against all odds that someone will like our work. As writers, we want to make the publishing process easier, to get your stories into the hands of readers.
    http://www.spectaclepmg.com/why-spectacle-publishing/
    A publishing company founded by writers? Gosh, I'll bet that's never happened before!

    What genres do they accept?

    We are open to just about anything! We are currently seeking manuscripts for novels in various genres including psychological thrillers, romance, horror, scifi, fantasy, young adult and children’s books. We also consider works of non-fiction. If you have any questions or doubts about the genre of your work, please send us a message and we’ll do our best to help.
    It's never a good sign when a new company is willing to publish practically every genre going.

    SPMG was founded on the principle belief that great writing sells itself. We love to work with new authors and are here to help those just entering the publishing arena. Our combined experience in story telling and editing are at your disposal!
    http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SPMG
    How exactly does great writing sell itself? How does SPMG intend to make their products stand out from the sea of e-books? The team doesn't include a marketing/publicity person, which suggests to me that the burden of actually selling books will fall on authors through the usual social media channels. It's interesting to note that usuallycountingbats received that review copy from the author, not the publisher!
    "There is only one thing worse than being obliged to sit cross-legged on the grass, and that is being obliged to sit cross-legged on the grass near an ant colony"
    Oscar Wilde (citation needed)

  5. #5
    Procrastinating on the net. usuallycountingbats's Avatar
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    As a reader, what concerned me more was that the team also didn't seem to include editors of any persuasion (because if AW has taught me anything, it's that there are a whole team of people who do various things which uneducated fools like me thought came under the umbrella term 'editing')
    Last edited by usuallycountingbats; 01-17-2014 at 01:18 AM.

  6. #6
    Procrastinating on the net. usuallycountingbats's Avatar
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    It's also worth noting that the reason I thought 'vanity publisher' was because neither the author nor the book is listed on the SPMG website, and on the author's own website it says this particular book hasn't been published, and there's no mention of SPMG. The book does, however, have an amazon sales page and the 'look inside' feature states clearly that it is published by SPMG. It's priced at less than I'd expect to pay for a new paperback, but more than 99p.

  7. #7
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    I've just had another look at their website:

    Angi Gray, Executive Editor
    Angi started with Spectacle Publishing Media Group, LLC August 2012 as a marketing and editing intern after working on web graphics for Spectacle’s interactive game, The Darkest Age. Her strong work ethic and ability to manage several projects at once allowed Angi to be promoted to Supervising Editor, and then Editor-in-Chief at Spectacle in just a few months. Currently, Angi utilizes her organization and project management skills to ensures book are properly assigned to editors, manage editing projects, and link authors with the Public Relations and Marketing departments.
    That sounds like a very rapid promotion, particularly if she didn't have any editing experience before joining Spectacle. It also implies that there are other editors, but it's all off-puttingly vague.
    "There is only one thing worse than being obliged to sit cross-legged on the grass, and that is being obliged to sit cross-legged on the grass near an ant colony"
    Oscar Wilde (citation needed)

  8. #8
    Procrastinating on the net. usuallycountingbats's Avatar
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    I'll be honest, I wasn't counting her as an editor, because who goes from intern to executive in under 2 years? No-one outside of the movies!

  9. #9
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Hi. I'm Eric Staggs. My social media person saw your post about Spectacle Publishing and pointed it out to me. I read the thread and wanted to address your concerns.

    I'm impressed that you took the time to do the research on SPMG. Most reviewers don't bother with that. I also appreciate that the only information you have is from our website, which is woefully out of date. It's sort of that "shoemaker with old shoes," story.

    Anyway, Angi Gray is my Editor-in-Chief. She manages a team of 5-8 editors (it fluctuates due to demand). Angi joined my team on a whim - and we quickly found that she was wildly over qualified for the position offered to her. It has always been my philosophy to promote fast if needed. I own the company (with other principles) and am beholden only to the needs of my authors.

    Angi turned our editing department around. She has a queue of nine books ready for release and is still managing to bring in more. So, her meteoric rise was not the stuff of a feel good movie, it was dictated by her skills and her abilities and the needs of the situation.

    The assertion that SPMG is a vanity press bothers me a little as well. It's true - I wrote and designed our gaming product, The Darkest Age. It's true that DA was published under SPMG's brand.

    But, no, we're not a vanity press. I turn away more queries than I care to mention, feeling wretched about it, because I know that each of those authors tried their best - they put heart and soul into those queries. The sad truth is, they just aren't good enough.

    Those that we do publish, I often personally take time to workshop with if their writing isn't up to spec. Look, it's subjective - I know. I've got favorite authors. You do too. But as a publisher, I'm looking for the mean of talent, accessibility and demographic. Sometimes something that sells well, isn't up to plot expectation of the more finely trained artists among us.

    Believe me, I know. But what we do at SPMG is something I believe is important. We look at new voices, new talent, and work with them.

    I currently have a staff of 16 - some part-time, some interns, some freelance, and we're swamped even though we turn away more queries than we accept. My editors perform line edits, copy edits, story and plot edits, as well proofing any marketing materials or online copy for or about the book.

    As far as genre goes - when building a business, one must have products. Like it or not, fiction (or even literature) is a product. I could publish the ONE horror novel or the TWO romance novels that come along every quarter. Or, I could open the doors and widen expectations to allow a variety of new to come in.

    Also, do you know of any company that lists EVERY SINGLE staff member? I'm not going to list my freelance editors, my interns, my part-timers and those who do not *want to be listed on the website.

    The last thing I wanted to address is the question about how "good writing" can "sell itself."

    Taken literally, no, a book cannot sell itself. Books are inanimate objects (so I'm told). But good writing, in a good book, gets talked about. It's discussed and shared at book clubs. Writer's do readings and if it's "good," they make sales. The wheat IS separated from the chaff.

    I think what that comment should address is the common denominator of "good." I personally think Dan Brown is a terrible writer. But... he sells.

    So, by way of marketing support for our novels, I have a dedicated graphic designer, an illustrator, and dedicated person for each of the main social media feeds. I have some years experience in advertising and I coach and teach my authors - again in a workshop forum and free of charge - tricks, tips, techniques, from photography to SEO and SMM.

    So, I hope you'll maybe reconsider SPMG. Feel free to ask me anything - whatever questions you have - and maybe you will see fit to change your initial opinion.

    Thank you!

    Eric Staggs

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